A Dire Gnosis review of Adrian Gilbert's book:
The End of Time: The Mayan Prophecies Revisited
Adrian Gilbert's new book, The End of Time: The Mayan Prophecies Revisited was released in hardback in the UK on September 6th 2006, and will be published in USA on October 31st under the title of 2012: Mayan Year of Destiny. The sub-title on the UK edition is: December 21st 2012 - Is This the End of the World as We Know It? Gilbert's bestseller, The Mayan Prophecies, co-authored with Maurice Cotterell, was published eleven years ago in 1995. As you may recall, John Major Jenkins pointed out in his unabridged review, that the detailed graphs in the book don't actually show significant termination points at the end of the 13-baktun cycle. Also, the explanation given in The Mayan Prophecies for the abandonment of the cities - a fertility drop due to solar radiation - actually corresponds to a time when the Classic era civilization was at its height, 200-300 years before the cities were abandoned. A third fault of the book uncovered by Jenkins, was the statement that the start-point of the 13-baktun cycle coincided with the Birth of Venus - Gilbert presumed that Venus was rising after its period of invisibility, having apparently seen it on his Skyglobe astronomy software. However, Venus was actually approaching the end of its 263-day period of visibility and was five days away from its heliacal set - a fact that I checked myself on two different astronomy programs. Another fault I found was that the figures given for the rotation periods of the solar equatorial and polar magnetic fields vary significantly from published figures, resulting in a 1,000-year error in the graphs (see Beyond 2012 p.294, note 7). All these errors mean that The Mayan Prophecies fails as an explanation of the Maya calendars and prophecies.
This is a bad start for a book that is a follow-up to The Mayan Prophecies. However, Gilbert admits (p.18 and note 1 p.319), that he regrets the inclusion in The Mayan Prophecies of Cotterell's theories on the Lid of Palenque, in which secret codes were said to have been found on the lid of Lord Pacal's sarcophagus, by sliding transparent acetates around on each other, which had sketches of the lid printed on them. He says this damaged the credibility of the sunspot cycle theories. He also says that in the period since the publication of The Mayan Prophecies, he has read up on more recent archaeological findings, including the work of Linda Schele, and he admits that "there were also undoubted weaknesses in our approach" (p.17). unfortunately, Gilbert does not address the errors pointed out to him by John Major Jenkins, (though he does avoid mentioning those parts of the theory) nor does he mention Jenkins or reference him in the text. He does mention Jenkins' book, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 in the bibliography, and refers many times to the Galactic Alignment event (referring to it as the opening of the star-gate), that Jenkins showed to be behind the timing of the 13-baktun cycle end-point, but he doesn't seem to have read all of MC2012, because his analysis of the Pyramid of Kukulcan is rather unremarkable compared to Jenkins' revelation of an encoded Pleiades-zenith conjunction.
In a conversation with Don Jose Diaz Bolio, author of The Plumed Serpent: Axis of Cultures (in Spanish), and other books, Don Jose points out the connection between the Crotalus durissus rattlesnake, the zenith passage of the Sun and the site of Chichen Itza. According to Gilbert, Don Jose claims that the zenith passages at Chichen Itza are on 22 May and 16 July, and the second of these dates is when the rattlesnakes shed their skins. July 16 is when the Maya started their new year, says Don Jose, and Gilbert somehow deduces that the shadow-play on the equinox was to convince the people that they needed to add 13 leap days to the calendar at every 52-year Calendar Round. It did this by having the snake shadow descend 116 days before the start of the new year. There are several mix-ups here. Firstly, according to bishop Landa's record, the New Year occurred on Sunday July 16, 1553 (explained here), but this was not fixed until this time, according to Mayanist Eric Thompson. There is evidence from the Dresden codex that in the Early Postclassic period (900 AD-1224 AD), the months of the haab still drifted through the solar year. Susan Milbrath finds evidence that in the Late Postclassic (1224-1521), the calendar of the Yucatec Maya became locked to the solar year by the intercalation of leap days (Milbrath p.61-62),possibly introduced as a result of contact with central Mexico, though Thompson says this didn't occur until 1553. The intercalation would have ruined the Venus calendar, which went for 104 haabs, or two Calendar Rounds, and the Mars Round, which was six Calendar Rounds in length. Anyway, there is a 10-day error in Gilbert's information, because he gives the first zenith passage in the Gregorian calendar, and the second one in the Julian calendar. The day given by Landa was July 16th in the Julian calendar, which is equivalent to July 26th in the Gregorian.
The End of Time, like Gilbert's other books, assumes that Edgar Cayces' prophecies are correct, and that the destruction of Atlantis was at the end of a previous world era - a destruction that is due to be repeated at the end of the current era, targeted by the Maya at 2012. However, the doom and gloom has been tempered by input from Carlos Barrios, J.J.Hurtak and Jose Arguelles. since the SOHO satellite was launched, after the publication of The Mayan Prophecies, and it has become apparent that solar activity is ramping up considerably, Gilbert takes this as a sign that he was on to something with his Sunspot/Maya calendar theory, but fortunately, spares us all the dodgy graphs, charts and number crunching, which he included in that book.
Apart from the travelogue, the repetitions from The Mayan Prophecies, and long quotes from the Plato dialogues, what else is in this book? There is a detailed account of the discoveries of early explorers, the map of Teotihuacan as another terrestrial version of Orion's belt (like the pyramids of Giza, Egypt), as previously revealed by Morton and Thomas in their Mystery of the Crystal Skulls, plus the recognition that the ancient Britons also constructed Thornborough Henge as a terrestrial Orion's belt (see Beyond 2012 p.209-210 and p.262). The main item of interest is the discovery, from reading Linda Schele, that the Maya had a creation myth in which the three stones of creation (represented in the house by three hearth stones) were laid at the start of the current age in 3114 BC, and that these were represented in the sky by one of the belt stars of Orion, and the two below, forming a triangle. There is another creation myth (apart from the one in which One Hunahpu is reborn in the mouth of the jaguar-toad, representing the dark rift of the Milky Way), in which One Hunahpu, the solar deity (who also has a form as the maize god), is reborn from the back of a turtle. This turtle has three stars on its back and is located in Orion (some sources say Gemini). This is close to the other star gate, as Gilbert calls the intersection of the ecliptic with the Milky Way, which he centres on the hand of Orion (Jenkins discusses this on p.116-119 and p.284-285 of MC2012). What Gilbert finds amazing is that, as he pointed out in The Orion Mystery, Osiris is associated with Orion, and is a god of corn. From this, he deduces that there was extra-terrestrial contact between the Egyptians, and gods from Orion, and that the same thing applies to the Maya. From his contact with J. J. Hurtak, he concludes they traveled in soul form in a Merkabah, since the stars of Orion are between 65 and 545 light years away. The same is concluded for the builders of Thornborough Henge.
Gilbert concludes that the Maya calendar was given to the Maya by intelligent spirits who visited the earth from outer space, and that they probably plan to return in 2012.
There are one or two interesting anecdotes in The End of Time - one of which concerns the Davenport Stele - a calendar stone found in a burial mound in 1874, which is inscribed in three scripts - Egyptian hieroglyphs, Iberian-Punic and Libyan, and is evidence of early transatlantic contact. However, these are widely thought to be fakes - see this page for a picture and more info. Another interesting sequence was a transcription of Gilbert's second visit to Don Jose Diaz Bolio, who gave Gilbert some Crotallus durissus skins, and there is a photo comparing the skin to a pattern on a Maya pyramid showing the undoubted origin. Bolio pointed out that the rattlesnake changes its teeth every 20 days, which gave the Maya the Uinal period. However, Uinal also means man, so the 20 fingers and toes theory still holds water.
There are several errors in the book that should be mentioned. Firstly, Gilbert mixes his start-dates. On p. 11, p.12 and p.147, p.252, and p.257, he says August 13th 3114 BC. On p.258, 260,he says August 12th. The end-date he puts at 21st December 2012 on p.309 and December 22nd on p.14, p.257-260, but on p.21, he says 21-22 December. The mixed end-dates are perhaps explained by the fact that he puts the alignment of "the sun with the very centre of our galaxy" at midnight, whereas the solstice point will actually occur at 11:11 GMT (no, I am not making this up! see this US Naval Observatory site for confirmation). Also, the astronomical centre of the galaxy will not be conjunct the sun for another 200 years or more (see truezone). It is the galactic equator that conjuncts the winter solstice sun between 1980 and 2016.
On p.45 Gilbert says that some Maya month symbols are similar to Chinese zodiac signs. No, it is the day-sign symbols that include the symbols for rabbit, snake. monkey, dog dragon/lizard and jaguar/tiger, which correspond to the Chinese signs. On p.156 he says that the ceremony of the four fliers, who twirl round the World tree 13 times each, adding to 52, represents the year of 4 x 13 = 52 weeks. He forgets that this is our calendar, and that the flight represents the 52-year Calendar Round. it represents the descent of the Hero Twins to the underworld, as told in the Popol vuh. Gilbert claims that Seven Macaw is not the Big Dipper. This is contrary to the position of Linda Schele - a position that is central to John Major Jenkins' thesis on 2012. I'll leave it to John Major Jenkins to argue that one -NEW! here is JMJ's email exhange on this NEW!. Finally, on p.246, Gilbert confuses the Itzas with the Toltecs.
In conclusion, there are a few interesting bits in the book, and its not a bad read, - more enjoyable than most others I have reviewed recently - but it doesn't contribute much that is new to the 2012 question....
By the way, the "tips for survival" advertised in the blurb amount to this: put some tinned food, pasta and grain in your loft and avoid living in low-lying areas.
NEW!! ADRIAN GILBERT REPLIES (following a discussion on the now deleted 2012 News forum):
...I can see that you are a serious researcher and obviously very knowledgeable about Mayan matters. However, you have to understand that when I write my books, I have to assume that the reader knows next to nothing about the Mayan calendar systems or about the research that has gone into deciphering the hieroglyphs etcetera. That's why you maybe found the book (The End of Time) repeated some of the ground-work covered in `The Mayan Prophecies'. I couldn't assume that readers have even heard of the earlier book, still less read it. That is especially true since it is now permanently out of print.
As regards `The Mayan Prophecies', that was a very awkward commission for me. When I began it, I didn't know much myself about the Mayan calendar systems, Stone of Palenque etcetera. I assumed that Maurice Cotterell (who can be very persuasive in these matters) knew what he was talking about. I was always very unsure about his `overlays' but when you co-author a book, unless you are working as part of the same research team, there are always going to be differences of opinion; each author has to give the other scope to express their own ideas. Thus I included some of the overlay material and `astrogenetics', which frankly I would have preferred to
leave out altogether. Equally, Maurice was very against some of what I insisted on putting in concerning crystal skulls, Atlantis and rattle-snake cults. He felt this sort of discussion polluted the purity of his ideas. He has barely spoken to me since and I am happy to keep it that way!
I take your point that you are a serious researcher who has been involved with this material since the 80s. Having read deeply in this area you may find some of what I have presented as elementary. Please understand that in a general book of this nature I can't go into all the technical detail that would be of interest to a small minority of readers. All I can do is present some interesting ideas and leave it to the reader to take things further, if they wish to, by following up on the bibliography. My main concern was to cover the astronomy at Palenque and also the importance of solar zenith transits. The reason I didn't go into JMJ's ideas about Chichen Itza is that I felt I
had nothing to add to this; he discusses these ideas very competently in his own books.
`The End of Time' was not intended to be a response to JMJ's (or anyone else's ideas) but to address the question: `Where might the Maya have obtained their extraordinary knowledge'? My return to Mexico symbolized my return mentally to the subject of the Maya after writing several books on completely different subjects. I used the narrative of my journey as a thread to help the reader progress through layers of ideas, beginning with a discussion about history and Mayanology and drawing them steadily deeper into more and more extraordinary fields in search of the answer to that same basic question: Where did it all come from? The book is an epic journey that begins with flying over volcanoes and ends with ideas concerning the possibilities of aliens revisiting us in 2012. I hope that I have done this in a way that is both entertaining and artful. The book is not
meant to be viewed as science (though it contains plenty of scientific facts about stars etcetera) but as metaphysical Odyssey. It is intended to stretch people's minds and get them thinking about all this stuff in a new way.
If either you or JMJ found the book too sensational in places (e.g. discussing Atlantis and aliens) then I am sorry, I am unrepentant. These are ideas that the academics, for obvious reasons, have to avoid like the plague. Fortunately, I am not so constrained. I can speculate and play with these sorts of ideas, which is something I enjoy doing anyway. As regards your criticism that I used more than one date: 21st December or 22nd 2012 etcetera) well this is always a problem. Different sources quote different days and it is sometimes difficult to be consistent. In one or two places this was a typographic error, in others it was because I was responding to quotes from different authors.
As regards when the sun is in conjunction with the galactic centre, this again is not as straightforward as it seems. In my opinion, the important thing is that it is sitting on the `star-gate' position, where the ecliptic crosses the median plane of the milky way above the sting of Scorpio and not when it is directly `above' (same longitude) as the galactic centre. In any case, the `orb' of the sun, looked at from an astrological point of view, is regarded as
8º or even 10º of influence.
These however, are details that are not going to be of interest to more than a very few readers. Actually I rather doubt that the Maya even knew the milky way was a galaxy or that it has a galactic centre. What matters is that the Mayan Long Count is going to end at the winter solstice in 2012 and the sun is then going to be positioned at the southern star-gate position. That they clearly did know about, and if it is not a coincidence, is surely of great interest to us.
I hope this answers your points and thank you for posting my response to JMJ criticisms,
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