Monday, November 17, 2008

Creation in the Corpus Hermetica

The first Libellus of the Corpus Hermeticum, titled 'Poimandres of Hermes Trismegistus', recounts the conversation of the author with his higher self, the "Mind of Soverignty". The majority of the text is concerned with explaining the Hermetic cosmogony while subtly introducing the sacred sciences of astronomy and alchemy.

The account begins with the Primordial Darkness out of which arises the first Light called "Mind the Father". The initial act of self-manifestation by Mind the Father separates light and life from the darkness. What was once the Darkness has now become the primordial Waters. Not surprisingly, these Waters are akin to the watery abyss of Nun in the Egyptian Hermapolitan cosmology; they represent a primeval soup of the elements and creative potential intermingled and intermixed into a chaotic matrix. After all the Hermetic philosophers were Hellenized Egyptians.

Through the projection of thought via the spoken word, or logos, also called the "Son of God", Mind the Father begins to separate and order the elements of the Waters. As expressed in the text, "the Watery substance having received Logos, was fashioned into an ordered world, the elements being separated out from it." First Fire then Air rise out of the mixture . As Air ascends upwards to join Fire, it separates Earth and Water, thus structuring the fledgling universe into four distinct primeval elements and paving the way for the next stage of creation.

After successfully ordering the primordial chaotic matrix into the four elements of Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, Mind the Father births a second mind, called "Mind the Maker". This second Mind fashions the seven 'Administrators of Destiny' from the active elements of Fire and Air. These Administrators rule over the seven heavens of hermetic cosmology and are the seven planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon). Logos then rises from the "downward tending elements" to unite with 'Mind the Maker', and together they set the planets in orbit.

At this point in the text, the reader is introduced to two new agents, Nature and Aether. Nature is the union of the passive elements now devoid of logos (Earth and Water), whereas Aether is the union of the active elements (Fire and Air). Both Nature and Aether are willed by Mind the Maker, through logos, and together they represent the polarities of vertical movement (down and up). Whereas Aether is not dealt with until later in the text, here Nature proceeds to create the animals without divine reason, these are the four-footed beasts, fish, birds, and all the creatures of the animal kingdom. At this stage all animals are hermaphroditic, as the polarity of male-female has yet to be realized.

We are then told, in a verse that echoes the Genesis of the Bible:
"Mind the Father of all, he who is Life and Light, gave birth to Man, a Being like to Himself. And He took delight in Man, as being His own offspring; for Man was very goodly to look on, bearing the likeness of his Father. With good reason then did God take delight in Man; for it was God's own form that God took delight in. And God delivered over to Man all things that had been made."
Man here refers to Primordial Man, a being like its father, that is neither male nor female, but both. Perhaps an apt comparison would be to the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalistic traditions, or the Macroanthropos of Plutarch. This Primordial Man is stationed with Mind the Maker in the 8th heaven, the sphere of the fixed stars above the planets.
"Having observed the Maker's creation in the region of fire, he [Man] willed to make things for his own part also; and his Father [Mind the Father] gave permission…. having in himself all the working of the Administrators; the Administrators took delight in him, and each of them gave him a share of his own nature."

This enigmatic verse is incomplete in the original Greek manuscript (hence the ellipsis points after "permission"). It is unclear as to what Man creates, but whatever it is, it seems to please the Administrators who in return grant Man some planetary attributes. This seems to be the moment when Man becomes Microcosmic Man, which is the Hermetic notion that the Universe exists within Man.

Following the above-cited passage, we are told that Man learns "the being of the Administrators". Here "being" should be interpreted as states of consciousness, modes of existence, or instances in space-time. To "know the beings of the Administrators" then refers to achieving planetary consciousness, or more profanely to learning the periodicities of the planetary orbits (the science of Astronomy). The Greek word used in the text is gnosis as opposed to episteme indicating knowledge through union with the transcendent principle. Indeed, we are then told that Man "willed to break through the bounding circle of their orbits; and he looked through the structure of the heavens, having broken through the spheres and showed to downward-tending Nature the beautiful form of God."

Armed with the knowledge of Sacred Astronomy and gnosis of Kosmos Man peers through the heavens at Nature, the terrestrial world of Earth and Water. The "beautiful form of God", of course, refers to Man himself being made in the image of Mind the Father. Nature, who has fallen in love with the celestial glory of Primordial Man, lures him to the terrestrial plane by showing Man his reflection upon the Water, and his shadow upon the Earth. In an act of self-love, perhaps even narcissism in the face of perfection (compare with Mind the Father's delight in Man cited above), Man enthralled by his reflection descends to Nature where "she wrapped him in her clasp." Now, because Man was given the seven planetary attributes whilst in the 8th heaven, this union results in Nature giving birth "to seven Men, according to the characters of the seven Administrators." While not explicitly stated in the text, the seven Men can only represent the seven alchemical metals (Lead, Tin, Iron, Gold, Copper, Quicksilver, Silver).

The alchemical process is also hinted at by the transmutations that occur while on the terrestrial plane. First, the birthed men are composed of a trinity of Earth , Water , and Aether . Then the "Man in them changed from Life and Light into soul and mind, soul from Life, and mind from Light." These transmutations are echoed in the role of the seven men, or alchemical metals, as the seven Administrators of the terrestrial plane. Gold is to Sun as soul is to Life and mind is to Light...As above, so below!

At the end of an undisclosed period, Mind the Father separates the female from the male amongst all living things including Men. With this we have the creation of man and woman, sexuality, polarity, and carnal desire. It seems that the seven men become the male and female ancestral humans at this point, presumably three and three, with the correspondent to Mercury/Quicksilver remaining a hermaphrodite. Mind the Father then leaves men and women to do their bidding with these final words:
"Increase and multiply abundantly, all ye that have been created and made. And let the man that has Mind in him recognize that he is immortal, and the cause of death is carnal desire."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mercury: Gateway to the Heavens

'And I', said Hermes, 'will make mankind intelligent; I will confer wisdom on them, and make known to them the truth. I will never cease to benefit thereby the life of mortal men; and then above all will I benefit each one of them, when the force of nature working in him is in accord with the movement of the stars above.'
(Corpus Hermetica, EXC. XXIII. Isis to Horus)

Mercury (gk. Hermes, eg. Thoth) is the innermost planet of our solar system, always in proximity to the sun. Pick up any textbook on Roman or Greek mythology and you will read about how observations of its rapid movement across the zodiac and frequent conjunctions with the other planets resulted in the interpretation of Mercury as the swift “messenger of the gods”.

Mercury/Hermes/Thoth is traditionally associated with communication, wisdom, knowledge, magic, and the psychopompic initiation into Death and the Mysteries. In this context Mercury is the communicator of sacred knowledge. This knowledge is transmitted by Mercury through its planetary cycles and celestial geometry.

The Morning and Evening Star:

Mercury as the innermost planet orchestrates a unique astronomical pattern with the Sun. For approximately four to six weeks Mercury will linger as a bright star near the western horizon several hours after sunset. During this period Mercury is the Evening Star. Afterwards it enters an inferior conjunction with the Sun and disappears from the evening sky. A week later Mercury reappears in the sky, but this time as a bright luminary near the eastern horizon heralding sunrise. Mercury is the Morning Star for another four to six weeks before entering superior conjunction with the Sun and disappearing for five weeks (35 days).

The complete cycle takes 116 days (115.9 days). This means that in one solar year, Mercury will complete 3.14 cycles. Because of this decimal interval the ancients observed Mercury in seven year periods. Every 7 years, Mercury completes 22 conjunction cycles. The Mercury::Sun ratio of 22/7 is extremely precise with only a 1hr error margin.

Pi, Geometry and Gematria:

The 22/7 Mercury::Sun ratio is also a close fractional expression of the Pythagorean irrational and transcendent number Pi (3.14...). Pi is the universal ratio of any circle's diameter to its circumference and is the essential constant by which mathematics and astronomy interpret the universe. If you don’t understand the importance of Pi, look it up!

In the letter-number system of Pythagorean Greek gematria, the value of the first three digits of Pi (314) gives us Μαγος (Magos, ‘magician’ or ‘wise man’). When we take the first nine digits of Pi in three digit segments (314 159 265) the gematria gives us Magos, Megas ('Great'), and Kleis ('Key')...interpret this how you will.

The reverse Sun::Mercury ratio 7/22, or .318 (or 318/1000), is Pi to the power of negative one. The integer 318 is the gematria value of Helios ('Sun'). A circle with a diameter of Helios (318, or 3.18, or .318) will always have a circumference of Pythagorean Unity (1000, 100, or 1). Furthermore, a circle drawn around a square with the perimeter of Helios will measure a circumference of 353, the gematria value of Hermes!

Mercury and the Triangle:

The ecliptic astronomical chart below was created using data from the Alcyone Astronomical Ephemeris to arc-second precision. The 22/7 conjunction cycle of Mercury traces an isosceles triangle inside the constellation belt that turns clockwise every 3 conjunctions.

Mercury delivers us the two most primeval symbols of polarity(▲/▼). For the initiate these are the first keys for unlocking the universe. Nothing else needs to be said.

"I will confer wisdom on them, and make known to them the truth."

The Philosophical Mind

It is impossible for the Modern Mind to comprehend metaphysical principles as a true transcendent Reality. This is because the Modern Mind is taught to quantify experience into two opposing buckets of information:1) the rational and “real”, and, 2) the irrational and “imaginative”.

The relativist philosophers of the ‘Enlightenment', and forefathers of modern western thought, taught that all knowledge arises from external sensible perceptions. It is therefore impossible to have true knowledge of transcendent universal principles. As a result, the gnosis of the classical Philosopher, as Union with the object of knowledge, is unattainable by the relativistic Modern Mind. That which cannot be explained by rational analysis is therefore irrational and in the relativistic Modern Mind an inferior and imaginative sentiment.

This “left-brain”/” right-brain” split does not exist in the traditional Philosophical Mind, which instead accepts the Unity of all things. It does not differentiate between the physical manifestation and the metaphysical principle; the symbol does not represent meaning, the symbol IS the meaning. Through the lens of the Philosophical Mind the rational and irrational are merely vessels for transcendent principles.

Thanks to the "Enlightenment" , the modern world fails to see reality as a spectrum of truths, opting instead for discrete units of quantification. For this reason the Modern Mind struggles between the dualities of sacred being and profane existence… binary distinctions that do not exist in the qualitative mind of the traditional Philosopher.

The initiate who aspires to break the bindings of material and physical existence must first transmute the relativist Modern Mind into the universal Philosophical Mind. Only with this Promethean power of Philosophical Mind, can one aspire to steal the immortal Fire from the gods.

Sacred Astronomy

Astronomy, like geometry and mathematics is one of these venues through which the principles of harmonic logos, and the subtle workings of Kosmos are made manifest for the Philosopher to contemplate. In Sacred Astronomy, the Philosophical Mind found the keys to God's kingdom and the road map to immortality. However, since the schism of the ‘Enlightenment', Sacred Astronomy has been replaced by profane astronomy and mundane astrology. These two sub-disciplines by consequence of their separation are incomplete systems, and can thus never reflect the transcending principle of traditional Sacred Astronomy.

Astrology has degenerated to cheap materialism; addressing questions of love, money, and body-ego success; it has lost its purpose and sacred essence. By being divorced from the science of astronomy, astrology is no longer a quest for qualifying the harmony and order of Kosmos. Unlike the Chaldean Magi, the Egyptian Horary Priests, and the Pythagorean and Neo-Platonic astronomers, the astrologer today does not seek to understand the universe, but rather aspires to ‘divine' the future for materialistic purposes and to understand earth-bound personalities and sentiments.

Rather than employing Sacred Astronomy as a means to resurrection, as a meditation to break through the restricting cycles and physical structure of the heavens and reunite with the eternal One; the mundane astrologer remains in the fallen state reflecting the patterns of the heavens back towards earth and tellurian matters. Thereby, the mundane astrologer will always be subject to the fate of the stars and will remain a peasant in God's Kingdom bonded to the wheel of life and death. The proverb of the Philosopher's Sapien dominator Astris , ‘the wise rule over the stars', resonates with unfathomable truth.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gnosis and Logos

As the Catholic Church became a political institution it simultaneously distanced itself from the Pythagorean sciences inherited by the early Christian initiates. Primarily threatening to the ecclesiastic spiritual hegemony was the doctrine of gnosis that taught that we are all “sons of God” and can all share intimate experiences with divinity without a mediating institution. The Church responded by quantifying spirituality and declaring Gnosticism a heresy.

As masterfully explained by David Fideler in "Jesus Christ Sun of God" (1993), the original doctrine of the Christian logos was related to the doctrine of gnosis and to the Pythagorean teachings of universal harmony (Harmonia). Greek logos was poorly translated into Latin as verbatum and then finally into English as 'word' whereby it lost all meaning.

In Greek, logos has several meanings: order, pattern, ratio, reason, mediation, and harmony. Only in the most mundane and topical sense does logos mean "word" (or more precisely oration, or ‘spoken word'). But even in the meaning as ‘word', our English equivalent misses the mark. We must of course place the spoken ‘word' in traditional context as an act of cosmology. This is evident in the magical properties of the spoken divine names of the Hebrew Kabbalah, the mantras of Vedas, and the formulaic nomina barbara of Greco-Egyptian magic.

The doctrine of logos can be traced back to ancient Egypt , and in particular to Thoth as the patron god of speech, writing, wisdom, astronomy, mathematics, music, medicine, and magic. In fact, among his dynastic period (c. 3000 – 330 BCE) epithets was ‘Lord of Ma'at (Order)', ‘Lord of Divine Words'. And ‘Tongue of Re', associating him with the ordering process of creation ; for in Egyptian cosmology the Sun god Re by speaking the divine names of the gods created and set the universe in motion.

In a wall painting from the tomb of Seti in Abydos (above), Thoth- as psychopomp- initiates the Pharaoh into the mysteries of death by performing the "Opening of the Mouth Ceremony". This magical rite grants Seti the logos of divine speach so that his soul may recite the necessary God-names to cross the gates of the Duat and ascend to eternity and immortal spiritual existence.

Thoth was later called Hermes by the Hellenized Egyptians (the Hermetic Philosophers) who saw in him the same principle of Gnostic revelation and logos that the early Christian's saw in Christ. In the Corpus Hermetica, attributed to the Hermes Trismegistus – the third incarnation of Thoth, we find explicit references to logos as the ordering principle, as the “son of God”, and as the Shepard of man (poimandres).

‘That Light.' [Poimandres] said, ‘is I, even Mind, the first God, who was before the watery substance which appeared out of the darkness; and the Logos which came forth from the Light is son of God.'… ‘Learn my meaning,' said he, ‘by looking at what you yourself have in you; for in you too, the logos is son, and the mind is father of the logos'…The watery substance, having received the Logos, was fashioned into an ordered world (Kosmos), the elements being separated out from it…' (Corpus Hermetica, Libellus I)

Throughout the classical Greco-Roman world (c.a. 800 BCE – AD 500), the teachings of logos were transmitted by the initiates of the Orphic-Pythagorean Mysteries and later with the Mithraitic, Bacchic, and early Christian Cults. The initiates into these Mysteries learned the Pythagorean universal harmonia of mathematics, astronomy, geometry, and music. Through mythic symbols and mythic narratives, the patterns and underlying order of Kosmos was unveiled to the initiate as perpetual manifestation of harmonic logos.

For the initiated into the doctrine of logos the knowledge of Harmonia is beyond mere episteme; it is an ontological experience directly related to the nature of being. To understand and know the universe, one has to first understand and know oneself.

Concerning the Tree

Ten Sefirot of Nothingness
And 22 Foundation Letters
Three Mothers
Seven Doubles
And twelve Elementals
(Sefir Yetzirah, 1:2)

These first words of the Sefer Yetzirah lay the foundation for the entire treatise as contemplation on the mathematical and symbolic relations between the ten Sefirot of creation and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Together these make up the thirty-two emanated “paths of wisdom” by which the Godhead creates and orders the universe. As such, they are also to be understood as the paths of re-absorption and mystical ascension towards the divine.

The three Mothers (
ש ,מ, א) are the first, middle, and penultimate letters of the alphabet , they correspond to the three elements of creation (Air/Ruach, Water, and Fire). The seven Doubles ( ת ,ר ,פ , כ ,ד ,ג ,ב) are the seven Hebrew consonants that have a hard and soft pronunciation; they represent the seven planets. The remaining twelve letters are the Elementals ( ה ,ו, ז, ח, ט ,י, ל, נ, ס, ע, ץ, and ק ) attributed to the twelve constellations of the Traditional zodiac... Let us take a moment to point out the obvious; among other things, the seven planets also equate with the days of the week and the constellations with the months in a year. Thus, when discussing these correspondences we must keep in mind their multi-dimensional nature as symbols of both space and time.

The twenty-two letters are mapped to the line segments, or paths of the Kabbalistic Tree according to the inherent geometric division of the Tree: three horizontal, seven vertical, and twelve diagonal paths.

The three Mothers govern the three horizontal paths as pictured above. They represent the creative/destructive energies of Fire (ש), and Water (מ) separated and joined by Ruach (א). This is a clear metaphor to the act of creation and the divine Spirit separating the higher waters (ש /▲) from the lower (מ /▼).

The seven Doubles map to the seven vertical paths. The most logical order by which to attribute the Doubles to the planets is by order of emanation. Thus: ב= Saturn, ג = Jupiter, ד = Mars, כ = Sun, פ = Venus, ר = Mercury, and ת = Moon. Of course, this is the Traditional ordering of the planets based on their sidereal cycles and astronomical distance from earth (from longest/most distant to shortest/closest). This is the order in the Short, Long, Saadia, Suares, Donash, and Shiur Komah versions of the Sefer Yetzirah. The Gra and Golden Dawn versions differ significantly and are quite likely influenced by the letter-planet correspondences found in the Zohar. However, this is beyond our present scope.

The various versions of the Sefer Yetzirah attribute each of the twelve Elementals to the twelve constellations in alphabetical and zodiacal order. Since they all begin with Aries, we can be assured that all the surviving versions of the text are not older than the Age of Aries (post 12th Century B.C.E).

Despite their differences all the sources indicate that the patriarch Abraham was the original author of text. In The Eternal Chronos we discussed the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Abrahamic covenant when Taurus ruled the equinox. This means one of two things: 1) The astronomical correspondences were either forgotten or never specified in the original text and replaced with the classical zodiac at a later date, or 2) The Sefer Yetzirah is intended as a dynamic living text that must be seen through the lens of a current, past, or future Age. Indeed, it is a worthwhile pursuit to experiment with the different zodiacal correspondences during the various Ages to better grasp the full power of the Tree.

Furthermore, the correspondence systems all maintain that alphabetic order corresponds to spatial order (read clockwise); however, this brings forth questions of multi-dimensionality. If we instead focus on the constellations as symbols of Time, the order must be reversed since the sun travels counter-clockwise through the zodiacal belt. This is the kabbalistic principle of reflection in practice. The constellations as star groups pertain to the universe of Forms (Asiyah), while as the embodiment of Time (or of Angels/ stellar energies) they belong to Yetzirah.

Here we will expand upon the Elemental correspondences in Yetzirah during the prophetic Age of Taurus as a simple exercise to demonstrate the dynamic nature of the Tree. The letter-constellation pairs are such: ה = Taurus , ו = Aries, ז = Pisces, ח = Aquarius, ט = Capricorn , י = Sagittarius, ל = Scorpio , נ = Libra, ס = Virgo, ע= Leo, ץ = Cancer, and ק = Gemini. (see The Eternal Chronos for a more in-depth discussion )

The resulting Tree displays the polarities of the Universe balanced by the Central Pillar. The constellations to the left of the Center Pillar all correspond to active elements (Fire and Air), while those to the right to passive elements (Water and Earth). The constellations zigzag from Taurus to Gemini in zodiacal order. The descending order (Taurus to Gemini) mimics the Precession of the Equinoxes, while the ascending order (Gemini to Taurus) is the annual progression of the Sun across the zodiac. Whichever way you look at it, the directionality of the zigzag corresponds to the active and passive polarities on the left and right- these polarities being the energies of motion and therefore time in the never-ending circuitry of the helix.

There seems to be an apparent contradiction as the Sefirot of Binah is on the left side corresponding to the active constellations, and Chakhmah is on the right with the passive constellations. This however is not a contradiction; far from it, in fact this outlines the very principle of reflection. That which is male/+ reflects towards that which is female/-, this is how the incorporeal Supernal Triad interacts with the material universe. Furthermore, this same principle of reflection is hard-wired into our own neurological circuitry. Our Left Brain controls the muscles and sensations on the Right side of our body, while the Right Brain does the same for the Left side. Meditate upon this and the biblical narrative of the Serpent in the Garden will take a whole new meaning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Trees

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

The central Tree in Traditional thought is the axis-mundi of creation and, for the initiate, a meditative guide to union with the Godhead (i.e. gnosis). Cross-culturally the Tree stands as a symbol of central orientation and spiritual hierarchy. The Norse Yggdrasil , the Mesoamerican Yax Imix Che , the Vedic Asvattha are but a handful of examples of sacred “world Trees” akin to those mentioned in Genesis.

Kabbalah takes a geometric approach to the symbol in using tree diagrams to illustrate the ten Sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah. Through these Trees the Kabbalist encapsulated the mathematical correspondence between the 10 Sefirot of creation and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There are two primary geometric variations of the diagram: 1) the Ari (Isaac Luria) , and 2) the Gra (
Eliyahu the Gaon of Vilna).

Most students of Western esoterica are familiar with the Sefirot layout of the Ari Tree as it was popularized by Aleister Crowley and the various Golden Dawn/Freemasonic offshoots. The Ari Tree hinges on the non-Sefirot of Da’at (‘Knowledge’) that is the pivot of reflection between the supernal triad and the lower seven Sefirot. Whereas the Gra Tree is more compact and geometrically balanced resembling an isometric projection of a double-stacked cube.

The only difference between the geometric layouts of the Gra and Ari versions is the central column (Tiferet, Yesod, and Malkut) of the lower Sefirot that is shifted downward in the Ari Tree. Aside from this, the organization of the Sefirot are identical.

In meditating upon the two Trees side-by-side we find a geometric allegory to the Biblical Fall from Grace represented by the “fall” of Tiferet (‘Splendor’), Yesod ('Foundation'), and Malkut (‘Kingdom’) away from the supernal triad.

Moreover, the two Trees themselves may be interpreted as the two Trees of the Garden. The Tree of Knowledge bearing the fruit of Da’at (‘Knowledge’) and consequently the “fall” from grace, while the Tree of Life stands in it's perfect and immortal state.

And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.' (Genesis 3:22)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eternal Chronos

The importance of the crossed Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P) of the labarum were first introduced into the Western World through the Orphic-Pythagorean Mysteries. It came as the monogram for Aeon Chronos (Χρονος), a non-Greek divinity who was later syncretized with Greek agricultural god Kronos (i.e. Roman Saturn). Eternal and omnipresent, Chronos produced from within himself the calm light of Aether (the Quintessence of the Cosmos) and likewise Chaos, the abysmal darkness.[1] This synthesis of time and timelessness was adopted into the Christian theological interpretations of the eternal Christ who would also inherit the Chi-Rho monogram .

Chronos, of course, is the Greek word for ‘time’. But this is really only a surface interpretation of the meaning, for the mundane (or horizontal) notion of ‘time’ should not be confused with the Principle of Time that relates to vertical ascension. To explain this we are going to examine an astronomical cycle that is greater than all other cycles, a cycle that cannot be experienced in a human lifetime but that nonetheless relates to the start of mundane time as observed via the solar cycle.

For the classical Greeks and Hebrews, time in the form of the solar year began on the vernal equinox when the sun rises due east and sets due west (approx. March 20).[2] This traditional New Year originated with the Chaldean and is still used in modern astronomy to measure celestial bodies relative to the ecliptic.[3] As seen in the celestial sphere, on the date of vernal equinox the solar triangle of sunrise, noon, sunset is exactly equal to the anti-solar (i.e full Moon) triangle of sunset, midnight, sunrise .

On this day there are twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness, thus we call it ‘equinox” (from the Latin Aequinoxium) meaning “equal night”. Even though the modern Christian-Gregorian calendar marks New Year at the end of the winter-solstice month (a result of the Julian reform of the Roman calendar)[4], Easter the holiest day in Christendom occurs on the Sunday nearest the full Moon after vernal equinox. This date, traditionally attributed to Christ’s resurrection from the cross, is therefore directly related to the equilibrium of Sun and Moon, and the annual “rebirth” of the solar cycle (i.e. time).

A tiny wobble in the earth’s axis shifts the solar position of vernal equinox to a new zodiacal constellation every 2,160 years, taking the Sun 25,950 years to complete one full cycle around the zodiac. This means that the fixed reference point used to measure the movement of the Sun across the heavens, and thus initiate time, is not fixed but subject to the precession of the equinoxes.[5] Chronos, as the ‘turner of the zodiacal wheel’, is an allusion to this ‘cycle of cycles’ representing a power greater than the Sun and Moon and far beyond the confines of the human experience, it is Aeon in both a mythological and literal sense.

When Chronos was adopted by the Orphic-Pythagorean mysteries (c. 600-500BCE), vernal equinox occurred with the Sun in the constellation of Aries, the horned ram. This no-doubt aided the syncretism between the Aeon Chronos (Lord Time) and Greek agricultural deity Kronos (‘the horned one’). [6] As such, the planet Saturn, whose Greek astrological glyph was a cross between Kappa (K) of Kronos and the Chi (X) of Chronos, became associated with the Aeon of Time.

By around c.a. 90BCE (some calculate AD1)[7], the vernal equinox had shifted to the constellation of Pisces, the fish. The first century AD witnessed the development and initial spread of an apocalyptic Jewish sect in the Greco-Roman world that used an ichthys or fish symbol as a secret sign to represent their belief in the teachings of their sacrificed messiah.[8] As Christianity spread, the fish was retained as a symbol to represent Christ the savior and the fisher of men. Some read in the symbol an evangelical calling to disseminate Christianity.[9] But this is a literal and uninitiated understanding. In sacrifice, Christ was the slain lamb and in resurrection he became the fish… A clear metaphor for the eternal Christ as the Chronos principle, the Aeon of Time who turns the zodiacal wheel slaying the lamb of Aries and brining forth the age of Pisces in which we find ourselves today.

The earliest material remnants of precessional ages take us back to when the vernal equinox sun was in Taurus (c.a. 3500BCE – c.a. 1200BCE). Many advancements in human society developed during this period; urban civilization, pyramids, ziggurats, and writing to name a few. In the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500BCE) we find the development of the Proto-Sinaitic scripts in Egypt that would eventually seed the Arabic, Hebrew and Greek alphabets.[11] Shared by all these alphabets is that the first letter ‘A’ (alif, aleph, alpha) derived from the Proto-Sinaitic letter alp (meaning “ox”). Alp was written with Egyptian Hieroglyph “oxhead”- an unmistakable allusion to the sun in the constellation of Taurus during the first month of the year. Even in the modern Latin alphabets we use today, ‘A’ (taken from the Greek alpha) is simply the upside-down astrological glyph of Taurus . When the Proto-Sinaitic script developed the celestial bull initiated the solar year and therefore the letter ‘bull’ begins the terrestrial alphabet.

The Age of Taurus also corresponds to historical Biblical period from the time of the patriarchs (Abraham) to the building of the first Temple in Jerusalem.[12] This is a time that was dominated by cults of bovine sacrifice (i.e. the Apis Bull of Egypt, the Ba’al worship of the Canaanites, the Minotaur of the Crete, etc.). We must also add to this the biblical narrative of the Golden Calf as a synthesis of the pervading religious practices of the Middle East. This bobkljafdkl bovine idol is destroyed by Moses and replaced with the tablets of the Law received at Mt. Sinai.

Moses is later instructed by God to order the twelve tribes of Israel to encamp encircling the “the tabernacle of the covenant” (the tablets of the Law, the Ark of Covenant, and the tabernacle of worship)[13]. The twelve tribes are then divided into four camps each attributed to specific cardinal point.[14] Each camp is named after the eldest tribe in the camp so that in the east is the Camp of Judah (with Issacar and Zebulin), the south is the Camp of Rueben (with Simeon and Gad), the west is the Camp of Ephraim (with Manasseh and Benjamin), and the north is the Camp of Dan (with Asher and Naphtali). Naturally, this arrangement is to be understood as a cosmogram replicating the order of the universe with God’s Law as the central pivot (“tabernacle of the covenant”). As such, each tribe corresponds to a constellation of the zodiac beginning with Taurus and with the Camp leaders marking the cross-quarters (equinoxes and solstices). The tribes are listed clockwise from east, because this is the order and directionality given in Numbers; but, the zodiac must run counter-clockwise from east because this is the apparent motion of the Sun (along with the other planets and Moon) against the constellation belt.[15]

In the zodiacal projection of the desert encampment, the Central Principle is the “tabernacle of the covenant” crucified by the constellations of Taurus (bull), Aquarius (man), Scorpio (eagle), and Leo (lion). In Moses’ destruction of the Golden Calf for the tablets of the Law, we find a shift in importance from the material representation of time (the bovine idol), to the Principle of Time and timelessness (the Central Tabernacle). These four constellations remind us of the four tetramorphs that play a central role in the vision of the Chariot Ezekiel, received in the “land of the Chaldeans”:

I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings… Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:1-28)

Adding to his detailed descriptions of the mystical experience with God, Ezekiel is very explicit as to the dates of his vision, “On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoichin)”[16]. This places Ezekiel’s vision after the Babylonian exile in the early half of the 5th century B.C.E. Thus, the zodiacal wheel had turned by the time of Ezekiel’s vision and the vernal equinox sun was no longer in the constellation of Taurus, but rather had moved to Aries. The cross-quarters at the time of Ezekiel would have been Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Yet, the tetramorphs seen by Ezekiel are a clear reference to the earlier age when Abraham and later Moses made the first covenants with God. In the mystical experience of the Chariot we have yet another manifestation of the Chronos Principle of Time – eternal timelessness in the vertical ascent.

[1] C. Kerényi. The Gods of the Greeks. (London, Thames and Hudson, 2006): 114.

[2] Vernal equinox marks the first day of various calendars including the Iranian and Bahá'í calendars, and corresponds to the first month of lunisolar calendars such as the Babylonian and Hebrew calendars.

[3] Vernal equinox occurs when the Sun moves from the southern half of the sky to the northern half. Heliocentrically speaking, this occurs in the northern hemisphere when the north pole of the earth points towards the Sun (see the first image in For Lord God is Shield and Sky).

[4] The Julian Calendar started the year on January 1st, after the solstice festivals of Saturnalia and the imperial ceremonies of Sol Invictus.

[5] The discovery of this “Precession of the Equinoxes” is attributed to the Greek astronomer Hipparchus in the second century C.E. , and indeed for modern science he may have been the first to exoterically disclose this cycle.

[6] René Guénon. Symbols of Sacred Science. (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004):185-190.

[7] There are discrepancies as to when the actual ages of precession begin. Depending on which system of zodiac is used, whether fixed and geometric (as the Chaldeans would have used) or * (as used in mundane astrology). It gets even more complicated if you rely on the actual observation of the sun in the constellation, since this can shift the date by a few centuries. The truth is that the exact dates are irrelevant as these are only material idiosyncrasies, the Principle of precession is what is important.

[8] The simple Crismon the variant form of the labarum adopted by Christians in the 2nd to 5th centuries furthered the link between Christ and the fish as it was composed of the crossed Iota (I) and Chi (X) the first letters in Iχθυς (‘fish’) and the monogram for Ιησους Хριστος(‘Jesus Christ’).

[9] “Come and follow me, “Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.“ (Mathew 4:18-4:20).

[11] Gordon Hamilton. W.F. Albright and Early Alphabetic Epigraphy. Journal of Near Eastern Archaeology (2002).

[13] Numbers 1.50; There are only two other instances when the phrase “tabernacle of the covenant” is used (Exodus 38.21 , and Numbers 10.11).

[14] Numbers 2.1 – 2.32 belt moon)the backdrop of constellations. the path is is how they are listed by God in Numbers; but, the zodiac he masculine, a

[15] There have been various other zodiacal schemes for the twelve tribes of Israel. However, they all hinge on dubious arguments relying on the selective picking and choosing of biblical passages. One common argument is that Judah should correspond to the constellation of Leo, because in Genesis 49:9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp” …the author overlooks that in Deuteronomy 33:22 “Dan is a lion’s whelp”, and two lines earlier “Gad: he dwelleth like a lion”. The correspondences are all two frivolous, as we can make an argument for any of the three corresponding to Leo. What we have presented here is a zodiacal model that is based on the order and cardinal points by which the tribes are listed in Numbers and the astronomical order of our sky, nothing more.

[16] Ezekiel 1.2

Truth in a Nutshell

The Kosmos is an instrument of God’s will; and it was made by Him to this end, that, having received from God the seeds of all things that belong to it, and keeping these seeds within itself, it might bring all things into actual existence. The Kosmos produces life in all things by its movement; and decomposing them, it renews the things that have been decomposed…God’s working has to do with things free from change and movement, that is, with things divine; and it is God’s will that which is human should also be divine.
(Corpus Hermetica, Libellus IX)