The 2012 Doomsday, End Of the World Prediction is a cultural phenomenon consisting of present-day speculation that cataclysmic and even apocalyptic events will occur in the year 2012. This idea has been disseminated by numerous books, internet sites and by documentaries airing on the History Channel since 2006. The forecast is based primarily on a claimed end date of the 5,125-year Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which is December 21, 2012, and incorporates warnings from climate experts and other environmental scientists that the Earth has reached a "tipping point" that could generate mass extinctions, as well as interpretations of assorted legends, scriptures and prophecies.
In addition, some proponents of the doomsday premise argue ancient Mayan astronomers were aware of a rare alignment of the Earth, Sun and center of the Milky Way on the December solstice in 2012. According to this belief, the alignment is tied to the precession of the equinoxes and signals a transition from one world age to another. A New Age interpretation of this transition posits that, during this time, the planet and its inhabitants may undergo a physical or spiritual transformation rather than the apocalypse that has been suspected to coincide with the ending of the Mayan calendar.
While scientists generally concur that the earth's climate is approaching a period of instability, academics dispute the apocalyptic interpretation of the Long Count calendar end-date and the precession-alignment interpretation. Those versed in the study of classical Mayan civilization insist the date 12/21/2012 simply marks a resetting of the calendar to Baktun 22.214.171.124.0.
Skeptics of the apocalyptic forecast note that predictions of the imminent end of the world have a very long history, with literally hundreds of documented examples, some associated with religious prophecies, others with astronomical events such as comets or eclipses, and others with calendar events such as the millenium. In every one of these cases, the predicted dates have passed, without noticeable result.
The significance of this date in Mayanism stems from the ending of the current baktun cycle of the Maya calendar in 2012, which many believe will create a global "consciousness shift" and the beginning of a new age. Speculation about this date can be traced to the first edition of The Maya (1966) by Michael D. Coe, in which he suggested the date of December 24, 2011, as one on which the Maya believed "Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation." This date became the subject of speculation by Frank Waters, who devotes two chapters to its interpretation, including discussion of an astrological chart for this date and its association with Hopi prophecies in Mexico Mystique (1975). The significance of the year 2012 (but not a specific day) was mentioned briefly by José Argüelles in The Transformative Vision (1975).
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Preclassic period (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD), many Mayan cities reached their highest state development during the Classic period (c. 250 AD to 900 AD), and continued throughout the Postclassic period until the arrival of the Spanish. At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world.
The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as writing, epigraphy, and the calendar did not originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them. Maya influence can be detected as far as central Mexico, more than 1000 km (625 miles) from the Maya area. Many outside influences are found in Maya art and architecture, which are thought to result from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest. The Maya peoples never disappeared, neither at the time of the Classic period decline nor with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and the subsequent Spanish colonization of the Americas. Today, the Maya and their descendants form sizable populations throughout the Maya area and maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideologies (and structured by the almost total adoption of Roman Catholicism). Many Mayan languages continue to be spoken as primary languages today; the Rabinal Achí, a play written in the Achi' language, was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
Waters' book inspired further speculation by John Major Jenkins in the mid-1980s, including revision of the date to one corresponding with the winter solstice in 2012. Interpretations of the date became the subject of further speculation by José Argüelles in The Mayan Factor (1987), promoted at the 1987 Harmonic Convergence. It received further elaboration in the Novelty theory of Terence McKenna. The supposed prediction of an astronomical conjunction of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy with the winter solstice Sun on December 21, 2012, referred to by John Major Jenkins in Galactic Alignment as having been predicted by the ancient Maya and others, is a much-anticipated event in Mayanism. Although Jenkins suggests that ancient Maya knowledge of this event was based on observations of the "dark rift" in the Milky Way as seen from Earth, others see it as evidence of knowledge imparted via ancient contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. The relevance of modern "dark rift" observations to Pre-Columbian and traditional Maya beliefs is strongly debated, and academic archaeologists reject all theories regarding extraterrestrial contact, but it is clear that the promotion of Mayanism through interest in 2012 is contributing to the evolution of religious syncretism in contemporary Maya communities. Psychonaut author Daniel Pinchbeck popularized New Age concepts about this date, linking it to beliefs about crop circles, alien abduction, and personal revelations based on the use of entheogens and mediumship in his 2006 book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl .
The Maya calendar is a system of distinct calendars and almanacs used by the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and by some modern Maya communities in highland Guatemala.
These calendars can be synchronized and interlocked, their combinations giving rise to further, more extensive cycles. The essentials of the Maya calendric system are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 6th century BC. It shares many aspects with calendars employed by other earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotec and Olmec, and contemporary or later ones such as the Mixtec and Aztec calendars. Although the Mesoamerican calendar did not originate with the Maya, their subsequent extensions and refinements of it were the most sophisticated. Along with those of the Aztecs, the Maya calendars are the best-documented and most completely understood.
By the Maya mythological tradition, as documented in Colonial Yucatec accounts and reconstructed from Late Classic and Postclassic inscriptions, the deity Itzamna is frequently credited with bringing the knowledge of the calendar system to the ancestral Maya, along with writing in general and other foundational aspects of Maya culture.
The History Channel in its coverage of the 2012 Doomsday Prediction cites a number of prophecies that may relate to the present day.For example, in the 1940s members of the Hopi tribe warned that of a series of global catastrophes would strike after nine omens were realized. A third world war, geologic upheaval, hotter temperatures, drought and famine would all contribute to the collapse of civilization. This prediction was integrated into an older legend and is today known as the Hopi Prophecy. Among the omens that presage the final days are supposed to be a "spider web crisscrossing the earth" and a "blue star".
Other prophecies considered by doomsday proponents to be relevant to modern times include:
* The Book of Revelation, by John of Patmos.
* The Sibylline Books.
* The Quatrains and the Lost Book of Nostradamus.
* The Prophecy of the Popes, by Saint Malachy.
* Terrence Mckenna's Timewave Zero interpretation of the I Ching.
Two Medieval prophets dramatized in the History Channel program 2012: End of Days are Mother Shipton (a.k.a. Ursula Southeil) and Myrddin Wyllt. Both envisioned an apocalypse during the era of modern technological society. However, the authorship of both prophecies is disputed by scholars.
In The Orion Prophecy (2001), Patrick Geryl and Gino Ratinckx allege that descendents of the utopian civilization Atlantis settled along the Nile following the end of the last major ice age. These Atlanteans survived a catastrophic flood and later encoded a warning about a 2012 apocalypse in hieroglyphs. According to Geryl and Ratinckx, this prophecy can be found inside the Sphinx, the pyramids at Giza and the zodiacs in the Greco-Roman Dendera temple. The authors cite a rare translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead by the French mathematician Albert Slosman, as well as Slosman’s book Le Grand Cataclysme (1976), as sources. However, Plato dated the destruction of his Atlantis to around 9000 B.C., nearly 6,000 years before the establishment of Egypt. In addition, no definitive archaeological evidence of Atlantis has ever been uncovered.
Among the world's leading experts on global warming, NASA atmospheric scientist James Hansen has argued since the 1980s that the earth is approaching an irreversible "tipping point". A warming trend may not only set into motion catastrophic flooding, the release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from arctic permafrost, severe weather and drought causing reduced agricultural yields, it may do so much faster than the current models are projecting.
Hansen argues that predicted sea level rise for the 21st century may be grossly underestimated. In a 2007 paper, he and his co-authors criticized a report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that forecast a rise of at most 59 centimetres (23 in). The actual figure could go as high as 25 metres (82 ft). This rate represents the amount of sea rise for a similar period of warming that transpired three million years ago. The paper continues:
"Civilization developed during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end."
On another front, solar physicists predict the upcoming peak in the sunspot cycle will produce larger than normal coronal mass ejections. The peak is anticipated in the years 2011 and 2012, generating solar flares with the capacity to disable power grids and orbiting satellites (including military surveillance equipment). Although the Space Environment Center operates a global warning system to mitigate potential damage, the stronger ejections can reach the earth in as little as 30 minutes. Power must be shut down prior to the strike to avoid surges that can overload transformers and integrated circuits. In October 2003, a series of powerful X-flares struck northern Europe, generating auroras, knocking out satellites, and forcing radio stations off the air. The strongest ejection measured X-40, breaking the record set in 1859. A second flurry of spikes followed Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
Outlining his concerns about the upcoming peak, solar physicist Sami Solanki, noted in 2004 that "Except possibly for a few brief peaks, the Sun is more active currently than at any time in the past 11,000 years." Solanki directs the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research.
Speculation about the possible eruption of a supervolcano is also rife, especially following a swarm of earthquakes beneath the Yellowstone Caldera in the U.S. state of Wyoming from December 27, 2008, to January 2, 2009. Geologists such as Bill McGuire, author of A Guide to the End of the World (2002) have raised the prospect of either the Yellowstone or California's Long Valley Caldera breaking out of its deep chambers in the earth. There is no valid statistical estimate on the expected time of the next eruption of either Yellowstone or the Long Valley calderas. On New Years Day, Time Magazine posted an article on its website:
"The Yellowstone Caldera - formed by the massive upheaval 642,000 years ago that spread airborne debris all the way to the Gulf of Mexico - is nowhere close to being extinct. Areas of the park's topography inflate like a bellows because of magma infusing into volcanic chambers about 6 miles below the surface. About 1,000 to 2,000 tremors a year (mostly small) have been recorded since 2004, when interpretation of satellite imagery with GPS readings indicated the caldera had been rising as much as 3 in. a year. The past week's number of tremors - about 400 - is considered unusual.
Other threats being watched by doomsday trackers:
* Declining strength in the earth's magnetic field. A north/south pole reversal may already be underway.
* Shifting of the earth's north/south geographic poles. According to the theory, the loss of ice at the poles and higher volume of water along the equator is generating extreme movement among the tectonic plates. Charles Hapgood first advanced this concept in the 1958 book, The Earth's Shifting Crust. Bolstering the idea, in 2006, Princeton University scientists released a study suggesting the possibility that the state of Alaska resided near the equator millions of years ago.
* Interstellar radiation. Astrophysicists like Alexey Dmitriev believe our solar system may be entering a cosmic dust cloud. Some studies show that waves of radiation have already penetrated the heliosphere due to a reduction of solar wind.
In the solar system, gravity causes the sun and planets to share the same plane of orbit. In the night sky, this plane is known as the ecliptic. The twelve Zodiac constellations move along or near the ecliptic, and over time, appear to recede counterclockwise one degree every 72 years - that is, from our perspective looking up from the ground. This movement is attributed to a slight wobble in the earth's axis as it spins. As a result, approximately every 2160 years, the constellation visible on the early morning of the spring equinox changes. This signals the end of one astrological age (currently the Age of Pisces) and the beginning of another (Age of Aquarius). Over the course of 26,000 years, the precession of the equinoxes makes one full circuit around the ecliptic.
This phenomenon underlies the principle of "galactic alignment", a rarely occurring intersection of the earth, sun and galactic equator. The next alignment happens to coincide with the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar on the December solstice in 2012. Former software engineer John Major Jenkins is credited with the premise that the classical Mayans anticipated this conjunction and celebrated it as the harbinger of a profound spiritual transition for mankind. During the heyday of the culture from 500 to 900 A.D., a ritual ball game was played in which two teams battled to kick the ancient equivalent of a soccer ball through a stone ring mounted on a wall. The wall was located at midfield along one sideline, at roughly the same height as a basketball hoop. Scoring a goal symbolized man's returning to the womb of the "Cosmic Mother", who resides in the "dark rift" at the center of the galaxy. (In 2002, astronomers discovered a black hole inside the nucleus of the Milky Way.citation required, unverified)
Like many non-western cultures, the Mayans view time as a cycle rather than a random linear progression. Galactic alignments occur on a solstice or equinox once every quarter-precession cycle (approximately 6,500 years), which suggests the universally held notion of the "four seasons of man" may be tied to the precession of the equinoxes. Just as astrology uses the positions of stars and planets to predict the future, the Mayans plotted their calendars with the objective of preparing for significant world events.
Most university astronomers and other academics specializing in Mayan studies reject the galactic alignment theory. There is no evidence in the archaeological record to demonstrate that the classical Mayan civilization attached any apocalyptic significance to the completion of the Long Count calendar. Thus, the claims of Jenkins and other amateur history detectives are considered speculative at best. University of Florida astronomer Susan Milbrath, author of Star Gods of the Maya, is among those who have accused 2012 doomsday proponents of exploiting Mayan culture to advance political or personal agendas. Moreover, since the nucleus of the Milky Way cannot be identified without high-powered telescopes, the Mayans could not have been aware of its location. The alignment in question takes place over a 36-year period, corresponding to the diameter of the sun, with the most precise convergence having already occurred without incident in 1998.
Interest in the 2012 Doomsday Prediction has spread in recent years as a result of several programs airing on the History Channel, a groundswell of internet sites and blogs, and numerous books on the subject. George Noory, main host of Coast to Coast AM, believes something significant will happen in 2012, and in recent years it has been a common theme on the show.
A movie called 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring John Cusack, is scheduled for release in 2009. It is the latest action film premised on the world ending in the early 21st century. Emmerich also directed Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.
From the sun-scorched sands of the Kalahari to the snake-infested jungles of the Amazon, Les Stroud has made a life of surviving in the harshest—and most remote—regions on Earth.
Now, the creator, producer, and host of the hit television program Survivorman transfers his decades of knowledge and experience to the pages of Survive!, a practical guide that gives everyday readers a no-nonsense look at the real world of survival.
Stroud offers readers the essential skills and tactics necessary to endure in any corner of the globe, along with a wealth of insider information born of his own experiences in the outdoors and unavailable in any other book. Readers will learn:
How to make a survival shelter and why a lean-to is largely a waste of time.
Why survival kits are important, and why you should make your own.
Where to find water and why drinking contaminated water is sometimes warranted.
How to locate and trap small animals and why the notion of tracking and hunting large game is largely a pipe dream.
Whether seasoned in the outdoor arts or new to adventuring, all readers will learn something from Survive!. Stroud's many colorful anecdotes and cut-to-the-chase philosophy not only make for an entertaining read, but also enhance anyone's ability to focus on the main goal when everything else has gone wrong—survival.
The world is coming to an end on December 21, 2012! At least, that's the date predicted by the Mayans more than two thousand years old. DECODING THE PAST peels back the layers of mystery and examines in detail how the Maya calculated the exact date of doomsday.
Journey back to the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the hub of Maya civilization deep in the heart of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The Maya were legendary astronomers and timekeepers--their calendar is more accurate than our own. By tracking the stars and planets they assigned great meaning to astronomical phenomena and made extraordinary predictions based on them--many of whichÃ‚ have come true. Could their doomsday prophecy be one of them? In insightful interviews archaeologists, astrologers, and historians speculate on the meaning of the 2012 prophecy. Their answers are as intriguing as the questions.
Celebrate the 260 day Mayan calendar and the 360 day calendar! Olmec, Aztec and the Maya human beings used this calendar before they were conquered. This is a spiritual calendar showing the sequence of energies which are "day." See for yourself.
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