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The end, or just another day
WILL THE world end on December 21, 2012? Probably not, but doom mongers and thousands of other believers across the globe are preparing for the end.
Call it what you will: the apocalypse, armageddon, fifth-dimensional consciousness shift, they all lead to death, destruction and the obliteration of the human race and in some cases the planet, and life as we know it.
Is it all pure speculation being fed by an internet filled with sci-fi fiction, survival extremists, religious fanatics, new-age spiritualists, cult leaders and conspiracy theorists, or are the prophesies convincing?
Most of the prophecies are based on a variety of interpretations of the Mayan and Hopi Indian predictions - that the known world will end on December 21.
For centuries the doomsday phenomenon has predicted that certain cataclysmic events will occur on this date. It is also a date that features prominently as the end of a cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, also known as the Maya - or Mayan Long Count calendar.
For thousands of years humanity has been fascinated by the concept that ‘the end of the world is nigh’.
Ideas ranging from a nuclear holocaust, disease, natural disasters, asteroids, world wars, anarchy, revolt and polar shifts have left many believers feeling jittery as the end of 2012 approaches.
But for those in Cyprus that are concerned about these and other variations of global annihilation, reassurance is at hand.
Larnaca-based Dr George Georgiou, who is a Holistic Therapist qualified in natural healing is preparing for “any eventuality” and has been running a number of weekend workshops titled: Preparing for a crisis.
The courses are held at what Georgiou describes a sanctuary, called ‘Seraphim’ in the Troodos mountains.
Accommodation consists of a wooden hut, a caravan or a purpose built cave, where participants sleep on Mexican hammocks.
“We are living in difficult times and 2012 has seen many global changes that are predicted to continue and worsen. Many people are unaware of these changes; let alone how to survive these difficult times,” says Georgiou on his website. It was not possible to interview him in person.
Georgiou says the year 2012 is embedded in the mass consciousness of mankind. It marks the end of a cycle spanning thousands of years, and now is the time to prepare for eventualities, he says.
“It is a proven fact throughout history that when disruptions of any kind occur, those who made even the smallest preparations typically fare much better than those who gave no thought at all in this regard,” he added.
“There is no way to predict these things, but anyone who has been following global changes over the last few years knows that things are already happening and escalating. It is therefore only a matter of joining the dots and using a little common sense to conclude that the possibility is likely we could experience one or more of these events at some point in the future.”
Whether you believe the world is coming to an end or not, many people admit to feeling tense and tired, although this could be due to financial strain and worry created by the global economic crisis.
A number of the potential doomsday scenarios have a tinge of ‘Hollywood’ to them, a popular one involves the earth being hit by a large asteroid, where the impact would cause global earthquakes and tsunamis that could cross the globe. This would in turn create a huge amount of dust which would block out the sun, and which could wipe out most life as we know it.
But according to NASA scientists, there is no scientific evidence to back up this or numerous other similar claims. They state instead that “the date merely marks the start of a new beginning”, and is “just another day”.
According to recent reports, NASA scientists have studied and analysed the possibility of the earth ending in 2012, but have concluded that December 21 will be nothing more than the normal winter solstice.
“There is simply no scientific evidence to support any claims of an apocalypse on Earth in December 2012,” it said.
Of the Mayan calendar, a report by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology states: “Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012. It's just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It's just like on December 31 in our calendar where it comes to an end and a new calendar for the following year begins on January 1.”
Nick Pope is a former MoD UFO investigator and an expert on mysteries and conspiracy theories. In a recent newspaper article, Pope acknowledged that although little is known of the Mayans - a Central American civilisation skilled in mathematics and astronomy - many believe this ancient culture had secret knowledge that enabled them to predict when the world would end.
“There are many different and odd theories about what exactly might happen. Some believe a mysterious celestial object known as Planet X, or Nibiru, is returning to our solar system and will bring cosmic catastrophe. Others think a rapid “polar shift” - a sudden reversal of the Earth’s rotation - will bring global destruction. Some theories talk of planetary or galactic alignments; others say there will be a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic polarity.”
He stressed: “The good news is that all previous predictions of the end of the world have proved to be false.”
But there are some who still fear the end of the world will be brought about by a planet named ‘Nibiru’ or ‘Planet X’ coming close to the earth and causing a plethora of disasters.
The name ‘Nibiru’ is derived from the works of the late ancient astronaut writer Zecharia Sitchin - 1920-2010 - and his interpretations of Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. Sitchin however denied any connection between his work and various claims of a coming apocalypse.
David Morrison is a senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center in California. He says that he wanted to reassure the public Nibiru didn’t exist, after receiving a letter from a worried 12-year-old girl, who told him that she and her friends were anxious that the earth was about to be destroyed by a collision with this large planet.
Morrison said: “there is no credible evidence that the planet (Nibiru) exists”. He added that he hopes that the non-arrival of Nibiru will serve as a teaching moment for the public, instructing us all on “rational thought and baloney detection.”
Aside from the doomsday mongers, and the skeptics, there are others who view the date of December 21 with a more measured approach, believing that it signifies a time when earth and humanity will undergo a positive spiritual awakening. This will mean the start of a new era.
Linda Leblanc, director of Paphos based not-for-profit NGO ‘Psychognosia’ which disseminates information about anomalous phenomena said: “We have had many people over the years ask our opinion about 2012. We feel that indeed these are times of change but that doesn’t necessarily mean only at the physical level and that transformation takes place on other levels as well.”
Since the beginning of recorded time, there have been hundreds of thousands of predictions for the end of the world and yet mankind is still here. This hasn’t acted as deterrent to those that believe we will all perish in just a few weeks time though. People all over the world have built bunkers and stockpiled essentials including water, tinned food, blankets, candles and so on.
“In general, we feel it’s a wise precaution no matter what to have basic emergency supplies on hand. We live in an active earthquake zone and everyone should have items such as candles, matches, bandages, a gas lamp, torches and food - such as nuts, dried goods and bottled water close at hand,” said Leblanc.
On a lighter note, Leblanc quipped: “I remember the day when I realised that there might be something to worry about. On 21 December 2012, the EU presidency will still be in the hands of President Christofias.”
Misinterpretation of ancient artefacts
According to one expert the prediction about December 21 is a simple a misinterpretation of ancient artefacts.
Professor Mark Van Stone, the author of 2012: Science And Prophecy Of The Ancient Maya, traces the start of the 2012 apocalypse prophecy back to 1904, when German scholars said a Mayan picture of a sky dragon pouring water from above proved they were predicting a great flood.
Other predictions then made it into subsequent academic books on the Maya and soon became enshrined in popular mythology.
Van Stone, who teaches art history at Southwestern College, California, said the speculation comes down to a few inscriptions that indicate the Ancient Mayan calendar has been counting down since 3114BC and will hit zero on December 21.
"The Maya indicated there was a 5,000-year cycle that ended on a creation date. Scholars, and eventually everyone else, inferred that when the calendar reached that date again in 2012 that it would stop,” he told the Press Association this week.
"When I started writing my book, I thought that I would find evidence to support the scholarly idea that the clock would actually stop this time.
“It seems very reasonable. But in fact I found no evidence the Maya ever thought that. I found several examples that suggest the opposite."
When the calendar reaches zero on December 21 it will just restart, according to Van Stone.
"I say this to people who are believers: Okay, have a great time, I'll see you in 2013,” he said.
"The Maya did not predict any end. The Maya expected the future to go on for ever. So don't worry."