The Lost Cycle of Time – Part 1

28 March, 2014 – 01:58 walter

astrolabe

Ancient cultures around the world spoke of a vast cycle of time with alternating Dark and Golden Ages; Plato called it the Great Year. Most of us were taught that this cycle was just a myth, a fairytale, if we were taught anything about it all. But according to Giorgio de Santillana, former professor of the history of science at MIT, many ancient cultures believed consciousness and history were not linear but cyclical, rising and falling over long periods of time. In their landmark work, Hamlet’s Mill, de Santillana and coauthor Hertha von Dechend, show that the myth and folklore of more than thirty ancient cultures speak of a cycle of time with long periods of enlightenment broken by dark ages of ignorance, indirectly driven by a known astronomical phenomena, the precession of the equinox. This is where it gets interesting.

We all know the two celestial motions that have a profound effect on life and consciousness. Diurnal motion, Earth’s rotation on its axis, causes humans to move from a waking state to a sleep state and back again every twenty-four hours. Our bodies have adapted to Earth’s rotation so well that it produces these regular changes in consciousness without our even thinking the process remarkable. Earth’s revolution around the sun —the second celestial motion, which Copernicus identified — has an equally significant effect, prompting trillions of life forms to spring out of the ground, to bloom, fruit, and then decay, while billions of other species hibernate, spawn, or migrate en masse. Our visible world literally springs to life, completely changes its color and stride, and then reverses with every waxing and waning of the second celestial motion.

The third celestial motion, the precession of the equinox, is less understood than the first two, but if we are to believe ancient cultures from around the world, its effect is equally transformative. What disguises the impact of this motion is its timescale. Like the mayfly, which lives but one day a year and knows nothing of the seasons, the human being has an average life span that comprises only one-360th of the roughly 24,000-year precessional cycle. And just as the mayfly born on an overcast, windless day has no idea that there is anything as splendid as sunshine or a breeze, so do we, born in an era of materialistic rationality, have little awareness of a golden age or higher states of consciousness – though that is the ancestral message. 

As Giorgio and Hertha point out, the idea of a great cycle linked to the slow precession of the equinox was common to numerous cultures before the Christian era, but today we are taught nothing about it. Yet an increasing body of astronomical and archaeological evidence suggests the cycle may have a basis in fact. More importantly, understanding its ebb and flow and the character of each epoch provides insight into civilization’s direction. So far the Ancients are right on; consciousness does seem to be expanding since the depths of the dark ages, reflected as vast improvements throughout society. So what drives these changes and what can we expect in the future? Understanding the cause of precession is key. 

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