Some writers have confused the idea of this galactic alignment with another galactic cycle. This is the much, much longer journey our solar system takes as it moves above and below the central plane of the galaxy. This up-and-down motion happens simultaneously to our very slow orbit around the center of the galaxy. Our star, the sun, is located in one of the arms, sometimes called the Orion arm, that radiate out in a spiral from the center of our galaxy. Our sun travels through and between these spiral arms as it revolves slowly around the galactic center in an orbit that takes about 226 million years.
This means that in the entire lifetime of our planet we have only orbited the galactic center about twenty times. At the same time, our sun also moves up and down in an oscillation toward and away from the galactic equator. This is sometimes confused with the winter solstice/galactic equator alignment of 2012, which is quite different. This cycle takes much longer, passing through the galactic mid-plane about every 35 million years. In this long cycle, the sun is actually moving away from the galactic equator. It will not cross it again for approximately 30 million years.
At the moment, our solar system is moving toward the more densely populated center of our local galactic arm. This means we are entering an area that has more red giant stars. These can be dangerous because they can explode into what are known as type II supernovas. The solar system is currently inside a sixty light-year-wide interstellar bubble that a previous type II supernova explosion has largely cleared of interstellar dust particles. This means our night skies are clearer than they otherwise would be. The galactic alignment of the 2012 era is an optical one, not a physical one. We are not actually crossing the center of the galaxy. It is just that a neat conjunction makes it look like we are, a bit like the hands on a giant clock aligning to cosmic midnight. It is this that Jenkins is bringing attention to. His research suggests that a pre-Mayan culture found at the site of Izapa knew about this conjunction and actually went as far as to align the building of their ceremonial sites to mark the event. This was an event that, for them, was still nearly 2,000 years in the future. To understand the significance of this, we have to look at how the Maya saw the galaxy and what it meant to them.
The Black Road to the Underworld
There is a dark patch in the Milky Way close to the galactic center. This is caused by an interstellar dust cloud obscuring the light coming from the stars at the core of the galaxy. This is often called the dark rift. For the Maya, this feature marks the black road to the underworld. This is visualized as a celestial mouth, from which deities and kings are born. It is from this dark rift that the winter solstice sun will appear to emerge when it rises on December 21, 2012. This is very significant. The emergence of Xibalba from the underworld is synonymous with birth. The appearance of the sun from the dark rift would be a natural point in the Maya cosmology to measure a beginning or ending point from.
Analogues of the four cosmic roads also appear in the layout of a typical Mayan village. Jenkins theorizes that these — as well as the ceremonial centers built by the Itzá and the Maya — are laid out to reflect this cosmological order. The center axis of the city would be a copy of the celestial order above. The celestial crossroads or cosmic navel represents the place of creation in the Mayan cosmology. It is from this location that all manifested creation emanates; it is the absolute center of the Mayan universe.
The Death and Resurrection of the First Father
The rising of the winter solstice sun was a significant event to the Maya, and it is recorded as the most important of the four quarters of the year. The winter solstice is still the focus of a midnight ceremony held by the indigenous Maya to mark this event. This belief is also reflected in other ancient cultures. For example, in the Neolithic temple of Stonehenge, the trilith of stones aligned to the winter solstice is the tallest. There is also a myth in the Celtic traditions of the king — a common symbol for the sun — dying the day before the winter solstice, known as the kingless day, to be reborn anew the day after. Jenkins takes a similar myth found in the Quiché Mayan book Popol Vuh and applies its symbolism to the Mayan calendar. In this creation story, the First Father, One Hunahpu, represents the birth of a world age.
There are four cosmic roads associated with the Mayan Sacred Tree. Each has a color. The black road is the darker north part of the Milky Way and the white road is the brighter southern part. The arms of the ecliptic, visualized as a double-headed serpent, are seen as green in the east and red in the west.
The story is about his journey to the underworld, where he is tricked and killed by the wily lords of Xibalba. His skull comes to rest in a crevice in a tree. Jenkins equates this to the cosmic world tree of the galaxy and the crevice to the dark rift. This is also seen as the cosmic birth canal or vagina of the galactic cosmic mother. In this place, the skull is able to spit into the hand of Blood Moon, who bears him two sons, the hero twins. They are eventually able to defeat the lords of Xibalba, allowing One Hunahpu to be reborn in an act of cosmic re-creation.
The symbology of this fits well with what will happen in the sky during December 21, 2012, when the winter solstice sun is birthed from the dark rift. The name One Hunahpu is also equivalent to the calendar date One Ahau. This could also be taken to mean First Sun, and Jenkins theorizes that One Hunahpu represents the winter solstice sun.