I have a few thoughts on the subject, beginning with why I'm not worried about this December 21 being doomsday.
First, I'm not sure how accurate the translation is from the Mayan calendar to ours. Does Dec 21 really coincide with the Mayan's last day, or 2012 their last year? It may be that their last day is really still ahead, or maybe already behind us. I've detected some doubt about this among scholars, though I suspect they are right about the general time.
Second, the date marks the end of the calendar's latest long cycle (which is something like 7800 years). I don't know what the Mayans were trying to track with three sets of cycles, but the long one has made its rounds in eons past with the presumption that the end of that cycle is also the beginning of the next.
Third, why is significance even placed on the last date of the Mayan calendar? Isn't it a finite thing created by some Mayan priest or technician a millennium or so ago? Doesn't it have to have some final date? The fact that it projects out so far is remarkable, but doesn't it have to end somewhere? My 2012 calendar's last date is December 31, 2012. Does that mean there won't be a January 1, 2013 (or at least a new day regardless of the label we assign it)? In fact, I've heard that other Mayan calendars have been excavated that do indeed project beyond 2012.
Now the current Mayan elders are saying that their ancestors' calendar is simply marking the end of the long cycle this year and they resent the end-of-the-world predictions being derived from it. But therein, I believe, lies the date's significance. Whether the old Mayans intended a prediction or not, the last date on their calendar is the winter solstice, which is a long celebrated annual marker of change (usually for the better). It is an apt date to note the passing of one age and the start of another.
If there was ever a time of momentous, tumultuous, far-reaching, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it change, it is now. In humanity's time on earth as sentient beings, there have been many watershed moments: walking upright, the dominance of exploitive over hunter-gather living, the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the rise of fossil-fuel-based industry--and all pale in comparison to what's happening now.
In a nutshell, human civilization has reached its limits to growth. The wonderland of affluent living made possible in the Western world by the last couple of centuries of cheap fossil fuels has passed its peak and fallen into steady decline. "Collapse" is another term for this decline and is appropriate because we are falling from a life of high complexity to levels much less complex. It is an asymmetric collapse hitting first and hardest those on the lowest economic rungs. These people are on society's margins anyway and have long lived on little. The middle class is learning what the poor know about being jobless and hungry, as discomfort spreads among those in the middle tiers. The elites are still untouched and able to hoard and control the remaining material resources.
There is no substitute for the loss of cheap energy that's driving civilization's collapse, though it would be possible to "power down" to sustainable living levels using renewable energy sources with a reemphasis on living locally. This controlled collapse is not likely to happen, however, since the current system is too profitable to the ruling powers to change. It is also their psychopathic inclination to fight over resources to the last man standing, history providing ample evidence of this.
Based on the attitudes and denials I see all around, it looks likely to me that humankind will not even acknowledge the predicament they are in, and so will suffer the utmost in their transition to simpler living in a changed world. There will be much suffering, but it is conceivable (perhaps probable) that survivors will make it to the other side and adapt. And they'll likely wonder at the monsters and the monsterous ignorance that preceded them. James Kunstler has an enlightening take on this in his recent blog about the latest US random massacre (see link below).
But I believe the biggest change will come from Mother Nature (Gaia) and will trump all the high-tech ravages and plans of humankind. The pace of climate change has accelerated beyond the worst fears of scientists and slapped naysayers in the face with monster storms, record winter heat, a shrunken north pole, drowned islands, and resurgent dustbowls. There are various ways this could play out: from a hot and uninhabitale planet to a new ice age with human survivors huddled around the equator.
Whitley Strieber has a similar take on climate change in his blog post about Dec 21 (see the link below). He also sees hope, however, and the possibility for some very positive changes.
I also believe there could be light at the end of the tunnel. It's just that the tunnel is long and very dark. But the winter solstice is a good picture even for that. It has long been a symbol of renewal and a picture of the Christian hope--the darkening, shortening days since the summer solstice have finally reached their limit and will begin to lengthen. The sun will shine again in long days. It is possible, and to be devoutly wished for, that humans will find their days in the sunshine again, with blue skies free of chemtrails and temperate climes where crops grow in abundance. And they'll get around by walking on strong legs.
No, I'm not fearful of a sudden doomsday on Dec 21, 2012. It's likely that you're reading this on that day or afterwards. But this is a time of change--great and sweeping change for the earth and all her inhabitants. Whether the Mayans foresaw this time or not, the end of their calendar has occurred at this critical juncture in history and highlights, underscores, punctuates this pivotal time. Shamanic insight is not required to see that.
Still, it's fitting that Christmas soon follows this day of ominous portends and so breaks the dark clouds with its hope of spiritual renewal. So strengthened, that spiritual place in us has the potential to thrive. The warmth of its comfort can guide us through fear and uncertainty and we'll realize that, though terrors surround us, we're on a path that's going somewhere. Likely, somewhere better.
This winter soltice is special because it occurs at the end of the Mayan long cycle (as best we can tell). It won't happen again for over seven millenia. I propose we offer some small celebration to mark the day with positive energy and defy the doomsayers. Have a Mayan meal (corn and beer?). Share your time with loved ones. Mediate. Pray.
Enjoy the day. It's only the end of the Mayan calendar, it's not the end of the world.
James Kunstler's blog post is here.
Whitley Strieber's blog post is here.