The bee side - 2012 skullduggery must be averted.
According to ancient legend and folklore, the 13 crystal skulls that may have been central to Mayan culture were separated way back in the mists of time and dispersed to the very corners of the Earth.
The best known crystal skull is the so-called 'skull of doom', allegedly discovered some time between 1924 and 1927 during the excavation of the ancient Mayan city of Lubaantum in modern day Belize. The skull is made of pure crystal that modern crystal carvers say has been carved against the natural grain - something that is almost impossible to replicate, even with today's laser carving technology. On top of that, there are no microscopic scratches to be found anywhere on the skull that would indicate the use of metallic tools. The best guess at the method used to carve the skull is that it was roughly hewn by diamonds, and then gradually and gently finished by being worn down by hand with a gentle solution of sand and water - a process estimated to have taken up to 300 years to complete.
Many people today believe the skulls have some kind of psychic aura, and that they have the power to increase happiness and improve people's lives, simply by being held or even spoken to. Needless to say, the scientists who have examined the known crystal skulls have been unable to detect anything unusual about them. But what do they know?
The skulls have variously been linked to the lost civilisation of Atlantis, as well as to life on Mars, but those propounding the Mayan connection point to the end of the b'ak'tun cycle as being the crucial point in the debate - the acid test, so to speak.
A b'ak'tun, as you probably already appreciate, is 20 katun cycles of the ancient Maya long count calendar. Each b'ak'tun contains 144,000 days, or 400 tuns if you prefer. A tun equates roughly to the length of a tropical year, obviously.
Anyway, the current b'ak'tun, which is the twelfth, is three or four b'ak'tuns on from what we today refer to as the 'classical period' of Mayan civilisation. That occurred way back in the eighth and ninth b'ak'tuns of the current calendrical cycle. I know what you're thinking: 'We already know all this; why's he going over it all again?' Well, bear with me because I think I'm on to something.
I know this is all going to sound a bit Indiana Jones, but the current b'ak'tun, once you've adjusted for the GMT correlation, ends on December 21, 2012. Word's going round in New Age circles that that's the time the skulls will finally be reunited, and that their reunification will "forestall a catastrophe allegedly predicted or implied by the ending of this calendar". Well that couldn't be clearer, could it? What catastrophe can you think of that's going to hit in 2012? Yeah, me too. It's just got to be personal accounts and auto-enrolment, hasn't it?
The way ahead is clear: we've got to instigate a quest to locate the missing 13th crystal skull and find some way of getting together all the others from the various museums around the world before the start of the winter solstice in 2012. Reuniting the skulls and talking to them about auto-enrolment and inertia selling looks like being our only chance of averting this catastrophe that's due to engulf our pension system.
It's a long shot, but it may be the only one we've got. Who's with me?
First published in Pensions Management, August 2008