December 21st, 2012, is when the Maya's "Long Count" calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era. You can Google up any number of dire forecasts of widespread catastrophe. Many are convinced that a spate of recent violent weather, unexplained bird deaths and powerful burst of solar activity are all precursors.
Mayan Elder Miguel Chiquin and an Abuela (Grandmother) Maria Teresa Lopez from the Mayan Nation in Guatemala are in Denver to share a message that is anything but apocalyptic.
They say they have been asked to share the knowledge of their Mayan grandfathers and grandmothers that has been kept alive for centuries.
They say 2012 will bring clarity and illumination, not disaster. They say the Mayan community does not speak of the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 as the end of the world, but rather the beginning of the "Calendar of the 5th Sun."
On 9NEWS at Noon, Chiquin Mayan talked about what he described as the "Six Knots Energy Vortexes" which are opening now, resulting in upheaval all over the world; fires, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, flooding and more.
He said the upheaval is a re-alignment of the Earth, in preparation for an era of peace to follow. He said to help balance these occurrences, Mayan elders are performing rituals in Guatemala and that non-Mayans can help by pooling their positive energies.
Maya civilization, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished for centuries in Mesoamerica, especially between A.D. 300 and 900. Its Long Count calendar, which was discontinued under Spanish colonization, tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero.
"For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle," said Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Florida in an interview with USA Today. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."
Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years.
Scholars doubt the ancient Maya extrapolated great meaning from anticipating the alignment - if they were even aware of what the configuration would be.
Astronomers generally agree that "it would be impossible the Maya themselves would have known that," says Susan Milbrath, a Maya archaeoastronomer and a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. What's more, she says, "we have no record or knowledge that they would think the world would come to an end at that point."
University of Florida anthropologist Susan Gillespie says the 2012 phenomenon comes "from media and from other people making use of the Maya past to fulfill agendas that are really their own."
Mayan elder Miguel Chiquin will be in Denver through March. He is here at the invitation of the Metropolitan State College of Denver Chicano Studies Department.
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