2012 Endtime Essay 5
The Resurgence of the Mysteries in the Endtime
The previous essay in this series offered an overview of the complete pattern of Zodiacal Ages measured by precession—quite an exercise! To calculate the Ages is simple, but the material generated by doing so is anything but. Readers who had the patience to plow through that article may wonder how the road ahead is looking.
It may come as a relief that I will not be eliciting any more dense mythographic material dated to presumed events in 16,000 BCE! As I suggested, to do so is an exercise in narrative invention intended to engage participation in our species' evolution over the long-term—an exercise better left to specialists in the party of Xolotl. Thankfully, there are other and easier ways to engender participation.This essay will take a different direction, toward the resurgence of the Sophianic vision around 2012, as treated in my book, Not in His Image, but I will continue to use Zodiacal imagery to illustrate our unique moment in precessional time. For example:
Proposed head of the Waterbearer, pictured as a magus or wizard, i.e., the Manitou or Mesotes. The star on the left shoulder is alpha Aquarii; on the forehead, theta Pegasi. This image combines stars from two composites, Aquarius and Pegasus. The constellation of Aquarius is vague and displays no distinct stars that define the head or face of the figure. The Aquarian wizard is unique in the Zodiac: a non-human but human-like figure with supernatural attributes. I would warn emphatically that the Aquarian figure ought not be literally equated with a male avatar or messiah, such as Jesus Christ or Quetzalcoatl. The Manitou is an emissary and intermediary, not a superhuman agent of redemption, not a savior!! The ability to make and apply this distinction is critical to our mystical education.
The other human figures in the Zodiac are the Twins, the Snaketamer, and the Virgin. The Twins are Castor and Pollux, male heroes from Greek mythology, but this composite may also be envisioned as a man and woman in Tantric union or Maithuna—the Sanskrit name for the Twins in Hindu astrology. The Snaketamer is a human figure, male, a shaman. The Virgin represents the divine being Sophia in female form.
The Axial Cross
To reiterate: the picture of Zodiacal timing for 2012 does not reflect a radical shift in human evolution, or "transformation of consciousness" on the collective scale. The pattern of the Ages simply does not confirm such a scenario. What it does suggest is a long, murky slide through the closing phase of the Piscean Age, and, within that prolonged transition, the selective awakening of some people to a futurist orientation, the subliminal response to Aquarian waves. We may expect the messianic fixations of Pisces to persist, like a malingering disease, but at the same time, a new psychic constellation will arise, to be exemplified and lived out in the lives of a self-selecting group of people attuned to vital empathy with nature—the symbiotaxis of Aquarius, the Manitou.
One can read a continuity in the transition through the Ages: when the sense of inner guidance (Piscean motif) is totally lost, we turn again toward nature for our sense of direction (Aquarian motif), and we rediscover our guiding instincts in their original setting. i.e., beyond culture, civilization and its memes, and even beyond the entire human-made world. One outstanding example of the Aquarian orientation of symbiotaxis coming to expression today is the biomimicry of Janine Benyus.
So far, so good, but we are still not looking at the entire picture in precessional terms. Traditionally, the spring equinox (or vernal point: VP) has been taken as the "hour hand" of the cosmic clock. The constellation it occupies tells the Age we live in. But the winter solstice (WS), 90 degrees ahead of the VP, is also an important indicator of cosmic timing. Its alignment to the galactic center, which is located outside the Zodiac, determines the midnight hour of the Kalpa. VP and WS are two points on a four-armed structure, the "axial cross" of solstices and equinoxes. For a complete view of precessional timing, we have to look at all four arms of the cross.
Below is an astronomical map showing one half of the circle of ecliptic constellations, the southern or summer constellations—so named because they are prominent in the summer when the sun transits the opposite region of the Zodiac. The composites reading clockwise are: Waterbearer (Manitou), Goatfish, Archer, Scorpion, Snaketamer, Scales or Balance, and Virgin. Three arms of the axial cross are shown: the VP, the WS, and the autumnal equinox, AE. As the VP traverses the constellations, marking off the Zodiacal Ages, the AE transits the opposite constellations.
On the left is the now familiar sight of the VP under the western Fish of Pisces. The Fish swims toward the urn of the Manitou, Aquarius, entrained by subtle currents from the future. The Manitou extends an arm toward the Goatfish, the goat with the fish-tail that looks down on the Archer. The Archer in turn aims toward the Scorpion, but without releasing his arrow. The direction of his aim points to the galactic center (GC). Currently, the winter solstice (WS) is three degrees or 210 years from alignment to that point.
There is plenty of dramatic action in the summer skies. Standing astride the Scorpion is the Snaketamer, Ophiuchus, the thirteenth constellation. This entranced, yogi-like figure wrestles with an enormous writhing snake, Serpens. The ensemble of Archer-Scorpion-Snaketamer-Scales is an interactive group, each figure related gesturally to the other. The Scorpion appears to be reaching out to jar the Scales, pictured as a T-bar with two pans suspended on strings. The Snaketamer appears to restrain the Scorpion by the sheer mass of his body. His left foot is on Antares, the heart-star. His right leg, stiff and straight, extends down to the foot he presses on the stinger of the Scorpion.
Due to the extreme extension of the Scorpion composite below the ecliptic (dashed line), the sun only transits that constellation for about 15 days each year: November 21 - December 5. From December 6 to 23, it transits the Snaketamer, the shaman in the skies who stands astride the Zodiacal zone with his head star Rasalhague shared by another shaman, Herakles.
The axial cross of the solstice and equinoxes rotates clockwise in this model. The full story of the star writing of precession is revealed by the sweep of all four arms of the cross. While the VP shifts toward the Manitou and the winter solstice (WS) aligns with galactic center, something is happening at the autumnal equinox (AE), on the right side of the model. The constellation of the Virgin, shown head-down, is massive, the most extensive in the ecliptic. It stretches from the Scales to the Lion over an extent of 45 degrees, one-eighth of the entire Zodiac—and the figure is pictured kneeling! Lest anyone wonder if the Divine Feminine is represented in the pictorial panorama of the Zodiac, have no doubt. Although the Zodiac displays no literal representation of female human figure, Isis-Sophia is astronomically the preponderant image of the entire ensemble.
Were the Virgin to stand, she would assume a stature proportional to that of the huge, looming figure of the Snaketamer. In terms of Zodiacal esthetics, Virgin and Snaketamer are complementary figures. The Snaketamer´s masculine form, looming vertically off the ecliptic, contrasts with and complements the long feminine form of the Virgin who lies along it. There is after all gylanic interplay, masculine-feminine balance, in the composition of the Zodiacal constellations.
When observing the Zodiac in the night sky, we see the stars of the composites, but we do not see the graphic or pictorial form of the constellations. This must be added by an act of imagination. Most of the constellation composites do not resemble or even suggest the mythological figures associated with them. One exception is the Scorpion, a composite that really does have the striking form of that creature. The composite stars of the distinctive torso and tail of the Scorpion extend far southward below the ecliptic—the constellation is "outbounding," i.e., distributed beyond the immediate ecliptic zone. The form of the tail with its poison-loaded hook positioned just below the galactic center is unmistakable.
It is difficult to believe that our ancestors naively pictured the mythological critters that have been traditionally linked to the composites. But there is nothing naive about the Zodiac: the creatures to be pictured are the result of deliberate acts of artistic invention. They demonstrate the imaginative genius of our species. The Zodiac is not a "circle of animals," as the usual translation of zodiakos kyklos goes. The inventory comprises three human figures (Twins, Snaketamer), a non-human male entity (Manitou), a divinity in the form of a woman (Virgin), three animals (Ram, Bull, Lion), a crayfish (Crab), an arachnid (Scorpio), two marine creatures (the Fishes), two hybrid creatures (Goatfish, Archer), and one human-made object (the Scales). This is quite an odd menagerie, and far from a simple circle of animals. Our ancestors certainly knew what animals were and would not have misnamed the Zodiac is such a way. In Quest for the Zodiac, I propose that zodiakos kyklos means, not "circle of animals," but "cycle of animations."
The constellational images are huge time-factored animations, not cute cookie-cut animals floating in the sky. The pictured constellations or "graphics" shown above present one rendition of an inheritence rooted in the phylogenetic record of our species, a glittering register of the timeless sweep of human imagination. The visible Star Zodiac is the most ancient and massive multicultural artifact in the world. It is literally a graphic display of humanity's memory bank.
The composites of the Star Zodiac were not consistently pictured in previous times. Often the Virgin was merged with the Scales. A late Roman medallion shows the Virgin holding the Scales (two o´clock position), an image still seen in courthouses around the world. To the left (one o´clock position) is a rare iconic representation of the Snaketamer, wrapped in the coils of the Serpent. Although this medallion only has twelve sections, it clearly includes the excluded thirteenth constellation. The Star Zodiac or Stellar Zodiac consists of thirteen irregular figures associated with the visible composites. The Sign Zodiac of popular astrology, codified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy around 150 CE, consists of twelve uniform sectors and contains no graphic, star-based images, but the astrological icons for the Signs are borrowed from the real-sky composites. (See my book, Quest for the Zodiac, available on Amazon.co.uk, for an explanation of this maddeningly confused situation.)
The hand-drawn graphics shown above are the result of hundreds of drafts and provisional sketches undertaken over more than 35 years. All details are true to naked-eye observation: the Manitou does extend his left arm over the Goatfish, which in turn appears to float toward an empty space above the equine part of the horse-man hybrid, the Archer. The interactivity of the Archer, Scorpion, Snaketamer, and Scales is explicit, true in detail to the observable features of the composites, and becomes more convincing with sustained skywatching. The stunning thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus the Snaketamer, is one of the most ancient of the group. It appears on Babylonian skycharts from the 2nd millennium BC, where it is named Nitsurda. In naked-eye observation, it is a massive, captivating sight, impossible to miss.
The merge of the Snaketamer and the Scorpion is not my caprice. The rules of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) place some of the composite stars of the Snaketamer in the region below the ecliptic, outbounding, right down to the stinger of the Scorpion. These two composites merge visually when they are observed in the night sky. (Rimsite graphics of the Star Zodiac or Stellar Zodiac: © John Lash 1988. All rights reserved. Please request permission to reproduce these images.)
Let's recall that we are now tracking the movement of the autumnal arm of the axial cross opposite the vernal point. The autumn equinox (AE) entered the Virgin from the Scales around 665 BCE. It has about six degrees to go before shifting into the Lion: 432 years. The full extent of the Virgoan Age measured by the autumnal point is about 3250 years. In graphic terms, the AE is scanning the part of the Virgin where her face shows above the veil that shrouds her body. Today we live, not only in the long drag time of the Piscean Age, but equally so in the precious moment of historical time when the star writing of precession signals the resurgence of the Mysteries, Sophia Unveiled.
To see this event graphically, we extract the figure of the Virgin from the round model of the Zodiac and turn it upright. The full extension of this figure on the ecliptic is about 45 degrees, as noted. The sun is in the Virgin for 45 days or one-eighth of every year: September 16 to October 31.(This constellation extends from 24 degrees of Virgo to 7 degrees of Scorpio in the astrological Signs.) In traditional visualizations, the Virgin is entirely veiled except for the upper part of her face and, perhaps, her left knee. Currently, the autumnal equinox sits where the veil rests on the bridge of her nose. As the AE shifts toward the Lion, it scans the face of the Virgin, the only part of her figure that is not concealed by the "triple veil of Isis," to evoke an ancient term of veneration.
The precessional code tells us that we live in the unique historical moment when the true identity of the cosmic Virgin, Isis-Sophia, the Gnostic Aeon and Magna Mater of the Mysteries, is due to become known and revealed.
My graphic rendition of the Virgin contains specific, real-sky details. In her right hand she holds a chalice or grail cup marked by the star Vindemiatrix, "root of the sacred vine." This is an image of Dionysian rapture, erotic bliss, and egoless communion with nature. In her left hand she displays the sheaf of cut wheat, symbol of entheogenic illumination, marked by the star Spica, one of the four prominent lucidae of the Zodiac. Both the bread and the wine belonged originally to Pagan rites in celebration of the Great Mother. Later, they were were pirated by Christianity for the placebo sacrament of the crucified messiah, Jesus Christ, the worst instance of messianic delusion in the Piscean Age—so far.
Off the right shoulder of the Virgin lies a late, rather contrived constellation called Berenice's Hair. I have found it more appropriate to merge this composite with the Virgin, giving her a rich mane of dark, lustrous, flowing hair. With the use of high-powered orbiting telescopes, astronomers have been able to determine aspects of cosmic structure which, in my opinion, have been indicated or prefigured in the ancient constellations. The area off the Virgin´s right shoulder is the supergalactic north pole, seen as we look up vertically from the galactic plane. Astronomers training their telescopes on this region were astonished to see an unusually high concentration of external galaxies floating in infinite space.
Graphically, the Virgin´s hair is littered with the seeds of countless galaxies as vast and mysterious as our own. In Gnostic terms, the Aeon Sophia is a divinity of galactic stature whose awareness encompasses events on the supergalactic scale even though she assumes physical form as the planet earth.
The Precessional Star
As explained in previous articles on 2012, axis E in the Dendera Zodiac presents the baseline of a right-angle that points to the galactic center. This axis is not included in Schwaller’s studies, nor (as far as I know ) in any other work on the Dendera Zodiac. I found it by inscribing a line through the star Spica in the sheaf of wheat held by Isis, across the Jackal-pole, and into the Fishes. The line crosses the tail of the lower or western Fish, the one that swims along the Ecliptic in the direction of precessional shift. Extended to the perimeter of the bas-relief, axis E points to an icon among the lunar decans: an altar mounted with four ram’s heads. The Axis bisects the altar, which happens to be the only image among the decans that is symmetrically designed. In my view, axis E was designed both to indicate the overall cycle of precession and to interlock the central ensemble of Zodiacal images with the enclosing circle of the decans.
Spica (pronounced SPY-kah) is one of the six lucidae or
marking stars of the ecliptic. Consistently represented in the oldest
surviving starlore from the Fertile Crescent, this star was identified
with a sheaf of wheat or some variety of grain. The Hipparcho-Ptolemy
catalogue (Robert Brown, Primitive Constellations, London, 1895)
lists 26 stars for the composite of the Virgin, plus six indefinite ones.
Spica is “the one at the end of the left hand called ear-of-wheat.” The
hand specified is indeed the left hand of the goddess Isis who holds
up for display the sheaf of wheat in the DZ. In the Eleusinian Mysteries,
the secret rites culminated in a moment when the hierophant held up a
sheaf of cut wheat. The Mysteries at Eleusis were dedicated to the
goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, called Kore, the Virgin.
These goddesses are cross-cultural equivalents to the Egyptian Hathor
in her role of grain-goddess, the mysterious feminine power who directs
the cyclic resurrection of the totemic grain-man, Osiris. Somehow the
mysterious articulation of “seed-grain” (read DNA-RNA replication,
if you dare) is uniquely embodied in Spica, called Mena by the
Egyptians. It is one of the very few stars whose Egyptian name survives.
Hipparchus observed the skies closely between 160 BCE to 130 BCE. He worked on the island of Rhodes, a maritime and mercantile center, the rival of Alexandria in literary and intellectual life. In 140 BCE, he wrote a book on the myths of the stars, a commentary on the Phainomena of Aratus that describes the dramatic gestures of the constellations in the same way I have done above. In addition to his keen interest in mythological lore, Hipparchus was rigorous in recording the rising and setting of particular stars. Although the shift of the VP in precession takes 72 years for one degree, one half a degree of shift (equivalent to the diameter of the full moon) can be detected by a keen observor. Thus over a mere 36 years precessional shift could be detected by a combination of careful record-keeping, coordinated with naked-eye observation.
Hipparchus worked from ledgers compiled by Timocharis, who lived 150 years before him. The tables of Timocharis registered a prominent star at eight degrees from the fall equinox around 294 BCE or 283 BCE. In 129 BCE, Hipparchus noted that the same star stood at only six degrees from that point. In 165 years the star´s observable position relative to the equinox had decreased by about two degrees due to precession. The assumed rate was one degree in 82 years, rather than one degree in 72 years, the current mean rate, but the shift is not absolutely constant. It was a close-enough calculation. Hipparchus wrote a monograph titled "On the displacement of the solsticial and equinoctial signs," and precession became known to the world at large.
The star observed by Timocharis and later by Hipparchus was Spica, marking the sheaf of wheat held by the Virgin, Isis-Sophia. In the Dendera Zodiac, the unnamed Egyptian masters who taught both of the Greek astronomers inscribed axis E from Spica, the precessional star, and locked it into the galactic center to show that they knew, not only the rate of precession, but the structure of the entire cycle of 26,000 years. The only way to know this is to orient the Zodiac to the extra-Zodiacal setting of the galaxy—precisely what they did, using the long-established mythlogical gesture of the Virgin to register the encoded information.
Spica is the precessional star, intentionally located on axis E at Dendera. While it is undeniably true that the discovery of precession by Hipparchus could have happened as explained—that is, by logical inference, comparing records and sightings—it is equally undeniable that the DZ displays sophisticated knowledge of cosmic structure possessed by the teachers of Hipparchus. In my view, it would have been consistent with the mindset of Greek science for Hipparchus to have validated by reason and mensuration what he was taught by the Egyptians, perhaps in a more esoteric mode of reckoning.
In other words, Hipparchus' calculation of precession was
not an original feat, but the spinoff of an ancient and advanced tradition
of astronomical knowledge to which he was the fortunate heir.
With the transit of the autumnal equinox in the Virgin factored into the situation, our unique historical moment leading to the end of the Kalpa begins to take on a different look. While messianic delusions, the emotional plague, and the rampant narcissism of the Piscean age continue to play out in a slow, torpid tempo, there is simultaneously a world-shaping revelation in progress on another front. The madness of religious fanaticism, typical of the Piscean dispensation from the outset, does not dissolve overnight. In fact, it continues to foment, fester, and occasionally explode. But at the same time, some members of the human species are awakening to a spiritual connection with the planet that stands independent of, and defiant against, the salvationist agenda of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
"Sophia Unveiled" is an emergent meme of immense transcendent and practical power, a visionary vector par excellence. (As defined by biologist Richard Dawkins, a meme is a "unit of cultural information" that can propagate from one mind to another in a manner comparable to the spread and sharing of genetic information in biological processes.) The vivid Sophianic image of the autumnal equinox in the Virgin is a phylogenetic motif for the current Age, in counterpoint to the motif of inner guidance denoted by the opposite constellation, Pisces. (One may think of Jung´s concept of the "coincidence of opposites," a way of describing the bipolar dynamics of the human psyche.) Over time, it may prove that the one motif resolves the other: Sophia Unveiled could be regarded as leading to the resolution of the problem of inner guidance, the Piscean theme. I, for one, am willing to bet that the human species will not liberate itself from the messianic complexes of the Piscean Age, dominated by the anti-nature ideology of sin and salvation, except through this counterpoint, the return to the Sophianic vision of the Mysteries.
Now, finally, we may begin to understand how the precessional pointers work together—or three of them, anyway. The vernal point sliding under the western Fish, the winter solstice shifting toward the galactic center located above the tail of the Scorpion, and the autumnal equinox in transit through the unveiled face of the Virgin: this is a three-point gestalt, a constellated image whose components carry different but interrelating signals about the time in which we are living.
The shift of the winter solstice into the Scorpion is certainly the most alarming element of the complex. I would suggest that the stinger denotes extinction, the death kiss of Mother Nature.
At the end of this Kalpa in 2216, the winter solstice will occur directly above the stinger of the Scorpion—but it is close enough now to be giving some of us the willies! I read the skywriting here as confirmation that we are heading on a steep curve into an extinction event, said to be the 6th major extinction since the planet was formed around 4 billion years ago. In mythological terms, extinction is the death-kiss of Mother Scorpion, a primordial image of the"devouring mother." In Hamlet's Mill, Santillana and von Dechend gave considerable attention to this archetype, citing indigenous lore:
They suggest that the "Spirit Star" is Antares, the red giant in the heart of the Scorpion. Indigenous peoples, like the Gnostic seers of the Levant and pre-Christian Europe, may have had a far-reaching view of cosmic directions only discovered by astronomers in recent times. Why would central American natives says that Mother Scorpion dwells at the end of the Milky Way? As we view it, the Milky Way is a circle enclosing the earth. It has no definable end. But if the sightline to the galactic center lies just above the tail of the Scorpion, as modern science now confirms, when we look at the Scorpion we are looking towards where the Milky Way ends. Why? Because the Milky Way is the visible edge of the local region of the galactic limb we inhabit, and that limb, if you were to follow it around to its source, protrudes from the massive agglomeration of stellar material of the galactic core. The "mother with many breasts" is a Mystery image for the Organic Light, the living substance of the core.
As I write these words, in the 69th moon of the Endtime, under a huge ruddy full moon conjunct Antares in the Scorpion, jupiter is making a retrograde shift toward that star. Jupiter was conjunct Antares in mid-January this year, then it went retrograde on April 7. It will conjunct Antares again in early July, then turn direct on August 8, and make the final transit of Antares in early September. This kind of movement, the "triple pass," is a specific feature of the skywriting that can be used for pacing a long-term meditation. Over 9 months the skies present us with the right timing to consider the meaning of extinction in Scorpionic terms, and even consider what opportunities the threat of extinction may offer our species—such a weird idea, you may wonder if I am really off the map! Reflect and evaluate - introspect - then re-evaluate: this is the ryhthm of the triple pass. As without, so within. What can be read in the skywriting is being written by the daimonic forces within the human psyche. The stellar script is writing our story according to the phylogenetic program it reflects, but the script does not cause anything to happen. We live the story it reflects because we carry it in our genetic coding. Human evolution plays out its course via the modalities of a stellar-genetic continuum.
Tracking the continuum, into and through extinction, is a subject of the sixth essay of these series on the 2012 endtime.
jll: June3, 2007 Andalucia
Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.