Worlds take their time to end and be born.
So much was born into my life in 2012, the year I turned 30. I rediscovered an expressive and capable body for sharing our sacred planet. Music, movement, education, ceremony, all participatory and present and ready to be shared just as fast as I could make space for them. Genuinely being able to say I love myself. Big changes!
Of all the deeply memorable experiences from this year – from a cave in the Quabbin to the canyon at Esalen, from a log cabin in the Great Smokies to a tarp above the tree line in the Cascades – a week ago Friday, Dec 21 2012, will undoubtedly remain one of the most profound and proudest experiences of my life.
Events occurred all over the planet. Our local weather forecast called for rain. Shows you can’t predict the weather anymore. The skies were perfect.
A group of loved ones – family, friends, and classmates from the school where I study Integral Ecology – spiraled to sacred sites around the entire San Francisco Bay Area to mark the special solstice. Our sunrise ceremony at Sibley Volcanic Park in the Oakland Hills caught the first ray of light that hit the West Coast, mixed it with our love and gratitude, then spread it over the whole bay below us and through the Golden Gate to the Big Ocean. A rainbow thanked us.
We then had the honor of breakfast at Joanna Macy’s house, one of our community’s most beloved elders. She explored with us the significance of this threshold moment for all our work of helping each other through the despairs and regenerations of the Great Turning, and she gave us warm cider.
We then drove up into the clouds, halfway up Mt. Tamalpais on the north side of the bay, dropping into a moist valley to hold council with the oldest, largest being around – old growth redwoods. Our offerings involved liminal time, deep cycles, huge ranges of scales, and soft comfy mossy spots.
Emerging back into the late December world, we made our way to Ocean Beach to catch the solstice sunset, which appeared in the last five minutes of the shortest day of the year through two fingers worth of horizon sliver, a miraculous ending to our spiral solstice pilgrimage.
We feasted, danced, and slept for a long time. What a magical opportunity to honor our beginnings and endings.
For those of us who study the places where ecological and cosmological science, political and social justice, and spiritual and mystical experience interweave together, 12.21.12 was a huge deal. A chance to be present to the sun’s alignment with the center of the galaxy. Present to a sense of reverence for our place in time and space. Present to historical scales of myth and storytelling. Present to the power of our apocalyptic desires today.
I see my work as helping to grow thrilling and wonderful new ways of relating with each other and the Earth – which includes honoring all the ways of life that truly are ending right now in our generation on this planet, even if they don’t all change on one day in December.
Because they include some big ones:
Worlds That Ended in 2012 (Approximately)
The Cenezoic Era – 65 Million Years Old: We are fast moving towards a mass extinction of animal and plant species. The last time a dying off of this magnitude occurred was when a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs. The most beautifully biodiverse period in the planet’s history, and it is ending right now, because of the actions of one overshot species.
The Era of Homosapiens – 200,000 Years Old: Through a combination of changes – biologically through our exposure to toxins, biomechanically through the internet implants we’re all about to want, on a level of consciousness with exponentially rising global awareness, and just because the label homosapien or “wise man” can’t really be what we call ourselves anymore – we are mutating into a new species.
The Holocene – 12,000 Years Old: The period of stable climate since the last ice age has ended. This balance is what allowed for agriculture. A rise of 2 degrees interferes with pollination. At 104 F photosynthesis ceases.
The Historical Period – 5,000 Years Old: If you define history as narratives of warring men, which is what most of our early written history consists of, then this is (thankfully) no longer the only script with which we work.
The Mayan Long Count – 5,000 Years Old: On the morning of the Winter Solstice 2012, the Sun (our first Father) traces a direct elliptical path through the exact center of our Milky Way Galaxy (our first Mother.) This happens every 26,000 years. The Mayan calendar was divided into periods called B’aktu’ns, of which this was the 12th, entering the 13th on this solstice morning. Not the end of the world, but certainly the end of an era, and somewhat of a homecoming.
The Piscean/Christian Aeon – 2,000 Years Old: The astrological Age of Pisces coinciding with the arising of the great religions and religious wars, though it’s associated most closely with Christianity and its water and fish symbology. Somewhere in this current couple hundred years we’re moving into the Age of Aquarius. This could signify a move away from monotheistic spirituality and towards lives experienced through freedom, equality, and awakening.
The Modern/Western/Capitalist Era – 500 Years Old: This is the world we know. The one we think is so real, so solid. It’s been defined by progress! individual autonomy! commodification of everything, mechanical reductionism, genocidal expansion, blind ambition, limitless greed-based growth, you know what I’m saying. Thankfully, this too is going. As we bare witness to one another in all our unique human and more-than-human incarnations and voices, as we finally recognize our interdependence with all of life around us, and as we begin to know ourselves as unbelievably greater together – a knowledge it’s taken us almost 14 billion years to discover, forget, and discover again – even those forms that seem most fundamental and foundational will begin to peel back.
The Era of Cheap Oil – 120 Years Old: Oil is dead. Long live migratory birds.
This is drawn from Sean Kelly’s lecture during my first semester at CIIS in 2010. His list of eschatons has stuck with me, resonating ever stronger as we’ve approached and now passed through this great 2012 transition.
2012 will be the year it all changed. It has to be. The ecological and technological tipping points that will transform our world forever are upon us.
There is real work to do in 2013 and beyond. Midwifing between shifting worlds will take generations, and we also don’t have that long to wait. But – critically, magically – for the first time in history, billions of people around the globe participated in some kind of Dec 21 prayer together. That’s a huge deal. And it looks like Dec 22 will become an annual Earth Birthday celebration. If just enough people fall in love with Earth again, right now, we have a chance.
Tonight that silver light through the fog – our final full moon of 2012 – expands our cells and calls us forward.
Filled with gratitude and love for all of our ages and beings,