It is important to understand about the wisdom and knowledge of our earliest ancestors to avoid falling foul of all sorts of misunderstandings about space aliens building the Pyramids and such like. No, our prehistoric forefathers were more than capable of great engineering feats because they had an inner wisdom that grew out of their perception of their holographic interconnectness with the universe – a perception that has been lost to most of us today.
As the Fire-Worshippers of the Southern Bu-Kongo said: “Man’s environment is the world as a whole, and the latter’s environment is our solar system. Man is part of the stars — and the stars, sun and moon are all part of man.”
This perception of the holographic interconnectedness of man was once widespread upon the Earth and it was told about in their stories – which we today call myths. The importance of this interconnectedness was given great value by our ancestors, much more than we are taught to value so-called folk tales today, because they totally understood how the right narrative, told correctly, moulds the individual into helping him find himself and his place in the cosmos.
This philosophy is beautifully summed in these few paragraphs:
“When man discovers remote galaxies by the million, and these those quasi-stellar sources billions of light-years away which confound his speculation, he is happy he can reach out to those depths. But he pays a terrible price for his achievement. The science of astrophysics reaches out on a grander and grander scale without losing its footing. Man as man cannot do this. In the depths of space, he loses himself and all notion of his significance. He is unable to fit himself into the concepts of today’s astrophysics short of schizophrenia. Modern man is facing the inconceivable.
“Archaic man, however, kept a firm grip on the conceivable by framing within his cosmos an order of time and an eschatology that made sense to him and reserved a fate for his soul. Yet it was a prodigiously vast theory, with no concessions to merely human sentiments. It too dilated the mind beyond the bearable although without destroying man’s role in the cosmos. It was ruthless metaphysics.
“Not a forgiving universe, not a world of mercy. That surely not. Inexorable as the stars in their courses miserationis parcissimae, the Romans used to say. Yet it was a world somehow not unmindful of man, one in which there was an accepted place for everything, rightfully and not only statistically, where no sparrow could fall unnoted, and where even that which was rejected through its own error would not go down to eternal perdition; for the order of Number and Time was a total order preserving all, of which all were members; gods and men and animals, trees and crystals and even absurd errant stars, all subject to law and measure.”
The above paragraphs are from the Introduction to Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechen and it is about a philosophy of man that I am aiming to help re-establish with this book. It seems to me that the ancient cosmological understanding that has been left to us in coded myths by our ancestors is the only and ultimate healing antidote to the anti-humanism of this Age.
The irony is, though, that our own stories, which we mainly enjoy on the silver screen, use the same storytelling devices and morphologies that storytellers like Tabiti would have employed to entrance and engage the young Kroi’s emotional intelligence. The only difference for us is, we may leave the cinema after watching, say, Star Wars, with a smile on our faces, but the good mood does not last for long because we’re not taught how to benefit ourselves from these great heroic comedies and tragedies. We are not taught holographic interconnectness; we are not taught how to find our own heroic centre and face our own dragons. We are just encouraged to hero-worship Luke Skywalker.
And so we never get to learn that the meaning of life is the pursuit of honour and virtue. In the vacuum left by the absence of such positive direction, we come to believe instead that the purpose of life must be the pursuit of fun and happiness.
David Bowie once sang: “We can be heroes, just for one day.” One day is just about as long as that good feeling lasts after watching Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star, whereas true storytelling makes a hero for a whole Day of Brahma, which lasts for a universal cycle of trillions of years.
It is my aim to teach you to be a hero for a whole Day of Brahma.
But first, let’s discuss what being holographically interconnected really means, because once you get that, you will also understand much more about why certain numbers crop up in so many ancient myths.
First of all, what is a hologram? Well, technically-speaking it is layered light – light photons that have been formed into layers by lasers. If you break off a piece of a holographic picture or photo, the whole of that image is found in that fragment. Every fragment of the hologram carries the entire picture. Another way of saying it is that the macrocosm of the photo is held within the microcosm of every piece. In the same way, the human being may just be a tiny fragment of the creation but he carries the whole universe within him.
This perception of our ancestors is found in their temple art and architecture, particularly in what we call “sacred geometry”. Have you ever wondered why “sacred geometry” is sacred? It’s because it reflects, in its dimensions, the holiness or holographic, holistic understanding of the true nature of the human being, which is music.
We find the sentence: “But you have disposed all things by measure and number and weight,” in the Book of Wisdom in the Bible.
Ancient temples that were planned and constructed according to these measures, numbers and weights are sometimes dubbed “symphonies in stone”.
In Appendix A, you will find a key to help you interpret the numbers often used in ancient myths. But for now, let us look at number eight, because in just that one example we can see clearly early man’s vision of the holographic interconnectness of the individual musically to the rest of the creation.
Eight was a very important number to the ancients and maybe that is why it is found in the earliest deluge myths – from Noah’s Ark in the Bible, as well as the Egyptian version of the tale of Nnu and his barque, which is much older.
I am sure most readers will know that story from the Book of Genesis, but for those who don’t, here’s a very quick summary:
God was displeased with humanity and wanted to wipe them off the face of the Earth with a Great Flood. He decided, though, to save the 600-year-old Noah and his family, and so he instructed the great patriarch to build a great ark of 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in wideth and 30 cubits in height.
He also told Noah to bring onboard two of every species of animal and plant, to save them from the waters.
It rained and rained over 40 days and nights, until the waters measured 15 cubits in depth, and the mountains and trees disappeared under the floods but Noah and his family were safe on the Ark. Then eventually, the floods subsided, and on the 17th day of the seventh month, Noah steered the Ark to safety on the top of Mount Ararat.
God then promised that Noah and his descendants would be safe from his wrath in future, and he sent a rainbow as a sign of that covenant with man.
Many of the common numbers found in myths worldwide are in this story but, for now, I want to just concentrate on the number eight.
Noah’s family on the Ark consisted of himself and his wife, with their three sons, Ham, Japeth and Shem, along with their wives. That makes eight people. There were also eight people on board in the original myth from which the Hebrew one was taken. The Egyptian Nnu’s barque contained himself and his wife with his three sons Shu, Taht and Seb of the Serpents, along with their wives.
So the number eight must have been important. Perhaps it is no coincidence that eight is also the number of notes in a musical octave. The ancients regarded it as the holiest number that represents the foundation stone of the creation. The four men and four women (4 + 4 = 8) on the ark or barque were being required by God, once the floods had abated, to generate the human race anew from a regenerated foundation, or a new world.
The number eight is often expressed as 888 making 8 x 8 x 8 totalling 864. The late geomancer John Michell described it as the number of the foundation stone in the building of Jerusalem.
The number 864 is prominent in the temple measures, most of all in the 864-cubit distance between the two sacred rocks, the Rock of Foundation and Golgotha, or Place of the Skull.
In the language of symbolic number, 864 pertains to a centre of radiant energy, the sun in the solar system…..the inner sanctuary of the temple, the altar and the corner stone on which the whole sacred edifice is founded.
864 is called the ‘foundation number’ … and in the gematria of New Testament Greek, 864 corresponds to words or phrases such as ‘altar’, ‘corner stone’, ‘sanctuary of the gods’, ‘holy of holies’ …
It seems that to the ancients, the number eight could not have been more holy in terms of expressing the holographic nature of man in his interconnectness with the universe. They must have known that human DNA consists of 64 (8 x 8) codons and that even his heart beats in time with the macrocosmic heartbeat of Time and Space. The average heart rate for a human being is 60 beats per minute; multiply that by 60 minutes and it gives us 3,600 beats per hour which comes to 86,400 beats every 24 hours – in other words, it is the time that the Earth takes to travel each day around the Sun, which is 864,000 miles across. As above, so below.
This numerical way of expressing sacred interconnectness also found its way into plays, dances, artworks and even board games and divinatory tools. That is why there are 64 (8 x 8) hexagrams in the i-Ching, 64 sections to the Eye of the Horus and 64 squares on a chess board. The Hindu Lord Shiva has 64 manifestations and there are 64 dakinis (female nature deities) in the Vedas.
The Mayans used an eight-by-eight square of a total of 64 units, and the same eight-by-eight square was known in ancient Indian temple design as the Vastu Parusha Mandala with eight ruling gods.
Sixty-four is also the atomic weight of copper, which is the metal associated with Venus, previously known in Babylonian times as Ishtar. Her city, the city of Babylon, meaning ‘gate of the gods’, was similarly built on this principle of holographic interconnectedness. The eighth of the eight gates (8×8) of Babylon was known as Ishtar’s Gate, dedicated, as it was, to the goddess of the eight-pointed star.
So just in that one number alone, the so-called Doors of Perception are blown off their hinges. It is mathematics combined with poetry. For this reason, a storyteller has to be much more skilled – or perhaps differently-skilled would be a better way of putting it – than a teacher of mathematics.
A storyteller of old held high status in the tribe because of their cunning. Nowadays that word has connotations of a sly sort of evil. Not so in the past. In ancient Britain, the ‘cunning folk’ were esteemed for their prowess in storytelling and poetry. ‘Cunning’ then referred to a special and instinctive sort of intelligence that is required to correctly intuit which words, by their sound resonance or song, would be best to use in order to entrance the young along a path of inner transformation that would form their ideals, ambitions and values forevermore. The survival of the tribe depended upon it.
The stories then were sung or recited rhythmically like poems. Even today, shamans like myself communicate with our spirits more through rhyme than through reason. The tales are sung to us in the voices of our ancestors from what the Celts called the Rivers of Blood – the DNA. Like Jacob in the New Testament, we climb the ladders of the 8 x 8 DNA codons in trance and dream to meet them, to receive their guidance and wisdom, and then bring it back to our tribes, or communities.
Once a person reaches the shamanic, more right-brained perspective, they enter into the consciousness of the ancestors which perceived the whole of the creation singing – singing all the time: singing itself into existence with a joyful melody; singing to maintain itself with a lyrical choral symphony and then singing a slow and solemn dirge along the inevitable funeral march to its eventual destruction.
This was an extract from Chapter 3 of my new book, Stories in the Stars, which will be out in a few months time. Until then, you might want to check out My Books which are already published, as they address many similar and related themes.