destructive human behavior, not about the Mayan calendar," she said.
"The message of the Maya elders is that all of us need to make a conscious choice at this time to remember the greater good and remember that we are co-creating divine beings. We create our world by our intentions and our choices, so we have to make good ones."
Ms. Hanchin and others in the Peaceburgh movement believe that Pittsburgh has a special role in the new age that they expect to dawn on Saturday.
They believe that the confluence of Pittsburgh's rivers is depicted on the Mayan calendar, and aligns with the center of the Milky Way. Their theory is that the ancient Maya, who flourished in Mexico and Central America from 2500 BC to 900 AD, had ancestors here who migrated south, carrying their image of home with them. This connection would make Pittsburgh an especially powerful portal for the energy they expect to flow to Earth.
Part of their prophecy, which has been public since at least 2007, was that the water in the Point State Park Fountain, which comes from an underground aquifer that they say is featured in the calendar, would develop miraculous healing powers before 2012.
The fountain has been shut for renovation since April 2009.
That prediction "is sort of in limbo," Ms. Hanchin said.
While some people hold End of the World parties Friday, Ms. Hanchin plans to meditate quietly, then celebrate the dawn of a better world on Saturday.
"The people in my circle want to be very quiet and listening and receptive," she said.
The website www.heartofpittsburgh.com lists local events. They range from a Worship Jam at 7 p.m. Wednesday in First United Methodist Church, Shadyside, which will offer a Christian interpretation of the solstice, to a blessing by members of the Thunder Mountain Lenape Nation at a riverside labyrinth by the Homestead Waterfront at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
The Peaceburgh group is loosely affiliated with a Birth 2012 movement led by New Age teacher Barbara Marx Hubbard. The movement is celebrating Saturday as a symbolic birthday of a new humanity, with gatherings in nearly 400 sites worldwide. The www.Birth2012.com site will have 33 hours of live streaming video starting at 3 p.m. Friday.
An oddly shaped mountain in southern France is a focal point of expectation. Devotees of peaceful theories expect Pic de Bugarach to be rich in positive energy, while some on the doomsday camp believe it will be the only safe place on the planet. Some expect an alien spacecraft to launch from inside the mountain and rescue people.
So many people have swarmed to the nearby village of Bugarach that late last month the French government banned access to the mountain for safety reasons. According to British press reports, the mayor of Bugarach ordered the village temporarily barricaded to prevent its 200 residents from being overrun by tens of thousands of outsiders.
The "Why the World Won't End" article from NASA addresses many of the doomsday scenarios -- such as an alleged rogue planet Nibiru, the reversal of the Earth's rotation and monster solar storms -- and debunks them all. (Nibiru is an Internet hoax and any such object would already be clearly visible. Earth aligns with the center of the Milky Way every December and can't reverse
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