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2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  1,599 Ratings  ·  285 Reviews
Read Daniel Pinchbeck's posts on the Penguin Blog

Cross James Merrill, H. P. Lovecraft, and Carlos Castaneda -each imbued with a twenty-first-century aptitude for quantum theory and existential psychology-and you get the voice of Daniel Pinchbeck. And yet, nothing quite prepares us for the lucidity, rationale, and informed audacity of this seeker, skeptic, and cartographer
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 4th 2006 by Tarcher (first published 2006)
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Sep 24, 2008 Charissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the bored, the curious
Recommended to Charissa by: I have only myself to blame
Yeah, I know, but I had to. So. Much. Crack.

Actually, at first, I was kind of impressed with Daniel Pinkchbeck. He knows a lot of big words, for one thing. And how to sling them around. Son of an NYC artist and a NYC writer... he was bound to wind up a little pretentious around the edges. But he makes up for it by doubting himself at every turn. Because he's also neurotic. Just the right kind of person to injest copious amounts of hallucinogens. Oh, and then combine extensive reading in the subj
May 13, 2010 Alex rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the unintelligent and easily manipulated
Shelves: mythology, religion
this guy is a fucking idiot. i'm forcing myself to finish this because i need to see where he ends up. after a promising start, the book cruised straight downhill into a pile of endless shit.
um, buddy, guy, dude, you've based your stupid book on widely (and I mean WIDELY) discredited pseudoscience and touchy feely new age drivel. i'd be laughing while reading this if it wasn't so infuriatingly tragic that people believe this garbage. uh, you do understand that science is based on that which is
Jul 13, 2008 Dylan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: critical minds willing to occasionally visit the new age/occult bookshleves
Recommended to Dylan by: Hannah
This is a book about metaphysics, which I found eerily fascinating. Pinchbeck's key premise, which he arrived at through his own experiences beginning with his experimentation with psychedelics, is that consciousness is not just a product of matter, an epiphenomenon of brain functions. Instead, he asserts that mind and matter are inseparable and are in fact interactive. With the ideological landscape swept clean by Nietzsche's general refutation of the modern Western worldview Pinchbeck finds ...more
Nov 15, 2009 Manny rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Men Who Hate Women
Recommended to Manny by: No one, thank goodness.
If I had wanted to read a memoir by an anti-monogamy commitment phobic, I would have picked up a book with the title "Why I Hate Women," because this is the ultimate subject of this anti-feminist screed masquerading as current events non-fiction.

While the author mentions a few relevant facts about the Mayan calendar in the beginning, most of the book is dedicated to his world travels in search of psychedelic intoxication which he believes gives him "special insight" in the coming apocalypse. Th
Nicole ( Colie )
Pinchbeck is one of those scholars who, without losing sight of his end-goal, manages to take himself and his reader on a macro-tour of alternate universes simply by virtue of mind that rejects no thing. Though I'll admit I found his character less than appealing, I admire his ability to cohesively cross disciplines and present already-stigmatized information in such a manner that it becomes new, more urgent, and that it may manifest an amount of hope for a future that differs in some way, any ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Bo rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: park bench mutations
wow. never has a book i was enjoying and interested in lost me so quickly. talk about unreliable narrators. pinchbeck is a piece of work- he loses all principles of journalism and objectivity in spectularly ridiculous fashion; he himself stresses the importance of journalistic objectivity and healthy scepticism early on in '2012,' when writing about subject matter which is considered dubious or occult by society's standards. He does this by basically declaring himself a prophetic vessel for ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Pinchbeck's 2012 is his journey to understand the human psyche through the use of psychedelics, explorations of crop circle's, and even analyzing alien abductions. Yes, it is just that bizarre, but many moments of synchronistic events took him there. The main theme of the book is that the end of the Mayan calendar and even the biblical apocalypse of the Book of Revelations is not the end of days but the end of an era marked by a shift in humanity’s consciousness. A shift that he believes can be ...more
Mar 03, 2008 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved, loved most of this book. although, the last bit is frustrating, and by the end, although i really enjoyed 90% of it, the guy struck out with:
1. whining about his "partner"
2. whining about a "priestess."
3. pointless information about burning man (he has an epiphany that some of the people there are not actually spiritual seekers, but are superficial people on drugs.)
minus that strike-out snafu, he ends it with the current plight of the hopi indians which is gut wrenching. it's too bad
Jan 14, 2012 Steve rated it it was ok
When you have a fuzzy understanding of everything, you get a book like this. Pinchbeck takes everything at face value (from Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to quantum mechanics to the space-time continuum to the entire Hindu religion), which comes off as the definition of "spreading yourself too thin", and though I don't doubt for a second that our author is a very smart man (or at least, earnest in his research) everything--and I mean everything--reeks of "DUDE CHECK OUT WHAT I JUST READ ON ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 11, 2014 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pinchbeck fans
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: religion
After the hype of the book's cover, this was a disappointment. I was hoping for some explanation and defense of Mayan cosmology--though not really expecting it--or of McKenna's "time-line zero" theory, which I'd always thought was crazy despite my sffection for McKenna. Instead I got a lot of mumbo jumbo which basically amounted to "2012" as a metaphor for the current, on-going crisis which remains unlikely to be resolved.
Mar 15, 2009 Annie rated it really liked it
Before reading this book, I assumed it would be an embarrassing read, aimed at forwarding some sort of New Age agenda, or perhaps a dry treatise on a manifestation of apocalypse ideology in popular culture.

I found that, while I couldn't really stand the author's self-centered ranting on the demands of monogamous relationships, I really enjoyed reading this. It opened up my mind to certain aspects of mysticism and I understood, because of the way the book is presented, that you can be a casual to
Paul culp
Jun 13, 2007 Paul culp rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Time to fuck with your mind a bit. I'm all for it. Mind's were meant to be fucked with. I have been a little obsessed with 2012 for a while now and when I accidently knocked this green gem off the shelf at Barnes and Noble while looking for Chuck P's latest I gave into synchronicity and bought it.

Daniel Pinchbeck is alright. He's a competent writer and pretty intelligent, though he's no Terrence Mckenna. The book is a gathering of facts that range from Shamanism and psychedelics to crop circles
I mean, what's there to say? This is the craziest, strangest, and perhaps most astonishing book I've read. Though many reviews were harsh, choosing to focus on the narrator's narcissism or delusion, I chose to look at it another way. Is he crazy? perhaps. Does he do enough drugs to kill a horse? yep. Does he jump in hyperspeed from alien abduction to fairie kingdoms below the earth to the Mayan calendar to ecological conservation? indeed. Was it endlessly fascinating and thought provoking? YES. ...more
Natalie Armstrong
Jan 03, 2012 Natalie Armstrong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
When I tell people I love this book, it's not even because I can get behind a lot(or really any) of the ideas Pinchbeck presents. I just find it absolutely fascinating that someone could present these ideas on alien encounters, hallucinogenic drugs, the Mayan calender, the downside of the Gregorian calender, singularity, and fucking space shamanism, in such a convinced manner. I read this book as pure entertaining fiction. I read it as many atheists read the bible as an entertaining piece of ...more
Randolph Welty
Jul 01, 2008 Randolph Welty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will blow your mind, but in a good sort of way. Weaves together such seemingly divergent topics as crop circles, Carl Jung, Burning Man, Rudolf Steiner, and more post millennial strangeness, into a seamless memoir that retains its readability while still remaining among the more thought provoking journeys one can undertake through words. A worthy successor to Breaking Open The Head, and anyone who enjoyed that fantastic treatise on psychedelics and neoshamanism will enjoy this book as well.

Jan 26, 2009 Kevin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
total, pointless junk. talk to a real ajkin (mayan date diviner) and he or she will call this white control. important to note that mayan time evolved outwards, ie: ka'tuns were the first period developed (20 years) and they noted when clan leadership was to be transferred without conflict. as date-keeping elongated (the records moved into 100's of years), the longer spans were added. longer spans included shifts beyond political control, things like adding a planned city departure so that a ...more
Jan 09, 2009 Jason rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I realize I'm being very scathing, but the title needs to be reworked to differentiate a scientific/historical (in reverse) study from this book. Short of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, this is the most painful book I've ever tried to read. The book is about one of the author's many many many drug fueled excursions, and consists of him unabashedly talking about his accomplishments. I thoroughly read the first 25-30pages, then read every 5 pages, then every 20, then started skimming.

Hannes Holmquist
Jun 19, 2014 Hannes Holmquist rated it it was ok
Daniel Pinchbeck uses a wild excess of difficult words, there really is no need for it since he clearly is addressing the mainstream population of readers and not scholars

What begins as a somewhat interesting exercise in thinking outside of the box soon derails into layer upon layer of 'I'm not trying to convince you but here's the evidence'
Like the people he has studied he himself has had a very familiar relationship with all kinds of psycadelics
I put it down on page 290, not the least bit inte
Nov 01, 2007 SeaGreen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: skeptics
Such a wealth of information. If you can deal with Pinchbeck leaping around (sometimes erratically) between topics, it has a lot to offer. One of my favorite theories involves the greys, the aliens and flying saucer abductions in pop culture being a collective unconscious reaction to our divine repression. The evidence that crop circles are real is awesome. And mental institutions have, historically, had periods of mania every 13 years due to the effect of solar flares acting up on schedule. The ...more
Dec 02, 2007 Vanessa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
fascinating, eclectic, weird. i was really into his musings on 2012, ayahuasca, shamanism, crop circles and thought it was interesting to see the synchronicities within his own experiences and with all the similar stuff i've been reading and exploring regarding the Mayan calendar and the shift to higher consciousness that is coming. he got to be a little annoying--pretentious, self-involved, clueless man-problems with hijacking spirituality for his sex-drive and ego, but hey...he's only human.
Mar 10, 2009 Mattprops rated it liked it
Heavy stuff. A look into the Mayan prophecy that Dec. 21 2012 will usher a great change to the Earth and humanity as a whole. Some say it is the end of days - some say it is the next stage in human spiritual/metaphysical evolution. This book explores all thought and debate on this topic...Fascinating stuff - just a little dry of a read.
Dec 16, 2009 Benedict rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: on a personal, spiritual journey
Shelves: 2012
A personal journey in search of transforming consciousness with a little help from Mayan Deity Quetzalcoatl, just in time for the fireworks of 2012!

Pinchbeck applies his extensive literary craftsmanship to weave a lusciously layered multi-topic tome built on intertwining Fibonacci spiraling column chapters of poetically ruminating prose...
Angus McKeogh
Sep 15, 2015 Angus McKeogh rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I'd give zero stars if it was an option. This was actually recommended by Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. Love their music but Chris's reading tastes are for shit. This book was more atrocious than I can even convey. Terrible!!! Myopic!!! Stupid!!!
W.E. Neill
Oct 11, 2016 W.E. Neill rated it really liked it
He wants to save the world, but he also kinda wants to get his rocks off; rather, an aztec deity in his head wants him to get his rocks off. He's just your average shaman trying to meet that work/life balance AND battle occult forces that he unintentionally unleashed during psychedelic experimentation. Also starring: the elves!

I'd give this book five stars but he failed to incorporate bigfoot, AND THAT'S WHERE THE ULTIMATE MYSTERY REALLY STARTS.
Jul 10, 2013 Byron rated it it was ok
Shelves: journalism
This book is about (or at least I expected it to be about) the ancient Maya Calander that ended in the year 2012, various people took this to mean 2012 will be the year we see either the "end of the world" or the "end of the world as we know it" I read this before 2012, not thinking the world would end but interested in looking at how this idea has caught on among the fringe of modern society. Pinchbecks book however spends very little time on the Maya Calander, its in there alright, but along ...more
Feb 27, 2009 David rated it really liked it
Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head and co-editor of Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age (which I previously reviewed), has presented a collection of 2012-related information with his work 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatal. Once again, this is a double-edged sword for his readers. He gathers a wide variety of information. His main subjects include crop circles, Mayan prophecies, psychedelic drug-induced visions, modern uses of technology and philosophical concepts from Jung ...more
Jan 19, 2012 John rated it it was ok
This author sort of does things his own way. He doesn't take trips around the world doing research for a book, and then compile his research into a book. Instead, he takes trips around the world doing research for a book, and then writes a book about all his travels. And in the midst of his travelogue, he waxes eloquent on the topics of research for his book. This is problematic for two reasons.

First, because he never compiles his research into a book, he sort of side-steps the whole process of
Oct 06, 2010 Sheehan rated it really liked it
So first off, this book is NOT about the end of the world...maybe the end of the world as we currently understand it, but not just fire and brimstone death and dismemberment, so that was encouraging.

In fact, Pinchbeck traces his personal journey to understand various apocalyptic prophecies in the context of the Mayan return of the Snake God "Q" (I'll just misspell it a bunch so we'll use "Q" instead).

Well researched, the book explores many congruent belief systems which all have similar harbing
Nov 20, 2012 Graham rated it it was ok
Interesting but really fragmented collection of ideas. Some of it is really fascinating - I like the elements discussing the quantum nature of the universe (in language understandable to somebody as relatively scientifically illiterate as I am) and its relationship to spirituality, just as a lot of the ideas about egalitarianism in the face of increasingly oppressive socio-political machinations are always welcome.

The problems with this book are manifold, however. Pinchbeck relies heavily on th
Dec 12, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, spiritual
Well despite how much I might want to like Dan Pinchbeck, his book leaves me unsatisfied. I agree that there are more thngs in heaven and earth than may be explained by simple material reductionism. I don;t even really discount his own subjective experience, after all, I've had a few of these kinds of inexplicable-any-other-way times myself. But not being one of these "end of the world is coming! All hail the great Serpent God!" people, I find it hard being worked up over this particular ...more
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dwa 1 6 Apr 03, 2012 10:49PM  
The Book Challenge: Sadaf's 2012 Challenge 3 8 Jan 15, 2012 10:51AM  
SPOILER::Let's Get Pretentious-Messianic Narrators, can they ever not smack of ego?::SPOILER 2 45 May 06, 2008 05:58AM  
Daniel Pinchbeck: Offspring of von Danekin & Burroughs? 1 19 Mar 15, 2008 02:25AM  
  • The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies & Possibilities
  • The Archaic Revival
  • The Psychotropic Mind: The World According to Ayahuasca and Iboga
  • Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals
  • Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date
  • The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens & the I Ching
  • Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics & Other Spiritual Technologies
  • Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End
  • The Mayan Code: Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind
  • The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness
  • Animal-Wise: The Spirit Language and Signs of Nature
  • Shamanic Journeying
  • Sacred Vine of Spirits: Ayahuasca
  • The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
  • Right Where You Are Sitting Now
  • Maya Cosmos
  • Serpent of Light: Beyond 2012 the Movement of the Earth's Kundalini and the Rise of the Female Light, 1949 to 2013
  • The Center of the Cyclone: Looking into Inner Space
Author Daniel Pinchbeck has deep personal roots in the New York counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s. His father was an abstract painter, and his mother, Joyce Johnson, was a member of the Beat Generation and dated Jack Kerouac as On the Road hit the bestseller lists in 1957 (chronicled in Johnsons bestselling book, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir). Pinchbeck was a founder of the 1990s literary ...more
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