The end, or the beginning?

December 19, 2012
The Mayan calendar prophecies are debated as Dec. 21 nears. - Associated Press

If you’re thinking about giving away all your possessions or spending your last dime based on a belief that the world is coming to an end Friday as predicted in ancient Mayan prophecies – DON’T!

Basically, Dec. 21, 2012, (12-21-12) is the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mayan calendar and, as such, all kinds of craziness is supposed to occur on this date.

Some say this is when the world will end. Others predict this date will be the start of a huge cultural shift that will essentially change life as we know it. Either way, something big is allegedly happening on this date.

“People have latched on to the idea” that the world’s coming to the end, said artist Brad Silberberg, who, with his wife, Kate, owns and operates Mesa Creative Arts Center in Burgettstown. “It may happen at some point, but not necessarily Dec. 21 and not any time real soon.”

“The Mesa” is designed to be a gathering place for people of all ages who want to develop their creativity and awareness and become part of a community dedicated to multiculturalism, spiritual enlightenment, expanding consciousness and healing through the arts.

The Silberbergs specialize in Native American culture and beliefs but are familiar with the Mayan people, as well.

“The Mayans looked at the flow of creation over an extremely long period of time,” Silberberg explained. “To me, when I started to learn more about the Mayan calendar, it was a pattern of evolution, not just dates.”

Silberberg said Friday may reflect more of a change of life from personal to governmental.

“Most of the indigenous people don’t believe it’s the end” but the beginning, he explained. “The clingers are so afraid. They’re imagining great suffering.”

Miguel Sague, founder of the Chaney Center in Verona, agrees with Silberberg that the world is not going to go dark but will experience a new period of enlightenment. And, Sague believes Pittsburgh, where the three rivers meet, will be the power point at the time of this cultural shift.

He said the point has long been a sacred sight, hosting holy rituals performed by American Indians, who believed it to be a portal into other worlds. Pittsburgh’s three rivers, plus the fourth underground “hidden” river, as well as the Allegheny Mountains, makes for a place of great energy, Sague said.

Sague, along with Antonio Aj Ik, both of Pittsburgh, founded the Maya Taino Prophecy Initiative to promote the message of the ancient calendar prophecies.

Sague has worked with and studied the wisdom of the traditional Mayan teachers since the early 1980s, inspired by the scholarly work in Mayan culture of his father, Dr. Miguel Sague Sr., who taught Latin American culture at a Northwestern Pennsylvania college in the 1960s. Like his father, Sague went on to travel widely in the Mayan cultural areas of Guatemala and Mexico, visiting and performing ceremonies at some of the most important cultural centers of MesoAmerica.

“Antonio and I are not at all in agreement with those who predict that Dec 21, 2012, was meant by the ancient Mayas as a day of global destruction,”said Sague.

Sague said the prophecies of the Mayan calendar are teachings designed to guide humanity from a self-destructive path and unto a bright new future. The transition period of 200 years that straddles the pivotal 2012 date, 100 years into the past to 1912 and 100 years into the future to 2112, is a period that provides humanity with a window of opportunity for change and transformation, he believes.

“We are convinced that this is the true message of (Antonio’s) ancestor’s 2012 prophecy. It is a message of rebirth and re-emergence handed down to this present generation from those that came before him, an understanding arrived at through a century-long process,” he explained.

According to Sague, Dec. 21 is symbolic of a “rebirth.” He explained the epic journey of humanity began exactly 26,000 years ago when the human race survived the Ice Age. At that time, humanity arrived at a point in our development when people became communally aware of their connection with nature and became the very hallmark of human culture.

He said “Shamanism” developed as a manifestation of humanity’s newly discovered use of media, the ability to communicate through symbolic language, when human beings developed the ability to express their most intimate inner yearnings and aspirations through the arts - painting, drawing, sculpture, dance, music, drama, poetry and storytelling.

But over the centuries, Sague said, man’s ability to express himself was stifled by other forces. Sague, however, pointed out in today’s world of technology, man again is free to express himself.

“This is why the arts are such an indispensable element of spiritual and philosophical thinking,” he said.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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