Happy new year! How are you facing the next twelve months? Sadness that a great year has ended, or eagerly awaiting your next adventure?
For me, 2011 was a pretty rubbish year. It started with my husband having to find a new draft after the British government scrapped the Harrier jets he's spent his whole career working on, and me having to leave my job to move with him. Then we found out he had cancer and needed surgery to remove it. After that, we never quite found our footing I feel. We settled in our new home, made new friends of course, and I managed to get a transfer within my company, but it all felt a bit off-kilter; our spring and summer were punctuated by trips to the hospital every few weeks to get CT scans, and then he was declared fit enough to go out to Afghanistan, where he is still serving now. Add into that a year of financial and political upheaval around the world, and it makes you wonder what the heck is going on.
Of course, the world's media will have you believe that this is just the dress rehearsal for 2012's big event, but will the world really end?
I've just had a quick browse through the various internet sites that come up when you Google "2012", and they are a varied and sometimes scary bunch of websites. From what I can understand, the theory of the significance of 2012 comes largely from the Mayan Long Count, which seems to come to an end on December 21st this year. The Mayans used a number of calendars of varying lengths; the shorter ones related to spirit days, so you would conduct your day and rituals in accordance with whatever spirit was strongest that day (as I understand it). When that calendar ran out, they moved on to the next one, just as we move on to a new calendar on our wall each January 1st. This is where I have a problem with the doomsday prophesies: when my 2011 calendar ran out, I moved on to the next one, but I won't necessarily have the 2013 one ready until much nearer the end of my current calendar. I think it's a bit off to expect an ancient civilisation to have the next 5000 or so years mapped out, when their culture was largely destroyed centuries ago.
Another suggestion for the significance of 2012 comes from the New Age movement, which points to the winter solstice as a time of great spiritual change. This date roughly marks the point between the ages of Pisces and Aquarius. The age of Pisces has lasted almost 2000 years, and it has been suggested that it was no coincidence that early Christians adopted the fish as their symbol, and that fish played such an important role in their mythology. The age of Aquarius, however, is due to cause a great spiritual awakening, where both individuals and societies strive to improve their world. Is it just a coincidence that the last year has seen great political upheaval throughout much of the Arab world, while in the West our economic towers have come crashing down, destroyed by our society's greed? According to this camp, it would seem not.
Where do I stand on all this? Well, I can't get behind the doom-mongers who claim the world will come to a cataclysmic end next December. The NASA website shows no stray meteors, for example, and while 2011 has seen Mother Earth be quite destructive, with a number of major earthquakes and violent weather systems, I can't quite believe She will tear herself apart just to teach us a lesson. So I am hoping that this year will bring a new awareness to mankind; that we will start to see that money can't buy everything, and that we need to treat each other and our planet with the respect we all deserve. This change starts with you and I.
Blessed be )0(