Reading between the lines of the Maya calendar

Reading between the lines of the Maya calendarWriting From Guatemala City - The world may not end two years from now, despite Internet predictions and this week's blockbuster disaster movie, "2012." On screen, the final day in the 5,126-year Maya calendar brings global destruction, and Los Angeles slides inexorably into the sea.

Here in the cradle of Maya civilization, however, shaman/priest Calixta Gabriel said Mother Earth -- Madre Tierra -- would suffer "hunger, wind and thunder," but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.>>>

Chinese town embraces technology while retaining its Shangri-La image

Chinese town embraces technology while retaining its Shangri-La imageImagine a remote province in southwestern China. A roomful of American teachers sit transfixed on wooden benches in a classroom, listening to a young student of ancient dongba a religion, language and form of hieroglyphics. Dongba, he explains, is the only hieroglyphic writing still in use. The school teaches dongba to young people of the Naxi (NA-shee) tribe in order to preserve their heritage.

Behind the tunic-clad young man sits an impressively attired shaman.>>>

Apocalypse Now (or Not?)

Apocalypse Now (or Not?)A SECT OF enlightened individuals lives among us.Their beliefs encompass shamanism, a 2012 doomsday scenario, obscure psychedelic drugs, mysticism, yoga, UFOs, crop circles, occasional communication with Mayan deities and the lingering suspicion that Obama is part of a robot conspiracy. You know, the usual.>>>

Pray for snow: Sierra-at-Tahoe's winter ritual is Thursday

Pray for snow: Sierra-at-TahoeThe tradition of praying for snow runs deep in resort towns, combining the spiritual with the jovial. In Vail, Colo., Ute Indians perform a traditional snow dance during the winter festivities. The folks in Breckenridge take a week to celebrate Ullr, the mythical Norse god of snow, in the middle of dating games, comedy shows and parades.>>>

Descendants of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull attend Indigenous Peoples Days

Descendants of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull attend Indigenous Peoples DaysTo highlight the tribes 10th annual Indigenous Peoples Days the Tsi Akim Maidu invited descendants of 18 noted Native Americans to join the celebration.

The descendants sat on bales of straw in a wide circle around a late afternoon fire as the sun dropped into the pine forest at the Maidu Active Cultural Center just outside Nevada City. Offerings of tobacco were tossed into the fire by each participant.>>>