Shift happens - Page 2

Will 2012 bring the end of the world as we know it?

She believes alternate realms of existence and multiple dimensions of time could collide, allowing us to access our past, present, and future in one moment. "We spend a quarter of our lives in a dream state where alternate realities are playing themselves out," Strack says. Gonzalez backs her up, arguing that the alignment of the sun in 2012 will create a powerful magnetic force, and human protons and electronic will react to it.

Lifelong Mayan researcher John Major Jenkins, who has written several books on 2012, brings up the possibility of the sun inverting the earth's magnetic fields. But according to Vincent H. Malmström, professor emeritus of geography at Dartmouth College, there's no hard evidence to support Strack's claim. Besides, how could a magnetic pull bring our dreamlike realities to life? Malmström writes in his paper The Astronomical Insignificance of Maya Date ( "It would seem that Jenkins has advanced our understanding of the Maya from the sublime to the ridiculous."

Although we have four years before the astral shift, Voltaire says it's crucial to hold 2012 conventions now. "The weekend before the election carries a vibration of anticipation of the future. We wanted to connect with that." The Southern Californian didn't know much about the 2012 theory before last March, but he says he's constantly alert and keeps a subtle ear out.

"I kept hearing the subject of 2012 in my consciousness — at events, on the radio, at yoga class," he says. "Everyone was talking about it." After making a few phone calls, he partnered with 2012 author and filmmaker Jay Weidner, a native Oregonian who has been studying the subject for nearly 20 years. Sponsored by Weidner's company Sacred Mysteries Live, they organized their first convention in Hollywood in March 2008 and were blown away by the response.

Their conference last weekend was even bigger. With interactive panels and community circles, participants could share their ideas about 2012. Voltaire and Weidner say it represents something different for everyone: change, chaos — even beauty. In the midst of it all, the organizers premiered 2012-themed films and documentaries that filmmakers submitted along with an entry fee of — $20.12.

The conference also offered critical analyses of some related prophecies: the Mayans, Tibetan Buddhists, Incas, and the mysterious Cross of Hendaye. They lived in different times, and had different notions about the events that would take place around 2012. Conference organizers say Inca texts prophesized "a world turned upside-down" around that year, while Tibetan Buddhists predicted the mythical city of Shanballad would be constructed at the end of the current era.

Voltaire says the Cross of Hendaye — a 400-year-old monument in the coastal town of Hendaye, France — holds the key to the paradigm. The cross was first described in the 1926 book The Mystery of the Cathedrals, written by an alchemist named Fulcanelli. In 1995, before learning of the 2012 stories, Weidner was hooked on this book. He worked for years to decipher the messages behind the cross, deconstructing a Latin inscription carved into its top, and finally claims to have discovered its meaning: "It represents a world crisis that will end this time period.

There's exactly one presidential term left before the end of this time period, which has witnessed everything from financial crises to homelessness to global warming. But will a new era end the problems of the current one? It's hard to imagine how thousands of San Francisco's poorest residents will acquire homes, or how our ozone layer will suddenly thicken.

After rifling through more books, Weidner says he discovered another secret behind the cross: that the Earth's greatest changes will take place between 1992 and 2012.

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