Excerpts from Fractal Time by Gregg Braden
We’re living the end of time.
Not the end of the world, but the end of a world age—a 5,125-year cycle of time—and the way we’ve known the world throughout that time. The present world age began in 3114 b.c. and will end in a.d. 2012. Because the end of anything also marks the beginning of what comes next, we’re also living the start of what follows the end of time: the next world age, which ancient traditions called the great cycle.
From the epic poems of India’s Mahabharata to the oral traditions of indigenous Americans and the biblical story of Revelation, those who have come before us knew that the end of time was coming. They knew, because it always does. Every 5,125 years, the earth and our solar system reach a place in their journey through the heavens that marks the end of precisely such a cycle. With that end, a new world age begins. Apparently it’s always been this way.
For at least four such cycles (or five, according to the Mesoamerican traditions of the Aztec and the Maya peoples), our ancestors endured the changes in global magnetic fields, climate, diminishing resources, and rising sea levels that come with the end of time. They did so without satellites and the Internet or computer models to help them prepare for such a radical shift.
The fact that they lived to tell the story stands as a powerful testament to an undeniable truth: it tells us beyond any reasonable doubt that the inhabitants of our planet have survived the end of world ages in the past. Beyond simply surviving, our ancestors learned from the difficulties that can accompany the change. In the words of their day, they did their best to tell us what it means to live such a rare moment in history. It’s a good thing they did, because such events are few and far between. Only five generations in the last 26,000 years have experienced the shift of world ages. We will be the sixth.
The present world age isn’t something that will simply fade away into the sunset of a time that seems to perpetually linger somewhere “out there” in our future. Just the opposite: our world age has an expiration date. It ends at a specific time, with a specific event, on a day that was marked on a calendar more than 2,000 years ago. There is no secret about that date. The Maya who calculated it also inscribed it as a permanent record for future generations. The date is etched into stone monuments that were built to last until the end of time.
When the date is translated to our familiar system of time, the message becomes clear. It tells us that our present world cycle will conclude with the winter solstice that takes place on December 21 in the year 2012. It’s on this date that the mysterious Maya identified the astonishing astronomical events that will mark the end of our age … and they did so more than two millennia ago.
The reason: Physically, our solar system is moving through the shortest part of an orbit that looks like a flattened circle, an ellipsis whose far end carries us to the most distant point from the core of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
The physical effect: Both ancient traditions and modern science tell us that our location in this cyclic orbit determines how we experience the powerful sources of energy, such as the “massive magnetic fields,” which radiate from our galaxy’s core. Recent studies suggest that it is precisely such cycles that may explain the mysterious patterns of biodiversity—the rise and fall of life on Earth, such as the mass extinctions that happened 250 and 450 million years ago. Additionally, modern discoveries confirm that Earth’s position throughout the journey (orbit, tilt, and wobble) create the ever-changing cycles that influence everything from temperature and climate to polar ice and the magnetic fields of the earth. Details of these effects are discussed throughout the book Fractal Time.
The emotional/spiritual effect: As we travel farther from our galaxy’s core, our distance from the energy located there was described by ancient traditions as the loss of a connection that we sense both spiritually and emotionally. Scientific links between the quality of Earth’s magnetic fields, how they’re affected by cosmic conditions, and our feeling of well-being seem to precisely support such ancient beliefs.
In the same way that Earth’s rotation makes the darkest part of the night appear just before the dawn, our position in the heavens is such that the darkest part of our world age appears right before our heavenly orbit begins the return that brings us closer to our galaxy’s core. With that return, we experience relief from the cataclysmic forces of the cycle’s darkness. And just as the night must pass in order to get to the new day, the only way to arrive at the light of the next cycle is to finish the darkness of this one.
We all know that dark experiences definitely exist in our world, and we don’t need to look far to find them; however, there’s also more to life than the suffering that the ancients foresaw—much more. Even in our time of great darkness, the polarities of peace, healing, love, and compassion are alive, well, and abundant.
Our ancestors had an amazingly deep grasp of just what our experience of cosmic cycles means on multiple levels. Somehow they knew that Earth’s position in the heavens would affect the physical conditions in our world, as well as the emotional and spiritual experiences that we need to embrace them. Through myth, analogy, and metaphor, they reminded us that the farther we travel away from the source of such powerful energy, the deeper we are in darkness and the more out of sync we find ourselves with the fields that influence life here on Earth. From the traditions of the Hopi to the ancient Vedas, it’s this experience of separateness that is credited with our sense of being lost as well.
Our ancestors cautioned that at the most distant point in our cycle, we would forget who we are—our connectedness to one another and the earth. They told us that we would forget our past. It’s precisely this disconnected feeling that seems to be the consequence of the cyclic journey that carries us to the far end of our galactic orbit. It’s also the fear that is spawned by such feelings that has led to the chaos, war, and destruction at the end of cycles past.
The key to 2012 and our time in history is to understand the language of nature’s cycles and to use that language today to prepare for the future. Ultimately we may discover that our ability to understand and apply the "rules" of fractal time holds the key to our deepest healing, our greatest joy, and our survival as a species.