The Shift of Ages:
2012, The Great Cycle, & the Great Year

The Shift of Ages, a World Age, the Great Cycle, the Great Year, the Galactic Year, the Galactic Alignment...

What's it all about? How does it tie in with what will happen in 2012?

There's a lot going on, in the year 2012. And a lot of confusion about all these different cycles.

I've seen websites saying the Galactic Year is 26,000 years long. Other sites have called that a Solar Year! Still others call the coming era the Galactic Day.

These terms are being used higgledy-piggledy and confusing everyone!

Let's straighten out the mess and get the facts...

wicca-spirituality-witchy_smile WITCH TIP:
Unlike just about every other website out there, repeating the same jumble over and over, I've taken the time to research the Shift of Ages personally, to the best of my abilities.

So you're going to get the real story here, and not just a regurgitation of other people's folly.

However, there are still aspects I haven't been able to track down to my satisfaction, and I've had to go with the best of my understanding. So if you spot a mistake in the following articles, please let me know.

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The Three Major Cycles At Play In The Year 2012

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December 21, 2012 will see the coinciding of three cycles ...

  1. The Solar Year
  2. The Great Cycle
  3. The Great Year

The Galactic Year, while it is getting mixed up in people's minds, is not part of the process. But because this is sometimes confused with the rest, we'll clarify a Galactic Year below, as well.

The Solar Year

Our Earth circles around our Sun, taking about 365 days to complete the circuit. That is one Solar Year.

You can also call this ...

  • an Earth Year,

  • a Seasonal Year,

  • an Astronomical Year,

  • a Calendar Year (if you start at Jan 1),

  • a Tropical Year, or

  • a Sidereal Year.
(Accurately speaking, sidereal and tropical years are not exactly the same length of time, but for most purposes can be treated as synonymous.)

If you've seen a "solar year" being described as 26,000 years long, the writer has confused it with the Great Year, which we'll get to in a moment.

So the first Cycle that ends on December 21, 2012 is the Seasonal Cycle -- shifting from winter to spring.

This is a smaller cycle, certainly not earning the title of Shift of Ages. But it's worth mentioning, because it shows in the microcosm of the Earth's seasons the very same shift of the Ages explained below....

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The Shift of Ages

It's not surprising that so many cultures around the world concerned themselves with the kind of great transition that we call a Shift of Ages.

What is surprising is that such specific information on them has survived through many thousands of years!

Here we'll see that the great transitions that come regularly to the Earth were well-known to the ancients. They not only knew about them, they seem to know what to expect for the future ones.

The Mayan Calendar's Great Cycle

The Great Cycle of the Mayan Calendar signals the end of one World Age in the year 2012.

The Mayan Long-Count Calendar is divided up into five Great Cycles of 5,125 years each. These are called World Ages. As we transition from one to the next, we are said to be in the Shift of Ages.

The Mayans believe that we are just finishing the Age of the Fifth Sun, the 5th World Age. This age began on August 11, 3,114 BCE (Before Common Era).

Each of the previous Shift of Ages was accompanied by catastrophe: earthquake, ice, flood.... (This is partly what has people so worried.)

What isn't often said is that we have the power to determine just how cataclysmic or how calm the transition is.

Why 5,125 years?

This is one thing I haven't been able to track down the facts on.

Speculation has it that there are cosmic forces involving the Galactic Core and the Sun and various other energy sources, that affect the Earth at regular intervals -- 5000+ years.

Another possible reason is that this is approximately the length of two Astrological Ages... the time needed for the Sun to move from one Zodiac sign to the next, in the Precession of the Equinoxes (see below).

By the way, when you add the numerals -- 5 + 1 + 2 + 5 -- you get the Mayan's magickal number 13 again.

The Hindu Yugas

The Mayan Calendar is certainly not the only one to use this 5000 year time span between Shift of Ages.

In the Indian Vedic texts -- the most ancient of Hindu scriptures -- the World Ages are called Yugas. No one is really sure of the duration of the Yuga cycles, but one interpretation puts them at about 2,400 years.

So two Yugas would approximately equal one Great Cycle. I suspect that they are merely breaking down the Age into more detailed parts... what the Mayans call "a day", they are calling "a day and a night."

The current Yuga is the Kali Yuga. And the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Text 50, says specifically that the Kali Yuga will last for 5000 years.

Read more about the Vedic prophesies for the Kali Yuga.

The Hopi Prophecy of the 5th Hoop

The Hopi tradition sees us as being in the "Fourth Hoop," the 4th World Age, and moving into the 5th world. They too agree that we are at the Shift of Ages now, and will see the Fifth Hoop within our lifetimes.

I haven't found anything saying that they give a specific length of time to each World Age, though.

Okay, so we've determined what the Great Cycle is. What about the Great Year?

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Age of Aquarius

The second Shift of Ages happening around the year 2012 is the turning of the Astrological Age.

An Astrological Age is about 2,160 years long. This is the time the Sun lingers in one Zodiac sign, before dropping back to the next.

It's been quite difficult to figure out exactly what that means, and so many explanations out there have erroneous information in them. But this is how that works...

Precession of the Equinoxes

It's a bit tricky to explain. First you have to know that the solar system is fairly flat, like a thick plate, with the orbits of all the planets on the same plane, more or less.

Zodiac Precession of the Equinoxes Illustrated - copyright

(In this illustration, the purple represents the imaginary plate, and the other planets are not shown.)

Now imagine that around the outside edge of the solar system, like the decoration on the rim of the plate, are the 12 constellations of the zodiac. From our perspective on Earth, the Sun appears to travel in front of each of these signs every year. Thus we get the Sun in Aries during March, in Taurus during April, etc.

Now, here's the important part. The Sun actually appears to fall behind a bit every year, due to the wobble in the Earth's axis. This wobble changes our viewpoint of the Sun against the backdrop of the (relatively unmoving) stars.

Thus the Sun seems to travel backwards through all the signs of the Zodiac, over a long period of time. This is called the Precession of the Equinoxes.

Wherever the Sun appears at the Spring Equinox (northern hemisphere) is said to be the constellation of the Age. Three thousand years ago, the Sun appeared in Aries on the 21st of March. Currently, on the 21st of March, the Sun is seen in the sign of Pisces. But it's gradually moving backward from Pisces into Aquarius, hence "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius."

It takes about 2,160 years for the Sun to move from one sign into another. Over 25,800 years, the Sun travels through all of the Zodiacal signs, and is back in "starting position."

This may seem trivial. After all, it's really just a matter of where and when we're "looking." But I think this is the most important thing of all. Reality is created by observation, as quantum physics tells us -- what we're looking for is what determines our reality.

In simple human terms, think of something that you've changed your perspective on. Did you ever have something "terrible" happen to you, that later you saw to be a great gift?

Perspective is everything.

For this alone, the Shift of Ages is as real as any astrological event. But there's more to it, it seems. You can read about that in The Galactic Alignment.

Does the Age of Aquarius Start in 2012?

Well, not exactly.

In fact, there is no definitive moment when it's happened. There are no actual lines between one Zodiac sign and another, and when we cross the boundary is a matter of interpretation.

So no one can agree on whether we are coming up to the New Age, or already in it.

One thing is clear, however -- we are already experiencing some effects of this transition.

So while the Age of Aquarius can't be said to be starting on December 21, 2012, this shift in Astrological Ages is very much a part of the 2012 Transition.

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The Great Year

This is the third major Shift of Ages in the year 2012. The Great Year is (almost) 26,000 years long.

(This is not to be confused with Galactic Year, explained later.)

Five Great Cycles of 5,125 years are contained within the one Great Year.

What Is The Great Year?

26,000 years is the time it takes for our Sun to complete its Precession Of The Equinoxes.

This is a major Shift of the Ages... one that happens very rarely.

So in the year 2012, we come to not one -- or even two -- Shift of Ages, but THREE! And the cherry on top is the turning of the Earth's seasons at the Winter Solstice!

Imagine how truly awe-some this is! An event that few generations have ever seen, and we are here for it!

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The Galactic Year

This is not tied in with the year 2012 (as far as we know), but people are mistakenly using the term, so let's set the record straight.

Just as the Earth goes through cycles, like day and night, and seasons, and ice ages, the solar system has cycles too. Our whole solar system travels around the galaxy's glowing hot central core.

The Galactic (or Cosmic) Year is approximately 225 million years long.

Just as the Earth circles around the sun, creating the Solar Year, the solar system circles around the galactic core -- this is the Galactic Year.

Galactic Years In History

To give you some idea of the length of time involved, here's what happened in previous Galactic Years (GY), starting with the creation of our solar system...

0 GY, our Sun is born.

4 GY, oceans arise.

5 GY, life arises on Earth.

10 GY, land masses arise.

16 GY, multicellular organisms develop.

~ 18 GY, sudden explosion of life forms.

19 GY, the most massive extinction event so far.

20 GY, the world is poised at the brink of either transformation or destruction.

Does the Galactic Year tie in to what will happen in 2012? I certainly can't say. The time scale is so immense that we can't even fathom it, let alone understand how the cycle works!

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The Shift of Ages

There are Ages, and then there are Ages. Some are shorter, around 5000 years long. Some incomprehensible, hundreds of millions of years long.

In reference to the year 2012, the Shift of Ages means the turning of both the Great Cycle and the Great Year.

This Transition is reflected and amplified by the Earth's Seasonal Year.

Remembering Which Is Which

A Solar Year is one trip of the Earth around the Sun (365 days).

A Great Cycle is one step bigger: a World Age (5,125 years).

A Great Year is one step bigger: a trip of the Sun around the zodiac (26,000 years).

A Galactic Year is huge: one trip of the whole solar system around the galaxy (225 million years).

And now what do these have to do with...

The Galactic Alignment... That's the subject of the next article.

With Bright Blessings,

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