2012 Apocalypse: A Rorschach Inkblot Test of Consciousness
Why is it that the vast majority of opinions being expressed about what may happen as we reach the Mayan calendar of the "thirteen baktuns" end date in December 21st 2012 are overwhelmingly obsessed with disaster?
Could it be that what we are observing is not really about what may or may not happen on that particular day, but instead an emerging into a new state of awareness that is being processed through the fear and uncertainty that surrounds it as the "end of the world"?
Two possible scenarios are most often quoted. Firstly, there is the prediction that there will be some sort of asteroid impact (or variations on this theme) that will cause mile-high tsunamis and possibly a disastrous "pole shift." The second scenario is that the peak of the next sunspot cycle that co-incides with 2012 will result in a "mega-flare" event that will bring down global communications and power grids, plunging modern civilization into an instant dark age.
In and of themselves the likelihood that either of these events will occur on any particular day, by most calculations is very, very remote indeed. The solar mega-event is much more likely than an asteroid impact, but neither is anything like probable. On any given date, they are not even very unlikely to occur...they are extremely, massively unlikely to occur...fantastically so. Then why do they obsess us?
In the face of these improbabilities, there are however two facts that we can state with absolute certainty. Firstly, at some point an asteroid striking our planet is certain. It has happened before; many palaeontologists now believe that it was an asteroid strike that led to the dinosaur extinction event that happened 22 million years ago. Secondly, at some point a solar mega-flare hitting our planet is certain. The last really large one happened in 1869 and was named the "Carrington Event" after the young astronomer who was lucky enough to see it happening. This mega-flare was more than 100 times larger than any that happened in the twentieth century. It resulted in bright auroral lights being seen around the world as far south as the Caribbean, which it was said made it possible to clearly read a newspaper at night time. It also destroyed the telegraph system of the time, causing operators to be thrown from their terminals. If a similar event happened today, it probably would take out all satellite communication and the Internet and would be likely to cause massive disruption to the worldwide power grids. The American National Academy of Sciences estimates that it would cost trillions of dollars and take between four and ten years for civilization to recover from such an event.
So why do some many people believe that these events will happen on a particular day? On December 21st 2012, the ending of the "thirteen baktun" cycle of the Mayan calendar system marks the last day of a 5,125 cycle that began on August 11th, 3114 BC. Two significant facts about this are that the Mayan calendrical system is the most accurate ever devised and that there are no dates recorded after this day (although there are a few "mythical" calendar dates beyond this day denoting anniversaries of the succession of some kings).
What the behaviour of the Sun, a possible impact by an asteroid and the thirteen baktun Mayan calendar all have in common is that they are all governed by galactic cycles.
According to John Major Jenkins' galactic alignment theory, the Maya "creation date" of December 21st, 2012 is marking a "galactic alignment." This is when the winter solstice sun rises conjunct with the galactic equator. An event that only happens approximately once every 25,770 years, or one cycle of the "precession of the equinoxes" (albeit over a thirty year period that includes 2012). Other ancient cultures like the Greeks and the Egyptians knew about this cycle, but only the Maya, according to Jenkins' theory, linked it to the galaxy.
A number of contemporary scientific researchers have also discovered the importance of galactic cycles on evolution on Earth. For example, when our Sun in its 225 million year journey around the galactic center is transiting in or out of one of the spiral arms, there seems to be a much-increased risk of an extinction level event on our planet. Russian research has also suggested that the behaviour of the Sun is driven by its relationship to bands of plasma that it encounters in its journey around the galaxy.
What both this ancient Mayan calendar and cutting edge science are pointing towards is a re-discovery of the importance of the galaxy in relationship to what happens on our planet. To understand why projecting the apocalypse onto 2012 obsesses us, we have to understand where we are in terms of the mental evolution of human culture. Our global society, despite its ipods and helicopters, is still embedded in a cosmology that not so long ago thought the Earth was flat. The discovery that we in fact orbit around the Sun only came a few hundred years ago. Though our science and technology has raced ahead, our culture -- and particularly our calendar that is based largely on Roman and medieval Christian viewpoints -- has lagged behind.
As Einstein pointed out, everything has changed, except the consciousness of people. This is why we see disaster in the sky and project death and destruction onto the "end of time." Films like Sony's "2012 and "documentaries" like "Surviving 2012" and "2012 Doomsday" should be seen for what they are...projections of our fear of the unknown onto our inevitable birth into galactic awareness. December 21st is a Rorschach inkblot test for our consciousness; our worst fears about the future and greatest hopes are colliding.
These projections are a jumble of static from the collective subconscious about this newly emerging worldview. All possible disasters and utopias are present, kaleidoscoped onto one single moment. These all appear to be happening simultaneously because we are waking up from our slumbers in the relative ignorance of the heliocentric paradigm. We have seen ourselves as living in a sleepy backwater solar system where nothing much really happens. The truth is we live in a dynamic and evolving galaxy that is both a more creative and dangerous place to live than we realized!
The time that is truly ending is not just the Mayan thirteen-baktun count, but also the Gregorian calendar worldview that it exposes as antiquated and redundant. We are suffering the birth pangs of the second Copernican revolution -- a paradigm shift in which our place in the cosmos will be changed forever.
December 21st 2012 is not a doomsday -- it is a deadline. It is not an apocalypse, but an alarm clock. Not the end of the world, but to wake up call to our galactic membership! Decoding the Mayan calendar's secrets is an important key to this transition. We need to have the humility to understand that other ancient cultures on our planet have had a more advanced knowledge that we do about our relationship to the universe and to learn from this. Those asteroids, plasma bands, and solar flares are coming...not just on December 21st...and currently we have little idea when. The "Carrington event" mega-flare did not occur at the peak on a particular sunspot cycle, but it did mark the awakening of activity on our Sun that had been increasing steadily until the last few years. We know that Sun's behaviour is now changing. It is possible a major solar event could happen at any time and modern technological society is woefully unprepared. We understand little about the long-term behaviour of the Sun, which is the most critical factor for life on Earth!
The challenge is to wake up to the dynamics of being part of a galaxy in time to do something about it. To do this, our deeply unsustainable global society requires fundamental transformation into something that could actually deal with the likely "galactic weather" heading our way. The sooner we embrace the emerging galactic paradigm the better.
2012 is not all about doom and gloom. It is the evolution of the galaxy that has brought us to the point we are at. Nothing on our planet has ever taken place outside of the galaxy...we are ourselves are a product of it. 2012 is an opportunity to expand our horizons and to embrace our galactic heritage.
Image by Ethan Hein, courtesy of Creative Commons license.