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The phenomenon was a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events would occur around 21 December Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae were proposed for this date. A New Age interpretation held that the date marked the start of a period during which Earth and its inhabitants would undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 21 December would mark the beginning of a new era.
Scenarios suggested for the end of the world included the arrival of the next solar maximum , an interaction between Earth and the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy ,  or Earth's collision with a mythical planet called Nibiru. Scholars from various disciplines quickly dismissed predictions of cataclysmic events as they arose.
Mayan scholars stated that no classic Mayan accounts forecast impending doom, and the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in misrepresented Mayan history and culture. Thus, the Maya date of 8. There is a strong tradition of "world ages" in Maya literature, but the record has been distorted, leaving several possibilities open to interpretation.
Coe wrote in The Maya that "there is a suggestion Coe's interpretation was repeated by other scholars through the early s. We keep looking for endings. The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change.
It's an entirely different mindset. End-times fears were widespread during the early years of the Spanish Conquest as the result of popular astrological predictions in Europe of a second Great Flood for the year Here, indeed, is portrayed with a graphic touch the final all-engulfing cataclysm" in the form of a great flood. These comments were later repeated in Morley's book, The Ancient Maya , the first edition of which was published in The Tortuguero site, which lies in southernmost Tabasco , Mexico, dates from the 7th century AD and consists of a series of inscriptions mostly in honor of the contemporary ruler Bahlam Ahau.
Confusion in classical period inscriptions suggests that the name was already ancient and unfamiliar to contemporary scribes. In one stele he is portrayed with a rope tied around his neck, and in another with an incense bag, together signifying a sacrifice to end a cycle of years.
Furthermore, they assert that this event was indeed planned for and not the 7th century. In April—May , a team of archaeologists unearthed a previously unknown inscription on a stairway at the La Corona site in Guatemala.
It contains no speculation or prophecy as to what the scribes believed would happen at that time. Most of these are in the form of "distance dates"; Long Count dates together with an additional number, known as a Distance Number, which when added to them makes a future date. Pakal's accession occurred on 9.
The inscription begins with Pakal's birthdate of 9. Another example is Stela 1 at Coba which marks the date of creation as According to Linda Schele, these 13s represent "the starting point of a huge odometer of time", with each acting as a zero and resetting to 1 as the numbers increase. Others have suggested, however, that this date marks creation as having occurred after that time span.
Many assertions about the year form part of Mayanism , a non-codified collection of New Age beliefs about ancient Maya wisdom and spirituality. Instead, it was bound up with American concepts such as the New Age movement, millenarianism , and the belief in secret knowledge from distant times and places. The general intent of this literature was not to warn of impending doom but "to foster counter-cultural sympathies and eventually socio-political and 'spiritual' activism".
In , with the publication of Robert J. Sharer 's revised table of date correlations in the 4th edition of Morley's The Ancient Maya, [Note e] each became convinced that 21 December had significant meaning. He believed that the Maya aligned their calendar to correspond to this phenomenon. In , Robert Bast wrote the first online articles regarding the possibility of a doomsday in There is no significant astronomical event tied to the Long Count's start date.
In the Solar System , the planets and the Sun lie roughly within the same flat plane, known as the plane of the ecliptic. From our perspective on Earth , the ecliptic is the path taken by the Sun across the sky over the course of the year. The twelve constellations that line the ecliptic are known as the zodiacal constellations and, annually, the Sun passes through all of them in turn. Additionally, over time, the Sun's annual cycle appears to recede very slowly backward by one degree every 72 years, or by one constellation approximately every 2, years.
This backward movement, called " precession ", is due to a slight wobble in the Earth's axis as it spins, and can be compared to the way a spinning top wobbles as it slows down. At the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, the Sun's March equinox position was in the constellation Pisces moving back into Aquarius.
This signaled the end of one astrological age the Age of Pisces and the beginning of another the Age of Aquarius. Similarly, the Sun's December solstice position in the northern hemisphere, the lowest point on its annual path; in the southern hemisphere, the highest was in the constellation of Sagittarius , one of two constellations in which the zodiac intersects with the Milky Way.
Mystical speculations about the precession of the equinoxes and the Sun's proximity to the center of the Milky Way appeared in Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Deschend. Adherents to the idea, following a theory first proposed by Munro Edmonson ,  alleged that the Maya based their calendar on observations of the Great Rift or Dark Rift, a band of dark dust clouds in the Milky Way, which, according to some scholars, the Maya called the Xibalba be or "Black Road".
Astronomers such as David Morrison argue that the galactic equator is an entirely arbitrary line and can never be precisely drawn, because it is impossible to determine the Milky Way's exact boundaries, which vary depending on clarity of view. Jenkins himself noted that even given his determined location for the line of the galactic equator, its most precise convergence with the center of the Sun already occurred in , and so asserts that, rather than , the galactic alignment instead focuses on a multi-year period centered in There is no clear evidence that the classic Maya were aware of precession.
Some Maya scholars, such as Barbara MacLeod,  Michael Grofe,  Eva Hunt, Gordon Brotherston, and Anthony Aveni,  have suggested that some Mayan holy dates were timed to precessional cycles, but scholarly opinion on the subject remains divided. He believed this which would eventually reach a singularity of infinite complexity in , at which point anything and everything imaginable would occur simultaneously. He conceived this idea over several years in the early to mids whilst using psilocybin mushrooms and DMT.
McKenna expressed "novelty" in a computer program which produces a waveform known as "timewave zero" or the "timewave".
Based on McKenna's interpretation of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching , an ancient Chinese book on divination ,  the graph purports to show great periods of novelty corresponding with major shifts in humanity's biological and sociocultural evolution. He believed that the events of any given time are resonantly related to the events of other times, and chose the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as the basis for calculating his end date of November The first edition of The Invisible Landscape referred to but no specific day during the year only twice.
Novelty theory has been criticized for "rejecting countless ideas presumed as factual by the scientific community", depending "solely on numerous controversial deductions that contradict empirical logic", and encompassing "no suitable indication of truth", with the conclusion that novelty theory is a pseudoscience.
The idea that the year presaged a world cataclysm, the end of the world, or the end of human civilization , became a subject of popular media speculation as the date of 21 December approached. This idea was promulgated by many pages on the Internet , particularly on YouTube. Some believers in a doomsday used the term "galactic alignment" to describe a different phenomenon proposed by some scientists to explain a pattern in mass extinctions supposedly observed in the fossil record.
To account for this, it was suggested that vertical oscillations made by the Sun on its million-year orbit of the galactic center cause it to regularly pass through the galactic plane. When the Sun's orbit takes it outside the galactic plane which bisects the galactic disc , the influence of the galactic tide is weaker.
A third suggested alignment was some sort of planetary conjunction occurring on 21 December ; however, there was no conjunction on that date.
Most scientific estimates, however, say that geomagnetic reversals take between 1, and 10, years to complete,  and do not start on any particular date. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the solar maximum would peak in late or , and that it would be fairly weak, with a below-average number of sunspots. This idea, which appeared in various forms since , initially predicted Doomsday in May , but proponents abandoned that date after it passed without incident.
Author Graham Hancock , in his book Fingerprints of the Gods , interpreted Coe's remarks in Breaking the Maya Code  as evidence for the prophecy of a global cataclysm. Other speculations regarding doomsday in included predictions by the Web Bot project, a computer program that purports to predict the future by analyzing Internet chatter.
However, commentators have rejected claims that the bot is able to predict natural disasters, as opposed to human-caused disasters like stock market crashes. The date was also loosely tied to the long-running concept of the Photon Belt, which predicted a form of interaction between Earth and Alcyone , the largest star of the Pleiades cluster. Some media outlets tied the fact that the red supergiant star Betelgeuse would undergo a supernova at some point in the future to the phenomenon.
Betelgeuse is roughly light years away, and so its supernova would not affect Earth. Another claim involved alien invasion.
In December , an article, first published in examiner. The phenomenon spread widely after coming to public notice, particularly on the Internet. Hundreds of thousands of websites were posted on the subject. A panel of scientists questioned on the topic at a plenary session at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific contended that the Internet played a substantial role in allowing this doomsday date to gain more traction than previous similar panics.
Beginning in , the small French village of Bugarach , population , began receiving visits from "esoterics"—mystic believers who had concluded that the local mountain, Pic de Bugarach , was the ideal location to weather the transformative events of In , the local mayor, Jean-Pierre Delord, began voicing fears to the international press that the small town would be overwhelmed by an influx of thousands of visitors in , even suggesting he might call in the army.
The villagers are exasperated: the exaggerated importance of something which they see as completely removed from reality is bewildering. After 21 December, this will surely return to normal. Two raves were foiled, 12 people had to be turned away from the peak, and 5 people were arrested for carrying weapons. Similarly, the pyramid-like mountain of Rtanj , in the Serbian Carpathians , attracted much apocalyptic attention, as many believed an artificial pyramid structure buried within it would emit a powerful force shield on the day, protecting those within it.
Hotels around the base received up to bookings a piece for rooms. In Russia, inmates of a women's prison experienced "a collective mass psychosis " in the weeks leading up to the supposed doomsday, while residents of a factory town near Moscow reportedly emptied a supermarket of matches, candles, food and other supplies.
The Minister of Emergency Situations declared in response that according to "methods of monitoring what is occurring on the planet Earth", there would be no apocalypse in December. In December , Vatican astronomer Rev. Authorities suspected the man had been "influenced" by the prediction of the upcoming apocalypse. On 6 December , Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a hoax speech for the radio station triple J in which she declared "My dear remaining fellow Australians; the end of the world is coming.
Whether the final blow comes from flesh-eating zombies, demonic hell-beasts or from the total triumph of K-Pop , if you know one thing about me it is this — I will always fight for you to the very end. In all of these archaeological sites , Maya rituals were held at dawn led by shamans and Maya priests. An additional 10, people visited Teotihuacan near Mexico City , which is not a Maya site. The fire ceremony at Tikal was held at dawn in the main plaza of the Temple of the Great Jaguar.
The ceremony was led by Guatemalan and foreign priests. During the ceremony the priests asked for unity, peace and the end of discrimination and racism, with the hope that the start of a new cycle will be a "new dawn". About 3, people participated in the event. Most of these events were organized by agencies of the Mexican and Central American governments, and their respective tourism industries expected to attract thousands of visitors.
A spokesman from the Conference of Maya Ministers commented that for them the Tikal ceremony is not a show for tourists but something spiritual and personal.
The secretary of the Great Council of Ancestral Authorities commented that living Maya felt they were excluded from the activities in Tikal.