On the Problem of Accelerating Time in Our Time
November 23, 1999
We are in the midst of the protracted period
of Neptune sextile to Pluto which follows their conjunction every four
hundred and ninety years. During this period, in the latter half of
each century following their conjunction (or opposition), as Uranus
either conjoins or opposes first Pluto and then Neptune there are nodal
decades of pronounced intensity within a prolonged golden age. This
was the case when Christ was born and was crucified, as it was the case
at the height of the Italian Renaissance, and again in the 1960ís and
now in the 1990ís. But this pattern, striking as it is, does nothing
to explain the overall trend toward increasing novelty and the exponential
acceleration of change which we have seen from the Renaissance, or at
the very least from the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, until
now. The question is not one of causal explanation, as on that basis
the phenomena in question are in some sense self explanatory, the question
is rather one of coherent correlation at an archetypal level on a vast
scale of time.
However, there is nothing in the long term cycles
of the outer planets which correlates with the sudden asymptotic acceleration
of change in our time and over the long term sweep of history in general.
This problem becomes far more acute in the near future rather than in
the recent past. For as has already been pointed out by Richard
Tarnas and others the entire decade 1960ís did correspond to a period
of unmistakable nodal intensity characterized by the conjunction of
Uranus with Pluto, joined by Jupiter in 1968-69 when the whole decade
came to a head. In the 1990ís we saw a less dramatic but no less potent
conjunction of Uranus with Neptune which correlated with the fall of
the Berlin Wall when Saturn joined them with Jupiter opposite in the
fall of 1989. Thus we are in a sense riding into the new millennium
on the tail of this outer planet energy. But what then? The intensity,
or at least the acceleration of the time rate of change of everything
hardly shows any sign of abating, at least in the near future. Perhaps
the greatest, or more accurately most serious, measure of the uniqueness
of our moment of incarnation is to be found in the extinction spasm
humanity is visiting upon all other life forms on the planet. This phenomena
is unprecedented, and unfortunately far from over as we pass through
the threshold of a new millennium.
So where are we to look for an indicator of
the very long term cycle?
If one starts at the most basic experiential
level on Earth, there are four seasons. These correlate with the orientation
of the Earth, tipped at about 23 degrees on its axis with respect to
the plane in which it orbits the Sun. On the Summer Solstice the northern
hemisphere of the Earth is tipped toward the Sun, on the Winter Solstice
it is tipped away, and on the Equinoxes it is passing through the exact
half way point when day and night are the same length everywhere on
Earth. Thus there are four phases to the Earth≠Sun relationship,
somewhat analogous to the four phases of the Moon. This fact is as old
as human awareness, and it is this fourfold seasonal reality to which
the Tropical Zodiac is pegged. On the Solstices and Equinoxes the Sun
changes Tropical Sign ≠ by definition. It also changes sign eight other
times a year because there are not four but twelve different signs,
but without going into the reasons for that at present it is enough
to say that all of the tropical signs are but aspects to the seasons.
About 2000 years ago the background stars, or
fixed stars as they were known at that time, were aligned with
the Tropical Signs which now bear their names. In other words, each
of the Tropical (seasonal) Signs was named for the background stars
which corresponded to where the Sun was at that time of year. But, it
turns out that the Earthís axis wobbles very slowly, like the precession
of a top, which rotates backward very slowly in the opposite direction
from the direction in which it is spinning. In the case of the Earth,
the precessional counter rotation is so slow that it only completes
one cycle every 26,000 years. This means that it will shift backwards
one degree every 72 years, or one sign every 2000+ years. This movement
is called the Precession of the Equinoxes and it gives rise to
the question, if the spring equinox was at zero degrees Sidereal Aires
when the system was codified, and it has moved steadily backwards through
Sidereal Pisces over the last 2000+ years, when does it get to zero
degrees Sidereal Pisces and cross back into the last degree of Sidereal
Aquarius? When is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
There are however, two first magnitude stars
which are so perfectly opposite each other in the sky, and so close
to the plane of the ecliptic, that they make a very good axis marker.
These are Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, and Antares the heart of Scorpius.
What is interesting about the axis defined by these two bright stars,
is that it is so obvious that anyone who did know about precession in
the ancient world would have been expected to have placed great importance
upon the time when the axis of the equinoxes aligned with it. The Egyptian
dynastic system doesnít really start until the fourth dynasty around
2500BCE, but modern archeologists extrapolate the trend line backward
in time to place the first dynasty at around 3100BCE. This was precisely
when the axis of the equinoxes aligned with the Aldebaran - Antares
axis. This is a correlation I found by working with astronomical software
but have never seen in print. Whether it is pure synchronicity, or whether
the founders of the Egyptian civilization knew about it and so consciously
chose it as the time to found their dynastic system, or whether later
Egyptians chose to arrange their dynastic numbering such that this would
be the zero point I donít know, but I am convinced, for reasons I will
not go into here, that throughout much of the span of the ancient Egyptian
civilization the precession of the equinoxes was very well understood,
at least by a select few.
However, none of this really sheds any light
on the problem at hand.
How are we to think about the Sidereal Zodiac
from first principles?
answer, as near as we can measure, is right now! Certainly within
our lifetime. Some calculations say 1999, some say 2012. Even a fraction
of a degree error in the precise orientation of the galactic equator
could change the date by a few years. The point is that this is a nodal
point in time in an extremely long term cycle. The last time something
like this happened was when the axis of the Equinoxes aligned with the
galactic center sometime around 4500BCE, arguably at the dawn of civilization.
Indeed until recently it appeared before the dawn of civilization, but
last year, just as I had first become aware of all this my friend Tom
Bates came upstairs to tell me that they had just found an exceedingly
ancient Egyptian "Stonehenge" in the desert in northern Sudan.
He said it was 7000 years old. "Probably sixty five hundred,"
I said. And sure enough when we checked the website thatís what they
This suggests to me that we are in this lifetime
passing through a nodal point of previously unimaginable proportions.
It is a point of inversion of everything we have believed as humans
up until now. From 4500BCE until now the basic operating instructions
for humans have been "make more people", and "cut down
trees and burn them" to do it. Now in a single lifetime we have
crossed over the point where nature has gone from something threatening
with teeth and claws which might jump out of the dark and eat you, to
something fragile and endangered which we must vigilantly protect lest
we risk loosing it for all future generations. Let us hope we can adapt
rapidly enough to this unprecedented challenge.
Only when one considers our position within the
larger context of the galaxy then a pointer, an indicator, becomes clear.
The vector to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy provides a frame of
reference with which to orient ourselves. When we consider this line
intersecting the Tropical Zodiac, which itself is nothing but a double
six fold system expanded from the bipolar axis of the four seasons to
yield the twelve signs, we can see that there are really only two perpendicular
axes which define the four fundamental alignments. Two configurations
are possible when the solstices align with the galactic center vector,
and two when the equinoxes do. The solsticial alignments are arguably
slightly more fundamental. In the year 2000 the winter solstice is as
closely aligned with the galactic center as can be measured, as the
margin of error in the calculation could be a decade or more due to
our inability to precisely determine the location of, and therefore
the direction to, the exact center of the galaxy.
It would be appropriate, even expected, that this very indicator itself would only become known and available now at this time, at that very point in the cycle where the asymptote momentarily goes vertical, as we pass through the neck of the hourglass, at the choke point of the millennial inversion, as the time rate of change itself negotiates the point of inflection on the curve, now seeking a new horizontal plateau; one lost in the future, as our own origin is in the past. Our moment in history symmetrical between the future and the past, such that all else in the future will be returning to our end state in a head long rush home.