Join Adam Elenbaas and guest astrologers VerDarLuz, Eric Meyers, Erin Sullivan, and Ari Moshe Wolfe for the live interactive video course, "Galactic Alignments: Charting the Soul's Journey through Astrology." This Evolver Intensive starts on Sunday, September 16.
For the past several years I have admittedly been somewhat of a 2012 skeptic. To my mind the 2012 movement sometimes feels religious and evangelical in nature. Growing up I heard hundreds of ministers at Christian rallies and worship services talking about the end times and the need to win people's hearts and minds to the love of Jesus. It's never seemed that different to me to hear hipster new agers talking about love and oneness and the end of the world. Even after drinking many cups of ayahuasca and undergoing many personal transformations, I've remained quietly agnostic around the subject of a major shift in consciousness waiting just around the corner. However, after being smack dab in the middle of the recent earthquake in Costa Rica I'm not feeling like my cynical old self! While I'm not sure that we will have some monumental shift in consciousness by the winter solstice of this year, the recent earthquake put me in touch with an other-worldly power, one that could certainly change most everything about the human world if enough people came into contact with it.
Here are a few insights I had as the story of the 7.6 earthquake unfolded in my life just last week. I was within ten miles of the epicenter at the time of the quake, which was felt throughout all of Costa Rica.
The Ground is not the Ground, the Field is not the Field
I was sitting at the kitchen table in our jungle bungalow, working on a draft of my new book, a narrative exploration of the interface between Astrology, Ayahuasca, and my Christian upbringing. It was quiet and I could hear the jungle noises all around me. The bungalow I was staying in had been provided to me, like a cosmic boon, by a gentleman who had read my first book on Ayahuasca. Being deeply inspired by the book, he had sought out his own ayahausca experience and gotten sober as a result. When he offered me his place in Costa Rica for some writing it had felt like a cosmic pay check, the kind of thing that makes you puff out your chest and think the universe is looking out for me!
As I sat at the kitchen table writing, I was pondering what to write about Scorpio, a sign traditionally associated with death and rebirth. My girlfriend was sitting across from me working on our yoga studio's teacher training manual, and we had already been in Costa Rica for over a week writing quietly in seclusion. Then it started rumbling in the distance, like very loud thunder on the horizon.
We both looked at each other curiously. Then it began to shake. The entire house and the trees and the ground were shaking. Then within ten seconds, as if on cue, just as incremental as the raising vibrations of the musical scale, the intensity of the shaking and booming seemed to raise exponentially, seven or ten times the power per second. Such experiences are simply beyond words.
Within those seconds almost every possible thing that could have come crashing down around us did. Bottles, pots, pans, appliances, and glass everywhere. I grabbed my girlfriend and we ran for the door. The house was being slammed back and forth like a rag doll, and I could hear the screeching of steel on earth.
"It's going to be okay," I told my girlfriend, whose head was buried in my chest. "It's going to be okay," I kept repeating. We had managed to get out the door only a second or two before everything had fallen into the room and shattered. I could feel something very recognizable, and only because of my work with ayahuasca. It was the same exact nauseous and liquid feeling that happens to the body when under the influence of ayahuasca, except the liquid nauseous purge feeling was not just happening in my body. It was literally happening everywhere and through everything. I could feel the presence of something like gigantic magnets deep below the earth and also spread out across a vast distance of the earth. I could feel the tug of the magnets in the cockles of my heart, and then it felt like my heart no longer belonged to me. Like the organ in my chest was participating in some kind of magnetic field processing. My body and my sense of self and all of my ideas were but the surface fluctuations of an enormous field of electromagnetically woven energy.
I looked out at the ground and it was moving like swells of water. "It's going to be okay," I said again to my girlfriend, but I didn't mean it's okay to be okay like in the "Asteroid Movie" scene, the one where the hero is holding onto his girlfriend until the explosions are over. I meant "it's going to be okay" because there was absolutely nothing else to say. There was nothing else to do. At one point I saw an image of the Goddess Kali, or something like her in my mind's eye, and I felt the deep presence of what many would call "evil." But it wasn't really evil. It was just so much raw power and obliteration that there was nothing left to do but say, "Consume me. Destroy me. I surrender. It's going to be okay."
As the shaking continued I had a new thought. Is this 2012? I imagined the global news, and I thought of all my friends and family and all the readers and writers and community at RealitySandwich and Evolver. Would they be broadcasting my death in the first wave of major 2012 natural disaster stories to be reported? Was this earthquake happening all over the world? Would there even be a 2012 if everyone was dead?
Then I felt the medicine. As if the ayahauasca literally woke up inside of my body--a pool of jungle tea that was simply dormant in my stomach. I was able to perceive the earth as a whole, and I was able to perceive the forces below us, deeper than even the fires and lavas and the plates of the earth shifting. I could feel the very undulations of some consciousness or some giant magnet, again the word "magnetism" came to mind. My perception went well and far beyond any visions ever provided to me by ayahausca.
Then I perceived two things: the gravitational presence of the moon, and the presence of the solar energy coming into the earth. I had this sense that the unitive "field" that we commonly talk about, that has been commonly spoken of for thousands of years by yogis and seers and prophets alike, is perhaps a phenomenon of local, rather than universal, consciousness. It was as though in an instant I could see and feel this cohesive confluence of energies, gravities, and magnetic fields (again..something like this) that create a particular bio-matrix of interconnected conscious life forms. I had the perception of human consciousness, especially our way of looking at or talking about consciousness itself, as something radically contingent, limited, hugely biological and chemical, and very dependent upon the physical forces of our system.
Most of this happened in a very brief span of time and occurred through rapid feelings and intuitions. As the shaking subsided I had several thoughts: the ground is not stable, and nothing in civilization is half as stable as we think it is. It would only take a few very major events happening worldwide to wake up a whole lot of people to the nature of impermanence, and from that awakening we could potentially create something sustainable. The field of oneness or the base energy that we believe exists in contrast to the dualistic fluctuations of the material world is not the final answer. The unified field we've perceived, especially in religious thought, is perhaps nothing more than a cohesion of local forces that creates an advanced biological awareness of ourselves as the cell members of a larger being about which we actually know very little, let alone the world in which this larger being might participate. Major catastrophes of a complex global nature might help us to realize the existence of psychic forces different than the two we insist upon projecting universally: the one versus the many, the dualism versus the oneness, the body versus the spirit, the heart versus the head, etc. These common religious dichotomies might say more about the nature of man, or his local sytem, than the universe at large.
Some things are Harder to Shake
It took a very brief amount of time for the earthquake to rise and fall. Around 40-some seconds total. Once the shaking had stopped it was my turn to panic. I was terrified that it might begin again and my whole body was shaking. "It's okay. It's done," my girlfriend said. "It's over now."
"I didn't think it was going to end," I said. "I thought we were going to die."
"We did, a little," she said, smiling. "We just lived through an intense minute of death."
I looked around searching for my laptop and was consumed by the horror that my new book had not been saved. My laptop sat, like a joke, unharmed on the kitchen table. I grabbed it up and held it to my chest in fear. "I don't want to lose it," I said.
My girlfriend gave me a very sweet but very amused, "are you kidding me?" look.
"Yeah screw that," I said. I set the laptop down. "What am I doing? I'm standing here in the middle of the jungle after the earth just started moving like white water, and I'm desperately holding onto my laptop of all things."
"Some things are harder to shake out of us than others," my girlfriend laughed and poked me.
As we walked through the village that afternoon surveying the damage to the local stores and houses, it occurred to me that time is on our side. I watched shop keepers sweeping, some laughing and some crying, some running for the hills afraid of a Tsunami and others resigned to stay put. I had the thought that time is the medium through which the process of evolution unfolds, and it's method cannot be deconstructed entirely. We should learn to feel it and appreciate it like music. After all, so much can happen in so little time and so little can happen in so much time.
For several days after the initial quake we felt dozens of small aftershocks, of which many were over the 4.0 intensity mark. We were told to keep bags packed near the doors and our shoes on in bed. We didn't keep our shoes on in bed, but on at least a dozen occasions we were hurled out of our bed by the intense but very brief shaking of the house all over again. We would run out onto the porch, hearts racing, and then stand like crouched animals watching and waiting for the next big one to hit. In the dim candle light of the aftershocks we would sometimes sit and catch our breath for thirty full minutes of silence and contemplation.
It was in these moments that I thought about 2012. The first thing I realized is that we humans have a very complicated relationship to the ecstasy of transformation, violence, competition, survival, and chaos. I am deeply afraid of all of these qualities in nature and within myself, and yet I am drawn to them. I have stared them down conceptually and emotionally in many ayahuasca ceremonies and yet, to this day, and especially right after the earthquake, I remain suspicious of people who do not see or feel the evolutionary value of these forces.
I still feel that the only appropriate reaction to the presence of destructive, violent, and chaotic energies is a quiet acceptance, "it's going to be okay." These are forces that serve larger purposes than we are almost always aware of when we say things like "give peace a chance" or "end violence." We participate in destruction and violence by uttering these phrases just as often as we participate in harmony. I could feel these truths after the earthquake--how little I know and how ironic spiritual ambition can be... Of course I say all of this with the great hope remaining in my heart that we can in fact evolve beyond all of the violence and hatred.
The second thing I realized was how real 2012 could still become. I felt magnetic currents and some sense of shifting that went much deeper than the plates beneath our earth. It's 2012 and I was in a major earthquake. Put tin foil antennas around my ears or tell me I've drunk too much ayahuasca, but I swear that I could feel a shifting stranger and more provocative than any medicine I've ever quaffed. My perception was that there are endless worlds which are contingent upon endless other worlds of consciousness, and that many of these worlds are trembling into our awareness already.
Is there a magnetic pole shift coming? I suspect something like this is a real possibility in the not too distant future. Of course I'm not the first person to live through an earthquake, and I'm definitely not the first human to jump to some pretty radical conclusions about the gods right afterward. In the end, whatever happens, all we can do, really, is to say "It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay."