The Harmonic Convergence
August 16, 1987, or harmonic convergence, marks the ending of this period of descent and oppression and, for many interpreters, the beginning of a rapid period of transformation as we head toward the end of the great cycle that finishes on December 21, 2012. Though Shearer named the harmonic convergence date, he saw it as the end of the fifth world of the Aztec prophecy and the beginning of the sixth world. It was Jose Argüellés, the author of the bestselling book The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology, who coined the term harmonic convergence and helped turn it into what became a remarkable, globally networked, grassroots event and defining moment in the creation of the New Age movement.
Argüellés had been a founding director of the Whole Earth Festival in the 1970s and understood how to reach out to networks of people and media outlets in a way that captured the popular imagination. Once the initial message spread, others repeated it and joined in. Word spread virally, and people were encouraged to go to a place they considered to be sacred wherever they lived and gather with others to welcome in a new time of global harmony. Many people gathered at locations like Stonehenge, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Shasta, Sedona, Glastonbury, and other places they considered to be power spots on Earth.
One belief about harmonic convergence was that if 144,000 people gathered, it would successfully usher in a new age. This number not only refers to the number of the elect that is mentioned in the Bible's Book of Revelation, but is also the exact number of days in one baktun of the Long Count.
Harmonic convergence was a significant success, but not many of the participants knew very much about the origin of the prophecy they were acting out or the end date of the Mayan calendar. It was Shearer's interpretation of the prophecies of Quetzalcoatl, himself a Toltec leader and invader of the Mayan lands, which gave rise to this date, rather than the Maya themselves.
Calculating the Date
Shearer's calculations of the date have also been shown to have a questionable basis. It has often been claimed that Cortez arrived on the day Ce Acatl or One Reed in the Aztec Calendar. The significance of this is that the day is associated with Quetzalcoatl. This, however, is not substantiated anywhere and corresponds to no known count of any of the calendars. The year 1519 in the Aztec calendar was Ce Acatl, so the idea is broadly correct. There is also a 117-day discrepancy between nine calendar rounds and the number of days between Easter Sunday 1519 and the harmonic convergence of 1987. Shearer attempts to explain this apparent 117-day error by saying that it corresponds to the period between Cortez landing and his confronting Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztec empire. Nonetheless, the numbers don't seem to work out. The date of the harmonic convergence appears to have been decided upon intuitively, rather than mathematically. It certainly doesn't have the same kind of scholarly foundation as the December 21, 2102 end date of the Mayan calendar.
Despite these details, Shearer had the insight to appreciate the essence of the prophecy and turn it into something that people could relate to. To link Quetzalcoatl's prophecy of thirteen heavens and nine hells to this general time period does seem broadly credible, even if the date is not exact.
The Return of Quetzalcoatl
The reinvention of Quetzalcoatl has become a powerful symbol not just for the indigenous people of Central America, but also for Hispanic and native peoples in North America and South America. Many other indigenous cultures have similar myths of a divine hero who returns in times of need, like the legendary Viracocha of the Inca.