Rain on the Comalcalco parade

Drawing of Tortuguero Monument 6, by scholar Sven Gronemeyer, on wayeb.com.
Great drawing, by Maya scholar Sven Gronemeyer, of the "2012" carving on Tortuguero Monument 6 which, like the Comalcalco brick, fails to prove the Mayans thought 2012 would be the end of the world. (From wayeb.org.)

Wow — I see I have gotten a lot of hits over the last couple of days for folks searching for information on the Comalcalco brick. Welcome! I’m glad to be of service, as I have seen some false information lately on the matter: hopefully you read my previous post (here: The Comalcalco Brick and the 2012 Non-pocalypse) that explains the matter, but I can add to it here, as well as debunk a few comments I’ve seen.

For instance, does the Comalcalco tile-brick “confirm” anything about a Mayan belief in a “major event” to come December 2012? No, it does not — not in any way, shape, or form.

Does the brick even talk about December 2012? That is disputed, and, in fact, there is very good reason to believe it does not. (Even if it did, as I explained in the last post, that would make it only the second item in existence that even mention the date at all, out of approximately 15,000 items. If the Maya believed it is supposed to be a major event of cosmic proportion, then they oddly said virtually nothing about it. Western obsessives, on the other hand…)

Some additional articles have appeared online about the Comalcalco brick, such as this so-summarized-as-to-be-terribly-misleading-in-places ABC News item. And other articles with more balance have been grossly misquoted or selectively quoted.

But for those willing to looking at the whole fact of the matter (not just what New Agers want to be true), MSNBC’s article, “Mexico adds yet another brick to the 2012 Maya legend” gives the bad news…

“Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced,” David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a message to The Associated Press.

Stuart said the date inscribed on the brick “is a ‘Calendar Round,’ a combination of a day and month position that will repeat every 52 years.”

The brick date does coincide with the end of the 13th Baktun; Baktuns were roughly 394-year periods, and 13 was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3114 B.C., and the 13th Baktun ends around Dec. 21, 2012.

But the date on the brick could also correspond to similar dates in the past, Stuart said.

“There’s no reason it couldn’t be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period. In fact, the third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, ‘he/she/it arrives,'” Stuart wrote. “There’s no future tense marking (unlike the Tortuguero phrase), which in my mind points more to the Comalcalco date being more historical than prophetic.”

Dr. David Stuart has been one of the more vocal scholars out there debunking the conclusions of the non-scholars and New Age fanatics, and his last point should be taken seriously. Anyone who says that the Comalcalco tile “confirms” a belief that the Mayans saw the “end of the world” coming in 2012 are only seeing what they want to see.

The article later mentions that Mexico’s Institute of Anthropology and History, which is responsible for bring the Comalcalco tile-brick to public attention, agrees with the rest of the scholarly community (including Dr. David Stuart) — 2012-hysteria is not Mayan in origin but is rather Western:

The Institute of Anthropology and History has long said rumors of a world-ending or world-changing event in late December 2012 are a Westernized misinterpretation of Mayan calendars.

The institute repeated Thursday that “Western messianic thought has twisted the cosmovision of ancient civilizations like the Maya.”

The institute’s experts say the Maya saw time as a series of cycles that began and ended with regularity, but with nothing apocalyptic at the end of a given cycle.

Those who wish to claim that the Maya definitely predicted cosmic scale, “world-ending or world-changing event in late December 2012” simply have no evidence or worthwhile argument to stand on and have positioned themselves against the conclusions of the community of legitimate Maya scholarship. The “2012 phenomenon” really is essentially the creation of drug-using New Agers — and that’s really about as deep as it gets. The Comalcalco brick, it seems, offers little comfort to those looking to firm up non-existent support for their ideas.

So those of you arriving at this blog by searching for the Comalcalco tile or Comalcalco brick on Google, welcome, indeed! Before you leave the blog, I hope…

  • that you learn something (more on 2012 is available on the blog – you might start here or at the list of items in the previous post),
  • that you consider ordering a copy of our free, hour-long DVD (no gimmicks: it really is free) discussing the truth behind the 2012-hysteria, Mayan misconceptions, and, most importantly, Bible prophecy, available here,
  • that you poke around the blog,
  • and that you enjoy your stay!

The Comalcalco Brick and the 2012 Non-pocalypse

A tile-brick from Comalcalco, depicting, apparently, Skeletor from the "Masters of the Universe" mid-boogie. Or maybe not...

My thanks to GN for passing on to me a new bit of 2012-related news.  The title is terribly misleading (misleading as in false) but the article is worth reading for those who are keeping up with such info: “New Reference to 2012 ‘Apocalypse’” (I appreciate that Express.co.uk at least put scare quotes around “apocalypse”).

I was intrigued by the title, because I maintain that I am very willing to agree that the Maya did predict an apocalypse/end of the world/etc. at the turning of the baktun on their calendar if (but only if) someone could actually, credibly demonstrate it. If this “new reference” would do it, then I was read to agree.

It doesn’t. At least not yet. In fact, the fact that the item in question is considered news worthy at all is evidence against any so-called “Maya” apocalypse, which I’ll point out in a moment. First, what’s the article about? Feel free to click on the title above and read it — I’ll comment below. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Done? Great! So what did the article say?

Well, you might notice that it did not speak of anything at all concerning any “new reference to 2012 ‘apocalypse’.”  Rather, it talked about a brick that the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico said came from the ruins at Comalcalco (an interesting Mayan site in that its buildings were built of tile-like brick) and is consequently referred to sometimes as the “Comalcalco Brick.” Many of the bricks at Comalcalco are decorated with images or glyphs, which are directed inward into the mortar as opposed to outward. (Comalcalco, by the way, means “In the house of the comals (tortilla pans)” according to Wikipedia.)

The Acme company's sign of approval or indicator that the world is coming to an end? You be the judge...

Putting such glyphs and images on the reverse of tiles may seem mysterious, but actually it isn’t and it has been practiced by working masons (workers, not fraternal orders!) in both ancient Rome and India, as well — think of stamping “Acme Brick” on the little guys: identifying the work done but, by being placed inward, not marring the edifice.  The striking similarity to some of these glyphs and those used in ancient Rome has lead to some interesting speculation which you can read about here.  And that speculation would fit well with my own belief that the New World was visited in the ancient times by Israel in the time of Solomon and possibly other powers, but that’s a blog post for another day. 🙂

Back to the article at hand…  What does the little tile-brick say that is so intriguing? Well, if you read the article then you saw: Not necessarily anything.  It may have on it the date representing the end of the current Mayan baktun, believed by some to be December 21 or December 23, 2012. At the same time, it may not say that. As the article points out, there is disagreement. And if it does have that date on it, it apparently doesn’t have much else. (For those who’d like some encouragement in their efforts to over interpret something that may only have the significance of an “Acme Brick” stamp, you could always watch the Acme Song.) (Second parenthetical insert: For those unfamiliar with the Animaniacs cartoons, you’re in for a treat.)

Several things are worth pointing out here…

  • Several — among them, recognized Mayan expert David Stuart of the University of Texas — think that the idea that inscription on the brick is a connection to 2012 is very unconvincing, as it could refer to other dates as well. There is apparently no real reason to think that it refers to “the” date.
  • Secondly, even if it were such a reference (again, unproven), this tile-brick adds virtually nothing to the untenable belief amongst some enthusiasts that the Mayans, themselves, believed the end of the world would occur in 2012 — something generally rejected by actual scholars in Mayan studies.
  • Also, the only known, confirmed Mayan reference to the 2012 date (if, indeed, the baktun ends in 2012, which is also of some dispute) is still the monument at Tortuguero, mentioned in the article. And the description of that monument in the article is a bit misleading in that it lacks appropriate context. For those who are actually familiar with Mayan style of the day, the description of Bolon Yokte in that monument is nothing “end-of-the-world-y.” If we project our own ideas onto it, it might seem that way, but in the context of other Mayan writings it is not at all remarkable and does not signify anything such as what 2012-ers wish to project onto the date.
  • According to Maya scholars (including those at the Mexican institute referenced above), the current 2012-hoopla is the result of modern day projection of Judeo-Christian “end of the world” thinking onto a culture for which, at the time of the inscriptions of Tortuguero, such thinking would be absolutely foreign. That is, even if the Maya did think about the turn of the baktun as the end of a calendrical cycle, they would not have thought about it as the “end of the world” as we think of that today. The hysteria today — books, movies, etc. — is the result of people ignorant of Maya culture reading their “apocalyse”-like writings and projecting their own biases, hopes, and cultural understandings onto them, NOT a result of the Maya’s thinking, themselves.

And the final thing I think worth pointing out is this: Why is the tile –with its disputed markings — considered newsworthy? It is considered newsworthy because if it does mention the Mayan date associated with 2012, it would be only the second such find. Do you get that? Outside of this tile (and possibly including it) there is only one verifiable mention of the 2012-associated date in all of recorded Mayan writings and carvings which is, indeed, a huge collection.  Really.  If you were to survey all of what the Maya have left for us in writings, carvings, paintings, etc., you would find only one single reference to December 21, 2012 (if that is the correct date) out of the 15,000-or-so available. And it would be in a generally unremarkable monument. No, it isn’t in the Dresden codex — or in any codex, frankly. Not in any other temple or wall or playing field. Nothing. Nada. Just one carving in Tortuguero. And possibly, now, the back of some tile at the place where it was stuck into the mortar paste, along with lots of other tiles with other sorts of mason-work inscriptions not meant to be seen, in a building at the “house of tortilla pans.”

Does that sound to you like 2012 was thought to be the end of the universe? Nope — it doesn’t to me, either.

Again, I’m open to actual, scholarly evidence.  If anyone has any convincing, credible evidence at all from real Mayan authorities that say the Mayans did, indeed, think that December 21, 2012 (or whatever the real date would be) was the end of the world, I would be happy to accept that — indeed, I’d like to see it, because in all my looking, e-mails, phone calls, researching for the Tomorrow’s World telecast and conversations with Maya authorities and enthusiasts, I’ve seen none at all. Until then, I’m sticking with the vast majority of recognized authorities in Mesoamerican culture and Mayan studies. And the conclusion of Maya scholars is that the 2012-hysteria is, by and large, a “gringo invention” projected onto an ancient culture for whom such thoughts would be foreign.

And, of course, even if all these scholars were wrong and the Maya did proclaim the end of the world a year from now, the next question would be, “So what?” The Bible clearly says otherwise (see “October 21: Raptured? Or Returning from God’s Feast?”), and we are not to give credence to the prophecies and religious utterances of the pagans (Jer. 10:1-2, et al.). Focus on what God says about the future, and leave 2012 — as well as 2012, 2014, etc. — in His hands. Otherwise, the ancient Maya, themselves, may come up in the second resurrection like those in Matt. 12:41-42 and wonder why you and I wasted so much time with the rest of this misguided society and its silly ideas when the amazing truth of God, itself, was so readily available.

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Some references for those interested:

Tomorrow’s World booklets on prophecy

Free Tomorrow’s World DVD on 2012

  • 2012: Mystery and Truth (choose the DVD from the items listed in the Media section and request a copy; other titles may be requested, as well on this page)

Other Tomorrow’s World resources on 2012

Other blog posts related to 2012: