The Maya Said What?

Read Jeanine Kitchel’s Book for the Answer

 By David Simmonds

Maya 2012 Revealed, Demystifying the Prophecy, Jeanine Kitchel, 2012, Amazon, itunes, Nook.

If you’re like me, you may have been wondering what all the Maya “it’s-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” controversy is all about. As has been widely reported, on December 21, 2012, there will be a rare alignment in the skies when the sun will be positioned exactly on the crossroads between the galactic equinox (huh?) and the Milky Way – my favorite candy bar. Apparently, this is a big deal, so we better all take note.

One thing we know for sure about the ancient Maya is that they were excellent astronomers, and they saw this day coming many centuries ago, naming it the Sacred Tree. So if the Maya really believed this, one would be well advised to pay attention. You never want to be caught with your pants down when cataclysmic events are on the horizon (I refer to Hannibal and the Romans at the Battle of the Trebia, or when the guy jumps out of the trunk in The Hangover).

There appear to be several interpretations as to exactly what will happen on that fateful day. One camp (and we know who you are) is predicting total annihilation of Mother Earth and you darn well better make peace with your maker, if not the IRS and your ex-spouse. Another more scholarly group points out that for the Maya all events are circular – there are no endings. So December 21 will be a reset day – a new beginning for mankind. That doesn’t sound like such a bad idea given the cost of a college education these days. And, of course, there are the New Age acolytes, fully prepared to experience the Age of Aquarius, sung with such passion on stage in the Hair production four decades ago. Love and Peace forever, brother.

Fortunately, Jeanine Kitchel has written an engaging and scholarly book just in time to clear up the confusion. I first met the author about 13 years ago as I passed through Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico, where she was living and running an English-language bookstore with her husband, Paul. It was there that she became enthralled with the Maya, reading all that she could about that great civilization, and like everyone else, trying to figure out what happened to cause the abandonment of the thousands of cities and villages, many of which have since been dug out of the dense jungles of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and the southern Mexico states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. In the book Jeanine painstakingly cites all of the Maya-phile works, from John Lloyd Stephens to Michael Coe to David Stuart.

“It was something I loved to read about,” she says. “I was fascinated by the Maya culture and the fact that, at the time, no one could break the code. It was this incredible mystery and a very exciting time in the Yucatan and I was at the source. As each new Maya title was published -about the civilization, the code, the pyramids – I ordered it. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was seriously addicted.”

Jeanine had a lot of ground to cover, as the Maya have been around a long time, dating back to the Pre-Classic period of c. 2000 BC to AD 250. And, of course, they are still with us – about seven million at last count. The advanced, lost civilizations may have mysteriously disappeared, but the people have always remained. There are still many different dialects spoken and in many settlements, way back in the bush, daily life and rituals have been maintained in close accordance with their ancestors of long ago. Many settlements have both secular and religious leaders, and offerings are made in the manner of the ancient Maya. They have a distinctive dress, with the women wearing colorful huipiles (blouses) and the men still working the corn fields of their forefathers. They are truly a fascinating and enduring people – a culture that has survived and adapted, and one that we may all be wise to learn from.

Kitchel has written an essential book for anyone who would like to learn about the Maya. She has condensed volumes of information into an easy-to-read and understand page-turner. So what is her conclusion about what will happen on December 21? Well, just pick up an ebook copy for a cheap price to find out, and you’ll also be helping out some Maya kids. On each book sold, a portion of the profits will go to edúcaTE Yucatán, an educational non-profit organization in Yucatán that helps send poor Maya children to school. To get a copy of Maya 2012 Revealed, Demystifying the Prophecy, check Kitchel’s website at or, iTunes and Nook.

This article was originally published on Visit for more news about Mexico.