08/20/2012 08:02 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2012

As Esalen Celebrates Its Past, Its Future Is Debated -

BIG SUR, Calif. -- At twilight, not far from a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a Mayan shaman spoke of the return of Kukulkan to dozens of listeners sitting on the floor inside a yurt: As Venus, a planet of special significance to the ancient Mayans, passed directly between the Sun and Earth in June, the forces out there were heralding the return of Kukulkan, the snake deity, and the start of a new age of spiritual enlightenment in 2012.