I have a keen mind for occult studies and my biggest hang up is lack of a teacher. I have read many books in numerology, astrology and yoga, and I very much desire a teacher in these areas.In ancient times, yoga was disseminated person to person, this was the study of yoga. I have had many wonderful teachers, especially during kundalini teacher training, but I long for the intimate interaction of a teacher.When it comes to numerology and astrology, I have basic tenets but I long for the next step in learning. I've asked the universe for a teacher and guide both in my writing and my meditations.Finding a teacher can be tough, especially finding the right teacher. You've taken the first step and put your intention out there, and now it's time to take action.You can always Google for books, blogs, and people, but personal recommendations tried and tested from people who have already walked the path are always strongest. Read More
Numerology,was invented to quantify, tabulate and create concepts to be applied at useful purposes. The role of numbers in esoteric studies was largely originated from and developed by Pythagoras in the fifth century BC from maths developed first by the Babylonians.Pythagoras believed the secrets and real nature of the world could be arrived at by finding the real nature of numbers. Using fractions and ratios Pythagoras invented a system of musical notation from ratios of sounds represented by mathematical symbols. Pythagoras also studied geometry and originated a mystical philosophy that incorporated math that spread to areas as far and diverse as Western Europe and India.
In the fourth century BC Aristotle who had had instruction in Pythagorean concepts as well as from Plato and Socrates before him and pre Socratic cosmogony before them, taught that numbers were the only ideas that had no existence in the physical world but only in the universal mind. This teaching was contrasted from Plato’s teaching that everything has a higher existence as an eternal idea af of which the corporeal thing is a mere imitation. Aristotle believed numbers were derived from number one and that the numbers that followed after started with the dyad which allowed for expression of the plural from unified being after the first multiplicity. Like numbers planes and solids had no existence in the form of physical objects but could be used in ways of thinking about physical bodies. The infinite unity of the cosmos bestowed existence to unequal, finite numbers in the act of creation from an infinite being that could have no parts divisibility or differentiation since these could not have arisen from or predicated as distinct from an infinite unity. Homologies from Plotinus to Lao Tzu give account of plural modes of existence or a manifestation of being producing new realms in the manner of “the one becoming two, the two becoming three” and so on. The view of more modern philosophy that number is a primary as opposed to a secondary quality, since as Aristotle himself held that a thing could not both be and not be, is consistent with more modern views on how we perceive.
Geometric ratios which can be used to calculate cosmological, and religious meaning in the construction of ancient monuments like Soloman’s temple or the great Pyramids is also used in astrology to measure geometric relations between astral and celestial bodies from the location of these bodies relative to each other to a measure of so many degrees on an astrological chart, which allows the astrologer to read the positions from the information available to him or her. The constant ratio Phi or “Golden mean” is useful for studying the proportion of geometric shapes when in cosmic relation and for plotting terms in a geometric system which may involve aspects of a religious system like the tree of life better known as the Kabbala. The use of geometric symbols in representing the composition of matter involved cubes, pyramids, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron as symbols for earth, fire, air, water and cosmos or ether. The triangle was considered as the fundamental shape of all matter being the most basic stable shape. Familiar geometric shapes composed of triangles include the star of David, consisting of two triangles brought together symbolizing personal power. The cube is composed of six sides that can be broken into twelve equilateral triangles, unfolding int a cross shape and with similarities in dimensions to Soloman’s temple in Jerusalem.The pentacle is a configuration if pentagram and isosceles triangle that can be shown to be be extended infinitely inwardly and outwardly even simultaneously in macrocosm and microcosm. When circumscribed by a circle the pentacle takes up exactly half the area of the circle, to name a few of the many, some of the inverse relations to this shape which symbolizes a perfectly balanced person.
Geometric shapes of the symbols for the sun, moon and planets were expanded only by John Dee in his Mona Hydroglyphica which involved analysis and combination of these symbols and their components. The circle sometimes containing the symbol meant the monad that generated the worlds and continue to do so as part of the motion of each planetary sphere in a fully ordered solar system. Combinations of these symbols combined their power to form talismans. A renaissance philosopher and scientist Dee was an personal astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I.
As a point when extended becomes a line, a line a plane, a plane a solid and as some say the motion of a body through space; time arising as a consequence of something in motion. But to infer too much from what can be shown with geometrical concepts can give rise to fallacies . These pure concepts cannot form the basis of knowledge and serve at least partly the framework of experience.
This is about the synchronicity number 23, and thus about the phenomena of synchronicity in general. To write about this topic objectively is impossible, as all experiences are necessarily subjective, involving as they do the element of consciousness, which cannot be instrumented. This is perhaps a study in the affirmation that any assertion of an objective observer is inherently impossible, and yet at the same time there is a deeply embedded pattern of coherency in all that we regard as random. Randomness itself is nothing more than a pattern of deeply embedded complexity of order; an order so complex it is not immediately discernible or obvious. Indeed the often heard rational defense, “that was just a coincidence,” is itself an acknowledgment that we have just discerned a pattern, but because there is no immediately obvious path of mechanistic causation behind it, we are consciously choosing to refuse to acknowledge the primary data. If we do this enough, of course we will never discern any deeper pattern of meaning. Yet, if we instead allow the content of such experiences to be observed often enough, the pattern may become so overwhelming that we cannot ignore it, and must attempt to formulate some new models of the nature of reality. When these experiences involve time, number and symmetry, I find the coherence of the pattern is more easily documented. Ironically, it may be through the language of numbers, which in recent centuries has been reserved as the exclusive domain of math and science in pursuit of the triumph of mechanistic rationalism, which may ultimately bring about its downfall. So it is with 23.
My first synchronicity experiences with numbers were not with 23, but with 2:22:22, first seen as the time on my digital watch on the Summer Solstice in 1981. I had checked the time for an entry in my notebook, recording what was already such a palpably strange experience that I had taken out my notebook to record it. I had just found three objects together on an otherwise wave swept and absolutely barren stretch of rocky coast line, and had a numinous feeling about the event. This was not my first synchronicity experience, but one of the first, and still in many ways the most powerful. It came about a week after by far the most powerful mystical psychedelic experience of my life, in which I had totally left my body and my identity as an individual. There does seem to be a high correlation between psychedelic experiences and synchronicity.
I suppose that the hard-core SCICOP types might take comfort in this, as evidence that they can write off these reports as nothing but drug induced hallucinations, but anyone who has worked with these states knows that is simply not the nature of these experiences. The synchronicities come, for the most part, not when one is deeply in the midst of non-ordinary reality, but later, when one is just at the threshold, or when one is completely down, but still open to the inter-penetration of some otherwise unseen, or unavailable, dimension. Almost as if we normally screen such experiences out, but in certain states, when we have let our guard down and dropped our filters, then they come through. There also seems to be some phenomena of opening a channel to these experiences. Once one begins to have them, they come more easily. Again, it is difficult to say what the change is exactly, but it is often associated with exposure to a spiritual teacher, practice, or discipline, a psychedelic experience, or even a conversation about the phenomena with someone who has had a lot of such experiences. It begins to seem almost as if the phenomena is in that sense contagious, but perhaps only if one already has the predisposition.
That is to some degree what happened with me and twenty three. As I said, I had already had a number of synchronicity experiences involving seeing 2:22:22 on my watch, not just once, but on a number of occasions over the course of the year or two following that initial experience on the Summer Solstice. Then, about two years later I had another overwhelming experience involving time, and number, and pattern.
Through my own investigation of pure geometric symmetry in the rational divisions of circles I had noticed that there are three fundamental families of symmetry. As a result of this Pythagorean insight, I had intuitively become convinced that if the circle itself, representing unity, and the symmetry family four, represented by the square, were present in Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, then the other two families should also be present. The missing families being three, represented by the equilateral triangle, and five, represented by the pentagram. In addition I had already confirmed the golden mean relationship between the radius of the circle and the side of the square in Leonardo’s drawing by measuring them in the drawing. One night, after months of struggle, it came to me suddenly. I drew the complete diagram of the circle along with each of the three families of symmetry represented as one of the three regular polygons associated with the three Pythagorean numbers 3, 4 and 5. When I looked at my watch to record the time, it was 3:45 am.
I experienced this as an affirmation of some larger pattern of intelligence and order which I could discern but not understand. It was several years later I discovered Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus trilogy, involving themes of synchronicity and psychedelics. Wilson calls himself a guerrilla ontologist, and although he brings up a great deal of issues in his fictional works, he never really attempts to seriously speculate or theorize more deeply as to what these phenomena mean. He referred to 23 as “the” synchronicity number, and while he seemed to claim that he had not invented this idea himself, he gave no concrete reference as to where it came from. Wilson was the first person I had encountered who went on at length about synchronicity. I knew Karl Jung had coined the term synchronicity, and yet I had never heard anything which I found really meaningful about it attributed to him. After I read Wilson, twenty three started showing up with disturbing frequency, on the radio, in print and on my digital watch, as the minutes or even seconds function. But even more bizarre, I found it as the date of five different letters to girlfriends, each at the culmination of a difficult relationship. These were the most critical emotional points in my life spanning a period of many years prior to my ever reading Wilson. At the time I discovered the pattern I was in psychotherapy with a traditional Ph.D. One day, I described the series of synchronicity experiences involving 23 to him. At the end of the session he had just succeeded in convincing me that I must have subconsciously chosen that date, and was now able to sense time so well that I choose to look just at that moment. When the session ended I walked out to my car, and when I turned the key in the ignition, the radio came on saying, “June 23rd, 1973.”
At one point, in exasperation and despair, I bundled up photocopies of all my notes and journals on the subject and sent them off to Wilson by FedEx. Only to have them delivered back to me several days later, at 1:23 p.m., after FedEx was unable to deliver them to Wilson. Along with 23, Wilson had mentioned another number, 17 being a lessor synchronicity number. This one did not proceed to haunt me, but one day I had gone to visit Norman Derby, my Classical Physics professor at Bennington, to ask him about the probability of seeing a certain number on a digital watch. His answer that the mathematical probability of seeing any number was the same, seemed to miss my point. But when he asked me what number and I responded 23, he said, “Oh, yes, and the other number is 17.” I was dumb founded, but he went on to explain that someone had done a study in which they asked people to name a random two digit number. Twenty three was the most common choice, and seventeen was the second most often picked. He explained that these were the first two prime numbers after thirteen, which has so many associations in most peoples minds that they would not think of it as totally random. I accepted this rational argument at the time, as he was rarely wrong when it came to rational explanations. But a few weeks later it occurred to me that nineteen is also prime.
During the same period I was also intensely interested in the golden mean. One of the first rational associations I discovered on my own about twenty three is that it is the inverse golden mean of sixty. Therefore twenty three minutes is the inverse golden mean of an hour, while twenty three seconds is the inverse golden mean of a minute. There are several other rather obvious attributes of twenty three. It is composed of the first two prime numbers, two and three, which are also, therefore, the first even and odd numbers respectively. The number very nearly says its component’s names when spoken in English, as two-to-three, or closer yet, as two-went-to-three, or even as two-went-to-be-three. In this sequence it names the counting number sequence, but also the Fibonacci sequence, the former going on by iteration to four, while the latter goes to their sum, five. We will return to this theme later.
In late November of 1989 I was at Esalen at a workshop with Terence McKenna. I had just walked past the desk and noticed a big book with a large brass plate on the cover inscribed only with a large 23. When I inquired I was told it was a listing of all the therapists at Esalen, and because they originally had twenty three therapists, it came to be known as “The book of Twenty Three”. In his recent tapes Terence had been talking about his “Time-wave” converging on an end point sometime in late November of 2012. But, in this workshop he had said nothing of it, so walking across the lawn with him on the way back toward the hall I asked him about it. In a jovial mood he said, “Better hurry, only twenty four years to get ready.” I ran a quick calculation in my head and said, “Ugh, no, twenty three years… exactly,” looking at the date on my watch. Then noticing it was 11-23 that day I added, “What do you know about twenty three?” “Oh that goes back to ancient Persia,” he said obliquely as we reached the seminar room, ending the conversation.
I should mention something here about my particular understanding of number patters. The counting numbers start 0,1,2,3,4… but another sequence, called the Fibonacci numbers starts 0,1,1,2,3,5… Each term is the sum of the previous two. The Fibonacci sequence is most intimately related to the golden mean, 1.6180… and the inverse golden mean, .6180… The dividend of any two sequential Fibonacci numbers approximates the inverse golden mean, while the dividend of any two reverse sequential Fibonacci numbers approximates the golden mean. The fraction is simply inverted to yield its inverse. The larger the Fibonacci numbers, the more exact the approximation of the golden mean:
Thus 1/2 = .5 2/3 = .666… 3/5 = .6 5/8 = .625
But 8/13 = .615… 13/21 = .619… 21/34 = .6176… 34/55 = .6181818…
Thus the dates 1-23 and 11-23 have a more significant meaning within the associative matrix of my consciousness, as they make reference to the counting number sequence and Fibonacci sequence respectively. The dates 5-23 and 8-23 suggest meaning to a lesser extent as these are sets of Fibonacci digits.
Even before I studied the golden mean, I had studied passive solar design since my senior year in high school. Even before that, I have always had an intuitive sense of direction and time of day. It was when I started to do sun angle calculations for my solar designs in high school that I figured out in detail how my directional ability is based on a subconscious calculation of sun angles. I had this ability since my earliest memories, when I was two or three. My parents noticed it and wondered if it might be magnetic or what the mechanism was. It was actually during an Outward Bound course in high school, just before I started doing the solar study, that it was brought home to me, painfully clearly how my sense of direction worked. The entire group had become accustomed to following my sense of direction just as implicitly as I did. My map reading and experience in the high Sierra’s also contributed to this. But, one night, on a twenty four hour hike, when the full Moon came up my subconscious sense of direction kicked in and treated it as if it were the Sun in my subconscious calculations. I led us in completely the wrong direction, sure I knew where I was going. Even after it was pointed out to me I could not shake my, now faulty, sense of direction. When I did start doing sun angle calculations the next year, I became aware of the Solstices and the Equinoxes. It was the Solstices I noticed most because the Sun angle at noon on these two days most determined the design parameters of any passive solar structure. These two Sun angles are the latitude plus and minus the angle at which the Earth is tipped relative to the plane of its rotation around the Sun. The Earth tip angle seemed to me at the time a very annoying and arbitrary number: twenty three degrees. If it had been twenty two and a half degrees (half of forty five degrees, which is one eighth of a circle) it would somehow have been more satisfying, a confirmation almost, that there was order to the design of the universe. But, instead it was this weird number which was so close, and yet not apparently related to anything. I forgot my initial reaction of annoyance to this number, and for the most part forgot about the number itself, even as I continued to be aware of it throughout years of solar design. It was not until years after reading Wilson that this association with it occurred to me again.
Although, on the day of the 2:22:22 synchronicity, as I was walking back, just as I reached the edge of town, there was a man sitting on the ocean wall with a book with geodesics on the cover. He was reading a book by Buckminster Fuller and the drawings were ones he had made on the cover of his dictionary. We got into a conversation and somehow I ended up explaining the Earth-Sun seasonal geometry to him, illustrating my description by drawing a diagram in my journal. The drawing included the twenty three degree Earth tip angle, as well as the dates of the Solstices and Equinoxes. Although, it was not until I returned to my room that night that I realized that it had been the Summer Solstice that very day. He in turn had told me that Buckminster Fuller lived on the next island south from there. I hitchhiked down there two days later, only to find that Fuller was in California. We never did meet. Perhaps it is just as well. I needed to follow my own path and he would have invariably diverted me with the power of his own intensity.
Somewhere along the line I learned that the angle at which the Earth is tipped relative to the plane of the ecliptic is really not 23 degrees, but 23.5 degrees. By the time I realized this I knew twenty three as a synchronicity number, and a Fibonacci number, so this confirmation of its Fibonacci nature was almost reassuring. Only recently it occurred to me to wonder what the next decimal place is. I was delighted to learn that it is 23.45 degrees. Thus the angle of the ecliptic names both the counting numbers, and the Fibonacci sequence, at their point of divergence, as 23.45 is rounded with very little loss of precision to 23.5 degrees. The next decimal place is actually zero, so the story does terminate naturally at 23.450 degrees. The angle, which is actually called the obliquity of the ecliptic is currently 23 27′ which is exactly 23.45 degrees. One more observation about this angle. If one takes the angle of latitude swept out between the two tropics, it is twice the Earth tip angle, or 47 degrees (46 54′ exactly). This wedge does almost perfectly describe a 45 zone, or one eighth of a circle centered on the Equator. Thus a forty five degree zone is perfectly bracketed, within the tropics, with one degree on either side.
There are several other random associations to twenty three which have emerged into my awareness over the years. One is the number of human chromosomes. Another relates to the number of tarot cards, and therefore letters in the short form of the ancient Hebrew alphabet, actually twenty two, or twenty one plus zero; making twenty three Ain Soph, the Void which surrounds and contains the whole system. Then there are the less profound expressions, like the number on Michael Jordan’s jersey, which in turn has been reproduced on thousands of shirts and shoes, thus making it much more likely for me to have synchronicity experiences, as the number was in my face even more over these past years, long after first reading Wilson. When Jordan tried to change it coming out of retirement, they chose 45 (perhaps because it was the next autonomous pair of counting numbers after skipping 34 which contained three again). But this number failed miserably with the public, and his handlers were forced to return to the merchandising power of twenty three.
Switching from the ridiculous to the sublime, or at least esoteric; last year, inspired by Rick Tarnas I started investigating the coming Uranus-Neptune-Jupiter conjunction on my computer. Rick had pointed out that the sixties were a decade long expression of the slow moving conjunction of Uranus and Pluto, but that when Jupiter joined them in 1968-69, it was as if the volume were suddenly turned up and everything which marked the 60’s came to a head. While the 60’s represented Uranus liberating the Dionysian energy of Pluto giving rise to violent cathartic revolution, the 90’s embody a very different, but perhaps equally potent energy. Uranus is now in conjunction with Neptune, perhaps liberating a boundary dissolving spirituality, and certainly already revolution by dissolution. Rick pointed out that in 1997 Jupiter will join Uranus and Neptune in a triple conjunction which may parallel the intensity, though certainly not the content, of what we saw in 1969. I noticed that there should be a day in early 1997, when Jupiter will be almost exactly half way between Neptune and Uranus, on which Jupiter will move into Aquarius. This change of sign by itself is not something I would be inclined to attach tremendous importance to, but I would consider the exact mid-point important, and I couldn’t escape some conditioning by the song from Hair in the 60’s about the dawning of the age of Aquarius (more about that later). So I went looking for the exact day. When I did, I was astounded! Not only are the three big planets in conjunction, but on that day the Sun joins them, with the Moon opposite. Saturn and Pluto are in trine to each other and in sextiles to the multiple conjunction. But what is more, Mars and the North Node are tightly conjoined opposite Saturn, and so in trine to the multiple conjunction! Thus by setting the time of day correctly the Ascendant completes a triple mystic rectangle! A perfect hexagon. A star of David in the sky naming a moment in time for each place on the Earth. I was awed by the perfection of the geometric pattern. But there was one other twist to the whole thing which would not have struck any other astrologer who might have discovered it quite the way it did me. The day when this all comes exact is January 23rd, 1997! 1-23-97 in American notation, at 12:35 p.m. EST.
To return to the point alluded to in that last section about the dawning of the age of Aquarius, what that phrase really refers to is the precession of the Equinoxes, the shift in the relationship between the fixed stars and the seasons over a very long span of time. At the time the Sidereal Zodiac used in western astrology was codified about two thousand years ago, the Sun entered the constellation Aries on the Vernal Equinox. The constellations which we actually see in the region of sky known as the Ecliptic form the Sidereal Zodiac, which is still used in Hindu Vedic astrology. The movement of the constellations with respect to the seasons is known as the precession of the Equinoxes, because while the Sun is now in the constellation Pisces on the Vernal Equinox, it will eventually move backward, by precession, into the constellation Aquarius; hence the now famous, “Dawning of the age of Aquarius.” However, we still have a long way to go. It takes around twenty five hundred years per sign. The difference between the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs is currently twenty three degrees. [NOTE: I had been told years ago that this was the difference between the two zodiacs, but when I checked it for this piece, the reference said that it is estimated that it had changed to twenty four degrees in April 1947, based on the two zodiacs having coincided in approximately 220 AD. I wonder if it might actually have been in August 1945, or perhaps it was at 23 degrees 58 minutes in August 1945?]
[COUNTER NOTE: When a Vedic astrologer mentioned (on 11-22-95) that the difference between the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs is twenty three degrees, and I answered that I it was now really twenty four degrees, she said it depends how you calculate it and vehemently insisted that it is twenty three degrees.]
I had known all this for many years when I met David Ulansey last year, and heard him explain his insight into the meaning of the Mithraic iconography. This cult flourished all over Europe, starting just before the birth of Christ, and continuing for several hundred years until it was apparently wiped out by emergent Roman State-Christianity. David recognized that the Mithraic iconography portrays a star map of the constellations lying in the Earth’s equatorial plane, with the central figure representing Perseus. There is a linguistic identity between the line of kings of ancient Persia named Mithras and Perseus and Persia. Mithras is clearly Perseus in his Phrygian cap. The central figure, Mithras, Perseus is depicted putting a dagger into the neck of a bull, Taurus. This illustrated a point in time when the Earth’s equatorial plane met the Ecliptic plane in Taurus, rather than Aires. Thus the iconography portrayed a time some two thousand years before the rise of the Mithraic cult. The secret of the cult was apparently the knowledge of the precession of the Equinoxes, which was first documented in Greece at about the same time the Mithraic cult first appeared. The movement of the fixed stars would have been a paradigm shattering revelation in the ancient world. The twin torch bearers, representing the Equinoxes, one with their torch up and one with it down, and their lower legs crossed at twenty three degrees, make it even more obvious what the imagery describes. But, why Taurus? It was the sign prior to Aries by precession, but what of that exact point in time, I wondered? It was David himself who mentioned that the eye of Taurus, a very bright star named Aldebaran, and another star, Antares, which lies almost exactly opposite it in the sky, form an almost perfect line, or axis through the heavens. It seemed immediately obvious to me that if such a line lay in the plane of the Zodiac, and one knew about the precession of the Equinoxes, then it would be clear that at some point in time that line would have defined the intersection of the plane of the Zodiac with the plane of the Earth’s Equator. That line, still visible as those two perfectly opposed stars, would seem to have marked some sort of zero point in time two thousand years earlier. Thus I proposed to David that perhaps this is why the Mithraic cult made reference to Taurus so explicitly. He was apparently well aware of this but had not been emphasizing it in his presentations.
But there was one other dimension to David’s work which suddenly made the whole puzzle make sense to me, Terence McKenna’s comment about twenty three going back to ancient Persia. Even before anyone knew about the procession of the Equinoxes, thousands of years before, as soon as they had angle measuration in degree’s, the first number they would encounter in mystery and wonder would be that same one I encountered, the angle at which the Ecliptic plane itself is tipped, which gives rise to the seasons, and thus the dynamic diversity of life on Earth. From the time of the first angle menstruation in ancient Babylon twenty three has been with us in our collective human consciousness.
It is hard to say what any of this has to do with anything else at the level of mechanistic causation. All links fail at this level. It seems that this has somehow to do with the nature of number, time and associative cognition itself. It points to a puzzle embedded in the fabric of both material reality, pure number as related to inevitable scales of menstruation and our own consciousness. That such connections should exist are either, as the mechanistic rationalists hold, noise on the otherwise coherent signal, or perhaps a signal to us from the depths of an enfolded order as to the overall intelligence of the interrelatedness of everything.
As I was once a rationalist I know that I have pushed the limits pretty far by now, well beyond their breaking point. The trick to playing this game is to suspend your expectation that things must be linked only by a chain of mechanistic causality, but to instead look for an associative map in ones conscious awareness. The connections become quite startling as a pattern appears to emerge. But attachment to what it means or whether it means anything must be suspended in favor of just allowing the primary data of experience to accumulate. It is as if existence is signaling to one through mind, and matter, at their point of intersection, but what if anything is being said is difficult to ascertain.
To return to the question of degrees in a circle. What about angle measure? Why are there 360 degrees in a circle? Is this an inevitable expression of numerical symmetry, or an arbitrary artifact of random human culture? One must start with pure geometric construction. If one follows such thinking, but always with Oakum’s Razor close at hand, then one soon asks whether many things are arbitrary or inevitable. With only a string, one may draw a circle. Its own radius will walk around its circumference exactly six times, so there is something most fundamental about the relation ship between six (and therefore three) and the nature of circles. Any segment may be easily bisected, and so from six comes twelve, and within it four. Or done another way the whole circle may be divided in half by any line through its center, and then halved again into four, and eight and sixteen etc… The circle may only be divided equally by five if one knows a trick, and thus the pentagram is the first expression of magic in geometry. The magic of the golden mean, of dynamic form of life which the Pythagorean brotherhood most likely held as their sacred symbol. Each of these divisions represents one of the three fundamental families of symmetry. They may be represented by the lengths of the three sides of the most fundamental Pythagorean 3, 4, 5 triangle. This triangle itself may be constructed with nothing but a closed circle of string knotted into twelve equal segments. By pulling this string taught into a triangle with lengths 3, 4 and 5 one can create a right angle. A second piece of geometric magic and I suspect the reason why Pythagoras would have warned his followers against wearing knotted strings around their necks, lest they give themselves away to those who were persecuting them in later years. So, by dividing the circle into twelve, one has both the family three and four, as the twelve hours of the twelve houses of the zodiac have the trine and the square. But five is missing, the family of the nature of our own organic digital symmetry, quite literally found in the ten digits on our hands and feet. Five and ten are so fundamental that we as moderns have chosen them over twelve, glorifying our digital decimal system at the expense of three and four which would have fit better into twelve. But four emerges out of two, so in a sense the three families could better be named by Fibonacci numbers 2, 3, 5 rather than the Pythagorean counting number sequence 3, 4, 5. In either case it is the harmony of trinity which has been excluded in the modern age.
The first number which is divisible by 2, 3, and 5 is 30. While the first divisible by 3, 4 and 5 is 60. Thus we have 60 minutes in a circular hour and 60 seconds in a minute on the same face. We might stop dividing the circle there, but if we did, we would only be able to divide it into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 & 12 parts. Notice that 7, 8, 9 and 11 are missing. Seven and eleven are impossible no matter what we do. They are outside of this system of rational plane geometry. But eight is so fundamental it cannot be left out. Eight is only the double of four, the midpoints of the four directions, too obvious and natural to be excluded. A symmetrical division of a circle into nine cannot be constructed by pure geometry, and yet nine is so closely associated with three (and four through the square) that it seems as if it should lie within any orderly system. 120 would fit 8, but an odd number of times, and 9 would still not fit. 180 would fit 9 but not 8. So, 360 is the first number divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 & 12. Seven, eleven and thirteen remain outside the system. The case for 360 is helped by the empirical fact that there are 365.25 days in a year, but the point of the previous exercise is to show the pure relationship between number, shape and measurement. The convergence of this realm and the apparently randomly arbitrary natural realm is a deeper question. Seven and even thirteen re-enter the measurement of time through the Moon cycle. It is about twenty nine days between full Moons and thus there are between twelve and thirteen moons per year. The seven day week is one Moon phase, one quarter Moon, while the “moonth” was once one Moon cycle, but was shifted to a more rational division of the twelfth part of the solar year.
One more personal digression illustrating how this has appeared in my day to day life recently:
The day after I finished the first draft of this text, traveling in Italy with my girlfriend, we pooled our cash to see how much we had and whether we needed to cash a travelers check. We had exactly 23,000 lire between us. That was in early August. In late August I was back in San Francisco while she was still in Italy. I had missed a chance to reach her on the phone in Rome and realized that the next chance I would have was when she was in Milan on the Twenty Third. I couldn’t reach her, but I took a ride on the San Francisco Muni for the first time that day. Signs make it clear that you should ask for a transfer if you need one, and I didn’t, but as I was getting off a trolley for the second time, the driver rather forcefully pushed a transfer into my hand bearing a large 23. I did reach Michelle the next day, but she was rushing to get a train, so she called me the next morning. When she did, she told me the story of traveling to Milan with friends a few days before. On the toll highway they pooled their cash. They had exactly twenty three thousand lire between the three of them. When they reached the toll both their toll was exactly twenty three thousand lire! I spoke with no one else that day as drove up to the Sierra’s to go backpacking. The only other conversation I had that day was when as I was getting my wilderness permit. It was late on a Friday afternoon so I asked how many people had already gone in from that roadhead that day. “Twenty three,” the ranger said.
One last obscure piece of the puzzle. I was visiting my friend and fellow western mystic Chris Farris. He had been reading a lot of quantum mechanics and super string theory. He mentioned a theory which claimed there were twenty six dimensions which can be reduced to ten. I mentioned that Stan Tenen had been making connections between a topological model which described a twenty seven and eleven dimensional reality and the twenty seven letters of the sacred Hebrew, Arabic and Greek alphabets. I wondered whether the difference was that what Chris had been reading might describe twenty six and ten dimensions of space, without time, while what Stan was referencing might describe twenty seven and eleven dimensions of space-time. Thus, if there are really twenty six spacial dimensions, then there are actually twenty three hidden dimensions in space. It might be that the whole phenomenon of synchronicity may be understood through these twenty three enfolded dimensions. Thus the three dimensional reality which we inhabit might be seen as merely a section through this hyper dimensional interconnectedness.
Shortly after I finished the last entry on this I left for my cousin Michael’s wedding. It was on the Autumnal Equinox which fell on September 23rd this year. On the way home, my parents flight left early on Sunday morning, but I had a reservation on a later flight, so I flew standby out of Albany. In Chicago, the connecting flight was leaving from gate 23, so I went over there and waited for a while, only to be told that the gate had been changed to 11. In Albany I had been told there was plenty of room on the connecting flight out of Chicago, but when I reached gate 11 I was told that the flight was overbooked. I waited while they boarded the whole plane, but it was full. So, they sent me back to gate 23 where the next flight was to leave from. Because I was waiting to go standby I again had to wait for the whole plane to be boarded, but this particular agent called the rows emphasizing the gate number. “Please do not get up and proceed through the doorway marked 23 until your row number is called indicating that you may enter through the doorway marked 23…etc.” He must have called it almost two dozen times before I finally boarded the plane. Normally I get on first because I have high mileage status, but I can’t ever remember hearing anyone repeat the gate number so much.
When I did arrive home there was a message from my now ex-girlfriend in Italy who had just read a draft of this piece which I had sent to her. She had intentionally called on the 23rd, and commented on this essay in her message. I was at the wedding, but at the end of her message it was the time stamp which came on saying: “Saturday… seven…twenty three…am.” It still gives me a chill.
Reading about ancient Chaldean astrology for David Ulansey’s class I ran across 23 again, not in the way I expected to in relation to the Earth tip angle, but in relation to Mercury. The first number mentioned as explicitly recorded in astronomical observation was the fact that Mercury is never more than 23 degrees away from the Sun. How odd to find it where I expected in ancient Persia, but with regard to the planet which rules my Sun sign Gemini, rather than in the context of the Earth tip angle as I had expected.
There is one more entry I cannot make in the detail I would like to because I can’t remember the reference exactly. In October I was at the late Arthur Young’s house which is also the Institute for the Study of Consciousness in Berekely. (Arthur died on my birthday last year, while I was in a non ordinary state completing Stan Grof’s training that day). An itinerant physicist and general mad genius there named Manuel ____ was talking about five dimensional physics. When I asked him about dimensionality numbers in super string theory, he went into a detailed discussion which I could only follow very roughly, but the core of it seemed to be along the following lines. A five by five matrix suggests twenty five dimensional terms. He interprets the five dimensions as time plus three space dimensions plus a radius associated with each point which might be thought of as equivalent to the angular momentum in quantum mechanics. He maintains that topologically the radius is different than simple coordinates in three space in that it allows quantum energetic interactions to be treated as dimensional transformations in geometry. He then went on to talk about two different types of error correcting codes (from computer programming I believe). In one, the ______ type, there can be any iteration of two bits (2,4,8,16,32 etc…), anyway he chose thirty two as an example for which there are five error correcting bits and one parity bit. He apparently related this math to the twenty six dimensions of super string theory. In a second type of more robust error correcting code there are always twenty four bits of which one is a parity bit so there are always twenty three data bits. But of these only twelve are available for information and the remaining eleven are for error correction. I wondered about the twenty three in relation to the number of human chromosomes and the zodiac.
It was perhaps inevitable if I went looking into the Great Pyramid at Giza that I would find 23. The Pyramid is, after all, plastered all over Robert Anton Wilson’s works, but that seems to have more to do with his general fascination with Illuminati and/or Freemason related iconography and symbols. There does seem to be a long and deep connection between 23 and these types of somewhat hermetic secret societies. However, aside from the fact that each of the sides of the Great Pyramid is 23.0 decameters long, the most important ancient Egyptian association with twenty three centers around the triangle mr. According to Livio Catullo Stecchini, in his appendix in Peter Tompkins Book, ancient Egypt itself was called the land of mr or Tumrah. This word was derived from a mr triangle, a right triangle with angles of 36 and 54. These are also the angles found in a pentagram, so this triangle immediately suggests the golden mean and thus, possibly even the Fibonacci Sequence. However, because the ancient Egyptians did not have trigonometry, in the modern sense, they used a slight variation on this triangle as a functional approximation in practice. The rational triangle which was thus used as the basis not only for their construction, but for the very foundation of their cosmology was a mr triangle with edge lengths of 100 units and 72 units, perpendicular to each other, and with a hypotenuse of 123 units. If the angle were exactly 36 and one side were exactly 100 units, then the other side would be 72.6542 units, while the hypotenuse would be 123.6068 units. Thus the mr triangle with rational unit length sides was a useful representation. Stecchini claims that while the Great Pyramid incorporates both p and j (the golden mean), the Second Pyramid is based solely on j through the application of the mr right triangle with an edge length of 100 and a hypotenuse of 123. Compared to the Great Pyramid, the geometry of the Second Pyramid is less complex and sophisticated, and more single minded in its pure expression of the golden mean. Its orientation is also apparently more straight forward with both its north west and south west corners held perfectly square, while only its east face is rotated slightly north of east, thus very slightly shortening the north edge with respect to the south. In contrast, there are several more sophisticated manipulations in evidence in the Great Pyramid with respect to the orientation of both its east and south faces, as well as a very slight rotation of the overall structure by exactly 0 00′ 03″. This suggests an exceedingly precise manipulation of its orientation expressing some very sophisticated intentional information. The Second Pyramid is by all measures less sophisticated in comparison with the Great Pyramid. When one also considers the fact that the southern edge of the Second Pyramid lines up with the Sphinx, and that it occupies the highest, most obvious, and most central building site on the Giza Plateau, it becomes obvious that it was most likely built first. The Great Pyramid’s site is by contrast absolutely as far north, and east, as it would be feasible to go on the site. Both pyramids at Giza are slightly south of the true 30 meridian they were apparently meant to represent, but the Great Pyramid comes as close as it is possible to get given the geology and topography of the site. All of this suggests to me that the Second Pyramid was built before the Great Pyramid. When we also consider that the 123 dimension, and the 72 by 100 by 123 mr triangle are found throughout the design of the pyramid complex at Saqqara, attributed to Imhotep, and widely agreed to immediately predate the construction of the pyramid complex at Giza, it becomes even more plausible that the Second Pyramid, was built sometime after the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, but just before the Great Pyramid at Giza.
In process… at least until January 23rd.
CHAOS KAOS KAYOS CHAYOS KAIOS QUAIOS QUAYOS KAIYOS
…to name but a few. Eight is the number of my true love’s name in the morning (7), when I rise (4). This is naturally a sexist riddle, the answer being ERECTION (8), and may or may not be perceived to have much to do with the matter that follows! Yet hard facts persist, even through anarchy, and some of them are pertinent to the discussion which follows.
That the number EIGHT and Chaos are inextricably entwined is, by any standards, irrefutable. Yet eight goes back so much further, into the very roots of occultism, and is a number worthy of at least a passing glance.
Eight. The Ogdoad. Westcott has this as the first cube of energy (2*2*2) and adds that it is “the only evenly even number within the decad”. In Greek times it was an omnipotent number, referred to the proverb: “All things are eight.” The Greek connection is at least valid in a passing context, with Hesiod being the first known writer to name Chaos and the Mass of Eris in CI 8 (KALLISTI!) could hardly have existed without his significant (if minimal) input.
It was also called the Universal Harmony because of its relationship to the musical scale (DOH, a deer, a female…), which both Mozart and Sol Invictus in their separate ways relied upon. There were eight Cabiri. St Matthew (cap. V) has eight Christian beatitudes, for those who don’t object to a B-attitude. One of the oldest companies of Egyptian Gods, that of Thoth of Hermopolis, consisted of four gods and four goddesses, with the gods being batrachiocephalic and the goddesses being serpent-headed.
The Pentateuch laid down that a male child should be circumcised (i.e. circumscribed for life) when it was eight days old. Stones of eight cubits were to be used for the foundations of Solomon’s temple. Eight tables were provided for the Hebrew slaughter of sacrificial animals. Eight was sacred to Dionysus, who was born in the eighth month. Eight prophet-persons were descended from Rahab the harlot: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Hannemeel, Shallum, Neraiah, Massaiah, Hilkaiah and the prophetess Huldah. The irreverent might be tempted to remark that all these end in a very satisfying AH! Eight souls were saved in Noah’s Ark, and Noah was the eighth in descent. Kabbalistically his name adds to eight times eight.
Theories about numbers can be taken to any lengths, depending upon who’s doing the taking and the bluntness of the axe they intend to grind. The eightfold path of Buddhism is ennobling and uplifting, and it’s only another of the many sets of eight the dedicated occultist will have already discovered.
In the Northern Tradition (my own particular and under-ground axe) Thor’s hall, Bilskirnir, is a prototype skyscraper with 640 (80*8) floors. Valhalla has 640 doors and 960 (8*12) warriors can emerge from each door at once. In the poem Grimnismal Odin doesn’t move for eight nights. When Thor’s hammer is stolen it is hidden eight miles down. To get it back Thor disguises himself as Freya. At the ‘wedding-feast’ which follows, Loki claims Thor hasn’t eaten for eight nights, as Odin’s largest son polishes off eight salmon at a sitting. Eight furnishings and servants are noted in Hel’s palace in the underworld. Odin’s grey mount, Sleipnir, has eight legs. In Lokasenna it is claimed that Loki lived under the earth for eight winters. The three gods which made the first men and woman bestowed eight abilities and faculties upon them.
There are eight runes to an aett in the Common Germanic Futhard, giving eight the strength implied by a full set of anything. In Norse tradition eight is a potent invocatory number, especially for Odin, representing a massive increase of potency over the lesser invocatory number of three.
Another correspondence which must be examined, if we are to do justice to the eight points of the Chaosphere, is the eightfold wheel of Wicca. Now, Wicca is a one of those subjects which immediately raises hands, eyebrows and other parts’ of the anatomy whenever it is mentioned, and a brief examination won’t go entirely amiss.
Witchcraft, unlike Chaos but very like Norse paganism, is a religion which has been principally recorded by christian commentators with their own bias and ideology to impose. Because off this a great deal of the historical material must be regarded as iffy by anyone seeking to establish the actual truth behind it. One factor which immediately links the topics is the respect offered woman. Woman in the north, as far back as Tacitus writing in the first century AD, was venerated and regarded as having a special gift of wisdom and prophecy. The same is true of the witch cult if we read between the lines. But Christianity, with its attitude that man comes into the world between urine and faeces, took every opportunity to deny and denigrate the role of woman, even within its own ranks. This practice continues today, with the nonconformist sects showing a much greater readiness to contemplate woman’s ordination than the established CofE and RC diehards. Thus any cult which acknowledged woman as an equal and legitimate creature was automatically doomed to censure, if not to rabid shrieks of ‘Heresy!’.
The most telling evidence for associating witchcraft with the Northern Tradition comes from the trials and legislation which led to the persecution. Transvection (flying through the air) for witches goes at least as far back as the Norse poem Havamal in around 950. Use of herbs and salves, not to mention inscribed charms, takes us back into runic times. The archetypal familiar, the cat, is sacred to Freya. A dozen or more similarities could be established with ease, possibly boring you rigid and over-killing the point. Much of the so-called witch knowledge was already established and accepted in Anglo-Saxon times, showing up in manuscripts of the period such as the Lacnunga.
The Alexandrian and Gardnerian movements represent the bulk of more obvious witchcraft activity, and are twentieth century offshoots of an ancient tradition going back much further and represented by heredity and traditional schools, both of which are realities in England today. Unlike the latter two they are visible and (heresy coming up) virtually interchangeable, the main differences being:
- Alex Sanders was photographed wearing a gold lame posing pouch and Gerald Gardner wasn’t (at least, the piccie hasn’t surfaced yet).
- The Alexandrian version of The Law doesn’t prohibit man teaching man, despite the fact that this may cause a fondness between aspirants, and better if it be so. They can, after all, if they want to, make it clear from the outset that they will behave like father and son, or two brothers.
Which hasn’t taken us too far from the point. Both the Allies and the Gardies have been keen in recent years to establish their respectability/credentials, even permitting a degree of cooperation and interpenetration in order to do so, and a variety of eight-spoked wheel diagrams are to be found in the plethora of works about either or both. They typically contain:
FESTIVALS METHODOLOGY WEAPONRY ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ Candlemas Drugs & Wine Bread Vern. Equinox Dance Wand/Staff Beltane Great Rite Incense Sum. Solstice Spells & Rites Athame/Knife Lammas Scourge Wine Aut. Equinox Cords Chalice/Cup Samhain Meditation Oil Win. Solstice Trance Pentacle/Plate
Naturally this is a synthesis and includes (!) omissions. But it serves to give the ignorant and prurient some idea, as well as serving as a mnemonic for the cognoscenti. It’s fascinating to see that some of the entries are currently being played down by the let’s-be-respectable element (Drugs & Wine, Great Rite, Scourge) in contrast to the SExual and Chemognosis of Chaos, almost as if when the torch begins to dim in one set of hands it gets passed along to the people with the bottle of lighter fluid (yum yum).
All this is by way of a preamble to the main reason for this turgid discourse, which is an examination of the number Eight as it pertains to Chaos Magic. Apart from making a pretty natty design to wear on our rings and robes does it have any actual validity or relevance?
Let’s turn our attention to the most important Chaos Magic text to date, Liber Kaos, the Psychonomicon by Peter J. Carroll. We are unable to doubt the authority of the author or his massive contribution to both the foundation of The Pact and the formulation and elucidation of our chosen path of working. Yet on page 38, as a part of the Appendix (I) to Principia Magica, we discover a diagram of the eight-rayed star of Chaos which is actually a representation of five dimensions (I quote “(3 of space)(1 of Ordinary Psuedo Time)(1 of Shadow Time)”.
Now, let’s hold it there for a minute, pard’ner. Is we a-sayin’ that there eight-pointy star’s jus’ some ol’ Pentygram requantumated?
The Urban Cowboy goes off to eat his beans unanswered for the time being enabling us to progress a little further. To page 85, to be precise, where we discover Rituals and Spell Objectives and Designs in Eight Magics, with a Chaos star firmly planted in the centre of the page. This comes (as admitted on page 86) from Terry Pratchett, caught-jester of the Occult fiction world.
Y’see? Y’jus’ can’t take it seriously, pard.
Rather like most Americans, wouldn’t you say? So was it accident that Eight came to be the primary (though not the prime) number of Chaos Magic? Mere whim? After all, the Pentagram (the Witch’s Foot, Goblin’s Cross et al)has, on the surface, a much greater precedent for power than an eight-rayed star, doesn’t it?
Yew bet yore cute li’l pink ass it do.
That’s why it was utilised in the seminal Liber Null in Liber Lux, Liber Nox and Liber AOM, wasn’t it? So what exactly is the rationale behind the Chaos star and the Chaosphere, if the Pentagram would have done just as well? Is it simply an overstated Pentagram, or is there something more?
The question naturally, is rhetorical. Back to Liber AOM for another look at the Chaosphere: “it may be said to variously represent a perspective sculpture of the 4 axes of the geometrically impossible hypercube or the two interpenetrant tetrahedra of the light and dark forces. Such twists of illogic…”
Hit ’em up, moove ’em…
Shut up, Rowdy. go back to the gas pump or on into superstardom.
You’re quite right. It was usually Eric Fleming, playing trail-boss Gil Favor, who uttered that line to usher in the closing credits.
Which isn’t quite where we came in, but will serve to introduce a person reminiscence. When it comes to Chaos I am something of a March Violet. (Ah, the Strangemess of juxtaposed metaphors…) For those who don’t know it the majority of those who actually joined the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (Nazis for short, for which we’re all grateful) did so after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany early in 1933. They were known as March Violets because they’d waited to see which way the wind of politics was blowing before committing themselves. My first involvement with Chaos cam in the mid-1980’s, once the movement has begun to become established. I read Liber Null, The Book of Results, The Cardinal Rites of Chaos and various other texts, including Julian Wilde’s Grimoires of Chaos Magic. All of these were new, alien, foreign to me, and served to reinforce a concept that I’d discovered for myself some years before, that of STRANGENESS.
Strangeness is what, for the vast majority, gives the occult its initial appeal. It has the potency of a thousand pentagrams and an insidious draw for the individual. Many drug habits have grown out of the desire to explore Strangeness, and the call of the Otherness is what opened up the west for Rowdy and his chums, and the Raj for Major Callaghan, don’t y’know. True, in the last two examples there were also political and financial considerations, but it was the Strangeness which won through for the pioneers and the thin red line.
Today we are bombarded by Strangeness. Those who have yet to enter the electronic age (doubtless reading this by the light of a paraffin lamp) find computers unutterably alien, and discover Strangeness in the way the new technology (sorry, rather passe phrase, that) is chipping away at their privacy. We see strange icons in the street, be they ads and posters or Gothic individuals (OK Justin – Byronic Romanticks!) walking by.
Let’s face it, to a newcomer Chaos Magic is strange. It is as strange as the first time you open a book by Terry Pratchett. It is as strange as that first discovery of the clap one grey and dismal, even if bright and sunny, morning. It is as strange as the pacing of a Stanley Kubrick file or a normal performance by the late Klaus Kindky. But strangeness, which I discovered in my youth, can contain a latent trap which middle age reveals. Once the strange, which is potent, becomes familiar (and familiarity, we are told, breeds contempt) its potency evaporates like surplus fluid in a can of Carnation, leaving you with a sticky, stodgy, unappealing goo.
This again, is a personally-proven discovery. When first strangeness came to me I worked out a full system of magic based on information culled from the works of Clark Ashton Smith. By the time I’d finished I had something workable, but its strangeness and appeal were gone, rendering it not so much useless as indigestible, like certain fungi found on this planet and possibly on Yuggoth as well.
Maybe it was something I ate.
Yet there are systems around which maintain their strangeness, even when it becomes familiar. The dear old runes are one, and Chaos is another, as anyone who’s ever set foot in a Chaos temple and worked a Mass of Chaos A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,Iy ay ay will attest. The paradox of Strangeness is that in order to be effective it must be both overcome and perpetuated. The sexy schoolgirl remains a potent male fantasy because it can only stand still as a generality, passing down through new generations of young flesh. If applied to an actual individual it cannot persist, because they grow up into ex-wives demanding alimony payments.
Take the work of A.O.Spare, without which Liber Null and The Book of Results might have been much longer in the writing. The sigil techniques, and the entire and manifestly personal corpus of Spare’s extant work, rely upon Strangeness, whatever it is actually designated within his own or his commentators’ pages.
And this is where I begin to come to the culmination of my ramblings, with a series of statements that will remain open to discussion (I hope):
- Chaos is strange.
- This strangeness is an important part of its appeal.
- Strangeness normally yields and becomes familiar.
- Chaos doesn’t.
- Pete Carroll borrowing from Terry Pratchett is as valid as me borrowing from Clark Ashton Smith.
- He did it better.
- What’s strange about a five-pointed octagram?
- Just try constructing an eight-pointed octagram!
Funny, there seem to be eight statements there. It’s never been my favourite number, but it seems to keep obtrucing, no matter how much I dislike it.
In fact, it’s something I hate.
However, we all have to come to terms with things we hate.