Yes, today is the winter solstice.  Just one year to go until the solstice of 2012. You’ll be hearing more about that one throughout 2012. If you have been living in a remote cave or have been shipwrecked on a desert island, you missed a lot of hype about the next winter solstice.

It surprised me to discover that I have referenced 2012 on this blog more than a dozen times in one form or another.  Most of those references are about the end of the Mayan “Long Count Calendar.”  December 21, 2012, the next winter solstice, is when the Maya calculated that calendar would end. Not the end of the world, as some people say, but the end of a 5,126-year era.

The Long Count is a part of the Maya calendar which is circular. When we reach the end of the circle, we begin again like our January 1 new year. I’m not frightened of the end of the world because though because the Maya actually had names for much longer time spans than we are used to considering, like a calabtun which is about 158,000 of our years. So, I think we have some time.

But, if you through in some science and note that on the 2012 winter solstice the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years – well, you get all kinds of theories. One is that whatever energy typically hits Earth from the center of the Milky Way will be disrupted. And that means…

Terence McKenna had plotted what he called “novelty” peaks that would occur after his death in 2000. One point he marked was near September 11, 2001 (terrorist attack on New York City) and November 2008 (election of Barack Obama). He also noted a spike in novelty for 12/21/12. People even like the way those numbers look on a page.

McKenna claimed that he arrived at that date without knowing about the Maya calendar’s “end” date. Ah, yes, synchronicity. Or coincidence. McKenna also claimed to be the first person to suggest in print (1975) that the winter solstice was moving closer and closer to the point on the ecliptic where it will eclipse the galactic center.

Along with Peter Meyer, he created a computer program called “Timewave Zero” that took his theories and created time maps based upon them.

Others have agreed with the overall suggestion of McKenna’s calculations. One theory suggests a galactic alignment which would create chaos on Earth because of the gravitational effect between the Sun and the Black Hole called Sagittarius A, which is located at the center of our galaxy.

A second theory I have heard involves a “polar shift” which means a reversal of the north and south magnetic poles. This is not science-fiction. Many scientists believe that the Earth is overdue for a geomagnetic reversal. But that’s a longterm process (up to 5,000 years) to complete. And no one would be able to mark a starting time unless they were looking back at the event. Other scientists say a polar shift is almost impossible because although continents do actually move slowly in time, a magnetic reversal in the next few millennia is unlikely and most likely wouldn’t cause any harm to life on Earth.

NASA scientists have concluded that 12/21/12 will be a normal December solstice. They say that no planetary alignments will occur in the next few decades and, if they did, the effects on us would be negligible.

Here in Paradelle, our solstice festival will be very traditional on that longest night of the year – evergreens, bright illumination, a fire, some feasting, being with loved ones, some dancing and singing. It worked for the ancients.

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