2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl
By Daniel Pinchbeck
Book Summary by Leah J. Henry
According to Toltec and Mayan prophesies, the world will undergo a momentous change in 2012. Specifically, a 5,000 year cycle will end and a new world will be born.
The nature of that new world may well depend on our willingness and ability to begin thinking in a completely different way about our planet and ourselves.
The Toltec and Mayan civilizations, like most ancient myth-based peoples, understood time in a non-linear way.
They observed the world around them, the passing of seasons and the movements of stars and planets and then incorporated the idea of repeating cycles into their construction of the world.
For them, time and events were cyclical or spiral, with repetition and integration emerging in an ordered, natural way. Times of evolution were invariably followed by times of devolution.
Today, we largely reject the traditional wisdom of the ancients, focusing primarily on what we perceive to be a linear, mechanistic, world where scientific discovery and advancement have replaced the old mythologies.
But the very science that has brought us technological triumphs has also robbed our planet of its natural, sustainable, balance.
Today, we stand on the precipice of global disintegration from pollutants, over-population, waning natural resources and atmospheric warming. These are crises of our own making.
Is it possible that our modern view of the world, based on the scientific method, is but another form of myth? Are we standing on the precipice of a major change in consciousness coinciding with the year 2012?
Are our beliefs and assumptions about our world and ourselves beginning to devolve to make way for a higher level of understanding? These are the questions this book explores.
Part One: A Universe in Ruins
The child of beat-generation parents (his mother dated Jack Kerouac), Pinchbeck grew up and was educated in New York City within an atheistic, left-wing milieu which left him feeling that something was missing from his life.
Like most of his cohorts, he believed in science. We are simply products of our DNA. Consciousness is "caused" by the activity of the brain.
There is no after-life, no God, no soul or spirit. What counts are quantifiable facts. After death, there is only oblivion.
Pinchbeck dropped out of college, entered the working world writing editorials for magazines, traveled, and got caught up in everyday life.
Although he started a literary magazine and publishing company which achieved a small measure of fame, he was soon feeling "stuck".
He felt that his generation was only repeating the accomplishments of the past and not creating anything new or revolutionary.
He experienced a crisis of meaning, lost interest in contemporary culture, and entered into a deep depression.
Recalling his college experiences with psycho-active drugs, Pinchbeck again experimented with them as a young adult.
His reactions to these drugs led him to begin an investigation of the shamanic use of psychedelics and a quest to better understand human consciousness.
He traveled to the jungle of West Africa to be initiated into the Bwiti tribe; visited shamans in Oaxaca and the Ecuadorian rain forest; and attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada.
Through these experiences, he came to believe that the shamanic worldview holds great significance for humanity and that human consciousness is currently in the process of a revolutionary change.
Guiding his steps thru this quest was the ancient spirit of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent. Part bird, part snake, Quetzalcoatl signifies the unification of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, science and myth.
In our modern, scientific world, psychic phenomena are considered illegitimate. However, in actuality, the scientific evidence for psychic phenomena is overwhelming.
No less than the Congressional Research Service reported in 1981 that there appears to be a inter-connection in nature which is amplified by intent and emotion.
And the American Institutes for Research recommended to Congress in 1995 that proof of PSI had been more than adequately substantiated and that further research to find "proof" was irrelevant.
Why then are psychic phenomena typically ignored by the majority of scientists? The answer may be that to accept them would destabilize our current worldview.
Ultimately, it is easier to live our lives continuing to believe in materialism than to accept psychic phenomena as real, even if we have personally experienced some psychic event.
The rejection of psychic phenomenon occurs not just in scientific circles, but is everyday confirmed by the mass media which dismiss psychic phenomena as fantasy or insanity.
In a similar manner, the study of psychedelics has been marginalized by science since the government outlawed that class of drugs in the 1960s for fear of social unrest.
Today, our culture largely continues to reject both psychic phenomena and psychedelic drugs. It's as if civilizations implicitly agree on what constitutes meaning and truth.
When information or events occur that do not "fit" within the agreed-upon parameters, that information is usually ignored or denigrated.
When we are forced, through circumstance, to accept a marginalized idea or event without denial, it changes us. It literally changes our consciousness.
In shamanic cultures, synchronicities are considered to be teachings as well as signs. They demonstrate the link between the human psyche and the natural world and are believed to lead the individual to make the right choices in life.
However, in the materialist worldview, synchronicities are merely coincidental accidents of probability. We may notice them because we are neurologically programmed to seek patterns in our world, but in fact these so-called patterns have no meaning.
Carl Jung described synchronicity as an acausal ordering principle. He noted that synchronicities multiplied in his own life, and the lives of his patients, during periods of intense psychic transformation.
Jung postulated that mind and matter were ultimately two different aspects of one and the same thing. Physicist David Peat believes that synchronicities give us glimpses into the deeper patterns of nature, indicating an organizing intelligence underlying the seeming chaos of daily events.
If synchronicities could become a continuous flow, experienced collectively, Peat felt it would create a total transformation in both the individual and society.
The old model of linear and mechanistic causality would have to give way to one more accurately based on unfoldings.
It could literally mean the end of time (as we know time), just as predicted in many indigenous cultures.
Pinchbeck's explorations of psychedelics and shamanism made him more attuned to synchronous events and he soon found they grew in frequency almost exponentially.
From his previously materialist worldview, he was thrown into a realm of strange correspondences where signs seemed to multiply endlessly. It was as if the formation of pattern within the unconscious mind was accompanied by physical patterns in the outer world.
Peat speculated that consciousness somehow co-creates these events. But he also believed that it is our psyche that determines if such an event reveals a deeper order of significance or if it lacks significance.
Pinchbeck discovered that by attuning himself to synchronicities, he began to develop a kind of intuitive skill and he further observed that meaningful synchronicities were accompanied by a psychic sensation almost like a key turning in a lock.
At odds with many of our fundamental beliefs about the way "reality" works, the field of quantum physics has shown us a different view.
Physicists have long demonstrated that on the quantum level, particles will change their behavior when they are observed. Heisenberg called this the "uncertainty principle".
For example, light may be observed as a wave or a particle depending on how it is observed. This led to the inescapable conclusion that there is a connection between the perceiver and the perceived.
The quantum world seems to disregard the rules of classical (Newtonian) physics. For example, studies found that photons and electrons could exist simultaneously in more than one space, only manifesting to a particle when an observation was made.
They discovered "quantum jumps" – electrons vanishing from one point and appearing at another- without passing through the space in between. They also found that linked quantum objects remain linked even when separated by vast distances.
If one object is observed, the other is affected instantaneously, indicating the objects are connected in some way not understood. Thus, in the quantum world, space, time, and consciousness are interrelated and inseparable.
Physicist John Wheeler demonstrated that quantum phenomena exist only in potential, until a decision is made, by conscious choice, as to how they are to be perceived. This is true even when the choice is made retroactively.
Wheeler speculated that the universe may exist through the participation of consciousness.
Although the Newtonian worldview perceived space and time as separate, Einstein showed that space and time are not separate but interrelated.
He understood that what we perceive as linear time is only an illusion created by our personal perspective. "Events do not happen; they are just there, and we come across them".
This perspective is identical to the shamanic and indigenous understanding of reality. For example, the Hopi believe that all time is now.
All events in the space-time continuum are interconnected but not causal. Instead they are probabilistic, defined by the perceptions of the observer.
And in The Tao of Physics, Capra compared the traditions of Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism to quantum physics.
He found these ancient traditions include the quantum understanding of interrelated and inseparable phenomena, the central place of consciousness to the world, and the transcendence of space-time.
The Global Consciousness Project at Princeton University has placed 50 random-generators in cities around the world, monitoring their constant fluctuations.
The project has documented strong deviations from the normal patterns of randomness during major world events and disasters, though the mechanism for this is not understood.
When the twin towers were destroyed, it was the first event to be witnessed, in real time, by billions of people across the planet. An extreme deviation was registered on the morning of September 11, 2001.
What is more interesting is that the deviations from the norm began a few hours before the actual event. The project's Director, Roger Nelson, speculates that we are witnessing the early phases of the self-organization of a global brain.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin foresaw the development of a global human mind, which he called the "noosphere". He envisioned the noosphere as a mental envelope, a layer of thought, surrounding the earth.
He believed that once physical evolution ended, human consciousness would begin to evolve, eventually leading to a collective super-consciousness.
But in order for the noosphere to be activated, humanity will first have to realize that the earth and all its inhabitants are one organism.
Part Two: The Serpent Temple
"Daimons" are beings that inhabit the dimension between spirit and matter. They are neither human nor god. They are the nymphs, djinns, satyrs, fairies, elves, trolls and gnomes that are intertwined with the earth and our psyche.
Daimons are tricksters who love to confuse us and upset our logical categories. In the West, we live in the world of the dialectic: mind and body, subject and object, sacred and secular, ad infinitum.
But the realm of the Daimon is neither this nor that. It is always ambiguous and can take any shape. Daimons can be simply impish or downright dangerous. Our attempts to ignore or banish them only guarantee that they will return in a new guise.
Through his explorations with dipropyltryptamine (DPT) drugs, Pinchbeck discovered this Daimonic realm and encountered unfriendly entities that he was able to expel only with great effort.
These experiences had a profound affect on him. He began to accept things he had previously spurned and took up the study of Western occult systems while approaching his exploration of psychedelic drugs with new respect and caution.
While searching for a more public display of the Daimon in our culture, Pinchbeck stumbled upon the phenomena of crop circles, patterns that appear in grain every year all over the world, but particularly in England.
The origin of the circles is obscure, although they are thought to have occurred at least hundreds of years ago. Most of the circle formations in England occur in Wiltshire, an area known for its Neolithic stone circles, such as Stonehenge.
At first, the formations appeared as simple circles appearing overnight in grain fields. Two investigators, Terence Meaden and Colin Andrews began studying the circles and discovered changes in electromagnetic energy and some psychic effects.
Soon after their investigations began, the circle patterns began to change and become more and more complex and more numerous.
It was as if the circles were responding to the attention given to them. Soon, people were flocking to the circles as to a pilgrimage site.
In 1991, the patterns began to show recognizable designs, such as the alchemical design of a tetrahedron. It was also around this time that hoaxers began to muddy the waters by producing their own circles.
And finally, at around this time, the head of the astronomy department at Boston University discovered four Euclidean theorems in the circles that had never been discovered previously. From these, he was able to deduce a fifth theorem that Euclid had missed.
He also discovered that the ratios he observed in ringed circles seemed to fit the intervals of the musical scale. Encoded in even relatively simple patterns was a mastery of geometry and harmonic pitch.
Meanwhile, the media played their usual role in protecting the population against any new pattern of information that did not fit the conventional wisdom.
As soon as two men came forward and proclaimed themselves the human circle-makers, the media lost interest and de-camped.
They made no mention of the fact that two men working alone with a board and some rope could hardly account for the thousands of crop circles in England, much less the rest of the world.
In the 1990's, after most of the media attention had died because the phenomena was considered fraudulent, a few people continued to study the circles.
What they found were patterns with increasingly complex geometry. Researchers often reported synchronistic and psychic events in their lives related to their research.
Michael Glickman believes the patterns are put here primarily to lead us to a transformation of human consciousness.
He thinks other forms of intelligence are monitoring our evolution of consciousness and he has succeeded in predicting the geometrical progression of the phenomena for several years.
In 1997, a technological grid pattern appeared which Glickman interpreted as a calendar that counted down to the end of 2012. He also felt the pattern made reference to the Tzolkin, the Sacred Day Count used by the Maya.
Since then, beginning in 2003, there have appeared several patterns that make explicit reference to the Tzolkin. Glickman believes that a dimensional shift which began in September 2001 will culminate at the end of 2012 and that the crop circles are here to let us know about this shift and how it will be made.
Another individual who stumbled across 2012 as an important year was Terence McKenna.
McKenna and his younger brother and some friends traveled to La Chorrera, deep in the Columbian Amazon in order to obtain oo-koo-he, a snuff containing DMT that is used by the Witoto tribe.
They never found it. Instead, they discovered psilocybin. Following several weeks of ingesting large quantities of psilocybin, an alien being contacted McKenna and transferred information and ideas directly to his mind.
He also experienced episodes that seemed to defy Newtonian physics, such as clouds that formed into saucers or rushing river water that suddenly stopped.
The alien claimed to be the spirit of the mushroom itself, an ancient intelligence who sought to help and be helped by humanity.
The fungus told McKenna that humanity was on the brink of forming a symbiotic relationship with the mushroom's genetic material that will assist humanity's evolution into higher civilizations.
Another message from the mushroom was a new concept of time. Part of the message was that the I Ching held the key to unlocking the true structure of time.
The 64 hexagrams represent a map of the evolution of all organisms from development, decay, and transformation.
McKenna postulated that there are different time orders and they come and go in cyclical progression on many levels that are neither linear nor causal.
He was told that time is not a linear process but more like a fractal. He felt we were nearing the end of one epoch that would coincide with a rare astronomical conjunction – the eclipse of the galactic center by the solstice sun.
This event occurs approximately once every twenty-six thousand years. Using software to calculate the end of this era, McKenna discovered the eclipse would next occur on December 21, 2012. At the time, McKenna was unaware of the Mayan calendar.
To skeptics, the belief in an approaching apocalypse is rooted in the human psyche. Petrified by the thought of our own death, we prefer to transform our end into a cosmic, meaningful event that includes all of humanity.
On the other hand, it is clear that there are current trends that cannot continue indefinitely. For example, we cannot continue to power our world with fossil fuels, and we cannot continue to destroy our planetary environment.
Change is inevitable and it seems to be speeding up. The Bronze Age was a few thousand years long; the Industrial Age took three hundred years; the Information Age began thirty years ago; biotechnology began 10 years ago, and nanotechnology only a few short years ago.
While some Futurists speculate that technology is advancing so quickly, it is bound to solve our energy and environmental problems as well as conquer most diseases and human biological limits.
However, this optimism ignores the negative effects and consequences that go along with technological progress: its poisonous by-products destroying human health and the environment; the acquisitiveness it seems to breed; and the weapons of mass destruction it produces.
In contrast to this rosy future, there seems to be a prevailing consciousness of apocalypse in our culture. One has only to look at television to see the proliferation of disaster forecasts and world changing destructions that seem to echo our unconscious fears about the future.
The idea that our technology is evolving toward some, perhaps disastrous, culmination seems to be pervasive.
If we consider the outer world as a projection of our collective psyche, than it appears as though we are driving ourselves to some crisis point.
For most western peoples, to think about a culminating event, an apocalypse, involves an understanding of Christian theology and specifically, the book of Revelation.
Jung saw the Christian apocalypse as an archetype and his student, Edinger, understood the book of Revelation as a description of events taking place at the present time.
He saw the Revelation-described catastrophes in international relations, wars, the breakdown of social orders, and the division of political, social and religious groups.
To Edinger, the apocalypse represents a profound psychological event where the self becomes conscious and the ego is fully integrated.
Using the biblical narrative as a history of man's consciousness, the story of Job represents an important turning point, according to Jung.
Job is the good and devout man who is chosen by God to endure untold suffering. Job eventually sees the contradictory personality of God and thus the old-testament God-image begins its descent into humanity.
The descent continues and is seen most clearly in the birth of the God-image in the human world as the man, Jesus. Jesus sheds the Old-Testament personality of the vengeful God.
He is the good and loving God, but he is still semi-divine, and therefore separate from man. Finally, in the book of Revelation, the dialectical process continues with the promise that man will have a direct relationship with God in the New Jerusalem.
But this can only occur after great tribulation. The book of Revelations reflects the schism within the Western psyche – a separation between heaven and earth and between spirit and matter.
Man has brought about the apocalypse by unleashing his own unconscious impulses. In Revelation, he must somehow bring his conscious and unconscious parts together. This is the task of modern man.
One way or another, the world will be unified, either through mutual mass destruction or mutual human consciousness.
If enough people experience the union within self of all parts of themselves, then we might be spared the external trials so frighteningly detailed in revelation.
World avatars, such as Jesus, always step up the voltage or frequency of consciousness. For example, Jesus' parables questioned the accepted worldview of his time and forced his listeners to see the world in a new way.
His listeners heard his stories but understood only in part. It might be that the lessons taught by Jesus were really meant for people of a later time.
It may be that we are the people capable of truly understanding his message. Through his life and his death, Jesus exemplified the unification of self without the hindrances of the ego. He showed us a path, but it is up to us to follow it.
Part Three: Lucifer and Ahriman
The Daimons of ancient mythology have returned today in Western culture as the arrival of the extraterrestrials.
And just like the Daimons of old, they seem to enjoy toying with and exploding our closely held beliefs.
Again we see that extraterrestrials, UFOs and alien abductions are rejected and ignored by science and the mainstream media.
But a closer look reveals deeper levels of complexity that resist a knee-jerk rejection of the phenomenon.
Then narrative of UFOs and human-alien contact has developed over a long period of time, starting in the late 19th century with sightings of "air ships".
After World War II, UFO sightings became common, with thousands of eyewitnesses. In the 1970's, the first case of alien abduction was reported in Time Magazine, a tale told by Betty and Barney Hill of abduction, painful physical examination, and missing time.
The Hill's recollection of the event was made through hypnosis. This episode seemed to set the standard for future alien abductions.
Jacques Vallee, a physicist hold studied the phenomena for many decades, came to believe that alien events were no different than the stories from ancient folklore of humans being abducted by fairies.
In his studies, he found that even when the proof appeared unimpeachable, it was never sufficient to convince the mainstream society.
Part of the problem is that the aliens themselves often do weird things that make no sense.
For example, aliens told one person to eat "only cow things"; another alien paraded around an abductee wearing her high heels, and aliens often show intense interest in everyday items like false teeth and Christmas presents.
Some investigators, such as Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs believe the aliens act strangely to cover their real intent – the take over of the planet.
In their scenarios the aliens are breeding with female humans and performing genetic studies to develop a hybrid race that will be able to live on planet earth after we have ruined it for human habitation.
All of the evidence about UFOs and aliens seems to indicate that they are not extraterrestrials at all, but something much closer.
They have perfected their "act" to compel us to believe in them. They have used the appearance of technology as part of this gambit to convince us that they are "visitors" from another planet or solar system.
But like Jaques Vallee, many have come to the conclusion that the visitors are of this earth, the Daimons of old dressed up in a post-modern version of the fairy tale.
They seem to represent our own unconscious destructive and negative forces - our worst nightmares. Vallee came to believe the phenomena act as some sort of control mechanism that exists just under the radar of conventional science and thinking.
They can never be taken seriously by the mainstream, yet their effect on us is real.
Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian mystic, understood the Daimons as part of the larger biological whole.
These beings exist on a lower dimensional vibration and may act on us at an unconscious level.
Our human minds are fully integrated into the universe, but there are other types of minds that also exist with radically different types of intellect. Steiner also spoke about higher-dimensional being, such as angels, that are also part of the whole.
They too may act on us at a higher vibrational level. We may perceive any of these beings only if we are able to obtain "supersensible perception".
In ancient times, humans were understood to have a responsibility to the Daimons. We are supposed to learn to work with them and to alleviate their suffering.
According to this reasoning, the Daimons yearn for our soul qualities, which they lack. Because of their exile from the human race, they desire to entice us into their lower world and sustain themselves with our psychic energies.
According to Mayan scholar John Jenkins, the year 2012 represents the opening of a door to the cosmic center.
At that time, the local and galactic planes will be in perfect alignment, which will open the way for the tzittzimime (celestial demons) to come down to earth and devour mankind.
Perhaps the alien visitors are the tzittzimime predicted by Aztec myth, who have come in a form recognizable to a technologically advanced world.
The human race seems to be creating and unleashing strong destructive psychic energies to force its own evolution – an evolution that may lead to the attainment of self-knowledge and the activation of the noosphere. Or maybe it's all just a fairy tale.
According to Steiner, cognition links us to the larger whole, the noosphere. Cognition can never be separated from other natural processes in the world, and it is without limits.
In his view, the role of the philosopher is to reconcile what we observe outside of ourselves with what is inside of ourselves, our thoughts.
This process is also limitless. Clearly, compared to many western philosophers, Steiner's approach to reality is non-dualistic.
Steiner understood the Christian "Devil" as two different entities, Lucifer and Ahriman.
Lucifer and his minions are not evil, just deviant.
They are much more advanced than humans in many ways and yet they require us for their development. The Luciferic forces can make temporary alliances with humans in order to gain a kind of substitute physical body for their own development.
They are mocking, angry, caustic and depraved. They want to possess the world. They pull humans upward toward creativity, beauty, fantasy and pride. Ahriman, on the other hand, is dark and malicious.
He is known by many names such as Satan, Mephistopheles and Moloch. Ahriman pulls man downward toward materiality, mechanization and death. Currently, Ahriman is enjoying a temporary sway over our world.
He endeavors to turn the world into a machine and humans into things to be used for his ends. You can see the influence of Ahriman in films such as RoboCop and The Terminator.
Steiner believed that the forces of Lucifer and Ahriman could never be separated from us and we had to be assimilate them into our consciousness as part our reality.
Rejecting or repressing them will not work, as they will always return and are ceaselessly working to lure us into deviant paths. Steiner felt that humans must walk a fine line between these these two forces to keep them in balance.
Since Ahriman is ascendant in our current world, Steiner felt we needed more of the Luciferic influence to counterbalance him.
In Hermetic traditions, the Holy Grail is described as "a jewel that fell from Lucifer's crown". This jewel is the third eye located in the middle to the forehead.
When the third eye is opened, supersensory perception occurs. This visionary perception can cause insanity and hallucinations if one is not prepared for it.
Steiner cautioned that we must approach the supersensible world with all of our reason, our strength, and our lucidity intact.
The physicist, Amit Goswani, proposed that the behavior of quantum particles can only be understood if we accept that consciousness, not matter, forms the basic reality of the universe.
Our egos are reference points for consciousness, which Goswani calls the "Classical Self". The ego is easily conditioned to develop habitual patterns of thought and behavior. This conditioning creates a bias in the probability of past patterns being repeated.
But we always possess, like quantum particles, the "potential" for an unconditioned thought or action. When we respond in our conditioned manner, we are like objects in a Newtonian universe – predictable and continuous.
But when we respond in a spontaneous manner, we achieve creativity. Peat suggested that peak experiences, synchronicities and epiphanies manifest our mind in its true potential. Intuition is another quantum aspect of consciousness.
Rather than being irrational, it reveals a higher level of insight and knowledge than we normally possess. You can never deduce an intuition, it just comes to you.
Most breakthroughs in science and art are the result of such quantum leaps in consciousness.
Goswami proposed that mental substance is made up of the same particles as material substance but remains subtle and is never compressed into materiality.
He speculates that our conditioned thoughts, feelings and actions form an aggregate of probabilistic patterns that are then carried from one life-time to another.
In this way, our conditioned patterns act like quantum objects - they have memory which is not recorded physically.
Goswami believes this represents the Akashic record. The pattern of conditioning can be considered the "subtle bodies" from mysticism.
Subtle bodies, such as the Chakras or prana, do not have physical substance but do exist as quantum phenomena and it is consciousness that determines their manifestation.
Goswani hypothesizes that Darwinian evolution cannot adequately explain major changes in complexity such as from primate to human.
He believes these changes are quantum leaps of a creative consciousness. Noam Chomsky, a linguist, similarly asserts that the development of language in humans is not explained by our normal understanding of physical evolution.
It seems, instead, to be a case of emergence – the appearance of a qualitatively different trait that arises at a specific level of complexity.
Chomsky predicted that there will most likely be future quantum leaps of cognitive ability and Goswami thought that humans may go through an extreme shift in human potential which he likened to the ability to construct the "resurrection body" of Christ or the sambogakaya (body of pure luminosity) of Buddhism.
Rudolf Steiner said that not only do individuals reincarnate, but the earth incarnates as well. According to Steiner, this is the fourth incarnation of earth.
This seems to match up with the Hopi belief in the Fourth World. Steiner said we are on the cusp of shifting into the fifth earth incarnation, which he referred to as the Jupiter phase.
Each phase is into a higher consciousness, involving a shift in our physical bodies and subtle energy systems.
There are some who are not ready to advance because of karmic debt, but they too will continue to develop, albeit by an alternate process.
According to Steiner, earth is the place where humanity achieved full consciousness. It is our duty to develop the world for good, to bring about a world of love, and to strengthen our "I".
As we work to transform our world and ourselves, we will eventually create a fifth body which Steiner calls the "spirit self". It is in the fifth phase that the spirit self will come into its own.
Part Four: The Loom of Maya
The classical Mayans were experts in math, astronomy and calendars. They used three main calendar systems.
The Tzolkin was the sacred 260-day calendar where each day contained both a number and a sign. The Haab was a civil calendar of 365 days separated into 18 months of twenty days each, plus 5 unlucky extra days.
The Long Count was a cycle of approximately 5,125 years based on 360-day cycles called tun. The Mayan Long Count actually begins in 3114 BC, but the current Great cycle or Fifth World, began in 1618 AD and will end on December 21, 2012.
The Mayans recorded dates as old as 400 million years ago and up to 1.26 billion years in total length. Clearly, this was a civilization with a fine grasp of large numbers and a mathematical way to deal with them.
Ancient Mesoamerican cultures believed in cyclical creations and destructions. For example, the Maya believed that at the end of each Great Cycle, the world would be destroyed and then begin again in the new cycle.
However, archeologists are unsure exactly what the Maya believed would occur at the end of the present cycle. Also unclear is whether or not the Maya thought there would even be a new cycle following this one.
In our culture, we assume that all civilizations are destined to progress in a linear fashion from primitive to agricultural, then to industrial, and then to technological and beyond.
If a civilization falters and disappears, the blame must be in either environmental factors or cultural ones. But a number of archeologists have begun to challenge this idea of linear evolution.
For example, it seems clear to some that the oldest artifacts in Egypt are actually more technologically advanced than later appearances. For these renegade archeologists, ancient Egyptian culture did not "develop" in the traditional linear fashion, but rather devolved from a more advanced civilization.
Likewise, Graham Hancock noted the "computer-like circuitry" of Mayan calendars which detailed the precise synodic orbits and conjunctions of the planets and calculated the orbital length of the earth around the Sun with incredible precision.
Hancock proposed that this precision was a legacy from an earlier, more advanced civilization and that the purpose of the Long Count calendar was to predict some catastrophic event in 2012 which would end the world.
According to Jose` Arguelles, the 2012 date signifies the activation of the noosphere. And the entire Long Count from 3113 BC to 2012 AD is simply the measure of human history at the end of which humanity will be telepathically linked to the Gaian Mind.
Arguelles believes that the world of technology will crumble over the next few years, a necessary step to preserve the life systems on the planet.
He considered the attacks on 9-11 as a "profound theological moment" which would lead to a World War between Islam and Judeo-Christianity.
He argued that rather than a race for more and better technology, humanity needs to return to the "zero time" of meditation and insight and to the ancient understanding that the we and the world are already perfect.
Arguelles thought that the ancient Mayan kings were atavars who incarnated at just the right time in order to leave clues for us about the link between time and consciousness via synchronicity.
He felt that the Tzolkin was the basis for Mayan science and that it allowed them to transmit and receive information from distant star systems.
He called the Tzolkin the "Loom of Maya" and suggested the Maya used it to create resonant harmonic patterns.
The philosopher Jean Gebser proposed that human development unfolds from a transcendent domain and evolves by sudden and creative leaps, as in a quantum world.
Gebser believes humanity has passed through a number of "consciousness structures", each one encompassing a profoundly different understanding of time and space.
In man's initial stage, which Gebser calls "archaic', humanity had no individual awareness, only group consciousness existed.
There was no perception of time or evolution. There was nothing that needed to be repressed or transcended. Everyday was the first day and paradise was life on earth.
In the second stage, called "magical", man was pre-rational, without a concept of time, egoless, almost trance-like in his consciousness.
There was no distinction between the mind inside and the world out there. Man felt a strong affinity with his world and understood that all things were interrelated.
The third stage Gebser called the "mythic'. In this stage, consciousness created polarities – life and death, sleep and waking, gods and men.
There was a nascent awareness of the soul and, as a consequence, of time. The awareness was of a cyclical process of change and return. History as we understand it did not exist.
But once mythic societies had developed their temple cities and pantheistic cults, they could only repeat themselves.
Society became routinized and mechanical. This repetition eventually led to rigidity in religious doctrine and a concomitant decline in the culture.
At this point, a new form of consciousness had to emerge. Gebser calls this new and current stage the mental-rational.
In the mental-rational consciousness, man directed his inquiries to the external world for the first time.
It began with the Greeks and reached its apex during the Renaissance. During this stage, man learned to see himself as part of and yet separated from the three-dimensional world.
This stage is exemplified by the development of perspective in art. According to Gebser, the emergence of perspective caused a radical shift in man's awareness of the world and forced him to acknowledge his own alienation.
The mental-rational stage also transformed our relationship to time. Today, we reject the notion of time as cyclical change and return.
Instead, we view time as an unwavering, linear progression which is comparable to space and measurable like matter.
For magic man, space and time did not exist; for mythical man, space was non-existence; for mental-rational man, everything is space, including time.
We treat time as a quantity and we use it as an instrument to shape our three-dimensional "perspectival" world. We are obsessed with the quantification of time and space.
But, as Gebser explains, time is not comparable to spatial features like mass and quantity because time is not really an amount.
For Gebser, we are currently in the final stages of a crisis of time. He notes that our ever hastening mechanization and communication is only a postponement of a true understanding of the essence of time and being.
We fear time and try to tame it through quantification and mechanization because we believe that time is the destroyer. But we always fail.
There is no way to outrun time. We have given up our traditions of craftsmanship in our quest to overcome time.
We no longer have the skills we had created in place of nature. The only things that count are facts, the material and rational, everything else is just sentimentality.
Our next stage in consciousness will require a deeper understanding of time in all its myriad forms.
We will come to accept that while we are part of linear time, we are in the same moment part of the cyclic time of mythic man drawing near to the end of the Mayan Long Count.
We are also in the dream-time of the magic man and are celebrating the first day of the archaic man. By integrating all of our past conceptions of time, we will focus not on the time's quantities but on its qualities.
Gebser calls this stage the aperspectival view. Gebser believes that when we make the quantum leap to an aperspectival consciousness, the transformation will have enormous effects – not only in our minds but also in the physical world.
Jose Arguelles is a man with a mission. He started a movement called "World Thirteen Moon Calendar Change Peace Movement".
This is a movement to replace the Gregorian calendar with a new calendar Arguelles adapted from the Mayan Day Count.
Arguelles argues that the current calendar lacks any links to natural cycles and thus creates chaos. Conversely, his 13-moon calendar brings harmony and order to our world.
Ancient civilizations always based their calendars on the cycles of the moon. But this changed five thousand years ago when the Sumerians switched to a solar-based calendar based on dividing a circle into twelve equal parts of thirty days each.
Because the solar year did not fit neatly into this pattern, the Sumerians had to tack on five extra days at the end of each solar year.
Both the Julian and Gregorian calendars were adapted from the Sumerian calendar, the months now at varying lengths to correct for the extra five days.
Most of the world has adopted the Gregorian version but Arguelles believes that this is a big mistake. He argues that calendars organize a culture on a very broad level by defining our rhythms of work, rest, and celebration.
According to Arguelles, the Gregorian calendar forces us to neglect the natural patterns of the universe and instead imposes an artificial time on humanity.
Arguelles' calendar is based on thirteen months ("mooths"), each twenty-eight days long, which follow the natural lunar cycles.
It also follows the "kin" of the Tzolkin, a cycle of 260 days. In his vision, days are tones and series of days create harmonic cycles.
Arguelles developed the "Dreamspell" to help people enter into the Maya's fractal vision of time so they may experience time as a tonal loom of synchronicity and resonance.
Arguelles believes that he is the reincarnation of the Pacal Votan, the 8th century Mayan king, sent here to bring the good news about the "Law of Time" and to lead humanity to reject the Gregorian calendar and adopt his thirteen-moon calendar.
The stakes are high. If the world adopts his new calendar, technology will collapse before 2012 and we will have universal telepathy as well as harmony and contentment. However, failure to adopt the new calendar will result in the destruction of humanity.
On December 21, 2012, our Sun will rise at the center of the Milky Way. This event occurs once every 25,800 years. According to Mayan records, the center of the Milky Way contains a "Hole in the Sky" or "Black Hole".
According to John Major Jenkins, the Mayans believed that it was through this hole that their shamans achieved access to other dimensions and to sacred knowledge.
The Mayans thought that this hole was the womb from which everything in our Galaxy was born, including humans.
In 2002, scientists confirmed the existence of a large black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
Without our technological methods, the Mayans somehow apparently knew about the black hole and predicted the astronomical event that will occur in 2012.
Jenkins discovered that this solstice alignment was encoded in Mayan temples, structures and ballcourts. Clearly, the date had deep significance for them.
Jenkins speculates that when the event occurs, it may cause a "field-effect reversal", a reversal of the earth's magnetic field.
He also believes that this event will lead to a rapid development of technology as well as a rapid development of human consciousness.
A somewhat different perspective comes from Carl Johan Calleman who studied the Mayan pyramids and believes they represent a model of time that begins with the Big Bang and ends with 2012.
He speculates that the nine-story Mayan pyramids indicate that consciouness is created hierarchically, with each new level standing on the foundation of previous eras.
Each successive level or "world" is shorter that the previous one. For example, the current World, which began in 1999, Calleman calls the Galactic Underworld and includes the development of global communication infrastructure.
Calleman believes that the final step will lead to humanity becoming conscious co-creators of reality. Calleman's interpretation of the Mayan calendar suggests that this monumental shift in consciousness will occur by the end of October 2011.
After that, he insists, everyone will achieve "nondualistic enlightened consciousness". The final year (2012) will be a time of celebration and adjustment to our new situation.
According to Calleman, each underworld contains cyclical pulsations of light and dark, which he calls "Days" and "Nights".
Each underworld contains seven days and six nights. The most important step in the evolution of consciousness always happens on the "Fifth Day", which is ruled by Quetzlcoatl's energy.
However, before the new consciousness can attain ascendancy, the old consciousness must self-destruct during the Fifth Night. For example, in the last underworld, the Fifth Night occurred from 1932 – 1952.
During this period the world experienced World War II, the Holocaust, the use of atomic energy for destruction.
The current underworld will reach its Fifth Night during 2008. Calleman speculates that during this period, there may be a last attempt by the ruling elite to sustain power.
It is possible that our society will break down but our consciousness will evolve rapidly.
In our modern, technological world, we are still using a medieval calendar. Perhaps Arguelles was right.
For a new age, we need a different calendar and a new way of looking at time. One way to achieve a new understanding of time is to replace the old instrument with a new one.
We may quibble with Arguelles' version of the Mayan calendar but ultimately it may be exactly what we need to prod us into a new relationship with time and the universe. Instead of being trapped in our linear history, we could integrate our lives into the cosmic cycles.
Arguelles, much like Teilhard de Chardin, believes that the noosphere already exists in a basic form. To activate it, we must become attuned to it.
A new calendar could be the key to aligning us with the noosphere, activating it, and inducing the rapid evolution of human consciousness.
Jenkins, Calleman and Arguelles all agree that the Mayan calendar is a time-table for the evolution of human consciousness.
However, they don't agree on the finer points of when and how it will occur. Perhaps each of them holds a piece of the puzzle or perhaps there is no puzzle.
But if the Mayan calendar does indeed predict the evolution of consciousness, then it contains profound importance for all of mankind.
Part Five: The Dance of Kali
Pinchbeck accompanied a friend to Mexico to take the drug Iboga again. Iboga presents good and evil to each individual on a truly personal level and metes out "tough love" lessons for each personal short-coming.
During this second experience, Pinchbeck came to understand that the reasons behind why some things happen can be embedded in patterns that go beyond us or our current life.
He found the Iboga spoke openly and bluntly about God, which surprised him. Pinchbeck realized that Iboga was an enlightened plant-spirit that existed to teach humans and quicken their transformation.
He was told that Iboga and ayahuasca are the best avenues to access other planes, at least for now. He speculated that Iboga had been used in ancient times and may have played a role in moving man from a primitive to a more civilized being.
In 2003, Pinchbeck had a chance meeting with two women who were members ("priestesses") of a community of shamans.
The leader of the group was a female healer/teacher who invited Pinchbeck to attend one of their retreats related to indigenous prophecy.
During this retreat, Pinchbeck again took ayahuasca with the group and thought about all he had learned and experienced regarding the ancient Maya and their calendar.
The teacher believed that the transition to 2012 indicated that mankind will experience a new time and space. She considered Pinchbeck one of the "scribes" for this transition.
The group followed the Lakota prophecies of Black Elk who envisioned the integration of shamanic medicine traditions.
The teacher had been instructed in a dream to seek out and imbibe Iboga to assist with her development. She also spent many years on awakening her kundalini, the serpent power that lives at the bottom of the spine.
Once awakened, it travels up the spine to "open' the various chakras of the body. Eventually, when the person has successfully raised the kundalini to the crown of the head, Shakti, the female sexual energy, is united with Shiva, the masculine energy of universal consciousness.
The teacher believes that humanity as a whole is in the process of raising their collective kundalini and that this awakening will eventually transform our world.
A year after visiting England to explore the crop circle phenomenon, Pinchbeck returned to Glastonbury to continue his research.
While there, Pinchbeck visited Stonehenge. Stonehenge was built between 3000 and 2600 BC and, contrary to what many people believe, it predated the Druids by millennia.
Stone circles were built all around England during this time frame and then stopped rather suddenly.
John Michell, another Stonehenge researcher, noted that Stonehenge is an almost perfect example of the "squared circle", where the square's perimeter equals the circle's circumference.
An ancient symbol, the squared circle represents both heaven (the circle) and earth (the square).
Robin Heath, a former civil engineer, has written extensively about Stonehenge and believes it encodes a body of sacred knowledge, including astronomical information regarding the relationship of earth to the Sun and Moon.
Heath believes that Stonehenge somehow manages to solve the problem of the 365.242-day solar year while also accounting for the lunar cycles.
This is important because when most civilizations shifted from a lunar calendar to a solar calendar, the lunar cycles were generally lost.
Although Arguelles firmly believes that his 13 moon calendar is perfect, it actually seems to have as many problems as the Gregorian calendar.
Arguelles bases his calendar on the 13 lunar revolutions around the earth, each lasting 28 days. But, as Pinchbeck soon discovered, there are several lunar cycles and none of them are precisely the same length nor are any precisely 28 days long.
However, Pinchbeck does agree that leaving out the lunar revolutions in any calendar is probably a mistake. He found a recurring theme appearing in many of our myths and legends regarding the numbers 12 (solar) and 13 (lunar).
For example, the fairy tale of "Briar Rose" (aka Sleeping Beauty) concerns a royal birth where only twelve of the thirteen wise women were invited. The thirteenth wise woman became enraged and cursed the entire kingdom.
Since twelve represents the masculine solar energy and thirteen the female lunar energy, this story appears to be a cautionary take about what can happen when the feminine qualities are disregarded.
According to Heath, Patriarchy began around 2000 BC and soon eliminated the older Goddess religions. This influence remains today, even in Western cultures, although its strength appears to be waning.
The theme of twelve and thirteen is also depicted in the stories of Jesus and his twelve disciples, King Arthur and his twelve knights, and Quetzalcoatl and his thirteen gods.
Perhaps these myths and legends are a continual reminder that the calendar is fundamentally central to our lives and that any calendar that does not reconcile both solar and lunar elements will produce an unbalanced world.
The thesis of this book has been that consciousness is the basis of being rather than merely a by-product arising from the workings of the brain.
And, like a coiled snake, consciousness appears to develop in spiral fashion, represented by the ancient Mandela.
The Mandela is an important part of sacred art in many ancient civilizations, including the Mayan.
According to Carl Jung, the areas around the Mandela's center move in a spiral fashion, while the center slowly grows ever more distinct. He believes this represents the difficult work of integrating the ego with the higher self.
In order to achieve this integration, we must deal with the darkness of the unconscious and bring it into the light.
The crop circles seen around the world seem to yearly reproduce these sacred signs. Are they here to inform us about our own development in consciousness?
Although he studied the crop circles in depth, Pinchbeck could not penetrate their meaning or even be certain there was one.
Although everyone agreed that many crop circles are hoaxed, Pinchbeck met with "experts" who strongly believed that "genuine" circles existed and those who swore they had unequivocal proof that all the circles were faked.
Eventually Pinchbeck felt that he had been given an insight into their meaning. The circles are teaching us about the nature of reality.
This teaching is complex and includes multiple layers of understanding and meaning. On a macro level, the circles are trying to teach us to integrate heaven and earth, spirit and matter, masculine and feminine, solar and lunar, etc. in a non-dualistic fashion.
On a deeper level, the circles are actually giving us specific guidance as we transition to this new consciousness.
Pinchbeck noticed that the circle formations seemed to reflect the conscious awareness of anyone who studies them.
For example, skeptics tended to find hoaxed circles that then reinforced their skepticism. On the other hand, "believers" tended to receive evidence that the circles were "real", such as paranormal experiences, sightings of balls of lights, etc.
People who were unsure if the circles were genuine or not tended to receive conflicting evidence as to the circles' authenticity.
In other words, on a subtle level, the crop circles were showing us how we create our own reality through our conscious intention.
Pinchbeck also noted that the more people research the phenomenon, the more it seemed to trifle with their concepts of linear reality.
To Pinchbeck, the circles' paradox reflected the thinking of Gebser, who predicted a shift from linear causality to a multidimensional causality and temporality.
Humanity is creating its own reality, including its weapons, wars, and global destruction.
The crop circles can be understood as a manifestation from the daimonic realm of our collective soul, a Mandela-like wheel or spiral movement of consciousness, expressed as the symbol of the orobus, a snake swallowing its own tail.
According to Pinchbeck, we must learn to interact with this higher intelligence on its own terms, not with facts, but by intuition, humor and play.
Pinchbeck also feels that the crop circles provide instructions on how to work with this paradoxical phenomenon.
We must learn to reconcile opposing features of the paradox, rather than simply negating one.
We need to understand that both are true. Pinchbeck envisions a future where science and art will one day merge and "the science of imagination" will thrive.
After returning from Glastonbury, Pinchbeck again attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada.
Although Pinchbeck believes this festival is an important part of the evolution of consciousness, he also found plenty of shallow and meaningless events going on.
In general, Pinchbeck considers Burning Man to be the playground of Kali, the Hindu goddess who represents the wrathful part of Shakti, the god of sexual energy.
Kali is a feminine influence from the daimonic realm who rules our current time. According to some Hindu sects, the dark age, or Kali Yuga, will last 60,000 years and is fast approaching its end.
The Kali Yuga will be followed by a new Golden age.
Noticing that the planet Mars appeared particularly bright during the festival, Pinchbeck realized that Mars was at its closest approach to earth.
This astronomical event only occurs approximately every 60,000 years. Was Mars' return a signal that the Kali Yuga was about to end?
Although Western women have managed to rise above the status of property and slavery, millions of women live in bondage – first to their fathers, then to husbands.
Everyday we hear about women who are raped during genocidal wars. In India, brides are still robbed or burned over dowry disputes.
In China, female babies are often unwanted and sometimes smothered at birth. The work that women perform remains unpaid and underappreciated in most of the world.
Even in the West, salaries for women are lower than for men.
Some have argued that in hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies, patriarchy was the best system since brute strength was necessary and therefore, valued.
As the patriarchal system took over, the feminine and intuitive aspects of society were repressed. These aspects were symbolized in part by the lunar cycles and the lunar calendar.
When the calendar switched from a lunar calendar to one based on the sun, the repression was complete.
Pinchbeck believes that we are still in the Kali Yuga, which is ruled by a wrathful Kali who is the dark mother. Kali is angry about the repression of the feminine aspects.
The Kali Yuga could be considered a time when feminine energy has gone beserk. A number of other prehistoric societies worshipped some sort of great "Mother" goddess. She could be benevolent and nurturing or possessive and angry.
The period of the Kali Yuga covers the rise of human civilization. It represents the masculine energy seeking to understand nature by destroying or suppressing her.
Kali's anger is the outgrowth of this denigration of nature, women, and spiritual or intuitive forces.
Pinchbeck believes that women are changing and growing as they struggle worldwide to throw off the shackles of patriarchy and become more attuned to their natural beingness.
But as long as women are held back, they will continue to manifest the dark mother, Kali. To return to the goddess, the feminine energy must be acknowledged and affirmed by the masculine energies in our societies.
Invited by the "teacher" to accompany her group on a spiritual journey to the Amazon, Pinchbeck is initiated into the Santo Daime religion.
Santo Daime was first established by Raymundo Irineu Serra in the 1920s. While drinking Ayachuasca, he was visited numerous times by the "Queen of the Forest".
This vision taught him sacred songs and told him he had been chosen to re-plant the teachings of Jesus.
The Santo Daime's aim is to awaken the "Christ Consciousness" in those who are ready. The religion has expanded over the years and now has members worldwide.
As part of the ceremonies, Pinchbeck drank the ayuchasca with the group but found he was unable to tolerate the long hours of singing songs in a language he did not understand.
He became impatient and annoyed with the work and the teacher, who he began to see as a new-age charlatan and egocentric personality.
It was during one of the Santo Daime ceremonies to which he was not listening that Pinchbeck made contact with the spirit of Quetzalcoatl.
According to Jung, the western idea of God is part of the collective unconscious and is continually in flux.
He maintains, for example, that the Old Testament God is very different from the God of the New Testament. It is through God's relationship with humanity that these transformations occur.
In other words, as man's consciousness of God changes, our understanding of who God is, likewise changes. Jung treads one step further.
He contends that the biblical relationship between the Jews and Yahweh is an "archetypal model" for the relationship between the ego and the self, at least for western man.
Jung sees the biblical story as one of the "humanization" of God, which culminates in the birth of Jesus – half-human, half-divine.
In order for this to occur, God needed to distance himself from the darker aspects of his personality and create a dualism: Christ and Satan.
In his studies, Jung came to understand that God intended to fully incarnate in the human world.
But he proposed that the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost would need to be expanded and squared to accommodate a part of God that has been missing for millinea.
That missing part includes Satan and "natural wisdom". This addition, represented by squaring the circle, must now be integrated into human consciousness.
Although he hardly considered himself ready, Pinchbeck believed that he had been chosen to help bring Quetzalcoatl's archtype into full consciousness.
After the initial contact, Pinchbeck returned to the "work" of the Daime, the simple dancing and singing of hymns.
Eventually he discovered the work was a heart-centered vibration or tone which contained enough energy to maintain the order and purpose of creation.
While on his trip to the Amazon, Pinchbeck slowly receives the entire transmission from Quetzalcoatl.
He is informed that there will soon be a great change to our world and that our capitalist societies will self-destruct. He was also told to prepare his "vehicle" for his higher self.
Quetzalcoatl asserted that his first principle was unconditional love. He explained that the current change was a return to origin, a reconciliation of spirit and matter.
Quetzalcoatl claimed to be the beast (666) mentioned in Revelation and asserted that the end of time was coming.
Currently there are an enormous number of movements and organizations interested in dealing with the social and environmental challenges we face today.
But what if the root of our problems is our subjugation to an artificial calendar that no longer has meaning? What if a major part of the solution involved adopting a new calendar, one based on natural rhythms and cycles?
Arguelles' 13-moon calendar may be a step in the right direction, but it is certainly not the final solution. Pinchbeck believes that people form many different disciplines and traditions will need to come together and agree if we a re to adopt a new standard of time for the entire planet.
And if Quetzalcoatl has in fact, returned, might not other archtypes also arrive in the short years remaining before 2012?
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