Prophetic Philosophy
and the Cycles of Time

Outline for Presentation at the Global Shift conference, Louisville, KY, April 26-28.

John Major Jenkins


I. Prophetic Utterances From Finland to Egypt.


1. Prophecy. What is prophecy? Prophecy is not prediction. Prediction vs. Prophecy; different types:


·        A prediction: “it will rain next week”. 

·        “The sun will rise tomorrow” = just knowing about time cycles.

·        “I will die soon or your marriage will fail” = a hex (projection of bad wish or fear).

·        “I will one day be president” = highest intention for manifestation.


Prophecy is much more than just saying something that actually happens; and prophecy is not prediction.  When we look at doctrines in the prophecy category, especially as it relates to eschatology or the end of time, we will see some common threads that will help us understand what prophecy is.  


2. Väinämöinen’s Prophecy or Väinämöinen’s Return.


Väinämöinen walked away,

Walked away down to the seashore

There he sang his last enchantment:

Conjured up a copper boat

Closed-in vessel decked with copper

            There he sat, steering seaward

Out upon the clear sea surface.

As he sailed he went on speaking,

And he said as he was leaving:


“Annapas ajan kulua,                   “Let the rope of time run out —

Päivän mennä toisen tulla,             One day go, another come —

Taas minua tarvitahan,                  And again I will be needed.

Katsotahan, kaivatahan                They'll be waiting, yearning for me

Uuen sammon saattajaksi,            To bring back another Sampo,

Uuen soiton suorijaksi,                 To invent another harp,

Uuen kuun kulettajaksi,                Set a new moon in the sky,

Uuen päivän päästäjäksi,              Free a new sun in the heavens

Kun ei kuuta, aurinkoa,                When there is no moon, no sun

Eikä ilmaista iloa.”                        And no gladness on the earth.”


So old Väinämöinen sailed,

Sailed out in his copper vessel

In his wingéd copper boat

To the upper worldly regions

To the lowest of the heavens.

            There he halted with his vessel,

Rested weary in his boat

But he left his harp behind

Graceful instrument to Finland

Joy eternal to the nation

And the great songs to its children


Features: At end of cycle the Deity leaves, but promises to return; leaves behind wisdom for guidance.


3. Volsunga Saga. (From The Masks of  Odin).


The Kalevala is graceful at the transition (though it occurs after the eschatological drama of Runo 42), but the Norse Eddas are dramatic and destructive. However, even this hides a deeper truth. The Voluspa, the Sybil’s prophecy, is probably the most famous Viking myth dealing with the end of time and prophecy. It gives a vivid description of Ragnarok – the end of cycle events. As Elsa Brita Tichenell writes in The Masks of Odin:


Ragnarok has been translated as “the age of fire and smoke”, but there is a better interpretation of the word. Ragna, plural of Icelandic regin (god or ruler) and rok (ground, cause, origin) is the time when the ruling gods return to their root, their home, at the end of the world. The horrors depicted as accompanying the departure of the gods are indeed chilling, punctuated by the howling of the hound of Hel, but this is not the end. After the toppling of the world Tree, the Voluspa continues to describe the birth of a new world and the dawn of anew Golden Age. Irreversible finality is not found in the myths.”


The gods depart and the gods return in endless cycles. Let us read from the Prophecy of the Seeress, the Voluspa:


Here me, all ye Holy Kindred

Greater and lesser sons of Heimdal!

You wish me to tell the ancient tales

O Father of seers, the oldest I know


(Note: She is telling of ancient wisdom, like the Kalevala’s “stores”). It goes on with a recounting of the Creation of the world; then…


An ash tree stands,  I know, by name Yggdrasil

That tall tree is watered by white icicles daily

Thence come the dew that drops in the dells

It stands ever green above Urd’s well


Motif of World Tree, like the Sampo in the Kalevala; astronomy and cosmology is present here.


Thence come maidens who know much

Three from the hall beneath the tree:

One was named Origin, the second Becoming

These two fashioned the third, named Debt


(Three norms or Goddesses at base of World Tree – past present, future)…


They established law

They selected lives

For the children of ages

And the fates of men


She remembers the first slaying in the world

When Gullveig was hoist on a spear

Thrice was she burned and thrice reborn

Again and Again – and yet she lives.


She could mean here that the three norns are really one – the triple goddess that lives or is) the Tree Yggdrasil. On the other hand, this might refer to the seeress referring to herself with a dissociated witness consciousness in the third person. The first slaying refers to the original sin, the fall process begins. “She” was destroyed and was thrice reborn – meaning three world ages passed, but also we hear an echo of Thrice Great Hermes.


The mighty drew to their judgment seats

All holy gods to hold council

Should the Aesir alone atone the wrong

Or all the gods make reparation?


The Aesir are the ruling gods; thereafter time progresses, increasing strife occurs,  and the forces of good and evil come to battle at the end of time…


Garm howls at the Gnipa-hollow of Hel

What is fixed loosens, and Freke runs free

She grasps much, but I see more:

To Ragnarok and the Victory-god’s hard death struggle.


Brothers shall battle and slay one another

Blood ties of sister’s sons shall be sundered

Harsh is the world. Fornication is rife,

Luring to faithlessness the spouses of others


The dying world tree flares

At the sound of the shrill trump of doom

Garm howls at the Gnipa-hollow of Hel

What was fixed loosens, and Freke runs free

The tree is overturned, In titanic rage

Yormungandir (THE MILKY WAY) writhes

Whipping the waves to froth

With a roaring in the ancient tree

The giant is loosened

The ash, Yggdrasil

Quakes where it stands.


This last passage (bolded) describes the uprooted and quaking of the World Tree, very similar to the amazing eschatology passage in the Kalevala:


Lemminkäinen took the Ox

Took the great Ox from the pasture

Plow too, from the meadows edge

With it plowed the Sampo’s roots up

Fastenings of the ciphered cover

Then the Sampo started moving

As the ciphered cover loosened.


The Sampo is the Finnish metaphor for the World Axis and the starry sky centered on the polestar. These are descriptions of precessional movement as the determining factor of World Age transitions!


Well, after the dust settles:


She sees rising another earth from the sea,

Once more turning green.

Torrents tumble, eagle soars

From the mountains seeking fish


The Aesir then meet on the Ida field

To judge the mighty Soil-Mulcher

There to recall their former feats

And the runes of Fimbultyr (The God of Secret Wisdom)


There are found in the grass

The wondrous golden tablets

That in days of yore

The ancient races had owned.


She sees a hall more fair than the sun

Gilded, glowing on Gimle

There shall the virtuous hosts abide

And joy in serenity for along ages.


Motifs: Again, the ancient wisdom runes or stone; The Aesir retreat the Ida field – like Väinämöinen, beyond the reach of earth. Rebirth of the world – insight into cyclic processes in nature. Is destruction necessary – yes, of that which has become no longer aligned with life. Earth cleanse. This is a “hard truth”, but death is a truth. The hope is in the teaching that is also consistent in these prophecies that a sacred knowledge survives, indeed never dies, because it is of eternal and universal character. It returns, or is recalled and rediscovered, during the next cycle.


4. Destruction of the Temple in Ezekiel; dwelling place of the divine shekina. Its rebuilding – this is what the restoration of Israel is about. The return of the divine presence to the earthly plane. Judaic cosmology: six millenniums followed by the seventh shemittot of reabsorption into the divine mind – due in AD 2340 because it is Year 6000. The Visions of Enoch:

The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling,
And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai,
And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens.

And all shall be smitten with fear
And the Watchers shall quake,
And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth.

And the high mountains shall be shaken,
And the high hills shall be made low,
And shall melt like wax before the flame

And the earth shall be wholly rent asunder,
And all that is upon the earth shall perish,
And there shall be a judgment upon all (men).

But with the righteous He will make peace.

Note: Enoch ascended to heaven and became Metatron, angel of the countenance and scribe of god, an archetypal parallel to Hermes and Manu.

5. There are many other prophetic traditions in the Judeo-Christian context; apocalypses were common in the apocrypha literature. Revelation of John of Patmos from the Bible. Some motifs: Astronomy in Revelations, timing of precession, angles in the four quarters, 7 lamps or seven seals = seven charkas; 4 beasts = four cardinal directions = alignment eras:


Second coming, linear, Judgment Day, a literal and unsophisticated model adapted into a Christianity that had other goals of world domination. However, these Neoplatonic ideas developed into a Prophetic Philosophy in Islam:


6. Islam is a Prophetic Philosophy. The works of Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Henry Corbin, illuminate the mysteries. Muhammed, referred to as The Prophet, is really recognized as the last in a line of six or seven prophets within the current cycle. He is, however, the last one, and is called the “Seal” of the Prophets. His miraj or vision in the seventh century AD was the last dispensation given by God to mankind. The Prophet said: “Die Before You Die.” Summarized: Six prophets in the current cycle of manifestation: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad. Sometimes Hermes is recognized as a seventh. Each prophet is followed by 12 Imams during his era of reign. The prophets and their Imams each mediate divine shari’ah or knowledge; The Quran is the revealed knowledge for the current cycle. Within Twelver Shiism, the twelfth Imam departed or was occulted. His influence is felt invisibly until at the end of the cycle the Mahdi or twelfth Imam returns. All the elements of prophecy are here, but in Islam they were made into a philosophy and a religion.


7. Islam and Christianity have roots in ancient Egypt, which is evident when we read The Prophecy of Hermes. Grateful acknowledgment to Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy for granting permission to use here their translation that appeared in the book The Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs (Tarcher/Putnam, 1997). Their work can be explored more deeply at Timothy Freke's website and on the Jesus Mysteries website.


Extract from the Prophecy of Hermes:


The student of pure philosophy

Studies the sciences,

Not as fanciful theories, but as devotion to Atum —

Because they reveal a universe

Perfectly ordered by the power of number;

Because measuring the depths of the sea

And forces of fire

And magnitudes of physical things

leads to a reverent awe

at the Creator’s skill and wisdom;

Because the mysteries of music

Bear witness to the unsurpassed talent

of the Supreme Artist

who has beautifully harmonized

all things into a single Whole,

suffused with sweet melodies


To simply love Atum in thought

With singleness of heart,

And to follow the goodness of his will —

This is philosophy,

Unsullied by intrusive cravings

for pointless opinions.

But I forsee that, in times to come,

Clever intellectuals

Will mislead the minds of men,

Turning them away from pure philosophy. (Sophia perennis et universalis)

It will be taught that our sacred devotion was ineffectual

And the heart-felt piety

And assiduous service

With which we Egyptians honor Atum

Was a waste without reward.


Note: lower intellect and higher intellect. The "pure philosophy" referred to is the Sophia Perennis.


Egypt is an image of the heavens,

And the whole Cosmos dwells here,

in this its sanctuary —

But the gods will desert the earth

And return to heaven,

Abandoning this land

That was once the home of spirituality.

Egypt will be forsaken and desolate,

Bereft of the presence of the gods.

It will be overrun by foreigners,

Who will neglect our sacred ways.

This holy land of temples and shrines

Will be filled with corpses and funerals

The sacred Nile will be swollen with blood

And her waters will rise

Utterly fouled with gore.

And there is worse to follow…


O Egypt!

Nothing will remain of  your religion

But an empty tale

Which even your own children

Will not believe.

Nothing will be left

To tell of your wisdom

But old carved stones


Men will be weary of life,

And will cease seeing the universe

As worthy of reverent wonder.

Spirituality, the greatest of all blessings,

Will be threatened with extinction,

And believed a burden to be scorned.

The world will no longer be loved

As an incomparable work of Atum;

A glorious monument

To his Primal Goodness;

An instrument of the Divine Will

To evoke veneration

And praise in the beholder.


Egypt will be widowed.

Every sacred voice will be silenced.

Darkness will be preferred to light.

No eyes will raise to heaven.

The pure will be thought insane

And the impure will be honored as wise

The madman will be believed brave,

And the wicked esteemed as good.

Knowledge of the immortal soul

Will be laughed at and denied.

No reverent words worthy of heaven

Will be heard or believed.


So I, Thrice-Great Hermes,

The first of men to attain All-Knowledge,

Have inscribed the secrets of the gods,

In sacred symbols and holy hieroglyphs,

On these stone tablets,

Which I have concealed

For a future world

That may seek our sacred wisdom.


Through All-Seeing Mind,

I myself have been witness

Of the invisible things of Heaven,

And through contemplation

Come to knowledge of the Truth.

This knowing I have set down in these writings…


Here we have recapitulated once again the four features of prophecy (see below).


Other prophecies could be detailed,  e.g., the Hopi blue star (Hopi Tribal Prophecy; Oh Shinnar says the "Great Purification" will be over by  2011 (ref: Profiles in Wisdom on Dire Gnosis 2012 Books page) and says "it will be marked by the appearance of a new star"). Aztec prophecy of the Return of Quetzalcoatl (Frank Waters’ Mexico Mystique – loss and redemption generally, astronomical via New Fire, etc.) The Mayan Creation Myth isn’t a prophecy but is, somewhat like the Islamic tradition, a prophetic cosmology or mythology; see the Popol Vuh translation of Dennis Tedlock and material in my book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012.


Note: all these themes are in the Prophecy of Hermes – which we will now explore in greater depth.


II. The Four Features of These Prophecies.


Actually, three features, four aspects:


1. Cyclic time w/ ascent and descent phase.

2. Sophia perennis et universalis.

3. The prophet – the intellectual or visionary faculty that connects us to the divine or transcendent.


These can be explored more deeply:


1. Vedic yuga doctrine. Devayana-pitriyana phases / solstice gateways. This is really the key that links prophecy and precession / time cycles. It’s the Tai-Chi symbol!


2. Primordial Tradition – do reading from book. From Galactic Alignment (2002):


“What is the Primordial Tradition? Aldous Huxley called it the perennial philosophy, meaning an ageless wisdom that comes from a transcendent realm. Coomaraswamy preferred to call it sophia perennis et universalis: the eternal and universal wisdom. In general, it has come to be called simply the Primordial Tradition; Huston Smith even wrote a book by that name. Perennial means “eternally recurring or rebirthing.” Thus, even though the ancient wisdom may be forgotten, it will inevitably resurface again and again, because it is a wisdom based upon universal principles which operate whether or not human beings are directly aware of them.  The universal principles within the Primordial Tradition are those found in ancient sacred sciences; for example the geometrical cosmology of the ancient Egyptians, based on the square-root principles of two, three and five.[1] The Pythagorean school adopted a similar approach,  but the advent of rationalist Aristotelian philosophy signaled the dawn of a profane science which was out of touch with its metaphysical (transcendent) roots. The Primordial Tradition is thus not something invented by human beings. Based in eternal universal principles, it has always been what it is and it is left for human beings to discover it and integrate it as a guiding principle in the creation of social, religious, and political institutions. As it is today, modern civilization is out of touch with the Primordial Tradition and its institutions are based in man-made ideals, indicating a degenerate process of increasing alienation from our transcendent origin. And it is a process which removes us from the intimate vicinity of our source and center, to an extreme wasteland of alienation called Kali Yuga.  The idea of source and center is very important here, as well as our changing relationship to it over many eons.….


The Primordial Tradition is a state of mind rather than a distant Golden Age or ancient location. As a state of mind, the Primordial Tradition is accessible to any person or culture, at any time or place, without the aid of direct transmission through lineage or Atlantean antecedent. The deep truth of our search for lost “artifacts” is our desire to make visible a knowledge or mindset which is more comprehensive and fulfilling. As with the legend of Shambhala, which faded into invisibility as humanity lost the ability to see it, the Primordial Tradition fades but reemerges in places conducive to rediscovering and appreciating its profound depth and wisdom. This explains the ancient Maya's isolation and independent genius which nevertheless had tapped into the same doctrines also found in ancient Vedic and Egyptian cosmology.”


Regarding Shambhalla: Kalachakra Prophecy: From Dire Gnosis / Vincent Bridges:

Vincent Bridges writes:
"the Sakya-pa and Nyng-ma-pa schools have different ways of calculating, and the number of rulers is contradictory in many cases". Hence the 2 versions I had found ( a to e above), with the "final battle" in the reign of the 25th king in 2425 AD, or in the reign of the 32nd king in 3125 AD. However, Edwin Bernbaum, in his book, The Way to Shambhalla,  has cited "an early Tibetan source who supposedly made the journey and returned. He quotes the even older prophecy of Padmasambhava, giving the 5 x 12 x 16 formula". In other words, the AMET paragraph above is flawed, and should say, "... 960 years after its introduction into Tibet, which happened  in 1027..." instead of 860 and 1127. Jose Arguelles was inspired by the Bernbaum book, to connect 1987 into the Mayan calendar, by proposing the Harmonic Convergence of August 1987, and initially proposed the idea in his 1975 book, Transformative Vision.

Regarding Atlantis: Only to say that it sank long ago and the legend espouses its return (variation on the up-down process; there is astronomy in this as we will see in one of the slides; see “The Galactic Alignment and the Primordial Tradition” chapter in Galactic Alignment).


3. The Role of Prophet. Prediction vs. Prophecy. Avatars (Bachelet says every 6400 years). Evocation of highest or projection of deepest fear. Connector to transcendent – that inner faculty we all have, awakened and operating. We can all do this; be a prophet. Poetic muse is like this. 


The prophet goes to the ends of the world, his psyche is churning and he sees reflected in his inner dissolution a vision of the ultimate dissolution of the world. End of world visions, in this sense, is close to my heart as I endured a dark night of the soul at a young age, when I wrote hundreds of “doom” poems and “god” poems not unlike what we find in prophetic literature. Here’s an example:



A fanfare of prophets betrays earthly gaze
Of ignorant beastlings in their last days
A rumor of war keeps persuading my fever
To rise even higher and stifle the unbeliever
Within us all the One Higher writhes
Yet we beckon the tempter and through him, Thee dies
The perpetual churnings of day and night spinnings
Proves the importance of detaching from your winnings
For Nothing is forever, and all else dies
And within us is this Nothingness, can be seen in your eyes
The Nothing is forever, and simply because of this
Springs form and creatura, congealed from the mist

When the world dissolves and Nothing is left, and the slate is wiped clean so to speak, the Nothing becomes a fecund womb, a pleroma of infinite nothingness in which the seeds of future worlds can sprout.  Finite manifestation is a possible expression of the Infinite void. Yet it can be seen or experienced inwardly only after all conceptual structures crumble to the ground…. In one of my notebooks from when I was 18 years old, a poem entitled “Doomsay” describes for page after page a global desolation that would make Hieronymous Bosch shiver, but at the very end a saving grace occurs: 


The rambling prophet sickens
of his soon to be death visions
of omni obliterati
But he knows the last moment as always
will prove us all God and dying lovers

Guénon nailed the whole issue over fifty years ago. At that time, right before his death, he said the end of Kali Yuga was not long off. Another prophet of the Traditionalist school, Frithjof Schuon, said in a 1967 interview that it was about 50 years away. Guénon sums it up, for the ultimate terminal moment of the current historical cycle only appears to be the ‘end of the world’


to those who see nothing beyond the limits of this particular cycle.  … The end now under consideration is undeniably of considerably greater importance than any other, for it is the end of a whole Manvantara, and so of the temporal existence of what may rightly be called a humanity, but this, it must be said once more, in no way implies that it is the end of the terrestrial world itself, because, through the “reinstatement” that takes place at the final instant, this end will itself immediately become the beginning of another Manvantara. . ….. it can be said in all truth that the “end of a world” never is and never can be anything but the end of an illusion……..  error, illusion,  and darkness can enjoy no more than a specious and purely ephemeral triumph, and nothing can ultimately prevail against the power of truth; for our motto we should take the one adopted in former times by certain initiatory organizations: Vincit omnia Veritas.   Truth conquers All


III. Conclusion


In closing, a reading from the chapter of Galactic Alignment entitled “Cosmogenesis or Catastrophe”:


“So, yes, catastrophe for everything that is built upon a foundation of materialism, lies and unconscious death wishing. Unfortunately, this means primarily the prevailing Western paradigm. This also suggests that indigenous cultures that have made it to the threshold of the end-date are favored exemplars of survivability. They may be the true midwives of our rebirth into the next World Age, a birth attended like all births with the ripping asunder of the old womb-world and the tearing open of the old, spiritually-restricting value system.


This tearing asunder is akin to what happens when more energy breaks into a system; the effect is terrible, destructive, but ultimately opens up larger channels for heightened energy to flow in. The earth, as the location of a specific spectrum of consciousness-in-evolution, has been said to correspond with the fifth level of the Tibetan chakra system, the linguistic or Vishuddha chakra. We need to widen our mental framework to channel in the higher faculties that will allow this to happen. ….We can envision the “catastrophe of cosmogenesis” as an energy increase flowing through earth as it and our sun align with the Galactic Center. Our inner beings, and our inner energy centers, are vibrating in sympathy with the goings on in the larger galaxy….”

These are times of death and renewal, big questions, hard truths, and universal processes powerfully coming into play within a human culture that has lost its ability to appreciate its connection to such universal processes. What is now ending thus seems to be a paradigm that has already lost all sense of orientation, all sense of true being. Everything of value that might be lost in a purported global cataclysm has already been lost in the steep attrition of Kali Yuga. The materialist delusion has run its course.


The rambling prophet sickens
of his soon to be death visions
of omni obliterati
But he knows the last moment as always
will prove us all God and dying lovers


Copyright John Major Jenkins, except for material
cited from other sources. Written April 18 - April 20, 2002