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Three Plumes of Judas



This novel has been a work in progress since early 2005, when most of it was written in an intense few weeks while hoveled in a friend’s cabin in Big Bear, California.  Over the next several years I periodically worked on it, added three new chapters and fleshed out certain characters and scenes.  In early 2013 I returned to it in earnest and fine tuned it. Life distractions and other projects intervened, and I returned to it with fresh eyes several times through 2016.  I decided to publish it through Create space under the banner of my Four Ahau Press imprint.  The novel is filled with surprises and twists, a fitting capstone to my 30 years as a 2012ologist. Going live for purchase as a print book on February 18, 2017. A Kindle version may be released.

In December of 2014 I discussed my novel with consciousness researcher Kristian Azyndar. We discussed its themes, the creative process, and various related things. This interview is available as an MP3; it’s about 60 megs, 33 minutes.  You can right click and download it or just click it and it should load for listening.

To order the book:

On February 12th, 2017, my friend Jonathan Zap visited me and we had a long conversation about recent events. It was a retrospective on the ongoing work, misrepresentations of my work in academia, and the continuing relevance of Maya spiritual teachings. It goes for five hours and has been posted on YouTube as Jonathan’s latest Steamcast: It is also posted and discussed on Jonathan’s blog at Reality Sandwich, where perhaps some interesting comments might be found.


This is from the chapter called “The Guile of a Plumed Serpent”:

It was time for a boat ride across the lake — to San Pedro, where Marko had spent a summer many moons ago. One hundred and ninety-three moons, to be exact. He loved that lake. So many memories, so many friends and shared hopes and dreams were reflected in those waters. He left behind forever the lakeside hotel where his novel was written, and moved forward on his pilgrimage that would take him to Copan by the March equinox, when he was scheduled to speak at the big conference. Along the way, he planned to linger for awhile in San Pedro, Santa Cruz del Quiché, and Antigua. Despite his dire diagnosis he felt good, invigorated by the traveling, fresh air, and seeing old sights so central to his life.

After debarking at the old rickety dock in San Pedro, he walked up the long steep street that led into the town center, the same street he had walked every morning in the summer of 1990, heading for the school that he and other volunteers were rebuilding. It was a lively indigenous town. He wandered around, then lingered with a Coke on a bench in the central park, taking in the scene.

Lazy-tongued dogs sauntered by. Even dogs seemed to have different ‘personalities’ in Guatemala. They were treated differently. This was confirmed when a group of children chased a scavenging mongrel away with stones and shouts. The children laughed as their stones produced yelps — hey, they thought, that’s what dogs were for. Over there — two very used basketball nets and an abandoned half-finished cement block building. The large church was dormant except on Sundays. Thursday was market day and Marko asked a youngster where the market was held. He said, “right here.” Marko looked around and saw empty stalls and random roosters, orange peels and general nondescript trash laying around. Piles of stones, unfinished houses, local Indians standing forlornly, motionless either for boredom or the seeming eternity of time they had and couldn’t sell, so it was worthless.

The air was thick with tortilla smells, cooked animal flesh—a soup of village life odors that was not altogether unpleasant. It was earthy, real. Marko was tolerated, along with the other dozen or so foreigners that were a constant and accepted reality to the people of San Pedro. Poverty with electricity, skinny children and fat-on-scraps dogs. Beautiful scenery and hard working live-off-the-land people, hauling wood barefooted down from the volcano’s slopes. Noble old wrinkled women, worn like a solid mountain having absorbed decades of battering from the elements. Young women, flowering with vitality, radiating life. Life! Opened out to night skies, sprawling clumsily, drunk on depth!  Travelers invoking hidden talents in each other, dancing with wispy ghosts that led them to their respective destinies.

A young Tzutujil Maya man walked up and said “Ishwan!”

Ishwan was the name that the school children had given Marko, years before. With his long beard, they said he looked like St John in one of their school books. He had hoped it was St John the Apostle or the other one who wrote the Book of Revelation rather than John the Baptist, because that John had his head cut off and served to Salome on a plate, for refusing to diddle her.

“Ishwan?” the man repeated. “Estoy Miguel, en la escuela, recuerdo?” (It’s Michael, from the school, remember?)

Marko had led a crew of local school boys who were helping with the project. They had laid cement floors in several rooms, and had weatherproofed the roof. “Miguelito! Yes, Ishwan, claro, estoy Ishwan,” and Marko stood up, smiling broadly.

Miguel smiled again and said in English, “How are joo?”

“I am doing well, and you?”

“I am fine. I wan to go to Estados Unidos. I stoodee aangleesh.”

“Well, you speak very well. I understand you perfectly,” Marko said.

“Peearfectly,” Miguel repeated.

“Yes, yes, perfecto. How old are you now?”

“I have… I am 26 years old.”

Marko thought for a minute. “Hey Miguel, do you remember Juan Carlos?”

“Jes, he is the head school master now,” Miguel replied. He led Marko over to the school buildings.

Juan Carlos was a young teacher in 1990 and had served as the local liaison for the student service project that Marko participated in. It was a great reunion. Juan Carlos invited over some other people from the project, and many other former students came too. Cool Aid was passed out, and word got out surprisingly quick. People just poured into Juan Carlos’s office, and they moved it over to a bigger classroom. Questions, books, pictures, more Cool Aid, some Ganeda cookies, laughter, lots of laughter. Curious faces — Marko was trying to morph his memories of faces and people known in that long ago summer onto these new, older faces. But it didn’t matter. It was the energy of togetherness that mattered, a reunion of strangers whose hearts were once connected and on some higher plane would forever be.


A Reading

This is an audio excerpt from the chapter called “A Date with the Devil”, read by the author:

The author reads an excerpt from Three Plumes of Judas (MP3)


February 17, 2017. Three Plumes of Judas by John Major Jenkins is now available to purchase on Amazon and Create Space as a print paperback.

To order the book: