As I’ve written in The Purpose of Religion, “seven” symbolizes complete accomplishment: hence, the world was created at the beginning of the Hebrew Bible in seven days, and at the end of the story, when Joshua and the Israelites are at last returning ‘home’, God destroys His Creation (i.e., ‘Jericho’) in a reciprocal seven days. But this allegory of Destruction only relates to the personal ‘world’ that is being left behind by a newly enlightened soul. If we succeed in coming ‘home’ and reuniting with the Divine, our usual experience of the world ‘disappears’ and everything merges into the One. This is the esoteric (and only actual) meaning of the oft-awaited ‘End of the World’.
In Awakening the Planetary Mind, Barbara Hand Clow explains the source of our collective fear of catastrophe – ancient archetypal memories of cataclysms like Atlantis and the Biblical Flood (and she discusses the evidence that these legends are based on actual geologic events of the remote past).
But she then goes on to show that these memories are not precursors of yet another coming apocalypse. Rather, we are on the cusp of an era of extraordinarily positive spiritual evolution and growth. The great change that is coming has to do with our growing recollection of what we were before the ancient cataclysms. Humanity’s collective consciousness has been badly scarred, but this is a time of healing: as we recall what we truly are, our minds will awaken and we will reach a new age of harmony and peace.
Clow’s book is mind-expanding, provocative, hopeful, hard-to-put-down, and pertinent as we confront the many crises of today.
Hamlet’s Mill and thePrecession of the Equinoxes
The precession of the equinoxes is an astronomical cycle that shapes the timing and qualities of cultural patterns by symbols, as introduced in chapter 1. This chapter investigates how this subtle symbolic force influences human cultures and how the great cataclysm fits into this process. Each Great Age is represented by a symbol that is derived from a constellation located on the ecliptic. For example, the symbol for the Piscean Age, when Christianity was founded, was the fish, and the Pisces constellation is drawn as two interweaving fishes. These symbols go far back into prehistory and still leave their traces today.
How might this symbolic weaving still influence us and even direct our lives? Even today, indigenous people are usually members of clans that have animal totems, which is intriguing, since the zodiac is a circle of animals plus a few human images in the sky. The zodiac consists of the constellations on the ecliptic—twelve out of eighty-eight constellations—and all eighty-eight star systems were thought of as spiritual influences. I am sure that the animal totems are vestiges of precessional knowledge, just as modern bullfights are lingering vestiges of the Age of Taurus, the bull. Besides the wonderful creative potential in these connections, does this subtle factor still direct the collective unconscious? If so, did the ancient people use these powers intentionally, and can we? Judging by the amount of work they put into building and maintaining their temples to showcase these symbols, we would be foolish not to consider whether the precessional factor actually affects us now. At the very least, we can understand the past better by understanding what these symbols meant to people in the past. Then it would be apparent whether precessional cycles now influence human cultures, even if they are not consciously aware of the moving circle in the sky. What if secret societies, such as the Masons, know all about these influences and noninitiated modern people are ignorant of them?
Traces of precessional influence are found in sacred scripture and mythology, which were passed down in the oral tradition for thousands of years and then were eventually written down. Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time by famed scholars Hertha Von Dechend and Giorgio de Santillana is the consumate study of mythology by precession. The authors determine that archaic mythology and art cannot be fathomed without understanding its underlying complex celestial basis—precession of the equinoxes—and I agree. Hamlet’s Mill was initially labeled as a wild and radical tome that few could understand. However, it was widely read and discussed during the early 1970s because it was written by two otherwise highly esteemed scholars. It is now the foundational source for researchers who are investigating how archaic cultures understood precession. It explores how the core myths contain elements from earlier times layered over by later times. Like a household of family antiquities mixed with new furniture, the archaic fragments are mixed in with more recent stories. The bards rescued them, even if they didn’t know what they meant, just like treasured family heirlooms. Bards are keepers of the oral tradition, and the bardic tradition reveals that time is the essential structural format of myth.
Von Dechend and Santillana decoded these factors by investigating the linguistic variations and archaic elements in the myths that reflect various periods of time, discovering that mythology is a veritable mathematics of consciousness. Their book examines the ancient sagas, stories, epics, and dramas and deciphers them by means of precessional cycles and symbolism. These stories often begin with phrases such as “Once upon a time,” or “Once in the days long ago . . .” The core myths are filled with stories of origin that span extremely long cycles of time in specific places. Often without even realizing it, we perceive events by time. Try telling a story to somebody without using time and place.
Mythology is an archaic time-coded system, a treasure hunt back into prehistory through thousands of years. We can use it to figure out how people remembered and dealt with what happened to them over the Great Ages. The most noticeable thing is that extremely similar myths of the great cataclysms exist in all ancient cultures. The universal desire to comprehend and remember the days of disaster inspired the postcatastrophic storytellers and astronomer-priests as long as 10,000 years ago; very early on they told stories of startling changes in the sky. The alteration in the cosmic order probably caused by axial tilt would have been very disturbing to them. They probably did not understand why precession began, but they came up with some very accurate mythic images, such as Atlas holding the globe or the goddess Nut holding up the sky. They would have immediately noticed the new seasons, and soon they would have seen that the star positions were moving on the horizons and around the poles. Naturally, they also feared more disasters, and there were follow-up adjustments as Earth settled down. So archaic people offered sacrifices to the gods from earliest times, hoping that the sky would not fall again.
The possibility that precession began only 11,500 years ago is a radical hypothesis, which could only be proven by a very detailed analysis and synthesis of geological and paleontological records, as well as complex astrophysical calculations. I’ve provided some of this data in appendices B, C, and D. Astrophysicists would need to study the current orbits of bodies in the solar system to determine if a new pattern began 11,500 years ago. Certainly, this is what the cross-cultural legends describe, which Allan and Delair catalog in Cataclysm! Regardless of exactly when precession began, humans have been obsessed with cyclic time for the past 10,000 years. There must be a reason, since tracking precession requires advanced astronomy and lots of leisure time. Many excellent technical books establish that people tracked precession at least 8,000 years ago, such as The Dawn of Astronomy by J. Norman Lockyer, The Secret of the Incas by William Sullivan, and Stonehenge by John North. Later, I will present evidence from Çatal Hüyük in Turkey that archaic people were contemplating the precessional influence as long as 9,000 years ago during the Age of Gemini—6640 to 4480 BC. Considering how far back this way of viewing reality may go, core myths and archaeological sites can be used as time tunnels that open our eyes to the brilliance and exquisite creativity of the preliterate cultures that haunt and fascinate many people.
The great cataclysm occurred in the middle of what became the first Great Age—Leo—so the current shift into Aquarius is an entry into the sign that is opposite Leo. According to astrological principles, an oppositional phase is like the full moon, which brings things to fruition. Therefore, the Aquarian Age will bring to completion all the things we’ve created since the Age of Leo and the cataclysm. This is happening as we observe waves of barbaric warfare and personal psychosis breaking out, as if someone has opened Pandora’s Box. In this book, I am focusing on the final event in 9500 BC, but there were disturbances in our solar system for a few thousand years before the most destructive event. The physicist Paul A. LaViolette published Earth Under Fire in 1997, right after the English edition of Allen and Delair’s Cataclysm! LaViolette describes a series of explosions in the galactic core (superwaves) that unleashed a barrage of destructive cosmic rays. He calculates that the superwave front passed Earth around 14,200 years ago, which triggered a series of great changes, such as the Gothenburg Flip and the Younger Dryas. To recover our true past, we must remember these cataclysms. Who were we then? What happened to us?
Barbara Hand Clow is an internationally acclaimed ceremonial teacher, Mayan Calendar researcher, and the author of The Mayan Code, The Pleiadian Agenda, Alchemy of Nine Dimensions, and Liquid Light of Sex. A regular presenter of international talks, she has taught at sacred sites throughout the world. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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