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History Channel reveals “original rocket man”?!?!

February 19, 2012

Standing on the grounds of old Mayan ruins in Palenque, where the famous sarcophagus of the great 7th century leader was discovered, author David Childress (a regular on the Ancient Alien show) described features of the intricate carvings on the lid of Pakal’s sarcophagus and exclaimed: “He was the original rocket man!”

On the evening of February 17th, a new season of Ancient Alien shows on the History Channel began with an examination of ancient Mayans by a now familiar group of guys known as advocates of the notion that extraterrestrials hundreds and thousands of years ago  interacted with humans here and even played a key role in human development of civilization, technology, and scientific knowledge.

One of the regular guests in this show is Erich Von Daniken who, along with other more contemporary authors and ET pundits on this show, described how they interpret the carvings on the lid.  This excerpt from the wikipedia article on “Ancient Astronauts” provides a good summary of the description they shared on the show:

“Erich von Däniken’s ‘Maya Astronaut’
Pakal’s tomb has been the focus of attention by some “ancient astronaut” enthusiasts since its appearance in Erich von Däniken’s 1968 best seller, Chariots of the Gods?. Von Däniken reproduced a drawing of the sarcophagus lid (incorrectly labeling it as being from “Copan”) and comparing Pacal’s pose to that of 1960s Project Mercury astronauts, interpreting drawings underneath him as rockets, and offering it as evidence of a supposed extraterrestrial influence on the ancient Maya.
In the center of that frame is a man sitting, bending forward. He has a mask on his nose, he uses his two hands to manipulate some controls, and the heel of his left foot is on a kind of pedal with different adjustments. The rear portion is separated from him; he is sitting on a complicated chair, and outside of this whole frame, you see a little flame like an exhaust.
Von Däniken’s claim is not considered a credible interpretation by any professional Mayanist. For example Ian Graham responded, ‘Well, I certainly don’t see any need to regard him as a space man. I don’t see any oxygen tubes. I see a very characteristically drawn Maya face'[3]”

But, here is how scholars see it (as summarized in the wikipedia article on Pakal):

“The large carved stone sarcophagus lid in the Temple of Inscriptions is a famous piece of Classic Maya art. The widely accepted interpretation of the sarcophagus lid is that Pakal is descending into Xibalba, the Maya underworld. Around the edges of the lid are glyphs representing the Sun, the Moon, Venus, and various constellations, locating this event in the nighttime sky. Below him is the Maya water god, who guards the underworld [4]. Beneath Pakal are the “unfolded” jaws of a dragon or serpent, which Pakal is escaping from, ascending towards the world tree. This is a common iconographic representation of the entrance to the underworld. Other examples of this imagery are found in sculpture on Monument 1 “El Rey” and Monument 9 at the Olmec site of Chalcatzingo, Morelos, on Altar 4 at the Olmec site of La Venta, Tabasco, and in recently discovered murals at the Late Preclassic Maya site of San Bartolo, Guatemala.”

The ancient alien theorists assert that ancient peoples commonly misinterpreted the intervening extraterrestrials, utilizing such an awesome technology, as gods.  But, that certainly isn’t something that scholars of religious history and development see.  For example, here is Karen Armstrong in her “A History of God” (pg 5):

“….The numinous power was sensed by human beings in different ways–sometimes it inspired wild, bacchanalian excitement; sometimes a deep calm; sometimes people felt dread, awe and humility in the presence of the mysterious force inherent in every aspect of life.  When people began to devise their myths and worship their gods, they were not seeking a literal explanation for natural phenomena.  The symbolic stories, cave paintings and carvings were an attempt to express their wonder and to link this pervasive mystery with their own lives; indeed, poets, artists and musicians are often impelled by a similar desire today.  In the Palaeothic period, for example, when agriculture was developing, the cult of the Mother Goddess expressed a sense that the fertility which was transforming human life was actually sacred.  Artists carved those statues depicting her as a naked, pregnant woman which archaeologists have found all over Europe, the Middle East and India.  The Great Mother remained imaginatively important for centuries.  Like the old Sky God [my note: felt and seen as an impersonal and aloof force], she was absorbed into later pantheons and took her place alongside the older deities.  She was usually one of the most powerful of the gods, certainly more powerful than the Sky God, who remained a rather shadowy figure…..These myths were not intended to be taken literally, but were elusive to express in any other way.  These myths were not intended to be taken literally, but were metaphoric attempts to describe a reality that was too complex and elusive to express in any other way.  These dramatic and evocative stories of gods and goddesses helped people to articulate their sense of the powerful but unseen forces that surrounded them.”

The History Channel airing this past Friday night focused very little on addressing signs in the Mayan culture that might shed light on what is going to happen at the end of the long count calendar near the end of the year.  Only briefly, near the end of the show, did they discuss the sole known inscription that references what will happen.  Acknowledging the missing fragment on the lower right side, the translation they offered, “the descending of nine gods”, is essentially in line with what we noted in the first article at this blog, where the Bolon Yokte (nine underworld gods) is predicted to return on December 21st.  

One of the regular guests on this show is author Philip Coppens and I thought this excerpt from his online article, “The Return of the Nine”, was a great discussion of the inscription found at an ancient Mayan site in Mexico:

“The Mayan prophecy to do with 2012 was that it would signal the return of ‘The Nine’.

The Nine was mentioned in an inscription on Monument 6 of the Mayan site of Tortuguero in the Mexican state of Tabasco.  The Monument was erected in 669 AD and is one of the very pre-Conquest sources that mention 2012.  Various translations or partial translations of the inscription exist.

This is the most common one:  At the next creation, the Bolon Yokte Ku, or Nine Support Gods, will return.

However, the actual word ‘return’, sometimes translated as ‘descent’, is not intact on the monument.

….Mayan sources reference the return of these deities at the ending of each baktun [one of the Mayan calendars, a few hundred years I. length].  Hence, they are expected to emanate on Earth in 2012 too.

Who are the Bolon Yokte Ku–the Nine?  They have been variously translated as the God of Nine Strides, the Nine-Footed God, Jaguar-Foot-Tree and Nine-Dog-Tree.

They were seen as living in the Underworld and were generally described as god(s) of conflict, warfare, and are linked with dangerous transition times, social unrest, eclipses, and natural disasters like earthquakes.

It is said that at the end of a baktun, they would abandon their underworld realm and rise to the Earth’s surface, where they would do battle with the 13 deities of Heaven.

……[The] Nine Gods appeared during ceremonies that were held at the end of each baktun, the last of which occurred in 1618 AD.

The ceremonial of the baktun is described in Chapter 29 of The Book of Chilam Balam de Chumayel, a Mayan chronicle.  It provides a detailed description of the ceremonies that were performed in Merida in 1618, at the end of [the last or 12th baktun].  In total there are twenty acts, each representing one of the twenty katuns that make up a baktun cycle:

~after some initial preparations, in act 2, the bee god tied the masks of the 13 gods of Heaven to those people who were going to perform in the ceremonies.

~the actual baktun cycle was ended in act 3, whereby the Nine Gods fought, conquered and sacrificed these 13 gods.  Night had conquered day.

~the subsequent acts involved rituals to do with the election of the new officials for the new period, which in act 12, the nine gods sacrifice the Seven Pacers and count the mats, which is an initial line-up of the candidates for investiture for the coming era.

~in act 13, the 4 year-bearers reappear, in the guise of the four death gods.

~most importantly, in act 15, the nine gods announce the fate of the new era.  This fate was largely the will of the gods, which the community had to achieve during the new era.”

Philip Coppens and many others connect all of this to similar patterns and cultural ways worldwide, something for this blog to further examine over the span of this year.  What they are suggesting, in a nutshell, is the possible return os extraterrestrials who have had a guiding hand in our affairs.

Coppens’ essay can be read in full here:

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