Letter from the Editor: 2012

Our third annual issue of Nakum celebrates the Winter Solstice of 2012, a cosmic event for Indigenous peoples of the Americas as represented in the Mayan calendar. To introduce this issue, I invited Carlos Aceves, who not only shares, through teaching, his vast knowledge of indigenous Mesoamerican knowledge, but who also inspired the creation of Nakum. —LF

There is an old proverb asserting that “to practice science without a conscience is to become a thief rather than a scientist.” One of the seemingly unavoidable sins of academia, is to justify the social structure upon which it relies regardless of principle. Nakum arose out of need for a forum of unheard voices, to present knowledge often judged as primitive, esoteric, or contradicting accepted research. As part of its challenge, Nakum seeks contributors that can explain concepts contemporary western reality dismisses simply because Native thought emerged in “prehistory” or circumstances often referred to as “the wild.”

To the indigenous mind everything is alive, especially knowledge. Words are whispers of Creation, concepts are the long arms of elders stretching across time to guide us, and scientific ideas are dreams ancients wove in their dance with the universe. Discovery is a collaboration not only with those in the present but with generations past and future. Stephen Hawking, for instance, can express such quantum realities as physics, but such an indigenous discourse is automatically classified as mystical or mythic.

When the ancients created calendars that synchronized the motions of the heavens with Earth and human cycles, they were being quite scientific, but not in the “thief” sense. Rather than wrest knowledge out of natural phenomena, they embraced the deeper realities of Creation. But as the year 2012 approached, these tracked cycles have been dismissed by NASA astronomers and reframed as a doomsday by mystics trained in three-day workshops.

What we are experiencing this fateful year is both scientifically and spiritually serious. We have seen how the eight-year Pleiades and Venus alignment cycle is weaved in the Transit of Venus across the sun, and both cycles integrate with the sun’s 5,125 year visit to the dark rift just above the center of the galaxy, where we now know a black hole resides. This cycle is part of a greater cycle in which five different stars take turns, if you will, being the North Star—a cycle that takes 25,625 years. Hence, the now famous 26,000 year cycle. Human beings long ago discovered that celestial events are related to Earth cycles. Knowledge of how Earth and sky are integration provides a model for our own kinship with Creation. —CA

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