We all know that the Mayan culture existed many thousands of years ago and created thriving cities (such as Teotihuacan) long before western civilisation was, well civilised. Mayans also had an advanced understanding of astronomy and in particular time, with Mayan calendars being famous for calculating various astronomical events such as Eclipse, conjunctions and planetary alignments. Mayan calendars can also be synchronised and interlocked, with their combinations giving rise to further, more extensive cycles and predictions.
One calendar, in particular, the Long Count, has recently spawned a new wave of Apocalypse theories as for the date, 21st December 2012, marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle, or a Classic Maya millennium. This is when the Maya calendar will turn over to all zeros - 18.104.22.168.0 by the long count. Speculation in is rife about why this date was chosen. Was it because they thought something terrible would happen? Why does the Mayan calendar stop at 5,126?
How was this date chosen? Well, the Mayan calendar is based on few units, similar to our years, months and days. One Baktun is equal to 394.3 years or 20 Katun, which is equal to 19.7 years. The Mayan calendar started on the Mayan epoch of August 11th 3114 BC, and comes to an abrupt end in 2012AD, 13 Baktun after the epoch.
|Equals||20 Katun||20 Tun||18 Uinal||20 kin|
This date also happens to correspond with the winter solstice and it also marks an alignment of the sun with the centre of the Milky Way.
Some say that the Earth will pass into a stream of gamma radiation from the black hole at the centre of the galaxy, while others think that the alignment will trigger a solar flare or geomagnetic storms on Earth. Some are even predicting severe and violent earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis and hurricanes, all caused by the galactic alignment. Even further fetched is the notion that the Earth's magnetic poles will switch, or that we start spinning backwards!
But it isn't all doom and gloom. While 2012 marks the end of one cycle, it must also mark the beginning of another, one in which some Mayan mythology predicts that the ancient wisdom of the Maya will be rediscovered by the world and it will be a new dawn for mankind!
Another Mayan mythology predicts the end of mankind. The Popol Vuh is a sacred book of the Maya, and describes how the Mayans were living in the fourth world. The Popal Vuh describes the first three worlds in which the gods failed in making a perfect world, but the creation of the successful fourth world gave life to mankind. They Maya believed that the fourth world would end in catastrophe and the fifth and final world would be created that would signal the end of mankind.
So, did the Mayans know something we don't? or did the simply not get a chance to finish their calendar system? Will the doomsday theorists get it right in 2012, or will this be another Y2K?
One final thought: The doomsday theorists will get it right one day!