This might assuage your Doomsday 2012 fears before December 21 comes and goes without a hitch. One British academic says that the ancient Mayan Apocalypse prophecies are only about as ancient as the 1970s, and that they had some psychedelic help entering the zeitgeist.
“December 21st will be just another Friday morning,” said Andrew Wilson, Assistant Head of Social Studies at the University of Derby. He says that the Mayan Apocalypse prophecy didn’t come from ancient civilization, and that the idea is hardly older than 30-40 years, give or take. Two New Age books in the 70s and 80s are to blame for our apocalyptic fears. The books detail an “upgrade” to human consciousness, predicted by a spirit from the seventh century, and that the whole thing came about from a magic mushroom trip, reports Yahoo.
“A hippy guru called Jose Arguelles associated the date with the Mayan calendar in a book called The Mayan Factor in 1987. But it’s an obsolete form of the calendar, which had not been used since the year 1100AD.”
“He claimed to be channelling various spirits, including the spirit of a Mayan king from the seventh century. He predicted a ‘shift in human consciousness’ – mass enlightenment.” The December 21 date appeared in a 1975 book by Terence McKenna, a writer who is also infamous for strange descriptions of “machine elves” he saw while he was tripping balls.
“The significance of December 21, 2012 in ‘New Age’ circles emerged from the work of ‘ethnobotanist’ Terence McKenna as he travelled deep into the Amazon in the 1970s,” says Wilson. “His calculations of a ‘zero time wave’ suggested the world would go through a large change on December 21.”
“Arguelles, who had a long-held interest in Native American spiritualties, was inspired by McKenna’s work. He popularized the date in connection with the ‘long count calendar’ of the Mayan people in his new-age circles.”
The idea evolved, and became something of a catch-all for random apocalyptic hypotheses like the “Planet X” conspiracy and the idea that Earth will be swallowed by a black hole.
“There is no central belief,” says Wilson, “It varies from the ideas that Earth’s magnetic poles might shift, to the idea of a ‘galactic council’ visiting Earth. There’s no one, definite idea – it mirrors the New Age beliefs from which it comes.”
“It’s become part of a lot of religious movements. For instance, ‘The Galactic Federation of Light’ believes that ‘Planet X’ will make a close pass by the earth in 2012 – causing a deep transformation of human life on Earth.”
“What this and other apocalyptic dates have in common across new religious movements is that they are often predicted to occur within a believer’s lifetime – making their beliefs urgent and important,” said Wilson.
“However, most people who believe in the significance of December 21, 2012 have tempered their predictions of an apocalypse to, instead, signifying some significant change in humanity. Whether that is a change in culture or a world-wide event – most believers in an apocalypse won’t be preparing for an earthly end but looking forward to an imminent transformation.”
“A lot of people look to this story for reassurance – about the financial climate, or even about fears of, for instance, the Large Hadron Collider.”
“What’s been popularised is the dramatic stuff – but I am definitely still doing my Christmas shopping as normal this year.”
Wilson’s paper, ‘From Mushrooms to the Stars,’ will be published by Ashgate in 2013, well after the world doesn’t end.
There you go. The Mayan Apocalypse came from a giant mushroom trip.