I worked for the largest and most established Pagan/New Age bookstore in my area for a couple of years a few years ago. I remember every so often, someone would come in and ask my opinion or for information about the “Mayan Prophecy” that supposedly determined that the world was going to end on 12-21-12 because that’s when the Mayan calendar expired.
I would always answer as best I could and tried to provide as much information as I could, but it was one of those tricky things that when it was being asked, I would have this twitch behind my eyes that made them want to roll in circles before I would begin talking.
It’s the same reason that I didn’t post anything on this blog even remotely pointing towards that topic since I started writing here. I’m not Mayan, by training or blood. I like studying the history and mythology of it, like I enjoy researching about many ancient cultures, religions, and civilizations, but the idea that the conclusion of one long count on a Mayan calendar should be interpreted as some sort of ‘end of the world’ scenario bugged me.
Nothing that I had ever come across in my studies of Mayan culture, philosophy, history, religion, or mythology/cosmology ever pointed to taking on that narrow of a viewpoint. However, ‘end of the world/apocalypse’ things pop up multiple times in Western/Christian culture. The issue is, and this is basically how I would explain it to folks asking about it over the years is this:
Mayan cultural teachings see time as cyclical. Their calendar is based on this and works similarly to an odometer in a car. Eventually (provided that it keeps running) the car will hit the point where the odometer will roll over from 999,999 and return to zeros, and then begin again. Whereas western Christian culture-based societies view time as linear, with a specific beginning, middle, and eventual end. America is one of these cultures and our cultural outlook is riddled with such things, down to the point that it infects everything, even things that have no basis in such a mindset as a Mayan calendar. Because, well, the Mayans had absolutely no concept of the Christian religion/bible/way of life when they were doing their own thing. So, why would someone (or multiple someones) take a Mayan datebook and stick Judeo-Christian cosmology on it, and say that it was a device scheduled to predict the end of the world according to an entirely different philosophical or religious belief?
Because of cultural arrogance.
Because there was no reason to do so outside of cultural arrogance.
The other thing that really bothered me leading up to this particular occasion was the other swing of things, where people in the New Age community were more of the mindset that the idea of an actual, biblical, literal end of the world wasn’t going to happen, because that would just be silly and based on a mishmash of religious beliefs being slammed together when they shouldn’t be. What it REALLY meant was that it was going to bring about a new era of consciousness, an awakening of the spirit, where the whole planet will learn to love one another and respect one another because it has to be some sort of huge cosmological… thing. And everyone will become enlightened, and uplifted, and we’ll finally enter the Age of Aquarius that they’ve been talking about ever since that musical “Hair”.
I think that there is tremendous potential for humanity, especially when they all want to get together and agree to do or change something. Usually one hopes that it is for the betterment of our society or planet, but that’s not always the way it works out. Sometimes people in large groups can do dumb things as well. Mass consciousness doesn’t equal intelligence or benevolent behavior. The thing that bugged me, and still bugs me though not as much because I haven’t seen it talked about as much now that it’s been about a week and people are realizing that some great cosmic wedgie didn’t get picked and the planet didn’t breathe a collective sigh of relief, is that it’s much the same as it was before. People were relying too much on some magnificent cosmic event like our solar system lining up with the Galactic Alignment or some such foolishness to pull our collective asses out of this drudge of complacency and discontentment. It didn’t happen. Well, the alignment happened, that’s a scientific phenomena of our solar system hitting a particular point within the Milky Way that lines us up along an imaginary equator with the center of the galaxy. What I mean is this grand new age surge in consciousness didn’t pan out. Know why it didn’t happen? Because the Cosmos is not there to solve our problems. The idea of thinking that a date on a calendar is going to usher in some sort of ‘Yay!’ moment is stupid. Thinking, “Oh, if I can just make it until the 22nd of December, then the world will be a wonderful place to live in because we will all love and respect one another,” is ignorant. It doesn’t work like that, and at the root, such an outlook is the reason that much of the planet is in the condition it’s in now. People in power believing that the world is here for our personal use and we can use it as we see fit because eventually God/Jesus is going to return and clean it all up for us and we’ll have paradise on Earth. How far off from that mindset is it really to jump to the point of thinking that The Universe will work everything out for us? It doesn’t matter that there is uncontrollable genocide, war, famine, disease, poverty, homelessness, crime, oppression, ignorance, etc. on this planet because once such-and-such date rolls around, it’ll all get better.
Now, if there was/is a tide of energy in the cosmos leaning in that direction, that just means it’s a potential ride for folks who understand that and recognize it to jump on, just like any other astrological occurrence in life. The idea is to recognize it so you can use it, not to think that it will do the work for you, or that some sort of divine being will do the work for you. If you want a better world, the one everyone was talking about, then work to achieve it because it won’t happen otherwise. “The Universe” just does not care one way or the other what I do. But, if I choose to do something, I can work with it to achieve that goal. Do the work!
As for the other topic that gets touched on with this subject:
The Age of Aquarius is still a long way off. We did not enter it on Dec. 21, 2012.
Great Ages are determined by what sign the sun rises in at dawn on the Vernal Equinox (on or around March 21). Since the sign that begins on that day is still Aries, we are still well within the Age of Pisces. Only when that changes and we begin seeing the sun enter Pisces on that date will we be in the Age of Aquarius. Just to let you know though, that’s still about 160 years off. So keep singing the song, but don’t take the lyrics too much to heart.