Instead of the world’s end, a ‘cosmic dawn’

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MERIDA, Mexico — According to legend, the ancient Mayans’ long-count calendar [ended] at midnight Thursday, ushering in the end of the world. Didn’t happen. …

Students in Taichung, southern Taiwan, mark the countdown to when many believed the world would end on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. / AP

As the appointed time came and went in several parts of the world, there was no sign of the apocalypse. Indeed, the social network Imgur posted photos of clocks turning midnight in the Asia-Pacific region with messages such as: “The world has not ended. Sincerely, New Zealand.”

In Merida, the celebration of the cosmic dawn opened inauspiciously, with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honour the calendar’s conclusion.

Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that fell from the ceremonial brazier onto the stage. Still, Lemus was convinced that it was a good start, as he was joined by about 1,000 other shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis.

“It is a cosmic dawn,” Lemus declared. “We will recover the ability to communicate telepathically and levitate objects … like our ancestors did.” …

Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions mingled amiably with the Mexican hosts.

“This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one,” said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. “No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion.”

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