In all the fuss over the upcoming date of December 21, 2012, the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mayan calendar, people seem to have forgotten similar excitement over the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. Back then, my wife, Pat Perrin, and I were publishing a newsletter that would eventually become our first novel, The Jamais Vu Papers. Our crack correspondent Upton Orndorf offered the following channeled account of this event, which we published as a special edition of our newsletter. Since it was channeled, of course, Pat and I needed to do no fact-checking—we could be sure that it was absolutely true. This story is now a bonus item in our new edition of The Jamais Vu Papers.
A channeled transmission from the Goddess Herself
as received by Upton Orndorf, Magister Templi,
The Ancient Order of the Brothers and Sisters of Thaumaturgy
(© 1987, 2010, by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin)
Quetzalcoatl was about ten light hours from earth when his tequila ran out. He wasn’t pleased. Space lag had deﬁnitely taken its toll. Now I don’t want to give the impression that tequila is a life-and-death matter. But running out in deep space is inconvenient. So when I met up with him at his landing-site in Pasadena, he was understandably tense.
“Where’s the tequila?” he asked, carefully concealing his space ship behind a rosebush.
“We’ll ﬁnd you some, buddy,” I said. “And welcome home.”
Call me Goddess. My actual name doesn’t translate very well in this peculiar, linear form of communication. This “channeling” routine has really got its limitations. The human race had planned a big event for August 16 and 17 of 1987. Quetz and I were eagerly awaited. They called it the Harmonic Convergence, and it sounded like fun. It’s not every millennium that you get an interstellar bash thrown in your honor. And Earth was moving out of its galactic beam into a synchronization phase, which always makes for a great party.
I was certain that tequila would ﬂow in honor of Quetz’s return. His grandchildren would come out to meet him in droves. It’s true that Quetz had sewn more than a few wild oats during his stay on Earth— producing the whole Mayan civilization just for starters. It would be an exquisite juxtaposition of family reunion and bacchanal. It would do the old boy’s heart good.
Quetz was supposed to return. I was supposed to emerge. Emerging sounded like a wonderful idea to me. Here I am, an innate and eternal force in every living protoplasmic cell on the planet, but for the last several thousand years people have acted like I wasn’t even around. And it was high time for Quetzalcoatl’s return. The giver of maize and the king of the golden age had been in exile much too long.
So we decided to personify. It’s fun for transcendent, archetypal energies like us to get anthropomorphic every once in a while, to come out of that stuffy old universal unconscious and let off a little steam. Taking the form of a god is like putting on a costume at Halloween. So we put on our traditional outﬁts. Quetz came as an extraterrestrial feathered serpent, traveling an imaginary journey across the stars. I came as the eternal earth mother.
How many thousands of years had it been since Quetz and I had personiﬁed? You’ve been studying all these calendars, you tell me. Anyway, it had been a long, long time. A lot of water had gone over the evolutionary dam since then.
Oh, Quetz and I had been a crazy pair in those days. Not mean or destructive, but just a little wild. We had no tolerance for solemnity or the ultra-serious. We’re older and wiser now, but we still get impatient with too much sober-mindedness.
Anyway, we appeared on earth at exactly sunrise on the sixteenth, and were pleased to see the festivities well under way. There was dancing, music, partying, rituals, chanting and the like—just like the old days. And folks were wearing costumes, too, which was a big help. A lot of the people were dressed up just like Quetz and me, so they didn’t even notice us in the crowd. We thought we’d mix for awhile before we introduced ourselves and got to be the center of attention. All seemed ﬁne and dandy at ﬁrst, except for one worrisome detail.
There was no tequila.
Now I don’t want to seem obsessive about this tequila thing, and I’m sure Quetz wouldn’t want to either. But tequila seemed to us the perfect substance to have on hand for this occasion. We were soon to learn just why tequila had lost its popularity on earth. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We hit a bunch of party-spots, old haunts for Quetz and me: Sedona, Mount Shasta, Woodstock, Glastonbury, Delphi, Mount Olympus, and Giza. Pretty soon, we got this feeling—just a feeling— that something was very wrong with this whole Harmonic Convergence deal. It wasn’t just the tequila. Something else was seriously missing. We weren’t sure just what.
We got on a boat off the California coast with some folks heading out to party with dolphins. Some lady, dressed up just like me, kept looking at the ocean and laughing from time to time. I thought it was sweet that she thought something was so funny, so I ﬁgured I’d get in on the joke. I do love a joke.
“What are you laughing for?” I asked.
“Because,” she replied with perfectly straight face, “humor is very important.”
Oh no, I thought. This is serious. This is really serious. This woman is laughing because humor is important—not because there’s a joke or anything worth laughing at. I mean, this is a woman who takes her sense of humor seriously. What must the dolphins think?
I told Quetz that we were deﬁnitely mixing with the wrong batch of party-goers, and he agreed. There was not a ﬁfth of tequila to be had. So we headed on over to an island in the mid-Paciﬁc. I forget it’s name, but it’s got a volcano. Quetz and I used to hang out there from time to time.
Things were no better. People knew all the party moves, but there was an aura of anxiety, as though something absolutely terrible was about to happen any second—like the volcano was going to go off, maybe. Why hold a party under a volcano if all you’re going to do is worry about it? Pick some place where you can let your hair down and relax. Obviously, all the old party spots had lost their magic. They made everybody uptight.
People tried very hard to be light-hearted and merry. It was all that trying that made the whole thing so flat-out silly. And everybody kept looking at the sky, like they expected a ﬂeet of ﬂying saucers to show up. We weren’t about to tell them where Quetz had parked his jalopy.
Now I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea about our expectations. We are not what you would call wild, party animals. Those days of leading Maenads across Asia are over and done with. What we had in mind was just getting together with some of the folks, maybe dancing and listening to some music, getting a little up-to-date on the news of the last few millennia, telling a few jokes, catching some rays, evolving a little, and quaffing a few ﬁfths of tequila.
Quetz ﬁnally got his hands on some bottles. He had to duck out of the festivities and stop at a nearby liquor store. We downed about a bottle and a half, and I must say it had a surprisingly deleterious effect.
You see, Quetz introduced tequila to this planet in the ﬁrst place, and the good stuff is very mellow indeed, possessed of a delightful, living, loving spirit who enters into you with a warm gush and whispers to you again and again and again: “You’re you! Congratulations!” It’s a very nice spirit, has no harmful side effects, doesn’t make you drunk or try to possess or control you. It’s just like getting together with a friend—which, indeed, is all the tequila spirit really is. It’s fun to do once in awhile, particularly if you’re in a celebratory mood.
When the legions from hell showed up in our bellies, we were altogether unprepared. Something very disagreeable has happened to your tequila supply. You should check into it.
Anyway, we had to do something to get rid of the awful feeling, so we decided to climb the volcano. We’d never experienced the complete and utter loss of motor coordination which accompanies the drinking of this rotgut tequila. At the summit, we stopped for breath and started feeling just a bit better.
Then Quetz fell into the volcano.
He thrashed around in the lava for a minute or so, and I quickly saw that he was too wasted to pull himself out. So I jumped in after him. When I dragged him out, all encrusted with rapidly congealed pumice, a crowd had gathered. I knew we’d blown our cover. No mistake about it—the whole island knew that Quetzalcoatl and the Goddess had indeed come back for the Harmonic Convergence.
There was a buzz through the crowd. “They’ve returned!” everybody was whispering.
“Look at these folks,” I whispered to Quetz, picking some of the rock off both of us with more than a little irritation. “These folks are acting like we’re ‘other’ or something.”
A man stepped forward. I could tell by his Magus outﬁt that he considered himself the guru for the whole dismal bunch. “We’ve waited so long for your return,” he said.
“That’s very ﬂattering,” I said. “But really, there was no need to wait around. We’re eternal aspects of yourselves. We’re metaphors, wonderful ﬁctions. The idea that we’re something ‘out there’ or ‘other’ is just an illusion. It’s all meant in fun. You folks act like you’ve never experienced a miracle or an epiphany or a visitation in your lives.”
I could tell by their blank expressions that I’d stated their case perfectly.
“Why would anybody wait around for a miracle?” I asked. “You can’t throw a rock in this cosmos without hitting something miraculous. The rock is miraculous. The fact that there is a cosmos is miraculous. If there wasn’t a cosmos, that would be miraculous too. What’s the matter? Are you afraid of wonder or something?”
I was on the verge of blowing my top. None of it made sense. Archetypal energies like us live in a state of non-stop wonder at the miraculous nature of being itself. Wonder is all we’re made of. It’s hard for us to imagine what it’s like to think of a miracle as something that happens once every couple of millennia. I tried to soften up just a little, and asked them what their problem really was.
They laid a big list on me. There was overpopulation, war, famine, a hole in a layer of their atmosphere, the threat of nuclear destruction, and a slew of stuff like that. It all sounded like a terrible hassle, but nothing insurmountable. They’d just been a tad bit neglectful, that’s all.
Quetz and I looked at each other and shrugged. “I guess you’ve got quite a lot of stuff to sort out, huh?” Quetz said to the crowd.
“But we asked you to come here so you could take care of all this,” said the Guru.
“Listen,” Quetz said, “why don’t you do what any other species does when it’s in a serious jam? Evolve.”
“But we can’t do it without you,” proclaimed the Guru, who was clearly starting to resent our presence.
Quetz and I did a major double take on that one. We were really getting embarrassed for these folks. Telling us we had to do their evolving for them was like saying they couldn’t go to the bathroom by themselves. It hit us that we’d been personiﬁed for several hours now, and hadn’t seen anybody evolve.
Then they tried to tell us they didn’t know how to evolve. I was ﬂustered and obviously not too helpful. “Well, you just—just evolve, that’s all. It’s like sleeping and waking up, you know? I mean, you are mutable, aren’t you? You don’t expect us to do your sleeping and eating and drinking for you, do you?”
I was starting to think that was exactly what they expected us to do. Starting today.
I did some fairly modest mutating to give them the idea, but they stared at me uncomprehendingly. I tried to explain. “Listen. It’s up to you. What kind of evolution do you want? Do you want to live longer so you can learn more? Maybe you need to grow bigger right brains. Or brighter chakras. Or senses of humor, for crying out loud. I’d put that one at the top of your list. Quetz and I will be glad to give you a hand, but you’ve got to make up your own minds.”
I could tell they didn’t have the ﬁrst idea what I was talking about. They said the only real evolution they’d ever achieved was because of us, and they needed us to do it for them again. Oh, there’d been some gradualistic stuff along the way, but nothing you could have any fun with while it was going on. There’d been no real episodes of punctuated equilibria for thousands of years, at least not since the good tequila ran out. They said some scientist in the last century said it was all accident anyway, and desire had nothing to do with it. They said they had been told that homo sapiens was the result of some ‘great cosmic evolutionary experiment’—which was absolutely true, of course, but why did the experiment have to end the minute we stopped being anthropomorphic?
“Try to see this from our point of view,” I said. “The idea that a species like yours would just stay immutable for thousands of years at a crack—well, it seems downright ornery, that’s all. I mean, it’s like a kid holding his breath until his face turns blue. Don’t think about it. Just do it. It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.”
I heard the disappointed sound of Quetz’s voice behind me.
“There’s no party here,” he said sadly. “They got us here on false pretenses.”
I turned to look, and Quetz was gone.
I hung around for an hour or so, trying to talk sense to somebody, but I gave up. This is how evolution gets all bogged down. This is how entropy gets underway. I’d seen it all before. Ostensibly advanced organisms give power to gurus, preachers, politicians, teachers, astrological timetables, stock markets, crystals, science, doctors, drugs, old myths and spanking new ones—all perfectly helpful things in their own way. But organisms end up giving power to everything except themselves. It makes for a lousy party. I set out trying to track down Quetz. I found him the next day on the Ocean Front Walk in Venice—the place in California, not that water-logged city in Italy. He was sitting at a table in the Sidewalk Cafe, sipping Perrier and chatting merrily with a bunch of humans.
“Hey, Goddess,” he yelled, waving at me. “Come on over! I’ve got a bunch of live ones here.”
I joined their table. There was, indeed, a healthy party atmosphere about the place. Venice felt like a perpetual Harmonic convergence. There was more than a little dancing, music, and weird costumes. But most important, there was a lighthearted exchange of feelings and ideas, and a general feeling of mystic and hallowed irreverence.
“We’ve been transforming and evolving to beat the band!” said Quetz. “Why, I’ll bet we’ve got a whole new species of earthling sitting at this table. It’s been a blast.”
We combed the Small World Bookstore, playing around with runes and hieroglyphs and the I Ching. Then we roamed the beach, laughing and telling jokes and other true things until dusk came. We didn’t ask these earthlings if they knew about the Harmonic Convergence. We didn’t care. They were genuinely interested in evolving. They weren’t looking for something “out there” to do it for them, but they did have a knack for enjoying archetypal company—and we enjoyed their company, too.
Quetz’s visa was scheduled to run out at midnight, so we headed back to Pasadena so he could get his wings.
And so we slipped out of our illusion of temporality and personiﬁcation, back into the higher intelligence of the DNA. The excursion had been well worth it. That’s about all there is to this story. We won’t say that the answer to the human condition is at Venice Beach, but it makes as good a sacred site as any. You might want to go there sometime.
We’re looking forward to personifying again, maybe when the Mayan Calendar runs out. But do us a favor when you plan the festivities.
Keep it funny.