New Age Believers Greet a New Day : For Many, Harmonic Convergence Becomes Personal Celebration

August 17, 1987|JONATHAN WEISMAN | Times Staff Writer

MT. SHASTA — High on this mountain in a spot known as the Ski Bowl, about 50 true believers formed three concentric circles Friday evening in preparation for the mysterious weekend event they are calling the harmonic convergence.

New Age spiritualists and philosophers, linking the prophecies of American Indians with the intricate workings of the ancient Mayan and Aztec calendars, for months had been predicting a special alignment of the planets and constellations on Sunday and today. That alignment, they said, would usher in either untold cataclysms or a new period of harmonic human spirituality.

"I want you to focus for the awakening," implored Emile Canning, leading the group on the mountain, one of several "sacred sites" around the world said to be most receptive to electric vibrations from space.

"For the awakening," they sighed in unison.

"They say in the prophecies that 144,000 sun dancers, 144,000 filled with light, filled with the sun, will bring on the New Age," he encouraged. "Allow yourself to become one of the 144,000, one of the dancing suns."

The oms began, a lilting chant that dipped and rose in the clear mountain air. A few outstretched hands waivered as if propelled by the tone. After two minutes, the chanting ended abruptly, as if on cue. A rumble sounded overhead. Heads rose.

Across the sky bolted two jet fighters flying from behind the surrounding mountain range.

It was, perhaps, a less-than-auspicious beginning to the prophesied watershed in human history, in which Earth was to begin entering a new phase that would restore the planet's "solar and galactic resonance."

But to the mountainside chanters, and to many of the estimated 5,000 people who jammed the mountain's slopes at daybreak Sunday, harmonic convergence proved not to be so much a question of an uncertain reality and epoch-making change as a celebration of human harmony.

"I don't know much about the Mayan calendar, and to tell you the truth, I don't care," explained one, Joyce Mauriello, an administrative assistant at the San Francisco French Bread Co. "It's not about that. It's just a festival of love."

The weekend, she said, would be whatever anyone wanted it to be; the important thing was perception.

And so it was.

As the sun jutted over the mountain's jagged ridges Sunday morning, 40 "convergers" held hands in a circle, their eerie chants cutting through the cold morning air. A New Age wizard, too deep in a trance to give his name, held his staff to the sun. Others clung to rocky outcroppings, meditating on peace at 6:30 a.m. For Faun, who said she had no last name or birth date, the dawn Sunday brought the destruction of all cars, all cities and all factories. Not for anyone else, she admitted; for most people, the cars that lined the road to the mountaintop were as real as ever.

But they weren't for her. Neither was her home in Santa Cruz, or Santa Cruz for that matter. "I'm never coming down from the mountain," she declared as she blew her reed pipe. "I'm sure there's plenty to eat up here. Maybe I'll kill someone. No, I better not do that. It's not my right."

The city of Mount Shasta, at the base of the mountain, was abuzz with word of a strange apparition that had appeared on the TV screen of writer Diane Boettcher. After watching "Maimi Vice" and "Crime Story" on Friday night, Boettcher ("being real spiritual," she joked) turned the channels in search of news about the harmonic convergence.

A Light That Blossomed

Before her, she claimed, appeared a bright light that blossomed into what she called an angel. Indeed, what could roughly be interpreted as a luminescent body with triangular glowing wings could be seen on the screen of her RCA 19-inch set Sunday morning, interrupted occasionally by horizontal bars.

Don Lovett, who described himself as a TV engineer from Amboy, Minn., in town for the convergence, was called in to check out the set. He pronounced the figure "an apparition materializing itself outside the rules of generated video signals."

"I just hope she never leaves," Boettcher said.

For a few, the cataclysms were very real and had already started.

Michael John, a former Idaho farmer and would-be novelist, said he saw them in the record flooding that hit Chicago on Friday and in torrential rains sweeping through Louisiana and Florida. The natural disasters to come, he said, will just be Mother Earth "shaking off the flea" of mankind's destruction of the environment.

But that, of course, is too great for the individual to perceive, he said Saturday evening as a group of 250 formed circles to sing, chant and meditate on world peace and rebirth.

'A Leap of Faith'

"We're all taking a leap of faith gathering just to stand in a circle," said John, "but there's more to it than meets the eye. If I could see out of all the eyes that are gathering now around the world, I would really be high coming down from this mountain."

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