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According to the Mayan calendar, on December 21st—the winter solstice—the current cycle will end and another 5,125-year cycle begins. This is heralded as the return of Kukulcan (Mayan) or Quetzalcoatl (Aztec), the avian serpent god of Mesoamerica civilizations. Quetzalcoatl stands for many things, but most importantly to our times, it identifies the élan within us that some religions call coyopa and is believed to be coiled and dormant at the base of our spines. Mythically, beyond being patron to the High Priests, Q is wearing most of the important hats, such as giver of the calendar, the harvest, death, and/or resurrection.
This changing of the guard—the end of our world as the focus moves from matter to mind—is noteworthy for astronomical reasons, as the arriving winter solstice will align us with the massive black hole discovered in 2002 at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, an event that hasn't happened in 25,625 years.(2) Black holes are theorized as creation centers of the universe. This upcoming event adds up, especially if you think of the Mayans as philosophers with double-dip doctorates in mathematics and astronomy who discovered time was not linear but cyclic. Everything moves toward ultimate recurrence or re-starts in vast sweeps, intersecting other cycles and traveling with tighter arcs of occurrences within its boundaries. There is no past or future because Time is ubiquitous. Or, flipped back on its legs, both past and future exist simultaneously within the moment.
The grand cycle we are departing started at the beginning of man's development—well, close to when the Paleo-Indian roamers became farmers, anyway—in 3113BC. Since 1992, we have been in what is called “the time of no time”, as the 20 years preceding a change of great cycles is considered transitory, since it reveals and prepares us for the snap of upcoming, evolutionary growth. This is predicated upon reactions to increasing natural disasters, accelerated human strife, and institutions that no longer serve the interests of mankind. We are supposed to be preparing to drastically alter our consuming, self-centered directions and embrace the monumental changes and responsibilities essential for the celestial opportunities ahead. Judging from just the political quagmire spilling over in November less than 2 months away from this imminent “day of days”, I'd say our concerns are elsewhere and petty by comparison.
I did not crib all this information about the Mayans from 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. In fact, author Pinchbeck spends little time with Quetzalcoatl, other than when this entity speaks to him, adding to Daniel's “supernatural torments”(3) with promotional spews of his coming “higher pirouettes of spirit”(Tarcher/Penquin Group, ISBN 1585424838, c.2006, p.340). Like the Mayans' spiraling mindset, he writes around the heralded event, interesting us in his spiritual and psychedelic lifequest. After all, if the culture en masse can't can't be prodded onto the spinning top of a new Grand Cycle, then at least individuals can prepare for the flight.
For these are incendiary times and need mind-expanding postulations, if not –opening and –blowing ones as well. To ascertain that our current, materialistic notions of the basic building blocks of the universe are falsehoods is certainly not new. The monistic Idealism of Anaxagoras (480BC) and all subsequent philosophical influence aside, plus any contemporary follower of an established religion who believes in an afterlife, could easily argue for some sort of aether-possible reality beyond this one. However, most Western religions are anthropomorphized with iconography and moral lessons to establish an earthly convenance that has little to do with cosmic consciousness.
Pinchbeck is adamant that Western thought concerning these matters is disorientated. He has systemically taken a run at explaining these projected destinies while deciphering theories, prophecies, and methodologies mixed with the acquisitive terrain of this agreed-upon reality. To convince an anonymous public of such radical propositions, it requires an unconventional vanguard of idiosyncratic visionaries—usually quite disrespected as well—to break down lock-step thinking. Pinchbeck is presenting Quetazlcoatl's return as an opportunity to create from crisis with footnotes from actual, working religions like Tibetan Buddhism and Hopi mysticism(4). Reputable social and philosophical theorists like Carl Jung, Herbert Marcuse, Friedrich Neitzsche, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin shore up shakier visionaries like Jean Gebser, Rudolf Steiner, Jose Arguelles, and John Major Jenkins while adding authenticity—well, at least opening up possibilities—for stepping out of the mainstream pace.
And, in what can only be described as a polyhedron approach, Pinchbeck sluices off the relevant data from social and world history with a Cliffs Notes compaction to presuppositions like Noam Chomsky's dismissal of certain applications of Darwinism in support of “quantum leaps” in the development of language or any form of creative consciousness (p174), which sits right next to Amit Goswami's hypothesis of “quantum monads”, where “preexistent transcendent consciousness remembers itself” (p.173). Elsewhere, psychedelic proselytizer Terence McKenna is calling for an “archaic revival” so “we can cultivate this ancient mystery once again” (p.108), while Egyptologist John Anthony West points to ancient culture not as a development but a legacy from earlier civilizations, possibly Plato's Atlantis. Visiting extraterrestrials via Whitley Streiber's “Grays” of Communion fame becomes “a return of the repressed, the mythic world, surging into the postmodern consciousness in a form that strangely fits our fixation on technology” (p.141), while, in Glastonbury England, the “puzzle-prisms of psychic reality” known as crop circles transmutate to mimic the “ancient symbol of the oroborus, the snake devouring its own tail” as “showing the requisite method for interacting with other levels of galactic intelligence” (p.298). Whether it be Chardin's Noosphere, the Singularity (p.104), Arguellas' Galactic Maya (p.201), Synchronicity, The Book of Revelations (p.111), Aleister Crowley's “extended tantrums” (p.159), Hinduism's Kali Yuga (p.326), Aboriginals' “Dreamtime” (p.326), Bengali yogi Purnanada's Kundalini energy (p.267), the Padrinhos tribe's Jurua Ceremony (p361), the Hopi sipapu tunnel for interdimensional passage (p.381), Gnostic Christ (p.116), or the tulpas of Tibetan Buddhism (p.165)—all are paraded out to emphasize: 1) consciousness usurps matter, 2) present conventions of Time are completely misappropriated, that 3) ancient, myth-based wisdom is more authentic when compared to modern, corporeal-obsessed technology, and 4) cosmic cycles are affecting and changing our reality right now. Always questioning and questing, Pinchbeck globetrots the psychic hotspots of Roswell, New Mexico (p.124), Burning Man Festival (p.304), New Agey Vale do Amanhecer in Brazil (p.349), a Hopi Blue Star Kachina ceremony (p383), a 40,000-acre eco-preserve religious retreat on a remote Hawaiian island (p.264), British crop circles (p.148), the Santo Daime tribal village of Estorroes in the Amazon jungle, and, of course, Stonehenge (p280), Chichen Itza (p.193), and Chaco Canyon (p.382).
It also includes one bona-fide prophesy as well: biologist/toxicologist Carl John Calleman, after meticulously studying the three, interactive Mayan calendars, realized the “current socioeconomic system will suffer a drastic and irrevocable collapse”(p.391) in 2008. Pinchbeck noted this in his book published in 2006.
By collecting these anomalous thoughts from such equivocal professionals in strangely-energized locations, Pinchbeck is going beyond mere celebratory testimonials for validation and support. He's offering solutions as well. Now, for most people, Pinchbeck's heavy drug use is a deal-breaker. Compounded with that pesky triptych of a calendar with its inscrutable prophesies, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl seems silly and incomprehensible—a delusional reproach by an iconoclast fashioning analytics without a slide rule. Although controlled substance guzzling has been rightly demonized for its “regressive death-drive [as a] one-size-fits-all cure for terror of the soul” (p.254), Pinchbeck is advocating consciousness-stimulating drugs as a hermeneutic tool to explain, seek, and ultimately interact with forces not easily approached by conventional means.(5) In Western culture, non-prescription drugs as an epistemology is analogous to bungee-jumping out of an airplane, but organic, entheogenic plants such as mushroom varieties, peyote, chacruna, ayahuasca, and iboga root have been used by indigenous populations as a “psychic amplifier” (p.371) for spiritual growth since time immemorial. Current primitive tribes would probably not consider using Ecstasy, PCP, or LSD—all chemically cast—for ecclesiastical answers any more than they would hunt with RPGs.
Now, Mayan time-counting is a little more difficult to embrace, let alone explain. Suffice it to say—like Pinchbeck does in his Introduction—their calendar's so-named “future” predictions are archetypes to point toward a memorable shift in the universe's phrenic muscles. Nietzsche called investigating this avenue as using “uninhibited fingers for the unfathomable” (p.3), as any shifting in the galactic plates of pure energy formation would be an indistinct, enigmatic, and a largely-unobservable process, certainly antipodal to today's headline-screaming sensationalism. Whether prevailing as irrational or incomprehensible by scientific standards, artifacts such as Mesoamerica's calendrical trinity(6) is a tool—period—that modern thinkers can use to suspend the linearity in today's conceptualization of Time.
All calendars are based on celestial movement. Pre-Sumerian, archaic calendars were moon-based and menstrual-cycled, giving way to the sun-based Julian update created from patriarchal Roman traditions. Re-adjusted in 1582, the Gregorian calendar—the one currently policing all important dates—sticks with an organizational method not integrated with any natural or metaphysical order. Calendars are revolutionary acts in that they can disconnect unwanted, old-regime thinking and promote a new concordance, as was the case in France in 1789 and Russia in 1918. Think of the meta-programs of behavior and empathy surrounding Veteran's Day, Easter, and the Fourth of July that were not considered before they were advanced. Calendars promote access through time-dating to a society's guiding concepts, so why not synchronize the flow and rhythm of the Earth's natural cycles? By celebrating the solstices(7), for instance, with the same intensity and attention as we do Valentine's or New Year's, humanity would be far more aware of Nature's ongoing health diagnosis. Then it would be more difficult to veil the principles behind the alarm bell of “global warming” into the more self-serving and deflecting term, “clean energy”. “Condition the mind to an irregular standard and the mind will adjust to disorder and chaos as normal aspects of existence,” says Arguelles. “Only harmony can unify” (p.223).
Pinchbeck admits he's an elusive narrator. After all, his name is associated with “a cheap imitation”, since Christopher Pinchbeck discovered and had an alloy named after him while fooling around as a “puffer”(8)(p.266) in the 18th century. He always holds out the possibility that over-drugging could be “tilting me toward madness”(p.372). He tries steadfastly not to be on the “fruitloop fringe of the New Age”(p.384), but he just can't help himself. But, you know, that's okay. Daniel wears his neurosis like kaleidoscopic tattoos on a shirtless chest, and it's a refreshing conceit in a world full of spinning agendas and covert jealousies. He informs more than he preaches, and his mind is not so much undisciplined as it is dangerously curious. I might not agree with him, but I trust his freaky sincerity. I wish he was a childhood friend so I could call him up and ask questions.
And, damn, can he write. On modern society:
In postscript, I can't but throw a global blanket over these cosmic smoke signals concerning Pinchbeck's documented musings coming to fruition. I do not disagree with the purpose of this book. In fact, I applaud it. But the Mayan—like the Southwest's Anasazi Indians who also mysteriously disappeared around the same time—were autocratically guided by priest/politicians who were considered gods and held absolute power over every aspect of Mayan life. To become a wizard/king south of the border, an observance of ritualistic, hallucinogenic drugs was ingested as a requisite for trusted leadership and unbounded enlightenment. Anotherwords, all crucial decisions were to be influenced while stoned out of one's gourd.
So, Quetzalcoatl, think that'd fly inside the Beltway on election day? Amazing that a legitimate drug culture would produce social thought, philosophical observations, and scientific equations that we barely comprehend today, isn't it? Shouldn't leaders of our society "journey into the deep psyche, to access the fount of all creativity and genius, to commune with the ancestors and beings from other realms and times, and to deliver into their country the organizing frequencies emanating from the cosmic source?"—John Major Jenkins, p.245
2) John Major Jenkins writes in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, c. 1998, that this allignment over the Galactic equator might induce a "field-effect reversal" (p.239) in the magnetic forces, so look for a toilet flush swirling the opposite direction, or spastic tornados of unusual power.
5) In 1929, Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel created Un chien andalou, a film that opens with the close-up severing of a held-open eye. It is one of the most disturbing images in all of cinema and caused untold controversy at the time. In a sense, Pinchbeck is advocating psychotropic plants in the same way: to shock conventional minds into a new way of seeing beyond pre-conceived boxes of un-provable dogma.
7) We celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd—as opposed to March 21st, the spring solstice—desynchronized from the planet's fundamental cycle. Is it any wonder why it has become impotent, pessimistic, and an environmentalist shouting station?