Male Matters - Headline: Doom and Gloom? Deck: Mayan Predictions
By Elliot Goldenberg / November, December 2012

I hope I get my December check from The Parklander a little early this year. At least I hope I get it before December 21. In case you haven't heard, that is the day the sky may be falling -- not according to Chicken Little, but according to the Mayans, or at least some of the interpreters of Mayan prophesy.

I'll be quite relieved when I wake up relatively intact on the morning of the 22nd, look in the mirror, and see that I haven't turned into a blue being from the planet Pandora.

In fact, right up there with James Cameron's wonderfully creative Avatar as one of the highest grossing movies of 2009 was, perhaps not surprisingly, the disaster film 2012, which was inspired by the worst case scenarios of December 21 actually coming true. There was even a marketing campaign in which TV spots told people to "prepare for the end." All they needed to scare people even more was Orson Welles reading from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.

Not everyone who believes in the Mayan prophesies sees them as doom and gloom. While December 21 is interpreted by some to be the date of a major cataclysm -- since, according to the Mayans, it's the end of a 5,125-year cycle -- others see it as just the opposite. If that's the case, then maybe we all won't be hurled out into space, enveloped by a black hole, or consumed by fire and brimstone.

I prefer the kindler and gentler New Age interpretation. It goes something like this: December 21 will actually mark a new beginning in which earth and its inhabitants will undergo a positive spiritual transformation. The Hopi Indians, who may be the descendants of the Mayans, certainly believe this, and talked about the Mayan prophesies at a recent meeting of tribal elders in Sedona, Arizona. To the Hopis, we could be getting ready for a new galactic alignment -- which, they believe, is a good thing.

The bad news, though, is that, one day we still may be hit by a passing asteroid or comet.

As for the Mayans, meanwhile, these cosmic prognosticators, as advanced as they were, also included human sacrifices while playing their sporting games for keeps -- no doubt giving a whole new meaning to the term "sudden death." They probably would have felt right at home in this era of mixed martial arts.

Barbaric or not, they certainly knew their stuff when it came to things like astronomy. What's truly amazing about the Mayans, in fact, is how they had such an extraordinary understanding of the universe around them. After all, they created a calendar said to be as accurate as an atomic clock. And much of what they believed has been confirmed by modern-day scientists.

Some experts attribute the insights of the Mayan shamans -- those holy men who could possibly see into the future -- to the use of psychedelic mushrooms. But, however they did what they did, whether being assisted by aliens from outer space, or, over and over again, chanting the name of Timothy Leary, the weeks preceding December 21, 2012, will be filled with stories about a possible Armageddon.

On TV's History Channel, we'll surely get a large dose of scientists telling us there's no worry, while doomsday predictors will warn us, at the same time, to be ready for the earth's axis to twist around like a top.

As for me, I plan to sleep soundly on the night of December 21. I just hope that, when I wake up the next day, the birds are still chirping, the wind is still blowing, the sun is still shining, and I'm not blue with a tail.

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