Some Mayan experts are out to dispel the belief that the ancient Mayans predicted a global apocalypse next year.
The Mayan calendar seemingly marks the end of a 5,126-year-old cycle around December 12-21, 2012 which should bring about the return of Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god associated with war and creation.
Author Jose Arguelles called the date “the ending of time as we know it” in a 1987 book that brought about legions of seers saying that a cataclysmic end awaited us around that time.
Now, however, some specialists meeting in southern Mexico say it simply marks the end of one period of creation and the beginning of another.
“We have to be clear about this. There is no prophecy for 2012,” said Erik Velasquez, an etchings specialist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “It’s a marketing fallacy.”
The National Institute of Anthropological History in Mexico has been trying to clarify the masses of forecasters foretelling of the end of the world. “The West’s messianic thinking has distorted the world view of ancient civilizations like the Mayans,” the institute said in a statement.
In the Mayan calendar, the long calendar count starts in 3,114 B.C. and is divided into 394-year periods called Baktuns. Mayans held the number 13 sacred and, as fate would have it, the 13th Baktun ends in 2012.
Sven Gronemeyer, a researcher of Mayan codes from La Trobe University in Australia who’s been been working feverishly to try and decode the calendar, said the so-called “end day” reflects a transition from one era to the next in which Bolon Yokte returns.
“Because Bolon Yokte was already present at the day of creation…it just seemed natural for the Mayan that Bolon Yokte will again be present,” he said.
Of the approximately 15,000 registered glyphic texts found in different parts of what was then the Mayan empire, only two mention 2012, the Institute said.
“The Maya did not think about humanity, global warming or predict the poles would fuse together,” said Alfonso Ladena, a professor from the Complutense University of Madrid. “We project our worries on them.”
So maybe it’s safe to go ahead and buy those green bananas after all.