A Happy (Mayan) New Year One and All

As the New Year dawns, the forces of the Mayan “apocalypse” gather in Cathar country, New-Agers set-up shop in Toulouse — ironically France’s aerospace capital — and end-of-the-worlders prepare … but a Guatemalan may have spiked their guns.

The caption under this Bugarach postcard says: "the man in foreground is not a Martian" (Ack: "Lieux secrets du pays cathare" blog)

(Read more online here)

For more than two Christmases stories have poured out of the global media and thousands of Internet forums, suggesting that the rocky Bugarach peak in the Corbières Mountains, will be the only safe place on earth when, reportedly, and according to the Mayan calendar, the world ends on 21 December 2012.

But now a Guatemalan-born Mayan ‘expert ‘ has surfaced to drive a stake through the heart of what is fast becoming a lucrative millennium myth … and the cause of some concern to the 189 residents of this peaceful farming village nestling at the foot of the Pic de Bugarach in south-western Aude region, that has never before been so much in the global spotlight.

Indeed, says one report, virtually everyone in the village, from local goatherd, to a one-man estate agency, has been quoted endlessly, vacuously and seemingly incessantly in media as far apart as Washington, Tokyo, Helsinki, Toronto, and Johannesburg, since the story about what locals call the zozotériques first hit the headlines.

According to a report on the CBC Toronto website, Mayan expert Leonzo Barreno, of Saskatchewan, Canada, says the ‘apocalypse’ concept is a false interpretation of the Long Count calendar and the world will not end in 2012. Leonzo Barreno, who immigrated to Canada from Guatemala in 1989, was reportedly trained by Mayan elders to read the ancient calendars.

“(Mr Barreno) says the end of the ancient Mayan calendar does not mean the end of the world. Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of the 5,125-year-long Mayan Long Count calendar …” Mr Barreno, who holds the Global Chair of Journalism at the University of Regina says that this marks the start of a new calendar cycle. “This has happened before, and according to the elders this is the fifth time it’s happened — the beginning of the cycle is something to celebrate, not fear,” he said.

an image of mayan calendar on cosumel island' ...

A Mayan calendar – Image via Wikipedia

Undeterred and just in case Mayan-induced doom-sayers are right, the invasion of Bugarach continues apace. Conditions are after all ripe for just such an event. The enduring global financial crisis casts its long, dark shadow over the world with no signs of early ending and just serves to underline the views of the zozotériques.

For the thousands threatening to pour into the Aude before year-end the financial meltdown is just the entrée that leads neatly to the end of the world — unless of course you join the Bugarach bunker brigade for whom a new era will begin.

According to the latest edition of Toulouse Magazine published by La Depeche, France’s aerospace capital now sits at the cœur du business de l’Apocalypse , the “heart of the Apocalypse business” .

For instance over the weekend May 5 – 6, New Agers and all kinds of spiritualists will gather at the Zénith de Toulouse for an international conference on the emergence of the New Age organised by Quebec-based publishers Ariane Editions. Speakers include celebrities such as the esoteric American millionaire Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestseller “Conversations with God.” Lectures, meditation and artistic performances are planned for the weekend which costs participants 130 euros each. The event is set to attract dozens of mystic specialists. Theories about the Apocalypse have started attracting popular attention, the report says, and the book “Le grand rassemblement 2012,” just published by Editions Ariane, is well displayed on the esoteric bookshelves at Fnac (the national bookshop and multimedia chain) in Toulouse.

The report says that there are some 2.5 million Internet pages about the imminent end of the world. Across the Atlantic, the question is taken very seriously and without taboos. The market for bunkers, weapons, and survival kits is growing. One company Vivos, for example, markets the 200 places it is offering ‘survivalists’ in an underground bunker at 35,000 euros for the year. An anxiety-inducing video produced to launch the product cautions that the fee is non-refundable if the predicted disaster fails to materialise.

Bugarach : vue depuis le versant du Pic de Bug...

Safe haven from the end of the world?- Image via Wikipedia

In France, the subject is more sensitive. The market is less transparent than in the US but it exists. In June 2010, Miviludes, the Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and Combat against Sects, hired a helicopter to fly over and survey Bugarach. Its observers reported signs of underground constructions taking place in the foothills.

Georges Fenech President of Miviludes addressed a symposium on sects organized by the Bar of Toulouse on November 30, 2011 and told the magazine: “We remain vigilant about messages related to the Apocalypse and we have noted an increase in conferences organized around the subject.” He warned of the risk of fraud associated with the movement and also cautioned against incentives to mass suicide that might be associated with these types of message. Miviludes, believes that in France there are some 30,000 followers of Apocalypse, UFO and millennial cults.

Simone Rich, vice chair of Info-secte Midi-pyrénées which offers help to those unwittingly or otherwise caught up in cults, said the organisation is seeing increasing numbers of calls from families or persons in distress, or under the influence of sectarian movements. She also notes that the New Age movement “no longer speaks of the end of the world but rather of the New World”.

Story: Ken Pottinger

If you’re bored or curious, you could spend an entertaining afternoon trolling through the thousands of websites about UFOlogy, mysticism, the New-Age Bugarach apocalypse, and the many myths that have grown up around the Cathars including for example Rennes-le-Château.

Here are some examples. But start your journey with a large dose of scepticism, otherwise you might just find yourself irretrievably drifting down the heady Da Vinci Code/Dan Brown path!






La Gazette et du Portail de Rennes-le-Château

Here’s the link to a BBC radio programme, for those who can access BBC’s “Listen Again” facility. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01292v1




Here is  a very sceptic French view of what’s going on – “Lieux secrets du Pays Cathare”.


and here for how he thinks the mountain should be seen in its beautful scenic state.


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