Sunday, June 22, 2008

Current of the Times

Two Asian natural disasters recently have riveted the attention of the world. And one wonders whether the Sky Dragon’s storm vortex that leveled Burma's Irawaddy Delta and the massive stirrings of the Chinese Earth Dragon in Sichuan Province were not somehow connected on a level much deeper than geography and calendrical time alone.

The deadly cyclone and earthquake are symbolically linked in South and East Asia to a mythic power being known as the Great Naga. At its most benign, the Great Naga is a fiercely protective serpentine entity, embodying the powerful currents of the life force of earthly things, and of the forces of terrestrial waters and storm clouds.

Wherever and whenever the Great Naga slithers into view, it hints at an omnipotent undercurrent and powerful insinuation of something of massive import about to uncoil. It is a harbinger of momentous events and serves as an apt symbol for these unstable times in which we live.

The Great Naga is encountered everywhere in the eastern hemisphere. It gazes from finials atop Buddhist temples in farflung Tibetan valleys. It adorns the stairways and roofs of forest monasteries throughout Southeast Asia. A form of naga even appears to have journeyed across the Pacific Ocean to the western hemisphere during archaic times to become Tlaloc-Chac, the primal storm and water deity of the pre-Columbian Mexicans and Mayas. Its serpentine forms encrust stairways, rooftops and walls of stone edifices throughout Central America.

The serpent deity figures centrally in the cyclic movements at the root of the Mayan cosmo-creation narrative, signifying the transition of life into the coming Fifth World. This projection of future events is based on the cyclic patterns of the planets and stars as described in Mayan stone relief and codex writings, as well as in passages from the more recently composed Popul Vuh, their Book of Creation.

They all relate how the Maize God created the present Fourth World by raising the sacred corn tree in order to separate cosmos from earth at the proper moment in space and time. He then fashioned human beings out of corn and blood to dwell in it. For ancient Mayan astronomers, the creation of the Fourth World coincided with the center of the serpentine Milky Way coming into proper cosmic alignment. Though exceedingly rare in occurrence, this alignment will again appear in the night sky in but a few years’ time. Like a snake that is coiled around a tree branch, the cycles of time always return to their beginning, but at a point further along in the timeless flow of things. Their movement could be thought of as composing a sinuous spiral in the fabric of spacetime.

According to the Mayan Long Count system, a new macro-cycle will unfold on December 21, 2012. Then, the "White Boned Snake" (which is the Mayas’ name for the Milky Way - their path of life and death) will properly intersect the ecliptic (the pathway along which ride the sun, moon and stars through the sky), which is envisioned in Mayan art as a double-headed, “vision serpent.” Together they form the trunk and limbs of the Cosmic Maize Tree. Like the axis mundi tentpole of the ancient Siberians, the gods will raise the sky again by way of the cosmic tree, to reveal a canopy of stars, sun and moon above the unfolding Fifth World.

Such monumental cyclic changes are fully echoed in the other great computational system of the ancient world, that of Hindu-Buddhism. Its system of astrology and history measures its cycles in eons of time. It recognizes a range of natural cycles, from the personal to the universal, each going through a succession of existences. Its practitioners agree that we are on the verge of a major world cataclysm and rebirth into the fifth world reality in this cosmic eon. They call this challenging transitional crack between the worlds, the Kaliyuga.

Along with the convergence of these currents in time and space, there will likely come major upheavals in our daily lives. In fact the signs are already abundantly clear. Fortunately, the physical world will not end when this occurs, at least according to the ancient Mayan glyphs. What will end, however, will be the routine complacency of our lives. And here's one possible sign of this shift.

The year 2012 is being anxiously awaited by astrophysicists as well as Maya spiritualists. It will witness a maximal increase in sunspot activity, which is more powerful by half than any burst of solar energy to hit the Earth during the past 1000 years. The waves of solar wind may fry orbiting satellites and blow out power grids around the globe. And where daylight on Earth coincides with its flares, it is not impossible that they could do damage to computers, cellphones and digital networks – to the extent of paralyzing internet, economic and social services.

Some go so far as to hypothesize that this surge may fundamentally affect the very fabric of the planet. They speculate that a pole shift in the Earth’s magnetic core may be linked to the increased solar energy flow and thus to this anciently prophecized transition point in the life cycle of the world.

From my experience in their cultures, I would expect that if a Maya Indian sage and a Tibetan lama were asked to consider whether their macro-cycles of spacetime were somehow causally connected, they doubtlessly would come to full agreement on the subject. With the Great Naga and Tlaloc-Chac in their thoughts, as possible agents and emblems of this massive shift, they would agree implicitly with what William Shakespeare so eloquently expressed in a few prescient words:

What’s past is prologue.
- The Tempest -

1 comment:

Gambolin' Man said...

Great essay, Pedro! I can't help but recall my own