MERIDA, Mexico - Doomsday hour is here, at least in much of the world, and so still are we.
According to legend, the ancient Mayans' long-count calendar ends at midnight Thursday, ushering in the end of the world.
"This is not the end of the world. This is the beginning of the new world," Star Johnsen-Moser, an American seer, said at a gathering of hundreds of spiritualists at a convention center in the Yucatan city of Merida, an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.
"It is most important that we hold a positive, beautiful reality for ourselves and our planet. . . . Fear is out of place."
As the appointed time came and went in several parts of the world, there was no sign of the apocalypse.
Indeed, 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 opened inauspiciously, 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 fell from the ceremonial brazier onto the stage.
Still, 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.
"It is a cosmic dawn," Lemus declared. "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.
Despite all the ritual and banter, few here actually believed the world would end Friday; the summit was scheduled to run through Sunday. Instead, participants said they were here to celebrate the birth of a new age.
At dozens of booths set up in the convention hall, visitors could have their auras photographed with "Chi" light, get a shamanic cleansing or buy sandals, herbs, and whole-grain baked goods. Cleansing usually involves having copal incense waved around one's body.
Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions mingled amiably with the Mexican hosts.
"This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one," said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. "No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion."