2012... and Beyond
“People used to be afraid the world was going to end. Now they seem a bit concerned it might not.”
- my friend Howard, circa 1980
I’ve overused that quote, and promised myself I’d retire it, but with only two months to go before the Big Day - December 21st, 2012 - I felt I had to take it out for one more spin. It has a bit too much of high school melodrama, I admit, but it captures the spirit of 2012 very well. We flirt with the apocalypse. We fear the end of the world, and yet we wait for it like hosts peering out the window waiting for a special guest to arrive.
Back in 1980, we were starting to come to the realization that nuclear holocaust might not be around the corner, after all. Not that the world’s political situation had improved so substantially, but after a couple of decades of waiting for the white light that would make boring jobs, unfinished homework assignments, and bad marriages irrelevant, people got the idea that we might be stuck with the status quo for the duration.
I was born in 1962, right around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was the era of Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe, and other apocalyptic media messages, stretching all the way back to the giant irradiated bugs that stomped across 1950’s drive-in theaters. By the time I was a preteen, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, and other post-apocalyptic and dystopian films were the order of the day. Surely, the planet was circling the drain, and it would all be over in an unexpected instant.
Perhaps we overreacted. Perhaps the danger was never really that great. But for the generations born after the Second World War, the end of the road did seem like a reality. Older generations, themselves having lived through a world war or two and a depression, did little to reassure us that it would all be okay. As time went by, however, waiting got tiresome, and it became apparent that no immediate turning point was in sight.
In the decades since Howard and I were sitting around, high as kites, musing about big issues and small, I often wondered what happened to all that apocalyptic energy.
It turns out that it may have gone into creating the apocalypse.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the world is going to end in 2012. That’s a sucker’s deal - after all, if you say the world will end and it doesn’t, you were wrong. If I maintain that it won’t and it does end, well, who’s gonna be around to say I was wrong?
As we approached the turn of the millennium, the end-of-the-word energy started to reemerge. It isn’t limited to New Agers interpreting or misinterpreting the Mayan calendar, either. Almost everyone has a scenario. Born-Again Christians are eagerly awaiting the rapture, while Hasidic Jews are sure the Messiah is on his way. Anyone who pays attention to climate change sees global warming, pollution, and other factors as threatening survival - although on a longer timeline. There are all kinds of possibilities for war: China, the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear program, etc. There is extraordinary overpopulation. Peak oil. Extraterrestrials. The economy. Mass Ascension. Global Enlightenment. The list goes on and on. (Note, by the way, how other people’s fears seem so exaggerated, childish, or outlandish compared to your own more reasonable ideas)
Now, what happens when tens, or hundreds, of millions of people start assuming something is going to happen? And what if their assumptions are emotionally charged, overheated with issues from the personal and collective unconscious?
Look at markets. Analysts can do a very good job of gauging how the economic markets will react to news - even though the rational reason for a change may be very elusive. And the analysts themselves create change by speculating how the markets will react. In short, if enough people say there will be a stock market drop, a recession, or a recovery, it tends to happen, regardless of the underlying economics.
The First World War, as far as anyone can really say, started because an overwhelming feeling for it rose up in Europe. Historians still scratch their heads looking for a more rational reason for such a disastrous tragedy.
Although we may lack cohesiveness about what and why, we seem to be in agreement about the existence of a global Omega point. Things can’t continue on as they have been. Can they?
Perhaps not, if we are in the process of creating a kind of channel in the collective psyche that heads towards some kind of end time. Create a deep enough groove and the ball is sure to wind up in it sooner or later.
Astrologers have generally not been suggesting that 2012 is the end. In fact, the few astrologers that know anything about the Mayan calendar (like Bruce Scofield), have done their best to dispel the idea that Mayan’s thought the world would end. Still, it could be seen as a chilling thought that so many people within a living civilization have decided to set their clock by a dead one.
What astrologers have focused on is the Uranus-Pluto square, a major outer-planet aspect in place from 2012 to 2015, but with an orb that could be seen extending several years on either side. Uranus-Pluto was last in aspect in the 1960s, and before that in the 1930s, both times of significant change and realignment. These aspects have happened before, of course, but as Pluto was only discovered in 1931, these are the first time that we are experiencing them with conscious awareness. It seems to me that an aspect is bound to be more powerful when it is operating within our awareness.
Are we looking at political, social, and economic upheavals? So it would seem. There is clearly a call for change (Uranus) and resistance to it. Resistance just deepens the need for transformation, and together Uranus and Pluto drill deeper into our collective psyche to make sure that more than surface changes happen.
Ultimately, the degree of trouble we get into - global warming, nuclear winter, or anything else, is up to us. In the years leading up to 2012, I emphasized the importance of letting go, moving into the process, and accepting our responsibility for change. It doesn’t have to be that bad, I said. I’m no longer so sanguine - the resistance to change at every level (including within you and me) is too great to make this an easy transition. Still, there is nothing to do but “put your good where it will do the most,” as Ken Kesey used to say.
Our values, forged through millennia of want and scarcity, need to change. Our sense of connection to each other, the planet, and our cosmos needs to expand. Our egotistical hold on our beliefs and ideals needs to relax. But to do this, we need to create structures that allow for a fresh set of values to emerge. And that’s going to be hard work.
End of the world? No, we’re not getting out that easy.