Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of February 4th - February 10th,  2011

A Timely Quest

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  Across Time humanity has sought to understand its place in the world, of how we fit in and what is expected of us.
relationship of Sun and Earth

Solar winds

Life is a set of changing conditions, molded by yesterday and focused on tomorrow, but forever locked into today.

  Precession is the framework that unites Heaven and Earth. In the course of a single 72-year lifetime it changes by a single degree, too fine a distinction to have been noticed by primitive societies, or so historians believe. But the mythological and even archaeological evidence suggests otherwise, and we find some of the most important myths of civilization keeping track with this change in the Heavenly Wheel.

  While Spring moved through the stars of the constellation Gemini, the quest was for (what has come to be known as) the Easter Egg. Eggs, together with birds and the ever-present Twins, represented the mystery that had to be unraveled and solved under their skies, observationally calibrated from about 6300 to 4800 BC. Easter is our contemporary ritual (or myth, if you will) fused to Spring.

  As Spring shifted into the stars of the constellation Taurus, the Apis Bull and other related bovine species rose to a height of pre-eminence as the new celestial marker of Time, Spring being associated with birth into a new year. There could be only one Apis Bull, just as there is only one constellational bovine image in the sky. When this Bull died, there was a nationwide hunt for the new heir.

  As Spring continued its precessional progress over the millennia, it slowly left behind the stars of the Bull and began to enter the stars of the Ram, and a story about the greatest heroes Greece had to offer setting out on a 'Quest for the Golden Fleece.'

a great circle

A great circle

  The myths have long observed these stellar passages and recorded them in their cultural memories through oral traditions. These are the records left behind by the ancient ones, about their place in Time, about their cultural quests, and about their relationship to Heaven and Earth.

  The difficulty of determining the exact point in space you're looking for is not easy, especially when you don't have a handy visual marker (like a star) to indicate just where the secret of this system should be. This is the essential key to the arch. It was primarily focused on the Center (the North Celestial Pole), the point that commands the arc of the circle. Determine the circle correctly, and the will of Heaven, caught like a genie in a bottle, is at your disposal. Determine it incorrectly, and you come to worship false gods.

  Or so these people believed.

Fishers of men

Fishers-of-Men

  When Christianity pulled the plug on the pagan hierarchies, they also left behind the working mechanism of their star observations. Astronomy was far too imbued with the mythology of Heaven (flying horses, rams, centaurs and the like) to feel comfortable with this obviously pagan realm. As a result, the educational development of astronomy goes relatively dormant in the west through the Middle Ages. The Arabs carried the astronomical 'ball' through these dark times. Astronomical focus is not re-stimulated culturally until the Crusades, a thousand years later.

  The development of spherical trigonometry relieved society of the necessity of having to visually observe (and therefore confirm) their deductions, but it also resulted in the observational system breaking down.

  The Ram was left on the conveyor belt of Time at the end of the Classical Era, and like the mathematical mother who bore it, captured and froze its moment on the wheel. The Ram continued to be associated with Spring (new beginnings), even though visually the Fish (Pisces) was taking over as the new constellational 'leader of the pack.'
Lamb carrying the burden of Time

The Lamb carrying
the Cross of Time

  This had always been a job for the pagan priests, to keep pace with the changing images of Time, and to help the people to accept these celestial transitions (myths) as they changed.

  The in-coming Christian hierarchy, feeling uncomfortable with pagan images at best, allows them to lag. Astronomy suffers through this time from considerable disinterest. The mathematicans inaugurated a whole new system of 'signs' (there's a difference between the sign Aries and the constellation Aries which has confused people from then until now. This is what recently stirred the waters as astronomers announced you're no longer the same sign or constellation as you were during Babylonian days.

  -Do tell!).

  Jesus knows and understands the old system as he promises to make his disciples 'Fishers of Men' as a tip of the hat to the upcoming epoch. While leaving a spiritual impression of 'Fish' in the corpus of Christian literature, it failed to ascend to the astronomical realm at the start of the era, and a Springless constellational Ram (lamb at the start of the year) was left to carry the cross, the burden and calendar of Time.

  The only problem was, for the last two thousand years the Ram has been out-of-step as things started to smell a little fishy.


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