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The Mayans Weren't Predicting Our Demise, They Just Ran Out of Stone for the Calendar

Updated on June 30, 2012

The Mayans

When the Mayans created the calendar and predicted “the end” of the world they based it loosely around a cosmic event. This event includes the sun and the “Dark Rift” (also known as the Great Rift). The Dark Rift is a section of the Milky Way that has around 1 million overlapping gas clouds and is about 100 parsecs (300 light years) from Earth. The Mayan’s believed that this rift was the birth canal of their goddess. They believed that their prophecy would be fulfilled when the sun crossed over the Dark Rift. The only problem here is that the Sun will take a very long time to cross over this rift, over 100 years. So why did they choose 2012 to pin this on? Was it at the end or beginning of its transition? It’s actually somewhere in the middle. 2012 was most likely chosen because at the end of this year (roughly around December 21st) the winter solstice will occur and the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way. This alignment only happens once every 26,000 years and the fact that it coincides with the ending of their Long-Count Calendar is why it was most likely chosen. Just like any calendar we have created though, the long-count calendar was created to start over and be reused. Its ending doesn’t symbolize any special event.


Other Beliefs

I will go ahead and cover a few other theories quickly. To begin, the polar shift theory. This theory can be disproved in only a few sentences. The belief that a polar shift would create the world’s demise is a comical topic. It takes roughly 5,000 years for the poles to go through a “shifting” process. The process has not been documented to ever happen and the only time it was believed to have happened was over 700,000 years ago.

All other cosmic involved catastrophic events can be thrown out. If we had a meteor or a planet that was heading our way and would ultimately be our demise, you think we would have seen it by now? With all of the satellites we have and how many people worldwide we have viewing the skies 24/7, I think we would know about something soaring through space towards us.


Long-Count Calendar

The belief that the Mayan calendar ends 2012 and signifies our demise is the last topic I will cover. To begin, the long-count calendar is the way that the Mayans kept track of their days. To briefly explain it, there are 5 parts to the calendar. The organization of the dates is set up by 5 numbers separated by periods ( The first number ranges from 1 to 20 and once it reaches 20 it is counted as 1 for the second number (i.e. = The second number ranges from 1 to 18 and once it reaches 18 it is counted as 1 for the third number. The third number ranges from 1 to 20. And the fourth number ranges from 1 to 20 as well. What this means is that they believed there were 20 days in a month, 18 months in a year, 20 years in their decade, and 20 decades in a millennia.

To show you the math; for the first number you multiply by 1, for the second number you multiply by 20, for the third number you multiply by 360, for the fourth number you multiply by 7200, and for the fifth number you multiply by 144000. Of course each subsequent number is just the prior number multiplied. To give you an example:

0 x 1 = 0

2 x 20 = 40

5 x 360 = 1800

6 x 7200 = 43200

5 x 144000 = 720000

So this example is 765,040 days into the year.

According to the Mayans we are the fourth creation of the Gods. A millennium is called a “b’ak’tun” to the Mayans. They believed that the third creation of the Gods ended at the beginning of the 14th b’ak’tun. The third creation of the Gods ended on a long count of If we believe the Mayans; the next b’ak’tun will be our 13th and our last. is December 20, 2012.

If we are to believe their numbers it is clear that we will inevitably end as the fourth creation of the Gods this December. Though this is bad, it is worth noting that the Mayans didn’t believe this to be a bad thing. They viewed this mark as a note of celebration.

The only problem I have with this involves the Leap Year. The leap year didn’t get introduced into the calendar until 45BC when Caesar created it. Since its creation we have had around 514 leap years. If Caesar hadn’t created the leap year today would be October 29, 2013 (roughly). By those calculations we have already passed December 21, 2012 and we logically should have already died. This also influences all other events. It means that the Mayans hadn’t pinpointed the exact occurrence of the winter solstice, among other things.


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    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 5 years ago from Texas

      The Mayan calendar lasted a lot longer than their empire! And yes it was all just a joke! We are all still here.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 5 years ago from Florida

      Most of it went above my head but as you can see I'm reading this on 2/3/2013, so you were absolutely right. I never believed the Mayan theory. Only God knows when the end will come.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Mary! Thank goodness the whole thing passed over without a single thing happening. People will believe whatever they want to believe.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Boy, this is pretty deep for me. My attitude is "Oh, well, if it happens it happens". I have a friend who actually tried to prepare for the Big Day!

      Interesting read. I voted it UP, etc.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 6 years ago from Texas

      Oh, well I was joking, but honestly a virus outbreak wouldn't be impossible. There have been many virus outbreaks that have spread in our world. Yes we have been able to control it, eventually, and come up with cures (for the most part), but who's to say that will always happen. The possibility of a mutant strand of DNA going loose is very likely. And yes if it was by puncture wound that would probably be handled. But if it was airborne I don't think we could handle that as well. Facemasks would have to be worn at all times.

      Of course all of this is speculation. I don't think a certain climate would x out a "zombie-friendly" gene. Viruses adapt and mutate. I'm sure they could live in those regions in time. What constitutes a "zombie-friendly" mutation/virus anyways? Something that destroys your brain cells?

      Did you see in the news that a man in Miami, FL ate another mans face off? Scary stuff man.

    • jdrogers91 profile image

      Jimmy Rogers 6 years ago from Muscatine, IA

      I hate to be a rain on your limb-ridden parade, but the world we live in now is anti-zombie to begin with, for countless reasons. Not to mention I'm sure a zombie/virus outbreak transmitted by oral puncture wounds would be handled quite quickly. On top of it all, certain climates wouldn't be very zombie-friendly, such as the humid air in many forests, or the unforgiving ice of the tundra.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 6 years ago from Texas

      There are so many beliefs behind the world ending in 2012. The Mayan calendar is just a way of documenting the day. The simple fact that they believed a new age would begin after 13 b'ak'tun is what fuels the hype. Honestly this started as superstition, and once it was disproved it turned into a cash cow. It doesn't count to anything. It's just like the calendar on your wall, it just lets you know what day it is.

      And a Zombie Apocalypse is how we're going to go out. Everyone knows that!

    • wynnestudios profile image

      wynnestudios 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      What about Zombies? I'm not worried about the end of the world. I doubt our time will even see it and even if we do, we won't know it's coming until it happens.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 6 years ago from Southern California

      besides counting days, what is the event in 2012 that will cause the end?

      It seems like if there were an event to end the world, then the calendar would be one of count down, rather than just counting days and posting dates.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Christin! I don't think the conspiracy theorists will change their idea. Too much money to be found. All I hope is that people find it before they go out and spend more money on false information.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      What an excellent and informative hub. I do hope many 2012 conspiracy theorists find their way to it ;) Thanks - voted up, interesting, useful, shared etc.

    • BraidedZero profile image

      James Robertson 6 years ago from Texas

      Well that's the great thing about the long-count calendar! It never ends!! So anything that is discovered stays within the long-count calendar. They have discovered that our translation of the events within the long count calendar could be off. Translating the calendar to GMT is a daunting task, and some think we're wrong.

      You aren't alone in the fear driven world of 2012. This is one of the biggest industries just because people are so afraid. It's a straight money farm!! And an EMP would be devastating. But unlikely. Especially of the magnitude that would be required to cut off a big section of the world, or even America for that matter.

    • Vasiliki Bouras profile image

      Vasiliki Bouras 6 years ago

      Really informative! I have to admit, I did think something was going to happen since 2004. I did buy into the hype purchasing all sorts of books on the subject. I've come to realize that fear sells, and I fell for it. Yet, with this evidence, and people really researching the topic instead of accepting the literal sense of the theory, I feel confident now that no such thing as the end of the world will happen.

      I do hold out to the possibility that an EMP might really set us back since we are so dependant on technology, and in turn will destroy many of us. EMP's are a very real thing, and they have happened before in various frequencies through out time.

      The sun is in it's active cycle now, I'm just waiting for the big one.

    • jdrogers91 profile image

      Jimmy Rogers 6 years ago from Muscatine, IA

      Weren't more calendars just recently discovered, showing dates that go beyond the end of the long-count?


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