Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yes, this is my post about the Mayan calendar and December 21st, 2012

Party like it's 4 ahau 3 kankin!
I'm definitely not trying to brag about this (that would be really lame), but I remember a time when I was one of only a handful of people in my personal world who knew (or cared) about the whole "Mayan calendar-2012 apocalypse" thing. 
As a much younger man in the late 1990's, I first heard about the "end of the Mayan calendar in 2012" theory and the potential for a related apocalypse. Some close friends and I were watching a History Channel documentary, no doubt. At least, I think that's the case...I can't remember the details of the show, really. What I do remember is a dramatic moment where the narrator's voice became very ominous, and we were shown the grinding wheels of the Mayan calendar spinning rapidly. Then POW! It came to a sudden halt on a date that, we were told, corresponded with December 21st, 2012 on the Gregorian calendar.
This was the first time I'd ever heard of the supposed "end" of the Mayan calendar. Up until that point, I'd had a mild interest in Native American/Mesoamerican cultures. But that show really ramped up my fascination with Mesoamerican history in particular. Since then I've enjoyed reading about those cultures, in what was no doubt a way for me to fulfill my childhood dreams of getting into anthropology and/or archaeology (the first movie I can remember seeing in theaters was Raiders of the Lost Ark, if that tells you anything).
Anyway, time (of course) marched on and on. I finished college, got into the working world (hooray), got married, had kids...all that American dream stuff. I also lost my connection to roleplaying for a time, unfortunately.
Flash forward to today, and I'm sitting here feeling quite underwhelmed by the fact that the long-awaited date is only a few days away. And that makes me somewhat sad. I'm sorta puzzled by this underwhelmed feeling. Perhaps it stems from a notion that nothing spectacular is going to happen on Friday.

Over the years, I've witnessed the obscure notion put forth in that late 90's documentary grow exponentially into the "doomsday craze" it is today. I've watched countless other documentaries discuss the topic and posit theories ranging from apocalypse to some transformative event in human evolution/consciousness.
I never believed for a second that the world would end on 12/21/12. Yes, I've been one of those who entertained the thought, irrational or not, that the world would experience some mystical rebirth into...well, a time of greater harmony. Yes, yes, a bunch of hippy-dippy, New Age garbage, right? But a man can dream. If anything, I've enjoyed injecting that more positive possibility into the doomsday talk that usually comes up.
So anyway, here I find myself on the cusp of the event itself. It feels strange that the date is almost here. I guess, for me, this is one of those moments when you step back and go "whoa, where did all the time go?" You know, one of those stereotypical things that occurs to old(er) folks.
Of course, I know that the Mayan calendar in its entirety is not going to "end." Rather, it's the end of a roughly 400-year period called a "baktun." The 13th baktun is coming to an end, and the 14th baktun is going to begin. The date on the Mayan calendar is 4 ahau 3 kankin. Simple as that. 
So, how am I going to celebrate? At the very least, I plan on dancing around intermittently during the day on Friday and singing "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 4 ahau 3 kankin!" to the tune of Prince's "1999." And I'm going to let myself hope, for one more time, that something mystical will happen and humanity will transcend our numerous long-standing psychic afflictions such as hate, greed, etc. 
Either that, or our alien overlords will finally return.


  1. No worries. Earlier this month my wife and I went to Dzibilchaltun and at the gift shop there she bought a Mayan calendar... for 2013.

    Why make a calendar if the world ends on 12/21/2012?

  2. "Either that, or our alien overlords will finally return."

    In the 1980s I read a lot of ancient astronaut books, and back then I was semi-convinced of that worldview. One of the many things I read about was the 12-21-12 Mayan calendar thing. Ever since then I associated 12-21-12 with the return of the aliens who started human civilization.

    I do not expect that, but it sure would be cool.

  3. This should ease all our worries...