So what’s it gonna be?

Will the world end on May 21, 2011, October 21, 2011 or December 21, 2012?

In case you haven’t heard, catastrophic dates are coming. Dire predictions from two sources have fallen rather close together, both upon a time filled with despair and disaster. I have spent no time preparing or repenting, but even so, all this has left me pondering. Simply put, patterns fascinate me, and I definitely see a pattern here.

I did a little research on the predictions; here is what I learned:

In short, May 21 and October 21 are part of a biblical prophecy — a day of reckoning. December 21, 2012 is a Mayan calendar date that predicts an Earth-altering, cosmic event.

I noticed these similarities:

The Ancient Element

These predictions were made two thousand years ago or more during an age filled with mystery and contemplation — traits than our fact-based, prove-it-to-me attitudes have erased from the mainstream. Ancient civilizations were certainly not dumb. A sense of wonderment drew their eyes to the stars for answers. This curiosity was the seed from which knowledge grew. Do you take the time to wonder about things today, or do you just jump on the Net and get the facts?

The Number 21
To see if I could find significance in this number, I turned to the practice of numerology which uses math to decode the cosmic plan. It too is ancient; its origins might date back to a Greek mathematician from 500 b.c. Numerology offers insight for individuals based on their birth date or a mathematical equivalent of the letters of their name. It does not provide much for predicting the future of the world. I did learn that 21 relates with the spiritual and shows the quality of the renewal.

I should be careful to note: many Christians despise these practices, claiming they represent Satan’s work. Regardless, 21 is a very good number at the blackjack table. What do you know about the number?

A Change
Surrounding the predictions for change is the reality that the Earth really is changing. The planet is not static; it changes constantly in ways we do not notice. But as climatologists and others have are warned, changes are more pronounced and rapid today. We witness this as storms are more frequently classified as natural disasters. Beyond nature, the societies of the world have changed significantly too, primarily as a result of an immediate exchange of information. For instance, what happens in the financial markets of one country can alter the markets on the other side of the globe faster than ever before. Only a few, remote societies remained unchanged by inter-connectivity. Have you noticed rapid change around you?

A Desire for Peace
Whether or not it was the original intent, these predictions have turned into a battle cry for good versus evil. Fear tactics are being used to get people to shape up, lest they be purged. The state of our affairs does seem desperate today. Pain and suffering at the hands of others seems to have reached a climax.

Or has it? Could it just be that more people are troubled by the violence and hatred — that more of us are seeing the world through peace-colored glasses — that collectively, regardless of our religious, non-religious, or spiritual standing, we shed light on evil doings more than ever before. Has the cry for peace and kindness gotten louder where you live?

The Convergence of Religion, Spirituality, and the Universe
These three different approaches are beginning to blend together. Non-denominational churches are growing in popularity as the Catholic church suffers with scandal. The popularity of holistic healing and natural remedies is growing despite amazing advancements in Western medicine. Intolerance is fought with a swifter vengeance than the days when Hitler marched or European immigrants slaughtered “the savages.” We no longer just gaze at the stars, we launch robots to collect pieces of them which we later hold in our hands. We are adapting to each other and minds are beginning to open.

This brings up one more ancient prediction: that of astrology. Astrology studies the cosmic cycles to explain personalities (similar to numerology), but it also contains a social element called the Precession of the Equinoxes. “One precession takes 25,920 years to complete,” according to astrologist Michael McClain. The cycle is broken into 12 divisions called ages, each identified by a zodiac sign, There’s disagreement on where exactly we are in the cycle right now, but we’re somewhere between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius (do you hear a 1960’s song in your head?).

Christianity and Islam began with the Age of Pisces. It was a time when “the world got very interested in spiritual ideals and concepts,” writes McClain. Apparently the old age and the new age have trouble coexisting, but the Age of Aquarius is a time when “Religious dogma will be replaced by freedom, equality, and the brotherhood of mankind.”

Does this predict the end of Christianity’s and Islam’s stronghold? Could that be the basis for the “events” that we will all witness on May 21 and October 21?

Do I believe the predictions? My answer is both yes and no. I don’t follow any one religious, spiritual, or universal teaching, therefore I am not shaken by threats of pending doom. Life is fragile and that is enlightenment enough for me. My world could end in an instant at any moment, and I hope, when it happens, there is little suffering. I am grateful to God, the great spirit, the cosmos, mother nature, oxygen, my ancestors, and 100 other names for the fact that I have life. I also continue to hope that good will triumph over evil for no other reason than it is in my human nature. I look for patterns to find truth in every teaching, from the folklore of days gone by to the teachings of modern-day advisors.

What about you?

Photos notes in order of appearance: Cobblestone in Valley Forge Park, PA; a broken barn window, PA; The Old Jail in Jim Thorpe, PA; surface beneath water in Wharton State Forest, NJ; a tree in Valley Forge Park, PA. All photos taken by Ruth Heil. Please don’t steal them.