I cannot really blog on these esoteric subjects and ignore 2012. For the uninitiated, 2012, or December 21, 2012 more specifically, has been a date with much weight attached to it in the occult and new age circles. To give a brief summary, the Mayan calendar, one of the most advanced calendars ever created (and more accurate than our modern Gregorian calendar) has an end date of December 21, 2012. Their ancient texts elaborate on this end date, albeit cryptically:
Tortuguero Monument 6, recording the 2012 Bak’tun ending:
Bolon Yookte [This creator God is referenced on the glyph]
“The Thirteenth ‘Bak’tun” will be finished
(on) Four Ajaw, the Third of Uniiw (K’ank’in).
? will occur.
(It will be) the descent(??) of the Nine Support? God(s) to the ?.”
- UT Mesoamerica Center Discussion Board (Google Groups)
Another text also elaborates on this point – however this prophecy and interpretation has been noted to be colored by the influence and interpretation of Spanish Christian Missionaries. The astute reader will notice the parallels between the Christian “second coming of Christ” and the Maya prophecy in the following text:
Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, XXII:
Katun 4 Ahau . . . . The katun is established at Chichen Itzá. The settlement of the Itzá shall take place [there]. The quetzal shall come, the green bird shall come. Ah Kantenal shall come. Blood-vomit shall come. Kukulcan shall come with them for the second time. [It is] the word of God.
- Michael Finley’s Maya Website
Bruce Fenton, a very knowledgable 2012 researcher and writer, pointed me towards these two Maya texts. He rightly points out that while there is nothing definitive here, there are some clues that can guide our speculation:
The only thing to bear in mind perhaps is that much was lost when the Spanish invaded, and that the Maya used prophecies from other eras over again by reinterpreting them whilst in trance. So we can posit they would have likely had more than this to tell us. What we can’t say is that anything like a 2012 Doomsday exists in the texts we have available today.
What the astute reader will notice about the end of the cycle writings is an emphasis in importance on returning Gods. Notably a creator God is included indicative of some rebirth before the new Long Count. The significance of the nine God’s should also be noted, as this is cross-cultural mythology. Pantheons of nine Gods are found in ancient Egypt and Norse scripts as well as elsewhere in history. They can often be seen as archetypal energies, which govern both our reality and our own inner nature.
– 2012 Rising (Bruce’s Website)
Despite the lack of definitive prophecy, many been quick to develop their own. It must be said that what the end date really meant to the Maya is still unknown, and therefore all prophecies are purely speculation. Many believe this to be the day of apocalypse, when climate changes will hit earth and we are killed and/or born again. Some on the other hand posit that this day will usher in a new level of consciousness – a mass Kundalini awakening of sorts. John Major Jenkins elaborates on 2012 in his two works, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 and its follow up, Galactic Alignment. In Galactic Alignment, Jenkins builds on his work in Maya Cosmogenesis and finds the end date of 2012 is encoded not only in Mayan astronomy and astrology, but also in the works and monuments of the ancient Vedic, Egyptian, and Persian civilizations, among many others.
This analysis is strong and does seem to carry some research backed authority. However, Jenkins offers more than simply facts to his readers as he takes his research further and speculates as to the meaning of the date. His interpretation has to do with a galactic alignment that occurs every 26,000 years – what he describes as a metaphorical alignment of chakras on a galactic scale with tangible impacts for humanity.
One can either immediately buy into this belief or immediately dismiss it as a purely millenarian fantasy – either route would be foolhardy. Jenkins work, extremely well researched and thorough as it is, will only convince those who have already been convinced.
The 2012 enigma gets even more interesting than simply speculation on ancient astrology and monuments. Terrence McKenna also independently posited a December 2012 end date at a point in time when he had no knowledge of the ancient prophecies – and nor did most of the existing counterculture. While under the influence of hallucinogenic compounds, the spirit of the mushroom told McKenna to research a Chinese oracle called The I-Ching, or the book of changes. The I ching is an ancient Chinese divination tool that has a long history and was believed by Carl Jung to work through synchronicity. After doing some complex mathematical transforms to convert the I ching into a graph, McKenna matched the valleys and peaks to major known events in time to create what he called a graph of novelty. Basically, he mapped the I-ching against what we know of universal and human history to create a measure of novelty over time. The graph had an endpoint – The zero point, or point of infinite novelty. According to McKenna’s mapping, falls in December 2012.
What can we make of all this? Did the ancients know something we have since forgotten? Was Mckenna given a clue to our future by communication with the collective unconscious? Or is 2012 simply a crackpot millenarian fantasy born of new age occult revivalism and active imaginations? We can be certain about some things: McKenna’s idea of infinite novelty does match up with what we know the future holds for us, technological Singularity. Now, what Singularity means for human civilization is another question entirely – it is entirely plausible that time (as we know it) will end. It is also possible, though very unlikely, that technology gone wild usher in an apocalypse. But then there still remains the question of a consciousness raising event from the stars?
I can have only one conclusion – ultimately, December 21st, 2012 does not matter. I certainly hope singularity will happen soon and 2012 is quite close. In that case, visions of apocalypse may simply be a noospheric or subconscious metaphor for a time of chaos as humanity adjusts to singularity.
The question of consciousness still stays with me though. Daniel Pinchbeck, who has tried to be the modern day McKenna, has promoted his own theory – one in which 2012 signals a grand awakening of consciousness and Pinchbeck is the channel for the ancient mayan god Quetzlcoatl. Its a hard pill to swallow – at least a lot harder than the ones that Pinchbeck did to get those visions. However, I will not write off Pinchbeck either. I think he has the message right in some sense, because I pray, for the sake of the masses of humanity, that the stars will hold the solution to a problem that has plagued humanity since the first man asked “Why?”. 2012, real or not, is still a metaphor for a time we hope to reach, when our wrongs will be washed away, our consciousness will be raised to the necessary level to handle singular novelty, and our every fantasy of the future will come to fruition.