How the Maya of Today Are Marking December 21

In the modern, future-focused Maya culture, there’s not a single “doomsday prepper” in sight as contemporary Maya celebrate December 21, 2012 – the arrival of a new calendar, bringing with it a New Age and a New World.


Merida, Mexico, 12/12/12:

As Mary and I checked into the Fiesta Americana Hotel and started to unpack for the JPAC (Commission Environmental Cooperation) meeting in Merida, we were drawn to our window by amplified voices coming from someplace outside. On the grand avenue below we could see a large, high-tech stage being fitted with lighting and sound equipment. Pickup trucks marked ‘Policia’ lined the boulevard and traffic was redirected as barricades were placed and giant digital screens set up on corners.


We high-tailed it down to the activity on the street to discover that huge, framed black and white photographs of Maya ruins as they appeared a century ago and as they appear today were dividing the wide walkways in front of the ornate mansions and thriving businesses along this lovely paseo.


Fireworks technicians buzzed about, clearly preparing for an extraordinary and illuminating display. Large shiny white moving vans packing brand new super-telescopes were unloaded by hordes of university students in black t-shirts emblazoned with OBSERVANDO EL UNIVERSO MAYA. Waiting to support the jumbo telescopic star viewers, tripods by the dozens filled the street for an entire block, ready to give the masses an astonishing look at the mysterious beauty, which visibly surrounds our planet at night.


Young girls in crisp white linen dresses with bright embroidery wore colorful flowers in their braided buns as they perfected their hair and make up around other stages appearing along the esplanade. A 3-story Christmas tree towered above the happenings on the street while hundreds of children in white shirts and bright red Santa hats waited patiently below it to be organized by choreographers for their performance in this mysterious extravaganza. Elderly women made beautiful baskets on the spot.


As we soon discovered, the event we were watching unfold was a once in a lifetime – actually a once in a hundred lifetimes – event… This was the 21 December 2012 Celebration, the week-long event that will officially mark a new start for the planet as the Maya calendar approaches the end of its 13th Baktun and the start of its 14th next week. (A baktun equals 394.26 tropical years.)


But! As it turns out, the Mayas of today are making no gloomy preparations for a Day of the Dead to end all Days of the Dead. No, this is a celebration of great hope, a welcoming festival for a bright and beautiful tomorrow, the passing of one era and the grand entrance of the next.


The Mayas know this to be and they bask in its promise.


Then why have countless other cultures around the globe so readily subscribed to the ‘end of the World’ theory? Is it simply human nature to look for the negative over the positive, even in the absence of hard proof? Have religious zealots used this opportunity to strike fear into the hearts of men (and women, and dogs and cats, for that matter), because that’s not really working for me. Clearly the Mayas want no part of that concept either. They laugh at it!


So what does a new beginning mean for the World? Well I, for one, am hopeful. I see potential for unparalleled change and enlightenment. I see access to more information than we could ever put our hands on before and with that access I believe will come amazing opportunities for the betterment of man and planet. I am convinced that future generations will be better stewards for life and environment and that ethical choices will prevail as younger generations start entering and taking over boardrooms.


What Mary and I witnessed on the streets of Merida seemed to be a look into the future of mankind, and from the spirit we saw there in the modern day Mayas, it’s so bright ya gotta wear shades!


The new Maya calendar begins with it a grand opportunity for the transformation of man’s consciousness.

One Maya message relays that we are making a choice regarding how we enter the future ahead. Our moving through with either resistance or acceptance will determine whether the transition will happen with cataclysmic changes or gradual peace and tranquility.


This is a time that the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers view as a re-awakening of the feminine. Grandmother Flordemayo stated:

“A transfer of the staff of power from the masculine to the feminine is occurring now.” So we end a 26,000-year chunk of history to begin the next 26,000 years with the nurturing spirit of a feminine power overseeing us; a power that will graciously guide us to work with nature rather than against it.


It seems clear that rather than the end of the world we face a transition from an old World into a new; a World that we can create and cultivate in choosing to do the right things by our people and by our planet.


Strolling away from the 13 Baktun festivities, we soon found ourselves at the Plaza de la Indepencia in the heart of Old Merida, an area adorned with magnificent architecture, including dozens of cathedrals and centuries-old government buildings. Like many Central American cities, the colonial history of Merida reminds us that the concept of freedom should never be taken lightly. In the view of the modern Mayas, they know where they have come from and they know where they want to go. This is an opportunity to avoid the wrong methods and to achieve prosperity through healthier and wiser means.


Wedding parties lined up in front of cathedrals in Old Town Merida as a few blocks away fireworks filled the night sky in celebration of the new Maya calendar.


During this week of celebration, we were able to visit a remote area of Mexico and see flamingos wintering at the Celestun Biosphere Reserve. The village of Celestun, an indigenous subsistence fishing community, is now promoting Eco-tourism to provide for a sustainable future. Its location on the Gulf of Mexico is stunning and the people of this small community are preparing for pending prosperity – not pending doom.


In the most of simple terms, this time is solstice. December 21, 2012, marks the end of the 13th Baktun, and it marks the beginning of the 14th Baktun. The significance of 21 December, 2012, this calendar’s end, and this particular 13/14 Baktun transition, is that it marks the end of a 26,000 year galactic cycle, and begins the calendar of the next 26,000 years galactic cycle. By the very detailed prophecies of the Mayas, this means leaving the calendar of Night and beginning the calendar of Day.


After finding ourselves at the very epicenter of the Maya within just a few days of the ‘current’ Maya calendar’s end, this is what we learned: In another 395 years or so, the 15th Baktun will arrive, and then the 16th, and so on. There will be more Maya calendars and more celebrations clearing the path for change. One happy side note for me is that the last 26,000 years were considered by the Mayas to be the Night. The next 26,000 years they tell us will be the Day. And this, as I see it, is not the dawn of the dead – it’s the dawn of a new day! So let’s join the Mayas in creating a new age of positive, responsible and wise human advancement. We’re in! Are you?






Learn More

The Truth About the Maya Doomsday Myth


Jon Waterhouse’s destiny was foretold the moment he pushed his canoe off the bank of the Yukon River and started to paddle. That incredible 2007 canoe trip, which he christened “the Healing Journey,” began with a simple request by the native elders and tribal leaders living in the Yukon River watershed to "go out, take the pulse of the river." Waterhouse’s journey raised awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship, combined traditional native knowledge with modern science, and helped rebuild intimate connections between Yukon communities and the natural world. The journey soon stretched far beyond the Yukon and led the Native American down rivers and through cultures in distant parts of South America, Russia, Greenland, Africa, and New Zealand.
  • cherreah

    I am in and I love the lord and I know he loves me and my family to so I am not worried about that end of the world theory because noone knows when that is but god himself and I believe in him and that he will protect me and my family when that day comes

  • Fred

    We will celebrate man’s higher state of consciousness. And rejoice with our friends and family.

  • Cammie Wiggins

    I choose a gradual move towards peace and harmony!! Each generation is putting the pieces of history together with more information available than ever before.History always repeats itself?? No. Not anymore. We can now see history(His story) and our past mistakes in humanity. Shoot…we have the internet!!
    God speed, humanity…Lets learn, and heal this story quicky!!

  • Erica

    I love this article! It sums up everything I’ve been reading. I wish everyone could see this.

  • jack khamo

    yes,but i don’t beilive in this calender and the end of the worl’d cause i an a cristian and i believe in god.and no one knowes the end of world except god.

  • hm

    You switch from “the Maya” to “the Mayans” quite a bit. I would stick to the former, as “Mayan” refers to a language family, not culture. Otherwise, good read!

    • Andrew Howley

      Thanks, we just corrected those!

  • Nuu

    Wonderfully written article Jon. One can sense the positive energy just by reading it.
    Thanks for writing it.

  • dblaine

    Thank you for this article. It is refreshing to know there are other like-minded people holding space for peace and harmony and the welcoming of a new age.

  • Abahss

    Great article. Thanks.

  • JR

    There is no god….lol.

  • sangos

    Good read of what the date of renewal means to the Mayas. Btw all this international ‘Apocalypse madness’ might have had good side bringing attention on the current Mayas and their culture. That said the Mayas themselves are not in very good position in their own lands. Several great youtube docus bring the actual affairs ex. 2012 – The Maya Word.

    I find it very disturbing that the Mayas are NOT ALLOWED access to their ancestral sites and temples. And sacred ancient pyramids are dishonored by holding rock concerts!!! Unbelievable human rights abuse.

  • Caitlyn J

    Yep – their calendar ended for the same reason ours does every year… time for a new one!

  • nina

    This is really interesting. Are there more pictures?

  • Babaruddin

    Like Maya’s Peoples everyone has seen end of this mythology and false concepts about Doomsday or QAYAMAT or END OF WORLD. For sake of simplicity and easiest in life, everyone should believe in ONE and only Only God. They should study and accept Islam as soon as possible because Only Islam can make them righteous and successful. This message is not only for Maya’s but all the world’s people. Try once and only once and see, what are actual Islamic concepts, and how these are belongs to GOD the Real GOD of this Universe.

  • Saly. J

    Highly interesting and knowledgeable an article proving that the Ancient Mayans were fully aware of the Galactic Cycles of 26000 years , Baktuns of 395 years etc and they were waiting for the new beginning . But the rest of the world had to wait till 21 of December 2012 to understand that the world will not end on 21 of Dec. 2012.

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  • April Welsh

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