by John Major Jenkins

from JohnMajorJenkins Website



It is important to define what the Galactic Alignment is in precise astronomical terms.


See Glossary below for terms.


The Galactic Alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. This alignment occurs as a result of the precession of the equinoxes.

Precession is caused by the earth wobbling very slowly on its axis and shifts the position of the equinoxes and solstices one degree every 71.5 years. Because the sun is one-half of a degree wide, it will take the December solstice sun 36 years to precess through the Galactic equator (see diagram below).


The precise alignment of the solstice point (the precise center-point of the body of the sun as viewed from earth) with the Galactic equator was calculated to occur in 1998 (Jean Meeus, Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, 1997).

Thus, the Galactic Alignment "zone" is 1998 +/- 18 years = 1980 - 2016. This is "era-2012."

This Galactic Alignment occurs only once every 26,000 years, and was what the ancient Maya were pointing to with the 2012 end-date of their Long Count calendar.





These are the astronomical facts of the matter.


From a larger perspective, we can visualize the 2012 Galactic Alignment in the following way:





  • Position A is where the December solstice sun was in relation to the Milky Way some 3,000 years ago

  • Position B is 1,500 years ago

  • Position C is "era-2012", when the December solstice sun has converged, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, with the exact center-line of the Milky Way (the Galactic equator)

Notice that the place of alignment is where the 'nuclear bulge' of the Galactic Center is located. It is my hope that the these definitions will help to standardize the terminology so we can clearly discuss the rare precessional alignment that culminates in era-2012.





  • The ecliptic:

    The path followed by the sun, moon, and planets. It is the plane of our solar system. The ecliptic encircles the earth and is divided into twelve constellations, or zodiac signs.





  • The Milky Way:

    The bright band of star that our solar system belongs to. It encircles the earth and is wider in the region of Sagittarius because that is where the 'nuclear bulge" of the Milky Way's center is located (our Milky Way is saucer shaped). (click below image)




  • The Galactic equator:

    The precise mid-line running down the Milky Way. Analogous to the earth's equator, it divides the galaxy into two hemispheres, or lobes.



  • The Dark Rift in the Milky Way:

    A feature caused by interstellar dust that runs along the Milky Way from the Galactic Center northward past the constellation of Aquila. (click below image)





  • The December solstice sun:

    The sun, on the December solstice. It is one-half of a degree wide.



  • The December solstice point:

    The precise midpoint of the sun, on the December solstice.



  • The Precession of the equinoxes:

    The earth wobbles very slowly on its axis and this causes the position of the equinox to shift backwards, or precess, through the signs of the ecliptic at the rate of one degree every 71.5 years.


    The full precessional wobble is complete in roughly 25,800 years. (click below image)





  • The vernal equinox point:

    Is defined by the intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator.



  • The Celestial Equator:

    The earth's equator projected into the stars. It is the plane of the earth's rotation (click below image)





  • The Cross formed by the Milky Way and the ecliptic:

    Exactly as stated. There are two of these, one in early Sagittarius, the other in early Gemini. The former cross has the virtue of being located within the nuclear bulge of the Galactic Center.


  • The nuclear bulge / the Galactic Center:

    A bright and wide region of the Milky Way, visible to the naked eye and between Sagittarius and Scorpio. The more precise and abstract center-point of the nuclear bulge is the precise Galactic Center, located at about 6 degrees Sagittarius (sidereal) and 27 degrees in the tropical zodiac. (click below images)







Additional Glossary of Mayan Calendar terms

  • Ahau Sequence: The sequence of five day-signs related in the Dresden Codex which are used to predict the morningstar risings of Venus: Ahau, Kan, Lamat, Eb and Cib. This sequence also occurs in the same context in the Popol Vuh.

  • Calendar Round (CR): A period of 52 haab representing the synchronization of the tzolkin and haab.

  • Corr #: The "correlation number", "correlation constant" or the "Ahau equation", i.e., the Julian Day number which corresponds with the first day of the Long Count Great Cycle.

  • Count of Days: Usually refers to the 260-day cycle.

  • Day-Sign Coefficient: The number (between 1 and 13) which accompanies a day-sign.

  • Eagle Sequence: Predictive Sequence ruled by the day-sign Eagle: Eagle (Men), Cauac, Akbal, Manik and Chuen.

  • Eclipse Half-Year: Period of time between eclipses - 173.3 days. Implicit in Mayan calculations.

  • Ecliptic: The 16 degree wide belt along which the planets, moon, and sun travel.

  • Emergence Day-Signs: Day-signs on which Venus emerges as morning star.

  • (G): Indicates the use of the Gregorian calendar.

  • GMT: The Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation number: JD 584283.

  • Great Cycle: Period of time generated by the Mayan Long Count. Equals 13 Baktuns, 1872000 days, or approximately 5125.36 years.

  • Haab: Same as the vague solar year; period of 365 days.

  • Hun: One

  • Hun Batz: One Monkey. God of the Popol Vuh.

  • Hun Chuen: One Monkey (or One Artisan). God of the Popol Vuh.

  • Hunahpu: One of the Hero twins of the Popol Vuh. Refers to the day-sign Ahau, and therefore, as One Ahau, the traditional Sacred Day of Venus.

  • Inferior Conjunction: This occurs when a retrograde planet crosses in front of the sun, on its way to becoming a morningstar.

  • (J): Indicates use of the Julian Calendar.

  • JD or J.D. #: Julian Day Number.

  • Mam: Ixil Maya term to designate the arrival of the year-bearer (the first day of the haab; New Year's Day).

  • New Year's Day in Mayan Calendars: New Year's day is the first day of the haab. Since different cultural groups followed different haab placements, New Year's Day occurs at different times for different groups. Also, since leap year was not recognized in the Mayan haab, New Year's Day precesses backward around the Gregorian calendar at the rate of one day every four years. This does not complicate the universally shared Sacred Count of 260 days.

  • Nodal Cycle: The cycle of the lunar nodes around the ecliptic. Approximately equals 18.4 years.

  • Oxib: Three in the Quiche language.

  • PHI: The Golden Mean or the Golden Proportion. Although this is best expressed as a ratio, it is usually approximated as 1.618.

  • Predictive Emergence Day-Signs: Sequence of 5 day-signs which predict the morningstar appearance of Venus. Similar to Predictive Sequence.

  • Predictive Sequence: The sequence of 5 day-signs which predict the morningstar appearance of Venus after inferior conjunction. There are four possible sequences.

  • (Q): Indicates use of the Quiche haab.

  • Ruling Sequences (4): In my proposed Venus Calendar, there are four possible Senior Day-Signs, and each implies its own ruling sequence for the Venus Round of its rule. The four possible Sequence Rulers are: Serpent, Dog, Eagle, Marksman. The Ruling Sequences are implied from these four Senior Day-Signs, after the intervals in the Dresden Codex.

  • Sacred Calendar: Although this term can refer to the 260-day cycle by itself, it can also refer to the complete framework of time-cycles used by the Maya.

  • Sacred Cycle: Refers to the 260-day cycle.

  • Sacred Day of Venus: The sacred day (including its number coefficient) which begins a Venus Round. Example: 1 Ahau is the traditional Sacred Day of Venus. Ahau, by itself, is simply the Senior Sacred Day (coefficient is required to designate the Sacred Day apart from the occurrence of Ahau as only an Emergence Day-Sign).

  • Senior Day-Sign: Usually the Calendar Round beginning day. The most revered day-sign; can vary from group to group.

  • Stelae: Carved monuments often found at archeological sites. Many contain tzolkin/haab and Long Count dates. These were called te-ŤŠtuns (tree stones) by the Classic Maya.

  • (T): Indicates the use of the Tikal haab.

  • Tzolkin: Sacred Count of Days (260-day cycle). Alternate meanings: "pieces of sun" or "day-count of vibrational tree-consciousness".

  • Tzolkin/Haab: Conventional combining of tzolkin and haab designation to indicate a unique day within a Calendar Round period.

  • Vague Solar Year: Mayan numerological convention - 365 days. Otherwise known as the haab.

  • Vayeb: The 5-day month which ends the haab.

  • Venus Calendar: The system by which morningstar appearances of Venus are predicted. Consists of the nestled cycles of tzolkin, haab, and Calendar Round.

  • Venus Cycle: The synodical period of Venus. Equals 583.92 days; the Maya used a 584 day approximation.

  • Venus Emergence as Morningstar: The first day on which Venus becomes visible in the eastern morning sky after inferior conjunction (passing in front of the sun). Reckoned to occur 4 days after perfect inferior conjunction.

  • Venus/Mars Round: Actually, this refers to a conjunction cycle of Venus, Mars and the Sun, evident in the Dresden Codex. Equals 6 Calendar Rounds.

  • Venus Rising: The date on which Venus emerges as morningstar.

  • Venus Round (VR): The period of 104 haab which synchronizes the primary cycles of Mayan time - the tzolkin and haab. Also provides a framework by which the astronomical phenomena associated with Venus can be predicted.

  • Xbalanque: One of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. Refers to the day-sign Ix and the full moon.

  • Xibalba: The Mayan Underworld.

  • Year-Bearers: The sequence of four day-signs on which the first day of the haab can occur. There are 5 different year-bearer sequences, or types, labelled in Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV and V.

  • Zero Counting: zero counting was used by various groups to count haab months from 0 to 19. The Ixil and Quiche dropped zero counting at some point and began counting their haab months from 1 to 20.


We can have a more general discussion of galactic alignments in history if we consider that the solstice axis aligns with the galactic equator every half precession cycle.


Likewise, the equinox axis aligns with the galactic equator every half precession cycle. Thus, galactic alignments, more generally speaking, occur in era 2012 (1980 - 2016) and every quarter precession cycle before and after era 2012.

In terms of Mayan astronomy and mythology, the Dark Rift feature (which the Maya called the Black Road or Xibalba be) lies along the galactic equator (the Milky Way) in the place where the December solstice sun will be in 2012.


(More precisely, the December solstice sun will reach the southern terminus of the Dark Rift, where it touches the ecliptic in Sagittarius.)


Thus, in terms of Mayan mythology, we can also describe the Galactic Alignment of era-2012 as the alignment of the December solstice sun and the Dark Rift. This entire region is targeted by the cross formed by the Milky Way and the ecliptic between Sagittarius and Scorpio. This Cross was also recognized by the Maya, and was called the Crossroads or Sacred Tree.


This entire region is embraced by what astronomers call the 'nuclear bulge' of the Galactic Center—the center of our Milky Way galaxy.


As any amateur astronomer or naked-eye star gazer knows, this nuclear bulge is recognizable without the aid of radio telescopes. It is wider and brighter than other parts of the Milky Way. So, in a general sense we can also say that the alignment in 2012 is an alignment between the December solstice sun and the Galactic Center.


However, since the nuclear bulge is quite large, this definition is not as precise as saying "the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator", which occurs in the range 1980 - 2016.


This is the alignment zone I refer to with the term "era-2012."