The Millennium Myth Guides Our Way

We all have within us a grand story of endings and beginnings. As we enter the seventh millennium of human history, we sense intense urgency about the fate of life as we know it. According to Michael Grosso, author of The Millennium Myth: Life and Death at the End of Time (Quest Books), whatever form the ever-recurring Millennium Myth takes, it "satisfies a deep need for a vision of transformation."

The Millennium Myth has popular roots in the twentieth chapter of John's Book of Revelation. Even earlier than John, Daniel of the Old Testament prophesied about bodily resurrection. Earlier still, Zoroaster, the Iranian prophet of the sixth century B.C., predicted that death would be conquered and people would survive solely on spiritual energy.

Later, in the twelfth century, in his Book of Concordances, Joachim of Fiore, an Italian abbot, writes of three progressive epochs of spiritual evolution. Corresponding these to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he envisions humanity moving from an age of fear to one of faith, and ultimately, to one based on love.

The Italian Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophers also contributed to Millennium Myth ideology. Anticipating transformation via the forces of human creativity and rationality, respectively, they directly tap into the Myth's irrepressible energy.

It is America, though, that has provided the Millennium Myth with unparalleled possibilities. Most recently, the New Age Movement has sparked a search for spiritual renewal. Exploring such areas as holistic health, the Gaia hypothesis, poleshifts, divination, cryonics, holographic universe models, and Near Death Experiences, New Agers hope to transcend a strong sense of fragmentation by producing a new enlightened model of reality.

The Myth has had its dark side too. Apocalyptic idealism expressed politically as a simplified "good" and "bad" peoples has had devastating consequences (e.g., fascism). And modern technology, experimenting with bioengineering and new environments, creates a precarious relationship with nature.

The Millennium Myth may indeed be a blueprint of the future, a path to a whole new dimension. As we redefine our relationships to each other, to our universe, and to life itself, then violence, and even death, may actually be overcome by the tremendous power of love. The evolving meaning of the Myth depends on how we choose to work with its transformative, vision.

(Digest by Marcia Nolle, Atlantic University.)