It is a positive message of renewal and new opportunity, symbolized by the extremely rare alignment of the sun and the Milky Way, the annual renewal of the winter solstice, and the daily renewal of the sunrise.
For the Maya, the Milky Way is the single most important celestial image, representing the Cosmic Mother or the First Mother, the starting point for all living things. To the Maya, changes in the appearance of the Milky Way signified important life events.
During sunrise on 21 December 2012, the sun will intersect with the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years. The center of the Milky Way is a long, narrow passage, which, to the Maya, illustrated the birth canal of the First Mother.
On 21 December, the sun will appear to travel through the birth canal of the Milky Way, and emerge into life and birth, a new era of opportunity.
This trek by the sun mirrors part of the process of the birth of the world in the Maya creation myth. In the Maya version of the story of civilizations's birth, the Maya tell of the rise of selfishness and evil attacking the Tree of Life, protection of the Tree of Life by the gods, and the Tree of Life's eventual rebirth.
That rebirth occurs when the sun travels through the dark birth canal of the First Mother and emerges, born, on the other side.
The second important symbol of renewal is the winter solstice, which also occurs on 21 December 2012. In Mayan mythology, the sun of the winter solstice is called the First Sun, or the First Father or First Lord. The winter solstice is an important date because it is sun’s annual rebirth, growing into increased daylight and spring, and the end of dormancy.
Finally, the 21st of December will have the daily sunrise, which is also an important symbol of rebirth and renewal. For the Maya, the ascension of the sun was a strong reminder of the gift of the day, of opportunity and hope, and of the grace of the gods to grant the people another day of life.
Although some observers interpret 21 December 2012 as an apocalyptic ending and dying, the Mayan symbols suggest, instead, rebirth and renewal. The 21st of December 2010 is about emerging from the old, into the new. It is a time for celebration and hope, looking forward to the Fifth Sun, and the promises of a new start.