The Post-Classic Mayan civilization and the Return to Fear

By Sandra Musser

The Post-Classic Mayan civilization is the beginning of a time when the Maya continued without their teachers, the evolved members of the Classic Maya. Fear set in after the departure of the Classic Maya and a period of regrouping took place.

Fear spawns superstition, distrust, war, and the need to control others. Human sacrifices to appease the gods escalated. Wars became frequent as the struggle for power began. Virtually, none of this existed during the Classic period.

When building started again during the Post-Classic era, a shortened version of the Long Count dates was used. It was almost like this Mayan civilization had forgotten how to use the elaborate calendar information left behind for them from the Classic Mayan culture period.

Instead of the recording of cosmic events: reigning kings now wrote about conquests, wars, sacrifices and the like. All was written on buildings, stelae, murals and vases. During the Post-Classic era, folded bark books called codices were invented and used to record this information as well.

The fact that control, power over others and distrust took over their thought process alone indicates a distinct difference between the level of spiritual consciousness of the Classic and the Post-Classic Mayan civilizations. When a person is truly powerful and in control, they have no need to lord over or control others.

When fear set in, love and respect disappears.

“Unfortunately, for an accurate chronological background, the Maya Long Count did not survive in any of the peripheral areas after the collapse of civilization in the central region. In the north, during the late Classic times, an abbreviated form of the Long Count was used in place, but this is neither so accurate nor so well understood as the older Initial Series dating...later Yucatecan history lacks the solid chronological framework offered by the dates monuments of the Classic stage.” The Ancient Maya, Sylvanus Morley

The Post-Classic period was from about A.D. 1000 to 1519 till their defeat by Cortez. The transition from the Classic to the Post-Classic Mayan civilizations is evident through the rapid decline in building at the time of the Classic exodus. During the Classic period, a full Long Count , along with both the Tzolkin and the Haab calendar numbers, and symbols were included in all dates.

The Post-Classic period began with another major change...the arrival of the Toltecs.

It appears the Toltecs dramatically changed the way of life for the Mayan civilization when they came into the Yucatan Peninsula area around A.D. 1,000. It's almost like they helped the Maya regroup...but at a price. The relationship was tense at times, but was almost tolerable because they had a common deity, Quetzalcoatl to the Toltecs, and Kukulcan to the Maya.

I find it interesting that the evolved members of the Classic Mayan culture left just prior to this Toltec arrival from central Mexico. It appears they knew the impending changes were about to occur. In fact I’m sure the tendency for just such a great change was written in their Council Book, The Popol Vuh. It was time to leave. Their work was completed. It was written in the stars.

I feel some members of the Classic Mayan civilization were spiritual avatars, who have not only assimilated into the Mesoamerican cultures during their reign, but have actually affected change all over the world.

The “word” Maya has worldwide significance and meanings that are uncannily similar.

So what happened during the 100 plus years between the Classic and Post-Classic Maya?

This period must have been quite confusing for the Post-Classic Mayan civilization. It took them time to decipher the works of the Classic Maya, and they did not use this information in the same ways as their teachers either.

What is very evident is the increased incidence of chaos and warfare between the Mesoamerican cultures. As I said earlier, fear returned on mass when the Classic Maya left. In an attempt to appease the gods, the Maya began human sacrifices in earnest. They lacked the trust in the information left them by their teachers, which bred distrust amongst them. It took the Post-Classic Mayan civilization a long time to regroup after the exodus of their teachers. During this 100 year plus transition time very little building was done and virtually no recordings occurred.

The priest elite in political power at this time was relieved by groups of warriors. Groups of merchants held the most control due to the economic power they welded. Does this resemble our situation somewhat right now with the military and big business? The traits of money, power and control of the Piscean Age went into full swing.

When buildings again began to appear, the Post-Classic Mayan civilization inscriptions were much different than during the Classic period.

“ longer are great monuments carved in stone recording endless dates and astronomical data. Rather, a shorthand version of the chronological system has been developed, and much of the writing is done in hieroglyphic manuscripts called codices...Warfare and human sacrifice are on the rise, and an unprecedented political alliance, the League of Mayapan, has replaced the virtually autonomous, apolitical era of the Classic Maya.” The Mayan Factor, Jose Arguelles

The Mayapan became the political capital of the Maya. It was located in the Yucatan Peninsula and was in power from about the late 1220s until 1440. The Mayapan fell in A.D. 1441 due to internal warfare, and the Yucatan was reduced to warring city states. The congeniality of the Classic Maya was a thing of past. By the time the Spaniards arrived the Post-Classic Mayan civilization was in disarray. What’s interesting is Ah Xupan, a 12th century Mayan prophet predicted the disunity and infighting of this group of Maya.


It was the first day of 9 Hells and the Maya waited with dread to see what would happen. After all the Council Book said a time of grave darkness was upon them. But, from the East a man dressed in armor came before them. Could it be their beloved Quetzalcoatl returning? Was he back to save them from the negative forces of 9 Hells? It didn’t take long to realize Cortez was not their savior but the symbol of hell itself.

When the Classic Mayan civilization departed, the Post-Classic Maya were left with the tools to gain a higher level of consciousness. But they lacked the trust and commitment towards this gift to accomplish it. It appears they intellectually, KNEW the information but lacked the KNOWING and TRUST to apply it to their benefit. When fear set in, it was the beginning of the end brutally confirmed by Cortez.

They did the only thing they could. They protected the knowledge and identity of their teachers the evolved Classic Maya from the Spanish, and accepted their fate. After all, their fate was written in the stars.

The Ancient Maya, Sylvanus Morley
Wikipedia, Post-Classic Maya
Popul Vuh, Dennis Tedlock
Mayapan Project, Grinnel College
The Mayan Factor, Jose Arguelles

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