Prophecies and predictions have always been part of human history. From the Oracle at Delphi, through Biblical times and up to present day, most prophecies have been made by two distinct groups of people: the scientists and the mystics. Their methods of divination differ dramatically. Scientists always give what they believe are reasons for their predictions, either mathematical observations, historical trends or, increasingly, computer models. Mystics don’t need to. They claim connection to a higher stratum of information that provides their knowledge.

For whatever reason, modern society seems to place more credence on the claims of scientists. Ironically, modern scientists don’t even take credit for the knowledge, instead passing credence onto a third entity known as “the evidence.”

Scientists of the distant past are often disparaged as mystics in the opinion of modern scientists. Nostradamus was the most famous of those past prophets. Though scorned by today’s scientists, he was a highly educated, multilingual physician serving in the court of the King of France. He was hardly considered a charlatan or crackpot in his time.

Respected writers such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke are renowned for making remarkably astute and accurate predictions. In the 1800s, Verne predicted a nuclear powered submarine and rocket travel to the moon. In 1836, Wells predicted an internet-like “World Brain.”

Through the ages, popes, saints and artists have consistently added their predictions of the future. In a few days, we’ll know if at least one very popular prediction is accurate. For years, New Agers have been pointing to the Mayan calendar as proof that the end of time will strike on December 21, 2012, the date of the winter solstice and the end of a Mayan calendar.

You’re out of touch. I’m out of time. At the epicenter of the 2012 prophecy is the Meso-American Mayan culture. Most people think of the Mayans as that civilization crushed by Spanish conquistadors beginning in the 1400s. Some believe Mayans are a vanished race. In fact, the Mayan people still exist and practice their own culture and speak their own dialects, though far removed from the extensive and rich society evidenced by historical artifacts and ruins in Central America. Dating back to 2600 B.C., the Mayan culture was one of history’s most powerful and scientifically sound. It’s their calendrical talents that have led to claims of prophecy.

Combining celestial observations with advanced mathematics, early Mayan scientists developed an estimation of the solar year that was more accurate than the Gregorian calendar we use today. They developed many different cyclical calendars based only in part on that solar estimation. To measure long periods of time, the Mayans used what is called the Long Count Calendar. The cycles of that Mayan calendar repeat and have different names for each 5000-year segment.

Traced to the fourth century, the Long Count is the one used to predict the end of the cycle of time. The obvious problem in correlating the calendars of the Maya and our modern calendar is the differing mathematics. Since the early 1900s, historians and scholars have been interpreting and comparing. The consensus appears to be that the present Great Cycle began on August 11, 3114 B.C. and will end this December 21. This last of the Great Cycles will terminate a longer sequence of 26,000 years believed by many to be the total evolutionary expression of mankind on Earth.

Of Snickers and Milky Ways Doomsday, let me count the ways: 1999 Y2K apocalypse, the Rapture (I and II), Halley’s comet, Hale-Bopp comet, any number of religious fanatics and their associated cult predictions. Pop culture has noted a long list of failed doom. Will December 21, 2012 be another? Most of the media says so. Some scholars of Mayan history point out flaws in the logic. They snicker at yet another prediction of calamity.

On the other hand, there is something celestially significant that will occur on that fateful Friday. It happens every year. It’s the winter solstice. Add in a handful of other factual astronomical events and you can build a case for concern. It is true that we are nearing the peak of solar sunspot and magnetic field activity. NASA and others warn about solar flares. The sun’s own magnetic poles are expected to reverse soon.

At 5:11 p.m. on December 21, the earth will be transiting the galactic plane. That’s a rare occurrence when the sun aligns between earth and the center of the Milky Way, blocking any energy that flows to earth from the center of the galaxy.

How would calamity come? The magnetic field of the earth could be disrupted, allowing solar radiation to penetrate and fry the planet. The electrical grid would go down, a very real threat, according to U.S. intel. Teens wouldn’t be able to text! Gravitational and geothermal events could cause earthquakes. Massive storms would converge overnight. Only a fragile balance keeps our planet habitable.

Or, we’ll make it through the holidays and stumble toward the very real prospect of tumbling over a fiscal cliff.

For now, I’m not sending Christmas cards until the 22nd.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit for past articles.

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