Saturday, August 16, 2014


Chaco Canyon, trail to Penasco Blanco, San Juan
county, NM. Photograph: Peter Faris, May 1994.

Twenty seven years ago, on August 16 and 17, 1987, I was camped in Chaco Canyon with a group of friends from the Colorado Archaeological Society on one of our field trips to view the amazing ruins and the rock art of Chaco Canyon’s fluorescent culture. 

Una Vida petroglyph panel,  Chaco Canyon, San Juan
county, NM. Photograph: Peter Faris, Aug. 1984.

Penasco Blanco, Chaco Canyon, San Juan
county, NM. Photograph: Peter Faris, May 1994.

In the weeks leading up to this trip we had seen stories in the news about the so-called “Harmonic Convergence” which marked the end of one of the cycles in the Mayan calendar. Supposed at the same time there was to be a syzygy in the heavens, an alignment of the sun, earth, moon, and planets (I forget which) that would activate the earth’s lines of force and do something or other spiritual (I have also forgotten what). When this occurred locations that were where the earth’s lines of force met would be especially blessed, and it turned out that Chaco Canyon was one of those locations according to some fringie prophet. I have borrowed a great explanation of the event from Kenneth Feder’s 2010 book, Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum.

“On August 16 and 17, 1987, all over the world, people congregated in various special locations to mark the beginning of a new age. The moment was one apparently resonant with earthshaking possibilities, for it heralded the beginning of a change in the trajectory in human evolution and history.
This was not because August 16, 1987, was the tenth anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, though that irony (or perhaps it was a joke after all) seems to have been lost on true believers. No, those days had been singled out in a very popular book, The Mayan Factor: The Path beyond Technology, by Jose Argualles. He called that two-day period (conveniently on a weekend so the celebrants wouldn’t have to take a day off from work) the Harmonic Convergence." (1987, 170)

Rin gong at Kiyomizu dera, Kyoto, Wikipedia.

It turned out that we were not the only campers there that weekend. The place was absolutely crawling with fringies undergoing mystical and spiritual experiences, and driving the park rangers nuts by climbing on things that were not supposed to be climbed (like the ruins), making noise, doing drugs, and burying offerings at Chacoan ruins (digging being forbidden at such sites – it is called vandalism). The only serious crimp that this put in our visit, however, was the loss of most of the night’s sleep. That was due to what I recall as a very large Rin Gong, the “Tibetan singing bowl”, in the back of a pickup truck. According to its size and shape I believe it was half of a home propane tank. When a rosined stick was rubbed around the rim this began to vibrate and soon a surprisingly loud hum was soon moaning and echoing back off of canyon walls. Sitting in a pickup truck bed only made it resonate louder, certainly too loud for anyone else to sleep. Apparently the fringies would only acquire the miraculous spiritual benefits if they kept it going without a break all night. Additionally, they danced around to the music of the gong, whooping and yelling and believing themselves to be genuinely tribal. Eventually a group of park rangers came and broke it up, having finally received a critical mass of complaints from other campers.

Feder continues “In that book, Arguelles argues that the Maya weren’t just regular folks but were, instead, intergalactic beings who visited the Earth. They were not the crude, high-tech types of Erich von Daniken’s fantasy, cruising the universe in spaceships. Instead the Maya were beings who could “transmit themselves as DNA code information from one star system to another” (59). Their purpose on Earth, again according to Arguelles, is rather obscure (to me, at least):
“The totality of the interaction between the Earth’s larger life and the individual group responses to this greater life define “planet art.” In this large process, I dimly perceive the Maya as being the Navigators or charters of the waters of galactic synchronization. (37)”

If that doesn’t quite clear it up for you, Arguelles adds that the Maya are here on Earth “to make sure that the galactic harmonic pattern, not perceivable as yet to our evolutionary position in the galaxy, had been presented and recorded” (73). Well, there you go.
Apparently, the Maya, who are actually from the star Arcturus in the Pleiades cluster, materialized in Mesoamerica a number of times as “galactic agents.” They introduced writing and other aspects of civilization to the Olmec as part of some quite vague plan to incorporate humanity into some sort of cosmic club.
Arguelles should be given credit (or rather, the blame) for being one of the first authors to claim that the end of the Maya cycle of time that began in 3113 BCE – the current baktun – will end on December 21, 2012 CE. Argualles is not one of the doomsayers who claim that the world will come go a catastrophic end on that date, though. Instead, he states that the Maya are on their way back to Earth via “galactic synchronization beams,” traveling by way of “chromomolecular transport” (169). The Maya will arrive on December 21, 2012, not to witness the destruction of Earth but to usher in a new age related to, in Arguelles’s incomprehensible and utterly meaningless phrasing, the “re-impregnation of the planetary field with the archetypal harmonic experiences of the planetary whole” (170). Of course.
Surprisingly (not), there is no reference to archaeological evidence or any sort of scientific testing for the speculations of Arguelles, There are no insights concerning the Maya and their civilization. The Harmonic Convergence ultimately was little more than a rather silly exercise based not on a scientific understanding of the ancient Maya but on some vague hope that the world will improve if we just wish it would.” (Feder 2010:134-5)

Mayan Calendar by Matthew Bisanz.,wiki,File,Maya_

Note above, that Arguelles stated that the Maya are actually from the Pleiades Cluster, well just a couple of nights ago I went out and saw a couple of meteors of the Pleiades meteor shower. A coincidence? I think not!
However, none of that nonsense could really spoil what is so special about Chaco Canyon. As long as we stayed away from the large parties of fringies we were able to experience the amazing ruins and the rock art in peace. If there was a moral to this story I guess it would be something like when you plan a special trip don’t just check your calendar, you'd better check the Mayan calendar as well.


Feder, Kenneth L.
2010    Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum, Greenwood, Santa Barbara, Denver, and Oxford.



  1. Enjoyed your account of the Chaco Canyon instance of the Harmonic convergence. I was there at the same time. It was conveniently timed right after the annual Rainbow gathering, which happened in Texas that year. Lots of folks who were on their way to the west coast from the gathering dropped by for the convergence. My partner and I were on the way to check out the Lama Foundation outside of Taos, so we made the detour as well.

    As a former anthropology student, I found the ruins fascinating and inspiring. I also enjoyed some of the eclectic rituals put together by my fellow hippies. My favorite moment came while participating in a very spread out, mid-afternoon drum circle, with five or ten other folks. Very hot and dry. The rhythm was mostly slow. At some point it picked up energy a little bit. Just as it was peaking, a dust devil 20 or 30 ft tall spun across the desert and through the middle of the circle, throwing grit in everyone's face and ending the music. Everyone smiled and put their drums away.

  2. I was there at Chaco Canyon too, Along with about a dozen of our 'Galactic' community from Phoenix. We camped up on the upper plateau with 2,000 other HConvergers. The most awesome part was after dark on Saturday Night when ABC News from LA and their film crew (never saw the footage)setup flood lights for The Procession. A white witch, by the name of OZ, came down from Taos and brought some beautiful feather masks for the gathering ceremony. She asked us to line up and follow a spiral into a central fire pit. As we slowly spiraled inward... the crowd of about a thousand, kicked up dust that lingered in the flood lights...causing a kind of surreal mystical atmosphere. We were near the front and ended up in the core where OZ lit the sacred fire and began chants and ceremony that rippled out from the crowd. It felt like we were on a movie set filming some sifi movie on a distant planet. The weekend was a milestone in our lives and apparently on the planet as well. And now 30 years later, we are again at a moment of choice. May we all awaken and prosper into the next version of Life on Earth.