On December 21, 2012, one of the most important cycles in the Mayan calendar ends. This is the 5,125-year cycle that is also known as the thirteen baktuns. What is striking about this date is that it is the last date the Maya counted up to. Why is this important? The Maya were sophisticated astronomers and mathematicians. Their calculations of the cycles of eclipses and the motions of Venus are very nearly as accurate as those made by modern astronomy, even though they were made with the naked eye many hundreds of years ago. Their calendar system is one of the most refined and ingenious ever known, far surpassing even the modern-day Gregorian calendar in many ways.
Did the Maya know that something was going to happen around December 21, 2012? They certainly believed that the world had been destroyed several times previously. In each case humanity was remade in some way so that life could once again continue. Some of the few remaining authentic Mayan prophecies also speak about the destruction of this world at the end of this cycle. The first part of this book is dedicated to an overview of the Maya and their calendar system. There will be an explanation of how the calendar works, what it is used for, and how to use it.
The author, John Major Jenkins, has put forward a theory that the end of the Mayan calendar marks a thirty-year period that only happens once every 26,000 years, when the winter solstice sun rises in conjunction with the center of the galaxy. Jenkins believes this galactic alignment tells us the Maya understood an important astronomical cycle called the precession of the equinoxes. This describes the way the stellar background relates to the rising sun on a fixed day of the year changes over time. Every 26,000 years, that background will move through every sign of the zodiac and come back to where it started. Does the mythology of the zodiac warn us that this cycle marks the rise and fall of human civilizations?
On the great celestial clock of the zodiac, the galactic alignment of 2012 seems to mark the midnight hour. This is the point at which the old cycle ends and a new world age begins. According to the astrophysicist Dr. Paul LaViolette, the zodiac and the cycle of precession may also encode the key to understanding a cycle of huge outbursts of energy that seem to emanate from the center of our galaxy. LaViolette has named these galactic super-waves, massive ripples in gravity that are powerful enough to ignite supernovas in their paths. LaViolette believes we may be due for a superwave event in the near future, and the ending of the Mayan calendar in 2012 may even mark this.
These ideas and many others will be covered in depth in the following chapters. Different theories suggest that the precession of the equinoxes could affect climate change, cycles of catastrophe on Earth, and even the process of evolution itself.
That our world is currently going through a significant crisis is no longer a controversial opinion. Financial instability, depletion of resources, the extinction of species, and booming population growth are all forcing us to review humanity's relationship to the planet. Many of these factors seem to be coming to a point of convergence in the near future. At this critical juncture, the fundamental values of our global culture may have to change in order for humanity to survive. A number of writers, including Professor Ervin Laszlo, the author of The Chaos Point, are suggesting that this could coincide with 2012.
Is it possible that despite all the technology, transport systems, and communication networks of our global industrial society we are subject to the same influences that caused the collapse of the great Mayan culture? To answer that, first we must meet the Maya.