by Michael Grosso Quest Books P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, IL 60189-0270 $22 + $4 s&h (384 pps)

At the crack of doom, many of us are confronting a kind of "catch 666." Either we can opt for one of the Judgement Day package deals currently on the salvation market: from the glib Rapture promised by Elizabeth Claire Prophet to Ashtar Command's assurance that a spaceship will whisk us to the Pleiades as the earth gets trashed to promises of designer immortality and cyberspace refuges which will harbor us from apocalypse. Or, we can fend for ourselves and ad-lib our eschatology. Some of us feel more than confused by the choices at hand and repulsed by the sleazy patina of gloom on most of them.

In Michael Grosso's The Millennium Myth, he suggests that we "double focus on the possibilities." That not all is dire or ludicrous about finality, that there is a certain energy - perhaps even a kind of force - that awaits in the eye of the endtime hurricane, an energy that we can immensely benefit from. In fact, the book suggests that the millennial myths are merely sustained Bardo projections that we must not flee from but rather squarely face if we are to be liberated. We can simply take in the illusion without the residual heed that is so operantly rooted in our souls.

From John of Patmas to Joseph Smith of Palmyra, from Thomas Muntzer to Charles Manson and David Koresh, from Tiamat to the Galactic Ambassadors, The Millennium Myth, charts the torments of our world's most prominent endtime prophets. The book refracts Grosso's ecumenical scholarship, unassuming and never ponderous. With every turn of the page of the millennial field guide there are fresher insights to be had. The author maintains an aesthetic distance from the rather trying myths that he investigates.

For example, in his re-exegesis of St. John's perennial best seller, Revelations, he makes the striking analogy that the serpent Satan "chained up for a thousand years" can be regarded merely as a perverted parallel of the kundalini serpent of Tantric Hinduism: a serpent coiled and ready to spring from its coccyx lair to activate the sahaswara chakra and bring us to blissful release.

What Grosso uncovers through a vibrant mosaic of historical and prospective examples is that we can opt for what Jung called, "the transcendent function: the reconciling third which emerges from the unconscious in the form of a symbol or a new attitude after the conflicting opposites have been consciously differentiated and the tensions between them held." Grosso leaves this notion open for contemplation for it really cannot be fully answered at the moment as we ride out the fin de millennium glitch of chaos, uncertainty and upheaval. Could reconciliation take place in the "third space" as Zen practitioners call it: the space between waking and dreams?

The reconciling third resonates from above, below, between and beyond the lines of every page. The author has not fallen under the spell of the myth and has not been pulled into the undertow of solipsism promoted by most middle class pseudo-intellectuals of our day. Having given us the Carte Blanche to decide for ourselves on matters of reconciliation/redemption Grosso continues, with much elan, to add his observations on the millennial implications of new technology, "technocalypse" as he has aptly coined it: cyberspace, nanotechnology, cryonics, futurism, the eschaton encoded in the now malleable protein chains of DNA, as well as the eventual transcendence of death.

While reading The Millennium Myth, a sense of awareness resonated through my being that we can give birth and fruition to the hieroglyphs that signal the beginnings of shared consciousness, of solidarity, of the global nexuses and meridians our shamans, witches, eco-spiritualists, Gaia worshippers and other assorted pagans aspire to connect and activate. Grosso suggests, with little trumpeting, that instead of being fascinated/frustrated with endtime con-artists, that we simply herald the "changing of the gods."

(Reprint, Magical Blend, Issue #52. Review by Jaye C. Beldo)

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.