Certain aspects of the interlocking Maya calendar system have filtered into public consciousness in the last decade and a half. One of them is the prediction that we will come to the end of a solar-planetary cycle in 2012. But what is this cycle exactly and why is it going to end on the winter solstice of that auspicious year? Is the world going to end as some people are forecasting?
The Maya conceived of time and human history as moving in cycles, small and large. While we use a single calendar to keep track of our annual solar circuit and to mark all of the important days within a year, the Maya used a variety of calendars. The array included a 365-day solar calendar; a 260-day sacred calendar and a Long Count calendar that operated something like an odometer with a zero start date. Unlike the other calendars the Long Count clocked linear time and was programmed to stop after 5,125 years elapsed.
The Long Count was begun at the onset of this current cycle, known as the 5th Sun, in 3114 BC. It will clock the required number of years to complete a full cycle of five suns on December 21, 2012. John Major Jenkins has made the case that this date corresponds to two major alignments, (one between the winter solstice sun and the galactic equator; the other an approximate one between solstice sun and galactic core) and it also completes the Great Zodiac precession cycle of 26,000 years. I am not questioning this thesis however I do wonder if that is all there is to the end of this solar cycle- the 5th Sun?