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Saturday, December 22, 2012
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We survived!

Deadline passes for Mayan apocalypse

Phew! The earth is still safely on its sphere despite Doomsdayer predictions of an impending apocalypse to coincide with the end of the Mayan age.

The human race has successfully navigated the 11:11am deadline on 21/12/12 - at least it appears so with no reports of the globe being besieged by raining fire or killer earthquakes.

For centuries, the ending of the Mayan calendar, 21/12/12, has been taken as a sign of an impending Armageddon.

But now there may be a few sheepish looks in a corner of south-east France, which was cited as the only safe spot, unless of course that UFO did turn up and they just haven't told us about it.

And one gambler was left red-faced after putting a £10 bet on the apocalypse, standing to win £50,000 if the world had ended today.

He made the bet with friend Rob Moss after telling him there was more chance of the world ending than his bicycle courier business being a success.

Bugarach, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, is said to contain a mystical UFO garage which will ferry people off planet earth as the Mayan Calendar runs out.

Doomsday followers were convinced here will be no December 22nd for anyone except for those who make it to the hamlet, which has a population of 189 people.

It had swelled to around three times that amount today, with some 200 journalists joining mainly “New Age types”.

But the 100 odd police set up road blocks and said no-one else would be allowed up until after Christmas.

In Merida, the celebration of the cosmic dawn opened inauspiciously, with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honour the calendar's conclusion.

Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that fell from the ceremonial brazier on to the stage.

Still, he was convinced that it was a good start, as he was joined by about 1,000 other shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis.

“It is a cosmic dawn,” he declared. “We will recover the ability to communicate telepathically and levitate objects ... like our ancestors did.”

Celebrants later held their arms in the air in a salute to the morning sun.

“The galactic bridge has been established,” intoned spiritual leader Alberto Arribalzaga. “At this moment, spirals of light are entering the centre of your head ... generating powerful vortexes that cover the planet.”

Despite all the ritual and banter, few actually believed the world would end today - the summit was scheduled to run until tomorrow.

Instead, participants said they were here to celebrate the birth of a new age.

A Mexican Indian seer who calls himself Ac Tah, and who has travelled around Mexico erecting small pyramids he calls “neurological circuits”, said he held high hopes for the day.

“We are preparing ourselves to receive a huge magnetic field straight from the centre of the galaxy,” he said.

At dozens of booths set up in the convention hall, visitors could have their auras photographed with Chi light, get a shamanic cleansing or buy sandals, herbs and wholegrain baked goods. Cleansing usually involves having copal incense waved around one's body.

Visitors could also learn the art of “healing drumming” with a Mexican Otomi Indian master, Dabadi Thaayroyadi, who said his slender hand-held drums were made with prayers embedded inside. The drums emit “an intelligent energy” that can heal emotional, physical and social ailments, he says.

During the opening ceremony, participants chanted mantras to the blazing Yucatan sun, which quickly burned the fair-skinned crowd.

Violeta Simarro, a secretary from Perpignan, France, taking shelter under an awning, noted that the new age would not necessarily be easy.

“It will be a little difficult at first, because the world will need a complete 'nettoyage' [cleansing], because there are so many bad things,” she said.

But not all seers endorsed the celebration. Mexico's self-styled “brujo mayor” or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, warned followers to stay away from gatherings.

“We have to beware of mass psychosis” that could lead to stampedes or “mass suicides, of the kind we've seen before", he said.

Others saw the gathering as a model for the coming age.

Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions mingled amiably with the Mexican hosts.

The Maya, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns.

Some anthropologists believe the 13th baktun ends on December 21. Still, archaeologists have uncovered Mayan glyphs that refer to dates far, far in the future, long beyond December 21.

Yucatan governor Rolando Zapata, whose state is home to Mexico's largest Mayan population and has benefited from a boom in tourism, said he too felt the good vibes.

“We believe that the beginning of a new baktun means the beginning of a new era, and we're receiving it with great optimism,” he said.

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