While four Mayan sun dancers were poised to scamper 80 feet to the top of a pole before spiraling down head first, suspended by ropes tied around their ankles, Apolinar Simbron told thousands of spectators at the Richmond Folk Festival in October that he'd been getting a lot of questions about the year 2012. Simbron, a priest and leader of the dancers, had been peppered with inquiries about the possibility of an impending apocalypse that some people believe the ancient Mayan calendar predicts. He said he didn't want to talk about it then, but told the audience if they just looked around the world, it was plain to see that changes had started. Richmonders had an opportunity to learn more about what 2012 could hold when Baltimore-based evolutionary astrologer Kari Noren-Hoshal spoke at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Nov. 22. The Mayan calendar measures time, she said, but also the evolution of human consciousness by tracking long periods called underworlds. “The current cycle that we're in began 5,125 years ago in the year 3,114 B.C.,” Noren-Hoshal said. “That particular phase of the calendar will come to its conclusion on the winter solstice on Dec. 21, 2012, and the celestial event that's going to take place then is that the rising sun in Chichen Itza, Mexico, and other sites throughout Mexico will align exactly with the center of the Milky Way galaxy in a way that it has not aligned in 25,800 years.” She sees a more uplifting message than Simbron. That day the sun will rise in an area of the sky called “the dark rift,” she says, which in Mayan and Peruvian shamanism is equated with the womb of the galaxy. The sun represents the fertilizing, or male influence, so the sunrise of Dec. 21, 2012, would equate to a new dawn in human consciousness. The astrologer told the audience that the world is entering a more promising phase of the current underworld known as the “flowering,” prophesized by the Maya to usher in a new era of eco-consciousness and global cooperation. Noren-Hoshal said more destructive period markers in the Mayan calendar have coincided with the collapse of the Roman Empire, the World War II and the Holocaust, and the period when the world economic crisis began in the United States in December 2007.
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