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Solstice 2012, Cycles and “The End of the World” Part 1

December 15, 2012

Solstice 2012, Cycles, and “The End of the World”
[Having reached the point where I was ready to scream if one more person referred to “The Mayan Apocalypse,” I decided to try and inject a little sanity into the discussion of what actually is an important event. It requires some background information and turned out to be longer than I had anticipated so I’m doing it in installments over a few days. This is part One.]

THE BEGINNING

Golden warmth from a sun hanging far to the south greeted me this morning after a day and night of rain. Crystal droplets glistening on trees, song sparrows and finches gobbling down grain at the feeder, hummingbirds doing aerial acrobatics, all lured me outside, morning coffee in hand. Not exactly the context from which to contemplate the approaching end of the world but it’s only a week away so I’d better deal with it.

In a few days it will be December 21, 2012, the Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the “end” of the Mayan Calendar. I’ll share what I’ve gleaned about what that means in a moment but first, this newsflash: The world will not end on that date. The Mayan Calendar does not imply that. There is no such “prophecy.” If you already have your doomsday party plans made, I’m sorry to spoil your fun. Perhaps you can rename the party “Zombie Apocalypse” – isn’t there always one of those waiting in the wings? Whatever you do, just keep the Maya and their calendar out of it.

The nonsense about the apocalyptic end of the world is a wonderful fiction for those who want to sell books and movies but it unfortunately obscures a real cyclical completion that is worth paying attention to. Fortunately, there are some people who have been doing exactly that for many years and whose insights offer a great deal of food for thought.

First of all, a disclaimer: I am not a Mayan scholar, nor a scholar of Mesoamerican calendrical systems, but the subject has fascinated me since I was first introduced to it in the early 1980s. I’ve read a lot, thought a lot, and tried to integrate what I found into the Earth/Nature Spirit teachings I’ve been gifted with over the years.  What follows is a distillation of the parts of this phenomenon I think matter for us in this time.

There are three aspects to the story of 12/21/12 that stand out for me: The nature of cycles, the relationship of our Sun to the center of the galaxy, and the effect of cosmic forces on each of us and on the planet as a whole.

Let’s start with cycles. From dawn to dusk and back to dawn again; from new moon to full; from spring to summer, fall and winter, then back to spring again. Those are simple ones that we’re all aware of and some of us are even finely tuned to the signs of transitions within each of those cycles. We feel the crisp chill in the air, see the first leaf that turns yellow, spy the brave crocus shoot peeking through the snow.

There is a great deal of mythology about the effect of these cycles on us as individuals, especially surrounding the full moon.  Although there is much anecdotal evidence for increased emergency room visits or an upsurge in psychiatric crises during the full moon, there’s very little research to support such claims. There is, however, a factor of awe that accompanies the image of that silver orb majestically rising from the dark line of the horizon, then hanging gloriously in the sky. I think it affects our imagination, our sense of wonder, and touches our heart and spirit in a way that may not be measurable.

Although cycles are usually seen as a repeating circle, anyone who pays attention can tell you that the next cycle is never the same as the last. Cycles manifest more as a spiral; they come back to the same place but not the same time so the next cycle is changed by the events of the previous one.

The concept of cycles is important here because calendars measure cycles. The Mayan Calendar is not a measurement of a single cycle – it’s actually a calendar system that measures many different cycles. When we refer to “The Mayan Calendar in connection with Dec. 21, 2012, we’re referring to the Maya Long Count Calendar that measures a cycle of 5,125.36 years. (It actually measures a series of cycles that total 25,627.83 years. On Dec. 21, 2012 it resets.)

NEXT INSTALLMENT: See Part 2, above. The Calendar, Galactic Alignment, and theories about what it means. For those of you who want more information now and want to read ahead, please check out the source for much of my information that will follow: Rohaan Solare, The Legend of 2012. http://emergent-culture.com/category/the-2012-dec-21-2012-end-of-mayan-calendar-long-count-cycle/

— © Bridget Wolfe, 2012

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