Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
The wisdom to know the difference;
And one night with Jessica Biel before December 21, 2012,
when you shatter the Earth like Rush Limbaugh
swinging at a piñata full of hydrocodone and pancakes.
December 21, 2012. Doomsday. The End of the World. Major sales blowouts at Shoe Carnivals everywhere.
Is that really what the Mayans had in mind? That December 21, 2012 meant our ass?
I think not.
Unlike the religions of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which view time as linear, leading ultimately to a cataclysmic end-time event, the Mayans viewed time in the same fashion as their pagan ancestors–cyclical. Like most ancient religions, its fundamental essence consisted of renewal and restoration. The perpetual religious themes of renewal, including resurrection and rebirth, corresponded with seasonal change and agricultural cycles. The crops wither away; the crops are reborn. And so on and so forth. The gods who either represented or facilitated this process were regarded as a source of revitalization and sustenance. Without them, there’d be no corn. And, consequently, no good reason for man’s pinnacle of innovation… the mint-flavored toothpick.
December 21st of any given year marks the winter solstice, at which the life-giving light of the sun begins to return and the days gradually grow longer. As told in the Popol Vuh, the Mayan equivalent of the Bible, creation was a result of the triumph of order over chaos. This is reminiscent of the ancient Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish, in which a primordial, watery abyss must be altered into an orderly form, creating the separation of water and land. The Hebrew story of Genesis is indebted to this vision as well (Gen 1:7). In the Popol Vuh, the creation of the world occurs on a particularly special winter solstice, when, as the myth relates, Hunaphu, the “First Father,” and his heroic sons conquer the lords of death and chaos in the underworld. As you can see, the Mayans smoked an inordinate amount of crack. However, scholars are quick to point out that I could drink them under the table. No contest.
Anyway, the underworld associated with this story plays an important role in our upcoming 2012 date. The Mayans were keen observers of the sky. They meticulously tracked the movements of the sun and the stars. Naturally, they spent less time under the roof than we do, and a great deal more time lying beneath the stars. We would do the same if it wasn’t for air conditioning. And porn.
Brilliant astronomers as they were, they could mark the sun’s position at the time of a winter solstice better than Dick Cheney targeting an unsuspecting hunter’s head. Their pyramidal temples were situated with such precision that, at the time of the winter solstice, the sun shines upon the temple in such a way as to create a serpent-like shadow, representing their greatest god, Kukulcan. Show-offs.
But, what’s vastly more amazing is that they could predict a winter solstice event so rare that it takes place only once every 26,000 years. This is the special winter solstice that they associated with the world’s creation. Due to the fact that the Earth wobbles on its polar axis, the sun, as seen from Earth, appears in different places against the backdrop of stars in the night sky. And there’s an enormous band of stars that traverses our night sky, a galaxy of hundreds of billions of stars to which we are home–the Milky Way. Situated on the outermost arm of the galaxy, we can see the rest of it in broad view on a clear midsummer’s night.
Soon, the sun, as seen from Earth, will rise on December 21st smack-dab in the middle of the Milky Way Galaxy. And, because it takes 26,000 years for the Earth to complete one full wobble on its axis, this event occurs only once every 26,000 years. The Mayans pinpointed this event to 2012, give or take a few years. And it turns out they’ll be right. How they could have calculated this so accurately with their primitive technology is astounding. They had to have cheated.
The conjunction of the winter solstice sun with the Milky Way Galaxy around December 21, 2012 will align the sun not only with the center of the galaxy, but also along the galaxy’s “dark rift,” a stretch of darkness along the Milky Way made up of interstellar dust clouds. This, the Mayans thought, was Xibalba–the underworld. This is where the resurrected Hunaphu and his sons conquered death and chaos in order to create the world in this Age. And December 21, 2012, they believed, would usher in a New Age. A time of great renewal.
So, what do you think? Will December 21, 2012 really bring about revitalization in some form for the human race? Will it be the coming of the Messiah? And, if so, will this be his first or second visit? (Hint: If you can neither speak yiddish nor sport a Jew fro, then this would be apocalyptic pit-stop numeral uno, you good little Protestant, you.)
And if Jesus is “coming,” do we have any tarps left over from those old Gallagher days? (Was there a line back there somewhere, because I’m pretty sure I just crossed it.)
Or will December 21, 2012 be just another day? Picking up your clothes at the cleaners and blowing your boss.
I sure wish Glenn Beck would just come out and tell us.