MERIDA, Mexico (AP) — The crystal skulls have spoken: The world is not going to end.
American seer Star Johnsen-Moser led a whooping, dancing, drum-beating ceremony Thursday in the heart of Mayan territory to consult several of the life-sized crystal skulls, which adherents claim were passed down by the ancient Maya.
The skulls weren't the only inheritances left by the ancient civilization that have been making waves this week: The supposed end of the Maya long-count calendar on Friday has prompted a wave of doomsday speculation across the globe.
"This is not the end of the world, this is the beginning of the new world," Johnsen-Moser said at a gathering of hundreds of spiritualists at a convention center in Merida. "It is most important that we hold a positive, beautiful reality for ourselves and our planet ... Fear is out of place."
The supposed 5 a.m. Friday doomsday hour had already arrived in several parts of the world with no sign of the apocalypse.
The social network Imgur posted photos of clocks turning midnight in the Asia-Pacific region with messages such as: "The world has not ended. Sincerely, New Zealand."
In Merida, the celebration of the cosmic dawn began with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honor the calendar's conclusion.
Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later had to scoop up a burning log that was knocked out of the ceremonial brazier onto the wooden stage.
Still, the white-clad Lemus was convinced that it was a good start, as he was joined by about 1,000 other shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis at the convention center about an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.
"It is a cosmic dawn," said Lemus. "We will recover the ability to communicate telepathically and levitate objects ... like our ancestors did."
Celebrants later held their arms in the air in a salute to the Thursday morning sun.
"The galactic bridge has been established," announced spiritual leader Alberto Arribalzaga, who led the ceremony. "At this moment, spirals of light are entering the center of your head ... Generating powerful vortexes that cover the planet."
Few here believe the world will end on Friday; the summit is scheduled to run through Sunday. Instead, participants say, they are here to celebrate the birth of a new age.
A Mexican Indian seer who calls himself Ac Tah, and who has traveled around Mexico erecting small pyramids he calls "neurological circuits," said he holds high hopes for Dec. 21.
"We are preparing ourselves to receive a huge magnetic field straight from the center of the galaxy," he said.
Terry Kvasnik, 32, a stunt man and acrobat from Manchester, England, said his motto for the day is "Be in love, don't be in fear." While he didn't know exactly which ceremony he'll attend on Friday, he guaranteed with a smile, "I'm going to be in the happiest place I can."
If anything, the summit was a blissed-out focal point for the yoga-and-chakra set, with participants wearing T-shirts that read "Shiva Rules," or getting their auras photographed with "chi" light. In the exhibition hall people had their pick of crystal vendors and faith healers.
They could also learn the art of healing drumming with a Mexican Otomi Indian master who calls himself Dabadi Thaayroyadi and says his slender, hand-held, plate-sized drums are made with prayers embedded into them. He said the drums emit "an intelligent energy" that can heal emotional, physical and social ailments.
During the opening ceremony participants chanted mantras to the blazing Yucatan sun, which quickly burned the fair-skinned crowd.