It’s about renewal, not the end
Re: Believer beware (Editorial, NewsLeader, Nov. 28)
I would like to add another perspective to the statements made in the second paragraph of that editorial. Having researched the Maya Calendar for over 20 years and written a 700-page book on the subject I can tell you unequivocally that the ancient Maya did not “predict Armageddon for Dec. 21, 2012.”
Moreover—most assuredly—they did not “stop calculating their calendar” as of that date.
The statement that their “astrologers and mathematicians said the 26,000-year grand cycle of evolution would cataclysmically crash to a halt” is a direct reflection of the type of hype that has been spread by media and sensationalized by doomsday-related films and Internet productions over the past few years. However, there is absolutely no evidence from authentic Maya source material that makes any such claim.
The Maya Long Count Calendar is a highly sophisticated timekeeping system (developed by astronomers, not astrologers) that tracks the qualities of days over long periods of time.
The Maya day that is equivalent to Dec. 21 is a marker for the end of the 13th Baktun, a period of 1,872,000 days, a significant time frame within this system. That day indicates a Period Ending—seen by the Maya as a time for celebration and rituals of renewal—and not the end of the calendar itself.
The following day will be the beginning of the next Baktun cycle, the beginning of a whole new era. If you want to give your readers something more hopeful to think about as this day approaches I would suggest that you place more emphasis on the renewal aspects of this tradition rather than perpetuating the false notion of the Maya as “doomsayers.”