DECEMBER 21, 2012 – THE END OF A CYCLE
Since the Mayan calendar is based on cycles (read our article on How Does the Mayan Calendar Work to learn more), December 21, 2012 merely indicates the end of a cycle that began on August 11, 3114 BC. While there are wild interpretations as to what this date means, and many holiday resorts are booked out on this day, there is no evidence from any Mayan literature suggesting that the world will come to an end.
It is simply the end of the current Long Count, and December 22, 2012 will be the beginning of the next Long Count, or cycle in the Mayan calendar. In fact, the Mayans have names for the Long Counts, and the fact that they’ve named Long Counts beyond this one suggests that this won’t be the last. It is significant, however, that we are entering a new cycle in the Mayan calendar.
WHAT WILL THE NEXT MAYAN LONG COUNT, OR EPOCH, BRING?
Assuming as we did above that the world will not come to an end on December 21, 2012 – we ask ourselves, what will happen? What is so significant about December 21, 2012? The significance lies not merely in the fact that a Mayan epoch is coming to an end, but in the celestial events that astronomists have confirmed will occur on this day.
WHAT HAPPENS ON DECEMBER 21, 2012?
December 21 is the winter solstice, and in 2012 the Sun on the solstice will be almost perfectly aligned with the plane of the galaxy (the Milky Way galaxy). What is astonishing is how precisely the Mayan calendar was able to pinpoint this alignment of the planets.
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT PLANETS ALIGNING?
The equator of the Milky Way galaxy (Galactic Equator) and the path of the Sun (the Ecliptic) will cross each other at exactly 11:11 am GMT on December 21, 2012. What does this mean exactly? Or, even better, what is the probability of this occurring?
Every year on the winter solstice, our Sun has a Declination of -23.5 degrees, and a Right Ascensionof 18 hours. But what makes the alignment of 2012 special is how this alignment occurs relative to very distant stars. On December 21, 2012, the alignment will be right along the plane of the entire galaxy. This precession of the equinoxes goes in a complete circle and happens only once every 26,000 years. In other words, the winter solstice moves 360 degrees every 26,000 years, or 0.01 degrees each year.
A significant detail that promoters of the 2012 doomsday fail to point out, however, is that the plane of the galaxy is not the width of a needle. The plane of the galaxy is quite wide – in fact, it takes the winter solstice between 700 hundred and 1,400 years to cross the plane of the galaxy! So 2012 is just one year amidst a span of 700 years.
WE ARE ENTERING A NEW MAYAN EPOCH
Did the Mayans know something about 2012 that we don’t? I think more significant than the fact that the planets align in 2012 is the fact that we are entering a new Mayan epoch, or Long Count. While the pundits will be focused on doomsday prophecies and the destruction of the world, those pondering our purpose may find themselves enlightened by a greater perspective – one that may not be clear until hundreds or thousands of years from now.
According to the Mayans we are entering a new age. What does this mean? We think it may have something to do with the shift towards a more Eastern, or spiritualist, way of life. The Western way of life, and the worship of material goods, progress, and capitalism, has accelerated its way headfirst into battles and wars for hundreds of years. Hopefully, our race will eventually elevate itself to a new era of understanding – one where we find ourselves to be more introspective, and spending our time pondering not only the bigger questions of life – but the smaller ones as well. Spending more quality time with our loved ones, and enjoying the moments. Because we feel there will be many more to come.