This is an article I wrote for Y2K, but it is at least as applicable now as it was then.
There has been much hoopla and hype about the Millennium, but one thing seems certain – there is change in the air. Something momentous is stirring things up on all levels of existence.
People report feeling that subjective time has accelerated, that personal chaos is at an all time high. Social systems are in apparent decay and institutions that have long supported human society are dissolving at the foundations. Political forces face off with increasing combativeness. The global economy is in shambles, with some regions faltering while the Dow Jones average continues to soar on its blind faith in limitless profits.
An increasing number of people are tuning into the Earth Changes, while native elders around the world witness the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, telling us to prepare for a time of significant disruption and a major shift in consciousness.
And, as if all this weren’t enough to boggle the mind, Y2K and its Millennium Bug have become part of the jargon of the endtime of the 20th century. Who would have imagined that the “best and brightest” minds of this century, that creative genius that has put greater computer power on each student’s desk than MIT had in its entirety 30 years ago, could have made such an enormous oversight as ignoring that fact that our calendric system relies on a four-digit year to carry us into a new millennium.
In all the spoken and written words addressing the Changes before us, I found nothing to suggest that it would be our own arrogant foolishness, our pecuniary shortsightedness, that would initiate the Shift. T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I. (the end of the world as we know it) may have been initiated by our unwillingness to invest in two additional digits in the 700 billion lines of computer code that we’ve allowed to run our world, compounded by our procrastination in addressing what we knew to be an impending crisis. What irony this is, and what a fulfillment of our own prophetic tradition. The Greeks knew that tragedy was inspired by hubris – our belief that we are as gods in our power to control our own fate.
So here we are. On the verge of a new millennium, a new yuga, a new age, a new fire. Call it the Age of Aquarius, the Eighth Fire, the Twenty-First Century – something is happening and we don’t know what it is, do we Mr. and Mrs. and Ms. Jones?
How do we prepare for the unknown, for whatever it is that awaits us individually and collectively around the next bend in this long trail called human history?
Some, feeling the approach of the Apocalypse, are building fortresses against uncertainty and loss – stockpiling food, gold, and guns and heading for the hills. Many others are lost in the narcotic comfort of denial – secure in the misapprehension that there is nothing happening, there is no problem. Still more are resting in complacency encouraged by relative prosperity, and secure in the belief that our political and economic leaders will carry us safely through whatever minor disruptions may occur. But for those of us who are anticipating a Shift, expecting Changes with either eagerness or dread, for those of us who know that a Transformation is about to unfold – how do we prepare?
In order to enter an arena of any sort, two things are required. One must purchase a ticket, and then one must surrender the ticket at the gate. To enter a new arena of human history, a new field of dreams in our personal journeys, what ticket will be required?
All Rites of Passage demand just such a “ticket”. It is the currency of clear and focused intention which will get us to the gate. It is vital (and I mean that word literally) to come to the doorway with a prayer – an articulation of what we would like from the Universe, of what we would like to be on the other side.
Then we must check our baggage at the door. What are those things that no longer serve us? That no longer sustain us? That no longer carry us toward what we wish for ourselves and the world? Are we willing to let those things go? For no cup can be filled with wine that is already overflowing with vinegar. No ship can sail to undiscovered ports that is dragging heavy anchors behind.
And we must discover, in the process of shedding old skin, that even our most precious “ticket” – our prayers and dreams, our deepest hopes and desires – are also baggage that must be surrendered to the gatekeeper.
Like the Zen archer, we must invest everything we are in fashioning and aiming the arrow of our intent, and then we must release that intention in total trust that the Universe will guide it to its proper destination.
Both Native Elders and High-Tech Wizards are issuing warnings of impending disruption, upheaval, loss, and change. Those who hold on the hardest will be those who suffer the most loss. Those who are prepared to let go, who know what they are willing to do without, who understand what is truly important in their lives and what is not – those are the poor who will inherit the Earth.
Rites of Passage offer a time-honored framework for threshing the grain of our lives to separate the kernel of who we are from the chaff that has protected and hidden it. And times of personal or collective transition are the times that require a ritual of dismemberment and re-membering. With the facilitation of a “ritual elder”, it is possible to access the wisdom and guidance that the Universe has to offer, and to encourage the dissolution of our personas that will allow the possibility of rebirth and renewal.
While the signs of the times seem to be pointing to a looming crisis, it is important to remember that the ancient Chinese ideogram for “crisis” is composed of two symbols – one meaning “danger” and the other meaning “opportunity”. The true danger is in letting the opportunity pass by. Carpe Diem. Seize the day!