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Cultivating Consciousness in the 2012 Era
It is remarkable that we live in a time where the cultivation of consciousness is possible. Although we may feel the limitations of the current time where the breakdown of every social structure is occurring, these changes do have an “up side.” In societies that are more static or stable, the social and political frameworks can also create limitations. These limitations tend to center around creating processes which limit ideas or information that might challenge the status quo. When the status quo is dissolving as it is in many ways today, there are opportunities for the emergence of new ways of engaging the world.
Although many of the perspectives offered by the classes at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream may seem new or innovative, these perspectives derive from very ancient forms of wisdom. The more remarkable aspect about the education that is offered at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream is that this wisdom has been focused in such a way as to be entirely relevant to the challenges of the current environment.
We are, of course, here in 2012—a much-anticipated moment in many ancient calendars. The Mayan long count calendar and the Vedic calendars in particular mark December 22, 2012 as the end of time. Their calendars do not extend beyond that date. There is much speculation about why the current environment is so challenging to so many. Some of this speculation has given rise to many perhaps ill-informed predictions about the end of the world. These conclusions, of course, are natural when made by people who are informed by the persistent zeitgeist in the West over the last 2500 years. This is a worldview which points to an inevitable Armageddon where all is lost in destroyed.
It is hard to argue with this pessimism. The degradation of the natural environment is a natural result of the war that the industrial complex has waged against the Earth. In the name of progress, rivers have been fouled, oceans depleted of their tremendous abundance of life, and the land has been laid to waste. Since the beginning of the twentieth century we have seen the tremendous increase in this destruction through a seemingly endless parade of wars. These wars have been characterized as being between peoples, but have always been against the Earth. This has devastated the physical environment.
But the disaster on the level of spirit has been no less devastating. The loss of Earth-based spirituality in the West with the advent of religions that focus on male centered deities has created a poverty of spirit. Wars have been fought, the natural rhythms of the Earth have been ignored and rejected and half the population has been relegated to second-class status—all in the name of God.
Some perspective on this state of affairs can be gained by looking at the way we view the time in which these calamities have occurred. In modern times, we tend to look at the progress of time as linear. There is always a push toward the future, away from the past in an effort to progress toward some greater goal that lies in the future. The war on the material level and the war on the level of spirit have been waged in the name of this ‘progress.’ There has been a forgetfulness that has set in as we have lost the perspectives that Earth-based understandings about the cyclic nature of time have been lost. As we have lost touch with the rhythm of the seasons, we have lost time with the larger cycles of time that are preserved in the ancient calendars.
These calendars are based on the careful observation of the Earth’s relationship with the celestial spheres over many, many years. The importance of the perspectives gained from such observations cannot be overemphasized. Through the understanding of these larger cycles of time, we gain insight on the challenges we are experiencing in the 2012 Era.
The civilizations of the East, of Egypt and Greece, as well as Pre-Colombian Americans all took a cyclic approach to time. Plato believed that “the same views have arisen among men in cycles, not only once, nor twice, not even a couple of times, but endless times,” and Aristotle believed that all arts and sciences reached perfection many times in history and were almost forgotten afterwards. The perspectives of ancient wisdom regarding the cyclic nature of time are well preserved in the Vedic sciences of India. According to the Vedas, there are four great cycles of time: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga.
As with all ancient calendar systems, these cycles of time are based on the observation of the Earth in relation to the stars and celestial spheres. One aspect of the relationship between the Earth and its neighboring celestial spheres is called the precession of the equinoxes or precession of the equator. The Earth wobbles very slowly on its axis, creating the pattern of a cone in the sky from the its perspective. The full precessional wobble, or the time it takes to trace the cone in the sky, takes roughly 26,000 years to complete.
During this process, the positions of stars, the sun and other celestial spheres as measured from the perspective of the Earth slowly change. In our classes on the 2012 Era, we will be studying the deeper implications about the cycles of time and the understanding of the phenomenon of precession can provide, but we can gain some understanding through a brief review of Vedic science’s perspective here.
As was mentioned, there are four great cycles of time delineated in the Vedic Calendar. These cycles and the period of these cycles are delineated in relationship to the pattern, or cone, the Earth creates during the precessional cycle. The base of the cone is divided into four parts by marking the 4 cardinal points at the edge of the circle, or base of the cone. There are reasons within each of the ancient calendar systems for marking these cardinal points. These reasons are not so different from the reasons we mark the different cardinal points of the cycle of a year. Each of the quarters or parts then becomes indicative of a different cycle or age. Each of these ages or cycles has a particular quality to it, and each lasts about 6000 years.
In the Vedic Calendar, the first age, or Satya Yuga is considered to be a “Golden Age.” This is an age where all members of society are in alignment with their higher integrity – and where the study and respect of the Earth and its wisdom are emphasized. Ethics, the study of Truth, fair governance and the pursuit of enlightenment for all, characterize the cycle or age of Sat Yuga.
The second age, Treta Yoga, known as the Silver Age is characterized by a movement away from this state of grace. Still, beauty can come to fruition, and the pursuit and preservation of knowledge and wisdom and systems of ethics is valued. There is, however, a movement away from the valuing of the spiritual toward a valuing of the material. Calamaties on a physical level – earthquakes, tidal waves and large storms affect the environment in ways they did not during Satya Yuga.
In the age of Dwapar Yuga, also known as the Copper Age, there is a further loss of spiritual power – and true spiritual knowledge is concentrated in the hands of a few. The intellect takes ascendance, and there is an emphasis on the control of the mind and the environment. The physical environment degrades further.
And in the age of Kali Yuga, or the Iron Age, there is an almost complete loss of spiritual knowledge, and the intellect’s need for control diminishes potential. This age is sometimes known as the Age of Death. The degradation of the physical environment deepens. Calamaties of all sorts dominate the environment – and most people have wandered away from any connection with ethical or truthful conduct. There is a deep lack of clarity even when there is an attempt to maintain spiritual or ethical truth in religious or political arenas.
According the Vedic calendar, the Hopi calendar and the Mayan calendar, as well as other ancient calendar systems, we are at the end of an entire precessional cycle at this moment in time. In the Vedic system, we are at the end of a Kali Yuga period and on the cusp of movement into a whole new turn of the precessional cycle. This explains the devastation we experience around us in the material world – and loss of internal focus and compass we experience internally as human beings living in 2012. According to all of the ancient calendars, and best articulated today in the Vedas, this is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last.
According to all these systems, with the turn of the precessional cycle, we will enter into the age of greater clarity. In the Vedic system, we will enter Satya Yuga again, and a Golden Age will return. According to the Native American Hopi tradition, this is the 5th time we have been on the cusp of such a turn of the wheel. In the Hopi tradition, the movement along the precessional cycle is described the movement from world to another, or from one sun to another.
According to Hopi tradition, those who can attain and recognize ethical and spiritual balance – and those who can align themselves with the power and wisdom of the Earth as fully as possible are the ones who will enter the fifth sun. It is important to note that those who will enter the fifth sun will do so not because they are somehow magically ‘chosen’ to do so. It is because they are focused on being able to recognize that which illuminates and ignites the power of the wisdom of the Earth in human affairs.
The task, is, in my opinion, to try to bring forward the thread of wisdom traditions that have managed to move, more or less intact through all of these cycles. We must make the effort to try and recognize the truth of our own being in order to sustain and balance the anomalies of the current time. This is focus of the education at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. We seek to help maintain as a clear a container as possible for these ancient wisdom systems. We seek to try and understand as clearly as we can the power and light of these systems and transmit with as much clarity as possible to those who are struggling to connect with their own power and light.
In the Hopi tradition, there is an emphasis on the cultivation of ethics, knowledge and proper forms of power required for those who wish to be able to move from one world or sun to another. Through the classes at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, we seek to assist each person with the discovery of this path of ethics within his or her own knowing. We do this without dogma and with the deep appreciation of the wisdom keepers in all traditions who have sustained consciousness throughout all the cycles of time.
Robert Thurman, noted Buddhist scholar, has stated that meditational therapies like Depth Hypnosis are the future of Buddhism in the west. I think it would be safe to say that Depth Hypnosis may well be the future of shamanism in the west as well.
About the author:
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream and the primary instructor of the Foundation's training programs. Isa holds degrees and certificates in transpersonal psychology, cultural anthropology, comparative religion, hypnotherapy, and transformational healing.
Isa has spent over 30 years studying spiritual, therapeutic, and meditative techniques from around the world. Isa is the creator of Depth Hypnosis, a groundbreaking method of self-transformation that has won rave reviews from psychotherapists and spiritual counselors. By synthesizing key principles of shamanism, Buddhism, energy medicine, hypnotherapy, and transpersonal psychology, Depth Hypnosis brings the ancient healing wisdom of many cultures to the unique imbalances of contemporary Western society. Dr. Gucciardi speaks five languages, and has lived in 11 countries.
In addition to teaching, she maintains an active Depth Hypnosis practice in San Francisco, CA.