Year of the Mayan Prophecy
ALL HAVE CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE. Ever since we learned that the Mayan calendar
finished in 2012, that has been the date given for the world at
least, as we know it to end.
Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy bears a testa-ment
from Graham Hancock; "A daring and intriguing, very well researched and extremely
readable book. Pinch-beck takes us on a mind-bending, paradigm-rattling ride."
a personal interest in the year 2012,
I have read and enjoyed Graham Hancock's own books.
On opening Daniel Pinchbeck's magnificent book I was completely hooked. There
are no disappoint-ments. Daniel Pinchbeck fulfils all expectations and more.
In his fifteen-page introduction he outlines the background of his research
and points the way forward, encouraging further study. More people than ever
experience, or pursue, psychic phenomena or seek alternative lifestyles.
A literary and metaphysical epic, 2012 unifies the cosmological phen-omena of
our time, ranging from quantum theory to the worldwide resurgence of shamanism,
in support of the Mayan prophecy that 2012 will bring an unprecedented global
Daniel relates the meaning of the prophetic Mayan 'end date' of 2012 to our
present society; drawing together alien abductions, psychedelic visions, the
current ecological crisis and other peculiar aspects of 21st century life into
a new vision for our time. 2012, it is said, heralds the return of the Mesoamerican
god Quetzalcoatl who brings with him an ancient way of living that is new to
There are many hints, both in quantum theory and elsewhere, that humanity is
precariously balanced between greater self-potential and environmental disaster.
From the endangered rainforests of the Amazon and secret jungle ceremonies to
the enigmatic Stonehenge, Pinch-beck's journey tells of a man in whose trials
we recognise our own hopes and anxieties about modern life.
2012 offers the opportunity to think differently about a new culture for the
planet it is an extraordinary, thought-provoking, vision for the future
and hope for a unified world.
2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy
by Daniel Pinchbeck, is out now, published in paperback by Piatkus Books Ltd,
Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the founders of Open City, an art and literary journal.
He was a 1999-2000 Fellow of the National Arts Journalism Programme at Columbia
University. He has also written for many leading magazines including The New
York Times Magazine, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and The Village Voice. He lives
in New York City.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Traditionally, writers have the job of defining the zeitgeist, but that task
has never been as difficult as it is today. While this seems a singular and
remarkable moment in human history, there is something indefinable about it.
The weather is certainly strange I live in New York City, where temperatures
through early January were about 15 degrees above normal, and spring flowers
started to bloom before Christmas. The political situation is most definitely
peculiar the US and UK military engages in a senseless campaign that
has lasted longer than World War Two, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent
on spreading death and misery. We read about icebergs breaking up and a frightening
lack of fish in the seas, yet there is plenty of ice for our drinks and caviar
is making a comeback.
We swim in new psychic waters. We may understand, to a greater or lesser degree
that global civilization is hitting the resource limits of the biosphere, but
such a general foreboding is useless. To truly understand the nature of the
time in which we live, a new paradigm is necessary.
The hypothesis that I develop in my book, 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy,
is that we are experiencing an accelerated evolution of human consciousness,
and that this process was recognized by the knowledge systems of many indigenous
cultures. Right now, we find ourselves in an awkward transition between steadier
states. Over the last centuries, a limited form of scientific rationality has
controlled the modern world, a mindset that denied intuitive thought and saw
nature as an enemy to be conquered. We developed technologies that embodied
our sense of alienation and isolation. Many people are now reaching a different
As we make connections between quantum physics and Eastern mys-ticism, some
of us are realizing that we live in a participatory universe, with no place
for an objective and outside observer. In 2012, I argue that intuition
is not irrational, but a rational it is the way our mind processes the
overload of information that doesn't enter our conscious filter. In order to
attain an intensified state of consciousness that can address the environmental
and military crises facing us, we need to integrate empirical and rational thought
with the intuitive and shamanic modes of cognition known to indigenous cultures
around the world.
My own quest for understanding led me from being a cynical and nihil-istic New
York journalist to hitting a massive spiritual crisis in the late 1990s. In
the throes of existential despair, I remembered my psyche-delic experiences
from college and decided to pursue the subject as a journalist. I took an assignment
to undergo a tribal initiation in Gabon, in West Africa, where I ate a visionary
rootbark, iboga (also known as ibogaine). I travelled to the Amazon
in Ecuador to drink ayahuasca, a hallucinatory potion with the Secoya
Indians, and visited the Mazatecs in Mexico, who preserve a sacred culture using
The results of these investigations, and more, were recorded in my first book,
Breaking Open the Head (HarperCollins UK, 2003) which described my shift over
time from cynical materialism to an acceptance of other dimensions and occult
aspects of the psyche. For my new book, I have investigated the nature of prophecy,
particularly the sacred calendar kept by the Classical Mayans in the Yucatan,
which completes a 'Great Cycle' of more than 5000 years in the year 2012. Most
modern people find it far-fetched that a non-technological and myth-based civiliz-ation,
such as the Maya, might have developed a different system of knowledge that
is more advanced than our own, in certain respects.
In 2012, I argue that this is possible.
Somehow, from over a thousand years ago, the Maya predicted that this time would
be crucial for humanity and, indeed, it is. In the next few years, there are
good reasons to think that we are either going to slide into global chaos, or
institute a new planetary culture based on compassion, collaboration and rational
use of resources. The second option requires a quantum leap in consciousness,
but our entire history has prepared us for that leap, when we view it from a
certain perspective. This view was also developed by philosophers such as Jean
Gebser and Gerald Heard.
It has been exactly forty yeas since the heyday of the 1960s. My hypothesis
is that that epoch was an attempted voyage of shamanic initiation for the modern
world. Today we have embarked upon a new phase of the initiatory journey begun
a generation ago with the opportunity to avoid the tactical mistakes, strident
statements, and polarizations of the past. Increasing numbers of people pursue
spiritual practices such as yoga and shamanism, with disciplined intensity.
Perhaps, with an inchoate sense of foreknowledge, many people are preparing
themselves for the deeper changes just ahead. 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy is meant to be a thought experiment.
It is a provocative and challenging work that takes mainstream readers outside
of the box of their ordinary belief systems and conceptual categories. Embodying
the perspective that there is no objective or outside perspective, I tried to
be as honest and direct as possible about my own psychic experiences and personal
transform-ations as I explored the nature of prophecy. I am well aware that
our habitual reaction to new ideas and new patterns of thought is to reject
them violently. I ask that you resist this reaction and give this book a chance.
If there is any validity to the concepts presented here, then they may be important
to the near-term survival of our civilisation. Daniel Pinchbeck, New
York City, January 2007