2012: Beginning of the End or a New Beginning


In recent months, I've been exploring the rabbit hole of 2012 prophecy and possibility, a beguiling mixture of myth, spirituality, and hope that humans will finally awaken to the global ecological and economic catastrophes we're creating and make a fundamental shift in our approach, whether that's sparked by cosmic energies or our own earthly intention.

When the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21 – a date that also marks the Winter Solstice and the peak of our alignment with the galactic center (Earth, sun, and the dark center of the Milky Way lining up for the first time in recorded human history) – it will be a day anticipated by millions of people around the world. Thanks to the modern amplification by pop culture and the Internet, it will be an unprecedented and potentially auspicious astrological, energetic, and cultural moment.

“The earth is being flooded with energies from the galactic center,” San Francisco Astrological Society President Linea Van Horn, who has been giving presentations for eight years on the significance of a cosmic alignment that occurs once every 26,000 years, told us. “That was the alignment that the Mayans were marking on their calendars.”

It isn't just the Mayan Long Count calendar that indicates the current age is ending and a new one dawning. Some Aztec, Toltec, Indian, and Egyptian scholars and writer Terence McKenna (who used the I Ching to make the revelation in his book The Invisible Landscape) and various New Age authors have predicted we're entering a new era, one many believe will be marked by enhanced human consciousness.

But one needn't believe any of this to understand the pressing need for humans to wake the fuck up and start working together on issues ranging from global warming and the alarming decrease in the planet's biodiversity to the many shortcomings of global capitalism and the escalating social unrest it's creating. So why not use this grand mystical moment to spark that discussion, as many progressive activists and conscious community advocates have suggested.

“It allows us to have a stage for the question, a frame for the question. We have to ask very basic questions about our survival,” said Rev. Billy Talen, an artist/activist whose latest book, The End of the World, delves into the earth's ecosystems reaching their tipping points. “We have the uncanny, mythic, prophetic calendar ending and beginning. And then we have scientists saying the same thing, so where does that leave you?”

There will be many epicenters and gathering points on Dec. 21, both real and virtual. Personally, I'm headed down into the heart of the Mayan empire to Chichen Itza, Mexico, where I'll be attending the Synthesis Festival and doing daily dispatches through this website. Daniel Pinchbeck, author 2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl, will be in Egypt at The Great Convergence “celebrating the dawning of a new era.”

“Basically, we are going to have to have a rapid shift in global consciousness,” Pinchbeck told me, arguing that shift has already begun, as seen in movements from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. “It is happening in terms of horizontal, peer-to-peer, cooperative movements with no top down hierarchy...We can make a much more rapid transition than most people realize.”

Both festivals, and many others around the world, will be heavily attended by people from the Bay Area, where many of the concepts behind transformational possibilities and alternative organizing models have incubated and evolved for decades. The organizers of Synthesis have also set up a World Unity 2012 online hub where people can participate with livestreams from where they are and join in conversation about what's next.

“It's probably one of the most pointed to and significant times ever,” said Synthesis Executive Producer Michael DiMartino, who has been leading tours of Mayan sites for almost 20 years, establishing a close working relationship with the Mayan community in Piste Pueblo adjacent to the pyramids at Chichen Itza that he's tapping for this event. “We're at a crossroads in human history – and the crossroads are self-preservation or self-destruction...We create the future. As we make our decisions, we create the future now.”

While DiMartino and other festival organizers believe in the spiritual and energetic possibilities of this moment, they emphasize that it is an opportunity to bring together people with a variety of worldviews and belief systems and have a conversation about how the global community of people can work together on solutions.

“Obviously, the planet has been getting out of balance and there is a need to go back to basics,” said Debra Giusti, founder of the Harmony Festival and author of Transforming Through 2012. “We need to get back to the values of the indigenous people, but in the modern context making use of our technology.”

As I've interviewed people about 2012, from true believers to skeptics, mystics to scientists, a common theme has been that nobody knows what this intriguing moment portends. They have their hopes and their fears, their doubts and their desires. I'll be looking at the 2012 question from a variety of perspectives in my upcoming coverage, and I'm open to your suggestions and observations as well.

But for now, for me, I'm maintaining an open heart and an open mind. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, that are dreamt up in your philosophy,” Shakespeare's Hamlet said, a statement for ages that our modern minds, so rational and cynical, too often forget.

Maybe this metaphysical moment will be the anticlimactic New Age equivalent of Y2K, or maybe it will be an important signpost on the road to global transformation in consciousness, or something in between. Whatever happens, it's bound to be interesting, and I hope you'll join me on this journey.


Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

I'm just high the possibilities of this moment, Anon, and intrigued by the myths and synchronicities that surround it.

Posted by steven on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

I just stumbled across the Examiner's SFBG blog.

Cool website!

Much better than SFist or Fog City.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

Im going to Synthesis 2012 as well, see you there!

Posted by Love on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

Thanks Steve-- It's great to have an opportunity like this for open discussion, very well done!
It's also a great opportunity to create real positive change, both internally and externally.
Most importantly, it is what we do with this alignment that makes it such a potent time for transformation.
Hence, the opportunity for new beginnings being birthed from the end of a cycle with ways that are well on their way out.
Here are some powerful tools I've put together if you are interested in actively taking part in your own transformation::


Blessings of light, love, peace, and joy on this journey.

Posted by Jen Healy on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

Thanks Jen! The Examiner's SFBG blog gets better by the minute!:

"Jen Healy is a leader in "Quantum Energetics." She has focused her mastery on bridging the gap between science, spirituality, and the healing arts. She combines her Master's in Electrical Engineering and Physics with numerous wisdom tools from Eastern and Western philosophies to offer a unique style of Being Engineering and Energy Management."

Quantum Energetics. Dig, dug, get digged, get dugged!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

New Age non sense and progressive politics?

Two great things made better by each other.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 29, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

"The earth is being flooded with energies from the galactic center"

No it isn't. What a silly woman.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

Meaningless words strung together with out of context prefixes attached.

Meta and transquantum intermetafunctionality of...

None of the new age belief structure could pass any sort of falsifiable test. Like born againers new agers rely on the will to believe to gain adherents.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 01, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

..is not here to see it all roll out...

Your analysis fully resonates and encompasses the beauty, truth and metaphor in our current moment.

Well begun..

In the words of Rage Against the Machine..

In the year of the boomerang...

...it's coming back around.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 30, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

"But one needn't believe any of this to understand the pressing need for humans to wake the fuck up and start working together on issues ranging from global warming"

"Personally, I'm headed down into the heart of the Mayan empire to Chichen Itza, Mexico"

You're not getting there by plane, are you, Steven?

Because that would be so, so, hypocritical. You want to start healing the planet - you can start by not flying in aircraft that spew out carbon, just to attend some self-indulgent festival.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Dec. 02, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

On 12/22, nothing will be different. Try to get used to that now.

Posted by Chromefields on Dec. 03, 2012 @ 12:17 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

Certainty is the hallmark of a closed mind. As I've researched this article, it's striking to contrast those who believe we're on the verge of transformation with those certain that nothing will change in the foreseeable future, with the latest being true zealots and barriers to human progress. Chromefields, I'd urge you to breathe, to reflect on what future generations need from us now, and to read my upcoming article with an open mind.

Posted by steven on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 10:51 am

Steven, don't misunderestimate the ability of humans with power to resist rational transition strategies even when faced with inevitable disaster.

The only way to overcome this recalcitrance is to empower, mobilize and organize mass resistance to make things work out differently.

Many of those who could do this organizing are themselves in the employ, direct or indirect, of those whose imperatives dictate that they should do nothing.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 11:07 am

But it sounds like the same old, same old, especially coming from a member of the Bay Area's Burning Man cult. And Daniele below, bless her heart, seems to confuse finally getting her shit together with some planetary realignment. Such snake oil has always been for sale during the entire course of our "human progress." But hey, I'm an unbridled optimist, if an extremely skeptical one when it comes to people trotting out the Age of Aquarius tropes again. So yes, I'll breathe, if you promise to exhale before you pass out.

Posted by Chromefields on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 12:51 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

Hey there Chromefields,
Just remember that those Mayans were among the first to use chocolate, and do great things with it....so....I for one am giving them the benefit of the doubt. ;)


Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

The transformational new agers have been trotting out one epoch episode after another for decades, nothing. It's like born againers waiting for Jesus to come back, the signs are there, he just doesn't show up for some reason?

For sane people, there is 100% certainty that...

Jesus will not be recalling anyone ever

new-age events will pass, then new agers will find another one to get all worked up over, ignoring that the past dozen failed.

people will sell piles of psuedo science books and DVD's to people looking for the next big transformation, and it will not happen

New Age nonsense will be couched in meaningless buzzwords to designed dazzle the easily fooled

Posted by matlock on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

Lots of people will be feeling either relieved or really silly about how the world didn't end after all. Some of them may even learn something from it!

On the other hand, astrologers will be finding a new explanation for why we should still believe them, and Mayans will be out looking for a big magnet to stick their newly carved stone calendars to their refrigerators after taking down the old ones.

Posted by Bill Stewart on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

"If the Unit 4 fuel pool goes, we'll have Chernobyl on steroids." --Arnie Gundersen, former nuclear power industry executive

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

You may carry on cowering in fear. Best of luck.

Posted by Chromefields on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 9:00 am

when you're dying from cancer of the brain, liver, kidneys, or gastro-intestinal tract. Just one more earthquake near Units 3 and 4...that's all it will take. If I were you, I'd start praying.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

And as I have been hearing that this new age thing is going to happen in the next five years, for thirty years...

Posted by matlock on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I sure have been feeling this transformation thing all year--maybe the past 2 years. Been "reinventing myself" (as far as a day-job to support my artist life), and it was interesting to see how I first reverted to stupid, unconscious work I did in my 30's...then I saw the light and have been steadily doing work w/ elements in it that support my particular gifts, that have taken a lifetime to emerge...ie, I am coming into my own, and I am a late-bloomer.

But it's all been driven by consciousness, by a life marked w/ suffering and learning to overcome the difficulties....

Anyway, I am on the verge of having the sort of life-balance I want: part-time work that supports not only art-making, but also time to be an active citizen...and the kind of work that allows me to give my gifts. It's been a long time coming, but I was determined.

So I've been feeling this energy, and also seeing maybe a parallel in the world at large. A lot of our problems are from just continuing to produce, but not being conscious of how what we do affects the health of the planet, to take one example. Now, we *are* more conscious, but habits die hard, still, I feel the reality of a critical mass forming....

I think it's inevitable....just as we evolve personally in our lives--do things smarter, see that we are mortal and only have so much time, so I see it in the larger world. We're waking up! To our foibles, and our power to make things right and healthy....

If you don't feel it, so be it. I'm just saying I do, and it's exciting!! I'm optimistic, notwithstanding some scary symptoms we might witness on the way....we've got the power...and as Bob Marley once said: who feels it knows it.

Power to the people!

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 11:52 am

The festivals in Egypt and Mexico sound similar to the Bioneer conference held in the Bay Area each year. http://www.bioneers.org/

The lovey-dovey language and meta concepts about mother earth and a transformed humanity sound wonderful, but their economic platforms are often unrealistic, non-existent, or even dangerously naive. It turns out it's not so easy to get people to give up their economic privledge that comes from owning real estate, bonds, stocks, and earning capital gains. Many of the attendees have no idea what any of these terms actually mean, which is a fairly big blind spot. Some of the attendees actually own a decent amount of these assets and live from rents, interest, dividends and capital gains. They have no plan to give up any of their assets in the hope "the world will be a better place."

When these peace, nature and reimagining groups can figure out how to get rid of rent, low-paid jobs, and unsafe neighborhoods, while feeding, housing and caring for the 7+ billion on earth, then they deserve our attention.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 04, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

"This isn't the "ordinary" sellout that working people have come to expect from Democrats — this is an attack of historic proportions.

"The pretext for this betrayal is the politically manufactured "fiscal cliff" crisis of triggered spending cuts and tax increases slated for January 1st. But the fiscal cliff itself was created by the Obama administration — with Republican participation — to create an atmosphere of "urgency" that would force politicians to act. The U.S. debt is easily financed by investors who continue to pour their money into buying U.S. Treasury bills — so if not for Obama's fiscal cliff, no debt crisis would exist.

"The goal of the fiscal cliff is to scare the public into accepting that a debt crisis exists that requires historic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other popular social programs.

"Politicians ignore the fact that Social Security is self funded, and therefore doesn't contribute to the national debt. Politicians also ignore the fact that the U.S. debt is largely the result of bank bailouts, decades of steadily lower taxes on the rich and corporations, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, combined with an insane military budget that subsidizes weapons manufacturers."


Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

The only way that a monetarily sovereign nation can go bankrupt is by making poor monetary policy choices.

Fiscal policy choices need not bankrupt a monetarily sovereign nation.

The debt is no problem so long as the US Government can print dollars and can undelegate that authority from the Federal Reserve.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

There is no fund at all for it, let alone full funding.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

Social Security and Medicare are pay-go financed by payroll taxes and does not rely on general tax revenues and hence does not impact any deficit or debt.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

remove unemployment pay from millions. Plus impose massive spending cuts on primary services for the poor and old. That is why Obama cannot allow it to happen, even if it allows a few token tax hikes on the rich. It will also create a recession which Obama cannot tolerate, having already presdied over one.

Obama will cave, but only because he has to.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

"The US economy has two serious diseases, and neither one is too much welfare spending.

"One disease is the offshoring of US middle class jobs, both manufacturing jobs and professional service jobs such as engineering, research, design, and information technology, jobs that formerly were filled by US university graduates, but which today are sent abroad or are filled by foreigners brought in on H-1B work visas at two-thirds of the salary.

"The other disease is the deregulation, especially the financial deregulation, that caused the ongoing financial crisis and created banks too big to fail, which has prevented capitalism from working and closing down insolvent corporations.

"The Federal Reserve’s policy is focused on saving the banks, not on saving the economy. The Federal Reserve is purchasing not only new Treasury bonds issued to finance the more than one trillion dollar annual federal deficit but also the banks’ underwater financial instruments, taking them off the banks’ books and putting them on the Federal Reserve’s books.

"Normally, debt monetization of this amount results in rising inflation, but the money that the Federal Reserve is creating in its attempt to manage the public debt and the banks’ private debt is hung up in the banking system as excess reserves and is not finding its way into the economy. The banks are too busted to lend, and consumers are too indebted to borrow.

"However, the debt monetization poses a second threat that is capable of biting the US economy and consumer living standards very hard. Foreign central banks, foreign investors in US stocks and financial instruments, and Americans themselves observing the Federal Reserve’s continuous monetization of US debt cannot avoid concern about the dollar’s value as the supply of ever more dollars continues to pour out of the Federal Reserve. [...]

"The world is abandoning the use of the dollar to settle international accounts, and the demand for dollars is falling as the Federal Reserve increases the supply of dollars.

"This means that the price of the dollar is threatened.

"Concern over the dollar means concern over dollar-denominated financial instruments such as stocks and bonds. The Chinese hold some $2 trillion in US financial instruments. The Japanese hold about $1 trillion in US Treasuries. The Saudis and the oil emirates also hold large quantities of US dollar financial instruments. At some point the move away from the dollar also means a move away from US financial instruments. The dumping of US stocks and bonds would destabilize US financial markets and wipe out the remainder of US wealth." [...]

"The onset of hyperinflation can be as sudden as the collapse of a currency’s exchange value.

"The real crisis facing the US is the impending collapse of the US dollar’s foreign exchange value..."


Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

(continuation of article by Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, at CounterPunch)

"What can be done? For a number of years I have pointed out that the problem is the loss of US employment, consumer income, GDP, and tax base to offshoring. The solution is to reverse the outward flow of jobs and to bring them back to the US. This can be done, as Ralph Gomory has made clear, by taxing corporations according to where they add value to their product. If the value is added abroad, corporations would have a high tax rate. If they add value domestically with US labor, they would face a low tax rate. The difference in tax rates can be calculated to offset the benefit of the lower cost of foreign labor.

"As all offshored production that is brought to the US to be marketed to Americans counts as imports, relocating the production in the US would decrease the trade deficit, thus strengthening belief in the dollar. The increase in US consumer incomes would raise tax revenues, thus lowering the budget deficit. It is a win-win solution.

"The second part to the solution is to end the expensive unfunded wars that have ruined the federal budget for the past 11 years as well as future budgets due to the cost of veterans’ hospital care and benefits. According to ABC World News, “In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,333,972 American military personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or both, as of Aug. 30, 2011 [more than a year ago].” These 2.3 million veterans have rights to various unfunded benefits including life-long health care. Already, according to ABC, 711,986 have used Veterans Administration health care between fiscal year 2002 and the third-quarter of fiscal year 2011.

"The Republicans are determined to continue the gratuitous wars and to make the 99 percent pay for the neoconservatives’ Wars of Hegemony while protecting the 1 percent from tax increases.

"The Democrats are little different.

"No one in the White House and no more than one dozen members of the 535 member US Congress represents the American people. This is the reason that despite obvious remedies nothing can be done. America is going to crash big time.

"And the rest of the world will be thankful. America along with Israel is the world’s most hated country. Don’t expect any foreign bailouts of the failed 'superpower.'"


Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

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