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2012: A Prophecy and a Prayer

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Door Knocker, Barcelona, Spain

Are we facing a global catastrophe or a golden age, or both? As 2012 comes closer with its Mayan prophecies of the end of time, we are being forced to face the realities of an ecological disaster on a global level. There are also signs of a shift in consciousness away from a culture steeped in materialism towards values that reflect a more holistic understanding of life. The year 2012 has been given to us as a watershed, the moment in which our civilization could either collapse or transform. What does this mean to us now, in this present moment?

A prophecy can be interpreted in many different ways. To a consciousness caught in a world that is fixed and definable, the interpretation of a prophecy is an attempt to predict what will happen. A more fluid consciousness sees in a prophecy the possible potency of a particular moment in time. One of the esoteric truths that we have forgotten is that some moments are more potent, more full of possibilities than others. We know this in the rhythm of the tides, how there are moments when the water comes closer to the shores. We know that in the movement of the heavens there are moments when the planets or the stars are aligned in a particular way. Astrology seeks to understand the meaning of these alignments, while the poet eloquently writes:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood,
leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.1

We all know how there are moments in our own life that open the doors to change: a chance meeting, a job offer, even reading a particular book. How we respond to such possibilities 2013! The Beginning is Here, (ed.) Jim Youngmay define our life, whether we move into the future that is offered in that moment, or stay in the past. Just as there are particularly potent moments in the life of an individual, there are also such moments in the life of the whole. These are the moments when the forces in the inner and outer world are aligned to help the world to make a step, though their energy can also bring disaster.

There are specific moments in the destiny of the planet: one only has to think of an asteroid striking the earth, or a volcano erupting. But there are also other moments in our cosmic time that, rather than bringing destruction, offer the potential for transformation, as for example the birth of Christ that was imaged in the new star seen by the Wise Men. What matters is how humanity responds to these moments, and whether we have been attentive to the stars or listened to the voices crying in the wilderness that can prepare us for them.

The signs are all around us that such a moment is near. There is a deep anxiety that is beginning to surface within our collective Western consciousness that life as we know it cannot continue. Forces are building up in the inner and outer worlds. Those who listen to their dreams and the dreams of others have seen the tsunami coming, the dark clouds gathering on the horizon, as well as images of a new future, a return to the sacred and the simple joy of life. One does not need a prophecy to know that something has to change. But as the fault lines beneath our feet begin to shift, it can be helpful to know that such a moment could be near. There is a pressure building up that needs us to be awake, that needs us to listen and watch in the inner and outer worlds.

Has the Mayan prophecy of 2012 caught our attention because we know that a moment either of disaster or of transition is coming? Is the prophecy real or just an image that has focused our attention, and does it matter?  The Mayan calendar speaks about the end of time. Does this mean that we will experience the end of our civilization, the doomsday scenario Hollywood would present to us, or does it mean that we can step into a moment that is alive with a new quality of consciousness—the simple timeless joy of life—that will be given back to us? A prophecy often has many possibilities, but what is important is that this prophecy has attracted our attention, caught our imagination, speaks a language that touches us with both a promise and a threat. Maybe we have misread what it says, have not grasped its real meaning.  But it calls us to take notice. And always what really matters is how we respond: whether we embrace the new consciousness that is being offered now, or stay with the patterns of the past.

Extract from “A Prophecy and a Prayer” by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in 2013! The Beginning is Here, ed. Jim Young (O Books, 2011).

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D. is a Sufi teacher and author. In recent years the focus of his work has been on Spiritual Responsibility at a time of Global Crisis, and the emerging subject of Spiritual Ecology. His most recent books are Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, Darkening the Light, Witnessing the End of an Era, and For Love of the Real, The Story of Life’s Mystical Secret. See his work at, and

Read more about Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


1Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218 - 221

Comments (3)
  • Beautifully written and beautifully balanced. Words to give us hope in the future.

    — Anne Baring on January 27, 2011

  • What do you suggest, please, that we be & do in regards to this shift?!

    — kate jack on January 29, 2011

  • ‘Not only is another world possible, she is on her way.
      On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’
        Arundhati Roy

    Dear friends,
    Its difficult to visualize the world of resurrection, in its original pattern and beauty, like it is meant,
    but in the middle of all this disaster and chaos there are signs that something new wants to be born..but it needs that we make room for it, that means letting go these old strategies which hinder everything living and soulfull! there are signs in our dreams, we should take attention and cultivate this plants of the new.

    Aeostra Beatrice Balke, Black Forest, Germany

    — Aeostra Beatrice Balke on May 7, 2011

26 January 2011

Tagged Under
Earth, dreams, prayer, prophetology, consciousness, prophecy, mayan calendar,
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