Mixing Maya and Quechua

The foreign secretary of Bolivia, Mr. David Choquehuanca, gave an interview recently. In it he talked about the results of the World Conference of the nations on climate change and the rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia of April 2010 and the duty, that especially the Indigenous people of the Americas have, to create a new balance.

Furthermore he says some very strange sentences, which I want to present to you. The interview was published in German on the website amerika21.de. In the following I’m translating from German to English:

We [the indigena] know, that our time will come. We never lost hope and are convinced, that we will reign one day. This pachakutik will come. Pachakutik is the return to balance. We won’t be in the macha forever. Macha means imbalance. We will return to the pacha.

We see, that he uses Quechua or Aymara words here.
Pachakutik signifies change, rebirth, transformation, and the coming of a new era.
Pacha is present in both languages and can mean earth, world, age, era, time, soil, space, nature, place – some people say it contains all time and space and therefore the entirety of being
Macha is a word, I also found in Quechua, but in a very mundane way: drunkenness. To interpret drunkenness in the way of imbalance needs some fantasy or being a mother tongue Quechua speaker, probably.

David Choquehuanca
picture: Fábio Pozzebom/wikimedia.org/cc-by

So far, everything is ok. An indigenous Bolivian talks about Quechua words. But now comes the odd part:
The Mayas say, that we are in a “not-time” right now. In 2012 we will enter a new era, because the Maya Calendar ends in 2012.

Yes you read correct. He said the Maya and I was probably as puzzled as you are now. A Quechua Indigenous talks about the Maya, but don’t worry. It will be clear, what he means in the next passage.
We already know, that the Maya calendar doesn’t end in 2012, but that it changes to a new b’ak’tun.
We also know, that the calendar doesn’t say anything about a “no-time”. You can find the Wayeb’, five unlucky days at the end of each year, which were thought to open the gates between the realm of the mortal and the living. But those were just five days and they appeared every year.

Maybe because mentioning that as a Quechua is not yet strange enough, he continues:
Our stones in the Tiahuanaco tell us, that already in 2010 a time of reflection started, the amuki, the silence of reflection. Cause the stones of the Tiahuanaco tell us, that the great change comes soon, in the year 2012.

Now he’s talking about the stones of Tiahuanaco. Tiahuanaco or Tiwanaku as it’s written in Aymara (ah, so he’s Quechua) is a site in nowadays Bolivia – a site of a pre-Inca culture. You can a very interesting stone there, that resemble the famous Stonehenge a bit. There is a gate of the sun which has inscriptions, that could refer to astronomical and astrological things or even a calendar system. They are not yet deciphered, so we don’t know, what they say. What we know for sure is, that it was built around 200 B.C. and that it definitely has no connection to anything Maya, especially the Mayan calendar.

Gate of the sun in Tiahuanaco/Tiwanaku

Maybe the inscriptions say something about a calendar, could be – but we don’t know. The time of reflection that he speaks about is just a guess or folklore then, and so is a great change in 2012. He can’t know it from the Gate of the Sun. Amuki is really a Quechua word and means silence, but that a time of this name begins in 2010 and that there is a great change in 2012 in a Tiahuanaco calendar is very unlikely. We don’t know anything about a calendar of this culture. And about Inca calendars, only speculations exist.

Summed up, it looks like a politician, who tried to gather a broader group of support, who tried to unify the several Indigenous groups in America (he also talked about the Lakota) for the purpose of changing the system instead of only the climate. He tried to raise awareness for the chances that lie in a symbolic date. While this is of course a good idea and has my full support, I think it’s questionable to do it with unifying them under the banner of 2012, trying to bend the single cultures so they fit into that topic. What would happen with that unity during the vacuum after 2012 when everyone realized, that it was yet another prophecy, that didn’t happen.

The single cultures are all fascinating enough by itself and have a lot to tell – just not the same.

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