The Mayan connection
The ancient Mayan calendar was comprised of a large number of cycles or “counts” of different lengths. Nested within these cycles were a wide variety of auspicious days of celebration as well as days of woe and wrath. Their calendar set the complex path of their lives, be it for for waging war, giving birth or gathering in the harvest.
One of their principal cycles, the tzolk'in, was based on a 260 day count. Another was the haab’ based on the solar calendar, made up of eighteen months of twenty days, plus five nameless days know as the Wayeb', where boundaries between the mortal and underworld faded away.
Yet the grand daddy of all the Mayan cycles was the Long Count, one of the longer periods of which was the b'ak'tun, comprising of 144,000 days, or approximately 394 of our solar years. 20 B'ak'tun comprised yet another Long Count unit called the piktun, comprising of 2,880,000 days, or 7,885 of our solar years.
Which is how we get to the 21st of December, which is simply the date on which the Mayan calendar moves to the next b'ak'tun, the 13th of 20 in the current piktun. Sandra Noble, executive director of the Mesoamerican research organization Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI), notes that "for the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle"*.
But for many it heralds something more sinister. It marks doomsday, the apocalypse, the arrival of aliens, or even a possible phase change in the very fabric of the cosmos.
The end is nigh
And for those looking to safeguard their lives and their loved ones from some, as yet, unseen threat? Well, for the potential doomsday preppers amongst us there are some precautions you can take.
To get an insight into this movement, and an idea of what you actually might need in the event of a civilization ending event, I contacted Almar Tosma, the editor of Netherlands based Doomsday-Preppers.nl
Almar: "Ever since I was a little kid somehow every doomsday-scenario was a daily returning theme of my fantasy world and nothing serious. The day I saw my first Mad Max movie changed my view on how the future could look like and my fascination for the apocalypse became a fact. Later on I started to write short stories about the survival of small groups or individuals after an event that would be the end of the world as we know it. And in doing so the preparing became something personal."
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"Years went by when I first witnessed a mass hysteria around the coming of the year 2000. Even though I didn't believe that the coming of 2000 would end the world, I started making plans for the moment that, using a now very popular pop culture expression, The Shit Hits The Fan (TSHTF)"
"The writing and talking about it was something people accepted, but when I first started to give in to the feeling of really preparing, the faces of most of my friends and family changed from smiling into a look that could best be described as; OMG, he's gone nuts."
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"That moment, 2 things happened. The first was that I promised myself that I would never talk about it anymore and the second was that I was determined, more than ever, to prepare myself."
"For years I prepared in silence until National Geographic started the documentary Doomsday Preppers. At first I was amused by the fact that I wasn't alone and "coming out of the closet" seemed to be well accepted. But when I found out that most of the preppers in this documentary seem to have at least one physical problem, I felt the urge to put things straight by trying to convince the sceptic or doubter it isn't that strange to do."
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"Right now I could survive for up to 3 months without the convenience of social services and even though I'm planning to stay put when TSHTF, I have ready and waiting a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) to take me to my Bug Out Location (BOL) and I never travel without my Get Home Back (GHB)."
"And no, I'm not living in fear because I'm prepared for the worst and enjoying the best... even though an apocalyptic event seems kind of exciting, in a way."
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"But until then, when TSHTF I'm giving free advice to anyone who wants to know more about preparing or seeks help with the preparation for TEOTWAWKI"
"And remember: It wasn't raining when Noah build the ark!"
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The views in this article are those of the author Matthew King and his interviewed subject and are not necessarily those of Telstra BigPond. This article should not be taken as a general endorsement of the products described above. Products which may, or may not, as the case may be, prove useful in the case of an apocalypse type event. *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar