The Final Days

Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism
“Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism” (Daniel Pinchbeck)

I took this book on my travels, and read most of it one afternoon while recovering from self-inflicted alcohol poisoning. Strongly recommend it to any potential fellow travelers, or ethno-botanists. I may be an atheist, or a pastafarian spagnostic, most days, but sometimes, at night, or in thrall with certain wavelengths, I speculate about the other hidden, mystical dimensions of our universe. Since I don't know you well enough, I won't elaborate right now, suffice it to say, the year 2012 is a year worth paying attention to.

The Final Days:

A growing community of amateur scholars believe that the world as we know it will come to an end in 2012, as prophesied by the ancient Maya. Is the New Age apocalypse coming round at last?

“We’re coming to an end time beyond anything that anybody has ever imagined,” Rod said with a trembling urgency. “The scientists right now, they’re not even studying the real causes. The Kyoto treaty and CO2 have nothing to do with anything.”

“Coast to Coast AM” is an overnight radio show devoted to what its weekday host, George Noory, calls “the unusual mysteries of the world and the universe.” Broadcast out of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and carried nationwide on more than 500 stations as well as the XM Radio satellite network, “Coast to Coast AM” is by far the highest-rated radio program in the country once the lights go out. The guest in the wee hours that February morning was Lawrence E. Joseph, the author of “

Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End

Apocalypse 2012

” — billed as “a scientific investigation into civilization’s end” — and he came on the air to tell the story of how the ancient Maya looked into the stars and predicted catastrophic changes to the earth, all pegged to the end date of an historical cycle on one of their calendars, Dec. 21, 2012.

“My motto tonight,” Noory intoned at the beginning of the program, “is be prepared, not scared.” What followed was a graphic recitation of disaster scenarios for 2012, including hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused by solar storms, cracks forming in the earth’s magnetic field and mass extinctions brought on by nuclear winter.

I have no special insight as to whether these particular quacks are accurate in their predictions, but the Field of Opportunity is ready to be plowed, as the poet sang.

Strangely enough, after I was ready to post this blog, even before finishing the entire article (as is my wont: for some reason, I read a paragraph or two of source material, fire off my inane blog post, and then finish reading the source material. I guess I don't want to be sullied by facts, or something. Maybe I'm just an idiot. Wait, don't answer that.), I notice Daniel Pinchbeck is cited in the article. Strange, I hadn't made the connection between 2012 appearing in the New York Times Magazine and my reading Mr. Pinchbeck's book on a cruise to visit vanishing Alaskan glaciers, celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary along with 38 other family members. What I'm mumbling about, in my fuzzy manner, is that I had no expectations to encounter Mr. Pinchbeck in this article, but wanted to mention how much his essay/history on entheo-botany intrigued me, and figured a 'kooky report' on talk radio rubes was an appropriate lead-in.


But it isn’t just on the lower frequencies, late at night, where people are waiting on the Mayan apocalypse. Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the alternative-culture best seller “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl” — and a guest on “Coast to Coast AM” — has introduced a young and savvy audience to the school of millenarian thinking that has gathered around Mayan calendrics. To do so, he has employed viral marketing and a tireless schedule of public appearances at bookstores, art spaces, yoga studios and electronic-music festivals. When Pinchbeck appeared on “The Colbert Report” last December to promote his book, the host confronted him in front of a life-size manger scene: “You have been called a new Timothy Leary. Why do we need another one of those?”

Over breakfast at Cafe Gitane in Manhattan, Pinchbeck told me recently that “there’s a growing realization that materialism and the rational, empirical worldview that comes with it has reached its expiration date.” A youthful 41, with long, drooping hair and heavy-framed designer eyewear, Pinchbeck exudes a languid fervency that is equal parts Jesuit and Jim Morrison. His BlackBerry sat face up on the table, the screen dark, beside his bowl of organic fruit, yogurt and granola. “Apocalypse literally means uncovering or revealing,” Pinchbeck went on, “and I think the process is already under way. We’re on the verge of transitioning to a dispensation of consciousness that’s more intuitive, mystical and shamanic.”

and since the topic was on my mind, here's video of Mr. Pincbeck on Steven Colbert's show, if you can get it to work for more than two seconds at a time. Bonus: Pinchbeck jumps into the comments.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on July 2, 2007 10:51 AM.

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