Dear Friend and Reader:
It was someone named Jose Arguelles who popularized 2012 as the time we would take what he called the leap beyond technology. Arguelles was not the first to point out the significance of 2012 — though he was talking about it as early as the mid-1970s. Frank Waters (in his Hopi prophecies) also mentioned it in 1975, as did Terence McKenna in Invisible Landscape. Astrologer A.T. Mann briefly mentioned it in his 1986 book The Divine Plot: Astrology, Reincarnation, Cosmology and History.
Yet it was Arguelles’ creation of the worldwide Harmonic Convergence in 1987 that got the cultural meme of 2012 (and the Mayan long count) going. The Convergence was based on the idea that the 13th baktun of the Mayan long count calendar would be ending on the winter solstice of 2012, and that it was time to start preparing ourselves for whatever that transition meant. How long is long? A baktun is 144,000 days; 13 baktuns add up to about 1.8 million days, or 5,125 years, which is one-fifth of a full precessional cycle (that is, the cycle of all 12 ‘ages’ in Western astrology).
Did the Harmonic Convergence work? I say yes — so far, the world has not been destroyed by nuclear war.
Despite that barely-noticed good news, over the past 25 years, predictions of both doomsday and spontaneous enlightenment have flooded New Age literature and bled into mainstream thought, though in all of that time, none of it has struck me as particularly meaningful. Said another way, I’ve hardly ever heard a 2012 narrative I could even vaguely relate to. Pretty much everyone knows that 2012 is an important date in the Mayan calendar, but hardly anyone can tell you what it ‘means’ without drifting into speculation.
Our sin-obsessed Christian culture, clouded by truly horrid visions from The Book of Revelation (sometimes called The Apocalypse of John) — the last book of the New Testament — always seems to be waiting on doomsday. However, Judgment Day is our shit — not that of the ancient Mayans.
The Harmonic Convergence of Aug. 16-17, 1987 was a global meditation for peace. I took part in that major event as part of a spiritual community, and it had nothing to do with the ‘end of the world’ or doomsday. To the contrary, we had our minds on getting the world out of the mess that it was in — not into a bigger one. In recent years, Mayan scholars and Mayan leaders have objected to the obsession with gloom and cataclysm.
“For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle,” says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Florida. To render Dec. 21, 2012 as a doomsday event or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”
The Western Astrology of the 2012 Era
That said, 2012 is going to be one of the most significant years that any of us have ever lived through. It’s really an era that spans from 2011 to 2016, and in truth it extends much further in both of the commonly known directions of time. Yet one year from today, we will note that 2012 was indeed a radical turning point. The Western astrology illustrates sweeping changes in culture and geopolitics, and corresponding profound changes in the lives of individuals. Most of the planets involved in the alignments were not known to the ancient Mayans — among them Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, all of which were discovered by modern science.
These are the gods of change, and for the next few years they are working in concert with one another, propelling us to wake up, pay attention and consciously advance our lives. While some will experience this as little other than a wild ride, we are being summoned to participate in existence as a personal event — and as a collective event. Yet that statement calls attention to what it would mean not to participate: to merely observe, to decline participation on the basis of fear, or to attempt to stay stuck in old ways of thinking. If you’re experiencing fear and chaos rather than a bold quest, then it’s time to update your files.
Collectively, we have arrived at a point of extreme contraction of awareness, denial, paranoia and surrender of our power. We are being smothered in our own technology. If we don’t do something about this, global conditions will get worse. It would be fair to say that we’ve arrived at a moment of potentially reclaiming what we’ve given up, and perhaps of claiming something new, but it won’t come in the form of an iPhone app. The thing about computer applications is that someone else has the idea and does the work; then we load them onto our device and they do their thing. When we follow the guidance of astrology, or with any other personal work, we become the programmer; we have the idea and must take the initiative.
The astrology you’re about to experience is a calling to personal responsibility and most significantly, to use what we have learned in all these years of study, workshops, yoga classes, many efforts at healing, self-improvement and personal growth that have become so popular since the 1960s. Now is when we put the pieces together, with a momentous feeling; we are indeed at a point of no return, whether we’re talking about the environment, civil liberties or going beyond paralyzing fear and judgment.
In short, it’s now time to decide what matters the most, and take action. Not in the future — right now. Here are the top five events that illustrate the changes. Each of them influences you personally. The following will give you an overview.
Uranus square Pluto
The defining aspect of our era in history, look to Uranus square Pluto when you’re trying to figure out how it’s possible that Arab Spring, the labor movements of Wisconsin and Ohio, and the Occupy movement all happened within a few months. There are many factors that make 2011 distinct in modern history, and 2011 was just the beginning. When Uranus and Pluto get together, we enter an epoch of revolution. The way that revolutionary movements start is that individual people stir to awareness, notice something, feel a need to participate, and then join forces. Uranus square Pluto combines the revolutionary nature of Uranus with the evolutionary power of Pluto, and focuses them into a powerful force for renewal and change. The last time we experienced anything like this was in the mid-1960s, when Uranus and Pluto were in a conjunction. Now that cycle is about to reach the exact first-quarter point, where we can put the many lessons of the Sixties to work for us. By lessons, I mean the many beautiful opportunities that era teased us with, and the many disasters we witnessed. Uranus-Pluto aspects are a mix of light and dark. Yet they always bring progress, especially for those who are willing to consciously indulge change and adventure.
Venus Transit of the Sun
One of the rarest predictable events in astronomy, this is a precise conjunction of Venus and the Sun — so close that if you’re in the right place, with the right equipment, you will be able to watch Venus trace a line across the Sun. In astronomy, this is the most Mayan thing about 2012, because the Mayan astronomers and lore-masters loved the cycles of Venus. Venus’ transit of the Sun is about expression of the solar feminine — that is, the side of the feminine that is not reflected light but rather direct light. Said another way, the Sun becomes Venus for a little while in 2012. Taking place in Gemini, this suggests we can begin to experience ourselves as more balanced in our masculine and feminine attributes. Most of the conflict that humanity experiences (and by that I mean war, torture and greed) has its deepest roots in sex, gender and homophobia. It is the combination of repression, inner division and fear of self that I believe leads to our tolerance of the violence we witness and experience. For those who are interested, we are approaching a rare, concentrated opportunity for emotional integration and gender balance.
Planets in the Water Signs
In 2010, Chiron began its ingress into Pisces (coinciding with the BP oil spill), arriving to stay in 2011 (this lasts till 2019). Last year, Neptune visited Pisces briefly, and takes up residence in February. It will remain in Pisces for about 14 years. In October, Saturn arrives in Scorpio. These water placements describe at least two things: our global water crisis, and our emotional maturity crisis. It’s no coincidence that many places the drinking water is contaminated with Prozac. That’s because many communities drink ‘purified’ sewage effluent — something that will become increasingly necessary as time goes on. Emotionally as a society we’re not doing much better, as we drown our sorrows at Wal-Mart and drink the somewhat less purified effluent of our parents and other ancestors. These important planets in the water signs — especially Neptune, the god of oceans — point to a get-real moment of emotional healing, indicating that our emotions are the heart of the matter where growth is concerned. They remind us that water is the heart of the matter where sustaining our bodies is concerned. The quality of the groundwater, rivers and oceans connects to our emotional state. Enough oil spills, nuclear meltdowns and fracking. It’s time to grow up.
Mercury Retrograde on Election Day
If you thought the 2010 election was crazy, and if you’ve been following the race for the Republican primary this year, just wait for the actual 2012 election. We live in an era when voter rights are being systematically narrowed down (for students, the elderly and the poor). The 2010 Citizens’ United case has opened the floodgates to politics being a wholly owned subsidiary of Corporate America. During the past six months we have been treated to a slate of candidates who cannot identify China as a nuclear power, who want to shut federal agencies they cannot name, who think gay people can be ‘cured’, who want the smaller, less invasive government to regulate every uterus, who want to eliminate entire circuits of the federal courts and drag judges before congress and who have racked up more sexual harassment and cheating than — okay I will shut up! Here is my point: Mercury stations retrograde on Election Day 2012. The only other Election Day in American history when a Mercury station (retrograde or direct) was exactly involved was 2000. We are looking at the potential for some huge scam or something really weird like an Electoral College tie. As far as I can tell, we’re about to go post-politics. We need to create something functional in its place.
Stardate 188.8.131.52.0: The End of the 13th Baktun
The Mayan cycle that got the whole conversation going is the X-factor in the equation. Obviously it is significant that a 144,000-day cycle is turning over, particularly involving some of the people who occupied the Americas long before the Europeans arrived. Yet there has been more speculation as to the meaning of this event than there has been grounded creative discussion.
We are fast approaching the point where the culture that grew out of the European colonies is not only no longer sustainable, but where many days it seems like the whole thing is about to collapse. This may be more of a synchronicity than a prediction on the part of the ancient Mayans, but their calendar is all about synchronicity.
Certainly something is changing in the nature of time and how we experience it. Technology does seem to be at the heart of the situation. Remember that when Jose Arguelles was coming up with his ideas about the path beyond technology, nobody had a computer in their pocket. Most people had never even worked on a computer, ever, much less had several of them in their house. So technology in many ways has run wild, and this is something we need to notice.
In Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, there is a warning. I think of it as the Atlantis passage, and I’ve quoted it a few times before. “As I have said, this isn’t the first time your civilization has been at this brink,” God tells Walsch. “I want to repeat this, because it is vital that you hear this. Once before on your planet, the technology you developed was far greater than your ability to use it responsibly. You are approaching the same point in human history again. It is vitally important that you understand this. Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology rather than your technology being a product of your society. When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself.”
Aries (March 20-April 19) — This year is about precision. You’ve been feeling this calling for a while, in particular since your ruling planet Mars entered Virgo this past autumn. Your quest may extend to your mental and physical health, your work, and many other factors in your environment. You may apply this as a drive for impeccability, integrity or even perfection. The problem is that humans are not creatures of precision; we are works in progress. Mars stationing retrograde in Virgo is cautioning you against taking overbearing positions with yourself: pushing yourself too hard, or trying to solve all your problems at once. You would best be served by an approach that works in layers. It’s a little like housecleaning — you sweep before you mop; getting the dishes out of the way is always a good start; you wash, dry and fold in order. I suggest you take that approach to personal improvement. Meanwhile, beware of over-emphasis on the past. You may encounter old issues that are calling for focus. While you’re doing that I suggest you adapt a ‘clean as you go’ approach with present-moment subject matter. Keep your current relationships, enterprises and work patterns as clear as you can. Proceed carefully and even a bit meticulously, so that you avoid creating new problems. Yet most of all, recognize that shifting your mental outlook will shift the way the world appears to you. If the world looks broken, consider whether that’s how you feel. And remember that in the spirit of pragmatism, your ultimate goal is wholeness rather than perfection.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There is something about sex that you seem to be trying to work through with every cell in your body. I will start by saying this. You cannot simultaneously exist in a world dominated by vanity, glamour and the appearance of purity, at the same time you reach for authenticity, healing and being clear about your desires. You must choose to exist in one world or the other. The first set of properties describes a way of life that is based on cloaking yourself in various illusions, while the second is about going deeper than appearances and reaching the substance of who you are and what you have to share. When we talk about sexual healing, we might well ask what exactly we would strive to resolve, correct or improve. I would propose, first, that you would benefit from being real about what you want, and noticing any fear or guilt that comes up as you name the specifics. Then make an inventory of the situations in your life where love and guilt are transacted as if they are equivalents. Last, check in where you are attempting to experience intimacy without vulnerability, or vulnerability without trust. These three things — intimacy, vulnerability and trust — together combine to form this thing we outwardly label ‘love’. The risky territory you’re exploring involves working out just that formula, but beware that to get there, you may have to move many lesser values out of the way. To accomplish that, you must be vigilant.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Your relationship life has been nothing less than surreal the past few months, and you may feel like you’re experiencing a kind of replay of everything that you’ve been through. The question now and for the foreseeable future involves commitment. Relationships of any kind call for being held in a container made of agreements. For you right now, both the content and structure of those agreements is what is up for review. One particular relationship is calling for a complete revision of the ‘sacred contracts’ that are involved, some of which are not so holy. Once you start, this will naturally branch out into the other relationships in your life. As you embark on that you may notice that your current agreements contain all kinds of odd little clauses, riders and addenda that take you off the main point of what your relationships are about. These are silent expectations, requirements and many of those you can trace back to your parents and grandparents. It’s similar to how the deed on a house or piece of property can contain requirements on subsequent owners, based on agreements made 100 years ago. Note that the first of those supposed requirements where a relationship is concerned involves the concept of ownership itself, which is infused through nearly all of our ideas about ‘romantic’ partnership or marriage. This is the place to start asking questions, or rather, the first things to question are the obvious ones.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You must accept the fact that a relationship is changing, which does not necessarily mean changing for the worse. Actually, you get considerable influence over what form and direction the change takes, though you’re also being confronted by essential elements that are out of your control. Borrowing from the serenity prayer, you have to sort out the difference. Meanwhile, I suggest you review the history of the relationship. There was a turning point between 2008 and 2009. If the relationship in question dates prior to that era, study the developments at that time; otherwise, consider this date range as a turning point in your relationship history, in total. The changes that are upon you involve both the form of your relationships, and their content. In short, the old forms can no longer hold what you want to express, what you feel or what you need. They are simply not flexible enough. Yet you may not be aware of what new structure to use. I suggest you allow form to follow function. In other words, what is the purpose and the content of the relationship? Then based on that, how to have the relationship will be more obvious. Yet this is a bigger change than most people think. We tend to put the form of the relationship over the content or purpose. We try to fit people (including ourselves) into preconceived ideas about relationships and this is precisely what is changing.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Focus on what is necessary. Aim your entire concept of beauty or creativity on efficiency — that is where you will tap your creative power. Do your best to expend every drop of your energy consciously. There is a feeling described in your charts, which is doing precisely what is necessary to get the result that you want. You will find that this takes less effort than you think; the operative concept is leverage — not you being leveraged, but you having the leverage. I have noticed that the value of ideas to get things done is grossly underrated, even by many people who work in the realm of ideas. You might consider something carefully until you have a good working concept of what you want; it’s possible that the idea you need will just come to you. In either event it will help you significantly if you delineate what you want to get done or what problem you want to solve. This way you will have a sense of whether an idea that just arrives, or an idea that you gradually brew up, is the one that might do the job. If you don’t define the puzzle first, you’ll be much less likely to notice whether you’ve fit the pieces together correctly. One other thing to be sensitive to is whether you’ve already worked something out. If you need something, check if you already have it. If something is puzzling you, pause and think back and remember if you’ve already solved it.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — This month, Mars stations retrograde in your birth sign. This is another way of saying Mars will spend a total of eight months in Virgo, about 10 weeks of which it will seem to be traveling backward. Mars is the most assertive planet, so this back-tracking is often considered challenging — but it serves a crucial purpose, for you and for us all. The planets seem determined to teach you how to use this mysterious, elusive thing known as your will. Everything you experience must be filtered through one question — what do you want? You will develop the skill of discernment, for example, sorting out everything in your life on the basis of whether it helps you or hurts you. You can learn new ways to correct what is not working about your life, and what you don’t like about yourself. Mars is a hot, sharp object, and it has no morals of its own. You therefore need to be the intelligence behind the changes, and cultivating that awareness is the whole point. Proceed with surgical precision, getting clear on the mental level, then checking with the deeper emotional level, and finally making your actual adjustments meticulously and carefully. Take the whole duration of the retrograde (Jan. 23 to April 13) to identify and correct the patterns you don’t like, and to cultivate the ones that you know you want and need. Take nothing for granted. There’s no such thing as too careful — unless you spend your days in hesitation.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you want to understand yourself, study the nature of fear. There are a few different kinds of the stuff, ranging from a kind of lurking anxiety to paranoia about specific things. Lately you may be experiencing the fear of specifics: of what might happen if you don’t take care of details, or correct certain flaws that you might perceive in yourself. There is a kind of microscope pointing into your deep hidden nature, and you need to use it carefully. Beware of obsession in any form, or of any violent thoughts you might direct toward yourself. By ‘beware’ I mean be aware, and be wary. Notice these mental patterns and see if you can trace them back to their early origins. Despite your laid-back exterior, you possess a kind of deep perfectionism, though it’s not always the healthy kind. Be especially cautious of what you think that others think of you. This is almost always incorrect, though your projections of what others might think is a good indication of what you’re signaling to yourself. If it’s not already clear, you must send yourself more positive messages, and you have plenty of material to work with. In the end it will come down to a question of which viewpoint is true. Which makes you feel healthier? Which leads to your being happier and more productive? This is indeed a time when you will make many improvements to your mental patterns and emotional habits; the question is how you go about it.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — To what extent do you rely on outside structure to hold up your life? We all do, to some extent. I am always glad to have a house to live in and boots on when I walk outside in the winter. But it’s also essential to have a strong internal structure, so that you’re the person who is actually guiding your life, and whose spine supports your being. If you’re going to put any personal growth project on top of your list for the next year, strengthening your internal structure is the one. Nearly every important transit that’s happening to you is a commentary on some form of discipline, self-mastery or being conscious of the boundaries of your life. These serve a purpose: to help you contain, cultivate and direct your creative energy. You may feel like you have so many changes to make that you’re overwhelmed at times. You have a feeling for how much territory you’re going to cover before these particular processes are over, but your inner workings also have significant momentum. You’ve achieved more than you think, though at this point there really is no looking back except to check in, briefly, with where you started. Trust that you have a solid beginning. One of the next places you’re going to be directing your energy is your reputation. The question is, are you known for who you really are, or is there something else going on? One of the themes of 2012 for you is impeccability, which in this instance translates to absolute authenticity.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — I suggest you use imperfection as your teacher. Since perfection doesn’t exist except as a concept, you need to put to good use the things you perceive as ‘wrong’ with yourself. What’s interesting is that what you perceive as being a problem and what you perceive as being your best assets may be very close together, so close that they are inseparable. You may notice, for example, what is ‘imperfect’ about your body just as you notice your own beauty. You might observe that you’re in good health but before you have time to appreciate that, you may be annoyed by the one or two persistent problems you have — and the negative can have a way of dominating the discussion. It’s like the small issue gets your attention and obscures your perception of everything else. Obviously this is not the way to make progress, especially if you want to develop your talents, be of service and feel better about yourself — all things that are eminently possible right now. You’re being challenged to work with a functional standard of quality and monitor your judgments of what is good and what is not (especially about yourself). Yet most significantly, you need to develop a sense of perspective. Perfection may not be a value, but improvement certainly is a useful one. I often think of what my old friend Melinda scrawled into my high school yearbook: Someone is not a true artist until they can see the flaws in their own work.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Faith is one of the most difficult-to-grasp concepts, but as an actual thing in the world, it’s fairly easy to see. And it’s what you need to be the most vigilant about now. Your solar charts suggest that you’re having a crisis of faith in yourself, so you may notice this quality more by its absence than by its presence. This will work — as long as you recognize what’s going on, and go to the next step. One thing I can tell you about faith is that it comes from inside you. If there is an external source, then by my definition anyway, it’s not faith. Therefore, seek that internal source of connection. At the same time, you seem to be in a colossal struggle to work out what you believe: about life, about yourself, and ultimately about what is possible. You may be feeling the effects of disappointments relating to prior plans, or a sense of failing to meet your own potential — and these may be influencing what you believe is possible. Let’s stick with that for a moment. If what was possible in the past is any indication of what is actually possible in the future, then humanity would have made no progress on anything, ever. What is possible today is, specifically, what was not possible previously. Therefore, consider what seems impossible today as an indication of your true potential. If you can gently notice where you lack faith, you’re halfway to being filled with it.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — For the next few months, you’re going to be working out the details of a partnership that may have you going over old ground. This is not about backpedaling; it really is about resolving unfinished business. The good news is that once this phase ends, you’ll be able to proceed forward with actual courage and confidence. The lessons you’ll learn include the nature of commitments and what it means to get into them (and out of them), and how much care you must take to ensure that the fine points are really what they should be; and a big wake-up to the power you have when you step forward with your independence rather than thinking you need others to be involved in every decision. What seems like a review will really be a planning phase for a period of your life that I would describe as a period of achievement. There is a warm-up to this phase, and you’re in it now. The more you have a grasp on the history of recent years (and some long-gone ones) the more successful you will be. In the most positive sense, your success comes down to one question: knowing what you want. That, in turn, breaks down into several subtopics, including knowing exactly what would get in the way of that awareness. In the process, you will map out your psyche and the maze of your life, and this map will be an extremely useful tool as you progress forward.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Whatever that thing you’re most dedicated to, that is who and what you are. It’s not that you have to identify with it, but rather that you are free to do so. Remember this. There seems to be a healing process at the heart of the matter. There seems to be something about sex and your sexual identity, and how you contain and express your energy. And you’re feeling a calling to absolute authenticity, which includes giving yourself the space to be yourself. If I had to assign one theme to the next four seasons, that’s the one: hold that space open where you are free to be you. Imagine a large fire in the middle of the space, which defines the room you have to move around, and provides both an energy source and a focal point for your existence. Holding open space to exist may have the feeling of taking back territory. By doing something positive and assertive you may get the sensation that you’re doing something negative and even wrong. No doubt you’ve been through this territory once or twice (or more) but it’s easy to forget. This is one reason why I suggest you think in terms of defining your space (rather than defending it). There is room for you on this planet. There is room for you to be different, and most of all there is room for you to fulfill your purpose. In the coming four seasons, however, you’re likely to graduate to something even more powerful: living on a mission.