SANTA CRUZ -- Should one prepare for the end of days while out holiday shopping?
Well, no, says a longtime Live Oak psychic who has been inundated with worried calls about Dec. 21, when some say the Mayan calendar marks the end of the world.
Psychic Susie Stevens sat down with the Santa Cruz Sentinel recently to talk about what she sees in the coming months.
"I'm getting call after call from panicked people," Stevens said. "But this is a good thing."
At the same time, there is a whopper of a planetary line-up coming for those who believe in astrology, she said.
Stevens says six major, largely incompatible planets -- Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Venus and Mars -- will be configured in a significant way and "battling each other" for the next two to three years.
That will bring a lot of things to a head, good and bad, she said.
"It's a traffic jam of planets at each other, which all have an agenda," Stevens said. "But it does cause breakthroughs. With this alignment we'll see a lot of good, powerful breakthroughs. Sagittarius and Capricorn will get it the most."
As for Wednesday, 12/12/12, Stevens said the number 12 indicates completion in numerology. And though Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin has reported that Wednesday is shaping up as a popular day to marry, Stevens said she couldn't advise it.
"It's an intense day; I wouldn't get married that day," she said. "I would run to my therapist to resolve any issues I had."
Stevens said the next few years will be good for politics. And that President Obama, whom she called a healer, will do surprisingly well.
Global warming will be an accepted concept in three to five years, she continued, and the upcoming months will be good for policing, with the time ripe for solving cold cases.
Stevens predicts any natural disasters will be associated with water, as Saturn, the planet of fate and birth/death has been in the water sign of Scorpio since early October.
Locally, she said the economy will be in full swing in spring of 2013. She said she sees the upper end of Pacific Avenue undergoing a transformation with a handful of shops closing and being replaced by high-tech and high-fashion, businesses.
"I see fashion shows that will bring in attractive energy, and a photo shop with animals and music," Stevens said.
She said she has fielded many questions about the next quake, but thinks that will happen in the Los Angeles area.
Stevens sees 2013 as a year of hope for Santa Cruz.
"And some day, Watsonville and Santa Cruz will fall in love," she said. "The prediction for that is 2015."
The Mayan angle
Talk of Dec. 21 prompted NASA to post a statement on its website refuting any impending denouement.
"Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012," NASA states.
NASA says the story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This disaster was initially predicted for May 2003 and then moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice. The wayward planet stories are Internet hoaxes, the site states.
Others are not so sure.
The website www.december212012.com, which includes a second-by-second count down to the big day, lists stories tracking the trepidation, including a PRNewsire story from Edinburgh, Scotland that says searches for one-way airfare to two sheltering towns, one in France and one in Turkey, are up by more than a third, quoting the travel search site Skyscanner.
A New York Times story on the site talks about Russia's minister of emergency situations declaring the world was not going to end, after inmates in a women's prison reportedly experienced "a collective mass psychosis." Panicked citizens in another town stripped store shelves of emergency supplies and others started building a huge Mayan-style archway out of ice.
Another story, attributed to Forbes, claims that Bolivia has outlawed Coca-Cola effective Dec. 21.
It states that David Choquehuanca, the country's minister of external affairs, explained that Coca-Cola will be expelled from Bolivia on the same day that the Mayan calendar enters a new cycle, and that it marks the end of capitalism.
Yet another listed story, from the Pasadena Star News, talks about a new disaster preparation group in Los Angeles and states that preparing to survive a catastrophe has become its own culture, popularized by the cable show "Doomsday Preppers."
UCSC Prof weighs in
Carter Wilson, a UC Santa Cruz professor emeritus who has studied Mayan culture, said the Mayans were very good astrologers who had two calendars, the long and short count calendars. When those calendars mesh, the dates are considered important, Wilson said.
"That doesn't necessarily mean anything is going to change," he said. "It's amusing; it's been a big tourism boon in Mexico. You can't get a hotel room in the Yucatan area.
"But when people ask me about it, I tell them this is about as important to the Maya as the year 2000 was for us," he said.
Wilson said a confusing thing about Mayan culture, related to prophesy, is that they sometimes talk in future tense about things that already have happened.
Stevens, who has been in the news before for her stalwart efforts to feed and adopt-out feral cats at Seacliff State Beach, was raised Catholic and has several depictions of saints in her small mobile home. She believes in God, saying only He really knows what will happen. And she said planets don't cause behavior, they only influence it.
"I actually feel things are going to get better," she said. "And I've seen too much to be an optimist."
Reach Stevens at 475-7290.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9