“It’s a full count. Two outs in the bottom of the 9th. The game is tied and nobody’s on. Here comes the pitch….” There are probably infinite sports analogies that come to mind, all mind brimming with glory, but it’s baseball “season.”
In such moments we feel the tension build, when “everything is on the line.” The odds are stacked against us, and all hope lost save for one last “clutch” performance. Yes, the hairs on your forearms raise, almost imperceptibly, suggesting that there is a new wind blowing. There is a subtle shift in the energy, you can feel it. Something moves. We sense a change coming before it happens. More than anything else we are sitting on the edge of our seat, as “Time stands still.” It is a time when our collective heart beats. A palpable moment when we “know” what time it is, and years from now we will remember where we were “when it happened.” Our bodies pulse in sync with the crackling of the air as our minute hand and second hand move up into the shape of a “V.” Or those same hands hold a heavy head in the face of tragedy. Of course the sports metaphors are only dress rehearsals for the ‘real’ thing, but at times like these we ARE the clock in some very real sense of the word, or at the very least have a sense of time deep within us.
Baseball has a structure based on 3s and 4s. It’s a perfect design. There are three strikes and four balls; and three outs to retire a side. The baseball diamond consists of Four bases, four infielders and three outfielders, and of course 9 innings of play. The symmetry of 3 to the power of 3 is reminiscent of the structure of the solar system itself. But no clock! Time keeping for the game occurs internally determined by the rules of the game.
Astrology has a structure as well which is oriented toward nature, and as a consequence to the nature of time. This structure is also based on 3s and 4s; three “qualities” or “modalities,” and four “elements.” The qualities are categories of energy expressions that form three groups of four Signs each, we know them as the Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable modes of energy. The four elements, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water Signs, share a distinct nature based on what Sign the element falls in which invariably will also be in one of the three energies just alluded to; Three modes of energy which pattern an inexorable cycle of creation (Cardinal), preservation (Fixed) and dissolution (Mutable) within time. The whole design is a synthesis that emerges out of 3 energies times 4 elements to equal the 12 Signs of the Zodiac. The Signs are expressed precisely according to the nature attributed to a specific Element within a particular Modality. These concepts are ancient. They are more elegant than they are complicated, but an essential imprinting occurs when this schema is internalized after sufficient study, although the master will tell you that the practice of Astrology is more of a remembrance than it is rote memorization. The blending of a certain energy with a particular nature links to occult knowledge that has preserved some of the most sacred teachings ever known.
There is a cosmic study, Astrology of monumental significance, that suggests the time has come for a shift in our perception of time based on the relationship of these energies, and how they are expressed by individuals and groups of individuals in the lived experience. The task at hand raises the bar overhead, overmind for that matter, to new understanding. Astrology is about the realization and awakening of Knowledge, and how the individual needs to SEE with wisdom and with awareness that a change is in the air. In any discussion of time there are questions of mortality, of life and death. Is there time enough? A question that may not come to the surface in our everyday conscious awareness, but a shared concern. Most people suppress such questions, out of fear, out of an overwhelming apprehension that comes with examining our own transience.
Approaching Astrology in the most fundamental way possible, I am challenged to see this “sacred art” as being anything other than a spiritual undertaking. How could it be otherwise if we are to answer such questions. More than the “study of life,” or the “study of the universe,” or the “study of mind,” Astrology blends all three AT THE SAME TIME; Astrology is the “study of All.”
First, a word of caution. It is perhaps shortsighted to think we can simply mix these disciplines together, or that we can combine the component parts separately in a cauldron and stir, expecting the stew to come together. This action alone will not produce the new thing we are seeking, a new brew. Were it only that easy! Some things simply do not mix.
Astrology deals with cycles. The outer most planets, Pluto and Neptune, orbit the Sun in 495 years and 165 years, respectively. A “synodic” cycle is when two planets conjoin to form a conjunction, their orbits periodically coincide at the same longitudinal position. In the case of Neptune and Pluto this cycle is just about equal to the cycle of Pluto’s orbit alone, on average, but this is not true for each pairing of the other planetary cycles. After the Sun and Moon, the most watched planetary cycle is Saturn, and the most anticipated synodic cycle is Jupiter-Saturn. Saturn takes 27-30 years to orbit the Sun, and the Jupiter-Saturn cycle recurs every 20 years. There are other cycles as well that astrologers measure to grasp even larger swathes of time. The precession of the Equinoxes is one such measure which calculates the backward motion of the Equinoxes along the ecliptic. Of all the ways for measuring this cycle, The Gnostic Circle presents a “proof” that precisely measures a “Complete Round” equal to 25,920 years, that is, the motion of the precession traverses all twelve Signs in that time. An Age, or one Sign is traversed in 2,160 years.1 (side note: the diameter of the Moon in miles equals 2,160).
We are presently in the Age of Aquarius and have been since 1926 according to The Gnostic Circle. Planetary cycles by themselves, using traditional or modern Astrology, simply cannot offer the same kind of assistance necessary to See evolution unfold without the aid provided by a tool of precision designed for that purpose. Swinging back in the other direction, the smallest most obvious cycles we observe are the cycles of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
We understand from experience and at a very young age that there are different seasons throughout the year, especially in the northern latitudes where the changes are pronounced. The arc of the Sun across the sky helps us determine the time of year, as temperature and conditions adjust to the changing light and to understand what season it is determined by where the Earth is in its orbit around the Sun.
People have been celebrating the change of seasons for eons. Moon calendars have been found etched in bone that depict the Phases of the Moon. Our ancestors kept count of the Moons and in this way began to account for “time.” Counting the Moons across seasons was a natural, reflective act. Some of these shards and fragments have been discovered in archeological digs where modern France and Germany are today, and date back to Paleolithic times.
Before there was understanding of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth, or the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, there was a growing awareness of “number sets.” Gradually observations of the Sun and Moon accumulated, and the notches on bone began to add up. The ancients noticed that the Sun and Moon formed patterns that would repeat. Rudimentary calendars were born. Monthly and annual cycles were recorded. An exploration of the seasons will be the subject of a subsequent post but suffice it to say that when we discuss the division of the Circle by 4, we are mostly focused on the Equinoxes and Solstices, the Cardinal points of the Zodiac that align with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The point being reinforced in this essay is the intimate connection between Astrology and number. Number is an important and an inescapable aspect of astrological study if the seeker is to gain a deeper understanding of the totality of the language of symbols. Number matters and without number the language of Astrology remains incomprehensible.
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet wrote that the circle is equivalent to the number 9 2 The “dot” or “point” she said equals 0. In Sanskrit the term for point is bindu. Looking at the symbol of the Sun we gain a greater appreciation for the broad spectrum and Totality represented by this most ancient figure. The powers of 0 and 9, together in synthesis, suggests that Zero is not empty, but more akin to ALL within ALL, or what Patrizia called the “Sacred Fullness,” the seed potential that contains the Whole. In astrological studies the Sun is indeed seen as a representation of the Central Point, or Power, the ALL, or Truth Consciousness.
Just as each of its inhabitance is a living being, the Earth is a living body. Like the Moon, the planet Earth goes through phases and cycles, analogous to the life lived by an individual only on a much grander scale. My practice looks at individual life cycles, like the Saturn Cycle mentioned above, and other planetary patterns present at birth, and the interaction of those planets through Time with planetary patterns that emerge after birth. The movement of the spheres and their correspondence with terrestrial life are not mere musings of a lunatic, but rather reflect the profound mechanism of life development, and on a grander scale, evolution. Thea mapped this realization out for us and captured it all in a new symbol for the Age. She discusses this remarkable symbol in her book published in 1975 called The Gnostic Circle. While her work encompasses the Ideal, my work is focused humbly on humanistic Astrology. Humanistic Astrology may be a misleading term however, and does not simply refer to the philosophical or psychological supremacy of the individual’s need for spiritual or emotional fulfillment, the dominion of ego adjusting itself to advantage against nature, and through social interaction over others in the absence of Spirit. Astrology teaches us that there is indeed something more. Something Divine. Nonetheless, the component of humanism embraced by Humanistic Astrology encourages the Whole View of the individual, and not a partial seeing, where the spirit of the individual moves toward the realization of a more perfect version of Self.
Number makes the study of the cosmos possible and with the element of Time made concrete it becomes possible to reveal matters that were once obscure and hidden. The mysterious is revealed. Everything is connected! Planets. Numbers. Cycles. Time. Astrology.
There is an age-old familiarity wherein the student eventually asks the teacher, “Master, which planet is most important?”
To which the wise old sage suggests not one, but ALL planets are important and simultaneously the teacher plants a seed that there may indeed be a bias toward one, but this bias is difficult to see. “Which parent is most important? Your mother or your father? The Sun or the Moon?” The student reflects on a tyrannical father figure who was diminished in his role, and sometimes out of the picture altogether so as not to provide an example of authoritative love [Tyl]. The father’s influence although negative is perhaps just as important, or more so than the image of an idealized mother figure for example. But just when the student thinks they’ve comprehended the lesson the master says, “But you! You are more like your grandfather! And of course, you have your grandmother’s eyes.” The student leaves the lesson perplexed, the guru smiling behind them.
When Galileo observed Saturn in 1610, he referred to it as “tripled bodied,” noting in his journal that the planet appeared to have “ears.”
He revised his sketch after further observations and by 1616 drew what he thought were “handles” on the image to look more like this2
Gradually, our views have changed. We “SEE” better and science will argue that this capacity is in larger part thanks to the power of reason, the mind and the intellect. We are not necessarily seeing properly when we are depending solely on our scientific brains. This is proved time and again as one paradigm is displaced by another [Kuhn].
Saturn (on the “6 point” of the diagram above) is named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturnus, and the Greek god Kronus, king of the Titans, the god of time. Although Galileo saw a “tripled bodied” planet we now understand a great deal more. We know for instance that what Galileo perceived were the Rings of Saturn and that there were not three rings, but 7 groups of rings labeled: A (1-ring), C (2-rings), B (3-rings), A (4-rings), F (5-rings), G (6-rings) and E (7-rings).
Saturn also has 82 Moons confirmed orbiting the planet, more than Jupiter. In addition, there is a cloud formation on the north pole of Saturn in the shape of a perfect hexagon. Appropriate for the planet occupying the 6th orbit of the solar system. But the “fact” that Galileo “saw” a Tripled Bodied planet still resonates because it is understood that the number 3 holds a certain key to the nature of the universe.
In ancient mythology, Saturn was seen as a god and a representation of time. Within the identity development of the individual, parents are certainly important, but the parents would not be here without the grandparents. Perhaps Saturn is also a representation of that which we inherit from our ancestors, through our grandparents and parents. On the cosmic scale we perceive Time at varying levels; the denser creation is the more our perception of Time is divided. To see with partial vision, with only a fragmented perception of time is common but, the goal according to The Gnostic Circle is to SEE and realize simultaneous time. A poet might say that the gleam in stone is trapped inside unless the controls that bind the light breaks through to shatter the individual’s Unawareness so as to reveal that there is a wider perception. A point of view that to a scientist sounds absurd.
Truth reveals a light hidden in the dark, in the depths and density of the universe. Time becomes a part of the “field of Unity” according to the Gnostic Circle. Past, present, and future are not removed but seen as elements of One process. Let’s have a closer look at the planet that is itself the representation of the structure of Time.
Saturn has a solid core but has no land mass. Although it is the second largest planet in the solar system it is the only planet that has a density less than water, meaning that if we had a large enough ocean Saturn would float on the surface. The actual physical properties of Saturn, ironically, are opposite from the way astrologers have described “the malefic planet.” Saturn traditionally represented heavy and weighty issues related to circumstances of tyranny, isolation, scarcity, lack, limitation, depression and even death. However, Truth does indeed work hardest in the dark, and gradually some of the more modern significances of Saturn have slowly come to light. For example, ambition, work, responsibility, discipline, long term goals, and the kind of sustained efforts that will keep one afloat. But it is interesting to note that Saturn, the so called “malefic,” did in fact relate to a golden age and once represented abundance on earth without the requisite of hard work. This was the view of Saturn held in ancient Rome by the elite ruling class, not necessarily their slaves, and not what we typically associate with Saturn today, although some might argue that the growing wealth gap is indeed similar and that most workers are indentured servants. The fact that Saturn’s classical meanings don’t really match up with “Reality” suggests that there may be another level of Truth, or as mentioned above another perception of Time that we are not seeing.
The planet Mercury and planet Earth are the two densest planets in the solar system. Mercury represents the mental faculties in Astrology, or mind, and Earth of course is home. But the suggestion here is clear based on the “density of creation” mentioned above, that our perception of Time is divided due to our mental constructs, or in modern psychological parlance, our cognitive bias sways our perception toward a predetermined preference, fate. Seeing with the mind’s eye distorts matters. Another interesting correspondence from the Zodiac is that the Signs ruled by Mercury, Gemini and Virgo, are both in the lower hemisphere of the “natural wheel.” The suggestion of course is that there is something higher than “mind.” Mercury is exalted in Aquarius, our present age, which suggest that there is some faculty that supersedes our abilities to think and a transformation underway in the way we look at things.
Saturn’s position in the solar system, associated with the number 6 and the Time-Spirit, provides a key that is as essential, as is the number 3, the position of the Earth-Moon. We can view these “numerical set pieces” as critical to the task of unraveling the riddle of the universe. Astrology contains the body of Knowledge to help us do so. One riddle humankind has wrestled with is where exactly astrology came from. Patrizia provide a “proof” that is difficult to unsee once you see it.
Knowledge was intensely absorbed through a channel along the 36th parallel (again the numbers 3 and 6), out of ancient India into Greece and then Europe.3 Jason Colavito cites George P. Conger’s thesis that hints at this relationship but on scant comparative analysis of the metaphysical arguments of the day because once again the mentalization of research is limited to reading shards of fragments that the intellect then tries to piece together.4 Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet makes this point clear as she introduces readers to the ancient Vedic depiction of Saturn.
Kāla is the Hindu God portraying the Time-Spirit. The feminine form kālī means black. I stumbled upon the father of linguistics, Pāṇini, who made the connection between Kāla and “darkness” but his successor in Sanskrit Monier-Williams points out that the verbal root of Kāla is “calculate.” The literal meanings of the word variably translates from the root as “The Great Death,” or “The Great Black One,” or possibly “The Dark One.” These concepts have developed into the view of time being seen as the great “destroyer” since time “devours” all living things. In the West Father-Time became associated with Kronos, or Saturn. The way we have come to “think” about time for much of our human existence, is to view “time as the enemy.” So, astrologers tend to share a default view of Saturn being “malefic.” Although that view, like our grandparents, perhaps much loved, but getting old.
Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius and so still holds a controlling interest we might say in the Sign of the Water Bearer. At the very least, co-rulership of Aquarius in the present Age by Saturn reinforces Saturn’s importance in cosmology and individual horoscopes in a way that cannot be overstated. Uranus’ rulership of Aquarius is clearly significant as well, but keeping things in perspective astrologers realize that Uranus didn’t come along until later (March 13, 1781), essentially representing the “breakthrough” in the perception of Time called for and the shattering of boundaries that allowed “Thea” to experience the revelation TO SEE, and ASSIMILATE new dimensions more integral to the structure of the universe, to which science is blind.
Curiously, Galileo initially “saw” THREE planets. This “fact” is reminiscent of Niels Bohr who “saw” a model of the atom, which coincidentally looked very much like our model of the solar system, only to be disproved 50 years later that his model was somehow flawed. Yet Bohr’s ‘mistake’ didn’t prevent many discoveries that were based on the model. Today we have much better eye pieces to observe Saturn. Even an amateur can see rings within rings around Saturn, not just three rings, but it turns out that Galileo was on to something. THREE is a fundamental number in understanding the structure of the universe. The 6th position in the solar system, Saturn, appears of necessity to work together with the 3rd position, we observe that the 3 and 6 interact in a way perhaps echoed by the entrainment of their cycles. The Moon is ‘seen’ to orbit Earth every 29 days while Saturn is ‘seen’ to orbit the Sun every 29 years.
6 is significant to an integral understanding of the circle, the comprehension of Time, or cycles, and number makes the assimilation of symbol “palpable.” Occultists point to the Seal of Solomon, a sacred symbol that consisted of two equilateral triangles interlocked and encircled by six dots. A persuasive “proof,” because this symbol was considered sacred during the Time period on Earth when only 6 planets plus the Sun were known. In the modern era the arrival of a “New Symbol” has expanded the number to 9 with the discovery of the outer triad of planets. The point of this essay homes in on the number 3 and the relationship of the Fire Trinity that draws our attention to a certain harmony depicted in the graphic above.
Fire is the element of Spirit, where Inspiration alights with Knowledge and is made accessible through the ‘act of seeing,’ not by the powers of mind, or by the fancy of our imaginations.
3 is a key number to understand structure in the universe and is where the binary planet is found; the “3-Point” or the third planet from the Sun.
6 is also a key number that corresponds with the structure and an integral point in the solar system marked by Saturn, “Time-Spirit.” These points are “interchangeable” according to The Gnostic Circle, meaning that they work together. The significance of the number 6 can be corroborated by pointing to various sacred traditions but can also be examined by noticing patterns in our own lives that affirm the cycle of 6.
0 is the hidden key, “the fourth One,” hidden in the Core of the Sun. The Zero represents a power implicit in the Seer’s formula. A power that the three emerging forces (the 3, 9, and 6) depend upon. We have come Full Circle. 3, 6, 0, or 360 degrees. The numbers 3, 6, and 9, are prominent in the diagram of the Circle above, but there is a fourth number. The “fourth one,” essentially equal to 9, or at least fully embracing the 9 and vice versa. A substitution we might recall that worked well in elementary math class when learning division and one power “borrows” from another power. A reminder twice a day when the clock strikes 11:11! The “fourth one!” However, this ‘act of seeing’ is the mind-boggling opposite of the process of division. We examine the divisions only as a necessity in coming to a full understanding of the circle, because the “act of seeing” observes Unity, and not division.
We might look at the “KEYS TO THE UNIVSERSE” as a kind of symbolic equation. Analogous to Einstein’s equation for the speed of light. But this new equation is not linear. It is spherical. The circle is key. Aligning these keys with the circle is the aim for the symbol of the present age. I need to be very clear here. I did not myself envision any of the above or a new symbol for the age. The triangle inscribed within a circle on this page, with planetary symbols and labels is a mockup of the extraordinary work that Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet did back in the 1970’s.5
Readers who are drawn deeper into these studies will learn a more recondite meaning for the “name” bestowed on Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, or “Thea.” In her book the Tenth Day of Victory she describes how in ancient Greek, the word Thea means goddess. “But it has another more significant meaning which may be translated as ‘the act of seeing.”7 Typing out the name Thea in ancient Greek, the ‘th’ is the letter Theta, or θ, which is the 9th letter of the alphabet, e is the 5th letter, and a is the 1st letter. The astrologer immediately sees the connection to Fire Signs, the first, fifth and ninth Signs of the zodiac: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Exactly the points that draw our attention to where the triangle connects to the circle.
The seed symbol of the Gnostic Circle is an equilateral triangle inscribed by a circle. In it the numbers 3, 6, and 9 are placed on the angles. The 9 belongs at the top of the drawing where the Medium Coeli is found, and the 3 and 6 are placed counterclockwise from 3 to 6. “9 is positive. 6 is negative. 3 is neutral.” Zero is placed in the middle of the circle (triangle), the Sun symbol, the All, the Everything. The “seed” contains the Whole of itself and is in a sense complete with ALL Knowledge intact. Penetrating the peripheral of things, we are asked to consider this Circle to be a symbol of the Ideal, as being a step removed from the Ideal as Patrizia put it. In further correspondence the numbers along the base of the triangle add up to 9. Revealing an aspect of the Triangle conceptualized as a Trinity, as a “Tripled Bodied” being.
Last night I dreamt that Patrizia and I were sharing a meal together. She was answering ALL my questions. She wrote in The Gnostic Circle that “the evolution moves toward an even more total and perfect revelation of the inherent triune Godhead.”8 The Knowledge reveals it is time for the rest of the planet to SEE. A full awakening of the Sacred Feminine, after a long and restless sleep.
1Norelli-Bachelet, P. (1975). The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos. White Falcon Publishing. P. 19
3Norelli-Bachelet, P. (1975). The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos. White Falcon Publishing. Footnote P. 268
5Norelli-Bachelet, P. (1975). The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos. White Falcon Publishing. Footnote
7 Norelli-Bachelet, P. (2003) The Tenth Day of Victory. Aeon Books p.223
8Norelli-Bachelet, P. (1975). The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos. White Falcon Publishing.