12-12-12: The end of the world or a new beginning?

2012-12-07T23:45:00Z 2012-12-11T16:51:04Z 12-12-12: The end of the world or a new beginning?By ERIN ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

There are those who believe the end of the world is imminent -- either 12-12-12 or 12-21-12 -- depending on which interpretation you believe.

But science indicates the world will go on after Wednesday -- and even after Dec. 21 -- regardless of where the Mayan Calendar stops. (In fact, discoveries in 2010 found the Mayan calendar actually continues long past 2012 -- 1,576 years beyond.)

While some see doomsday in the unique numerical pattern of 12-12-12 or 12-21-12 -- others see it as reason to celebrate a new and better beginning.

At noon Wednesday, First-Plymouth Church, 20th and D streets, will hold a Gateway Day to Healing for the World Service in the chapel.

People of all faiths are invited to share "the experience of Realignment with our Collective Conscious.”

Worldwide people will be celebrating this recalibration for the winter solstice on Dec. 21, 2012 -- the heralded, prophesied “ascension” for spiritual alignment, according to the Rev. Barb Smisek of First-Plymouth.

Smisek and Jolane Bakley will lead the service of original music, readings and shared meditation designed to connect people with one another, with the earth and in preparation for the winter solstice. At 12:12 p.m., one minute of silence will be observed.

At New York City’s Madison Garden, some of the world’s top name musical artists will gather to perform a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief.

The “12-12-12 Concert” begins at 6:30 p.m., and will feature Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Eddie Vetter, Roger Waters, Kayne West, The Who and Paul McCartney. The concert will be broadcast to more than one billion people in North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia via television, radio and live streaming. To learn more. visit www.121212concert.org.

Also happening 12-12-12 is the Mayan Marriage of Many, a travel event in which 12 couples will say their vows in the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech on the very day Mayans predicted a new beginning.

And on the supposed last day of humanity, 12-21-12, Unity Lincoln church, 135 N. 31st St., will host Birth 2012 at 7:30 p.m. The event marks the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another on Dec. 22.

Inspired by futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard and other sponsors of the Birth 2012 movement, the service at Service at Unity Lincoln will include a burning-bowl ceremony to help people "release all that is past and make way for the future."

For most of us, 12-12-12 will be just another day -- a hump day to be precise. And 12-21-12 will be just another Friday.

Despite the predictions of the world’s end, the rapture or whatever -- 12-12-12 and 12-21-12 are just dates, according to Wake Forest University Physics Professor Eric Carlson.

“Although repetitive patterns like 12.12.12 are interesting, they have no more special significance than when your car’s odometer hits 121,212 miles,” Carlson said in a Wake Forest University press release.

And as for the Mayan calendar, scientists say the “end date” of 12-21-2012 -- never was meant to predict the end of the world or the apocalypse.

Rather it marks the end one period of creation and the beginning of another -- in other words the end of 5,126-year-old cycle.

“The West’s messianic thinking has distorted the worldview of ancient civilizations like the Mayans,” the National Institute of Anthropological History in Mexico said in a statement.

The Mayan Long Count calendar began in 3,114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods, called Baktuns. Mayans held the number 13 sacred and the 13th Baktun ends on Dec. 21, 2012. A stone tablet discovered in the 1960s indicated that the Mayan God, Bolon Yokte, will return at the end of the 13th period.

And while there are those who will argue that in itself is a prediction of an apocalypse, others say Dec. 21, 2012, marks the end of a very long era -- and the beginning of a new one.

Reach Erin Andersen at 402-473-7217 or eandersen@journalstar.com.

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