More articles by Thomas Razzeto
Why the Maya Picked 2012 : The Sacred Triple Rebirth of the Sun and the Sacred Tree Over the Maya
Did Extraterrestrials Create the Maya Calendar?
2012 and the Psychedelic Shamans
Understanding the Maya’s Triple Rebirth Metaphor of 2012
I like to ask people the following question:
Do you want the message of 2012 to inform you or transform you?
Please keep that question in the back of your mind as we explore all the ideas in this article. Also, please check all preconceived notions at the door. That’s right. If you have heard other ideas about 2012, either about the astronomy or what the message is supposed to be, please put those ideas aside for a while. You can certainly pick them up again later, if you wish. With that, let’s get started.
The Astronomical Seed of the Maya Calendar
About three thousand years ago, the people in La Venta in southern Mexico were watching the stars and planets very closely. Since Sirus is the brightest of all the stars, they decided to construct a temple to honor it and they pointed the temple to the exact location on the horizon where the star rose from. Although they could not see the star rise every night throughout the year, on the nights that they could see it, this star would not disappoint them; it always rose from the same point on the horizon. But gradually, over many years, this location shifted very slightly. After about seventy years, the location was clearly not the same as it was before. What had changed?
The very slow wobble of the earth, which astronomers call “precession,” had shifted the rising point of all the stars and the ancient astronomers became so interested in this constant, gradual shift that they began to track it carefully. By the way, the temple was taken down and rebuilt so that it again pointed to this rising star. It is the work of archaeologist Marion Hatch about the rebuilding of this temple that gives us this evidence that people in Mesoamerica were carefully tracking precession, along with the stars and the planets, three thousand years ago. This is the astronomical seed of the Maya Long Count calendar.
The Mystical Seed of the Message of 2012
At that same time, the shamans in the region were engaging in psychedelic rituals via various hallucinogenic substances including mushrooms and the psychoactive chemical excreted from the poison gland of the Bufo toad. In this way, each shaman had a direct, personal experience with what they called “the invisible world,” “the unseen world,” or “the underworld.” These experiences may have included what we call out-of-body experiences, communication with spirit entities and other paranormal experiences, and these experiences were not discounted as less real than our ordinary world; they were fully respected and held as sacred. The psychedelic experiences with the Bufo toad provided the mystical seed for the message of 2012. This is what transforms 2012 into “mystical 2012.”
Astronomy and Mysticism Come Together in the Maya Calendar
The way that these two things were blended together is very important. The knowledge of the astronomy and the wisdom from psychedelics each developed for over a thousand years and then they were merged together in the creation of the Maya Long Count calendar about two thousand years ago. The stone monuments that we find in the sacred ceremonial site in Izapa, Mexico, the birthplace of the Maya Long Count calendar, support the idea that astronomy and mysticism are the two most important concepts pointed to by the calendar.
This article will go into a little of the astronomy so that you can quickly and easily understand how the astronomy connects to the deep, mystical idea of rebirth that comes to us in the message of 2012. But don’t worry; this is more like art than astronomy! You can do this! (For those who want more astronomy, please see my website. Perhaps you might start with “Why the Maya Picked 2012” [article, YouTube].
The Triple Rebirth of the Sun
The astronomy of 2012 is metaphorically connected to the Maya’s theme of transformation and rebirth. On the exact day of the winter solstice of 2012, we will have the triple rebirth of the sun. This is just a metaphor and nothing is really going to happen to the sun; it will simply continue to shine and our day will appear to be perfectly normal. Yet a remarkable astronomical event will occur in the sky high above the Maya and also above all of us. While there is a bit more to it, right now I will simply explain why this day can be said to contain the triple rebirth of the sun.
The first rebirth is the daily sunrise. Everyday when the sun sets, it goes below the horizon, seemingly under the ground of the earth, and we are left to endure a dark, cold night. Metaphorically, it can be said that the sun leaves our world and travels into the underworld, where it is said to be dead for the duration of the night. Yet at dawn, it rises above the ground and is reborn into our world bringing forth the light and heat we all need to stay alive. Since the sunrise is so frequent, it is often taken for granted, but all of us of course know that this rebirth is truly vital.
Next, let’s consider the winter solstice. It can be seen as the rebirth of the sun in the time frame of the year since the length of the day will now start to grow longer. If the days were to continue to grow shorter, the cold winter would only tighten its grip and we would all perish. So this rebirth is also vital.
The third rebirth – which I call the galactic rebirth – will require a few pictures to explain. So let’s see what we have.
Night after night, during the summer months, the Maya clearly saw the most spectacular section of the Milky Way. Here they saw a massive ball of light with a dark swath intruding into it. This section of the sky contains the center of the galaxy and that is why it is so bright. There is nothing else in the night sky that looks even remotely like this section of the sky. It is visually quite stunning and very intriguing. The Maya were drawn to it and stories were created about it.
Figure 1. The center region of the Milky Way can easily be seen without a telescope.
The ancient Maya saw the band of the Milky Way as the body of the Sacred Goddess and the bulging ball of light as her pregnant belly. The dark rift was the sacred birth canal, the point of creation, the place where the spiritual world transforms itself into the physical world. Here we find the portal between the physical and the spiritual. This is a very beautiful metaphor! It focuses perfectly on the magic of the human womb, a place where something fantastic seems to appear out of nothing. It takes this miracle that we all have been a part of and expands it to infinity since everything is said to come into existence from this point of origin. As we shall soon see, this is the section of the sky that is most relevant to 2012.
Figure 2. The pregnant belly of the Sacred Goddess and the galactic birth canal.
Due to the orbit of the earth around the sun, from the point of view of earth, the sun appears to travel across the dark rift, the sacred birth canal, once a year. The Maya metaphorically saw the one day of the year when the sun was “seen” in front of the middle of the sacred birth canal as a third type of solar rebirth, the galactic rebirth. Let’s take a look:
Figure 3. The orbit of the earth causes the annual galactic rebirth of the sun.
Figure 4. The sun appears to travel across the galactic birth canal once a year.
Two thousand years ago, the Maya noticed that the sun appeared to travel in front of the dark rift in late November. It did this once a year and each year it did it a little bit closer to the day of the winter solstice. This shift was too small for the Maya to have noticed from one year to the next, but about 70 years later, this difference had accumulated to the point were it was big enough for the Maya to easily detect. Since the occurrence of these two rebirths were slowly getting closer together, the Maya asked the obvious question:
What year in the distant future will have the sun in front of the dark rift on the same day as the winter solstice?
This is the driving question behind the creation of the Maya Long Count calendar! You can already easily see why this event can be seen metaphorically as a triple rebirth of the sun. I call these three rebirths:
1) the daily rebirth
2) the solstice rebirth and
3) the galactic rebirth.
A triple rebirth of the sun happens when all three rebirths happen on the same day. This is the obvious and natural way in which the Maya were attracted to a point in time over two thousand years in their future. This is the main reason that the Maya created their Long Count calendar.
A more complete understanding of why the Maya picked the exact day of the winter solstice of 2012 is revealed in the following screenshot:
Figure 5. Here is the triple rebirth of the sun and the special configuration of the sacred tree.
This is it! This is why the Maya picked this exact day to restart their calendar!
Now that we understand why the astronomy can be used as the foundation of the Maya’s most important metaphor of rebirth, let’s look into the core meaning of that metaphor.
The Triple Rebirth of You
James Oroc, an expert in the psychedelic Bufo toad and the author of Tryptamine Palace, stated in an interview that he had the experience of becoming “consciousness without identity.” Since others sometimes report this, it is extremely likely that some of the ancient Maya shamans also had this experience. In this way, it might be said that this experience can lead to a very deep awakening: the direct, personal discovery of the true, fundamental self – the One Awareness. Your normal personal self is what Oroc calls “identity.” When you see beyond that, you discover by direct experience that your true self is pure awareness. This is the primary experience of “being,” not the typical relational experience of subject (self, awareness) witnessing an object (phenomenon). You know this because you are this! And you intuitively know that your awareness is the One Awareness.
What you think of as your personal consciousness is simply the One Awareness looking out through your own eyes! This is happening to you right now and it has been happening to you your entire life! What was created when you were born was not a new personal consciousness but a new viewpoint from which the One Awareness experiences the world! Your true self is the One Awareness, not the sentient being you have considered yourself to be all your life.
Now, not everyone who uses the chemicals from the toad awakens to this new understanding of the self, which is a core ingredient of what some people call “enlightenment.” Yet the people that don’t wake up to the true self often still wake up to the idea that there is a greater spiritual reality behind our ordinary physical reality. This is like waking up or being born into a spiritual world. This is why it can be said that the unfolding of this spiritual understanding has three births. Let’s take a look at them.
Your Three Births
Astronomically, the first rebirth is the daily sunrise. This is just the sun reappearing to us in our physical world. Likewise, with our physical birth, each of us also appears in our physical world. Both the astronomical rebirth and the biological birth are very common. One happens every day, the other happens to everyone. With this birth, some people take on a materialist view of reality. Since they haven’t had any spiritual experiences, it makes perfect sense for them to see the world devoid of an unseen creator God or any spiritual aspects at all.
The next stage of development is when the materialist has a personal experience that is beyond the explanation of their current understanding. This could easily come about through the use of the chemicals from the Bufo toad. With this new understanding, the physical world is seen as a denser expression of a more energetic yet unseen spiritual world. The flow of this spiritual energy gives rise to what comes into existence in our physical world. These spiritual energies can often be felt by people who work on tuning in to them.
The final stage unfolds when you realize that you are pure awareness – the One Awareness – and that you are not the combination of your body, mind, soul, personality and personal awareness. This re-identification as the One Awareness is the deepest shift that a human can go through. When you are born, you get an apparent identity. When you awaken to this understanding, you are reborn in the most profound way possible. Very few people have this happen to them yet I think that it happened to at least some of the ancient Maya shamans and that they intentionally created the triple rebirth metaphor and placed it on top of the astronomy of 2012 for the express purpose of helping people understand these three stages of spiritual development.
So the three stages of spiritual development are:
1) your start with a materialist’s view
2) your shift into a spiritual understanding and
3) your awakening to your true self as the One Awareness.
See how simply the astronomical rebirths connect to the spiritual rebirths?
Your True Self: Your Pure Awareness
Your “personal self” may be your body, your mind, your personality and even your soul but your true self, your fundamental, unconstructed self, is the awareness that perceives everything that you experience. Your awareness is the buried treasure hidden within the personal self; it is the kingdom of heaven within you. Honest scientific research into subjects such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and past lives all point to a nature of reality that is profoundly different from what is commonly believed. Our amazing awareness itself is not even visible to us and yet we know it exists because we experience the world through it!
Mainstream science holds that the material qualities and chemical processes of the body and the brain give rise to our awareness. In other words, in this view, the material world is the foundation of reality and awareness is an aspect that comes forth from it in order for all sentient beings to be alive and aware. In this view, our awareness depends upon the body.
But what if it’s the other way around? What if awareness is the foundation, the building block, of everything?
Our common daily experience shows us that there is a link between our body and our awareness. In addition to that, past-life research shows us that while there is a relationship between our awareness and our body, the body is not the source of our awareness. The true nature of the self is beyond the body. Out-of-body experiences also support this understanding. And the same thing holds true for our soul. We are not our soul and that is not where we find our eternal self. We are our awareness, which exists before our soul and holds our soul.
Of course we all see that our bodies were born into the world; this is beyond dispute. But isn’t it also true that both our bodies and the world are born into our awareness? Our awareness is primordial; it comes before everything and it plays host to all the phenomena that we experience. And a mystic intuitively understands that the Divine Awareness that looks out of your eyes is the same awareness that looks out of his or her eyes. What is seen is different but the Awareness is the same. There is only One Awareness, that of the eternal divine essence.
Imagine you are the One Awareness and that you are in a room with many windows. When you look into the world through one of these windows, you see a certain view. In this way, you have all the experiences of one particular person. You see what they see, feel what they feel, think what they think, remember what they remember, dream what they dream and so forth. When you look through another window, you have all the experiences of another person. But you are still the same awareness. If you experienced all of these experiences all at once, it would be just a mass of color and noise. We might say that our individuated personal consciousness is what allows the One Awareness to experience the world without it being a jumbled mess. But is there really an individuated personal consciousness? What if personal consciousness does not really exist as such? What if it is really just the One Awareness looking through a window? The One Awareness can never be cut into pieces and it does not have any parts. It does not give birth to new, separate “awarenesses.”
Even so, it still can be helpful to use the phrase “personal consciousness” when we talk about ourselves and our experiences. In this way, perhaps a good definition of personal consciousness would be that which holds both our personal experiences and our personal beliefs about the world and about our own self. It is this collection of beliefs that changes and evolves as our personal consciousness moves into a higher state. In this process, we are actually just removing false beliefs and integrating new truthful understandings. Your awareness simply holds these new understandings. That which is held does change but that which holds it all simply exists as the unchanging capacity to hold.
Another way to look at the “One in All” or the “All in All” is to imagine that there are billions of hand puppets on earth, all apparently different people and animals. But when we see beyond the illusion of separate sentient beings and correctly perceive the full picture of what is really taking place, we see that there is only one sentient puppet master with billions of hands animating all of life and, most importantly, experiencing all of life through all those different viewpoints. What a miracle! What a mystery!
In the fullest sense, you are the totality of reality and you are where it all comes from!
You Are Eternal Like the Sun
I think that the Maya personified the sun because you are like the sun. From our perspective on earth, the sun is born when it rises and it dies when it sets. But from a perspective out in space, we see that the sun is never born and it never dies; it is essentially eternal. Similarly, from the perspective of our ordinary reality, it appears as if we are born and then later, we die. Is there a different perspective, a larger framework, that reveals that our true self, our fundamental unconstructed self, is indeed also without birth or death? Are we also eternal? As I mentioned before, at birth, you get an apparent identity. When you re-identify with your true self – your pure, unchanging, eternal awareness – you are reborn in the most profound way.
I think that the Maya used a timeless metaphor on purpose to help you understand that you, too, exist beyond the boundaries of time itself. You exist as pure awareness, and time, space, energy and matter are all created within you. While many people have heard that the world is an illusion, few people have heard someone say that they themselves are also an illusion. Yes, indeed! Your personal self is an illusion!
When people hear me say that their personal self is an illusion, they think that I have just said that their personal self is not real. But remember, all illusions have a reality to them; it’s just that they trick you into believing a false idea. In this case, there are at least two false ideas. One is that your personal consciousness arises out of the biochemistry of your body and brain and the second is that each personal consciousness is separate from all the others. Those ideas are completely false.
As I say in my book, Mystical 2012:
Yes, it seems like you are a separate, mortal, sentient being but you are not a being of any kind; you are sentience itself! This is the formless divine essence! This is what the gnostics focus on when they say, “Know yourself and you shall know God!”
Many of us have heard it said, “You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being having a human experience.” Of course it is wise not to put the cart before the horse but perhaps you now see why I say that you are neither the cart nor the horse! You are the awareness that holds both the human being and the spiritual being! Your eternal nature is looking out of your eyes right now, shining forever, just like the sun!
If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you will enjoy my YouTube playlist of a public lecture I gave. This narrated slideshow is 48 minutes long in four parts. You will hear my voice but there was no video camera, just an audio recorder. You can find it here, or watch it below: