Georgina looks ahead to 2012
Will it be the end of everything? Or will it be the dawning of the age of Aquarius? One thing's for sure – December 21st, 2012, is the time for change. Georgina explains ...
The Maya were an ancient civilization that lived in Mesoamerica from 2,600 BC. They had an extremely complicated method of keeping track of time, based on three separate calendars. The most important, most encompassing, of these calendars recorded the `Long Count': the period from the beginning to the end of time.
And on December 21st 2012, the Long Count, last of the calendars, expires. It will reach point zero.
There are a couple of very interesting (and disturbing) facts about the Maya calendar's end. Most intriguingly, 21-12-2012 is not a day like any other. Up in the sky, an extraordinary and incredibly rare event will take place. The Sun will move to a unique spot in the sky – and hold still for a while, since it's the winter solstice. The Sun will sit precisely on the heavenly crossroads between the Milky Way and the galactic equinox, forming a perfect alignment with the centre of the galaxy.
Our skies are crossed by several mathematical lines. One is the axis of the Milky Way – the Milky Way, as you probably know, is that bright band of stars that can be seen spanning the heavens on a clear night. Another important line is the cosmological ecliptic: the axis along which the constellations travel, the line that defines coordinates in space.
The Mayas calculated the exact duration of a year to a thousandth of a decimal point, much more precisely than the Greeks ever did. They were also able to predict every solar and lunar eclipse until this day. And obviously, they knew where the galactic equinox and the exact middle of the Milky Way lay: they called this crossing `the Sacred Tree'.
What's even more disturbing is that the Mayas were awfully good at astrology – not just astronomy. They predicted in what year their civilization would be overrun by foreigners coming from overseas. Legend has it that they even predicted the world wars. 2012 will see an alignment of planets which hasn't occurred for 26,000 years – they predicted this without so much as a telescope!
With this said, it may be comforting to learn that the Mayas never actually predicted anything concrete about 2012, to our knowledge at least. When the Spanish ransacked the land of the Mayas, they burnt every book they could find. Only a handful of scriptures survived, and in the surviving texts, there's not one clue about what happens when the Maya calendar ends.
So what awaits us in 2012? Many hope that 2012 will mark the coming of a new, glorious age of wisdom and peace. It will be Age Of Aquarius at last, set to encourage a world full of peace, love and understanding, but we're not likely to reach that stage without some big changes first. The Maya didn't really believe in endings: their conception of time was circular, with every end being the beginning of something new. So, 2012 shouldn't be an exception.
Also, the Maya had a highly developed philosophy of the cosmos. They saw the cosmos as the true mother of things. Consequently, they believed that the cosmos is all around us, and within us all, every plant, every animal, every person.
On December 21st, 2012 the Sun will mount its unique position, believed to form a `gateway' between the Universe and the souls of every living creature on Earth. It is possible that our linear conception of time will crumble, and with it, fear and hatred will vanish. This would be purification at its very best, when everyone is soaked in universal understanding and divine love. It could be the day on which the inner is reconnected to the divine outer cosmos. And what about the amazing phenomenon of the Sun sitting in the heart of the Tree of Life? Well, that has happened before. The Sun passes the Tree every 25,800 years. That's a lot of years, but since the Earth has existed for an astonishing 4.5 billion years, it has survived the event more than 150,000 times already! What's more, the last six times the phenomenon occurred, modern humans already walked the planet. Will 21.12.2012 have the profound spiritual effect that many of us expect? Let's hope so. I would certainly like to live in a world in which atrocities, such as the slaughter of some 800,000 Mayans in the 16th century, no longer occur.