We’re living the end of time. Not the end of the world, but the end of a world age—a 5,125-year cycle of time—and the way we’ve known the world throughout that time. The present world age began in 3114 B.C. and will end in A.D. 2012. Because the end of anything also marks the beginning of what comes next, we’re also living the start of what follows the end of time: the next world age, which ancient traditions called the great cycle.
From the epic poems of India’s Mahabharata to the oral traditions of indigenous Americans and the biblical story of Revelation, those who have come before us knew that the end of time was coming. They knew, because it always does. Every 5,125 years, the earth and our solar system reach a place in their journey through the heavens that marks the end of precisely such a cycle. With that end, a new world age begins. Apparently it’s always been this way.
For at least four such cycles (or five, according to the Mesoamerican traditions of the Aztec and the Maya peoples), our ancestors endured the changes in global magnetic fields, climate, diminishing resources, and rising sea levels that come with the end of time. They did so without satellites and the Internet or computer models to help them prepare for such a radical shift.
The fact that they lived to tell the story stands as a powerful testament to an undeniable truth: it tells us beyond any reasonable doubt that the inhabitants of our planet have survived the end of world ages in the past. Beyond simply surviving, our ancestors learned from the difficulties that can accompany the change. In the words of their day, they did their best to tell us what it means to live such a rare moment in history. It’s a good thing they did, because such events are few and far between. Only five generations in the last 26,000 years have experienced the shift of world ages. We will be the sixth.
The present world age isn’t something that will simply fade away into the sunset of a time that seems to perpetually linger somewhere “out there” in our future. Just the opposite: our world age has an expiration date. It ends at a specific time, with a specific event, on a day that was marked on a calendar more than 2,000 years ago. There is no secret about that date. The Maya who calculated it also inscribed it as a permanent record for future generations. The date is etched into stone monuments that were built to last until the end of time.
When the date is translated to our familiar system of time, the message becomes clear. It tells us that our present world cycle will conclude with the winter solstice that takes place on December 21 in the year 2012. It’s on this date that the mysterious Maya identified the astonishing astronomical events that will mark the end of our age . . . and they did so more than two millennia ago.
To put into perspective just how rare the ending of such a cycle really is, consider that the last humans to witness the shift from one world age to the next lived in the year 3114 B.C., approximately 1,800 years before the time of Moses and the biblical Exodus.
The Maya viewed our emergence into a post-2012 world as the beginning of a new cycle of history. From this perspective, the solstice on December 21, 2012, becomes a powerful window for our collective emergence into our greatest potential. Such a moment is so rare that we have been preparing for it since the end of the last world age, and it will be another 26,000 years before the same opportunity cycles around again for our descendants.
The possibilities of such an emergence bring to mind the ancient accounts of the Garden of Eden, a place that once held all of the possibilities of our greatest joys and heartfelt desires. If we’re to believe the calendars, myths, and prophecies, it is just such a potential that awaits us following 2012. We could create a second Eden that picks up where the first one left off.
Biblical correlations do suggest, in fact, that the last time an Eden appeared upon the earth was about 5,000 years ago, at the end of the last Great Cycle. During that time, the planet’s inhabitants had everything they needed to live in balance with the earth, enjoying vital, healthy lives. As the choices of our post-Eden ancestors planted the seed events for everything that would unfold as the cycle that followed, they set into motion the patterns that define our world today. Some, such as forgiveness and peace, serve as powerful reminders of what is possible in our lives; while others, such as betrayal and war, have become the great challenges that divide us as people, families, and nations.
From cycles of weather to the balance of carbon dioxide between the oceans and the atmosphere, nature shows us that a pattern will repeat until something new replaces it. The change that accompanies the 2012 convergence of cycles is a rare opportunity to wipe away the patterns that we’ve outgrown from the past. At the same time, it’s also a precious choice point to set healthy, new patterns in place for our future and the future that belongs to our children . . . and to theirs.
Gregg Braden is a New York Times best-selling author, a former Senior Computer Systems Designer for Martin Marietta Aerospace, Computer Geologist for Phillips Petroleum, and the first Technical Operations Manager for Cisco Systems. For over 20 years he has researched the wisdom traditions of ancient cultures and his work has led to such pioneering books as The God Code, The Divine Matrix, and his latest book Fractal Time on the promise of the year 2012. Gregg’s work shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the key to our future lies in the wisdom of our past. ~ Copyright © 2008 Gregg Braden