“It will be a little difficult at first, because the world will need a complete ‘nettoyage’ (cleaning), because there are so many bad things,” she said.
Not all seers endorse the celebration.
Mexico’s self-styled “brujo mayor,” or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, warned followers to stay away from all gatherings on Dec. 21, saying, “We have to beware of mass psychosis” that could lead to stampedes or “mass suicides, of the kind we’ve seen before.”
“If you get 1,000 people in one spot and somebody yells ‘Fire!’ watch out,” Vazquez Alba said. “The best thing is to stay at home, at work, in school, and at some point do a relaxation exercise.”
Others see the summit as a model for the coming age.
Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions amiably mingled with the Mexican hosts.
“This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one,” said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. “No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion.”
Gabriel Romero, a Los-Angeles based practicant of crystal skull channeling, was so sure this isn’t the end of the world that he scheduled a welcome ceremony for the new age at dawn on Saturday morning, with plans to erect a stele, a stone monument used by the Maya to commemorate important dates or events.
Still, organizers of Yucatan’s broader Mayan Culture Festival saw the need to answer the now-debunked idea that the Mayas, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, had somehow predicted the end of the world. The Mayas measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns. Anthropologists believe the 13th baktun ends around Dec. 21, and 13 is considered a sacred number for the Maya. But archaeologists have uncovered Mayan glyphs that refer to dates far, far in the future, long beyond Dec. 21.
Yucatan Gov. Rolando Zapata, whose state is home to Mexico’s largest Maya population and has benefited from a boom in tourism, said he too felt the good vibes.
“We believe that the beginning of a new baktun means the beginning of a new era, and we’re receiving it with great optimism,” Zapata said.
He confirmed that thousands of tourists and spiritualists are expected for Friday’s once-in 5,125-year event.
“We have information that all the flights to the city are completely full,” Zapata said.
The Yucatan state government even invited a scientist to talk about the work of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to debunk the idea it could produce world-ending rogue particles, a concept popularized by author Steve Alten in his recent book “Phobos, Mayan Fear.”
Alten suggests the rogue particles — “tiny black holes” — could unleash earthquakes that might cause a huge tsunami, but acknowledges that linking such events to Dec. 21 “is author’s license.”
“It’s science fiction theory, I’m a science fiction writer,” he told The Associated Press.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, however, has listed a number of odd subatomic phenomena — “magnetic monopoles,” ”Vacuum bubbles” and “strangelets” — that could play a role in the next apocalypse scare.
All of it amused Mexico City-based tourist Deyanira de Alvarez as she snapped a photo of the countdown clock mounted in the Merida international airport showing just over two days left to “the galactic alignment.”
“My grandmother says that people have been talking about this (the world ending) ever since she was a little girl,” De Alvarez said, “and look, grandma is still here.”