Doom and Destruction

There is apocalypticism in the air. Some see it as a presage of the Golden Age to come; others sense the end of the world. It is this latter group to whom we turn now.

Some of the proponents of these various theories are a little “out there” with some of their ideas and as this stuff hardly relates to the Mayan Calendar at all, I think we can all let it hang out and have a little fun. If everything is gonna end and there’s nothing we can do about it, why not enjoy ourselves while we can.

In this climate, there are many who are strangely relieved to have a firm date to attach their anxiety upon. Hence the growth in the sage industry: Nostradamus, Cayce, Mother Shipton and others are sought out in this renaissance. And so too the Mayan Calendar. The tension will mount until that date arrives, but many are secure that the apocalypse will not happen BEFORE that date.

Even if the date comes and goes with nothing happening.

There is a wider variety of predictions in this realm. Comets, meteors, asteroids crashing into Earth. Wildly divergent weather patterns. Again, as in the previous chapter, a lot of these are already happening and weaken the end-date scenario.

Nostradamus had much to say about this… supposedly… but as his predictions are open to wide interpretation. I have not found anything that specifically supports the doomsday scenario.

Many followers of the quatrains of the Sage of Provence bring up all the passages that seem to deal with the end of the world and point them at 2012. They somehow forget that in the letter to his son, Caesar, Nostradamus mentions his prophecies stretch forward several thousand years. And since it has only been about five hundred years since he wrote, I cannot believe he was talking about 2012.

The flavor of destruction here is generally to the writers own liking. The interpretations are so vague that any mechanism could be envisioned. I would imagine each of these writers could place their favorite method into whichever framework were offered.

Cayce and Mother Shipton do not specifically mention the End-Date either but that does not stop the many interpretations of their prophecies to fit into this scenario.

Pole reversal is a popular theme as well. I will deal with this one and the resulting ramifications in the next chapter. For now, let us content ourselves with the complete and utter destruction of all life as we know it on planet Earth.

Time Wave Zero

The late Terence McKenna wrote about the I Ching and the “amazing” method of divination he had discovered within the ancient art of fortune telling, in his 1975 book The Invisible Landscape. He contended that the entire sequence of sixty-four I Ching pictograms actually charted out the history of the planet. And the most amazing part: its end just happened to be December 21, 2012.

He made quite a splash, especially since his publication pre-dated that of Argüelles. Many people considered him to be the first and earliest of the New Age 2012 prophets. Many websites still honor his memory by including his work in the pantheon of all things 2012.

After his passing, however, differing versions about this “amazing” prophecy have come to light. And the hardest to take for his followers was that the original I Ching map of the ending sequence (beginning with the “novelty” of the blast at Hiroshima) ended at zero around the 18th of November 2012. It was only after talking with Argüelles that McKenna altered the zero-date to Dec. 21, 2012.

So, far from being the prophet of the Mayan End-Date, he “fudged” his concise mathematics to fit a pre-conceived notion. But then his focus had always been natural psychotropic drugs and it seemed a natural thing to do.

Matthew Watkins had already gotten an admission from McKenna that the math in the system did not work. Undaunted, he continued lecturing on the use of hallucinogens by the ancient Maya and other native American cultures. Perhaps he found some other enlightenment before his passing but he never passed it along to the rest of us.

2012: the Movie

Aside from the use of the appropriate year in the title, this movie had absolutely nothing to do with the entire 2012 corpus. And I seriously doubt it took place in December of that year at all unless Yellowstone has gotten a lot warmer than in Decembers past. But, of course, that could just be the global warming coming into play. That, however, is not mentioned.

There was one short scene on a television in the film showing a group of Mayans outside one of their temples, but that was as close as they got to the subject. Although they do mention something later about the planets being in alignment, and they pan to a piece of paper where, apparently they are all shown to be in a straight line.

But that last piece of evidence is real fiction, pure and simple.

As I mentioned before, the only alignment with the center of the galaxy on the solstice in 2012 is the Sun and the Earth. No other planets join the party.

The movie is another marvelous disaster movie with lots of excitement and special effects but, other than the title, has nothing to do with the End-Date of the Maya Calendar.

Doomsday 2012: The End of Days

– History Channel “Decoding the Past” Series

In 2009, the History Channel pulled out all the stops and brought together an ensemble cast to bring us everything we needed to know about the coming destruction. Experts in practically all fields of the doomsday scenario were interviewed for their particular take on the End-Date of the Mayan Calendar.

The Sibylline Oracles (not to be confused with the Oracle at Delphi) were consulted and we learned that Sibyl predicted the world would experience nine periods of 800 years each, after which would be a tenth such period, at the culmination of which the earth will end in earthquakes. Since these prophesies were made in the first millennium B. C. I figure we still have several millennia before the tenth period comes. How anyone thought this had to do with the Mayan Calendar, I don’t know. But it did seem to offer the idea of doomsday, so it was included.

Mitch Horowitz, editor-in-chief of Tarcher Books said it was inconsistent of us to embrace the technological advancements of the ancients and yet ignore their interest in prophecy. Unfortunately, there is nothing inconsistent in our behavior: we only place value on things we see as valuable to us today.

An author at Tarcher, Daniel Pinchbeck, author of The Return of Quetzalcoatl, said the Maya were obsessed with time, synchronicity and consciousness. He claim they spent a thousand years studying backward to the previous civilization to create their model of when this transformation was going to take place.

He is actually in agreement with John Major Jenkins and the Galactic Alignment scenario, going further to say that we will pass through to the “south” of the galactic plane at that time. I think that is supposed to mean something. Something ominous, I am certain.

Then they covered the usual doomsday scenarios of prophets like Nostradamus and Mother Shipton and though they are quite interesting – as well as very, very grim – they do not speak of a time frame for the ending. Not 2012 or any other specific time. So I am sure these prophecies will be brought out again for whichever new end time is decided on later.

They touched on the Book of Revelation and the torments that come along with the anti-Christ and the beast-of-a-particular-number, but it is likewise without a date.

The Sioux Shaman, Black Elk, foresaw darkness and a quaking end and the Hopi claim the end of the 4th world is approaching when the Sun will turn hotter and a spiderweb will cover the world. The narrator pointed out the warming was the present “global warming” and the spiderweb was, naturally, the internet.

It was an entertaining production even if there was not much real substance, just a lot of heavy thoughts for the doom and gloom crowd. So, let’s take a look at some other ideas.

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

The simplest of the doomsday scenarios is probably the most poignantly ironic: we brought it on ourselves. The backers of this ending lay all the blame for its occurrence on us, our technology, and our increasingly callous disregard for the planet, its resources, and the living organisms we should be sharing it with.

In some sort of Biblical climax – God seeing that His people have turned so much away from the ways of righteousness – that He brings forth another destruction similar to what was unleashed in Noah’s time.

But this extremely noble “I told you so” moment will not be due to any prophecy from the Maya or their marvelous Calendar. Although the Maya may be in agreement that modern man has squandered far too many of the meager resources available to us, there is nothing built into the calendar or its End-Date which refers to such a thing.

The Hopi believe that the end will be presaged by “the Sun getting warmer”. Several writers point out that this probably means global warming and yet another way we have shot ourselves in the foot.

However important the miniscule temperature increase has been – and I have yet to see any proof that it is not a natural cycle – I do not think that is what the Hopi were talking about. They specifically said the Sun would get hotter. That might by extension mean the world would get hotter as well but there is nothing in global warming that could give anyone the idea that the Sun was actually getting warmer. Perhaps if the Sun were to get larger or something…?

Shake, Rattle

This age is supposed to be destroyed by earthquakes, so this one should seem a natural assumption, no? The Maya call this era “earthquake sun” so we should expect to see more and larger of these events. The Sioux Shaman on the aforementioned History Channel production also spoke of a time of many earthquakes and darkness. And, judging from the history of the past century, we are seeing more of these and quite a few more at the 7.0 and above on the Richter Scale.

And though they are not near to the expectations of those who thought the world was going to end in 1999 – à la Jeff Goodman’s We Are The Earthquake Generation – it has been increasing in scope and size over the past few years.

But this series of events, like the global warming we are experiencing, might be no more than a natural cycle we have not been following long enough to notice. A method for obtaining precise measurements of earthquakes is less than eighty years old so we cannot get a true picture of the increase in such things. Still, we have had several in the last decade, more than in the first thirty years of the records.

And, funny, most of them seem to be in Sumatra.

We will have to wait for further data on this one to even begin to establish any sort of trends. If the earthquakes begin to increase now that 2012 is finally here (especially, say, during the last ten days of the year) we will know for certain.


Comets and Meteors

Now this theory is one we can all have a lot of fun with. As far as the “trends” in such things go, the last really big meteor to hit North America was about 50,000 years ago. And what’s really scary is that there seem to have been two! One hit just outside of Odessa, Texas, and the larger one just west of Winslow, Arizona. (And, no, neither town was damaged by the impacting meteors.) I lived much of my life close enough to both of these craters and have been able to visit them several times. But I digress…

Between those two and the million years ago mark, there seem to have been only two others on the list I have. So, considering it has literally been millions of years since we have been really decimated by anything falling from the skies – whether meteor or comet – it looks like we could be well past due for such an impact.

And how fortuitous to us that the Mayan foresaw such a thing two thousand years ago and wove an intricate calendar just to tell us to run for cover!

Will wonders never cease?!

As for comets, the last likely candidate for that honor goes to Tunguska in 1906. That is, if it was a comet… of course, it might have been a bit of anti-matter, a black hole, an inter-dimensional rift, or a whacked-out bus full of college kids on a wild week-end.

No one knows for sure.

All kidding aside, there is simply not enough data for any type of analysis on these two possibilities to even venture a guess. Other than to say, I really don’t think the Maya were telling us to gear up for this sort of close encounter.

Going Nova

This is an interesting hypothesis in that it works with the idea I mentioned earlier about the Hopi’s dire forebodings. And, you’ll remember, the Maya seem to have an obsession with the Sun.

There are not a lot of proponents of this theory that I could find and there does not seem to be much of a following in regard to the Sun going nova. How and why it would occur is not developed and there are no “survival kits” being offered online to survive this sort of thing. Apparently, if the Sun goes nova, there is nothing we can do about it. There is no 18,000,000 SPF sun screen that I have ever seen, so we would pretty much be toast.

This scenario, more so than a meteor or comet impact which we might survive, would easily spell doom for all life on this planet as well as the rest of the family of travelers in this Solar System.

And, as the Maya were talking about life in the next Sun, I think this theory – while extremely frightening and entertaining – has nothing to do with the End-Date of the Mayan Calendar.

Perhaps we should revisit this scenario at a later date, preferably a long, long time after I have already left this plane of existence.

Somebody Else Going Nova

This is similar to our own Sun going nova but the supporters think another star is going to go nova and wipe us out. Rather some other star has already gone nova and we just cannot see it yet because of the speed-of-light thing.

Unfortunately, the light would arrive before the blast and none of the stars close enough to really cause us any damaged have not made the upgrade to nova just yet.

Some propose it will be Alcyone or Betelgeuse who “does us in”, but both those are a little too far away to have any damaging affect on us. Plus, we should probably have already seen them go nova before now.

Some also claim that the star Alcyone is actually getting closer to us and will somehow sneak it in by the due date. Actually, that star is getting further away from us as I write so I doubt there will be any surprises from that quarter.

Waiting for Rapture

And then the Christians have weighed in on this issue as well. Yep, they expect the “rapture” to coincide with the End-Date. Other than the fact that the “rapture” is non-scriptural to begin with – at least I do not find any mention in Revelations – where in the Bible do they get the idea that the Mayans had a leg up on the Apostles?

Holy Writ tells us that no one knows the hour and date of the end of the world but God. Now they are telling us that though God did not see fit to tell any of His Holy Prophets, He did let the word slip out to the Mayans.

I do not think this scenario is worth considering.

When I was younger, I remember seeing sidewalk prophets wearing a sandwich board declaring “Repent! The End Is Near!” and I have heard there have been others doing it long before I came along. The end was not as near as they supposed and I don’t think it is yet. The devout Christians’ race to eternal grace through the Apocalypse will probably have to wait a little while longer.

The Mayan calendar does in no way reinforce the teachings of the monks who burned most of their books and beat them for practicing rites with their calendar. Although the idea may be such poignant irony… nah, I don’t think so.

The Major Question Remains

After examining all these doomsday scenarios, I have to ask myself: sure these are interesting but what do any of them have to do with the Maya Calendar?

Nothing, of course. Just like the movie, “2012”, the lovers of doomsday scenarios will brush off any theory to attach it to any available date. It does not seem to matter how much sense it makes – if any at all – as much as embracing the coming end.

If we were discussing the end of everything, I could probably deal a little more at length with each of these but as we are talking about what the Maya intended with the end of their Calendar, we will simply wipe these aside because they have nothing to do with the Mayan Calendar.

The End-Date of their Calendar was not decided upon by some psychic vision of coming destruction, it was not a random pick. It was built painstakingly over centuries studying the cycles of the cosmos, and their vision of what the culminating cycles would bring.

Their Calendar is a model of a natural system they saw around them, not some flash in the pan one-time event. What they saw was a repetition of past events mapped into the future. The Maya did not see time as a linear flow but as a circle, folding back on itself over and over again.

Their calendar reflects this.

2 Responses to “Doom and Destruction”

  1. Mr.Chettry Says:

    so sorry we are always carried away by sensation or publicity conscious…no Dooms day in this century…Mayans may be right in calculations, we are not…we are unable to present exact calendar and match any predictions…because of wrong timings..can not rely. It is foolish to accept world calendar..changed several times.

    • rsmarshal Says:

      You’re right about that.
      And with the “back-dating” techniques used by modern science imply that the cosmos has remained unchanged for millions of years – despite what the early people tell us – and so it is useless as well. We are really left without much of a clue to when the calendar will truly end.

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