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Harmonic Convergence: A Braver New World? : People Around the Globe Expected to Help Kick Off Mysterious New-Age Event

Roberleigh Haig ran her finger around the edge of a luminescent bowl made of laser-fused ground crystal, filling the great kiva of the ancient Anasazi Indians with an otherworldly wail.

A week ago, Haig, her mother and their white Afghan had hopped into Haig’s new Mercedes--personalized plate BELIEVE--and driven from Palm Springs to this remote desert site in Chaco Canyon, N. M. Here they now camp with a couple dozen other pilgrims from across the country, patiently awaiting the dawn of a new age.

On Sunday, hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people (144,000 by some theorists’ reckoning) will gather at Chaco Canyon and other “sacred sites” around the world to help kick off this mysterious event true believers call the harmonic convergence.

Whatever happens that day, the word is out. An unenlightened character in the Doonesbury comic strip refers to the projected event as the “moronic convergence . . . sort of a national fruit loops day, lots of wind chimes.” Lloyd Seiden, a Topanga writer and printer who has been in Santa Fe working on the logistics of the Chaco Canyon gathering, prefers to think of it as “the spiritual Woodstock.”

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Word Has Spread

For several months now, word of the gatherings has been spreading through the amorphous international community of New Age believers. Some people say they learned of the event through visions, dreams or channeling. In this dimension, though, the threads of information about harmonic convergence usually lead back to a 48-year-old author by the name of Jose Arguelles, who, in 1983 while driving down Wilshire Boulevard to return a rental car, had a vision of his own: At sunrise on Aug. 16, 1987, people around the world would participate in “ritualistic surrender” to the Earth.

By early 1987, he’d fleshed that vision out in “The Mayan Factor,” a book in which Arguelles reveals his interpretation of the Mayan calendar, the time-keeping mechanism developed by the Indian civilization that thrived in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize from AD 300 to 900.

The Encyclopedia Britannica devotes a dozen dense paragraphs to the mathematical complexities of the Mayan calendar, which consists of two concurrent cycles, one of 260 ritual days and one of 365 days. Together they form what archeologists call “calendar rounds,” cycles of 18,980 days or 52 years.

Calculating in reverse, the Maya designated 3114 BC as the beginning of the “Mayan era,” which ends its “great cycle” in the year AD 2012.

As Arguelles interprets it, however, the calendar also reveals that Earth will pass out of the “galactic beam” in which he says it has been immersed since the Mayan era began and will enter in 2012 “a galactic synchronization phase.”

This watershed was also prophesied by the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent who is scheduled to arrive on earth at the end of the Aztec calendar, which Arguelles contends ends this weekend. He and others also point to alleged similarities between the Mayan and Aztec predictions and prophesies made by the Hopis, Lakota Sioux, Mohawks and other Native American nations.

Adding to the convergence of events is Arguelles’ theory about the earth’s place in the solar and galactic systems. “Earth has a resonant frequency of 7.8 hertz. But it has been increasingly impacted by random dissonant frequencies--from radio and TV waves, more recently from radioactivity, chemicals, fluorocarbons,” Arguelles added. The effect has been to throw earth out of whack with the “solar and galactic resonance.”

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Arguelles believes Aug. 16-17 marks the moment the “wave” of history that gave us civilization peaks--the moment a correction will occur in the earth’s now dissonant resonance. From then on a “new galactic type of energy” will resonate through the earth and galaxy, carrying mankind to 2012 when the New Age begins in earnest.

Followers of this thinking say mathematical equations show that at least 144,000 “self-selected” people will have to participate to send that vision spontaneously sparking through the imaginations of the majority of humanity. By dancing, meditating, chanting, or--as Arguelles would put it--simply “showing their integrity,” 144,000 people with “a common vision and common resolve” is all it will take to make the harmonic convergence begin.

Extraterrestrial Assistance

When this happens, extraterrestrial beings, including the Maya--who Arguelles believes were extraterrestrials who left the earth, leaving only a few witnesses behind--will decide that we earthlings finally have trust and can be trusted. They will come to our assistance.

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“This is a trigger event. We have a five-year clean-up time ahead of us. In nitty-gritty terms, we are talking about dismantling governments, the military, polluting industries. . . .” Arguelles said. “It’ll take a few days, but by Aug. 20 everyone--not just the gung-ho harmonic convergers--will have begun to have experiences that are ever more probing and piercing.

“They won’t know what’s going on, but it will be going on,” Arguelles said. “And by 2012 . . . the earth will have been cleansed and purified; humans will have rediscovered their original state of trust, of innocence. And we’ll take our rightful place in the galactic community.”

He is the first to admit that many, if not most, of the people gathering don’t understand his esoteric theories. That’s OK, “something is stimulating them . . . a particular frequency (is) going out regardless of whether you comprehend it.”

Over the last weeks, interest in Harmonic Convergence has indeed taken off, said David Lloyd, shift manager at the Bodhi Tree, a metaphysical bookstore in Los Angeles. The store sold 390 copies of “The Mayan Factor” (Bear & Co.: $12.95) in a week and a half and has 100 more on order.

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Arguelles predicted Monday that 100,000 copies will have been sold worldwide by the end of August. Only one of his other five books--all on metaphysical subjects--has been remotely successful, he conceded. He co-authored that one, “Mandala,” with his ex-wife, Miriam T. Arguelles, in 1972.

On Saturday the Bodhi Tree was resonating with talk of harmonic convergence. A young woman and an older man attributed the recent rash of freeway violence to increasing terrestrial vibrations. Another man eagerly bought up everything he could find by or about Arguelles. At least four current periodicals in the magazine rack featured convergence articles. A clipboard in the store listed 26 gatherings people might attend in California alone.

Several sites like Chaco Canyon, N. M., Mt. Shasta, Calif., Machu Picchu, Peru, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Dogon Cliffs of Mali will be of special significance, said Paul Simpson, a harmonic convergence organizer in Taos, N.M. It is at these “sacred sites” that the earth is most receptive to electric vibrations arriving from space, he said.

Good Place to Resonate

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But people involved in the harmonic convergence stress that anywhere at all is a good place to resonate. A schedule of harmonic convergence events compiled by the Bodi Tree listed sites in at least half the states in the union, from Boise, Ida. to Oblong, Ill., from Woodstock, N.Y. to Wolf Creek, Ore.

Off Catalina, for example, a boat excursion will “converge with other Sentient Species on the planets--dolphins and whales.” A group will “dance the dream awake” on the Welsh border. In Honolulu, there will be a “gathering to draw the crystal grid of Cosmic Octaves of Illumination.” In Springwood, Australia, Harmonic Convergers will carve a “rainbow serpent” from a sand dune. In California’s Bristlecone Forest, “Everyone is invited to join in the marriage of the daughter of Our Heavenly Father and the son of our Earthly Mother.”

Shauna, the first-name-only editor of Britain’s Link Up magazine, said her office has received calls from convergence organizers in Spain, Ireland, Australia and Holland. “Quietly, things are just happening,” she said from her Worchester office. " . . . People are just picking up on it.”

Lloyd Sieden said he got the calling last week and took off for Santa Fe. Now he and five others wedge themselves into a cramped office to field questions from the 20-40 phone calls a day coming into their harmonic convergence referral number.

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“Everyone’s going to have some kind of spiritual experience (Aug. 16-17). I don’t think flying saucers are going to land or the earth’s going to shake that day,” he said, “but we may see something.”

Deborah Lando, a travel agent in Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco, has more dramatic expectations. “This is going to be an incredible moment for this planet,” she said. “The forces are gathering.”

So far, Lando said she has sent about 30 people to Machu Picchu, and she gets three or four calls a day at her Starfire Journeys agency inquiring about that trip. This weekend, Lando fully expects to commune with the earth’s “space brothers,” extraterrestrials who she says she has already seen outside her house several times in the past week. “They look like a certain type of cloud formation,” she explained, “but they certainly are ships.”

Significant Dates

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Ed Steinbrecher, a Hollywood Hills astrologer, said he has been using the August dates since the end of the ‘60s. The dates are significant and the change will be dramatic, no matter what happens, he said. This weekend, an energy will be released that among the unaware could cause death or psychosis. Indeed, he insists that energy is already seeping into people, causing madness and eating away at the immune system--witness freeway shootings and AIDS.

The intricate dating systems of the Mayas and Aztecs and those cultures’ prophesies of world upheaval also fascinate anthropologists and Mesoamerican Indian experts. But they contend there are obvious flaws in the dates cited by those who support the notion of harmonic convergence.

In creating their calendar, the Maya counted back about 3,000 years, to a mythical zero point that anthropologists have calculated to be Aug. 15, 3114 BC, explained Cornell’s John Henderson, conceded by many to be the nation’s foremost authority on the Mayan culture. To retroactively fill in those years, the Maya developed a set of myths and prophecies that Henderson likened to the Bible. The culture believed in cyclical reoccurence, and thus believed that events on a given date are likely to mirror the events that took place at that point in the previous cycle.

“According to the Maya, (the end of the Grand Cycle) is a likely time for the end of one creation and the beginning of another and is accompanied by all sorts of unpleasant events, like rains of fire and such,” he said.

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Civilization Collapsed

He put the end of the Mayan grand cycle at May 15, 2012, but, he pointed out, there is no indication that things would start changing 25 years before then. That assertion was echoed by Alana Cordy-Collins, curator of the Latin American collection at the Museum of Man, San Diego.

“There seems to be a lot of reinterpretation involved here,” she said.

"(Arguelles’) theories are truly out to lunch,” said Mayanist Rosemary Joyce, assistant director of the Peabody Museum for Harvard University. “And I’m being polite.”

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Arguelles’ assertion that the Maya were extraterrestrials who disappeared from the face of the earth between 800 and 900 AD “would be news to the several million people who speak Maya in Guatemala today,” she said. The Maya greeted the Spanish in the 1500s, and their descendants still live not only in Guatemala but also in the Yucatan and Chiapas states of Mexico and parts of Honduras and El Salvador, she said.

According to Joyce, the Mayan civilization collapsed because population growth exceeded agricultural output and led to mass malnutrition, and because of an escalation of military in-fighting. That is as well-documented as the fall of Rome, she said.

And as far as the earth’s resonant frequencies are concerned, Caltech staff seismologist Kate Hutton was not sure what Arguelles could be talking about.

“It sounds like garbage to me,” she said.

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The earth does emit sound waves, she explained, but at such a low volume that one tone takes 20.5 minutes to rise and fall. Arguelles asserted that the earth’s tones are emitted 7.8 times per second, or 7.8 hertz.

What’s more, Hutton said, radioactivity and fluorocarbons, while having a significant environmental effect, can do nothing to frequency rates.

The Hopi tribe is officially distancing itself from the event and will not change any rituals for it, tribal chairman Ivan Sidney said Monday. And Doug George, the Mohican editor of the Akwesasne Note, an American Indian newspaper, said that while the Mohawks do have prophecies addressing an age of renewal, “it’s not this year.” Arguelles dismisses detractors as inevitable. “When Galileo said that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, he ran into problems with the experts of his time,” he noted.

John Lash, a comparative mythologist in Santa Fe, had another explanation: “Mythological complexes like Arguelles’ are more or less perennial, they keep popping up,” Lash said.

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“The idea that the Maya were supernatural technocrats who came from a higher dimension and left us with this information . . . well, you can find a similar story in almost any mythology in any culture of the world,” he said. “People are needy. They periodically sense--especially toward the end of a century--a millenium, that it requires a power greater than themselves to bring about that which they desire. They become vulnerable, susceptible.”

UCLA anthropology professor H. B. Nicholson expressed surprise at the mention of any dates concerning Quetzalcoatl’s impending return. The Mesoamerican specialist explained that the Aztecs were content to operate on 52-year cycles. The end of the fifth cycle would be the end of an era and the coming of the winged serpent.

No Starting Date

But unlike today’s Western calendar with a zero point at the birth of Jesus, the Aztecs had no starting date, Nicholson said. Arguelles contends that the fifth cycle ends this month, but with no zero point, anthropologists and archeologists cannot possibly project a specific date for that prophecy, he said.

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And, like his colleagues, Nicholson was puzzled as to why anyone thought the Mayan calendar made this weekend special--or this year, for that matter.

“Why all the excitement about 1987?” Nicholson asked. “Whether it has anything to do with the death of Elvis Presley, I don’t know.”

“Yeah, I wondered about that,” Arguelles remembered. “It tickled my funny bone.”

None of the New Age pilgrims coming and going from the great kiva at Choco Canyon Monday evening mentioned Elvis, though the names Jose Arguelles, Shirley MacLaine and Quetzalcoatl did pop up.

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From dusk to almost midnight, people sat within the circular, open-air masonry structure chanting ancient and New Age prayers. From within, the changing sky looked as if it were projected on a cinedome. Eerie cumulous formations swirled around the high stone perimeter; fragments of rainbows appeared and vanished; as a “land of enchantment” sunset faded, lightning flashed in the distance; flaming meteorites crossed the sky like skyrockets. High in the surrounding sandstone bluffs coyotes yelped and night owls hooted.

It was the stuff myths are made of.


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