|Mayanism is a mystical belief system that has very little to do with the Mayan civilization|
What is Mayanism?
Mayanism is "…a non-codified eclectic collection of New Age beliefs, influenced in part by Pre-Columbian Maya mythology and some folk beliefs of the modern Maya peoples"1.
Mayanism draws on various fringe beliefs, and is heavily influenced by references to Atlantis, extra-terrestrials, ancient astronauts, and various other pseudoscience and pseudohistory beliefs. Many of these influences were brought into the New Age movement by early authors such as Madame Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, and others by more recent authors such as John Major Jenkins and Jose Arguelles.
According to the believers in Mayanism, the fact that the Maya long count calendar reaches a round number signals that some cataclysmic, apocalyptic, or spiritually significant event will occur. This is not much different than the Millenarianism2 that was prevalent leading up to January 1st, 2000.
Mayanism vs Mayanist
A 'Mayanist' is a scholar of the Maya, usually an archeologist or linguist who has studied the Maya and is working on deciphering their culture, their writing, or their structures.
'Mayanism' is a new age belief that is supposedly based on the Maya belief systems, but which generally ignores what is actually known about the Maya in favor of more speculative ideas.
Many of the so-called "Mayan" symbols found associated with Mayanism are not Mayan at all. For example, the symbol above is called the Hunab Ku. This symbol is usually represented as a Mayan representation of a major deity and also as the center of our Milky Way galaxy3.
The actual origin of the symbol turns out to be Aztec, not Mayan, and it dates from the early 17th century, not the pre-colonial Mayan period. It was first promoted as Mayan by Jose Arguelles in his 1987 book The Mayan Factor4. And where did Arguelles find it? On a rug he bought in Mexico5
This is what the symbol looks like in the 16th century Codex Magliabecchiano6. It is identified as a "manta" or mantle, used in certain festivals or rituals.
Another symbol frequently shown and misrepresented as Mayan is the round stone calendar. Do any internet search on "mayan calendar" and you will see multiple versions of a round stone calendar.
Once again, this is not Mayan. It is Aztec. The Maya did not have a round stone calendar. They represented dates in blocks carved into stelae7 or on structures.
Some of the drawings you will find incorporate the 'hunab ku' above. Those aren't even Aztec, they are modern.
Mayanism is a belief system that is based on superstition, numerology, and pseudoscience. It has no relationship to reality.