Editor's note: Beginning in 2012, Jerry Johnston's Faith Page column will appear every other week.
For those with a mystical bent, a book — fresh off the press — may set the stage for your journey into the new year.
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to 2012: An Ancient Look at a Critical Time" attempts to comb through history and pull together dozens of prophesies, predictions and cosmic hiccups slated for 2012.
But if, like Biff in the "Back to the Future" films, you hope to make a billion dollars by betting on this stuff, take care. The predictions get pretty hazy.
First, of course, is the famous Mayan prophesy that we've been hearing about for several years.
Supposedly the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012, when a glorious Golden Age of goodwill will be ushered in.
After the world comes apart in a few months, there will be a time of purification. Then the great "savior" Kukulkan will arrive.
Feel free to draw your own parallels.
And if that's not enough to worry about, we also learn that in 2012 we'll be dealing with a flopping of the Earth's magnetic poles, a monster volcano in Yellowstone Park that will blow the hat off Yogi Bear and the human race itself undergoing a shift in consciousness.
That's where you and I come in.
This "shift" toward a new, celestial frame of mind is apparently already under way.
Do you find your attitudes changing?
Do you want to spend more time out in nature and want to simplify your life?
Do you have trouble staying focused, feel many of your relationships are strained, have trouble with finances or feel you'd like to be of more service to mankind?
If so, you're shifting, my friend.
This is your moment.
A year from now you'll be a new "you."
There's more, of course. Nostradamus has something to say about the upcoming year, as do the psychic Edgar Cayce and the Hopi Indians.
But I've heaped enough on your plate for one day.
In the end, if you do get the book, I suggest you begin with Chapter 13. That one's called "A Healthy Dose of Skepticism."
Among the points in the chapter:
Predictions are usually vague and can only be recognized after the fact.
Some prophecies are self-fulfilling.
Most predictions in the past have been flat-out wrong.
And finally, beware of "junk science." People have a history of bending real science to fit their own agenda.
And what is my impression of all these prophecies and predictions?
I think they're bogus, of course
Though I may put off that vacation trip to Yellowstone Park — you know, just to be safe.