Glyphs from the Mayan Dreamspell calendar by Carol Burkhart.

Tonight we go from the bizarre to the sublime and back again. Remember the Great Attractor. There is some really weird shit up in the universe, and no matter what we know, we return to the idea that we don't have more than a clue.

The Great Attractor in space has a theoretical first cousin in time, which is Dec. 21, 2012. This date is being viewed by many as a kind of convergence point in time when we move beyond time. In recent years it's been revised to 2011, or a window of 2011-2012, though in the context of history this difference may be negligible. Though I've got lots of informed colleagues, I read a bit and am in the flow of information, I've had a difficult time grasping just what this convergence point is supposed to be. This link is designed to get a discussion going, as a first word rather than a last.

There are many proposals circulating in the New Age movement as well as in indigenous communities that the Earth is ascending, and that something intense is going to happen in 2012. Some of these proposals hold that there is a "second world" being created, a holographic copy of our own world, but in another dimension, and that humanity is going to divide, and a whole bunch of folks are going to end up in the higher-dimension world, and a whole bunch who can't make the trip in the lower dimension. For those of us who are ascending, we are, some say, currently being outfitted with light bodies that will house our souls in the higher world. The ascenders may not actually notice that they have gone anywhere, just that they are in a new world; those who do not ascend -- well, who knows.

The problem I have with this kind of theory is that it sounds like a candy-coated way to say "expect a holocaust to make Hitler's look like child's play," and I don't dabble in those ideologies, personally. Many people do, and most of their web sites get far more hits than mine; negativity is extremely popular. But I can accept the idea that our planet is going through a dimension shift, which is accelerating our perception or experience of time, opening up previously closed channels of communication such as telepathy and synchronicity to unprecedented proportions, and which is causing people to rearrange their thoughts about reality. And it does seem that there is a polarization happening: that some people are getting denser and more negative, while others are going in the other direction, to a faster or lighter vibration.

So, on one hand, I am a skeptic, but a curious one. On the other, I am an astrologer, and I've been around the New Age movement since 1986, when, as circumstances would have it, I ended up living in a spiritual community with credible people who said they could hear plants talking, and others who could leave their bodies and beam aboard the mother ship. By contrast, at that time, I was working as a newspaper reporter covering industrial development and town governments, writing about sewer projects and the like; but experiencing a whole lot of actual miracles, which caused me to reevaluate my way of looking at life. I could not ignore the plant-talkers and the mother ship visitors. So count me among the open-minded, curious skeptics who is rarely afraid to apply a useful idea to his life.

The idea of 2012 is potentially useful. Especially if it is true. And whatever 2012 is, like the rest of the future, our visioning process counts for most of the game. So I suggest we envision something sane, healthy and creative.

Carol Burkhart, author of the Galactic Alchemy web site, thinks about this stuff more than I do. She is an astrologer in the Mayan system known as Dreamspell and has done magnificent renderings of the glyphs, which are too small to appreciate in the presentation above.

"My tendency is to forget about the dogma and go with the idea that we are all right in the middle of IT, and so why not simply pay attention to the days/kin/sun and months/moon, eclipses and the cycles, one within another?" she wrote to the Planet Waves list today. "It's all about feeling our way through the darkness anyhow. Why not start now?"

Carol offers her view of the convergence date.

"The Mayan calendar end date of December 21, 2012 is called 'The Great Cycle'. This 5125 year cycle began on August 11, 3114 BCE, and is known as the Birth of Venus. It is the 13th Baktun (a Baktun is 360 days or one Mayan 'year' times 400=144'000 days). The Glyph representing this day is 4 Ahau, which means enlightenment and ascension. There is a question of whether it should be 13 Ahau (the last day of the 260-day cycle), or 4 Ahau, which is the date that corresponds with the Solstice date. An interesting debate is going on at this site between John Jenkins and Carl Calleman.

"The primary calendar used by Mayan daykeepers is the Tzolkin (a Venus calendar/count of 260 days) and is a harmonic of the Great Cycle, and very close to the human gestation cycle. Which means this cycle acts like the recapitulation of the gestation of the human species. It takes five Great Cycles (or 26,000 Tuns/years) to equal the "Grand Year" or precession of the equinoxes -- and the higher harmonic of 260.

"It was archeologist Eric Thompson, whose work confirmed the data of Goodman and Martinez, by correlating the stone stelae dates of the ancient Mayans to the current Gregorian calendar. The GMT correlation (Goodman-Martinez-Thompson) is the most recognized and is noted as the 'true' or 'classic' count. "

I'll jump in here with a little background on one individual. A scholar named José Arguilles was the person who raised the issue of the Mayan calendar back in around 1970, before anyone had heard of it in popular culture, and extremely few had heard of it in academic culture. His work was controversial and daring, and led to a worldwide event called the Harmonic Convergence (harmonica virgins) in 1987, which was intense. His most famous book is called The Mayan Factor.

Carol continues, "Arguilles and his wife, Lloydine, although they have come up with different glyphs for different days, also agreed with the Dec. 21, 2012 date, as did Terence McKenna and his brother. This was first noted in their book, The Invisible Landscape, the first discussion of what is known as Timewave Zero. The Dec. 21, 2012 date was coincidentally discovered by them without prior knowledge during shamanic journeying (and lots and lots of 'shrooms).

"According to Mayan researcher John Major Jenkins, it is this date on the winter solstice of 2012 where a galactic alignment takes place with the solstice Sun. Actually, if one is looking at the heavens, I think we are already right in the middle of this alignment, happening during the years of 1998-2012.

"But Jenkins explains in his book Maya Cosmogenesis, how the Dec. 21 solstice sun will exactly conjoin the 'dark rift' in the Milky Way, which is something the Mayans acted out during ceremony and ball games and is what they referred to as the Mouth of the Crocodile.

"Various beginning and ending dates have been calculated, which all come down to sometime around 2011/2012. Here is a sampling of what others have to say about 2012 (I got most of this info from Geoff Stray's site at

"1) José Arguelles in The Mayan Factor calls this the Galactic Synchronization -- which will be a kind of ascension process, or evolutionary leap to the next dimension.

"2) Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell, in Mayan Prophecies relate this to the sunspot cycles. We are currently near the peak of one of those 11-year sunspot cycles, which might be an indication of what the future holds.

"3) Graham Hancock in Fingerprints of the Gods discusses what he calls a crustal displacement, which he speculates will be due to an unusual planetary alignment at the end of the Great Cycle on Dec. 24, 2011, a date also given by Frank Waters.

"4) John Major Jenkins writes about the solstice-galactic center conjunction: On 21/12/2012, the Solstice sun will align with the Dark Rift in the Milky Way

"5). The Hopi Tribal Prophecy states that the 'Great Purification' will be over by 2011 and 'will be marked by the appearance of a new star'.

"6) Willaru Huayta, a Peruvian 'spiritual messenger', says that 2013 is the end of the Inca calendar. He says a 'huge asteroid' three times larger than Jupiter will pass close to Earth, causing cataclysms that will kill off most of humankind.

"7) The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin predicts in 2012, that a comet will crumble into pieces and/or 'annihilate' the Earth."

[Note that points 6 and 7 fit the bad vibes/apocalypse category, and apocalypse predictions have come a dime a dozen for about the past 1,000 years, and bad vibes are somewhat cheaper. -ef]

"8) Paul Otto Hesse discovered a photon belt circling the central sun of the Pleiades. Our solar system passes through it every 12,500 years, and will next be fully immersed in it in 2011-2012.

"9) Channeled information like that from the Sirians (via Sheldon Nidle) says we should have entered the belt in 1996. In 2012/13 our whole solar system will travel down a wormhole in the direction of the Sirius system. The photon belt will alter DNA and chakras allowing us to use our inter-dimensional soul body for existence in a timeless higher dimension.

"10) Barbara Hand Clow's version, in her book, The Pleiadian Agenda, unifies all the others. In 1987, the galactic synchronization beam reacted with the photon band as we entered it. At winter solstice 2012, Earth's entire orbital path will be engulfed in the band; this will be the ascension."

Do you know any more than you did 15 minutes ago? I will know for sure that we're ascending when the words wormhole, chakra and Baktun come in spellcheck.

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Space graphics above: Samples of the Center of Centaurus A, courtesy of APOD. Credit: E.J. Schreier (STScI) et al., NASA. Explanation: A fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, gigantic glowing gas clouds, and imposing dark dust lanes surrounds the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A.

This link written and posted Dec. 6-7, 2001