Most Doomsday cults don’t receive media attention until one, or all of the particular cultists do something incredibly dangerous, or stupid — the mass suicides in November 18, 1978, in Guyana, in which 920 people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project being a case in point.
However, for the last number of years the Winter Solstice of 2012 has taken a place in the hearts and minds of media scaremongers and conspiracy theorists as the latest in a long line of end of the world predictions (None of which have, obviously, ever come true).
This year the Winter Solstice will take place on Friday 21 at 11.11am across the Northern Hemisphere and while pseudo-scientists and media hype have built up significant falsehoods over the coming of the apocalypse on that date, the Irish Astronomical Society, in their scientific wisdom, have stated that the end of the world has no relevance to the yearly event.
The Winter Solstice marks the point where the sun reaches its most southerly point in its annual journey around the sky, and is the shortest day of the year.
The event was of great significance to ancient societies and cultures, including Pagans, who to this day celebrate the event across Ireland as it marks the start of the days lengthening again, and the beginning of the return to the following spring and summer.
The alignment of the great monument at Newgrange to the rising winter solstice sun shows just how important it was to that society.
Terry Mosley, from the Irish Astronomical Association explained where the Mayan Doomsday ‘predictions’ surrounding the Solstice began: “It started with some dubious interpretations of the very complex ‘Long Count’ Mayan calendar.
“This is much too complex to describe, but it is a linear calendar, and the ‘long count’ consists of a 5,125 year cycle based on a unit called a b’ak’tun. And this cycle, some say, will end on December 21, 2012, marking the ‘end of the world’,” he said.
He asked rhetorically: “Why are the Mayans supposed to know something that the rest of us don’t? – It’s because ‘Ancient Wisdom’ (everything from the Sumerians to Pyramidology to Atlantis, the Mayans and more) is much beloved by all sorts of New Age mystics, and Conspiracy Theorists.
“Add the fact that the earth and sun will align with the centre of the Milky Way and specifically with the Supermassive Black Hole there, on December 21, and a hypothetical giant planet called Nibiru heading our way to either hit us, or just miss, on that date, and you have the perfect recipe for Armageddon.”
He added: “The predictions of disaster range from total obliteration of the earth by collision with Nibiru, to major shifts of the earth’s axis, huge volcanic eruptions, incredibly violent earthquakes, gigantic tsunamis, magnetic pole reversals, major outbursts of radiation from the Sun, and so on.”
The Irish Astonomical Association gave ten reasons as to why those who believe the world will end on December 21 are unscientific scaremongers.
• Many reputable Mayan scholars disagree on the ‘doom’ interpretation of the calendar.
• Many say that the end of the Long Count would herald a good time, not a bad time.
• There’s no reason to suppose that another Long Count would not just follow this one.
• The Mayans knew much less about astronomy and calendars than we do.
• The Earth and Sun have been aligning with the Centre of the Milky Way and its Black Hole every 21 December for the last few hundred years, and nothing has happened. Both the centre of the Milky Way and the Black Hole are about 30,000 Light Years (180,000,000,000,000,000 miles) away; much too far to have any effect whatsoever.
• Nibiru does not exist. It’s a total fiction. End of story.
• A major shift of the Earth’s axis is impossible.
• A magnetic pole reversal, if it occurs, will be a very slow and gradual process, taking probably centuries to happen.
• The Sun is actually at a comparatively quiet period in its cycle of activity now, and a major outburst of the type predicted, within the next few months, is so unlikely that we can ignore it.
• None of the hundreds of other predictions of Armageddon were right; why should this one be different?
Terry Mosel added: “Of course volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis do occur, but there’s no reason to expect one particularly on December 21, and especially no reason to expect anything as violent as the doom-mongers predict.
“So it’s as near to 100% certain as makes no difference that we will still all be here on 22 December.”