Eleven Questions on Sacred Numbers

In 2011, Sacred Number and the Origins of the Universe was nicely re-published in Portuguese by Publisher Pensamento in Brazil. Their press agent contacted my publisher for an email interview from a journalist who posed eleven questions about sacred number.


1) Is the universe a mathematical equation? 

If the universe is a creation then it needs to have organizing principles governing its structure. I believe that this structure is governed by what we call sacred numbers. Numbers relative to each other form proportions that in sound are perceived as musical intervals. The universe is more like a set of musical possibilities, making it more dramatic and open-ended than an equation.

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Precessional Time: Working with Ideas

My third book, Precessional Time and the Evolution of Consciousness is my slimmest (surely a virtue) about how we work with ideas. It has its own conjunctions and disjunctions; where conjunctions are discovered meanings and disjunctions are changes in direction. The book is dominated with the cyclic metaphors of the

  1. Tone Circle of 1st Millennium BC tuning theory (Ernest McClain),
  2. The narrative structure called Ring Composition, found within ancient texts (Mary Douglas) and
  3. The Enneagram brought to the West by George Gurdjieff.

A key power of such cyclic structures is that they belong to a species of Media in which consciousness is both portrayed as a process and freed from the normalising identification with an idea often found in our World View (or paradigm about how “the world” – our environment – works.) As Gurdjieff in particular made clear, identification is part of the world process over which the human mind has to struggle, just like the hero in a mythic tale – within a ring composition – must struggle (as protagonist of the narrative) with an antagonistic force that binds his or her struggle as a demon, dragon, tyrant, etc. preventing a golden fleece, holy grail or other treasure being recovered (Joseph Campbell).

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Precessional Time and the Evolution of Consciousness

Below is a YouTube presentation associated with this book, made after its publication in 2012. It is part of a series of films made with Anthony Blake over a weekend, in preparation for a seminar in the United States later that year – called The Politics of Number.

I was employing an octave model for the precessional cycle of about 25,920 years which appears to have been understood in prehistory and seeped into the mythic record in many interesting ways as presented in the ground-breaking book, Hamlet’s Mill. By Classical times, Plato refers to the Great Year and the classic number for this of 25,920 is a canonical number probably assumed due to Pythagorean ideas about the primacy of the factors 2, 3 and 5 found to pre-determine ancient musical tuning theory, the subject of my fifth book: Harmonic Origins of the World.

Precessional Time saw my early attempt to give the early number sciences a developmental history up to the point where they emerged in the ancient world having measured the size of the Earth. This was the story of the fourth book, Sacred Number and the Lords of Time. The manuscript of the 6th book, Angelic Transmission through Sacred Number, now submitted, turns to the spiritual context for this developmental history, having been necessary for the development of the modern mind.

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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Precessional Time and the Evolution of Consciousness

My third book (Inner Traditions, 2011) was recently reviewed by Paul Young in New Dawn magazine March-April 2019.

It is said that we are transiting from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius in a backward precession through the 12 zodiacal signs. Examining the numbers that define these Ages is one of the core themes of this book.  The basic premise is that stories – some of them handed down orally since Neolithic times – enable us to identify the inner spiritual aspects within our material world and participate in the evolution of human consciousness foretold by ancient myths. The author is greatly influenced by G.I. Gurdjieff and his Law of Seven, albeit with revisions of his own.

Readers such as myself, for whom mathematics is not their strong suit, need not be daunted by the many sets of figures presented in this book. They are important as supporting evidence for the theories presented, and their comprehension is made easier by the use of diagrams. Moreover, the fractions and ratios are often related to musical octaves and the Do-Re-Mi music-reading system.

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Harmonic Genesis of the Sumerians

Here I start by publishing an important diagram that shows how the earliest known references to musical tuning (early 4th millennium BC) on clay cuneiform tablets, using “regular numbers” whose factors are products of only the numbers 2, 3 and 5, led to the cosmological vision of their gods, the primary god, Anu, being a balanced mix of all three numbers as 60 but also called ONE. This is the source of their Sexagesimal  or base-60, still employed in measuring angles and time called minutes and seconds. All comes from ONE.

The emergence of 2, 3, 5 from ONE then combining as ANU and leading to the differentiation of the World along various paths. The creation proceeds through three prime number dimensions, Ea (as in Earth) through 2, Enki through 3 , Enlil through 5. Anu remains the fountainhead associated with all three and with the Zodiac, which emerged in later Babylonian as a seasonally relevant calendar.
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