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 23. 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, 23 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 17 was the second most often picked. He explained that these were the first two prime numbers after 13, 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 19 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 23 is that it is the inverse golden mean of 60. Therefore, 23 minutes is the inverse golden mean of an hour, while 23 seconds is the inverse golden mean of a minute. There are several other rather obvious attributes of 23. 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 23 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 24 years to get ready.” I ran a quick calculation in my head and said, “Uh, no, 23 years… exactly,” looking at the date on my watch. Then noticing it was 11-23 that day I added, “What do you know about 23?” “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, 0.6180… 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 24 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: 23 degrees. If it had been 22 and a half degrees (half of 45 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 23 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 23 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 45 degree zone is perfectly bracketed, within the tropics, with one degree on either side.
There are several other random associations to 23 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 22, or 21 plus zero; making 23 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 23.
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 ’60s 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 ’60s came to a head. While the ’60s represented Uranus liberating the Dionysian energy of Pluto giving rise to violent cathartic revolution, the ’90s 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 ’60s 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 pm 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 procession 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 2,000 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 procession of the equinoxes, because while the Sun is now in the constellation Pisces on the Vernal Equinox, it will eventually move backward, by procession, 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 2,500 years per sign. The difference between the Tropical and sidereal zodiacs is currently 23 degrees.1 ((When a Vedic astrologer mentioned (on 11-22-95) that the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs is 23 degrees, and I answered that I it was now really 24 degrees, she said it depends how you calculate it and vehemently insisted that it is 23 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 procession 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 23 degrees, make it even more obvious what the imagery describes. But, why Taurus? It was the sign prior to Aries by procession, 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 procession 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 23 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 measurement in degrees, 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 measurement in ancient Babylon 23 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 measurements? 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 magick in geometry.
The magick 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 magick, 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 12, one has both the family three and four, as the 12 hours of the 12 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 10 digits on our hands and feet. Five and 10 are so fundamental that we as moderns have chosen them over 12, glorifying our digital decimal system at the expense of three and four which would have fit better into 12. 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, and 12 parts. Notice that 7, 8, 9, and 11 are missing. Seven and 11 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, and 12. Seven, 11 and 13 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 13 re-enter the measurement of time through the moon cycle. It is about 29 days between full moons and thus there are between 12 and 13 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 12 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, travelling 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 23rd. 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 23,000 lire between the three of them. When they reached the toll both their toll was exactly 23,000 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. “23,” the ranger said.
One last obscure piece of the puzzle. I was visiting my friend and fellow mystic Chris Farris. He had been reading a lot of quantum mechanics and super string theory. He mentioned a theory which claimed there were 26 dimensions which can be reduced to 10.
I mentioned that Stan Tenen had been making connections between a topological model which described a 27 and 11dimensional reality and the 27 letters of the sacred Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek alphabets. I wondered whether the difference was that what Chris had been reading might describe 26 and 10 dimensions of space, without time, while what Stan was referencing might describe 27 and 11 dimensions of space-time. Thus, if there are really 26 spacial dimensions, then there are actually 23 hidden dimensions in space. It might be that the whole phenomenon of synchronicity may be understood through these 23 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… 23… 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 25 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, there can be any iteration of two bits (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc…), anyway he chose 32 as an example for which there are five error correcting bits and one parity bit. He apparently related this math to the 26 dimensions of super string theory. In a second type of more robust error correcting code there are always 24 bits of which one is a parity bit so there are always 23 data bits. But of these only 12 are available for information and the remaining 11 are for error correction. I wondered about the 23 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 Freemasonry 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 23 centres 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.
Image credits: duncan c, Harris Glenn Milstead, Brian, Fukami, Sue, RJP, and Florian Schwind
- 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 24 degrees in April 1947, based on the two zodiacs having coincided in approximately 220 CE. I wonder if it might actually have been in August 1945, or perhaps it was at 23 degrees 58 minutes in August 1945? [↩]