Accepted paper:

How Contactee and "invented Indian" mythologies influenced the New Age: Indians, alternative spiritual practices and the 2012 phenomenon in the Triangle of Bugarach (France's Area 51)


Véronique Campion-Vincent (Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris)

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents an overview of the exchanges between Indians coming to Bugarach (South-West France, Aude) to participate in spiritual workshops and of alternative spiritualists visiting sacred sites on the American Continent. It also describes the roots and blossoming of the 2012 phenomenon.

Paper long abstract:

After an evocation of two contactees of the 1950s who visited Peru to find traces of Mu and of the Ancient Incas, the paper presents some myths developed around Indians (cult of the Goddess through the Academia, Unity with Nature as exemplified in Chief Seattle's famous speech) which influenced New Age ideas and movements in Europe (example of the Rainbow Warrior) and stressed that only Non-Western models of wisdom could save our Earth doomed by Western materialism. Revitalizing the Age of Aquarius hopes of the 1970s, by the late 1980s, a new era was expected to arrive on December 21, 2012. This date was said to correspond, in the Maya calendar of the Classic era, to the end of the Long Count, a cycle of some 5126 solar years. This reference to 2012 was adapted à la carte in the leaders' different messages, some expecting the return of the Mayas from the Cosmos. At the same time, hostile French authorities claimed to fear collective suicides of disappointed spiritualists. Drawing on anthropological studies, self-presentation literature and participant observation, the paper discusses and analyzes the interactions between alternative spiritualists of Indian and non-Indian origins in The Triangle of Bugarach where a whole industry of workshops and pilgrimages to the sacralized peak had developed and was enhanced when some authorities pretended that the peak was to be saved from a universal disaster in 2012, thus developing tourism. Most alternative spiritualists had rejected the disaster idea and adapted easily to this non-occurrence.

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Making a better future with ancient pasts: heritage and utopia in neo-paganism and neo-shamanism