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The Discovery of the Next World

Reflections Beyond the Maya Endtime


Additional to the slim chance that a few people with guts and intelligence might stand up to intimidation from the Abrahamic hordes and defy the taboo on critical thinking about faith issues, as suggested in the previous article, what other prospects might we envision for the Maya endtime?

Having pondered this matter for quite a few years, I am convinced that some kind of momentous shift is indeed immanent on this planet, although it will not, I believe, transpire in a sudden, spectacular way. In many respects, it is already unfolding, and has been for some time: it involves a progressive transformation, rather than a sudden, once-and-for-all breakthrough. I believe this is the view held by a good many people now writing and talking about 2012, such as Daniel Pinchbeck, but there is also a building expectation of a particular breakthrough tied to the date December 21, 2012. The progressive transformation underway might be compared to breaking the sound barrier in a jet: a steady acceleration up to the specific moment, BAZOOM, when the barrier is passed. (I went through the sound barrier twice on the Concorde, which used to level off at a little faster than Mach 2: you don´t feel or hear a thing, but the world outside gets seriously bazoomed!)

We may well wonder, Since when has the steady acceleration to 2012 been in effect, and detectible?

Temporal Vortex

It might be helpful to think of December 2012 as a nodal moment around which events are clustered, before and after. I have found this concept consistently useful in my studies of historical patterns, plotted against stellar and planetary cycles. For instance, 1821 is the nodal moment of the Romantic movement. Constellated around that moment, before and after, are the key events that defined the movement. A nodal moment signals a vortex in time—a "dissipative structure," to use the odd term proposed by Ilya Prigogine—where the innate evolutionary potential of the human species undergoes review and reworking. Some potentials (reflected in cultural tendencies, discoveries, currents of thought and behavior) dissolve into the vortex, others emerge, simultaneously. Patterns of change anchored in the nodal moment can be imagined as event-ripples that spread around the temporal vortex. (Obviously, current ideas of autopoesis, emergence, and fractality enter into this analogy, prompting us to consider how historical patterns might have self-similar and self-ordinating properties.)

1821 is a nodal moment in a pattern of 172-year intervals, following the cycle of the uranus-neptune conjunctions. It comes ahead to 1992-3, the last time such a conjunction occurred. (The middle node between 1821 and 1993 is 1907, the vortex moment of Modernism.) From 1993 to 2012 is 19 years. Could this be the period of sensed acceleration? Perhaps, but I propose a further permutation of the nodal dating: make 1993 the nodal year between 2012, which is 19 years ahead in time, and 1974, which is 19 years back in time. Then we arrive at the interval 1974 - 2012 (with the midpoint at 1992-3, a key pivotal moment) for the acceleration into the Maya endtime. Readers of Not in His Image may recall that in the last chapter I trace the co emergence of Gaia theory, Goddess studies, and the Gnostic revival ahead to today from around 1974.

One good thing about this timeframe is that it encompasses just one generation, which is neither too long nor too short an interval. People who were working out their world view in 1974 can relate to people coming into their world view on the approach to 2012. The interval is manageable in terms of generational continuity. The experiential lessons accrued by many people in this period of time can be compared and shared by direct interpersonal communication, one generation interfacing with another, without reliance on books, recordings, or other second-hand sources. This is a huge advantage for plotting and navigating the slope of the acceleration.

Mythic Orientation

The mythical date arrives if a series of circumstances combine to produce the event. Unlike the profane date, the sacred one is not a measure but a living reality, charged with supernatural forces, which is incarnated in determinate places.
Octavio Paz, The Bow and the Lyre (1967)

What makes 2012 important is that it has been identified as a sacred date, to be distinguished from mundane calendric time. Arguelles originally pointed out that we are entrained by the linear scheme of the Gregorian calendar—along with the patriarchal salvationist program attached to it, I might add. Thus he attempted to introduce a 13-moon, 28-day calendar related (he claims) to biological time, as an alternative way to keep track of what we´re doing. Arguelles´s calendric reform has been dismissed as a distortion of Maya calendrics (true), but it has value by reminding us to reground in lunar and biological timing. A sacred time-keeping device must incorporate both seasonal and (human) somatic rhythms, including, of course, the macro-rhythms of Gaia.

Octavio Paz points out that a sacred date is "not a measure but a living reality." One problem with Maya calendric speculations is that, once 2012 is identified as a sacred date, it is treated as a measure, factored down, permutated, analyzed, etc. I suggested in the previous essay that such computations can draw attention to themselves and away from what we need to discover in the progression to the endtime. The solution to the Long Count in historical and experiential terms will not be found in the Count itself, i.e., in some grand scheme encoded in it, but in the "living reality" of the eruptions and occlusions of human potential that are right now constellating around the forward nodal moment, 2012.

How, then, to read these "eruptions and occlusions of human potential"? It is tempting to jump imaginatively into a prospective stance and make an inventory of all kinds of events and tendencies that reflect the slope of acceleration. To some extent, this appears to be what I am doing here, but not really... To clarify my approach, I propose a metaphor that locates endtime developments within a single, comprehensive frame of reference. That way, rather than merely pile up an inventory of supposed endtime developments, we can each place ourselves in the developing wave. The language for this metaphor is: the discovery of Next World, compared to Columbus´s discovery of the New World. But with this qualification: Columbus did not merely discover the New World, he discovered the native peoples who inhabited it. Likewise, the discovery of 2012 depends on meeting the natives who inhabit the Next World, the endtime tribes.

Acceleration to the Maya endtime entails discovering the tribes of the Next World, in which human community will survive when civilization as was know it so far has dissolved into the temporal vortex of 2012.

The New World was discovered in 1492, so the old story goes. Not such a trustworthy story, we suspect, but there it is. To this sorry old tale let´s now add a futurist ending: the Next World will be discovered by 2012. This discovery unfolds as we meet the natives of that world, finding the endtime tribes among us, and ourselves in the tribes. As a mythologist dedicated to translating received myth into existential terms, I like this formulation because it says concisely and precisely all we know about what the Maya themselves must have thought of their calendar cycle: that in 2012 one world would end and another one would begin. By "world" they understood a world age, a long-term planetary cycle.

The end of a world age is not the end of life on this planet, it is the transition to another way of living here. This is the glorious promise of the Maya endtime.

Joseph Campbell had a term for the nodal moment or temporal vortex: he called it the mythogenetic moment. On the first page of Creative Mythology, he signaled the12th century as the last great mythogenetic moment in the history of Western civilization. (In the series, An Alternative History of the Grail, I have dedicated a lot of cyberink to this era, the seminal epoch of the troubadours, the cult of Amor, Arthurian legend, and the Grail quest.) Campbell felt passionately that the transition into the 21th century could be a mythogenetic moment morally and spiritually equivalent to the 12th century, and possibly even resonant with it. I find a lot of veracity in this view.

In Maya-Aztec calendrics, the current world is called Ollin (on left) and designated as the Fifth Age or " Fifth Sun." This is a close equivalent to the Kali Yuga of the Hindus. Not much is said of Ollin except that it will end with "movement," possibly meaning earthquakes, crustal shift of the earth´s mantle, collapse of ice sheets, rising of sea levels, etc. Ollin also means "shift of consciousness, mind movement." Curiously, this glyph recalls intertwining strands of DNA, with the three-prong, four-notch motif suggestive of three-letter codons composed of four bases. Okay, so tell me I'm fabulating, but perhaps not. One of the several mysterious features of DNA is the shifting of histones, the chief proteins in the chromatin that act as spools around which DNA winds, keeping genes in place. In effect, histones lock or seal the genetic code, and when they move, they unseal it. This biochemical action is the equivalent to the mythological concept of the apocalypse, "the lifting of the seal." The apocalyptic moment when histones shift cannot be determined, because biologists are uncertain what makes histones shift. Could histone-shift happen massively for the human species at a particular moment—say, due to the traumatic impact of massive life-threatening events? No one knows, but it cannot be ruled out.

Whatever the Aztecs made out of it, I strongly maintain that we today can regard Ollin as an icon of genomic and phylogenetic shift, linked to the 2012 endtime. I will have more to say on this idea in the third article of this sequence.

Ollin is a day sign in the Aztec calendar. One of the better websites on MesoAmerican calendars (www.azteccalendar.com) gives this definition:

The protector of day Ollin (Movement) is Xolotl. This is an auspicious day for the active principle, a bad day for the passive principle. Ollin is a day of the purified heart, signifying those moments where human beings may perceive what they are becoming. A good day for transmutation, which arrives like an earthquake that leaves in its wake the ruins of rationality, order and the preconceived.

Which sounds pretty damn relevant, I´d say. The allusion to Xolotl (Sho-LOW-tul) is telling. He is the twin or double of Quetzalcoatl, the mythological figure most often associated with the Maya endtime. Xolotl is the evening star (Venus, appearing after sunset), the Lord of the West, a shapeshifter—that is to say, a sorcerer and master of occult powers, siddhis. I will return to this theme at the close of this article. (Right, Xolotl from the Codex Borbonicus.)

So, we are deep into a mythogenetic moment when human potential is arising in new expressions, simultaneously with the dissolution of old expressions, and this dynamic, two-way escalation, up and down (Ollin), is revealing the outlines of the Next World when the planet earth will be inhabited by the endtime tribes. Mythological figures such as the Gnostic Sophia and the Aztec Xolotl loom over the emergent tribes and in some manner preside over the birth of a transmuted, transmigrant humanity. Each such mythogenetic moment holds in solution a constellation of powerful choices, but the magic of the moment only becomes real when these choices are actually defined and made, one person at a time. Following the metaphor I've proposed, the essential choice we each face on the accelerating approach to 2012 could be stated like this:

Who do I want to be among in the Next World—Columbus and his crew, dumbfounded before the native tribes, or the tribes themselves?

"The mythical date arrives if a series of circumstances combine to produce the event" (Paz, cited above).

If some readers are now on board and find the language in use acceptable, how about we expand the guiding metaphor? To paraphrase Paz, "The mythical date 2012 arrives when a series of discoveries combine to produce the immanent event, i.e., the emergence of the Next World." These discoveries are all of one kind: social, interpersonal, and intimate meetings between people, members of tribes who recognize each other. To foster this recognition, it would be helpful to have a tentative sketch of the tribes. I characterize them by these names: the Originals, the Orgiastics, the Sustainers, the Evolvers, and the Visioneers.


Ceremonial dancers, Kamiura tribe, Xingu River, Brazil

The Originals are the first peoples of the earth, or what´s left of them. They live in reflective symbiosis with the places where they live, which gives them a special grounding power. At the same time, they are vulnerable to being uprooted and displaced by predatory societies driven by the double ideology of conquest and entitlement. Members of such societies believe that the planet belongs to them, materially, and they have an entitlement to claim it by force from any peoples who may be inconveniently sitting on resources they would like to possess for themselves. Their sense of entitlement is enforced by the belief that they are made in the image of a paternal deity who gives them permission to breed like lice and dominate the earth.

Consider this statistic: in 2006 around 40,000 indigenous people committed suicide. You don´t have to ask yourself why. It is painfully obvious that some people cannot live if their way of life is destroyed. A way of life is not a way to Earn a living," not a matter of holding down a job in the System, the dominant socioeconomic game. For the Originals, their way of life is rooted in the earth, framed by the stars, linked to plants and animals, nurtured by past generations and consecrated to future ones. Take all that away and some people will choose to die rather than accept the alternatives that "civilization" proposes to them: the San Bushman woman I quote in Tree and Well, for instance. She is an Original.

In the acceleration to the Maya endtime, we may be seeing the demise of the last remaining Originals, but there is also a resurgence of that tribe, for those who are still with us have a crucial role to play in the passage into the Next World. The global tour of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, for instance, is an endtime project conceived by Originals to alert the world to the healing and guiding power of entheogenic plants.

Members of the tribe of Originals include not only the remaining indigenous peoples of the world, but those who embrace their cause and work to protect and support them. Years, ago, when I first spoke at the Marion Institute, I proposed in the spirit of reviving the Mysteries that each person adopt an indigenous tribe and an endangered animal. The Originals and the animals come together, and they may disappear together. Upon signing a treaty with European settlers in 1854, "Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe of the North Pacific is reported to have said that when the last animals have perished 'humans will die of loneliness.' " (Loneliness and Presence by Thomas Berry, Parabola Magazine).

Animals, birds, fishes, and insects, also belong to the tribe of Originals. Most indigenous peoples around the world recognize the four-leggeds, the crawlies, and other species as kin to us, with no less dignity and intelligence, and no less value for the earth. Meeting blue whales, white lions, dolphins, scorpions, spotted owls and Andalucian golden eagles, is essential to discovering the Next World. The recognitions that shape the world ahead will have to be profoundly rooted in the all-species connection. Those who champion this connection belong to the tribe of the Originals.


Amber mask of Dionysos, Roman, 1st Century

This tribe is a kind of distant reflection of the Originals, or perhaps a forward projection in evolutionary terms. It consists of a huge spectrum of "urban tribes," the diverse community of younger people who share a clan sense of identity and a common spirit of celebration; the followings of Burning Man and the Rainbow Tribe, for instance. There are thousands of clans within the Orgiastic tribe, some of them consisting of no more than two or three members. Many of them use the Internet to organize their activities and keep communication up and running, yet they stand apart from the cybernetic community as such by their pronounced affinity for the natural world and native-mind peoples, the Originals.

It could be said that the next generation of Originals is being recruited from the Orgiastics. Many of this young tribe will be elders in the tribal communities that emerge after 2012.

As Dale Pendell (Pharmakopoeia) noted, "There are no plants in cyberspace... nor in the noosphere." Nothing happens on the Internet, which is an electronic grid dependent on wired-off acres of blinking consoles in featureless concrete warehouses, but it a great medium for announcing things that happen, and even generating the "buzz" that makes them happen. Many Orgiastics are inclined to chemical highs and the vacant cybernetic ideologies that come with it, but they are essentially organophiles and nature-lovers, and as such, they ought not be confounded with the segment of the younger generation that does not know where eggs come from (which is, according to a recent study in France, sixty percent of the twenty-somethings surveyed).

Why Orgiastics? The Greek orgia means "operation, working." In the Mysteries, orgies were group events like collaborative seminars in which members worked together on certain projects. Sometimes, but not always, orgies had a sexual component. But even when they did, sexual activity was not merely hedonistic. Rather, it was more like a group Tantric session intended to raise and fine tune somatic, emotive, and cognitive intensity. Members of the Orgiastic tribe share an innate longing to revive this kind of communal synergy, and connect through it to the body of the earth and the cosmos at large. Hence, they are prone to trance and dance, celebrating the Dionysian arts of music and mime, not to mention divine mania. Even when they do this in an urban setting, surrounded by the blast and blare of electronic gimmickry in total oblivion to natural conditions, their inborn ritual rapture reprises the ecstatic celebrations that were originally enacted free of the electronic setting and the urban venue.


Foundation text for the sustainability movement

This tribe shares with the Orgiastics a primary orientation to group effort and the pleasures of the natural world, but they enact it in a more conservative manner. The movement for sustainable living is the brainchild of the Sustainers. Much of what they do overlaps with the Orgiastics who, like them, look to primitive and indigenous peoples to model the future. Members of the Sustainer tribe tend to be homebodies, attached to creature comforts, focused on self-reliance and socioeconomic independence. They network a great deal, but for the purpose of implementing specific programs and plans rather than to party.

By necessity, Sustainers take an adversarial stance to the System with all its economic and political tyrannies, because they recognize that so much of what is done in the System is non-sustainable. Their overriding desire is less to improve the System, than to come up with alternatives to it. They often tend to live on the borderline, in the System but not of it, driving a hybrid car, for instance, but their preference is to get clear of it entirely, if that were possible. If you have the spirit and outlook of a Sustainer, it makes no sense to stake your life on something that is unsustainable. This tribe contains the true survivalists whose knowledge of natural ways will be indispensable to founding the endtime communities. The ecomimicry of Jeanine Benyus represents the focal point of the Sustainers´ mission, the tip of their visionary arrow.

Sustainers have a huge and voracious hunger to learn. They are forever collecting and disseminating information on"alternative lifestyles," organic food, natural healing, edible gardens, solar heating, earth and straw bale bale houses, and proposing innovative ways to create a sustainable society. Their role in the five-tribe world is sober, stable, and generationally based, by contrast to the free-form hedonism and teepee-style living of the Orgiastics. The Marion Institute, which sponsors this site, exemplifies the mission of the Sustainers, combining visionary and practical elements into a futuristic world view with a focus on "connecting for change." Some of its projects offer service to the Originals, such as Mangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, who founded the Greenbelt Movement. Planting trees is a Sustainer ritual—performed, in her case, by an Original. The Institute´s support of Jeremy Narby´s Nouvelle Planete, a program to establish the legal claim of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon to their native plants and medicinal knowledge, is another good example of Sustainer-Original crossover.


Nomad, an ecotourist lodge on the south coast of Kenya

This tribe shares many of the characteristics of the Sustainers, with one crucial difference: Evolvers work within the System, seeking to improve it rather than create something else, something better than the System. The Natural Capital Institute founded by Paul Hawken, which promulgates methods and models for socially responsible investment, is typical of this tribe. The Marion Institute also supports the NCI, so TMI is actually a hybrid organization, inspired equally by Sustainer and Evolver incentives. This coordinative or balancing role in endtime projects is reflected in the fact that the Marion Institute was founded in 1992 at the pivotal node of the 1972 - 2012 interval.

If I am reading the signs correctly, Daniel Pinchbeck´s Evolver project is , like the Natural Capital Institute, dedicated to creating and promoting new and progressive forms of commerce within the System. The operative word here is commerce. By contrast to this approach, the incentives of the Sustainer tribe do not generally include programs set up to yield capital gains. What is sustainable has merit in the way it sustains itself: it does not have to "grow" economically. There is an ideological divide between the tribes here, for sure, but (let´s hope) no cause for intertribal warfare. As long as the current economic system does not fall into total chaos, there will always be opportunities for to Evolvers to work of benevolent forms of capitalism and planet-friendly free enterprise. At the same time, in parallel efforts, the Sustainers will be working with other models that do not depend on economic return.

The natural food market is a prime example of the profit-making incentive of the endtime tribes. Every Whole Foods store is a shrine to Evolver economics. Eco-tourism also exemplifies the kind of commercial services set up by Evolvers for others of like mind as well as consumers in the general public. In many instances, Originals or their descendents are employed to feed, lodge, guide, and entertain ecotourists, allowing the natives to live a double life, working in the System yet free to maintain their ways of life independent of it as well. Ecotourism is not a perfect thing, but it´s a great challenge for Evolvers who believe in benevolent capitalism. Given that the entire economy of certain regions of the planet depends on tourism, it may be the leading edge of the Evolver tribe´s global outreach, an optimal place for them to center their efforts. Sustainers, by contrast, are more likely to be stay-at-home types. Orgiastics, who are unlikely to be able to afford the price of ecotourist package deals, to make life itself into a grand touristic adventure.

Members of the Evolver tribe tend to take a utopian or at least optimistic view of technology, if they are not out-and-out technophiles. The aim of the Evolver project is to promote "technologies in sustainable food-production, community organizing, alternative energy, complementary currency, shamanic and meditative transformation, etc. Then through the membership organization, we will help people access these tools as quickly and locally as possible. We are counting on an active and engaged membership who will help us to envision, and implement, a new planetary culture" (Daniel Pinchbeck, cited from the interview with Tim Boucher). The new planetary culture so envisioned is a not an educational and cultural venture, it is new phase of planetary commerce, far more sophisticated than anything that emerged from the hippie movement of the 1960s. If Evolvers have true entrepreneurial flair, there is a great deal they can do to make the current economic picture more human and innovative, with a reduced ecological footprint.

The issue of profit versus non-profit runs through intertribal relations, as I just noted. In some respects, the difference cannot be reconciled. According to the lesson of an old planetary fable (called "the rise of agriculture"), the profit motif spreads tension among the tribes, tension that leads to social division and war. But all tribes would agree, I believe, that we as a species will view survival (i.e., food, water, clothing and shelter, if you need to be reminded) more wisely, and have a better chance of achieving it, if we do not make it a for-profit venture.


"Elfstar" by Rebekah Bovey-LeBuillou

The mark of the Visioneers is, obviously, their visionary capacity, their talent to frame the grand overview and propose models that help all the tribes to navigate the evolutionary bend of the endtime. Originally bring to the modern world various visionary systems of ancient provenance, such as the glorious sky-serpent cosmology of the Desana of the Northwest Amazon. (See Amazonian Cosmos by Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff.) I cite this vision in my book on astral phylogenetics, Quest for the Zodiac, explaining how the sky-serpent-brain motif of Desana cosmology triggered a profound insight that allowed me to decode the stellar writing. The songlines of the Australian Aborigines present another example of Visioneer tribe legacy that can enrich our self-knowledge as a species, and assist us to devise our evolutionary niche. Members of this tribe hold the long view of human experience.

It would be tempting to try to inventory the grand schemes produced by various Visioneers since 1974, but such a list would hard to be complete within the limits of this article. First and foremost, of course, is Gaia theory, developed by James Lovelock (atmospheric aspects) and Lynn Margulis (bioevolutionary aspects). It came to definition at the start of the 1974- 2012 period, and is without question the overarching vision of our time, and the endtime. The interactive model of Gaian planetary symbiosis is far from finished. I would say that we are only at the elementary stage of defining it. As the vision unfolds through the collaboration of many people, we are challenged to become discerning and selective, able to choose wisely among those visionary models that contribute to Gaia theory, perhaps even enhance and deepen it, and those which do not.

A well-known example of Visioneer talent is the noosphere concept of Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955), the French Jesuit priest and paleontologist who proposed a teleological scenario in which the culmination of human history at the "Omega Point" would be achieved through "Christogenesis," with the human species somehow completing the mission of Christ. Although Teilhard rejected the literal interpretation of Genesis, he retained the religious belief that Jesus Christ somehow embodied or focalized the fullness of human potential and holds the Omega Point until humanity can advance to it. This Christocentric view strongly recalls the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (1875 - 1925), the Austrian philosopher and founder of Anthroposophy, who regarded Jesus Christ as the "representative of mankind." The works of Steiner and Teilhard exemplify what I call totalist male-mind models in which feminine, ecofeminist, or Sophianic aspects of cosmology are downplayed, if not entirely absent. The vast scope of such visionary scenarios appeals to many people, despite these (to me) serious shortcomings. Some leading voices in the counterculture find in Teilhard´s noosphere a prefiguration of the Internet as a global collective mind in cyberspace.

In The Seeker´s Handbook (1991, coming into the nodal midpoint), I ventured a tentative short list of theories of planetarization: Teilhard's orthogenesis; Dane Rudhyar's vision of eonics and the shishta, the avant-garde of planetary evolution; McLuhan´s Gutenberg galaxy and the global village; Oliver Reiser´s cosmic humanism and embryogenesis (lately reprised by John Major Jenkins for 2012 ruminations ); the evolutionary spiral of Barbara Marx Hubbard; the Aquarian conspiracy of Marilyn Ferguson—this last being a summary of visionary models and programs, rather than a model itself. Obviously, the list is paltry. Today it could be expended by a factor of ten. It would have to include everything from Terence McKenna´s timewave (also closely linked to 2012 calendrics) to Irving Lazlo's connectivity hypothesis, and on and on. Ken Wilbur, who is by now regarded as the tenured dean of Visioneers, would have to be included. I only include him to admit that I exclude him. I can´t read Ken Wilbur., nor can I get my head around a great many of these grandiose schemes.

Truth be told, I have a huge aversion to totalist male-mind models, even when they are produced by women such as Barbara Marx Hubbard. I am also in diametrical disagreement with Hubbard´s view, shared by many others, that the human species is the glory-crowned animal at the growing point of millions of years of cosmic evolution. I don´t believe that self-consciousness in our species is a great achievement, toward which all of nature have been laboring for untold eons. I am more inclined to view it as our worse handicap, the ego hangup of an wounded animal that has lost its way.

I am slipping into I-language here because, considering the "Sophianic vision of the Mysteries" developed in this site and in my new book, Not in His Image, I myself might be placed among the Visioneers tribe, perhaps in competition with the names on the marquee. But there is no competition. I do not compete. The Sophianic vision based on the sacred myth of the fallen goddess is not my invention. It is a legacy I have recovered and restored. I would not place myself in the Visioneer tribe, but among the Sustainers, in the clan of deep ecology. I have not developed a cosmic evolutionary scheme of vast scope and detail. That´s not been my calling in this life, although for a long time I thought it was. Because I worked in astrology and naked-eye astronomy, I thought that I was a cosmologist, an originator, but it would be more accurate to say that I am a teacher of cosmology and a consumer advocate of cosmologies. I assess and critique the master schemes, but I do not offer one of my own. (The system of astral phylogenetics I present in Quest for the Zodiac is not a cosmological scheme, it is a cosmographic method, a way of decoding the endowment of an individual out of the genomic potential of the species.)

Bioneers, founded by Kenny Asubel and Nina Simons, is the flagship event of the tribe of Visioneers. At bioneers the five tribes converge, and members of the Visioneer tribe are often invited to give plenary talks, providing a sense of holistic orientation for a vast diversity of projects and programs. Clearing houses such as Esalen, the Noetic Institute, Omega, Hollyhock, also provide platforms for Visioneers to hold the talking stick. The biomimicry of Jeanine Benyus is an offering from the Sustainers to the Visioneers, a savoury evolutionary potlatch. I would probably place Terence McKenna among the Orgiastics, but he is known for his Visioneer-like modeling genius. Members of the Visioneers tribe include not only those who produce the defining visions and cosmic scenarios, but also those who embrace and propagate them. The cosmic model of Brian Swimme, "The Story of the Universe," has spawned an entire movement in which other people spread the evolutionary myth that Swimme initially articulated.

So much for a rundown of the five endtime tribes. In the Next World, we will find ourselves living on a five-tribe planet. People who represent the five tribes and speak of their hopes and fears for emergent communities in the future can be heard on futureprimitive.org, the sister site of metahistory.org, produced and broadcast by Joanna Harcourt Smith. Many other examples could be cited (The Nature Conservancy, for instance.) I have certainly overlooked some of the more obvious and vivid. It would be fun to make an inventory of tribal activities. Any volunteers?

The characterization of the tribes is not a game for stereotyping people. It is a loose frame for recognition. Tribal identity is a volunteer process. The Next World will be discovered in the eyes of those who bring it forth. As Thoreau noted at Walden Pond, the great adventure of each day, which we each share with the sun, is to make the day.

The End of the New Age

Time does not end when the defining moment of the endtime comes in 2012, but time is running out for a lot of things humans do. Among the activities that are getting close to their expiration date, I would place new age spirituality. Many of you who are reading this article to the end might think that new age spirituality, in some respects, at least, points the way to the endtime and what´s possible in the coming shift, but I would suggest another view. I sense that much that passes for spirituality today will be shed rapidly as we enter a time when real spiritual trials, formidable tests of intent and imagination, are forced upon us, individually and collectively. With the acceleration toward 2012, the game may be expiring for new age pretensions and empowerment regimes such as come under the catch-all term, "shamanism."

This may sound extremely perverse on my part, I realize. But hold on a sec. I have been following the New Age from its inception out of the Psychedelic Revolution of the 1960s. I wrote a critical guidebook to the phenomenon of alternative spirituality, a rather naive work, but useful nonetheless. I do not say casually that new age spirituality is expiring. I say it with a sober view toward how transformation comes out of death, when an impulse is genuine and rooted in the evolutionary potential of humankind. By this I mean that all that has been so far categorized as new age spirituality may have been, up to now, the mere husk of a deeper, richer fruit. The New Age, fraught with so much pretending and false pretence, so much phoniness and disguised narcissism, will have served its purpose well if now it leads to something truly genuine that transcends it.

The discovery of the Next Age will come in part through the end of the New Age as a phenomenon of spiritual naivety uncritically embraced by many who are seeking a genuine commitment to humanity... but this demise might open the way into a deeper path, the way of the double, the shapeshifter, Lord of the Evening Star... Xolotl.

Previous article: Countdown to 2012.
Next article in this trilogy: The Party of Xolotl.

jll 28 January 2007 Andalucia



Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.