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Oliver St. John is the author of books on Hermetic and Thelemic philosophy, Qabalah, operative magical Theurgy, Tarot and astrology. He is a founding member of Ordo Astri, Thelemic Magical Collegium and has been a member of the Typhonian Order since 2000 e.v. New articles and essays are posted at Tantrika Books.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Astrological Time Machine

Capricorn and Aquarius are both ruled by Saturn, the Lord of Time, the supreme ruler and governor of the material universe. Capricorn and Aquarius are directly opposite Cancer and Leo and these two pairs form the outermost rim and the innermost centre of the celestial Holy Graal. They are the winter cup and the summer cup respectively. At midwinter the light is born in the midst of darkness and at midsummer the soul is awakened as she passes through a baptism of water and of fire.

There is an ancient symbol, the Chi-Ro, the cross and sword, that was appropriated by Constantine in the 4th century as a battle standard for Christian armies. The Chi-Ro was originally a pagan cipher or monogram, compounded from two Greek letters, Chi (X) and Ro (P):

Chi-Ro Symbol

The cross and the sword of the Chi-Ro was remarked on by Plato in his Timaeus as a celestial image, that of the intersection of the two great circles of the heavens, the solar ecliptic or zodiac and the celestial equator. This does indeed form a cross similar to that of the Greek letter Chi. Plato suggested that the two great circles form the anima mundi or world soul. The Chi-Ro signifies the six directions that make up the Cube of Space or Cube of Light known to Hermeticists:

Hermetic Cube of Space

The Cube of Space is used by many modern ritual magicians, even if they have never heard of it. Any cube has six sides, formed from the six directions of space. Nearly all traditions have some form of marking out the ritual circle with four cardinal points representing terrestrial North, South, East and West. No ritual magick is effective unless two more directions are added, Above and Below, forming a central axis of power. It is the mystic “squaring of the circle” that opens the way towards Gnosis—the direct perception of truth or Reality for oneself.

The Chi-Ro may also be understood as a kind of time machine. The two belts are great circles, wheels in space that encompass the earth. The circle is the symbol of the infinite, where the end is with the beginning and the beginning is with the end. The alchemists summed this up in the name AZOTH, a secret ‘substance’, the Hermetic or fluidic light. The name AZOTH is composed of the first and last letters in three languages: A to Z in Latin, Alpha and Omega in Greek and Aleph and Tav in Hebrew.

To understand the Chi-Ro as a time machine or a vessel for the exploration of inner space, we first have to imagine the Earth encompassed by the circle of the zodiac, then add the circle of the celestial equator with its North and South poles:

The Chi-Ro Time Machine

The two points of intersection between the celestial equator and the belt of the ecliptic form the Chi (X) or cross with the axis of the North and South Poles as the Ro (P) or sword. Envision the two circles rotating in different directions: The ecliptic path leads to the future, while the celestial path leads to the past. The point of intersection is the Eternal Now, the present; it is the point of consciousness. In fact, since the nature of time and space is a continuum and not a straight line, as we tend to think of it, time is not actually moving anywhere, forward or backward, and neither are we. The illusion of time moving forwards towards ‘tomorrow’ with ‘yesterday’ receding behind is underpinned by the Earth rotating on her axis while simultaneously flying on her course around the Sun. Consciousness is eternally present; nature is infinite and circular, and does not move in a straight line from past to future.

© Oliver St. John 2013, 2016

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