National Geographic: 21 December 2012 - What's supposed to happen
By Vanessa Tencati, National Geographic
Depending on who's doing the prophesying, the winter solstice in the year 2012 could usher in a day of celebration — or a day of chaos. December 21, 2012 has been marked as a special day since the time of the Maya, whose calendar first touted it as the end of a great 5,126 year cycle. Now, just a few years before the day of reckoning is upon us, the human race is forced to consider the possibility of an approaching apocalyptic nightmare. Only time will tell whether 2012 will be the end, a new beginning, or just a year like any other.
THEORY: The End of the Maya Calendar Cycle
This is where it all begins. The Maya Long Count calendar comes to the end of a 5,126 year cycle soon—possibly on December 21, 2012. The exact date is debated, as is what will happen when we hit that date. There is no record telling us exactly what the ancient Maya expected to happen when this cycle ended and the next began. But some think they would have been worried about the end of mankind as we know it.
THEORY: Bible Code Prophecy
At least one interpretation of the Bible tells us that in the year 2012, God will destroy Earth. With the help of computers, Israeli mathematicians have discovered a supposed secret code in the Bible's text. Michael Drosnin, author of The Bible Code, also decoded the text based on the mathematicians' work. According to Drosnin's interpretations, comets are due to rain down upon Earth in both 2010 and 2012.
THEORY: Terrence McKenna's Timewave Zero
In the early 1970s, Terence McKenna took a trip to the Amazon rainforest, where he experienced mind-bending drugs. Upon his return, he utilized the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination, to determine a mathematical formula he called "timewave zero." According to his research, this formula predicts that time will form into tighter and tighter spirals until a "final time" is reached. When this happens, the laws of physics as we currently experience them will no longer apply, and the world will suddenly enter a new era with new, unknown laws. Originally set to occur on November 17, 2012, McKenna later moved the date when he determined the occurrence of the next galactic alignment: December 21, 2012.
THEORY: Nostradamus' Prophecies
The infamous seer's writings have been cited as predicting such historical events as the reign of Napoleon, the tyranny of Hitler, both World Wars, and September 11th. His writings also contain a number of end of the world prophecies which have yet to occur. His written quatrains prophesize everything from earthquakes and rampant disease to the coming of an antichrist and the onset of World War III. While not specifically pinpointed to the year 2012, many believe that Nostradamus' prophecies will coincide with the end of the Maya calendar.
THEORY: Rogue Planet Collision
Author Zecharia Sitchin wrote of a 5,000-year-old tale of planet Nibiru, home to a race of beings called the Annunaki, orbiting the sun beyond Pluto. Although dismissed by many as a myth, some believe that because of an unusual orbit, Nibiru is set to disrupt Earth in 2012. Recent science has indeed discovered a planetary body that is slightly larger than Pluto and three times farther from the sun, named Eris. Despite assurances from NASA that Eris is not headed anywhere near Earth, followers of Sitchin’s ideas fear that Eris is indeed Nibiru and will follow a rogue orbit, coming close enough to the solar system that its gravitational pull could dramatically alter the face of the Earth, wreaking unprecedented havoc on our gravity and electromagnetic fields.
THEORY: Galactic Alignment
In the galactic alignment, the winter solstice sun will line up perfectly with the galactic equator, an invisible line that denotes the center of the Milky Way galaxy. According to researcher John Major Jenkins, this precise alignment only occurs once every 26,000 years—and the next one is scheduled to take place by 2016. Jenkins asserts that rather than doomsday, the galactic alignment will bring about a shift in the human psyche toward a more conscious state.
THEORY: Solar Storms on Earth
Approximately every 11 years, the number of sunspots on our sun peaks at what we call a solar maximum. These sunspots, giant magnetic storms which appear as dark splotches on the sun's surface, release solar flares that vary in intensity. The next solar maximum is due to occur in 2012, and if powerful solar flares manage to penetrate Earth's weakening magnetic shield, damaging radiation could wreak havoc on the health on humankind.
THEORY: Pole Shift Hypotheses
Due to a variety of environmental or man-made factors, the north and south poles of Earth are not entirely static. There are many theories as to why this is, and what this means. The occurrence of a pole shift, where the poles would move dramatically, could cause the Earth's crust to move over the mantle and core—like an orange skin floating around above the pulpy fruit. This could result in major tsunamis, dramatic earthquakes and volcanoes, and intense climate change as the continents are pushed halfway across the globe from their current locations. A pole shift of this magnitude was predicted by psychic Edgar Cayce in 1934, who said it would start happening in the early 21st century.