The 2012 Movement, Visionary Arts and Psytrance Culture

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13 Citations (Scopus)


As these examples illustrate, 2012 prophecy and mythos, and in particular the date of 21 December 2012, has achieved gravitas within psytrance music and culture, a signicance echoed in the prodigious weight of material (such as books, websites, lms) evincing proliferating interpretations laying claim to this year (and date) at the end of the Long Count calendar of the Yucatec Mayan civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.4 Rooted in Full Moon events held on the beaches of Goa, India (from the 1960s) and incubated within “Goa trance” scenes ourishing around the world from the mid-1990s, psytrance has proliferated globally (see St John 2010a). Demonstrating inheritance from the ecstatic and reexive pursuits of the 1960s counterculture, developing independent music production technologies, and harnessing the communication capabilities of the Internet, psytrance is an electronic dance music culture (EDMC) whose larger international festivals are among the most culturally diverse music and dance events globally. This chapter addresses the signicance of 21/12/12 for participants in psychedelic trance culture, for whom 2012 is less an apocalyptic end time than a new beginning (or dawning). I demonstrate that 2012 is symptomatic of a cultural movement determined to resolve existential, ecological and humanitarian crises, and is, as such, an expression of the desire for global consciousness change-an evolutionary dawning that has been associated with the New Age since the 19th century (the Theosophists), but which achieved a signicant leap in the 1960s when the Mayan Long Count calendar entered the countercultural lexicon and gave inspiration for the movement for a “new time.” This chapter addresses this development with attention to the interventions of both José Argüelles (who initiated the Planet Art Network, PAN and its Dreamspell Calendar) and Terence McKenna (who invented the novelty theory Timewave Zero), whose ideas have been adopted within a contemporary visionary arts movement. With culturally diverse international music and dance events, psytrance has become a staging ground for the interrelated quests for calendar change and new consciousness. Investigating how the inspired commitment toward psychocultural redress is mobilised within alternative culture, I address the role of psytrance in this transnational revitalisation movement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2012
Subtitle of host publicationDecoding the Countercultural Apocalypse
EditorsJoseph Gelfer
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315728841
ISBN (Print)9781845536398
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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