Dr. Bob Responds to 2012 Theories
2013: After the Apocalypse
by Dr. Bob and Zohara Hieronimus
This article is based on the contribution we made to the book by Dr. Marie Jones 2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning: Envisioning the World After the Events of 2012 (New Page Books, 2008). It is based on a 1969 mural of Bob Hieronimus’s called “The Apocalypse.”
When asked to contribute to this book, I knew immediately where I would focus. Over 40 years ago, in late 1965, I began to be plagued by horrifying dreams and visions of future calamities on this planet, and I found that the only way I could master them was to express them in my artwork. My magnum opus along these lines was the 2,700 square foot mural I completed at the Johns Hopkins University student union building in 1969. Still extant today, it covers an entire room, four walls, ceiling, and stairwell with the overarching theme that history is cyclical and not linear. Civilizations have repeatedly risen and died through cosmic, natural, and man-made cataclysms. I called this mural “The Apocalypse.”
My interpretation of Apocalypse, however, is not the end of the world, as many assume by its title or by misinterpreting its symbolism. What I attempted to depict was the evolution of our physical world through scores of symbols and mythologies. The main wall shown here is focused on America. Like much of my work during this time period, it was hailed by art critics (who called it “a work of genius,” “prophetic,” and me, “one of the country’s best muralists”), while at the same time it was verbally abused and even physically attacked by some members of the establishment and many of the fundamentalist Christian sects. It was partially destroyed when near completion in December of 1968 by a disturbed student, who, ironically, did not disagree with its message. As a Christian fundamentalist he believed a type of world-wide destruction was prophesied in the Bible, but he feared the message was too strong for most of his fellow Americans to see, and that it should be kept secret for the few. I spent the next two months repairing the damage.
I also went to court to testify in defense of this student and even agreed to help supervise him in order to keep him from being institutionalized. No stranger to confusing emotions over world-shattering visions, I could empathize with his rage, and after getting to know him realized we shared a lot more commonalities than differences. I was also quite used to my artwork inspiring this kind of defensive reaction in the public, particularly among people who have vested interests in the status quo. My dreams were showing me the death of America, and I was wrenched night after night with the sight of millions of bodies floating lifelessly in rivers of mud, some face up, some face down. It was not until I began to express my concerns in a series of paintings and constructions that I was able to control these visions.
The first creation resulting from these visions was a 12-foot long sculpture construction of the American eagle lying in a coffin on wheels. I called this piece “The American Express.” Covering the American flag that draped the coffin were medals and logos of corporate giants like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Chiquita Banana and play money. Always intensely patriotic and a lover of America’s symbols, I didn’t like the message portrayed by this construction, but I was being pushed to awaken others to the realization that America had lost its way, and even its very reason for being. Whenever it was shown on display at Johns Hopkins or other universities and galleries in the spring of 1967, it followed a familiar pattern of inspiring rave reviews from the art world, along with threats and abuse from the administration. This time even the Maryland Attorney General’s office was involved and there was some talk of locking me up for desecrating American symbols. Forty years later, America has changed a great deal. We are no longer respected around the world as the dominant world leader or power, a position we forfeited most recently with the invasion of Iraq. Despite this loss of our reputation world-wide, the number of fundamentalist-conspiratorialists in this country continues to grow, and these are the people who are insulted by any interpretation of American symbolism that differs from their own. In the past several decades, we have also voted in leaders who have allowed the corporations to control our media. This status has led to an ever stronger worship of materialism and the military industrial complex. Meanwhile, the giant that is China rises.
Fortunately, we continue to evolve. As we speed toward the apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar in 2012, the new age sciences have begun to provide a new basis for the science of spiritual transformation. The notion that 2012 marks the end of a cycle also means that the year 2013 marks the beginning of a new one. In the future, universal consciousness will bring enlightenment, and all humans will share the secrets of clairvoyance, telepathy, remote viewing, interspecies communication with extraterrestrials, spiritual and non-physical beings. The knowledge and understanding of life after death will lead to a huge awakening and an openness to unconditional love and universal spirituality. A return to balance with the feminine side of consciousness where intuition is the guide will lead us to planetary transformations, the development of free energy systems, and a host of achievements that will lead to sustainability of the planet. We will realize that we are all Earth people and co-creators of our future, and will begin this process by visualizing and engaging in healing activities in every sphere of our being.
Many new paradigm thinkers have given us great hope regarding the huge shifts predicted for 2012. Though I personally believe we cannot escape widespread planetary weather crises that will result in great loss of life, we can diminish the impact by increasing the number of people who are conscious of their roles as co-creators of our future. Other writers have emphasized that the 2012 time period presages great shifts leading to a new phase of galactic evolution and its relationship with the UFO phenomenon (José Argüelles); the global dawning of the wisdom age (Peter Russell); becoming a world-wide family and possibly part of a greater family in the cosmos (Gregg Braden); learning to use our breathing as a spiritual link to our divine selves (John Major Jenkins); projecting new images into space to bring about healing and develop a coherent idea for an effective transition to the new world (John L. Peterson); huge surges in remote viewing, telepathy, clairvoyance, and interspecies communication leading to universal spirituality (Karl Maret); and a reminder that those who fear Armageddon may create their own private doomsday (Gill Edwards).
Understanding that great shifts are part of humanity’s history on this planet can help us transform the fear for the future into hope. That’s where I was at the end of August 1968 after spending a summer in New York City meeting backstage to discuss these ideas with Elektra Records recording artists. I had decided to decline the invitation to design album covers for the likes of Hendrix, Joplin, and Buckley (the proffered salary was abysmal, but I also felt urgently that I was wasting my time), and instead accept the commission from the Chaplain’s Office to paint the mural for the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Chester Wickwire had long been a supporter of my work and vision, defending me through the “American Express” brouhaha, and he wanted to give me complete freedom to express myself with the new mural. The design encompassed humankind’s evolution from a hermaphrodite in the lost continents of Lemuria and Atlantis, through the advanced civilizations of ancient India, Egypt, and the Middle East and continuing on to the rising landmasses in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. It also included extraterrestrial craft overseeing our planet’s evolution from the beginning.
Details from The Apocalypse a 2,700-square-foot mural painted by Dr. Bob Hieronimus in 1968, still on view today at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The main wall seen here which focuses on the United States is the most relevant to the years around 2012. Measuring 32’ x 9’ (288 square feet), it reflects only about 10% of the entire mural. The story on this wall begins with the astrological sign Scorpio being monitored by a UFO mothership and three of its disc craft. A key to Scorpio is “desire,” and it is used here to symbolize our soul’s struggle to make itself known in the physical and desire worlds, which will lead to rebirth and regeneration. This is symbolized by Scorpio’s three-tiered image: the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle reflecting physical, psychic and spiritual regeneration. The stage is set for America to become the seed for planetary evolution.
At the opposite end of the wall is the winged being Aquarius pouring from its urn the energies of altruism and brotherhood, giving birth to planetary consciousness and harmony. Aquarius is also overseen by a fleet of seven UFOs in a V formation monitoring our planet’s evolution towards one people, one planet. The drama that unfolds between these two figures is the struggle from unconsciousness, to consciousness, to superconsciousness, and America is key to this struggle. This is shown along the top of the wall through a series of flags evolving from Great Britain’s flag, to America’s first flag of 1776, to America’s 13 star flag, to the Confederate flag, to the 50 star flag (the last three mostly blocked by the eagle), followed by the flag of the Soviet Union (to show how the two former enemies could work together), and finally a new “nation” flag made up of the 13 red and white stripes with a canton containing the ancient symbol of the hex-alpha, a six-pointed star with a circle and point in the center. This represents a flag of planetary consciousness.
Beneath these banners we see the American eagle is sinking in the flood tides, being weighed down by corrupting forces of the corporate, fascistic and oligargical powers bent on speedy profits at the cost of American liberties and the planet’s very life force. Some of those forces are identified on the body of the sinking eagle, though a black and white reproduction of this detail makes them virtually invisible. We have General Motors standing for the petroleum-based energy systems, Coca-Cola representing the reduction of food to a non-nutritional diet and agribusiness, Chiquita or the United Fruit Company epitomizing the sale of other nations’ illegal drugs to fund America’s black budget operations, and the dollar sign to symbolize America’s 70 trillion dollar debt leading to our enslavement. In this picture, the American eagle is rent asunder because it has worshipped the material world and ignored the spiritual dimension. It is surrounded by natural cataclysms expedited by its domination of nature for profit. Geological and weather changes are shown with fire and water engulfing the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge (barely discernable in this photo, in front of Lady Liberty). Also engulfed in these radical transformations is the Russian bear in front of the eagle, predicting the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Both the Russian bear and American eagle are confronted by a long green dragon-serpent representing China. As the potential threat to both superpowers, the dragon of China is composed of inverted (hidden destiny) five pointed stars, the symbol for Saturn (karma) and the number 666 (considered numerologically 6+6+6 = 18 = 1+8=9, the number of initiation).
Above the dying eagle there rises a transformed eagle in purple with silver and gold vibrations. This rebirth continues onto the ceiling where the transformation is completed in the form of the legendary phoenix that regenerates itself from its own ashes. On the ceiling we also see Poseidon/Neptune holding in his right hand a lost spiritual temple of Atlantis, which has been regained to preserve the spiritual sciences and assist the rebirth of our planet.
As one cycle is completed, a new cycle begins on the spiral of evolution. The outcome of these massive political, economic, geologic, and geographical changes is devastating to individual nations, but will serve to unite the planetary republic and pave the way for a more lasting peace. Human beings will realize we are not just physical beings, and that we all contain an immortal component that can lead us to universal wisdom, the oneness of beings, the oneness of all living things. The Apocalypse means a rebirth of spirit eventuating in planetary beings.