Models of Time within Henges and Circles

Presenting important information clearly often requires the context be shown, within a greater whole. Map makers often provide an inset, showing a larger map at a smaller scaling (as below, of South America) within a detailed map (of Southern Mexico).

This map is shown in the context of South America with a yellow rectangle which is the part blown up in scale. The subject is the Quetzal birds range which corresponds well to the Olmec then Maya heartlands leading to the god named Quetzalcoatl or Feathered Serpent. (see chapter 8 of Heath, 2018.)

Megalithic astronomy generated maps of time periods, using lines, triangles, diameters and perimeters, in which units of measure represented one day to an inch or to a foot. To quantify these periods, alignments on the horizon pointing to sun and moon events were combined with time counting between these events,where days, accumulated as feet or inches per day, form a counted length. When one period was much longer than another, the shorter could be counted in feet per day and the smaller in inches per so that both counts could share the same monumental space. In this article we find the culture leading to megalithic astronomy and stone circles, previously building circular structures called henges, made of concentric banks and ditches.

Thornborough Henge
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Use of Ad-Quadratum at Angkor Wat

The large temple complex of Angkor Wat ( photo: Chris Junker at flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

Ad Quadratum is a convenient and profound technique in which continuous scaling of size can be given to square shapes, either from a centre or periphery. The differences in scale are multiples of the square root
of two [sqrt(2)] between two types of square: cardinal (flat) and diamond (pointed).

The diagonal of a square of unit size is sqrt(2), When a square is nested to just touch a larger square’s opposite sides, one can know the squares differ by sqrt(2)
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Thornborough Henge as Moon’s Maximum Standstill

The three henges appear to align to the three notable manifestations to the north west of the northerly moon setting at maximum standstill. The distance between northern and southern henge entrances could count 3400 days, each 5/8th of a foot (7.5 inches), enabling a “there and back again” counting of the 6800 days (18.618 solar years/ 19.618 eclipse years) between lunar maximum standstills.

Figure 1 The three henges are of similar size and design, a design most clear in what remains of the central henge.
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The Tetraktys as plan of planetary harmony and the four Elements

In "Planetary Resonances with the Moon" I explored the astronomical matrix presented in The Harmonic Origins of the World with a view to reducing the harmonic between outer planets and the lunar year to a single harmonic register of Pythagorean fifths. This became possible when the 32 lunar month period was realized to be exactly 945 days but then that this, by the nature of Ernest McClain’s harmonic mountains (figure 1) must be 5/4 of two Saturn synods.

Figure 1 The elimination of 5 as a factor in the harmonic mountain for 36 lunar years, resolved using matrix units of one tenth of a month and the limit 360 units.

Using the lowest limit of 18 lunar months, the commensurability of the lunar year (12) with Saturn (12.8) and Jupiter (13.5) was “cleared” using tenths of a month, revealing Plato’s World Soul register of 6:8::9:12 but shifted just a fifth to 9:12::13.5:18, perhaps revealing why the Olmec and later Maya employed an 18 month “supplementary” calendar after some of their long counts.

By doubling the limit from 18 to three lunar years (36) the 13.5 is cleared to the 27 lunar months of two Jupiter synods, the lunar year must be doubled (24) and the 32 lunar month period is naturally within the register of figure 1 whilst 5/2 Saturn synods (2.5) must also complete in that period of 32 lunar months.

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Kaaba’s Numerical Picture of Harmonic Origins

A recent plan of the Kaaba[1] indicates that its walls, by their odd-number proportionality, symbolised the numerical origins of musical harmony through the first six numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, sometimes called the Senarius meaning “existence out of six”.

According to Plato, the world was created using the rules of musical harmony in a scheme involving perfect fifths of 3/2, fourths of 4/3 and tones of 9/8, leaving “leftover” semitones of 256/243: a rudimentary musical scale. This only used prime numbers 2 and 3 and multiplications with themselves and each other; a system called Pythagorean tuning. The Kaaba incorporates another prime number 5, called the human number, this enabling two more large intervals called thirds, the major third of 5/4 and minor third of 6/5. Using 5 enables more and better scales to be formed and fills in the gap between 4 and 6 to show all the large intervals in the first six numbers, 1:2:3:4:5:6. This fuller tuning system has been found in the ancient Near East as long ago as the Sumerians, in their tuning texts on cuneiform (c. 3000 BC onwards).

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Lunar Counting from Crucuno Dolmen to its Rectangle

Figure 1 The entrance of Crucuno’s cromlech, which opens to the south-east
[Summer Solstice, 2007]

It is not immediately obvious the Crucuno dolmen (figure 1) faces the Crucuno rectangle about 1100 feet to the east. The role of dolmen appears to be to mark the beginning of a count. At Carnac’s Alignments there are large cromlechs initiating and terminating the stone rows which, more explicitly, appear like counts. The only (surviving) intermediate stone lies 216 feet from the dolmen, within a garden and hard-up to another building, as with the dolmen (see figure 2). This length is interesting since it is twice the longest inner dimension of the Crucuno rectangle, implying that lessons learned in interpreting the rectangle might usefully apply when interpreting the distance at which this outlier was placed from the dolmen. Most obviously, the rectangle is 4 x 27 feet wide and so the outlier is 8 x 27 feet from the dolmen.

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Earth and Moon within Westminster’s Coronation Pavement

Our modern globes are based upon political boundaries and geographical topography yet they have geometrical predecessors, which described the world as an image, diagram or schemata. The original idea for the form of the world was summarised within a simple two dimensional geometry, like an eastern mandala or yantra.

Such a diagram was built into the Cosmati pavement at Westminster Abbey, built by Henry III and dedicated to the Saxon King and Saint Edward the Confessor. This exotic pavement became the focus for the Coronations of subsequent English then British monarchs.

Figure 1 Photo of the Cosmati Pavement at Westminster Abbey
[Copyright: Dean and Chapter of Westminster]
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Musical Tones of the Outer Planets

My crucial entré to planetary harmony came when I noticed musical ratios in the synodic time periods of Jupiter and Saturn relative to the lunar year. This approach differs from the norms for “harmonies of the spheres” (a.k.a. Musica Universalis) which are geometrical and spatial, rather than temporally harmonic.

The planetary harmony I found within synodic periods became the subject of my new book The Harmonic Origins of the World (pub. 2018). These synodic ratios have been parts of my work from c. 2000, then expressed as “matrix diagrams” (Matrix of Creation, figure 2 below). In my new book, I show how ancient tuning theory seems to have presented the same information, in a different type of matrix (see figure 4).

Below I connect the outer planets using two additional (and useful) kinds of diagram, the right-angled triangle (figure 1) and the Pentad (figure 5), the latter developed in the 20th century within a discipline called Systematics. 

Figure 1 The harmonic ratios between the nearest two outer planets and the lunar year. The four square rectangle with side length of four, when equal to the lunar year gives, geometrically, the solar year as its diagonal length. The outer planetary synods are longer than the solar year as the planets have moved ahead of their last opposition to the sun. Such oppositions are marked by an outer planet appearing to travel in a loop, amongst the stars
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REVIEW of The Harmonic Origins of the World

During the latter part of the twentieth century, three divergent speculative perspectives opened up on the ancients’ cosmology: astronomical, musical, and metrological. The astronomical perspective found its classic expression in von Dechend and de Santillana’s Hamlet’s Mill. The musical perspective was spelled out, almost single-handedly, by Ernest McClain, beginning with his work The Myth of Invariance. The metrological perspective diverged into the practical (descending from Alexander Thom’s surveying in the nineteenth century), and the more theoretical work associated perhaps most famously with John Michell’s View Over Atlantis.  

These three perspectives shared an awareness that number was an indispensable guide. Number is invariant; three is always three, and always one plus two. Mathematics is a realm of order, and recurrent patterns like the seasons or the harmonic scale call for mathematical descriptions precisely because such descriptions find stability in change. 

As scoffers and skeptics like to point out, however, where there is pattern-finding, there is also often unconscious wishful human ingenuity. Moreover, because the astronomical, musical, and metrological perspectives were carried on sometimes in isolation from one another, their results diverged, and an apparent incommensurability emerged: how could they all be true? This gave scoffers an argument that was, on the face of it, difficult to answer: why not none of them instead? Perhaps the real answer was the skeptical shrug: the ancient myth-tellers and builders of stone circles were acting more or less haphazardly or moved by very terrestrial, local, and historical concerns. Was this not the simplest explanation?

Richard Heath for a quarter of a century has been building towards a case diametrically opposed to this.  From the beginning he worked with Thom’s practical metrological results, bringing them into dialogue with Michell and John Neal; then later with a further expansion of astronomical results that far outpaced von Dechend and de Santillana’s speculations on the precession of equinoxes. In The Harmonic Origins of the World, Heath goes a further step, bringing McClain’s results into dialogue with his previous work. Heath provides ample demonstration that the results of these various perspectives can clearly be seen to not diverge from one another. Suddenly it is very plausible that they might indeed “all be true,” because they were never, for the ancients, separate at all. 

According to Heath, there exists in our solar system a harmony of extraordinary beauty among planetary cycles. This harmony was observed by ancient astronomers, and enshrined in megalithic monuments; it was transmitted in oral and literary culture via a musical grammar of proportion, easily reproducible across various cultures, which informs scripture and speculation (in McClain’s phrase) “from the Rg Veda to Plato.”  These assertions are of course controversial and deserve scrutiny. But they give the lie to any facile dismissal of ancient cosmological sophistication on the grounds that reconstructions are inconsistent. Astronomy, metrology (practical and theoretical), and music are all comprehensible under a single analogical system. They hang together in a coherent, living dialogue.

This book is the most recent chapter and the most comprehensive introduction to a vital adventure in ideas. It is a detailed account of how human beings on the ground could make sense of the sky by way of the octave. In it, rigor and common sense meet wonder and awe. 

Iceland’s Model of the Earth’s Meridian

Einar Palsson [1, at end] saw that the myths of foundation for Iceland’s settlement in 930 had Pythagorean roots. Since then Petur Halldorsson has identified patterns that could not have been influenced by Pythagoras (c. 600 BC) and Pythagoras was known to have adapted the existing number sciences found (according to his myth) from Egypt to China.

Such patterns, called Cosmic Images by Halldorsson [3], seek to establish a geometric connection between places on the landscape and on the horizon, here in the south-western region near Reykjavik, the only Icelandic city. The spirit of a region or island was integrated through organising space in this way, according to centers (Things) of circles and their radius and diameter as numbers of paces, circles punctuated with places and alignments to other places, horizon events or cardinal directions. John Michell provided a guide to some of the techniques in his books [2, at end].

Figure 1 The Cosmic Image east of Reykjavik proposed by Palsson
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