December 21, 2012: Not a Doomsday Prophecy

If you are reading this, then we are still alive. Perhaps some strange occurrences have happened since December 21, but still here you are reading these words on the screen. As I write this, it is currently 10:11 a.m. on Friday, December 14 and, like most of the articles I’ve written for the NRC blog, I’m considering how to approach this one. As of this moment when I am writing this (not the moment you are reading it), I’m projecting my thoughts ahead to December 22, 2012 (and assuming there will be one).

Fast forward…

It’s the day after the predicted “Mayan Apocalypse,” yet somehow I wake up in my South Dakota apartment like any other Saturday. I burn sage, smudge, and say a quick prayer thanking the Creator for this day. In the other rooms of my apartment, I have guests from the Rosebud Reservation who are in town for the Lakota Nation Invitational. Later in the day, I board a plane bound for the East Coast to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family.

Perhaps what I’m feeling as I’m writing is an inability to discuss what is being touted as the “Mayan Apocalypse,” also referred to by some as the “Doomsday Prophecy.” It isn’t something that I’ve spent a whole lot of time reading about. For me, the tale above reflects a mindset that, despite what has been said about December 21, 2012, life will most likely continue on in its usual fashion. If anything, for me, the “Mayan Apocalypse” provides an opportunity for reflection on the relationship between indigenous culture and popular culture.

It seems as though the majority of what is understood by the masses about the “Mayan Apocalypse” has originated in popular culture, often existing more as entertainment and spectacle. It is a dramatized, fictionalized, indigenous prophecy paired with pseudo-science that is meant for consumption in a fantasy world of television, film, and print. It is in the same league with the romanticized visions of indigenous culture. What popular culture has done is placed its own definition and importance on a concept – without understanding the original meaning or purpose. As a result, misconception spreads.     

Likewise, the myths of the “Mayan Apocalypse” and others similar to it proliferate as New Age fanatics adopt them into their realm of eastern religion and indigenous spirituality. And while the definition of the “Mayan Apocalypse” may differ between the New Agers and the mass media, both definitions exist in a place of external meaning and misconception.

However, it would be foolish to not take a moment to consider the significance of the “Mayan Apocalypse” for two positive reasons. First, the “Mayan Apocalypse” brings awareness to the sophistication and knowledge of ancient Indigenous cultures to observe and document time in a unique way. Second, perhaps the ending of one cycle of time and the beginning of another gives us reason to make the changes we all know need to happen.

Personally, I stand with Bolivia’s indigenous President, Evo Morales. Let this change in the ages be the catalyst to start a new era for humanity. We as people (indigenous or not) have the power to end an age of hate, individualism, greed, despair, and the destruction of Mother Earth.

More Food for Thought:                         
Apocalypse Not: NASA Video Explains 10 Days Early ‘Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday’

Evo Morales Looks at December 21 – the “Mayan Apocalypse” – as a New Beginning

Mayan Expert: The ‘End of Times’ is Our Idea, Not the Ancients’


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