The release of the new Roland Emmerich Hollywood blockbuster ‘2012’
has brought fresh fervour to Internet geeks and astrological scholars alike,
both of whom might have a keen interest in the prophesised events of
December 21, 2012, although most likely for different reasons.
The end of the world predictions for 2012 stem from the belief that
at the conclusion of the 5,125 year-long Mayan long count calendar,
which coincides with December 21, 2012 in our Gregorian calendar,
there will be some sort of earth-shattering event or a series of events
that will bring about the destruction of mankind.
The basis for these doomsday predictions appears to have
some slightly thorny origins. The December 2012 date is connected
to the conclusion of a time cycle in an ancient Mesoamerican calendar
that began its countdown somewhere around 3114 BC.
This starting point is when the ancient Maya people believed the previous world ended and a new one (the current one) began. The modern day interest in all this can be traced back to the late 1950s
when Maud Worcester Makemson, an archaeoastronomer
(someone that studies ancient astronomy and its sociological implications)
noted that the end of this time cycle would have had great significance for
the ancient Maya people. This idea was further developed by an
American anthropologist called Michael Coe.
In his book The Maya Coe claimed that some ancient Mayan writings suggested that the end of the long count calendar on December 21, 2012 marked the end of the world, Armageddon, doomsday!
There are a number of issues with these theories that should be noted however.
Firstly, many scholars argue that in classical Maya literature there are conflicting
accounts of what the end of the long count calendar might actually signify, and
very few sources suggesting that it might mean an end of world scenario like
the one interpreted by Micheal Coe. Secondly, the countdown was calculated
differently from one Mayan city-state to another, so the precise date of the conclusion
of the Mayan long count calendar is far from clear. It is also interesting that
modern decedents of the ancient Maya people place little or no significance
on the date December 21, 2012. Also, the ancient Maya scribes wrote
about events that were set to take place after the date corresponding to
December 21, 2012, so at least some of them did not predict the end
of the world to take place on that date. Furthermore, there is no scientifi
c evidence to suggest that either the end of the long count or its somewhat
arbitrary beginning a little over 5000 years ago, have any scientific significance whatsoever.
But there are even more grand things going on in our picture of the end of the world
cataclysm predicted for December 2012. Our doomsday prophecy puzzle
also incorporates the idea of a significant galactic alignment that just happens
to coincide with the 2012 winter solstice in December 2012, meaning the
galaxy itself is conspiring against us. An American author called John Major
Jenkins, who has written extensively about the Mayan culture and its relation
to New Age mysticism suggests that the ancient Maya knew of this galactic
alignment of planets and stars, and that this was part of their calendar
countdown. However his claims, which relate to where in the sky the zodiacal
constellations appear, would have had more credence in 1998 when the
alignment he talks about was more precise than it will be in 2012.
No end of the world predictions would be complete without a little input from the most famous seer of them all, practically a by-word for futurology, none other than Nostradamus himself. While there are many accounts that can be found floating around the Internet, which say Nostradamus predicted the end of the world in 1997 or was it 1999, or even 2012, none of them are able to say conclusively what the predictions really were, and clearly some of them were just plain wrong, since we are still here. This is mainly because Nostradamus wrote in such an archaic language, mixed with mysticism and metaphor, no one really knows for sure what his precise meaning was in many of his predictions. In any case, most experts agree that if he did set a date for our demise it is somewhere in the late 38th century, so we should be OK for at least our lifetimes.
As well as the better known, or at least more talked about end of the world
predictions, there is also a theory that a massive geomagnetic reversal is
on the cards in 2012. This involves the magnetic poles and the Earth’s magnetic
field completely reversing. Scientists in this area do agree that the Earth is long
overdue such a reversal, and end of the world theorists have tied this into the
predicted peaks in solar flare activity that are due in 2012, which could
theoretically affect the Earth’s magnetic field. However experts are keen to
point out that geomagnetic reversal is not something that would simply ‘start one day’.
The process takes several thousand years and is not necessarily triggered by solar activity.
What is more, the original predictions of a peak in solar activity in 2012
have now been put back to 2013.
Perhaps the most bizarre end of the world prophecies centres on the mysterious Planet X,
which was once thought by scientists to be the tenth outlying planet in the solar system.
However, later evidence proved that the perceived gravitational effects of Planet X
were actually miscalculations, and that it actually never existed. Not to be put off
by mere evidence, New Age thinkers, most notably Nancy Lieder, adopted the
planet and re-named it Nibiru, claiming that it she had information that its orbit
would take it right by the Earth somewhere around 2010, creating geomagnetic
polar shifts that cause absolute devastation across the world, wiping out most of humanity.
Incidentally, Lieder’s predictions are based on information she was given through an
implant in her brain from aliens living in the Zeta Reticuli star system, honestly.