email address

Subscribe to keep up-to-date
with news and offers

Sacred Tours

15-22 December 2012
The Great Return: Copan 2012 · Winter Solstice in Honduras
with Dr David Sedat · John Major Jenkins · Dr Michael Grofe · Dr Barbara MacLeod · Shannon Kring Buset · Zoltar · Leah Glatz

vision | tour leaders | itinerary | costs & register

Dr David Sedat
DR DAVID SEDAT is a University of Pennsylvania Museum Consulting Scholar. Born in Guatemala to missionary linguist parents, Sedat returned to the Maya lands to serve as field director of University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Early Copán Archaeological Project (ECAP) from 1989 to 2003 (Dr. Robert J. Sharer, director). Dr. Sedat led the team that discovered two of the richest tombs ever found in the Americas the resting places of Copán’s dynastic founder and his queen, the so-called Lady in Red.

The Art of Statecraft: How The Maya Regarded Bak’tun Change
with Dr.David W. Sedat | workshop 18 december

Copán, the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th Century CE, contains monuments bearing hieroglyphic inscriptions unrivaled in their artistic style, detail and number. They provide insight into how the Maya regarded Bak’tun change, or the change from one 144,000-day cycle to the next, and serve as some of the best evidence we have that the Maya used beginning of era/end of era statements for political gain. In this fascinating presentation, Dr. David W. Sedat introduces us to K’inich Ahau U’ax K’uk Mo’, Copán’s dynastic founder, and recounts the events over which he presided at the ushering in of the 9th Bak’tun in 435 CE.

John Major Jenkins JOHN MAJOR JENKINS has been studying Maya culture and writing about 2012 since the mid-1980s. As an independent scholar, he is the author of over a dozen books on Maya cosmology and calendrics, including Tzolkin (1992), Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998), Galactic Alignment (2002), and The 2012 Story (2009). He is an advisory board member of The Maya Conservancy and Director of The Center for 2012 Studies. He is the originator of the "2012 alignment theory" and has taught at the Institute of Maya Studies, Naropa University, Esalen Institute, the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, and many venues internationally. In 2010 he presented research on 2012 astronomy at the Society for American Archaeology. A recent article was published in 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse (ed. Dr. Joseph Gelfer, intro. by Dr. Michael Coe). His latest book is Lord Jaguar and 2012: A Maya King Reaches Through Time (Four Ahau Press, 2012).

Copán and Izapa: Echoes of the Galactic Alignment
with John Major Jenkins | workshop 19 december

Jenkins’ presentation will discuss the importance of the 15° N latitude shared by Izapa and Copán. While presenting evidence that points to a 13-Bak’tun cycle concept at Izapa, whose beginning and end dates were targeted on astronomical alignments. He will also discuss the presence of similar astronomical concepts at Copán, namely on Stela C. The overall picture points to a knowledge and use of the “galactic alignment” astronomy in various forms over hundreds of years. In this regard, clear definitions of the galactic alignment will be offered, highlighting December 21, 2012 ( As an interpretation of how the ancient Maya thought about 2012, the integration of precessional astronomy and an ideology of transformation and renewal will be sketched, as published in John’s 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. Finally, if time permits, Jenkins will offer a reading of his composite poetic rendering of six texts from Tortuguero, where the 2012 date was referenced by the 7th century Maya king Lord Jaguar.

Dr Michael J. Grofe DR MICHAEL J. GROFE is a specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing and archaeoastronomy. In his doctoral research at the University of California at Davis, he explored a new astronomical interpretation of the Serpent Series within the Dresden Codex that incorporates precise measurements of the sidereal year, and he is currently expanding this research to systematically explore how applied theoretical astronomy is interwoven with mythological narratives throughout Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions. An experienced teacher, Dr. Grofe leads multiple field courses with the Maya Exploration Center, and he is a four-field professor of anthropology at American River College, Sacramento City College, and Santa Rosa Junior College in California.

Deep-Time: Astronomical Symbolism and the Ancient Maya Measurement
with Dr Michael J. Grofe | workshop 20 december

Maya hieroglyphic texts contain numerous intervals of time that count both backward and forward from a fixed point of historical reference to specific mythological dates, often thousands of years in the past or future. Dr Grofe will consider the evidence that these intervals incorporate precise astronomical calculations of solar, lunar, and planetary movements, with a substantial emphasis on the measurement of the sidereal year and its ability to shift the seasonal position of the sun among the stars over vast intervals of time.

Dr Barbara MacLeod
DR BARBARA MACLEOD is an independent scholar residing in Austin, Texas. She has traveled widely in the region to both accessible and remote Maya cities and has explored hundreds of caves. Dr. MacLeod has had a decades long specialization in Mayan languages and mythology, and is a major contributor to the decipherment of the Maya script. She celebrated the K'atun completion in July, 1973, and has been looking forward to The Great Return of 2012 for 40 years.

The Great Return: What the Classic Maya Thought About 2012 and Time
with Dr Barbara MacLeod | workshop 20 december

The ancient Maya delighted in primordial or mythic landscapes. They were also fascinated with commensurations of calendric and astronomical cycles within vast counts into the past featuring creator gods and lineage ancestors. While there are several shorter Maya time counts leading into the future, only two texts qualify as deep-future counts. These are the West Panel of the Tablet of the Inscriptions at Palenque and Monument Six of Tortuguero.

This is no accident, as these sites were once allies within one lineage. The elegance with which both sites expressed their shared mythology opens a very special door into ancient Maya thought. Dr. MacLeod will lead us through the full narrative of Tortuguero Monument Six, culminating in the 2012 ( date. This story will be tied to deep-past and deep-future narratives at Palenque. We will glimpse the balance between humans and gods, who not only return to major waypoints of the calendar,but who hold the power of life vs. death and prosperity vs. ruin over human societies. What is "writ large" in the texts of Palenque is exquisitely distilled on Tortuguero Monument Six. Finally, we will explore the extraordinary iconography of Copán Stela H as testimony to lineage abundance, reciprocity between kings and gods, and the identity of mankind with maize. Therein we will discover the same story and symbolism seen at Tortuguero and Palenque.

Shannon Kring Buset SHANNON KRING BUSET is the award-winning author of four nonfiction books and a frequent keynote speaker at events throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. She has been featured on NPR, PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Lifetime, and in more than 150 leading publications including The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney Magazine, TV Guide, and the Los Angeles Times. The former writer, executive producer, and co-host of a national, Emmy-winning PBS cooking series, Kring Buset is a founding partner in WildHeart Vision, a Finland-based integrated media company that preserves and promotes ancient and indigenous wisdom through compelling film, television, and transmedia productions. Since 2007, Kring Buset’s work has focused almost exclusively on the ancient Maya of Honduras, where she has lived and leads retreats each year. She is currently completing her first work of fiction, which is set in Classic Era Copán.

2012: The Beginning
with Shannon Kring Buset | documentary film screening 20 december

December 21, 2012. This date, identified by the Maya nearly 1,400 years ago, has in recent years become the source of great curiosity and debate. Some believe it will bring catastrophic events. Others, an era of enlightenment.

But what did the ancient Maya themselves believe? In 2012: The Beginning, we travel the world—from Honduras to Germany, the US to Guatemala, and across Mexico—to examine what the Sacred Mayan texts really say.

At the ruins of Copán, we go where few individuals and even fewer cameras have gone: 20 meters underground, to the 1,600-year-old Margarita Temple and Tomb. In Dresden, we examine the famed Dresden Codex, one of only three remaining authenticated manuscripts of the ancient Maya, and the earliest known book from the Americas. In Guatemala, we are invited into the mysterious world of Mayan shamanism. And in Mexico, we investigate the little-seen Tortuguero Monument 6, the only known inscription citing this much storied date.

Throughout, our journey will be guided by noted archaeologists, scholars, and the living Maya who will take us into the field—to the very origins of the Maya Long Count Calendar—and into their lives and sacred ceremonies. Together, these people from very different worlds will shed light on a date that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

ZOLTAR, whose name means “Light in the Present”, was born in Guatemala of German and Maya descent. At an early age, Zoltar became initiated into the ajq’ij, a healer and one who tracks the Maya calendar and honors its ceremonial teachings. Zoltar has gone on to make pilgrimages to and ceremony at 52 Mesoamerican temples, as well as at sacred sites in locations as diverse as Cambodia and the Andes. He resides in the Guatemala Highlands.

Leah Glatz
LEAH GLATZ is dedicated to inspiring individuals to heal themselves, and to serve as an example for others to know that it is possible and that it is time. As a yoga instructor, her style integrates concepts from Maya Yok’ha, Kundalini yoga, flow, and chakra awareness. Together with her husband, Maya musician and healer Oscar Polio, Glatz owns Seed of Light Holistic Services in Copán. She is the originator of Yoga-Maya Fusion, which has been featured in international media.

Sunrise Solstice Ceremony
with Zoltar and Leah Glatz | 21 december

During this sacred ceremony, we’ll usher in the winter solstice in Maya style: with meditation, movement, and music--all set against the spectacular backdrop of the famed Copán ruins. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for the ceremony.

vision | tour leaders | itinerary | costs & register

Sacred Tours Programs Community
© Great Mystery Org   Website Design