The End of Time

The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012

ANTHONY AVENI
WITH A FOREWORD BY PRUDENCE M. RICE
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nstb
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  • Book Info
    The End of Time
    Book Description:

    December 21, 2012. The Internet, bookshelves, and movie theaters are full of prophecies, theories, and predictions that this date marks the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. Whether the end will result from the magnentic realignment of the north and south poles, bringing floods, earthquakes, death, and destruction; or from the return of alien caretakers to enlighten or enslave us; or from a global awakening, a sudden evolution of Homo sapiens into non-corporeal beings—theories of great, impending changes abound. In The End of Time, award-winning astronomer and Maya researcher Anthony Aveni explores these theories, explains their origins, and measures them objectively against evidence unearthed by Maya archaeologists, iconographers, and epigraphers. He probes the latest information astronomers and earth scientists have gathered on the likelihood of Armageddon and the oft-proposed link between the Maya Long Count cycle and the precession of the equinoxes. He then expands on these prophecies to include the broader context of how other cultures, ancient and modern, thought about the “end of things” and speculates on why cataclysmic events in human history have such a strong appeal within American pop culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-009-8
    Subjects: General Science, Astronomy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    PRUDENCE M. RICE

    Several decades ago when I was a graduate student, I asked a professor about the possibility that a Maya building was astronomically oriented. His response was to scoff that there were so many stars in the sky that it was inevitable that a building would be oriented to at least one of them. (Apparently, he was of the mind that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people asking questions.) But that was then and this is now, and thankfully such queries are no longer treated so dismissively. For this, we owe a tremendous debt to the careful cross-cultural observations...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. 1 INTRODUCTION: HOW DYLAN GOT ME STARTED
    (pp. 1-8)

    On December 21, 2012 (or December 23, 2012, depending on how you align their ancient calendar with ours), the odometer of ancient Maya timekeeping known as the Long Count will revert to zero and the cyclic tally of 1,872,000 days (5,125.3661 years) will start all over again. When I first became attracted to Maya studies over forty years ago I could not possibly have imagined that I would write a book about this event. Blame Dylan.

    Three years ago I began receiving e-mails from a troubled Canadian high-school student, Dylan Aucoin, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He had been reading Web...

  7. 2 WHAT’S IN STORE? A USER’S GUIDE TO 2012 MAYA PROPHECIES
    (pp. 9-34)

    Metaphysical travel—also called sacred travel—is a burgeoning branch of today’s tourist industry. Popular destinations tend to be mysterious places, especially those many of us have difficulty believing could have been constructed by an ordinary human labor force. Egypt’s pyramids, Stonehenge, and Machu Picchu all come to mind. “[W]hoever built them built them on places that were already places of power on the earth—the acupuncture points on the earth’s body that hold powerful energies,” notes the proprietor of Body and Mind Spirit Journey, a travel outfit based in Sedona, Arizona.¹ People who sign up for these journeys of...

  8. 3 WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE MAYA AND THEIR IDEAS ABOUT CREATION
    (pp. 35-64)

    The Maya thought a lot about the creation of the world, as this passage, one of many from the colonial Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, exemplifies. But who were they and where did they come from? The Maya lived—and still do—in the peninsula of Yucatan, which encompasses portions of Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador and all of Guatemala and Belize. They inhabit the southern end of Mesoamerica, a common culture area that exhibits a long tradition of a shared set of symbols and ideas, as well as social customs and material forms of expression. This larger cultural...

  9. 4 THE CALENDAR: JEWEL OF THE MAYA CROWN
    (pp. 65-84)

    Western civilization is not alone in seeking its origins in deep time. We bundle our years into decades, our decades into centuries, and our centuries into millennia. Our ages—the Age of Reason, the Age of Enlightenment, the Middle Ages—are packaged into eras, such as the Christian and pre-Christian eras. For the believer, the Christian era will end with the second coming of Christ, for in the Christian historical view all things were made by God expressly for the ends they fulfill. The new era that will follow will constitute a timeless eternal existence to be experienced only by...

  10. 5 THE ASTRONOMY BEHIND THE CURRENT MAYA CREATION
    (pp. 85-116)

    In Chapter 2, I noted the number of astronomical and other natural events conjured up by the Y12 prognosticators. To summarize, here is a short list of the most common questions I have been asked about possible natural events that might have something to do with December 21, 2012:

    Is there a unique galactic alignment that will take place in 2012?

    Could the Maya have known about it?

    Special or not, what effect can such an alignment have on the earth?

    Will a solar maximum occur in 2012?

    Might there be a cataclysmic effect on earth as a result?

    Will...

  11. 6 WHAT GOES AROUND: OTHER ENDS OF TIME
    (pp. 117-134)

    The Maya were not unique in their creation of ever larger time cycles that transcend seasonal years; for example, we reckon the ten years of a decade, the hundred of a century, the thousand of a millennium, each seeming to take on a character of its own. The Maya thought of katuns as we think of our decades, as a way of labeling patterns of social behavior. In America, the 1890s were gay, the 1930s depressing, and the 1960s revolutionary and marked by idealism, yet marred by assassinations. On a larger time scale we speak of the Dark Ages, the...

  12. 7 ONLY IN AMERICA
    (pp. 135-162)

    Novus ordo seclorum.¹ Inscribed on the back of U.S. dollar bills below a mysterious-looking eye perched on top of a pyramid, this statement declares the advent of “a new order of the ages.” America always was a birthplace for new ideas—new beginnings. As Thomas Paine put it, “the birthday of a new world is at hand.”² To understand how and why this image of America was cultivated and why the United States has become the spawning ground of so many contemporary apocalyptic theories, including Maya 2012, we need to examine developments in apocalyptic creation history discussed in the previous...

  13. 8 EPILOGUE: ANTICIPATION
    (pp. 163-166)

    Preparing this manuscript during a period of world history that some pundits have described as the greatest economic collapse in the lifetime of most Americans has elicited a number of comments from family, friends, and colleagues. Some say, “Too bad the Maya got it wrong by four years” or “Maybe they made an error?” (Oddly enough, Bishop Ussher’s calculation of the start of creation necessitated a four-year correction.) Others ask, “What if the great economic downturn is just the beginning of the downslide of a roller-coaster ride that will lead to doom—or Rapture—in 2012?” I cannot speculate except...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 167-178)
  15. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 179-182)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 183-190)