Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Real Wisdom of 12-12-12

There is a LOT of interest around the numerical sequence contained in today's date. Just like the other sequential dates in the past decade such as 7-7-07 and 9-9-09, people seem to love these sequences and the energies contained in them. Many people choose to get married or plan significant events around them, and I wanted to write a post about some of those interesting things, both good and bad, that have swirled around this date today.

The Bad Stuff

First, let's address the bad stuff. World-ending, terrible, bad kinds of stuff. There are all kinds of apocalyptic predictions about the world ending, and 12-12-12 along with the date of the Solstice, December 21, 2012 have both been kicked around by various prophets and gurus as days to fear. Indeed, just this morning we had a bit of a close brush with an asteroid. However, there are literally thousands of asteroids that come close to the Earth on a regular basis, (NASA even has a program to monitor and catalog them) and if one of them hit, we would probably experience some kind of damage. Very rarely, one of them is big enough and scary enough that it could potentially do even more damage. However, we do a pretty good job of spotting them before they can get too close - and asteroid 4179 Toutatis is a good example of this. So I believe that if we were ever seriously threatened, we could come up with a way to deal with it before it happened.

Secondarily, people always have questions about things such as the "Mayan Calendar" ending. When I am asked about this, I always try to point out that the Mayan calendar in question is actually round, it doesn't really "end". It just keeps on turning. Even extremely large catastrophic events such as the Christmas Tsunami of 2004 or the 2011 earthquake in Japan don't do much to impact the entire world and the billions of people upon it. So yes, localized events are possible, but the world as a whole keeps on turning as well.

Another thing that has come up in discussion in recent weeks is the idea of the Galactic Center alignment. From a spiritual perspective, this sounds like a really neat thing, and I hate to be the one to burst any bubbles. However, from a purely physical standpoint, we have to look at the facts. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is a bulge of stars, gases, and dust which is approximately 100,000 light years across. Even if we really do manage to pinpoint the exact center of that place, it is much more likely that we have been "aligned" to that point for quite some time, and will be for years to come. Even a very small, minute fraction of a degree of that large of a distance would take hundreds of years for the Earth to cross. So while it is an interesting idea, it doesn't have a lot of grounding in physical reality. What does have a basis for physical reality is  that on the eve of the Solstice (and this happens every year) we seem to be lined up with a dark line within the body of the Milky Way. However, this does not have anything to do with any predictions of death or destruction, and is simply a product of the seasonal axial tilt of our planet.

The Good Stuff

12/12/12, 12:12:12The first good thing to note is that 12-12-12 is the last sequential date of this century, which is pretty cool. The world won't see sequential dates like this again until the next century, starting January 1, 2101. I saw posts from people around the world celebrating 12:12 on 12/12/12 as it happened in their time zone. The human brain is programmed to recognize and connect to patterns and symmetry, and this is true regardless of religion or culture.

The bigger picture here is that the meaning of the number 12 has been connected by thousands of years of mythology to specific types of ideas and energies. It is significant in mathematics as well as in astronomy, astrology and in many worldwide cultural mythos and experiences. The ancient astronomers in the Middle East used a system of dividing the sky into 12 equal segments, called the Zodiac, that is still used today. The idea of the number 12 as holding the energy of completion may come from this ancient system. That ancient system, known today as astrology, has influenced the world quite strongly for thousands of years.

The 12th sign of the Zodiac is the sign of Pisces, and when talked about in terms of human development, refers to the development of the intuition, and of the development of altruistic human emotions such as compassion and empathy. Thus the energies of the number 12 can be said to contain these lessons as well as those of completion.

Looking at some even newer mythologies, in the Tarot, the card bearing the number 12 is called "The Hanged Man", and this enigmatic picture can be a little bit difficult for people to decipher and relate to. A man hanging upside down by his foot, from a branch on a strangely angular tree (which is often described as an actual gallows) does not seem to offer much to our modern worldview.

The traditional meaning of this card is one of delay or sacrifice, but we have to go somewhat deeper to reveal its true nature. In the Rider/Waite deck, the picture of the Hanged Man is meant to be a depiction of the mythology of the Nordic God, Odin and his trial by which he received the knowledge and wisdom of the runes. It is said that he hung upside-down on the Yggdrasil, or the World Tree for nine days and nights and finally glimpsed the secret and sacred power of the runes, after which he died. However, the story goes that the knowledge of the runes was so powerful that he returned to life immediately, thus echoing other resurrection stories that are contained within the world's cultural spirit.

The Hanged Man really represents the ultimate sacrifice, that of dying to an old way of being in order to be reborn anew, and also speaks of the wisdom and self-knowledge that is required in order to undertake such a journey.  I find it fascinating that the day of 12-12-12 also falls on a Wednesday, which of course is sacred to Odin (Wednesday=Woden's Day)

Finally, I would like to touch on another 12 that is significant to most individuals, and that is the Jupiter cycle. Jupiter has an orbit around the Sun of approximately 11.86 years, or just shy of 12 years exactly. Within human development, we are well into the changes brought by puberty at the age of 12, and roughly every 12 years we experience Jupiter returning to the same place in the sky as it was when we were born. The ancient ones thought of Jupiter as a very powerful planet, and tracked it's movements to predict the rise and fall of kings and countries. Jupiter is the great Teacher, bringing about life lessons and new ways of being in the world.

12-12-12 Meditations 

So on the day of 12-12-12 and throughout the days to come, I would encourage individuals to look into their own lives and find the lessons of the energies of 12 that are with us at all times. When did you last bring something important to completion in your life? When have you exercised wisdom and self-knowledge? What have you sacrificed for, and what were the results? When have you shown another person compassion and empathy, or listened to your intuition?This would be a great time to do some self-examination about your own goals and life path. Write down some things you would like to bring to completion, and some steps you can take to get there. The keywords of completion, wisdom, compassion and the cycles of life are of greatest importance right now. Building for the future is a far better response than planning for the end.