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Solstice 2012, Cycles, and “The End of the World” Part 2

December 20, 2012
MilkyWay Over Lake Titicaca

Children of the Stars – Milky Way Over Lake Titicaca, Peru. Photo by James Neeley

PART 2 (For The Beginning, see post below)

Welcome to the new world – which, as always, will be what we make of it. The difference this time, if you are willing to suspend disbelief for a moment, may be that we have the universe supplying energy to help us make something new

THE END – Sort of

It’s easy to read things others have written, find the sense and logic in what they say, and incorporate their conclusions into your own world view. In trying to explain what you’ve read to others, however, the thread sometimes becomes tangled. I’ve been glued to the keyboard for 3 days, trying to lay out a succinct explanation for how December 21, 2012 came to be portrayed as a significant date and why it should be seen that way (although not in the apocalyptic nonsense themes out there).

I have failed. There are parts that I thought I understood and find that I don’t. There are some important details that I just can’t make fit, at least not from an astronomical perspective. I will share with you what I understand, what I don’t, and then go on to what I believe.

Let’s start here: The Long Count Calendar of the Maya tracks a time period of 1,872,000 days or 5,125.36 years. Scholars have correlated the Long Count Calendar with our Western Gregorian calendar and determined that this cycle “ends” on December 21, 2012. Please note: this “end” is actually a reset. Our calendars “end” on December 31 each year and we get new calendars for Christmas and put them on our walls to start the cycle over on January 1. The Maya Long Count Calendar covers a little more time but there’s no reason to think it doesn’t reset.

What makes this reset interesting and has created much speculation both in the New Age metaphysical world and in pop culture is that the reset of the Long Count Calendar coincides with an astronomical event described by some researchers as rare. (Rare, as in it only happens approximately every 26,000 years.) This is where it gets tricky. There are others who say this event happens more often and is no big deal. It seems to depend on how you define the event and where you’re looking at it from.

A little context: If you run a line through the earth from the north pole to the south pole, you have a theoretical center line around which the earth rotates to give us our day/night cycle. This line is the earth’s axis. Have you ever looked up at the night sky to figure out where North is? You look for the Big Dipper, follow the two stars of the bowl upward and there’s Polaris, the North Star, right? We call it that because, while the rest of the stars rotate around it, Polaris stays in a fixed place to our eyes.

But the place in the sky to which the axis points has not always been Polaris – and it won’t always be. Where the north axis line points in the sky gradually shifts in a 26,000 year cycle because the earth isn’t a perfect sphere and it wobbles a bit. (Picture a top when it’s not going full speed.) This is called precession. The place in the stellar landscape to which the axis of the earth points, moves.

This phenomenon is observable in more ways than tracking what star stays fixed in the north over a period of thousands of years. It’s also observable in smaller ways, like where the sun is in relation to the other stars on certain easily marked dates, like the summer or winter solstice. This Winter Solstice, the sun, when viewed from the earth, will be as close as it ever gets to our galaxy’s central plane and in a direct alignment with the black hole that is at the Milky Way’s center. The theory put forth by those who study not only the astronomy and archeology of the Maya but also their metaphysical beliefs, is that the Ancient Maya who constructed the Long Count calendar put its zero or reset date at December 21, 2012 because they knew that would be  the Winter Solstice on which the Solstice sun would align with the center of the galaxy.

That’s what I can put together from what others have researched and written. Now it’s time for my thoughts about what it means. The Long Count Calendar was constructed to mark what, for the Maya, was a point of major renewal, the completion of a long cycle, and the connection with the center and source of all energy in their universe. The Maya, like many traditional cultures, didn’t separate their science (like astronomy) from their metaphysics. Being able to predict, in a scientific way, observable phenomena like equinoxes and solstices didn’t diminish the Maya’s awe and wonder nor stop their quest to understand their relationship to the divine.

It’s unfortunate that this amazing confluence of events has been so distorted by a culture that seems to recognize transitions only in context of cataclysm and disaster but, perhaps, that’s appropriate. After all, we are polluting our ground water, killing the oceans, tearing up the earth, and filling the air with chemicals that keep the earth from breathing. We approach every conflict as an excuse for violence, often destroying the children who might develop the tools to stop the planet from galloping toward a mass extinction event that we are in the process of creating. I wonder, when the next Mayan Long Count Calendar resets, will there be any of our species left to notice?

What some of us are doing with this time is seeing it as an opportunity for World Renewing, for developing a planetary culture that nourishes all life that inhabits this precious blue globe on which we find ourselves. We are attempting to open the gateways, to bring back the connection between the observable universe and the spirit that inhabits it. The predominant “vision” I have heard in the time leading up to this day is that whatever this “alignment” brings is a shift away from the testosterone driven, “might makes right” agenda of the last few thousand years towards a more feminine energy. An energy that values community above individual, cooperation above aggression, respect above dominance, and love above fear. Perhaps if enough of us choose to embody those values, we can “reset” more than a calendar.

We have known for a while that the Nature Spirits are ready to lend their hands in that endeavor – perhaps the cosmos is on our side as well.

Even if you give no credence to any of the Mayan Calendar information, it’s still the Solstice. If you want some thoughts about that and ideas for ceremonial celebrations, scroll down in this blog. There are Winter Solstice posts from 2011 and two from 2010.

Bright Blessings. The new world will be what we make it.

I am deeply grateful to Rohaan Solare for his years of research and thoughtful, intelligent exploration of this phenomenon. Please explore his website, http://emergent-culture.com, for reasoned and rational insights into many aspects of our world in this time. Much of the information in this post is drawn from his book, The Legend of 2012. http://emergent-culture.com/category/the-2012-dec-21-2012-end-of-mayan-calendar-long-count-cycle/

© Bridget Wolfe, 2012

Visit Bridget, read her stories, and see John Crawford’s magical gateway sculptures and mystical images at fairywoodland.com

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2012 8:43 pm

    Hallo, Bridget! Happy Solstice!!
    Is it possible for you to reprint those Solstice ceremonies and rituals? I tried to “scroll down” to see them, but have to click back and back and back. I’d love to see them!
    Big hugs, and thanks for your insight on the Mayan calendar. Julie

    • December 21, 2012 9:40 am

      Hi Julie – I’m sorry you can’t scroll down. I’m going to take some time after the holidays and figure out how to put this blog into a different format so things are easier to find. In the meantime, I’ll email you the posts. Bright Blessings, Bridget

  2. Kassie Welch permalink
    December 21, 2012 12:56 am

    Thoughtful and thought provoking as always, wise Bridgette. Here’s to renewal today and every day! Much love, Kassie

    • December 21, 2012 10:03 am

      Thanks for your kind comments. So good to hear from you! Bright Blessings for your celebrations.

  3. Linda McPhee permalink
    December 21, 2012 7:42 am

    A merry solstice to you, dear Bridget, and to John! I am trying to find my plants today. Yew is the hardest. I really appreciated your take on the Mayan Calendar. There has been so much hysteria regarding this in the last year. Like you, I believe that this is simply the beginning of a new and dynamic cycle.

    • December 21, 2012 10:04 am

      Here’s to all of us, and the planet, finding a renewal. Bright Blessings.

  4. Im His permalink
    December 22, 2012 5:33 am

    Bridget, many, many bright blessings to you and all!  All I can say about what you wrote is HO!  Anything else would be futile because you have said it all.   I am sorry I have not been contributing to the FairyGateway fellowship.  Life has been extremely demanding.  However, I do think of you all often.   May the Divine Mother lead us all back to balance without and within.   With pure love and respect, Elizabeth McMeens

  5. Jocelyn Miner permalink
    December 24, 2012 10:30 am

    The previous post should have referred to “the center of the Galaxy,” not “the center of the Universe….” JJM

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