We’re About to Go Off the Map

Dear Friend and Reader:

The third week of December has been, at least, the last week of the Mayan 13th baktun — a span of time within the Long Count that dates back to 3114 BCE, or 5,125 years. By human standards, that’s a vast reach, encompassing 1,872,000 days. A baktun is 144,000 days, though it’s not the longest measure of time that the Mayans used; there are several longer ones documented, including a piktun, though there is a controversy — we don’t know for sure if a piktun is 13 baktuns or 20 of them. Either way, time goes on, and so too does the Mayan calendar.

Yet if the 13th baktun, which ends today [see SKY section], is the end of the piktun, which I believe it is, then 12/21/12 was the culmination of a significant cycle, constituting one-fifth of the Great Cycle — the precession of the equinoxes — 25,625 years. The Mayans knew about the precession of the equinoxes, and they knew about a lot of things it took our scientists centuries to figure out, such as the Galactic Core, which had a central place in their mythology. It contained the gateway to the underworld.

One reason I give the Mayan calendar a little extra weight is because it’s an indigenous creation of the Americas. It’s how the most advanced ancient civilization we know of here thought of time, and devised the elegantly beautiful systems of mathematics to keep track of it. Their ability to end the cycle in a year with a transit of Venus, one of their favorite events (back in June) and to land on the winter solstice is truly impressive and worth taking note of.

I think that these things, whether consciously or not, influenced not just the popularity of 12/21/12 but the subtle respect that many people seemed to feel about it.

In Mayan tradition, the end of an era would be a cause for celebration. A baktun is 394 years, far longer than a human lifetime, and we made it. This era started in 1618, shortly after the founding of the Dutch East India Company, at the dawn of colonial times. [Related article here.]

Since then, we in North America have endured a Book of Revelation-induced mass exodus from Europe, a holocaust of the buffalo and many native tribes, slavery, being pioneers on the prairie, the Wild West, a war between the states, the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, nonstop war in the 20th century, 140 air burst nuclear bombs over the Southwest, the contamination of our entire continent (and the world) with PCBs and dioxin, repeated nuclear accidents, the rigging of the planet with hydrogen bombs, too many drunk or otherwise incompetent drivers, and the dawn of the GMO era.

Sounds like a good excuse for a party. We are doing fantastic. Today I am baking a cake and finishing up my list of resolutions for the new baktun, and a separate list for the new piktun. This is a special moment.

There is another model called the Mayan time pyramid that says something similar. This is arranged in layers, each layer up being more recent and 20 times shorter than the previous one. The base layer is a little over 16 billion years. The next layer up was 828 million years, the next one up was 41 million years, and so on upward in reverse exponential form. Each time pulse contained a certain amount of experience equivalent to the one that follows, but in 1/20th the span of time.

The one at the top of the pyramid began March 8, 2011 and lasted 234 days. That might explain why 2011 felt the way that it did: like everything happened all at once. I am not sure where this model comes from or how well it can be verified, but I think it’s a really interesting concept of time, and it helps explain why it does feel like we have exponentially more to do every few years. That helps explain why every new, faster model of computer is slower than the previous one, or why it seems like I have to write the monthly horoscope more often than the weekly.

And this model, too, suggests that we’re off the map; we made that particular jump in late 2011. It does not directly correspond to the Long Count that turned over on Dec. 21, 2012, but it’s close.

As for the Long Count: the last week before the solstice has been a compressed moment; an eternity lived out in a week. It was to be, by any estimation, a special week, a kind of bellwether of what was to come, and an indicator of where we were at. The conditions at the end of one cycle often point to the conditions at the beginning of the next, and vice versa. So these have been seven days worth looking at carefully, and remembering for what we learned during them.

They began on Dec. 14 with the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This was, said The Nation, the 16th mass shooting in the United States since the beginning of the year. We watched and grieved the burial of 20 kids, ages six and seven, as well as six of the adults whose job it was to take care of them. We got a look into the dark world of the household from where this well of death had sprung.

During that final pulse of the 13th baktun, we saw every problem our society faces flash by before our eyes, through our minds, and weigh heavily on our hearts. The Onion even parodied this: “In Wake of Tragedy, Americans Demand Reform of Everything, Anything.”

The shooting was one of the most appalling ever, killing mostly kids six and seven years old, and it demanded an explanation. Bob Geldof’s line, “And he can see no reasons ’cause there are no reasons” was no longer good enough. Nothing happens for no reason. For every effect there is a cause — which I believe is the spiritual lesson that we in the United States need to learn more than any other. So, I went looking for the cause.

After so many other shootings with the same MO, the lone gunman version of events was starting to feel implausible. Over the summer, after the shooting at the Milwaukee Sikh temple, I had begun to consider the potential for a relationship between the events. That’s usually, or nearly always, what it is, right? A solitary nutcase who, of his own accord, with no help from anyone, ruins everything.

Therefore, I spent a good part of the following weekend researching the basic facts and many different conspiracy theories about the most recent incident, in Connecticut. I don’t like speculative constructions of events, but I had a reason to check them out as best I could, after ironing out the basic facts. Even the basic facts proved to be challenging because details of the story changed a number of times during the first few days.

Meanwhile, the astrological chart for the shooting, set for 9:35 am the morning of Dec. 14, was not, so far as I could read it, the chart of a ‘lone gunman’ at work. The planets were concentrated in the public sectors of the chart, the 10th and 11th houses, and there was a strange cluster in the house of secrets and secret enemies — the 12th. There seemed to be collaboration.

And, there were theories of people working together. The most outrageous of these linked the shooting in Aurora, CO, back in July, plus the killing of two kids by a nanny who then killed herself, to the one in Newtown, CT, by way of men involved (in all cases, fathers) purportedly being “about to testify” before the U.S. Senate about the vast, far-reaching and underreported LIBOR scandal, said to be one of the biggest financial heists ever. This link seemed beyond any possible credulity.

However, 1) people do kill over these things and 2) the astrology presented a question. It was easy, following basic rules of reading a chart, to see a government and/or corporate connection. There were financial connections and corporate connections indicated in the chart as well.

Every planet seemed to have a relationship to every other planet. There seemed to be a secret co-conspirator, which doesn’t fit with a lone gunman. The cause of death included meticulous planning and was not a spontaneous act; yet once it started, it was an uncontrolled release of energy. The chart, with a prominent Mercury (similar to the chart for Sept. 11, 2001), described a message. That message seemed to either come from far away, or be global in nature. In short, you could read this chart in such a way that could encompass any of the darkest possibilities, including being a false-flag event: that is, something with a cause bearing no resemblance to what we were being told.

At the same time, the chart also supported the psychological health issues that were coming out in the official version of events, the sense of wounding and the isolation of the alleged gunman; there is a mother, who shows up in the chart as recently killed, but also as a collaborator. There was the involvement of drugs. A New Moon the previous day was conjunct planets that I had summed up as describing the unmitigated release of evil that shattered the family structure, a valid description of this event on the most basic level.

In other words, both versions of the scenario fit: some deep, dark and sinister conspiracy, as well as an eminently private set of circumstances involving individuals with really serious problems. The scenario fit something happening in a deeply secretive space, a description which we learned was true of the perpetrator’s household. Working with a researcher, we dismantled both the official version of events and the various theories, and at the end of this process, the official version is what withstood the scrutiny better than the theories — that is, based on the available facts. There are still a few things I am questioning, based on the fact pattern and my knowledge of history.

It started to occur to me that the public’s obsession over conspiracy theories — which was impressive in this situation — serves a psychological purpose: distraction from the serious issues at hand, and abdication of responsibility. If this was a government hit, that implies this was something we have no control over, no power to do anything about. Yet investigating the theories pushes the mind open and compels objectivity.

After a while, the official version started to make more sense; the element that pulled the whole scenario into focus for me was that the shooter’s mother was a Prepper — that is, a doomsday survivalist whose preparations for civil disorder included a small arsenal, complete with a .223 Bushmaster, the equivalent of an M4 assault rifle. The psychology of the shooter seems to have emerged from a world of fear and pain and spiraling paranoia.

Yet I was still left with a chart that described something vast, where all the parts were interrelated; a chart that described something much larger. Then a wider scenario began to emerge.

On the most obvious level, it included government policy that allowed these weapons in the hands of people. This in turn contributed to a state of paranoia that, if not culture-wide, is characteristic of a vast subculture, where these powerful weapons are presumed to be kept at the ready for use against the government in some kind of presumed defensive episode or insurrection.

The emerging scenario from within the alleged shooter’s household included the possibility, indeed the high likelihood, of prescription meds used by the killer, which points directly to the pharmaceutical industry. These meds can make a person extremely sick, and switching from one to another can do genuine damage to a person’s neurology.

Next, we have what typically happens to young people, especially young boys: they are exposed to a lot of violence through every possible avenue, from movies to television to news programs to video games. To grow up today is to see tens of thousands of simulated deaths, and not Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff.

Then there was the angle of a government that kills a lot of people, including children. The United States’ 22-year war against Iraq comes to mind — the one that began during Bush I, continued through Clinton, was escalated again through Bush II and extended into the Obama administration. During the Clinton years, the U.S. and the U.K. regularly bombed Iraq, including water treatment plants, the loss of which caused children to drink contaminated water and contract cholera.

Then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked on 60 Minutes whether the resulting loss of 500,000 Iraqi children on her watch was worth it, and she said that it was. When the government sets an example like this — and there have been many of them — it’s not surprising when that example extends into the well-armed population. Indeed, from an honest look at society, it’s sincerely amazing that these kinds of massacres don’t happen every single day of the week.

With a little perspective, the systemic level of the problem became obvious. There was a conspiracy, composed of many facts of our lives.

And, remarkably, I heard that being discussed. I saw, at least among the people I know and the public that I serve, the awareness emerge that the killings must stop and that part of that involves gun control, and part involves raising awareness and addressing all the other problems that contributed to this school massacre, and other related crimes. It involves seeing the ‘unintentional conspiracy’ of the society in which we live. And that has started to come into focus.

Said another way, what seemed to emerge during the last week of the 13th baktun was the awareness of a relationship between an effect and the cause that preceded it; as well as an awareness of the problems that we face on a systemic level.

The world, so far anyway, has not ended on Dec. 21, 2012. There was not, that I could discern, a merger with the 5th dimension, inducing spontaneous enlightenment. But there seemed to be, on a level that to my perception was more than vague or ephemeral, a clear look at the process of karma — an understanding that the conditions of society have consequences in society, for all of us.

I don’t believe in panaceas, and I may not be spiritually advanced enough to believe that deeply entrenched problems, whether personal or cultural, will just work themselves out spontaneously. I do believe in starting places, and if we got there, if we got to the point where we can see the interrelation of complex causes, and understand that there is a result that manifests, that’s a really good place to enter a new era in history.

Assuming we keep hold of this thought, it’s all we really need to go forward in the direction of a future different from the past.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for January 2013 | By Eric Francis

Capricorn Birthdays This Week

If your birthday is this week, this will be a pretty special year. In the Mayan long count system, we begin a new baktun of 394 years, or a new piktun of 5,125 years. That’s the image of a bold new beginning and it is, in truth, an honor. You can shift your priorities to bigger and better things than you’ve been concerned with, or obsessed with, in the past. Your process of evolution has put you in contact with something much larger than yourself. You can stop thinking of your relationships as a matter of life or death, and more like a matter of life: the thing about existence that puts you in contact with a broader field of reality. You are in truth free to relate to anyone you want, on any terms you want. Your one requirement is to honor your growth process first; take care of yourself and be your own devoted friend. Then it will be possible to engage in relationships with others that are shorn of fear and help weave the integrity of the world.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have the potential to accomplish great things, and you know it. You also know that discipline and focus are the keys to doing this. You can no longer depend exclusively on exterior structures to keep your goals or work pattern in place. And it would seem that the reputation you worked so hard to cultivate now translates mostly to experience. Yet that experience, if nothing else, can remind you that you have what it takes to get the job done. The question really comes down to who will keep you focused — you, or some force outside yourself. If you depend on your own inner resources to build your structure, you will have the creative freedom that you want. If you depend on something outside yourself, you will be compromised in what you get to express. I realize that the high-temperature, erratic nature of your idea flow doesn’t lend itself well to focus, but that is precisely the point. You want to maximize your qualities of initiative and originality, and in order to do that, you need your own management structure. This will give you a sense of ownership of your ideas, and help you take full responsibility for their use. Whatever you’re saying, doing or developing has more influence than you think, and you may have at least one experience this month of seeing the potentially negative impact when you pretend they don’t. This will remind you to align with your intentions, which means knowing what they are.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Over the coming seasons, I suggest you go light on ambition and put your energy into the quality of the work that you do. You may feel a temptation to climb, compete or socially orchestrate your way to the top. It would be better to keep your focus on the integrity of what you’re doing, as well as an actual emphasis on ethics, even if you have to overdo that a little. You don’t need ambition because you’re already visible; you have a viable role. Your current astrology describes a question of what you’re known for, and you have a lot of influence over that, though this process works from the inside out. This is why I’m suggesting you keep your emphasis behind the scenes, with a focus on content and conduct, rather than appearances. It’s your direct impression on your closest collaboration partners that matters. Whatever ability you have to exert leadership or bring a message to an audience will be better effected by setting an example for others. It may seem that they have undue control over you at the moment, but the truth is, you are depending on their guidance, and they are intimately involved with your learning process. That’s a journey that never ends, and anyone who decides they don’t have any more to learn would be someone wise to avoid — but if you ever catch yourself thinking that, I suggest you pause and reflect. Your ability to learn is now intimately linked with your success and your contentment with that success.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Relationships always present challenges of growth, communication and understanding. And when we’re involved with someone, it helps to know who that person is, their circumstances and their intentions — which can take time. For you, it’s essential to know your environment. By that, I mean your physical environment and who inhabits it, as well as your inner mental environment, which colors your view of the world. We all have our points of view and our biases; that’s a fact of perception. Yet you need to be acutely aware of what those are at all times. This will help you sort out what is a verifiable fact from a belief that you have. There may be some conflict between how you see the world, and how certain intimate partners see the world, especially those in parental-type relationships or those you perceive hold power over you. Remember that you don’t have to prove your point in order to be free of their judgments. If that were a qualification, you would never free yourself, because they are unlikely to ever agree with your reasoning or your point of view. The truth is, you’re less invested in those situations than you may think, and you’re under no obligation to get into any new ones. Proceeding forward, having clear agreements will help, whether in writing or at least in words spoken and understood. When an agreement is broken you may never be able to convince the person or get redress, but at least you will recognize a fact that you might otherwise have missed.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You don’t need anyone else’s permission to succeed. You don’t need to build consensus. It’s nice when people agree with you and support you, though that’s meaningless unless it’s based on having mutually respected values with another person. What I suggest you do is gently exert your leadership, which is to say, be clear what you are doing when it impacts the lives of others, and live by example. A significant part of that leadership now involves listening, without challenging what you hear. If you do that carefully, you may notice that any position taken by another, that angers or frustrates you, is coming from some intersection with your own sense of injury. That’s the place to start the resolution process within yourself, and when you do, remember not to let it affect your confidence. What you are experiencing is part of learning leadership skills. That involves walking a straight and narrow path, but it’s essential that you not let others dictate your route. We all influence one another, and it’s clear that you’re being influenced by your social environment at the moment, though this much is essential to know: leadership is not about popularity. It’s about respect, and that begins with self-respect. We can break that down to a few ideas. One of them is, do you have a clear enough understanding of yourself not to be swayed by the views of others? Can you listen to what people say, and take that information on board without being pushed around? You will likely find out this month.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — One root of the word integrity is in the concept of wholeness, and another line stems from untouched or pure. Yet we have all been touched and none of us is pure in any meaningful sense of the concept. Is it possible for anyone to have their wholeness, after having been through as much as we have on Earth? That is your quest. As you reconstruct, recover or possibly create your wholeness for the first time, you’ll encounter the feeling of being through much that has threatened it. If you know that, you’ll experience an easier and more satisfying journey. Wholeness for you means connecting the person you are on the inside to the person you show the world on the outside. This implies revealing some of what has previously been contained in the shadows, so that you can make peace with it, and have some evidence that you’re loved and lovable despite any perception to the contrary. This is a year when you will be making contact with your deepest sensitivity, and that means bringing your healing process into every aspect of your life. It means recruiting everyone you consider yourself close to as allies, and understanding that there’s a connection between your relationships and how you feel about yourself. Nobody can ‘make’ you feel safe, though people can assault your sense of safety. You need, therefore, to be selective about who you let into your life, and more precisely, why you invite them into your heart or your home.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Cooperation is supposed to be the hallmark of human society, though in our time of distract, divide and conquer, that’s becoming increasingly challenging. Your job for the seasons ahead is to be the facilitator of group effort. I don’t mean people pleasing, or politicking, or diplomacy, though you will need all of those skills. What you’re doing is more along the lines of asserting yourself, and taking a central role in the process of organizing others. It’s more the Virgo style to be organized; that remains true. Worrying yourself with what all these other people are doing, or must do, can be a bother. You may have the temptation to be bossy, but that will only work on a few occasions, and it might get you into some trouble. What will work a lot better is facilitating communication. This will require listening first, and speaking second. You may have the impulse to do the opposite, and I suggest you keep it in check. Before making a statement, ask a question. Make sure you know the viewpoints of everyone involved, and make sure you take them under advisement. That doesn’t mean do what everyone says; it means know what they are saying, and how you feel about it. The key element, however, is holding the vision. This may take some extra focus for you — especially if you have two sets of goals that seem to conflict. It’s okay to have two sets of goals — as long as they are in harmony with one another.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Self-confidence is ultimately an emotional phenomenon. It doesn’t matter how much you know or what risks you’re willing to take; those are different qualities. True confidence in yourself, that is, the feeling of belonging in your body and in the world, and possessing faith in your ability to handle your circumstances, is a feeling and it emerges from your emotional presence. You may be figuring out the ways that you were taught not to trust yourself, which you then tend to project outward into an environment you think you cannot trust. You may be discovering the ways you’ve been taught to live within the constructs of the past, rather than in your true desires. I would call that a good thing, because if you see your adhesions to the past for what they are, you’ll be able to address them. That can set the template for your whole approach to growth: be glad you see an issue for what it is, then take steps to work it out. Through this process, you may at times feel a deep, burning desire to be independent. You may find yourself making decisions that compel you to indulge a deep autonomy that you’ve never felt before. Take this as far as you can, but not so far that you isolate yourself. If you lean in the direction of emotional self-sufficiency, you’ll figure out that it’s easier to build healthy relationships from that state of being than from any other. And that’s what I would call true confidence.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you’re feeling burdened by responsibility, then exercise an option. The sensation of burden is your cue to make a choice. Easier said now then remembered later; I’ll remind you in the future, but please remember now. Saturn will be in your birth sign for two more years. This is a blessing, though few people see it that way at the time. It’s a get-serious phase of your life, and you’re about to go deep. Yet that seriousness, even in the form of focus, can be heavy, and it can come with a sense of being powerless. You may feel hemmed in by situations you feel you cannot control; you may be caught in the density or fixity of your own ideas. This is when to put your options out right in front of you. The expression ‘claim your power’ means seeing your options — and I assure you, you have them. Making this move is the shift from passive to active mode. I suggest you play a game and notice how long it takes for you to go from recognition of your situation, to making a decision, to taking action. Is it a matter of minutes, of weeks or of years? Saturn will teach you that in the life of a person, time is not infinite. If you find yourself acting as if you have all the time in the world, or if you’re going to make your important decisions ‘eventually’, then you have your most meaningful growth agenda laid out for you in clear, useful terms.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The question is, are your feelings about yourself your own, or are they the collection of everything that everyone said about you, projected onto you and conditioned you to believe about yourself as a child? You’re probably thinking: Well, I wish it was the first possibility, but I have a hunch that it may be the second. The question is one of context. Everything new that you’ve learned was fit onto shelves and into compartments that were established by the first few layers, and also by ancestral patterns. When you try to put new information into the context of old information, it’s often hard to tell which is which. That, in short, is the beauty of the current moment of your life; the old context is being dismantled (which can feel like falling apart, disintegrating or being shattered, depending on the day). When the structure of your mind is changed so radically, that can feel disorienting, and give you the sensation that you don’t know yourself, and you don’t know what’s really important to you. The thing is, you do. Yet what you’re doing in this era of your life is learning how to perceive that self-knowledge outside the framework of what has been done to you, said about you, or sold to you. It matters not how well-meaning anyone was; the framework is a root of your loyalty to the heritage that you’re freeing yourself from, and the truth is, you will be a lot happier with your own original self-understanding.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — I suggest you be vigilant for ‘survivalist’ thoughts and ideas, which may show up as Pluto reaches a new peak of activity in your sign in 2013. Capricorn has that gritty quality of being able to get through anything, but it’s not serving you now. In fact, if it flares up, it’s likely to be a response to an inner sense of instability, of a particular kind: the sensation of not knowing who you are. Yet you would be wasting your energy if you tried to defend yourself against that. There’s truly beautiful creative energy in not knowing, because then you leave the space open to find out. I must credit a therapist and teacher named Joseph Jastrab for pointing this out, in one mention that I heard and thought about for the next 20 years: it’s powerful to hold open the space of not knowing. I mean powerful in that it connects you with the strength of your quest for self-understanding. If you think you know, you cannot find out. If you fill in missing knowledge with false information, you clutter the space where the truly meaningful wisdom could come in. This is partly why ‘quick answers’ are so perilous to growth: they prevent it. If you honor your lack of knowledge, the discomfort of admitting that you don’t know who you are will, fairly soon, give way to the experience of your authentic quest. And that is an expression of your commitment to yourself — a commitment which now moves to front and center in your life.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — If you haven’t figured out that it’s useless to keep secrets from yourself, now would be a fantastic time to come around to that discovery. Indeed, the essence of your life is all about self-discovery, which implies a courageous inner quest. To go there, you will need to learn how to work with fear. Though it’s usually put down as unnecessary, that’s of little consequence when you’re confronted by it. The question is, what, within yourself, do you have to fear? Well, there is a source, but it’s a lot older than you. It’s so old you would be shocked, and that’s precisely the point of why you will benefit from a conscious embrace of the issue. Think of yourself as dancing with it instead of running from it. Or, perhaps, as a kind of homing signal back to its source, which may be one single ancestor whose thoughts and feelings got a grip on your entire lineage, or on you personally. You’re on a kind of search and rescue mission, to search out the fear and rescue the substantial piece of your soul that’s being held hostage by it. This has been going on for a while, but through the next few seasons you have the benefit of knowing what you’re looking for, and how it feels. You’re closer than you may think, though I can suggest a kind of secret portal into the place you want to get to: if you carefully consider any idea, thought, or relationship that involves authority, your use of it or its use on you, you will have big clues.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You may not be sure if you can create yourself, but in that case I would ask who can. You must assume one way or the other — and your own creativity is far more trustworthy than anything anyone might impose on you. You have full access to all the resources you need to do this; tune in and listen. And you’re called to do one other thing: engage with what may seem like opposite or competing psychic currents. One is inviting you to open up and experience the full flow of inspiration. This allows you into the realm of vision, phantasy and empathy with the world and the cosmos, with no special agenda. (That’s one description of Neptune in your sign.) The other is focused, purpose-driven and oriented on your relationship to yourself. You will find yourself needing to stand apart or stand out, and to know yourself in a way that calls for deep acceptance of who and what you are. (That is one description of Chiron in your sign.) These two cosmic forces are more than you may have ever experienced as direct influences, and they are significantly different from what you have lived through in many recent years. Note the changes in your inner and outer climate. Speaking of outer: there is suddenly a lot more room in the world for you to be yourself. Walls have turned to doors. What at one time demanded formality now welcomes originality. Try and see.

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