The Doom Boom

Echo Bodine, a south Minneapolis psychic, sees it in people’s auras. She sees it in the number of angels and spiritual guides hovering around the living (“So many!”). She sees it in the number of calamities and catastrophes, and the number of people laid off, divorced, and dying.

According to Bodine these signs all point to a massive metaphysical shift, when the Mayan calendar, after 1,872,000 days, runs down (and out), on December 21, 2012. The date will be preceded by a rare astrological alignment: The sun will cross the galactic equator on the winter solstice, an occurrence that happens 30 times every 26,000 years.

“There’s going to be a big push in the next five years to clean up our karma,” Bodine told a crowd of roughly seventy-five at the Minneapolis Convention Center in November. The audience members paid 36 dollars to hear her speak at the annual Edge Life Expo. “There’s a high level of anxiety and turmoil in the atmosphere, it’s very intense. A lot of people are saying that 2012 is going to be the end of the world, but I would say it is the end of the world as we know it now.”

Bodine, fifty-nine, claims to have done her first healing in 1965, when she placed two hankies on her father’s forehead and cured his migraine. At the Expo, she looked like she was battling one herself. Her mannerisms and expressions were very tense—at one point she looked startled, and she explained that a spirit had grabbed her arm. Her hair, streaked with gray at the temples, was brushed back into a well-styled coif. She signaled to her assistant to turn up the lute music, then launched a group meditation.

After Bodine’s session, the crowd of mostly middle-aged women flowed out into the main rooms for the Expo, where they could get their chakras balanced, past lives cleared, animal spirits counseled, akashic records revealed, and auras painted in bright watercolors. More than 150 exhibitors had set up karmic booths, hoping to shake a few dollars out of the cosmos with their singing bowls, pendulums, silver-plated jewelry, and crystal prisms. Most reported doing very well; over the course of three days, 11,000 people would wander through the Expo’s exhibits.

In the middle of one aisle, an Iraq vet was hanging out at the Hemi-Sync booth, selling CDs that promise to alleviate sleeplessness, ADHD, and emotional trauma through “evocative sounds and specially blended frequencies.” When pressed about how the CDs work, the vet admitted, “I’m just standing here for a friend. But if you want something that really works, you should get a copy of The Secret.”

The University of Metaphysical Sciences booth was draped with Christmas lights and ropes of fake ivy, promising a bachelor’s degree in metaphysics with six weeks of written and audio lessons, followed by a master’s degree that, according to the brochure, “leads to creating a more professional image for your books, classes, practice, and other endeavors.” One booth was selling “Premium North Dakota Golden Flaxseed.” Another, carved emblem necklaces made of “genuine mammoth ivory, 14,000 to 40,000 years old.”

Deep in the sea of booths, Eric Waite, a 23-year-old from Lakeville, was handing out pamphlets and spreading the word about Maitreya, one of the purported “Masters of Wisdom” who is expected to hold a worldwide press conference (“probably within the next two years,” according to Waite) and communicate to all the peoples of the world, in their own language. “When that happens, everything in the world is going to be better,” insisted Waite, who was fresh-faced and clearly full of hope.

Waite, like the others in “Transmission Meditation” groups (held each week in Lakeville, Mankato, St. Paul, and Waseca) get their marching orders from a British New Age futurist named Ben Creme, best known for sending out a rash of videotapes to journalists during the millennial panic. Creme’s website, www.share-international.org, documents Maitreya sightings. For what it’s worth, the all-knowing entity has made appearances as a man in bicycle shorts in Baltimore, as a woman with golden hair in New York, and as a character in a white robe and red socks, sitting in front of the Bulgari jewelry store in Beverly Hills.

Edge Life Expo producer Gary Beckman isn’t necessarily a Maitreya follower, but he certainly believes in the 2012 phenomenon. It’s a topic he’d like to see his magazine, Edge Life (“the premier monthly magazine on holistic living in the Upper Midwest”), cover more thoroughly. Beckman’s a former computer salesman from Coon Rapids, and he foresees more workshops on 2012 at future Edge Life Expos, as well as at his newest holistic expo ventures in Fargo and Des Moines. “We’re helping to make people happier and we’re sharing some real good, clean spirituality that is not God-fearing, but God-loving,” wrote Beckman in the September 2007 issue of The Edge.

If the world did collapse in 2012, it would presumably be at the crest of a massive wave in sales for holistic products and services, which would make it sort of the ultimate good news/bad news scenario for people like Beckman.