Mayan solar symbol, courtesy: whats-your-sign.com
Lately I have been reading and reviewing certain books relating to the Mayan calendar and its famous ending date, December 21, 2012. Here's a list of the books I've been reading:
- Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012:The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin; 2006)
- Jose Arguelles, The Mayan Factor: The Path Beyond Technology (Bear & Co., Rochester, VT; 1987 with 1996 addendum)
- Barbara Hand Clow, The Mayan Code: Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind (Bear & Co., 2007)
- Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D.The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness. (Bear & Co., 2004)
- Robert Powell and Kevin Dann, Christ & the Maya Calendar: 2012 & The Coming of the Antichrist. (Lindisfarne Books, an imprint of SteinerBooks/Anthroposophic Press; Hudson, NY, 2009)
Finally the old standard classic, Lewis Spence Atlantis Discovered, first published in 1924, has quite a lot of material devoted to arguing for the Atlantean origins of the Mayans. He believes that the Mayan god Quetzalcoatl " can be equated with Atlas - a world-upholder. He is also "...the civilizer, the architect, the craftsman in jewellry and dyestuffs, the agriculturalist...A long line of priest-kings...were called by his name. He introduced a religion totally at variance with the sanguinary faith of Mexico..."
I mention this now because I will have quite a lot to say later about the Powell-Dann book, which subjects the identity of Quetzalcoatl to what could be called an anthroposophical spin-cycle, leaving the original in tatters. Is Quetzalcoatl the same being as the bloodthirsty Aztec god Huitzilopochtli? they wonder. "Would it not be helpful to know the true identity of that being the 15th and 16th century Mexica and their subject peoples called 'Huitzilopochtli?'" Here is how they answer this question: "The main reason that we cannot turn for the answer to the Mexica themselves is that, no matter how much they were still in a condition of consciousness that largely precluded rational, perspectival thought, they were no longer clairvoyantly beholding the spiritual world. . . by 1428...the only individuals capable of clairvoyant communication with the spiritual world were the tonalpuhque, the priests... the 'third eye' was closed for the Mexica people, just as it was for the Europeans." (pps. 47-8)
This rather begs the question, it seems to me, because all priestcraft is predicated upon the loss of clairvoyant communion with the spiritual world. It is still necessary to ask who is the identity of the being being worshipped through the veils of religion. For there are always the "veils." That is the condition of spiritual perception in historical times - or more precisely, the condition of historical reality.
First, a few general remarks. I would not have been open to learning about the Mayan calendar, or reading so many "New Age" books about it, if it had not been for Dann and Powell's book. I had agreed to review it for Lilipoh Magazine, a local magazine produced in Phoenixville, PA., mainly devoted to Waldorf education. I have known of Robert Powell for some time. He is a Catholic anthroposophist - like myself, possibly a convert -- and has been doing very interesting work in "hermetic astrology." He has been mapping the life-stages in the life of Jesus to succeeding phases in Western history. It's a unique and indeed very interesting approach which incorporates Rudolf Steiner's deeply Christ-centered teachings to a new recognition of the significance of historical time.
There's a strong line of division within the Anthroposophical Society between the Catholics and the anti-Catholics. Powell, and more recently Christopher Bamford, head of the Anthroposophic Press, have followed the example of the late Valentine Tomberg in creating an astonishingly deep "catholized anthroposophy" which somehow reconciles history and the institution of the church with Rudolf Steiner's spiritual teachings - which are sometimes unhistorical and anti-institutional. There has grown up within the anthroposophical movement a contingent of practicing Catholics - a development viewed with alarm and horror by the anti-Catholic wing of the Society. The leadership of the Anthroposophical Society currently reposes with Sergei Prokofieff, a nephew of the famous Russian composer. Prokofieff is violently anti-Catholic and has nothing good to say about the Church.  Prokofieff has written a number of books, another one of which (not on the subject of Catholicism) a dear friend of mine found so embarassing that she burned it in the fireplace. "I didn't want anybody becoming introduced to anthroposophy through this book," she explained to me.
Well - to continue. I have known about Robert Powell for some time, but this was the first book of his that I had ever actually read. I found it so awful - dear Reader, such a bad book! - that the "New Age" books I read -- silly as they were at times -- seemed inoffensive by contrast. I felt that Robert Powell was not really interested in learning anything from the Mayans (this was also true of his co-author, Kevin Dann, but to a much lesser extent) and that he was involved in his own "trip" -- a relentless hammering of anthroposophical demonology, with an occasional side "breather" into his pet projects of Sophiology (studies of the Divine Sophia), Jeane Dixon's prophecies, the Russian mystical author of the "Rose of the World," etc. His writing lacked, shall we say, "reader rapport." After a while I got giddy with the promiscuous mingling of Ahriman, Antichrist, Lucifer, the 666 being, Sorath, the Asuras. Powell seemed at times almost "enraptured" by evil beings, events, and things, and I began to resent what seemed to me to be both an obsession with evil as well as a trivialization of it.
I will have more to say about the Dann-Powell book in a continuation of this post. For now, just to make a few remarks about the New Age books, which I will not review in detail. The New Agers can get carried away by the idea that the planetary alignment with the galaxy in 2012 will usher in a spiritual awakening, a new Age of Light. But, at least their vision is hopeful.
The unrelieved bleakness of Powell and Dann's book seems to me symptomatic of a kind of inability of the anthroposophical movement to grow - aside from its Waldorf education wing. Those of us who have been involved with anthroposophy over the years have often wondered what a truly American anthroposophy would look like. For anthroposophy has a strong European heritage, specifically in the philosophical tradition known as German idealism.
It has seemed to me that a true "American anthroposophy" would take account of historical time in a way that was not necessary for the European mind. For Europe simply "was" -- or "is" -- history in a way that has never been true for us. North America was founded in a certain moment of historical time - the "Enlightenment" -- and South America... Well, there's a totally different history there, really remarkably different. The Mayans seemed to have had a sense for the creative forces of time, and this is the real interest of their calendar.
"Time is invention or it is nothing at all." This is a saying by Henri Bergson, from his book Creative Evolution. You could say it took Western mankind 2,000 years to get to Bergson - who lived in the early 20th century. But it's where the Mayans began. The creative forces of time, a template for the evolution of consciousness - as Carl Johan Calleman puts it. This is the real excitement of the Mayan calendar and a good reason to at least become acquainted with it. The New Agers are onto it, the anthroposophists have missed it.
 If I may take the liberty of citing my own work - this is a blog, after all! - the reader may want to know of my essay, "Crisis in Anthroposophy at the End of the Century," in which I discuss anti-Catholicism in anthroposophy. In: The Sword in the Mouth: Apocalyptic Essays, 1996-2006, available through http://www.lulu.com.
........to be continued....