Precession of the Equinoxes

Precession is the wobble of the earth on its axis, just like a gyroscope slowing down will wobble before it tips over. Because of this motion, as we spin around the sun, our relation to the stars appears to change very slowly over time.

5 -- 6 -- 12 -- 30 -- 72 -- 360 -- 2,160 -- 25,920

Precession is best measured against the signs of the zodiac in relation to the sun. The sign of a precessional "age" is that sign in which the sun rises heliacally (the last sign seen before sunrise on the vernal equinox, March 20-23). Over the course of the precessional cycle, the "wheel" of the signs appears to rotate backwards due to precession. Thus, over the course of a single year, the zodiac moves from Pisces to Aries to Taurus to Gemini, but in the course of a precessional "year," the sun rises heliacally in Gemini then to Taurus to Aries to Pisces and is now in Aquarius.

The reality of this movement is very slow and not perceptible to the naked eye: One degree of precessional movement takes 72 years to complete. A movement from one "age" to the next -- assuming each sign of the zodiac occupies 30 degrees in the sky -- takes 2,160 (72 x 30 = 2,160) years. That ancient astronomers recognized this is apparent, but also speaks to the inherrent sacredness of Time, as such measurements would only have been possible over hundreds of generations of observers. We will examine this more closely when we look at the occult significance of precession.

One "greater" precessional age takes 25,920 years to complete, since there are 12 signs in the zodiac (12 x 30 = 360 degrees, and 360 x 72 = 25,920 years).

All of these numbers are thus sacred and very important when considering the occult significance of ancient texts. Most often, when a text starts reeling off numbers, those numbers add up to precession. Sometimes ancient authors took liberties (dividing by ten for more tenable numbers, like 216 instead of 2,160, and rounding to make whole digits), but the basic set of 12, 30, and 72 was never altered. Occassionally these number would be rendered mathematically (most often as 5 x 6 instead of simply "30"), but this was often to disguise the sacred system from the uninitiated.

The numbers were then attached to gods in myths and stories that the laymen would pass on with religious fervor -- in this way, precessional adepts could be certain the all-important measure of time (when to hunt, when to sow, when to reap, when to head for higher ground) was preserved. Indeed, to this day, precessional numbers are passed on by unwitting lay people. As an example of this occult significance, we shall examine The Sophia of Jesus more closely.