In
a strict sense, the “myth” of the Four Ages of Mankind is generally assumed to
have originated in Greece around the eighteenth century BC, back in the days the
country was plunged into desolation by the Doric people’s invasion. Around that
time, the poet Hesiod, probably influenced by obscure legends about past
cataclysms and the happier times that preceded them, is said to have set to the
task of composing, in the solitude of the countryside, his Works and Days,
the most intriguing of the two famous poems attributed to him – the other being
his famous Theogony.
But let’s go back to the Four Ages and our next logical step, i.e. determine their lengths.
In his Timaeus, Plato asserts that the seven planets,
once the time to balance their respective speeds has
elapsed, return to their starting point. This
revolution is a “perfect year” and, considering the
great significance it has for different traditions,
must exert some sort of influence in the total
length of a cycle of four ages. In turn Cicero,
while recognizing the difficulty of estimating the
length of this vast celestial period, rates it as
12,954 common years, although the precise length
appears to be 12,960 years (180 x 72), as certain
concurring data suggest. And in effect, this latter
period, also called “great year” by both Greeks and
Persians, is the exact half of the great
astronomical cycle known as the precession of the
equinoxes (or “Zodiacal Year”), the length of which
has been traditionally calculated as 25,920 common
years (360 x 72) and, as is widely known, is the one
during which the projection of the Earth’s axis,
responding to the rotation and oscillation (or “wobbling”)
motions of the planet along its orbit, makes a full
circle at a rate of one degree every 72 years and
returns to the exact point of departure in relation
to the Zodiac constellations so that the equinoctial
point, one of the two times of the year in which the
night lasts exactly as the day does, turns out to be
the same again as it was at the beginning of the
period. Another consequence of the slow circular
motion of the Earth axis projection is that it will
successively point to a different Pole Star in the
course of those 25,920 years.
Let me tell you a little bit more about the old Egyptians and the Divine Year of 168 zodiacal years. Like most of the old traditional cultures, the ancient Egyptians are known to have conceived a universe built on mysterious numerical relationships in which the various orders of magnitude matched each other both quantitatively and qualitatively. In this way, they believed that the Divine Year of 168 zodiacal years consisted of three “divine times of work” each divided in 56 zodiacal years (168 : 3); each “divine time of work” of four “seminal seasons” consisting of 14 zodiacal years each (56 : 4); each “seminal season” of two “divine conception weeks – equivalent to Day and Night – consisting of seven zodiacal years each (2 : 2); and each “divine conception week” of seven “creation days” of 25,920 common years each (7 : 7), this being the duration of a cycle of precession of equinoxes or Zodiacal Year. This established a first analogy between the Zodiacal Year and a “creation day.” Additionally, they divided the “creation day” of 25,920 common years in 12 “differential hours” – equivalent to 12 zodiacal months – of 2,160 common years each (25,920 : 12), i.e. the period during which the equinox coincides with the same sign of the Zodiac. Now, since the ascent of every new sign is considered to be escorted by events that are catastrophic or in some other way crucial to the Earth, this “differential hour” or zodiacal month of 2,160 common years has received particular attention from the hermetic tradition. For example, it is said that when the Age of Leo was coming to an end and the one of Cancer was about to arrive, about 10,000 years ago, there took place the downfall of Atlantis. In turn, the shift from Cancer to Gemini would have witnessed the passage of an enormous comet that shook up the Earth. The shift from Gemini to Taurus, about 6,000 years ago, is supposed to have marked the start of new civilizations and the beginning of the worship of the bull – and the goat – at several places of the world: the ox Apis in Egypt, the winged bulls in Babylon and Assyria, as well as holidays associated to the spring and procreation. In turn, the arrival of Aries, about 4,000 years ago, is known to have concurred with the appearance of the paschal lamb, a symbol of Judaism. Finally, the shift from Aries to Pisces would have heralded the appearance and propagation of Christianity, the main symbol of which, at least at its beginning, was, as we know, the fish. Be it as it may, as a “differential hour” within the “creative day” of 25,920 common years, and continuing with the hourly analogy, the Egyptians divided the period of 2,160 years into 60 “minutes” of 36 common years each (2,160 : 60) and the “minute” of 36 common years into 36 “specific tasks” of one common year each (36 : 36), thus establishing two important hourly analogies by matching, first, the common hour with the “zodiacal month”; and secondly, each minute of that “hour” with a cycle of 36 common years, equivalent to a half of a degree of the zodiac circle. Finally, they divided the “specific task” or common year into seven “creative aptitudes” of 52 weeks and fraction each (365 : 7) and the “creative aptitude” into seven “human virtues” of seven days and fraction each (52: 7), which established a correspondence between the common week and the Divine Year of 168 Zodiacal Years and fundamentally, although by resorting in this case to imperfect divisions and fractions, between the common week and the seven “creation days” of 25,920 common years each.
Whatever the practical value of the above calculations, it is clear that the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Greeks, Persians and Chaldeans, dispensed a most special relevance to this cycle of 25,920 years (or its half of 12,960 years), which would very likely represent the length of a full cycle of four ages. If so, what would be the length of each age? According to the hermetic tradition, the “Adamic race,” which we belong to, would have evolved through four ages of 6,480 years each and would now be nearing the end of the full cycle. These four ages, naturally equivalent to the same number of “zodiacal seasons” of three “zodiacal months” each, would have been marked by four key events: (I) Formation, from the start of the Zodiacal Year to the Sin or “downfall” of man; (II) Sin, from the expulsion from the Garden of Eden to Tribulation, which began with the Flood; (III) Tribulation, from the Flood to Redemption; and IV) Redemption, consummated by Christ. Thus, while the Sun is about to enter the first degrees of the Aquarius constellation – after retrograding past the Taurus, Aries and Pisces constellations – the Zodiacal Year would be about to complete its last cycle, and the “Adamic race” that of its redemption and deliverance. I would like to make some observations here. These periods or “seasons” – the description of which certainly sounds a little bit fanciful – which some traditions automatically round up as six thousand years, clearly correspond to a more general, and therefore more extensive, cycle than the one made up by the ages depicted by Hesiod, who was clearly talking about more local and contingent periods and about cycles already concluded in his time. On the other hand, they strongly crash, both in their magnitude and by their equal lengths, with the four yugas of the Hindu tradition, which are of an incredible elaboration and whose lengths, proportional to the scale 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10, are amazingly 1’728.000, 1’296.000, 864,000 and 432,000 common years respectively, equaling a total length of 4’320,000 years for the full cycle. Incidentally, it is most significant that this scale, although reversed, is the same as the Pythagorean Tetraktys expressed as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10. Let me briefly address the latter. Among the Greeks who exposed on the doctrine of cosmic cycles – great philosophers like Anaximander, Empedocle, Heraclitus, and subsequently Plato and the Stoics – there clearly stands out Pythagoras, whose intellectual interests were primarily mathematic. It is said that his most transcendental discovery, which would signify a sort of disclosure of the nature of the universe, was that certain intervals of the musical scale can be arithmetically expressed as relationships among the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 – which combined sum up 10, a symbol of the Supreme. Originated – according to legend – in the pitch of the sounds issued by an anvil on which hammers of different sizes were beating, this discovery demonstrated the existence of an inherent order in the nature of sound and, moreover, a mathematical organization in the formation of the universe, of whose structure, harmonious and beautiful as music itself, time participates as a key element. Now, in times of Pythagoras, as well as later on, the Greek scholars used to make study journeys to various countries, mainly Egypt and Mesopotamia and even beyond, to India itself, considered throughout history as the ultimate goal of the lovers of knowledge. It is uncertain whether Pythagoras undertook such journey; if he did, it could explain the real origin of his famous Tetraktys – the “Hindu version” of which I will deal with very soon. Lima, May 2010
View next: The Hindu Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles
A Message from The Author
Dear Friend,
Thank You,
Luis Miguel Goitizolo

©
Copyright 2014
All rights reserved