200 A.D. As Late Preclassic Mayans deep in the vine-choked jungles of the Yucatán endeavor to construct massive pyramids not dissimilar to the Egyptians, a Mayan shaman by the name of Chilam Balam suddenly receives a vision of terrifying and inexplicable events to take place at the very end of their Great Cycle of 13 bak’tuns, Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012. The images haunt him: the sun at the very center of the cosmic womb, a great rock falling from the sky, the earth rocking and reeling, and the tragic end of the human race.
The shaken shaman takes the ominous news back into the dank darkness of the Guatemalan jungle where his fellow holy men also receive the troubling news through terrifying visions. “It is agreed,” says the shaman, “that the great Itzamna, the great Hunab Ku, Womb of Creation, has graciously given this prophecy to his people. We are the guardians of the prophecy and it is up to us to inscribe it for all generations until the very end of the Great Cycle. Let us now consult the king for further guidance.”
The guardians of the prophecy approach King Chak Tok Ich’aak I and apprise him of the frightening omen. They warn, “But before these great and terrible events at the ending of the Great Cycle, white men with beards will come bearing fearful weapons. Fire and sickness will cover the land until all is laid bare.” The puissant potentate shudders in disbelief and sends the shamans away in a fit of rage, seeing through the clever charade as a political ploy to gain power. But as he ponders those haunting words, he begins to believe the shamans may be right after all.
As thick fog enshrouds the temple in mist, the god-king initiates rituals to divine the meaning of these visions of doom. To his utter shock and disbelief, the gods confirm the ominous warnings related to the ending of the Great Cycle. A bright flash of lightning illuminates the dark chamber followed by a great and terrifying crash of thunder. Shaken, the king issues a decree to write down the visions for future generations in books made from the inner bark of a fig tree and folded like an accordion.
Many years later, white men with beards and fearful weapons conquer and subjugate Mayan lands with strange and powerful weapons, fulfilling the first part of the prophecy. The men proceed to burn Mayan villages and temples that house thousands of books and other cultural artifacts. The Maya wince as centuries of their culture are destroyed beyond recognition. Some make a last-ditch attempt to hide the remaining books underground and in moist caves. However, three books survive and are sent to Europe as novelties where they are largely forgotten until rediscovered many years later. They are named the Dresden, Paris, and Madrid Codices.
Of the books, the Dresden Codex stands out above the others. Not only is the Dresden the most complete, it also contains the most specific and frightening prophecies of the doom to come in 2012. When a Russian scientist cracks the code during the tense days of the Cold War, governments are put on notice that December 21, 2012 marks a global catastrophe so dire as to call it the end of the world. And here we stand today, on the threshold of the apocalypse, awaiting certain doom.
How bad is it? Does the world become enmeshed in nuclear and biological war? Do earthquakes, hurricanes, and deadly tsunamis rock the globe? Does a galactic alignment, Planet X/Nibiru flyby, or an Asteroid 4179 Toutatis collision with Earth wipe out all traces of life on our imperiled planet? Do sunspots or a powerful coronal mass ejection cause a catastrophic pole shift? And did the ancient Maya predict the exact date for doomsday?
While the introductory scenario is most certainly fodder for Hollywood movies, mystery thriller novels, and cable television, it is, in fact, a work of fiction. It never happened. Like so many premonitions of doom surrounding the year 2012, the intermixing of truth and fiction creates new myths that bear little resemblance to the original context. Yet there exists another side to the Maya mystery, one that is in some ways hopeful, yet in other ways horrifying.
Why are so many people talking about 2012, and what can we expect? Did the ancient Maya, so skilled in astronomy and timekeeping, hold an elusive esoteric wisdom still buried deep within crumpling temple walls and hidden chambers? Are their secrets being revealed to humanity in these end times as a warning, an omen of doom to come? Or is this entire 2012 thing just a grand cosmic hoax?
The year 2012 has become the dernier cri of prophetic discourse. The reason is simple yet entirely ominous: the Mayan calendar suddenly and abruptly ends on Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012, and nobody knows why. No advanced technology, no archaeological record, not even the most learned Mayanist scholar alive has understood the reason the ancient Mayans ended their calendar on this date.
It wouldn’t be so mysterious had their calendar been proven inaccurate or unreliable. Yet the Mayan calendar is recognized as one of the most complex and accurate records of timekeeping to date, rivaling even our own Gregorian calendar.
Did the ancient Maya purposefully choose December 21, 2012 as the date for the end of the world? Does time literally stop on this date? Did the Maya foresee global cataclysm, as so many are predicting? Or did they prophesy a more positive event – a shift into an entirely new paradigm of raised human consciousness, a new spirituality, the opening of a new dimension, or perhaps even the ability to travel through time?