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Odyssey of Time
Philip Coppens (with
additional material from Geoff Stray)
the end of the 20th century, many predicted the advent of doom
– or the return of Christ. The 16th century French prophet
Nostradamus had spoken of the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999.
Could this astronomical phenomenon be a sign – could it
be the end of an era? It soon became clear that September 11,
2001 has changed our world much more than August 11, 1999. But
in recent years, the new “end date”… our meeting
with destiny… has been moved to December 21, 2012. So what
is meant to happen?
change, worse hurricanes than ever before and the most violent
earthquakes ever experienced do dominate the news regularly. What
is happening? After so many false alarms, is finally something
up? Though climate change might be manmade, hurricanes and definitely
earthquakes are clearly out of our hands. So what is causing this?
Some look towards the sun and claim that “certain things”
are happening to it. Some scientists even hold the sun responsible
for climate change, noting that the global warming is not just
happening on this planet, but all throughout the solar system.
But can all of this be reduced to one day in time?
Fact is that December 21, 2012 is indeed the end of something
– the Long Count calendar, a calendar system used by the
Mayan civilisation of Central America. On that day, the thirteenth
b’ak’tun cycle will be completed. Some Mayan and other
Mesoamerican groups, such as the Aztecs, say we live in the Fifth
Age. The next age, to be born in 2012, will therefore be that
of the Sixth Sun. Our Age started on August 11, 3114 BC, but as
it is known that 3114 BC did not mark the beginning of the world,
why should we consider 2012 to be the end of the world? Or the
birth of a new one?
we highlight in the DVD, “2012: Odyssey of Time”,
amongst those to first popularise 2012 was Jose Arguelles, who
in 1987 held the Harmonic Convergence, a series of worldwide esoteric-religious
events which took place on August 16 and August 17, 1987. The
event was centered on a number of “sacred” places
throughout the world from Stonehenge to the Golden Gate Bridge
where individuals, many referring to themselves as “light
beings”, gathered to usher in a new era.
Arguelles used a mixture of the Aztec and Mayan calendars, the
ancient Chinese oracle, the I Ching and New Age spiritualism to
concoct a successful potion. To him, August 16, 1987 was important
as it marked the end of a Mayan time cycle, specifically nine
“hell” cycles, which had begun in 1519 AD. The Harmonic
Convergence signalled the final 26-year countdown to the end of
the Mayan Long Count in 2012, which would be the “end of
history” and the beginning of a new 5,125-year cycle. All
the evils of the modern world—war, materialism, violence,
abuses, injustice, governmental abuses of power, etc.—would
end with the birth of the Sixth Sun and the Fifth World on December
lot of things have happened since 1987… The Iron Curtain
has come down; the cold war has ended. But it’s clear that
today, there is no sign that violence, war and governmental abuses
of power as such is going to end anytime soon. If it will by January
1, 2013, nothing short of a miracle will need to occur. However
much we might like to see that, or even cheer it on, it’s
unlikely it will happen. Instant salvation of the world is popular
amongst certain sections of Christianity, but most other religions
and doctrine have forever realised that creating heaven on earth
is a slow, and human, task.
was not the first to focus the attention of the world on the year
2012 along with the I Ching. A decade before Arguelles published
his ideas in “The Mayan Factor”, Terence McKenna and
his brother Dennis authored “The Invisible Landscape”,
announcing 2012 as the year that humankind’s accelerating
technological impact reaches a climax and tips everything into
another dimension. McKenna’s model is known as “TimeWave
Zero”, and is part of his “Novelty Theory”,
which attempted to calculate the ebb and flow of novelty –
new things – in the universe as an inherent quality of time.
The fractal waveform, the TimeWave, is simply a wave that maps
the amount of novelty that manifest in the universe. Within the
quantum universe in which we live, “new things” in
essence means that any new conscious decision made by each of
us, a decision that breaks a pattern, has a direct impact on reality.
And this simple, scientific yet little known fact, might hold
the key to a brighter future.
recruited mathematicians, Leon Taylor and Royce Kelley, to generate
a number set from the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, in the
quest to scientifically study the TimeWave.
Unlike a normal graph, the wave goes down rather than up, since
the Novelty Theory presumes there is a maximum novelty value,
and this is represented by the baseline of the graph. The line
goes up towards habit – events that occur repeatedly, without
conscious intervention, and down towards novelty – when
conscious decisions lead to “new things” being introduced
into the daily life of the universe.
The graph hits the baseline and signifies a maximum novelty state
only twice – at the start and end of the graph – the
beginning and end of time. Maximum novelty value is therefore
zero, which is why the original Timewave was called Timewave Zero.
Having produced the wave, it had to be correlated to history,
to find out where we are on the wave. The explosion of the atomic
bomb at Hiroshima in 1945 was taken as a massive ingression of
novelty and equated with a large spike near the end of the Timewave.
Once this was done, it was found that the wave hits the baseline
exactly sixty-four 13-month lunar years later, on 17th November
2012. When McKenna learned that this was very close to the Mayan
Long Count Calendar end-date, further study and adjustments made
him realise that December 21, 2012 might indeed be “the”
day when time as we know it was perhaps not so much a thing of
the past, but at least given its notice period. Time, after all,
is largely something we experience, and for which science has
never come up with a totally satisfactory answer.
labelled the end of the wave a singularity, which in astronomical
terms is where density is infinite – like at the center
of a black hole. A singularity is exactly what Peter Russell has
called the centre of his accelerating time spiral, which he calls
the White Hole in Time. Russell realized that there are ten thousand
million, or ten to the power of ten atoms, in a neuron and the
same number of neurons in the human cortex of the brain. We are
now at a population level of well over ten to the power of nine,
approaching the critical number of ten to the ten. Could we soon
be seeing this shift, where individual units link and become functioning
parts of a larger organ – the global brain?
Another great philosopher, Robert Anton Wilson conducted an Information
Doubling study and updated it over a period of eight years. A
French economist called Georges Anderla did the groundwork in
1973, and Wilson built on it, starting with the beginning of Homo
sapiens in 40,000 BC. It took 40,000 years, for information to
build to a significant level in the Bronze Age around 3,000 BC
– neatly coinciding with the beginning of the Mayan Long
The next doubling took 3,000 years until the Roman Empire at 1
AD. When he started the study around 1982, information was doubling
once every three years. In 1990, when he completed another instalment
in the study, he said the doubling rate was once every eighteen
months. When Wilson graphed the process, the figures produced
a graph that shows a slow build then a sudden acceleration in
the 20th century, and the graph goes vertical shortly after year
2000 – in fact right around 2012.
it possible that the Mayans knew all of this? It is a matter of
fact that the date is expressed in their calendar. The Long Count
date of the start point in 3114 BC is written as the completion
of 13 Baktuns, with zero katuns, zero tuns, zero uinals, zero
days. On the winter solstice of 2012, the same date is repeated,
for the first time in a span of around 5,125 solar years.
The question is whether a new cycle will just begin – just
as our clocks keep ticking every year on the first of January
– or whether something else will happen. The problem with
trying to answer the question “what will happen in 2012?”
is that the people who created the Long Count are no longer around.
At the end of the Classic era, six hundred years before the Spanish
conquered Central America, it is known that this Long Count calendar
fell out of use; the people who worked it and tracked it were
the priestly elite, and they were all long dead before the arrival
of the Conquistadors.
It’s only over the last 100 years that the Long Count calendar
was reconstructed, and that it was mapped on the Gregorian Calendar,
to December 21, 2012.
There is an incomplete inscription on Tortuguero Monument 6, that
records this 13th b’ak’tun end date. This is the only
known inscription that mentions 2012. The end date is also carved
on the walls of the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque, as well
as on the so-called Creation monument at Quirigua, but this is
the previous instance of it, in 3114 BC – the last creation
– while 2012 is the completion of the current creation.
The Tortuguero inscription says that when the completion of 13
baktuns occurs on 4 ahau 3 kankin, December 21 2012, “it
will occur – it will be the descent of the Bolon Yokte K’uh
(Nine Support Gods) to the…” It’s tempting to
imagine that the missing word is “Earth”, but we can
see the outline of the glyph and a search in the Maya glyph dictionary
didn’t find a match for Earth or World. However, the “it”
that will occur is semi-visible and looks like the glyph for darkness.
is support for this interpretation in the Chilam Balam Prophecies,
which means Jaguar Priest Prophecies. These were written down
after the Spanish arrived and are a bit tainted with Christian
concepts, but Maud Makemson, who translated the Chilam Balam of
Tizimin, found evidence that some of these prophecies originally
applied to the 13-baktun cycle. Although they are applied to a
short-term calendar 13-katun calendar of 256 years, that was in
use when the Spanish arrived, it is quite definite that when the
Long Count fell out of use, the prophecies were kept and re-applied
to the 13-katun cycle or Short Count.
In the Chilam Balam of Chumayel, it says that in katun 4 Ahau
(which is the katun from April 1993 to December 2012) the feathered
serpent god, Kukulcan, will return. This god originated with the
Toltecs as Quetzalcoatl and it is now known that the original
Quetzalcoatl religion was about raising a serpent-like energy
up the spine – the very same concept as the Hindu concept
of kundalini. In the Aztec myth, Quetzalcoatl sacrificed himself,
spent eight days in the underworld and reappeared as Venus. He
is expected to return between Venus transits, and we are now between
the Venus transit of June 2004 and the next one in June 2012.
As a consequence, the likes of John Major Jenkins expect that
from within the Mayan world, a new political leader might stand
up, whom will be identified with Quetzalcoatl. Though most expect
he will consequently be sacrificed – after all, all religious
leaders, whether Osiris, Odin or Jesus, have been sacrificed –
perhaps the time of sacrifice is, like our concept of time, a
thing of the past?
big question nevertheless remains, and it appears that no-one
is around to answer it. Perhaps that is precisely the point. Perhaps
we are here to define what comes next. It is the key message we
wanted to bring out: 2012 is not about doom and gloom. After all,
with massive novelty offered by the timewave, is it not up to
us to think outside of the box and imagine our own future? Though
it might not instantaneously materialise, it might just create
the right amount of positive energy for the future.
For according to the Mayan civilisation, 2012 is meant to be a
milestone, the end of an age. Within this context, we are at a
point where we can shift from the descending phase of the cycle,
to the ascending phase.
Equally, if anything, perhaps the Western imperialistic mindset
will finally be able to acknowledge that it might accept that
ancient civilisations knew far more about astronomy and perhaps
even how the universe really works than what science is only slowly
some decades, there have been loud voices that argue that we should
leave our materialistic means behind and become more “spiritual”,
and “care” for the Earth. But we need to look at this
from a bigger perspective. The review we need to do in 2012 is
not one from, say, 1980 to 2012. It is from 3114 BC to 2012 AD.
And it’s clear that we have to call this the “Age
of Civilisation”, though that’s perhaps not the best
name for it: when Mankind decided to settle down, organise themselves,
and began to focus on things like economy, exchange of goods,
which eventually became the end, rather than the means, of living.
With the current economic crisis – which experts argue will
rear its head again in 2012 – that age definitely seems
to be coming to an end. Equally, since 3114 BC, the world has
become ever smaller and now, it’s clear we have a truly
global village, with communications between distant parts of the
world happening in a matter of seconds. So the possibility of
“one global mind” is within reach – if not already
So the Fifth Age has been one where Mankind stopped being largely
nomadic, and decided to settle. With that, have come many wonderful
buildings, but at the same time, a new dichotomy has arisen, in
which we have stopped caring about those parts of the world we
haven’t settled, places like the Amazon, Siberia, and vast
parts of Africa and Central Australia. Those are the regions where
we still encounter the old shamans of the previous Age –
if not Ages. It’s there where McKenna had his insights.
It’s also, largely, where the Maya have survived, and live
That we even consider that the world will end in 2012 is another
sign of our Age. We take things too literally. We live in too
literal times. All religions have become dogmatised and fundamentalised.
This is in such sharp contrast with shamanism, which is mostly
the opposite. Modern religion is all about dogma and preaching
it; shamanism is merely a technique on how to contact the gods
directly, but hardly any doctrine about what these gods tell us
So perhaps another important lesson or experience for 2012 might
be the realisation that institutionalised religions need to become
more spiritual – a lesson they can learn from the Maya.
And if this alone would happen post 2012, it’s clear we
will indeed have a totally new, much more spiritual world.
At the start of a New Age, the Sixth Sun, the Mayan creation mythology
states that a new vision quest is required. The world has become
one, for better or for worse. We have come a tremendously long
way. But if we ever want to reach the centre of our galaxy, and
learn about the cradle of life, we have an even longer voyage
ahead of us. That voyage will only begin in 2012.
article appeared in Paranoia, The Conspiracy Reader, Volume 1