In Mex­ico, spir­i­tu­al­ists see not end, but new era

Austin American-Statesman - - NEWS - By Mark Steven­son

MERIDA, MEx­ICO — The crys­tal skulls have spo­ken: The world is not go­ing to end.

Amer­i­can seer Star Johnsen-Moser led a danc­ing, drum-beat­ing cer­e­mony Thurs­day in the heart of Mayan ter­ri­tory to con­sult sev­eral of the life-sized crys­tal skulls, which ad­her­ents claim were passed down by the an­cient Maya.

The skulls weren’t the only in­her­i­tances left by the an­cient civ­i­liza­tion that have been mak­ing waves this week: The sup­posed end of the Maya long-count cal­en­dar to­day has prompted a wave of dooms­day spec­u­la­tion around the globe.

“This is not the end of the world; this is the be­gin­ning of the new world,” Johnsen-Moser said at a gath­er­ing of hun­dreds of spir­i­tu­al­ists at a con­ven­tion cen­ter in Merida. “It is most im­por­tant that we hold a pos­i­tive, beau­ti­ful re­al­ity for our­selves and our planet. … Fear is out of place.”

The sup­posed 5 a.m. dooms­day hour had al­ready ar­rived in sev­eral parts of the world with no sign of the apoc­a­lypse. The so­cial net­work Imgur posted pho­tos of clocks turn­ing mid­night in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion with mes­sages such as: “The world has not ended. Sin­cerely, New Zealand.”

In Merida, the cel­e­bra- tion of the cos­mic dawn be­gan with the sa­cred fire to honor the cal­en­dar’s con­clu­sion. Gabriel Le­mus, the guardian of the flame, was joined by about 1,000 other spir­i­tu­al­ists at the con­ven­tion cen­ter about an hour and a half from the Mayan ru­ins at Chichen Itza.

Yu­catan Gov. Rolando Za­p­ata’s state is home to Mex­ico’s largest Maya pop­u­la­tion and has ben­e­fited from a boom in tourism. “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.

He said thou­sands of tourists and spir­i­tu­al­ists are ex­pected for Fri­day’s once-in-5,125-year event.

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