Twelve: determining Time and Space on the Earth

ABOVE: South rose window in Angers Cathedral of Saint Maurice. Stained glass by Andre Robin created after the fire of 1451. At centre, Christ of the Apocalypse, in glory (Revelation 21:5). At bottom, 12 radial windows showing 12 elders, crowned and playing musical instruments, rejoicing, indicating the remade world (the heavenly Jerusalem). At top, circular ends of 12 radial windows showing the 12 signs of the Zodiac, indicating the incarnation of Christ as a man on earth under the stars. Sequence from left to right has last 2 signs before first, i.e. Aquarius/Water-bearer (grey), Pisces/Fish (grey), Aries/Ram, Taurus/Bull (yellow), Gemini/Twins, Cancer/Crab (red), Leo/Lion (yellow), Virgo/Virgin, Libra/Scales, Scorpio/Scorpion, Sagittarius/Archer, Capricorn/He-goat (blue background)
photo: Chiswick Chap for Wikipedia Foundation.

The Moon was the means by which a 12-fold harmony became established on the Earth. This harmonization occurred through the lengthening of the lunar month until 12 months fitted, in a special way, within the solar year. The excess of the solar year over the lunar year of 12 months became 7/19 lunar months, causing seven extra whole months over 19 years. This 19-year (235 month) Metonic period was well-known to the ancient world, and it leads to the remarkably short cycle for the pattern of similar eclipses, we call the Saros period, which repeat every 18 years (235 minus 12 months = 223 months). And eclipses are highly visible because the disk of the Moon has come to be the same angular size as the disk of the Sun, causing total solar eclipses.

The movement of Jupiter also became synchronized to the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, traversing each sign in 19 squared (or 361) days, thus causing Jupiter to become associated with the number 12.

As to how 12, and its uniquely harmonious inner relatedness, came to be established upon the Earth: The ancient astronomers, using stone observatories, discovered these special relationships in time, and these informed the calendars, myths and religious beliefs of the ancient civilizations known to history. (see my new book Sacred Geometry: Language of the Angels, chapter 1)

The impact of this sort of knowledge has been immense in the adoption of 12.

  1. In 600BC, Pythagoras saw that the musical octave was also organised as 12 note-classes, in which musical scales each used 7 of the 12 notes.
  2. Iron Age societies came to see 12 as the ideal way to organise societies around cities and towns and within nations and regions, a sentiment recorded by Plato in the 4th century BC, in his influential Dialogues.
  3. The Bible, initially written down in Babylon in 600BC, used a musical code to present an underlying cosmology, in which Adam and his Patriarchal line were expressed as harmonic numbers, leading to the 12 Tribes of Israel – a prototype for the 12 disciples of Jesus.
  4. Time within the day and night became divided into 12 hours by the Egyptians, using early water clocks, hours still found in the faces of our circular clock faces.
  5. A fine study of this was made by John Michell in his Twelve-Tribe Nations. pub: Inner Traditions.

Each manifestation of 12 naturally emerged from the properties of the number itself which then had the power to harmonize the sky and, through that, rule the human division of time and space on Earth. Because of this, our number symbolism sees 12 as divine since it is the key to the time-world generated by the cycles of the Moon, Sun and giant outer planets.

The notion of harmony therefore emerges in time, space and music through the fitting together of numbers using one component, the number 1. Musical Harmony emerges out of the first six numbers, whilst the first significant octave emerges from the numbers under 12, which forms the octave Plato called the “World Soul” with its predecessors as 6:8::9:12, which in the key of C would be C:F::A:C’. However the natural key for the ancient world was D (our Dorian) giving D:G::A:D’.

There cannot be accidental or fantastic reasons other than the properties of number, and these imposed upon the time world of the geocentric earth, for the significance given to the number twelve within the historical record. To start from any other basis is to ignore twelve as a primary phenomenon, due in part to its harmonious set of factors, then inherited by 360 as 30 x 12, at the root of the angular degree and of musical harmony as 720 “days and nights”. This is what my work about numbers is about and there are many further aspects of our history and cultures which flow from so-called sacred numbers.