||When I give my talks about the Maya, I am often asked about the upcoming end of the Maya long count on 12/23/2012 (12/21 if you use alternate calculation). I like to hold up my wristwatch and ask people what will happen when the hands of the clock both point upwards. If it happens to be an evening lecture, everyone in the audience agrees that it will be night, and dark. But the world will not end at 12:00; it continues on to be 12:01 again and a new cycle/day begins.
The Maya have many cycles, 13 days, 260 days, 360 days, 52 years plus lunar cycles, venus cycles, solar year and the largest cycle is their Long Count, which is just over 5,000 years. The thing to remember about cycles is that they do not have a beginning or end - they just keep repeating.
The other good thing about cycles is that if we recognize their patterns, we can be prepared for what is coming. Just as you know with certainty that when it is 12:00 PM, that it is night and dark out. So if you look at the Long Count as a cycle, you can look at what was happening in the world the last time the Calendar Round was at this position, and use that as a guide for what is to come.
So you see, there is nothing to fear! What a marvelous people the Maya are who could recognize cycles so vast! How sad that some people have distorted their ancient wisdom into a faddish cult. Meanwhile, the true Maya people are suffering oppression and extermination.