Will the world end in 2012? Some authors—as well as some Hollywood producers—argue as much and are making loud and very disturbing predictions of catastrophic disaster ensuing from the convergence of numerous planetary and cosmic cycles. Others expect the dawn of a New Age as the “gods” or “ETs” make a long-awaited return to our little planet. The current explosion of 2012 hysteria is not unlike the hue and cry of the 1980s and ’90s when the hot, threatening phenomenon of the day was “pole shift.” My 1980 book Pole Shift covered the subject in depth, and the lessons I learned from that experience, I believe, have much relevance for those today looking for “doomsday” in 2012.
In the early 1970s, when I was working in California as Director of Education for the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man on the moon), there was a widespread rumor that the West Coast was going to experience a terrible earthquake and a large portion of it would “fall into the ocean.” This rumor owed much to the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce, “the sleeping prophet.” In the 1930s, Cayce had predicted vast changes in the geography of our planet. He called them “earth changes.” There would be terrible earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the rise and fall of land masses, he said. They would begin in the second half of this century and increase in intensity, culminating at the end of the century in what Cayce described as “the shifting of the poles.”
Over the years these predictions had permeated the psychic community and set up the expectation of terrible global destruction. Some people came to IONS with messages of that sort. The people were well-intended and simply wanted us to alert the world. I listened with interest to their warnings because part of the Institute’s mission was to apply psychic functioning to planetary problems. But it wasn’t our role to warn the public—civic officials do that—so I turned down all requests for help in publicizing forecasts of earthquakes, UFO landings, and so forth. It proved to be the best policy because in all cases the predictions were wrong.
Nevertheless, my interest in precognition and psychic forecasting remained high, especially with regard to predictions of global destruction involving Cayce’s notion of a pole shift. So in 1973, I began to investigate the subject. During six years of research, I gathered a large amount of data supporting the two principal questions I had asked myself: Have there been previous pole shifts? Might there be one in the near future? The evidence came from three sources: ancient prophecies, contemporary psychics, and scientifically-oriented researchers.
It pointed toward this conclusion: Yes, Earth had experienced pole shifts before and would again in the near future—at the end of the century.
The pole shift concept indicates a sudden and radical displacement of the planet’s axis of rotation or—an alternate view among pole shift theorists—a slippage of the planet’s solid crust over the molten interior so that the polar locations change. Thus, “pole shift” means an event in which the North and South geographic poles move—as much as 180°, according to some sources—either because the planet tumbles in space, changing its angular position relative to the sun, or because the geographical points on the surface of the planet marking its spin axis are shifted due to crustal slippage. The time involved is said by most sources to vary from a few days to as little as a few hours.
What would result from a pole shift? It can be described as “the ultimate disaster.” Enormous tidal waves would roll across the continents as the oceans became displaced from their basins. Electrical storms with hurricane winds of hundreds of miles per hour would sweep the planet. Tremendous earthquakes and lava flows would wrack the land. Poisonous gases and ash would fill the skies. Geography would be altered as seabeds rose and land masses submerged. Climates would change instantly. And if the shift were less than a full end-over-end, the polar ice caps, exposed to strong sunlight by having moved out of the frigid zones, would melt rapidly—within a few hundred years at most— while new ice caps would begin to build at the new polar locations. Last of all, huge numbers of organisms would be destroyed, including people, with signs of their existence hidden under thick layers of debris, sediment, and ice or at the bottom of newly established seas.
In 1980 I published my book Pole Shift, which presented the evidence I’d gathered. (It is still in print.) But I said that presenting a case is not the same thing as proving a case. I pointed out that there was a strong case against pole shifts, there were many unanswered questions, and that I neither believed nor disbelieved the concept but was simply raising questions as a journalist rather than giving answers as a scientist or psychic.
I continued to gather data bearing on the topic and by 1990 I felt a conclusion was clearly evident. I published a “Pole Shift Update” in The Meeting of Science and Spirit. I concluded that the pole shift concept is untenable; it is based on incomplete evidence and misinterpretation of data. I also concluded that the psychics who foresaw another one were wrong because the precursor events they predicted hadn’t occurred, and the time for their occurrence was long past. The year 2000 came and went without the predicted disasters. Today, a decade later, it is more than obvious the predictions and prophecies were just plain wrong.
Does that mean there was no value to what I reported? Not at all. However, the significance is not in their literal or physical meaning but in their symbolic or metaphysical meaning. Many of the predictions and prophecies go beyond a simple description of cataclysmic events. They also discuss the metaphysics behind those events, how they might happen, and why. In studying that aspect of the predictions and prophecies, we find a spiritual message of hope rather than despair, of insight into our own power rather than blind acceptance of a victim role.
Some people fearfully watched Earth’s axis to detect the slightest indication of a pole shift. But that sort of behavior is self-defeating, the psychics and prophets say. We should be soul watchers rather than pole watchers because if there are people changes for the better, earth changes for the better will follow.
Let’s consider the situation in more detail to see what the relationship between planetary well-being and human consciousness is said to be, as described by the esoteric psychology found in the predictions and prophecies.
All the world’s major spiritual traditions tell us that free will operates in human affairs and that we can influence the outcome of events through the application of our physical, mental, and spiritual resources. From the esoteric point of view, the purpose of prophecy is to warn people against the consequences of certain kinds of action. Dire prophetic words are spoken by a prophet to awaken people to their erring thought and behavior. By changing people’s perspective and setting them into a new course of action, the prophet either diffuses the disaster-in-the-making or causes people to prepare for it sufficiently far in advance so that death and destruction are minimized. The people’s new mode of behavior eventually proves the prophecy wrong or greatly moderates it—which is exactly what the prophet wanted in the first place!
The mechanism by which consciousness directly modifies a set of circumstances has been described by some of the psychics as “thought forms.” The term and the concept behind it come from esoteric psychology and metaphysics. The concept posits a mental or psychic energy as an intermediate substance between matter and consciousness. From this perspective, thoughts are things—real but nonphysical energy configurations, produced by human consciousness—and they exist objectively in space outside the human beings who produce them. A thought form is the energetic embodiment of the idea on which a person dwells, consciously or otherwise, and it takes on an existence external to and independent of the thinker. By a process of which official science knows little, our thoughts, as a poet put it, “take wings.”
In other words, when we think or focus our attention in a goal-directed way, the experience of thinking is not simply electrical activity within the neural pathways of the brain, nor is it confined to the limits of the cranium. Research into extrasensory perception and psychokinesis suggests a fifth force in nature which is beyond the four known physical forces and is senior to it. The fifth force is a metaphysical or mental force—a psychic force. Since energy can be neither created nor destroyed, presumably including this mysterious fifth force, a question arises: What becomes of a thought after it has been thought? Does it simply vanish?
From the point of view of psychics, metaphysicians, occultists, true magicians, shamans, and so on, the answer is no. The energy of thought, they say, is still in existence as a sort of atmosphere or field surrounding the planet, recording all the experience of humanity. This is the so-called “akashic record” which Edgar Cayce and some other psychics claim to “read” when they obtain paranormal information about the past.
So thought activity, from the esoteric point of view, extends beyond the physical body. It partakes of a “field of mind” surrounding the planet and extending into space for an unspecified distance. The mind field is composed of the collective experience of the human race. That is, our thoughts, feelings, and actions are somehow impressed or encoded into the field of mind energy, creating thought forms. Untold numbers of thought forms over thousands of years have been contributed by the human race to the planetary field of mind.
Moreover, thoughts of a similar nature tend to coalesce over time and gather into what could be called “thought fields.” These thought fields are equivalent to what the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called an archetype, which is a non-spatial, non-temporal repository of a certain basic human experiences. The totality of thought fields, or archetypes, constitute a kind of “atmosphere” of thought energy which extends through our planet’s physical atmosphere and beyond. This nonphysical atmosphere can be understood as what Jung called the collective unconscious. The concept I am presenting here can explain in quasi-scientific terms how it is that people everywhere have access to archetypal experience, as Jungians and other schools of psychology claim. It is simply because we are all immersed in the collective unconscious mind field, which is supra-personal.
Mind energy interacts with the physical energy matrix sustaining our planet in space and can influence it, subtly but directly, in either a positive or a negative fashion, depending on the vibratory quality of thoughts arising from the human level. Harmonious, loving mental states are said to produce a stabilizing effect on the planetary matrix of physical energies; disharmonious, hateful thoughts result in a destabilized matrix.
This mind-matter interaction is a two-way process. People can “receive” from the planetary mind field as well as “give.” For example, certain universal images and symbols have been perceived by people in dreams, meditation, and other altered states of consciousness, regardless of the person’s race, sex, or culture. And for another example, consider how a new idea or discovery often appears almost simultaneously in several widely separated locations. Apparently, it happens to prepared or ready people as a result of “fallout” or “precipitation” from nonphysical levels of reality to the physical level.
Thus, the influence of our minds and our basic state of consciousness is there all the time inevitably affecting the total Earth-organism, for better or for worse. It has been called bio-relativity, the interaction of people with their physical environment via psychic or mind energy. The Hopi rain dance is an example of bio-relativity—using the power of the mind to induce precipitation. The important question, then, is not whether we are going to affect the total Earth-organism but how we are going to affect it.
In that regard, the predictions and prophecies say virtuous living and respect for the planet will infuse Earth’s energy matrix with powerful stabilizing influences. Prayer is a familiar form of this influence. It is no coincidence that psychic and spiritual traditions declare the effectiveness of selfless prayer. It adds constructively to the mind-field of Earth.
Even better still would be the development among people of a steadily-focused consciousness which recognizes the mutual dependence which humanity and the cosmos have upon each other as co-creators of our joint destiny. Such a loving state of consciousness would govern our thoughts and acts in a life-enhancing way.
Spiritual traditions warn that we shall reap what we sow. Esoteric traditions and psychical research offer an explanation of how and why this must be. Hatred, anger, greed, fear, and other negative character traits and qualities of mind can affect the total process of energy activity on and around the planet. The many “crimes against nature” which people are perpetrating—such as environmental pollution, wasting of nonrenewable resources, and nuclear testing—along with “crimes against humanity”—such as war, economic exploitation, and the imposition of inhumane living conditions, religious persecution, political abridgment of human rights, intolerance and bigotry toward minorities, and so forth—are all pouring negative thought forms into our planet’s energetic foundations. The result, the predictions and prophecies said, would be geophysical cataclysm in the form of violent earth changes and a pole shift as the Earth-organism seeks to restore balance in the system.
So, from the point of view of psychic, prophetic, metaphysical, and spiritual traditions, rather than saying we will be punished for our sins, it would be more accurate to say we will be punished by our sins. The law of karma, or cause-and-effect, is a stern one, so if there is some kind of “natural” global disaster in the future, to the extent that our own thought-energy is responsible for bringing it on, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
Predictions of global disaster serve to point out that we must change our consciousness from ego-centered to God-centered living and recognize that there is a benevolent wisdom—a divine plan—lawfully governing the universe, including us. Moreover, many of the predictions declare that the severity—and even the possibility—of such disasters is influenceable by our manner of living and thinking.
From a spiritual perspective, there are no problems—there are only situations. Problems don’t exist in nature. Only situations exist, only sets of circumstances. It is the human mind which projects attitudes and values onto those situations and then labels them as problems, but that label doesn’t describe what nature is doing. It describes the state of mind of the human who labeled the situation.
Problems are a reflection of your state of mind—a state based on self-centeredness and fear and an unwillingness to face new experiences—but change your attitude and, suddenly, there are no problems. The set of circumstances remains, but the situation now becomes an exciting challenge in which to learn and deepen your understanding, your familiarity with the unknown. New values come into mind and are projected onto the situation so that what was once seen as a problem becomes a manageable situation and a fortunate opportunity for growth and discovery.
A global disaster such as a pole shift or some other massive earth change probably will not occur in the near future, but even if it does, we don’t have to see it as a problem. We need not dwell upon it as a source of fear and destruction. Prudent, practical survival preparations can and should be made, of course. That’s what civil defense, home preparedness, and global warning networks are all about. That’s what construction research and building codes are all about. That’s why you don’t build homes on fault lines or flood plains. Everyone reading this can think of recent events where, sadly, there was great destruction and loss of life which could have been greatly mitigated through civil engineering and social planning.
However, our primary task as citizens of Earth is to attune ourselves spiritually with Life—with the processes of the planet and the cosmos—and thereby understand that, if we seem to be in extremis, if we are entering a danger period, we are being given an occasion to grow, to evolve, to transform ourselves on the basis of deeper understanding and wider vision.
Spiritually speaking, we might be well advised to remember the words of Jesus to be not anxious about the morrow, but rather to consider the lilies of the field which are arrayed in glory and are tended by a loving Providence who tends us every bit as well. To the awakened mind, every experience can be a blessing, even situations commonly labeled misfortune, tragedy, disaster, catastrophe, cataclysm. The attuned consciousness will receive all it needs, and more, from a loving universe whose whole purpose is to nurture the evolution of organisms such as us to a higher state of being.