Exposing PseudoAstronomy

April 19, 2010

Planet X and 2012 and Astrology: Exploring the Claims of Astrologer Terry Nazon on 2012, Part 3


Way back when, oh, about two months ago, I wrote a two-part series on astrologer Terry Nazon (part 1, part 2).

When I wrote the posts, I asked fellow blogger Johan Normark who writes the Archaeological Haecceities blog – and who has frequently written about 2012 and the Mayans – to do a guest post here. Johan is an archaeologist and so is much better-suited to address Ms. Nazon’s claims about Mayans. He was on travel at the time and said it would be a few months, but a few minutes ago I received word that he has written the post.

The post appears on his blog entitled, “Prophet of nonsense #12: Terry Nazon and ethnocentric astrology.” Johan has some interesting insights that I completely missed but agree with, especially in that Nazon is an obvious ethnocentrist. He has given me permission to copy it below, so the rest of this post is directly from his site:

Dr. Normark’s Post

While I was travelling in Thailand I got an email from Stuart Robbins who runs the blog Exposing Pseudoastronomy. He asked me to write a guest post on his blog as part 3 of his exposure of the astrologer Terry Nazon’s claims about the Maya. Part one and two are found at his website. I accepted the offer and I have just read what she has to say about the so-called Mayan prophecy of 2012. As you might expect from an astrologer, it is full of disinformation. Here follows some of it.

Puuc iconography

Her first claim is that “the ancient Maya were obsessed with watching the stars and making astrological predictions.” Obsessed is perhaps not the right word here. True, some Maya (a minority) were skilled sky watchers but they were far from obsessed, that is a word that better describe the 2012ers. Neither did they “go on the roofs at midnight, and through 2 crossed sticks X make their calculations. This symbol “X ” is found on many ancient Mayan buildings still, denoting places where the astrologers would go to watch the stars at night or early morning. “ This is her interpretation. First, they did not go on to the roofs of their buildings (this shows a lack of knowledge on how Maya buildings were designed). Few staircases lead up to the “roof”, maybe up to the top of a pyramid, but that is not the “roof”. Although “pecked crosses” were used for astronomical observations the symbol X she refers to on buildings is probably the common crosshatching we find on particularly Puuc architecture. This is believed to represent pop or the woven mat people sat on. It is a symbol of royalty in the Maya area. The four corners of a cross (such as the Kan cross) is otherwise a common theme in Maya iconography but it refers to the Maya cosmological model of a quadripartite cosmos with four corners and a center.

Next Nazon claims that the Maya astrologers “predicted the end to civilization as we know it in 2012, and their calendar actually ends on Dec. 21, 2012. According to others it’s Dec. 8, 2012.!”. No, they did not predict the end of civilization whatsoever and their calendar does not end in 2012. There are at least three inscriptions (at Yaxchilan, Tikal and Palenque) that indicate time periods in the distant future. She claims that “we know it has happened before in their Calendar long count on Aug. 12, 3114 B.C.” What has happened before? The end of civilization or their calendar? Neither option is applicable to the 3114 BC date. It concerns the beginning of the current Long Count but says nothing about the end of an earlier civilization. I have never seen the December 8 date before but it would not surprise me if such a correlation exists.

She speculates, like all other 2012ers, what this “end” means to us. Of course she brings up global warming (as if the Maya 2000 years ago knew that this problem would occur). As an astrologer she obviously focuses on the supposed alignments of planets that she believes will happen on December 21, 2012. However, if she had some critical thinking skills she would quickly see that such an alignment could not possibly occur on the alternative date she presents (December 8). One of these dates must be right but since such an alignment is nothing but pure fantasy in the first place I guess it does not really matter. In any case this alignment will change the seasons and “the length of months may change, years may change, and certain planetary cycles like Venus may change. Something new will have to replace the old calefndar [sic]”. Is it the Maya Long Count or our own calendar she talks about? We never see a reference to the Maya date of 13 Baktun, just the Gregorian date. It would have been illuminating if she had actually mentioned some of the logics behind the Maya Long Count. The Maya never predicted that a completely new calendar would replace the Long Count. It would simply go on and on and on.

More nonsense follows when she says that “The Mayans also correctly predicted the end of their own civilization. It ended when the Spanish Conquistadors invaded Mexico and South America, then fought bloody wars, killed or enslaved all the indigenous people. A clash of cultures ensued, and as the story goes the Mayans just disappeared.” How come roughly 7 million people today speak Maya languages and still have beliefs similar to those who lived before this conquest? They never predicted the end of their civilization and Nazon’s understanding of anthropology, archaeology, etc. is even shallower than her knowledge of astronomy. She is just as ethnocentric as the rest of the 2012ers. She also claims that “the Mayans were initially a very spiritual people, whose cities were settled and infiltrated by more warlike peoples. Eventually they gained power and created a warlike state. Through their spiritual rituals they got the spiritual message “sacrifice your Heart and your life” and well, they took it literally. In their use of ritualistic human sacrifice, they became entrenched in self mutilation, worshiping the dead, and all forms of ritualistic sacrifice.“ Well, this is the old idea that occupied some Mayanists 50 years ago. The warlike and more barbaric “Toltecs” were believed to have corrupted the peaceful and spiritual time worshipping Maya. It is completely outdated and simply reflects ethnocentrism again. Human sacrifice is found in the earliest Maya settlements as well, long before any “Mexicanization”. The Maya did not worship the “dead”. Their “religion” was that of ancestor veneration. Venerating ancestors is not synonymous with worshipping the dead.

There is even a supposed to be a “battle that brought down Chitzen Itza”. This “was started because a spanish conquistor [sic] soldier, stopped Mayan priests from brutally ripping the heart from the chest of a child.” One should perhaps know that by the time of the Spanish conquest Chichen Itza was mainly a pilgrimage site and it lacked political importance of its own. Chichen Itza’s political importance ended around 1050, fully 500 years before Nazon’s “battle”. What she refers to is a minor event but she has misinterpreted it as a Spanish conquest of Terminal Classic Chichen Itza.

More ethnocentric statements follows: “Looking at the planets in 2012 there is a very special alignment that occurs only every 26,000 years, and the outer planets and Venus will be making transits that in the past have lead to civil unrest. Remember 2012 is a US election year !” Of course, the whole Maya calendar was designed to end in a US election year. Once again the common theme among 2012ers is that the whole calendar is in fact related to USA and its evangelical believes in apocalypse and all sorts of related nonsense. I leave Nazon’s astrological interpretations that follow this statement to Stuart (he has already discussed them). I can only say that the Maya knew nothing of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto (and has not Pluto been ditched from the planet category?) Why not include some other dwarf planets in the Kuiper belt? Further, Nazon says that “we traditionally associate the planet Venus with love, marriage, harmony, beauty and luxury.” We? If she is talking about the Maya should she not say that the Maya associated Venus with danger and maybe warfare?

She claims that the Books of Chilam Balam refers to 2012. But “only very small references to 2012, are actually written down as so much of their written books were destroyed in an effort to purge the Mayans of their religious practices.” Not quite, The Books of Chilam Balam were written down at a later period (18th and 19th centuries) and they were written in Latin alphabet. Nazon confuses the 40 codices Diego de Landa and others burnt in 1562 with these books. She says that “there remains only one book on astrology by the Mayans, and one inscription that says during this Galactic Alignment of 2012, A God of War or a God of Creativity descends to the Earth. What we do know is that during every one of these transits sweeping social changes and social unrest has occured.” I am not sure which book she refers to but she believes the Books of Chilam Balam actually is just one book (but there are actually nine surviving manuscripts). If she believes it is a codex (which she never mentions in the text) there are four known codices. The inscription related to 2012 is the one at Tortuguero but it says nothing about a galactic alignment as this is a myth created by John Major Jenkins. She does not specify what transits have created sweeping social changes and social unrest. It would be nice to see some example.

I end with an astrologer’s dirtiest trick: to let the reader believe the predictions are related to him or her. Nazon says “it’s time to start thinking ahead as 2012 is only 3-4 years away! You were born for this moment in time!” Astrologists and other hoaxers try to fool you that you are chosen, there is no coincidence that you live right now. It can all be seen in the stars. Btw, did she predict my and Staurt’s critique? If so, should it not be found on her website? If she predicted it she could have corrected the information before we published our critique. I guess she didn’t. That makes me wonder how capable she is of predicting…



  1. Thanks for the info. I understand that the actual calendar end date is Nov 12 2012. (18720000) days from Aug 12 3114 BC) and therefore the DEC 21 2012 alignment is spurious. It is also true that the Mayans were not even around in 3114 BC so probably inhereted the calendar. The calander seems to use Venus as a long period clock (they had to choose something in the sky). My questions though are

    Why develop a 5200 (5125 year) calendar? its a long time into the future to bother about and an arbitrary time period.
    Why count down? ie why a cycle at all. No other calander in history does this (there wasn’t a BC calander that counted down to the birth of Christ)


    Comment by Shelley — April 20, 2010 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  2. By the way Yes I know the months cycle after December but the years don’t.

    Comment by Shelley — April 20, 2010 @ 4:40 am | Reply

  3. Why develop a 5200 (5125 year) calendar?

    Think of your car odometer. I remember a time when they used to have only enough wheels on the odometer to handle 99,999.9 miles. If you bought a 10 year old car with 80,000 miles was it 80,000 miles? 180,000? So they added another wheel. This gives the car theoretically the ability to record almost a million miles of wear and tear before it rolls over. No one really thinks a car will ever reach 900,000 or a million miles but that maximum simply falls out of the fact adding another wheel greatly increases your theoretical maximum.

    Did the Mayans add another wheel because they thought they’d be around as a civilization to see the roll over? Or did they add another wheel because they didn’t like a roll over in the near term?

    Comment by karl — April 28, 2010 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  4. I am with you on this one. The reason they used a cycle was to allow them to use names and symbols for years. This is like jan feb march etc. If we did not use a cycle we would have to keep inventing names for the months. Similarly they could use symbols for years but only because they used a cycle. Adding a wheel extends the cycle, as you point out with your car analogy.

    But – Would you buy a car where the odometer (is that the American term for a UK mileometer ?) counted down to zero?? Or more to the point why would they manufacture a car where the ‘odometer’counted down to zero in a sort of ‘miles to go meter’. Everyone would think ‘miles to go before what?’ Which is the situation we are in with the Mayan calendar. I’m not saying therefore its the end of the world, I just don’t understand their (and no other calendars) logic. It’s not the use of cycles I am confused with, that makes sense, It’s the count down instead of counting up (like an odometer).

    Comment by Shelley — April 29, 2010 @ 5:11 am | Reply

    • But – Would you buy a car where the odometer (is that the American term for a UK mileometer ?) counted down to zero??

      There is no count down built into the Mayan calendar. I’m not sure where you’re getting that. You can impose a count down on anything, mind you. Just like how we counted down to Y2K or count down to the start of an Olympics. “Only 2893 more hours to go!”

      The odometer and the Mayan calendar count UP. When your first wheel completes its cycle, it resets to zero and you count up the second wheel by one. When the second wheel completes its cycle, it resets to 0 and you count up the third wheel one. You add as many wheels to the left as you think will be needed but if your final wheel allows a longer marking of time or distance near the top end, who cares?

      Comment by karl — May 6, 2010 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  5. Thankyou. You are the first person to say that the Mayan calendar does not count down. All the other info says it starts at etc and finishes at etc. at 12 dec 2012. Why are they saying it counts down. I guess it just strengthens their argument?

    Comment by Shelley — May 7, 2010 @ 3:33 am | Reply

  6. […] A few months ago, I wrote a 2-part post about the claims of astrologer Terry Nazon and her claims about 2012. I asked a fellow blogger (Johan), one who knows much more about archaeology than I, to do a third part for the series about her archaeology claims of the Mayans. He kindly obliged and you can read all three parts here: Part 1, part 2, and part 3. […]

    Pingback by Ah, the Joys of Stepping on Someone’s Toes: Terry Nazon Redux « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — June 2, 2010 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

  7. […] showed in my series on Nazon before (part 1, part 2, and part 3) that she is fairly ignorant of where objects are in the sky, and this is seriously not a case […]

    Pingback by Terry Nazon’s Astronomy: Just Plain Wrong « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — June 9, 2010 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  8. December 2012 is a pretty good approximation to when we run out of IPv4 addresses – if you’re not ready to run everything on IPv6 by then, you’re doomed, DOOMED I tell you!

    Time for some of these folks to get dragged kicking and screaming into the Century of the Fruitbat…

    Comment by Bill Stewart — June 17, 2010 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  9. […] Planet X and 2012 and Astrology: Exploring the Claims of Astrologer Terry Nazon on 2012, Part 3 […]

    Pingback by Planet X and 2012: My Posts So Far « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — November 6, 2010 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  10. I thing that a bunch of psicopaths with a hiden agenda are publishing those videos clip in YouTube to desestabilize the sociaty and the economy in order to scare the people and create a caos.
    All those youtube clips are driving people nuts. They goes from Illuminati’s aberrant plans to religion salvation.
    People is hallucinating.
    Sincerely, I wish to see a fresh publication about the next year 2012 predictions, written by a centered head individual with a sharp creteria about the famous alineation of all planets.
    Help people. It is our first duty as human beings, Thank you.

    Comment by Miranda — December 1, 2011 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

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