2012 Inside Out – a personal reverie

(First published in the Jan-Feb 2012 issue of the Journal of the Astrological Association, UK.)


In March 2011, after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan, I sat on a remote beach watching the dawn – no internet, no mobile phone signal.  As the bright sun was easing up over a watery horizon into a sky of sapphire blue, a young fisherman approached me, sat down and began a conversation. We exchanged pleasantries, which led inexorably to the ‘What do you do?’ question. I told him I was an astrologer. He immediately responded, ‘Oh, please tell me what will happen in 2012. I’ve heard we are all going to die. I love my life, my friends, my family, my boat, and the sea. I don’t want to die.’  I cringed inwardly, regretting my rash disclosure.


Photo: M. Reinhart, Amed, Bali, 2009.


This man’s anguished question shocked me, demonstrating that even this Balinese paradise was not immune from infiltration by apocalyptic notions about 2012. The ‘collective mind’ of our times is indeed omnipresent. There was I, paying homage to Neptune, minding my own business, and into that peace crashed the Uranian-Aquarian shock of ‘fixed air’ - collective beliefs invested with strong emotion. I write now on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 … or 11/9, depending on where you live and what calendrical system you use. The issues of timing, time cycles and their measurement, are fundamental to how cosmologies are constructed. These in turn represent our attempt to make some sort of order in our minds, faced as we are with the immense and sacred mystery that surrounds us. Societies form and history unfolds in tandem with the rise and fall of ideas about ‘how things are’. Consensus reality, it is called.


Apocalypse Now?

The word ‘apocalypse’ comes from the Greek ‘apo-kalyptein’, meaning to uncover, reveal, disclose. The Indo-European root is ‘kel’, to cover, save, conceal, hide, and ‘apo-‘ means ‘from, asunder, away, off’.

So something is being revealed.


It is not the same as the word ‘Holo-caust’ which means ‘wholly, completely burnt or destroyed by fire’. (1)

 We are living through a time when the mythic theme of the ‘end of days’ is very close to the surface of our thinking, whether or not we ‘believe it’.  The prevailing worldview of scientific fundamentalism serves to make it even more compelling, ‘blinding us with science’, and in this regard, these times are no different to the many previous occasions throughout history when beliefs about the ‘end-times’ were rationalised by the prevailing mythos. Indeed, Columbus sailed off to find the ‘New World’ prompted by a conviction (pun intended) that the end of the world was nigh. He wanted to find a refuge for humanity before it was too late.  It’s a pity he didn’t consult an astrologer before setting out, as the year he prophesied that the world would end (1650) was actually the very year of a conjunction of Uranus and Neptune, in Sagittarius, no less! But these planets had not yet been discovered, so what might the astrologer have said? ‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Columbus ...’?


No need to detail the large-scale structures which are now breaking down, everywhere … the list is endless. Suffice it to say that the consistency of external consensus reality is no more. But where it gets really interesting, for me, is when the internal structure of our very ideas is challenged, when the collective ‘description’ of our world fails to match the reality – when ‘it isn’t working’. I think of Neptune again, currently in its final retrograde transit in late Aquarius, and how the last 15 years or so have seen a deluge of phenomena which express this symbolism - inspiration, dis-covery, information leaks, uncovery, legislated unveiling, veiling, dis-illusion, deception, delusion, dis-appointment, broken dreams, burgeoning dreams of utopia, nightmares of dystopia.  ‘We The People’ are mostly confused, bemused, if not entirely de-fused, as we confront the difference between ‘information’ and Truth. We have been shown that,

Things are not as they seem’.  


As the Void of Unknowing threatens to open up, some will grab the nearest passing philosophy, thought-form, cosmology, or personal illusion and hold on as if it were the last lifeboat sent forth from a sinking ship. Relieved and thrilled with having avoided the experience of annihilation, we may then feel the need to save others from their ignorance of impending disaster, by providing our solution to imagined scenarios.  Sagittarius rules evangelism and Pluto was in the sign of the centaur when most of the prevailing notions about 2012 were popularised. So what will ‘become real’ while Pluto is in Capricorn?


The quote above continues like this:

‘Things are not as they seem … but neither are they otherwise.’

These words from the Lankavartarasutra remind us that just when we think we've ‘gottit’ and we know The Truth, we would do well to remember that we have almost certainly become entranced by another illusion, inevitably seeming more ‘real’ or ‘true’ than the one we just woke up from!


I find myself wondering what it would be like if, instead of being ‘captured’ again, we could slip through the cracks which daily appear in our notion of reality … into a deeper Awakening. The process which mystics speak of, where The Universe, God, or The Great Whatever-you-want-to-call-it, speaks to us in a language beyond ordinary syntax, and beyond ordinary understanding. The veils of ‘Maya’, the great play of illusion thus named in the Hindu scriptures, may part a little at times, offering us glimpses of clarity, direction, quietude and confidence as the Great Mystery unfolds. The dark beginnings of such a stirring are accompanied, and also caused, by the destruction, the breakage, the disruption, the collapse that we are witness to in the collective. As structures ‘out there’ fail, so do our internal structures ‘in here’.


This happens during episodes of psychosis, but also in periods of spiritual awakening. When we are in transition, undergoing a rite of passage, ‘our world’ ends and we enter chaos, as the prima materia of our lives is stirred. The alchemical Work begins, and we are required to submit to the Unknowing. Astrology offers us a skilful means by which to feel our way along, holding the precious Ariadne’s thread of consciousness. To paraphrase Dane Rudhyar, ‘Events do not happen to people – people happen to events’.


Today many individuals are dedicated to peeling back the layers of un-truth we have been told about history, culture, current affairs and religion. Our understanding of the past and present is being re-configured as we speed towards the unknown future.  Ironically, today, many people are in the ‘prophet’ (profit?) business – economists, politicians, bankers, statisticians and ‘New Agers’ of all kinds. But, most fortunately, the credibility of astrologers is so low in mainstream culture that we are not consulted for large-scale ‘official’ predictions! Probably nobody in our field has the mandate to speak for ‘The World’, in astrological terms, although there are many self-appointed prophets who do truly ‘take the name of astrology in vain’ in the attempt to articulate their own visions.


Pick Your Own Cosmology


As working astrologers, we might be contacted by clients who are confused, distressed or overwhelmed by information they have tried to absorb, or by experiences they cannot process. How do we help them find their way? How do we help them deal with the fear they might already be feeling without making it worse, becoming a ‘Job’s comforter’ or dispensing false hope? Being aware of some of the cosmological notions in ‘the field’ of the collective mind can be useful. Everyone is trying to answer the question, ‘What is going on?’ and the answers are many and varied, and these times offer a powerful opportunity for the individual to reflect on the difference between belief and experience, and find a creative response that leads beyond fear.  In the witty words of Mike Dooley, ‘Thoughts become things, so choose the good ones.’


The current cosmology-in-the-making encompasses a multi-dimensional reality within which extra-terrestrial visitors, benign or otherwise, have once again become part of the human story line. The battle between Good and Evil, an archetypal theme found in every known cosmology and creation story, occasionally assumes inter-planetary proportions, with a definitely Aquarian, science fiction (faction?) feeling to it.(2)

Interestingly, the Earth is the esoteric ruler of Sagittarius, and there are numerous authors and teachers offering a vision which recognises the sacredness of the Earth itself, and our profound connection with all of Creation living on it. Dialogue with rocks and stones, wild animals, stars and planets become possible, indeed normal, in this worldview, which is well represented in contemporary literature. (3) This vibrant, life-enhancing sense of wholeness is not ‘new’, but was relegated (along with astrology) to the shadows of the industrial-commercial-materialist ‘culture’ which has dominated the last few centuries.

Would we dare to re-claim this aspect of our own art? Instead of trying to shoehorn it into a ‘respectable’ but pseudo-scientific framework?



In his seminal research, Stanislav Grof discovered that a recapitulation of the birth process can be triggered later in life during periods of trauma, illness, rite of passage or spiritual emergency. He coined the term ‘Basic Perinatal Matrix’ (BPM) to refer to the different stages of birth/re-birth, and BPM III is of particular interest at this time.  In this stage of labour, there is movement down the birth canal, and all being well, mother and baby work in a rhythmic synergy towards the final stage of emergence, into BPM IV, post-birth. The classic imagery which accompanies BPM III is a heroic struggle to achieve great things – climbing a high mountain, experiencing a sexual orgasm, making it through a dangerous jungle, managing a well-nigh impossible feat of endurance, physical or mental. However, if there are complications during this stage, it becomes the ‘war of the worlds’, envisioned as slaughter of genocidal proportions, riots, arson, bombings, apocalyptic destruction, futile struggles against impossible odds, occult rituals of sacrifice, sexual magic and other such high-adrenaline Mars-Pluto manifestations.


Photo: M. Reinhart, Penestanan, Bali, 2009. Major cremation ceremony.


It is not difficult to find examples of such BPM III imagery in the collective mind-field (pun intended) at present. Just turn on the radio or TV, browse the internet or open a newspaper. Even the intellectual struggle between existing paradigms and new ways of thinking can assume this level of life-and-death intensity. Looked at this way, the human race seems indeed to be in the process of birthing something or perhaps being reborn, as we are told by may visionaries.  Let’s follow the perinatal imagery …


Uranus and Pluto - the Revolution


The long series of Uranus-Pluto squares, yet to become exact, is like an on-going collective BPM III whose overall arc lasts from 2010 -2016.  The ‘conception’ occurred during the 1960s, when these two planets were conjunct in Virgo, and the forthcoming squares are the first major hard aspects to occur on this cycle. Yes, ‘something’ is being born as the Chiron Return of this period begins.  And the Pluto square to this time occurred in Sagittarius, described above. Virgo – an earth sign, the beginning. Sagittarius – a fire sign with the Earth as esoteric ruler.  The vision is born. Another revolution, at another turn of the spiral.


Chiron and Neptune - the Redemption


There are many individuals, groups, cults and organisations who are eager to tell you what BPM IV (post-birth) will be like, or rather what it ‘should’ be like and you’d better shape up or you won’t ‘get there’. Variations on a theme of ‘Repent Ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’. Injunctions rain down on us from the government, the economists, the religious fundamentalists. Everyone is telling someone else ‘what’s what’ and how they ‘should be’, it seems, as the value of ‘personal opinion’ sky-rockets in our age of de-personalisation. Are we heading towards a new level of consciousness, a society reborn into new respect for the individual, a new harmony between humanity and nature? Something like the ‘Rapture’ as described in some Christian sects, where our sins are forgiven and we transcend into Everlasting Life? Or will we be destroyed, becoming extinct through natural or man-made cataclysms? Will ‘they’ commit genocide so that the surviving elite can repopulate the Earth, assuming that is possible, given the degree of environmental degradation we have created? And so on … and on …


In the archetypal theme of deliverance, we see the signature of Neptune-Chiron in Pisces: a longing for the redemptive state of finer feeling, compassion and loving-kindness, which transcends separateness and national boundaries.


Photo: M. Reinhart, Bali 2011. Fish making sign of the Tao as they feed.



The ‘One World’ of BPM I, the first prenatal stage, before labour begins. However, we may also be wounded by the prevailing delusions and dreams of these times.  As the Plutonian shadow of power politics roams, ‘We The People’ risk being duped, doped, manipulated and swamped by the high tide of information, dis-information, mis-information and outright lies which surround us.  Interestingly, Pluto is the esoteric ruler of Pisces, and can therefore be associated with ‘breaking the spell’. May it be so.


The arc of the Neptune-Chiron conjunction is within orb from 2007 – 2014, so accompanies the Uranus-Pluto squares. Our personal notions of ‘the future’ and ‘where we are going’ might be very strongly influenced by our own personal birth story.  Neptunian dreams, when caught in the continuum of time, always lead to disappointment and dis-illusion. Indeed, it is our capacity to handle these feelings that enables us to hold steady enough to allow our cherished dreams to come true within the heart, rather than projected out elsewhere, so that our actions may be relatively free of re-action.  The mystical notion of the ‘One World’, when appropriated by the vested interests of the various power brokers in government and commerce, may turn into a nightmare of surveillance, conformity and deception. Or addiction, as we shun the world and regress to the illusory comfort of BPM I.


Enfin …..


The Uranus-Pluto squares in Cardinal signs exhort us: ‘Don’t just sit there, DO SOMETHING!’ while the Chiron-Neptune conjunction in mutable Pisces whispers: ‘Don’t just do something, SIT THERE’!


May we all be blessed in the coming times with the discernment to know when it’s time to ‘Do something’ and when it’s time to just ‘Sit there’!




(1)  From the magnificent etymological dictionary on line.

(2)   Readers interested in sampling some of these ideas are invited to Google and research the following names: Alex Collier (Andromeda contactee), Jordan Maxwell (whose material formed the basis of the movie ‘Zeitgeist’), Jim Stone (investigative journalist), David Icke (veteran of ‘dark revelations’), Alex Jones (radio ranter, ‘conspiracy’ video, current reportage). 

(3)  See the work of Linda Tucker, Madeleine Walker and Barbara Marciniak for inter-dimensional and inter-species communications.