Apocalypse is the buzz word of the week, perhaps even the month or year. December 21st marks the 13th b’ak’tun on the Mayan Calender. It is not the end of the calender itself. The Mayans mention future dates all the way up to the 17th b’ak’tun, which would lead us into 4772 A.D. Each cycle is 400 years long.
I’m not sure how the Mayan Calender came to be associated witht the Christian notion of The Rapture or Armageddon. The Catholic Church does not subscribe to the idea of the return of Christ. However, the Jehova Wittness, and to a lesser extent, the Seventh Day Adventist, have really run with the idea. Edward Irving developed the modern conception of the Rapture back in 1792-1834. Since then the predictions of the end of the world have ranged from 1844 to 2060. Although, the authors of Revelations believed the end of the world to be in thier lifetime, many, many lifetimes have come and gone since. And I suspect many more lifetimes will follow December 21, 2012 as well.
Interesting, the word Rapture means siezure, rape or kidnapping in French, but in Greek it means caught up or taken away. Rapture can be ecstasy or torture depending on the circumstances. Armageddon, on the other hand, is a specific place in the Holy Land. It is supposed to be the location of the defeat of the Beast, The Anti-Christ, Satan or The Devil. some beleive that evil will be bound, thus paving the way for peace in future times.
The Norse had thier own version of the end of the world. It was the final battle known as Ragnarok. JRR Tolkien borrowed the idea of a final battle with the idea of Dagor Dagorath.
This week I am reading Apocalyptic Planet by Criag Childs. He reminds us that our planet, has, in fact, died many times. The earth is ever-ending and always beginning anew. Craig Childs calls attention the orginal meaning of the word Apocalypse. It come from the Greek word Apokalypsis and means the lifting of veil or revelation. It has been only over time that the word has come to symbolize mass destruction and the end of the world.
When Religion and the wrath of God falter, the destruction is feared to come from natural forces. Recently NASA has taken to releasing words of reassurance that none of the rumored disasters are likely to happen anytime soon. The sun isn’t going to explode just yet, the magnetic poles won’t flip-flop overnight and the rogue planet of Nibiru is nowhere near crashing into earth. Nor is there any spectacular planetary alignment coming up. It is likely that the 21st will be a normal day like any other.