Mayan apocalyptic interpretations fall short of expectations

Jan. 28, 2013

Samantha Morley
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It was cold, dark and crowded. I’d already been awake for four hours, and the sun hadn’t even peeked above the horizon. I stood among thousands of Neo-Druids, Neo-Pagans and others who garbed themselves in unusual clothing.

Hundreds of us huddled against the magnificent stones that towered several feet over our heads. The sun would soon rise at Stonehenge.

Dec. 21, 2012, was a day that many anticipated would catastrophically wipe out humanity. But mine started at Stonehenge, where I was surrounded by worshippers of all kinds. We grouped around the stones with excitement and awed at the sun as it gradually overcame the horizon.

There was no sudden inferno that engulfed screeching humans, or rapid bombardment of asteroids or an overwhelming flood that swept us all away.

Instead, thousands of people were able to enjoy and appreciate the rising of the sun at a sacred monument as they welcomed the shortest day of the year.

For those who kept up with the news, it has been said since early 2012 that the Mayan calendar was not a predication of the end of the world. Instead, Dec. 21 marked the day that the 13th 144,000-day cycle of the Mayan Long Count Calendar ended.

People like Rev. Harold Camping, who incorrectly predicted an apocalypse on May 21, 2011, and then joined the chorus of those expecting the end to come Dec. 21, threw many societies into tizzies.

Mayan astronomy scholar Anthony Aveni of Colgate University provided insight into the matter, stating that another Mayan calendar that dates back 1,200 years ago also exists.

This calendar consists of 6,000 years. “Why would they go into those numbers if the world is going to come to an end this year?“Aveni asked in an interview with the Telegraph.

World ending or not, I was able to enjoy the pleasant countryside of England on the shortest day of 2012 and appreciate the blissful, incoherent songs of the Neo-Pagans and Neo-Druids.

I even got to see a man who had legally changed his name to King Arthur, who knights people, with a few other special Winter Solstice attendees.

We’re alive and well. The world will continue, even when society encounters another apocalyptic theory that may pass by without any consequence. We will only know when we get there.