Vikki Hanchin, of Swissvale, is a psychotherapist who came to Pittsburgh 20 years ago. Hanchin's military father and "aquarian, religious freethinker" mother instilled an interest in various religious traditions, which Hanchin recently put to public use: In the Winter issue of Point of Light, a spiritually themed free local magazine, Hanchin discusses Pittsburgh's role in fulfilling ancient Mayan prophecies. In researching her article, Hanchin spoke with mystics including "Nance" and "Frank" -- two local visionaries Hanchin says "prefer not to have their names or locations revealed, because of the nature of the work they do."
Like others who've studied Mayan prophecies, you see Dec. 21, 2012, as marking an epochal shift in human consciousness. Yet you see a special role for Pittsburgh. Why?
The Mayans had a "world tree" imagery for how things are set up here. In the night sky, the universal world tree is represented by the three rivers of stars that get joined by this [starless] dark rift. Our three rivers, and our underground fourth river, are an exact mirror for that universal world tree. Any place where there's a convergence of rivers is seen as sacred.
McKeesport has a similar convergence, although I never thought of it as sacred.
Well, there you go. But there are only 12 places on the planet where there's the union of three geographical formations, with something underground connected. It might be three mountains with an underground cavern, for example. But this is the most exact mirror on the planet. Because of that, it's seen as the key portal.
A portal for what?
The Mayans perceived that there's a divinely guided plan to creation, and [with their calendars] they've been tracking it mathematically. We're about to enter the final stages of creation: the universal stage, which brings us out of duality -- our separateness from each other and creation.
[In 2012], our sun moves into alignment with the heart of the Milky Way, which occurs only once in 26,000 years. There aren't many prophetic descriptions of exactly how it will be experienced. But [the Mayans] see it as opening a cosmic channel for this higher energy to flow towards the earth, and help us shift into a consciousness of oneness.
This is not something we're to passively wait for. As this universal light becomes available, we must assist and embody it.
How do we do that?
By taking care of the earth, not living in a consciousness of fear or greed. People have to shift into a sense that's more about compassion, respect and sharing.
With our history of robber barons and pollution, Pittsburgh has been ground zero for the very things you say must be transcended. Is there a connection between our history and this portal?
There's a lot of karma that we've racked up. Nance and Frank see that as very germane: We are balancing out some of the karma we started with. In the early wars with the Native Americans, we infested blankets with smallpox and traded them. That has to be karmically addressed. But now there's a whole consciousness about environmental sustainability here; Pittsburgh is becoming a model of that. We're moving in the right direction.
So do we need to do penance just for living here?
Rather than seeing it as a burden, it's a calling. So many Pittsburghers will say, "I want to leave, but I can't seem to get out of here." Nance and Frank say if you're here, you've been called to be a part of this great opening that's occurring in the portal at the rivers. You're here to witness it and assist it. Really, it's a great privilege.
Yet supposedly Pittsburghers have this low self-esteem ...
Well, in terms of the steel [industry] consciousness, you could look at it like coal. Coal is trapped in the earth, but as it takes in pressure over time, it can turn into a diamond. That's the ascended consciousness. Different visionaries and psychics have confirmed that [Pittsburgh] is poised to transmute from a dense, heavy place into something else.
Again, it's not something you wait for. We have to acknowledge the potential that's in ourselves, and in our city.
What's preventing us from doing that?
For one thing, we're one of the most racist cities, you know? We exclude blacks and women from decisions ...
Given that, isn't it hard to imagine a transformation taking place here?
Well, Nance and Frank say that Pittsburgh has had to remain hidden, because some deep preparations have had to occur. But as the timing kicks in, extraordinary transformations will happen.
We were a key industrial center. We changed the planet at that level -- the coal boom and the steel boom. And now we're going to be central on the spiritual level.
I can hear a "regional branding campaign" starting already. Should we advertise this -- "come to Pittsburgh, young people, and experience spiritual awakening"?
I think it needs to evolve organically. We can't promote something that we're not embodying yet. Once we do embody it, there won't be any stopping it. People will be drawn here. People are drawn to Santa Fe because of a convergence of energies. I think Pittsburgh will be that kind of place. But we have to help it shift.