December 24, 2012. I write this knowing there is very little time left for me and the few who have found a place of refuge from the horror—if only for a little while. It began with darkening skies three days ago and has turned into an unimaginable storm of death and despair. The ground has opened up like huge jaws of death, swallowing entire neighborhoods, streets, cars and people. Geysers of steam are rising from the center of the earth, emitting heat that previously was thought to exist only in the depths of hell itself. In the afternoon of December 21, a mountainous ocean wave fed by repeated tremors and massive quakes washed across the land. Those in waterfront communities were killed instantly, their bodies now littering the land like scraps of paper. All at once, the entire Earth seemed to tilt like an amusement park ride, and we became closer to the skies that were now filled with a choking stench of gas and death. The night sky was different than I have ever seen, and despite the cover of smoke the stars seemed to be close enough to touch. It was dazzling, but the beauty of the spectacle escaped me.
I have been on foot since the first quake destroyed the road under my car, meeting up with just four others who were able to escape the calamity. We have found some dry land, and from our place we can see towers of smoke and flame for miles. We have seen no other survivors, though I am sure they are out there. The world has changed beyond description. Humankind has been virtually erased from the Earth. The goal is now survival from minute to minute. The temperature has begun to plummet, and ice is forming everywhere, only the remaining fires or hissing columns of steam will prevent a complete Ice Age. There is no communication. Cell phones are reduced to makeshift flashlights if they work at all. And we have yet to see any emergency vehicle of any kind. There is nothing they can do.
Nine years ago, the world waited for the new millennium. While most took the event at face value—that of another year passing—many warned of the end of days. Our computer systems were supposed to fail en masse. Some seers warned of floods, massive storms and earthquakes that would lay waste to our land as the antichrist rose to wage a final battle of evil. Thousands literally fled for the hills in anticipation.
Aside from some computer system hiccups, nothing happened.
But even hardened skeptics would have to agree that Earth has been on a pretty bad streak since the 21st Century began. Tsunamis, hurricanes, famine, disease and war have ravaged the world for eons, but seemed to accelerate in the past decade. For many, September 11, 2001 was enough of a signal that the world had taken a serious turn for the ugly. It made anything possible. Of course, most of these events can be explained in earthly—or human—terms. Science can also explain a lot.
Some things cannot, however, be easily dismissed. This year, we grew even closer to the year 2012. It is a year that many have predicted would be the last of the world as we know it. For thousands of years, it has been the target date of a shift in the Earth’s existence that has not been seen since the last Ice Age ended, 11,000 years ago. In the worst case, the Earth’s crust would snap like a twig and all but a few humans would live to tell the story. But in the best case, humans would begin a new age of enlightenment that would include a newfound treaty with the universe.
Either way, so many people from different cultures and times in history have prophesized about 2012 that the confluence of evidence and theories cannot be ignored.
Clearly, this is not the first time predictions have pointed to the ending of an era on Earth. There have been hundreds over the years, dating back to before the time of Jesus Christ. Some of the predictions have been downright absurd. In 1809, a woman named Mary Bateman said she had a chicken that was laying eggs with printed messages warning of the end and the second coming of Christ. She was exposed as a fraud when someone caught her trying to load the chicken with another egg of doom.
William Miller gave birth to the Millerism Movement when he predicted the end of the world between 1843-1844. Of course, it did not happen. Jehovah’s Witnesses have incorrectly predicted the world’s demise several times. In 1982, all of the planets were going to line up and Armageddon would arrive. In 1988, author Edgar Whisenant released his book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988. The following year, he tried to amend his predictions in a follow up book, 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989 and then updated the text again in 1993 and 1994. In 1991, some Australian doomsayers said Jesus would come to Sydney Harbor. He never made it. On May 5, 2000, some said the planet alignment would spell doom for us all. But like in 1982, there were no affects from the cosmic dance.
But we’re talking 2012. Some say it will mark the beginning a beautiful new era of awareness. Others, though, say that this is the end, and being prepared will provide only a small chance of survival—no guarantees. Despite your beliefs, there is enough information about the pending date to take notice. Something remarkable just might be on our horizon.
On The Clock
While there have been any number of methods 2012 researchers have employed to arrive at their findings, it all seems to start with the Mayan Long Count calendar. The Mayans, a culture dating back to Mesoamerica, had developed a system of writing, mathematics and art. They were also advanced in their measure of time, creating a complex series of calendars around 26,000 years ago—before the last Ice Age. Perhaps their most significant is the 260-day cycle calendar, which has 13 months of 20 days each. This calendar is still utilized in some remote parts of South America. But the 2012 questions emanate from the Mayan’s calendar that was devised around 400 B.C-100 A.D. to measure greater periods of time—the Long Count. This calendar lasts 1,872,000 days—about 5,125 years. In Mayan time 144,000 days make up a baktun—or 394 years, in our world. Using an intricate system of star reading over generations, the Mayans computed the Earth’s position in the galaxy, pinpointing places in the night sky and building a measure of time around their appearances. But the calendar is ending. In Dec., 2012, we will have seen 13 baktun pass. And because of that, many 2012 apocalypse theorists have surmised that the world will subsequently cease. If the Mayans could not see beyond 2012, then it probably won’t exist.
So, thousands of people over thousands of years have surmised that Dec. 21, 2012—the day of the winter solstice—will be the last day of the Earth as we know it. Some say that the ancient monument Stonehenge is a calendar of sorts, which is counting down the sunsets until the apocalypse. Many think the ancient pyramids of Egypt foretell our doom. Seers for centuries have predicted a fiery end to the world in 2012, the most famous being the Babe Ruth of scary predictions, Michel de Nostredame—Nostradamus.
Predictions or Poems?
In the 1500s, Nostradamus gave the world his predictions. He had many private clients—nobles and wealthy people who wanted their fortunes told by the seer. But he had larger, more important messages to deliver. To escape the wrath of religious zealots who thought his soothsayer ways were the work of the devil, Nostradamus wrote in obscure poem form called quatrains. These predictions seemed to focus on wars, pestilence, famine and disasters. But after almost 500 years of constant translation, it is getting difficult to put too much credence in Nostradamus’ theories.
“Nostradamus, while no doubt a brilliant seer, has been so heavily over-interpreted that is difficult to know, really, what he predicted,” says Lawrence Joseph, author of the book Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilization’s End and a well-known voice of the 2012 apocalypse movement.
Nostradamus has been said to have predicted many events in history. Both World Wars were predicted, as was Adolf Hitler. He saw the outbreak of the Black Plague and the great fire of 1666 that leveled London. After the Twin Towers fell, a few quatrains were interpreted to foretell the terrorist attacks that day. Some enterprising hoaxers made up a few, too, and spread them around the world via e-mail. Curiously, Nostradamus’ predictions only seem to reveal themselves in hindsight, suddenly becoming relevant after something happens, and even then it is a stretch. Consider his “prophecy” that is considered by many to tell of JFK’s assassination (keep in mind he never provides a date; this could just as well be about Bernie Mac.): “The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt / An evil deed, foretold by the bearer of a petition / According to the prediction another falls at night time / Conflict at Reims, London, and pestilence in Tuscany.”
Disaster enthusiasts believe Nostradamus saw the end coming in 2012 and said so in several quatrains. According to one: “During the appearance of The Bearded Star, the three great princes will be made enemies / The shaky peace on earth will be struck by fire from the skies / Po, The winding Tiber, a serpent placed on the shore / MABUS will soon die, Then will come a horrible slaughter of people and animals / At once vengeance revealed coming from a hundred hands / Thirst and Famine when The Comet shall pass.” Obscure enough for you?
Sounds awful, but before you buy into it, here is Nostradamus’ quatrain about the end of the world in 1999: “In the year 1999 and seven months / The Great, King of Terror shall come from the sky / He will bring to life the King of The Mongols / Before and after, Mars reigns happily.”
Not The Only One
Edgar Cayce, the preeminent seer of the 20th Century, would put himself into a deep trance when he made his predictions. And he, too, saw impending calamity in 2012.
“Watch New York, Connecticut and the like. Many portions of the East Coast will be disturbed, as well as many portions of the West Coast, as well as the central portion of the United States. Los Angeles, San Francisco, most of all these will be among those that will be destroyed before New York, or New York City itself, will in the main disappear,” predicted Cayce, who died in 1945. “This will be another generation though, here; while the southern portions of Carolina, Georgia, these will disappear. This will be much sooner. The waters of the Great Lakes will empty into the Gulf of Mexico.”
Cayce’s 2012 prediction is pretty terrifying stuff. But Cayce was generally not known for these types of predictions. He spent more time helping the infirm with his predictions, and is considered the grandfather of the New Age movement. Yet his view of 2012 is clear and frightening.
Cayce was also a believer in the lost civilization of Atlantis, which he said was not near Greece but instead in the Caribbean. Its people were highly advanced, having power and flying machines, all the while drawing their energy from a crystal.
A Calendar of Doom or Hope?
There’s a fortune teller or “psychic” grandmother on almost every street. There are horoscopes and modern seers in almost any newspaper. Predictions abound, and have so for years. Humans would have been extinct a million times over if even a fraction of these predictions had come to pass.
With so many false alarms, it seems difficult to react to 2012 predictions with anything other than a yawn. But there is something more profound in the termination of the Mayan’s Long Count calendar. While some have used the calendar’s end to signal doom, there is no mention of the end of days. In fact, far from it.
“The Mayan material which relates to the World Age doctrine and cycle endings, like the one in 2012, is all about transformation and renewal,” says John Major Jenkins, one of the leading voices in Mayan research. “The so-called ‘theories of destruction’ are expected marketing ploys—Hollywood doing what it does. Second, a choice to plug into the Mayan wisdom at an extremely superficial level, ignoring the deeper and more profound teachings. And, pseudoscience theories that are demonstrably flawed.
“So,” says Jenkins, “It’s not so much about clinging to a ray of hope but rather dispensing with the noise and garbage to look at the real information.”
Jenkins made sense of the Mayan Long Count calendar in his groundbreaking book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. Jenkins maintains that on Dec. 21, 2012 the planet will not break down into terrifying calamity but instead we will enter a new age of enlightenment, where humans will begin to understand this world a little better, and the relationship between Earth and humans becomes a little clearer.
Daniel Pinchbeck, author and co-founder of www.realitysandwich.com, has researched the Mayan’s use of psychedelics in their rituals. He believes these substances could have played a part in their creations and predictions. “The Classic Maya appear to be shamanic scientists who explored non-ordinary states in their religious practices, using psychedelic substances and other means,” says Pinchbeck. “Psychedelic experiences can give you downloads of information and insight into the past, present, and also the future. It is almost as if there is a nonlocal source of sentience and wisdom that becomes accessible through psychedelic experience. My assumption is that the Maya combined rigorous study of the universe with rigorous exploration of psychedelic states to develop the system of knowledge embedded in their calendar.”
As far as predictions by seers such as Nostradamus, Jenkins has no time for the apocalyptic visions. “The Nostradamus prophecies that are allegedly connected with 2012 are, in my opinion, manufactured by the media,” says Jenkins. “Nostradamus’ questionable 2012 prophecies sell better than the Mayan ideas of transformation and renewal because Nostradamus emphasizes sensationalized cataclysm. See how that works?”
Jenkins is not the only one who thinks 2012 doomsday prophecies—especially those based on the Mayan calendar—are hogwash.
“There is nothing in any Mayan source to indicate that this will be any sort of calamity or end of days. The cycle will simply repeat,” says John Justeson, Ph.D., a preeminent expert in Mayan culture and linguistics. “There are some who have tried to find something cosmic going on that this date corresponds to. But every qualified specialist considers these speculations to be complete nonsense.”