Rarely does one encounter a true renaissance man. Philosopher, esoteric astronomer, mechanical printing press aficionado, and Mayan cosmology scholar John Major Jenkins was that kind of guy. Frequently featured on the long-running Art Bell radio show, Jenkins appeared in numerous documentaries on Native American prophecy, Mayan legend, and millennial changes. It was announced on Saturday that John Major Jenkins passed away in Fort Collins, Colorado, on July 2, 2017.
In his 1989 tome, Journey to the Mayan Underworld, Jenkins described how he fell in love with the modern Mayan people while visiting remote South American villages three years earlier. Traveling on a sparse budget, Jenkins’ first sojourn to the land of the Maya found him and his endless curiosity traveling from Mexico City to Oaxaca, from the Yucatan peninsula to Quintana Roo, and from Chiapas to Guatemala. The 22-year-old didactic scholar encountered a bit of legal trouble and was robbed of all his belongings along the way, but managed to make it safely home after four months with 12 cents in his well-traveled pockets. Since then, John Major Jenkins revisited South America and Central America numerous times. He traveled to study Mayan philosophy, but John put his time, money, and energy into causes that touched his heart as well. In the 1990s, Jenkins helped build a school in San Pedro, Guatemala, and helped deliver emergency supplies to the highland Quiche Maya community.
During his time as an itinerant scholar, Jenkins taught classes at Miami’s Institute of Maya Studies, the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, the Maya Calendar Congress in Mexico City, and numerous other venues. In 2000, the Discovery Channel highlighted Jenkins’ scholarly work regarding the Mayan calendar on episodes of Places of Mystery.
In addition to translating the classic Finnish mythology text, The Key to the Kalevala by Pekka Ervast, Jenkins authored several books, including Journey to the Mayan Underworld, Mirror in the Sky, Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies, Mayan Sacred Science, Maya Cosmogenesis, and Galactic Alignment: The Transformation of Consciousness According to Mayan, Egyptian, and Vedic Traditions.
Born March 4, 1964, in Waukon, Iowa, Jenkins was the oldest of five sons. After earning his baccalaureate degree at Cornell College, Jenkins pursued a career in education. A Colorado resident since 1983, Jenkins held a teaching position at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins at the time of his demise.
A celebration of John’s life is scheduled for August 13 in the Spruce Room at the Windsor Community Center in Windsor, Colorado. Friends of John Major Jenkins are invited to share stories, music, food, and prayers for John from 1 to 4 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the John Jenkins Memorial History Scholarship in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 650 W. Drake Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526.
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