In Search of the True Maya Calendars

Since 1994, I had made the rainforest in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas my winter base while living, learning and traveling through the land of the Maya. My playground was the venerated ancient Maya center at Palenque. On this particular day, I had just finished leading a group of pilgrim travelers from the United States on a weeklong winter solstice tour to ancient Maya pyramids and contemporary villages in the region. I was now preparing for a solo adventure. I wanted to leave at sunrise the next day.

People will gather in hundreds of sacred sites on December 21, 2012 for ceremonies and celebrations. The pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico will be the center of activities.

It was the morning of New Year's Eve, December 31st,1997 when I left Palenque to seek out the Maya Daykeeper, Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, a 13th generation Quiche Maya spiritual leader. His Maya nickname translates as Wandering Wolf. He is the head of The National Maya Council of Indigenous Elders in Guatemala, an organization that represents 440 Maya tribes. The Daykeepers are Maya elders, both men and women, who keep count of the days of the sacred calendar. Don Alejandro’s home was located in a remote village in the Guatemalan highlands. I had a 10-12 hour journey ahead of me. I was on the road.

I knew that Don Alejandro was going to be doing several days of ceremonies around the start of the New Year and I had wanted to catch up with him beforehand. I met Don Alejandro this past spring, in of all places, Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he gave a presentation on the Maya calendar system and spiritual knowledge. Speaking to him after this event, I had told him that I would like to see his sacred calendar and to learn more. He said, "Come see me in Guatemala."

A Quest for the Sacred Calendar

I had a single primary focus on this quest: To see Don Alejandro’s Tzolkin calendar. The Tzolkin is the 260-day sacred calendar of the Maya. I currently had in my possession three Tzolkin calendars with different dates from three different sources: the Yucatan Maya of Mexico, Jose Arguelles’ recalibrated calendar, and University of Mexico’s version. So on any given day of the Gregorian calendar, the recorded Tzolkin date was different on each of these three calendars.

I knew the Quiche Maya had a version of the calendar that differed from the three that I had. In my travels through Maya land, I had heard that the Quiche maintained a continuous count of the days of Tzolkin calendar from before the time of the Spanish Inquisition right on up to the present day. If that were true, then the sacred calendar that Don Alejandro was using would most likely be the correct Tzolkin calendar. And that was what I was searching for.

Around 8pm that evening, I arrived in a town about a half-hour ride from the village where Don Alejandro lived. I would have to wait until morning to get a ride to my destination. I was lucky to find accommodations as there was a night full of festivities planned and many people had been arriving from the nearby villages. My room was a four by eight foot unpainted concrete space with a concrete slab to one side, an old mattress on top, a couple of wool blankets and an old wooden chair. Good enough for a wandering pilgrim, I thought.

After grabbing some food, I wandered the hilly streets in town. It felt good to exercise my legs after having sat on buses for most the day. It was after 9pm when locals, dressed in their best, began coming outside for the town’s New Year’s Eve celebration. I, on the other hand, made my way back to my room to get a good night’s sleep. The first transport to Don Alejandro’s village was to leave at 6am. I did not want to miss it. As I lay in bed that night listening to the evening’s fireworks going off, I thought, how ironic it is that while on my quest of Maya calendars, I was in a Maya town that was celebrating the end of the annual Gregorian calendar-cycle.

Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, a 13th generation Quiche Maya spiritual leader and Daykeeper
Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, a 13th generation Quiche Maya spiritual leader and Daykeeper

The next morning I arrived in the small village where Don Alejandro lived. There were a few men mulling around the village center. I approached them and asked where Don Alejandro lived. One of them pointed up a small dirt road, but said that he was not there. I asked them if they knew where he was. The man nodded, and pointing over my shoulder said, “He is walking this way.”

I turned around to see Don Alejandro walking right towards me. I graciously greeted him, reminded him that we met in Massachusetts, and told him that I had traveled up from Palenque to come see his Tzolkin calendar. He said that he did not have time to talk right now because he was going to do ceremony with some of his students. Following a moment of silence, Don Alejandro continued by saying, “Come with me.” With that, we got in the waiting vehicle and drove off to meet the others.

Had I arrived three minutes later that morning, I would have missed seeing Don Alejandro. My quest would have been in vain, at least for the time being. Had I stayed up the night before ringing in the New Year with the locals, I may have been inclined to sleep in a bit late, take the 7am bus out of town, thus missing Don Alejandro. I was happy to think that my determination and steadfast focus had led me to be in the right place at the right time.

A Pleiadian Lineage

For 3 days, I stayed with the Wandering Wolf and his seven initiates doing ceremony, praying and meditating. During the evenings, we would enjoy dinner, relax and converse. It was during these times that I was able to talk directly with Don Alejandro. He did give me a copy of his Tzolkin calendar for the year 1998. He also answered my questions regarding his knowledge and use of the ancient calendars. I also asked him what he thought about the date December 21, 2012.

Don Alejandro told me that long-ago three light beings from the Pleiades appeared on Earth and presented the three original cosmic calendars to his ancestors. One of these was the 260-day sacred Tzolkin calendar. The Pleiadians also gave knowledge to the Maya as to how to measure and map other heavenly cycles, using the knowledge contained within the calendars. To this day, the Maya say they are descendants of a Pleiadian race, and that their ancestors and departed ascend to reside in the Pleiades.

Don Alejandro told me of cycles longer than the common 5,125-year calendar that was to come to completion on December 21, 2012. He said that he was not sure that 12/21/12 was the exact date of the planetary transformation but that he knew a time of great change was coming to Earth. He said that the Hopi have prophesied this time as well. He said we would know the time has come, for the world would be darkened for one to three days, that the cause would be the impact of great cosmic magnetic energies, and that following this event humanity would move together into an age of light.

The Quiche elder continued, saying that our solar system was moving into a band of light coming from the galaxy and that the light’s energies would have much force. He said these energies are spiritual in nature and that they come traveling along the currents of electro-magnetism. The concern he expressed to me was that the force of this energy penetrating the planet, and the contrary degree of disharmony existing on and within Mother Earth at this time, could result in earth disruptions as the planet absorbs the impact of these cosmic energies.

I asked him if there was any thing we humans could do. Don Alejandro said that people must be prepared to do ceremony, pray, meditate and work with these energies. He said that people should sit upon the earth during these days — at their homes, at sacred places — to help ground the energies gently into Mother Earth. He agreed that we need to have human beings use our bio-energetic light bodies to balance and harmonize these incoming cosmic energies as they penetrate the planetary surface on their way toward Earth’s magnetic core.

Don Alejandro told me these things fourteen years ago. He was talking about events foretold to take place for winter solstice 2012. The people he was referring to was us!

Before leaving the presence of the ceremonial group on the 4th day of the new year, I approached Don Alejandro to thank him for all the teachings, blessings and knowledge he had shared with me, and for the opportunity to do ceremony with him. He gave me advice on my future, and then stated that I should go to a sacred place at the holy site of Palenque. Pray there to the ancestors and the ancient ones and ask them for guidance. I smiled into his eyes, turned toward the group of practicing initiates, sent them the sign of peace and good cheer, and with this quest completed, I was on my way.

Cycles and Calendars

In the cosmic world of the ancient Maya, life was measured in cycles. A cycle is something that repeats itself over and over like the Earth traveling around the Sun. Western civilization’s annual Earth cycle measures the 365-days that it takes Earth to complete one journey around the Sun. The Gregorian calendar-cycle begins each year on January 1st and comes to completion on December 31st. The cycle then repeats itself beginning once again on the first day of January.

Unlike western civilization with its one calendar, the Maya track many celestial cycles. The Maya measured the movements or cycles of numerous heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon and planets, as well as some constellations and stars. For the Maya, zero signifies the completion of a cycle as it comes around full circle to begin once again. The cycle of time measured for each celestial object is referred to as a calendar.

Maya Daykeeper, burdened with keeping the count of days, is shown here carrying the symbol of the Sun, Ahau, on his back surrounded by symbols of the sacred calendar.
Maya Daykeeper, burdened with keeping the count of days, is shown here carrying the symbol of the Sun, Ahau, on his back surrounded by symbols of the sacred calendar.

When you hear about the end of the Mayan calendar, know that it refers to what is known as the Maya Long Count calendar, a 5,125-year cycle that comes to completion on December 21st, 2012, and starts once again on December 22nd. The winter solstice sunrise marks the completion of two longer grand calendar cycles. One of these is known as the Precession of the Equinoxes, a cycle of approximately 25,625 years. This cycle is related to the Sun’s transit through the twelve houses of the zodiac, and signifies the completion of five Maya Long Count cycles. December 21, 2012 also marks our solar system’s alignment with the central plane of the Milky Way galaxy.

Don Alejandro never told me the exact length of the other grand calendar. I am not sure he even knew the exact date the cycle began or ended. He did say that it measured an even longer cycle of the Sun’s path. I believe this calendar marks a great Sun cycle, one that stretches well beyond the 25,625-year precession cycle.

Humanity’s Role as Planetary Acupuncture Needles

Photographer and author Martin Gray, who has spent twenty-five years visiting, photographing, and meditating at over 1,000 sacred sites across the planet, was taught what he calls Planetary Acupuncture while practicing Vipassana breathing on the sacred mountain of Dibe Nitsaa (Mt. Hesperus) in Colorado. The technique was telepathically communicated to him.

It is a three-breath cycle that moves energy to and from Earth and the cosmos through human body. This technique allows humans to express love and healing to Earth using our bodies as bio-energetic acupuncture needles of light upon the planetary being. It also allows us to feel and consciously move the celestial and terrestrial energies passing through our bodies and to express these energies to earth, to sky, to one and all. You can see Martin’s work at

An important role humans can play during the coming solar/galactic alignment will be to take on the role of a light worker, or planetary grid worker. Acting like acupuncture needles upon the planetary being, drawing the cosmic energy in through our crown chakras, and adding love from our hearts, we send the transformed energies into Mother Earth. In so doing, we actively contribute toward harmonizing and balancing these strong spiritual and cosmic waves of knowledge and light, encouraging a positive, peaceful transformation for Earth and humanity. In effect, we are assisting in raising Earth’s vibration to a frequency that is more resonant with the spiritual energies of the universe.

Why Is December 21, 2012 Important?

According to the Maya, we are living in the last days of the 5th age of humanity. The date of 12/21/12 is the end date of the fifth age and the end of the precessional cycle of 25,625-year cycle. On this day, the Maya and our global spiritual human family will tune in together to celebrate the completion of these grand cosmic cycles of time and space. More importantly, we will welcome the cosmic energies of the new incoming era and assist Earth in balancing and harmonizing these as they enter the earth plane.

What may unfold on that day? We can only speculate and guess. In the land of the Maya, as across the globe, people will gather in hundreds of sacred sites on December 21, 2012. On the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza will be the center of activities. From sunrise to midnight at Chichen Itza there will be ceremonies, rituals, meditations, toning, moments of silence and celebration. The atmosphere on Earth will be vibrating with charged prana. Chichen Itza, the heart site of the Yucatan Maya, will host the Maya Council of Elders, who will lead a global meditation to welcome, harmonize, balance and ground the incoming cosmic energies.

Potentially millions of free will human beings will be spread across the globe tuning in on this special day. With that amount of human intent exponentially magnified, the astounding effects of the hundredth monkey theory may actually be realized, triggering a simultaneous “aha” moment for each of the 7 billion+ members of our global human family, and propelling us into a new age of light consciousness for humanity. On this day the current age ends and a new cycle begins, prophesized by the ancestors of thousands of years ago and spoken through the tongues of today’s living elders.

Robert Rocheleau has led eco-spiritual tours to Maya pyramid centers for several years and other sacred sites. For December 21, 2012, Robert is leading a group of people to the Yucatan to participate in the epic ceremonies to take place in the heart of the Maya land. For more information, he can be reached at or 508-523-5127.