I doubt the Maya carved their intricate solar calendars just to freak out ignorant modern folks. But that seems to be the effect they’ve had. Meanwhile, scientists have other explanations for what they really mean:
Mexican and foreign scientists have debunked the myths created by so-called modern prophets about the “Mayan Apocalypse” of December 21, 2012, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
The institution announced that the topic has been analyzed by experts in Mayan culture at a special session at the 7th Palenque Symposium.
The UNAM historian Erik Velásquez explained that the “Mayan prophecy” of 2012 arose during the 1970s, when Frank Waters wrote a book with a “mishmash of beliefs”. It asserted that the “Sixth Monument of Tortuguero, in Tabasco, marks the supposed end of the Fifth Sun (which is a Mexican concept, not a Mayan one), and the arrival of a new age of humanity, or Sixth Sun,” Velásquez said.
Velásquez added that after that text came a series of works about the “New Age”, which has grown and generated vast profits, since it “satisfies the need of many people to believe, but it has no basis in humanistic or academic investigation.”
The Mayans of the Classical Period (250-900 C.E.) “in no way thought that time would end in 2012,” said Velásquez.
The epigraphists Sven Gronemeyer and Erik Velásquez, from the University of La Trobe, Australia, assured that the cited inscription on the Sixth Monument of Tortuguero simply announces the date of the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, a period in which one of the Mayan deities, the god Bolon Yokte, will return.
UNAM astrophysicist Jesús Galindo explained that even though the Mayans were great astronomers, “neither they nor present-day science were able to predict an ‘end of the world’.” The scientist says it is impossible to predict that a comet would “exterminate” humanity, “since it is an event which cannot be predicted exactly.”
Some people talk “of great solar eruptions which occur every 11 years, but luckily we have a magnetic shield which prevents this from affecting us,” Galindo said.
Galindo said that 2012 could be made into an opportunity to approach, with proven knowledge, the Mayan culture and astronomy. He added that the 5 of June of next year, it will be possible to observe a transit of Venus across the solar disc, “an observation the Maya themselves were well able to make”.
Mexican historian Laura Caso Barrera explained that the only known Mayan prediction was written in the book Chilam Balam de Ixil in the 18th century, which repeated a Babylonian prophecy by the sage Beroso of the 3rd century B.C.E., in which the end of the world was set for the year 1887 of our era.
The experts concluded that all stories about the “end of the world” are rumors and legends which take out of context the vision of ancient cultures. They added that this phenomenon is part of the need to believe on the part of many people, as a result of political and economic instability, or climate change.
Now, I started reading about the New Age at university in the late 1980s, when there was all the hoopla around the Harmonic Convergence that occurred back then. I loved all kinds of New Age philosophy (and benefited enormously on a psychological level from it), but I instinctively rejected all predictions of “apocalypse” even then, figuring that any people advanced enough to write accurate astronomical documents covering thousands of years would be sensible enough not to engage in ooga-booga, hellfire and brimstone, and other superstition. (NASA concurs, apparently.)
The book mentioned by the scientists above was not on my reading list; I think I have a copy of the Popol Vuh somewhere on one of my shelves. (I was barely able to get into it. Wicca was more my speed.) So I missed all this crazy shit, and I’m not sorry. I’m a pagan and a spiritual person in my own right. But I don’t believe in apocalypses.
And I’m not preparing for any end of the world. The Newtown massacre has already shown us all we need to know about how THOSE things end. (Now with even MORE kookoobananas!) The only thing I’m preparing for is for life to go on as always. And, if what Evo says here is any indication…
…the coming New Age will be a good chance for humanity to rectify its mistakes. Not out of a fear of God or hell, but because we understand how Karma really works. And we realize that our actions have consequences in the here and now.