3) The Spider (continued)
Occasionally we can see a sight that used to strike terror in man and animals alike, and even today is one of the most awe inspiring sights it is possible to witness. When the path of the sun co-incides with that of the moon we witness an eclipse. The sun's light is blotted out for a few minutes as the disc of the moon co-incides totally with that of the sun. For this is a great co-incidence. And it relies on some amazing facts:
(Doesn't mean a lot does it.)
How about expressing it another way?
Although the sun is 400 times larger than the
moon, the sun just happens to be 400 times further away. Therefore the
two discs appear to us to be the same size. Sun and moon in balance. It
is this amazing fact that, from our viewpoint in space, enables total
eclipses to occur.
c) Broadening our Horizons
We have already seen in Section One how something that has been ignored,
laughed at or even ridiculed can be used as a step towards greater understanding.
Someone who experienced all these was Katherine Maltwood, who in the late
1920's discovered a terrestrial zodiac in the landscape around Glastonbury.
She found that very few people were interested, despite the fact that
there were many strange coincidences in this strange discovery. From the
mundane - there just happened to be a rifle range on the bulls eye of
Taurus, to the extraordinary - the stars corresponding to the twelve figures
of the zodiac can be found lying exactly over their corresponding figures
if a planisphere of the correct scale is laid over a map of the zodiac.
This is extraordinary: what is above is shown below. Katherine Maltwood found the twelve figures of
the zodiac, but there is evidence going back thousands of years that at
one time there was a zodiac of thirteen signs.
The night sky has always held a fascination for
man and over the years we have given names to the patterns we have seen.
We call the circle through which the sun travels the plane of the ecliptic,
and the star constellations through which the sun travels, the zodiac.
One would assume that there are twelve constellations through which the
sun travels during the course of the year, but in fact there are thirteen.
Ophiochus 'the serpent holder' is omitted from our sun signs.
In ancient times the year was split into 13 'moon' months of 28 days (our word month coming from the word moon) with an extra day added to keep in step with the solar 'sun' year, thereby keeping a balance in their calendar between the lunar and solar forces. We keep a 12 month calendar with no thought of the moon's travels, though if we look in the sky we can still see the natural rhythm. For instance, we can see why we have a leap year every four years, when to account for the fact that the year is actually 365.242 years long, we insert an extra day into the fourth year. We can see this for ourselves by using the method described above, when we can see the sun rise almost behind the same marker every year, its inaccuracy reducing, until after four years it does very nearly align with its original marker. But for an exact rising behind the same point one must wait thirty three years, and for millennia the number 33 has held great significance for societies, religions and secret organisations as a number of perfection.
At one time, astrologers used to draw diagrams of the heavens which are laughed at these days. The dance of the heavens was known as the music of the spheres, and in the drawing below of our triangle described above we have also described music.
When we listen to music we know that we find
some note combinations harmonious and some discordant. The musical scales
are based on harmonious combinations and the notes themselves are arranged
at intervals that are chosen to be as harmonious as possible when played
in combination. The octaves are the most harmonious division - two As
or two Cs from adjacent octaves when played together will always sound
the most harmonious. They sound harmonious because there is a simple relationship
between the rates of vibration, or 'frequency', of the two notes. In the
case of the octave the relationship is 2:1. For instance, if one violin
plays a C and at the same time another violin plays a C an octave higher,
the string on the second violin would vibrate twice as fast as the string
on the first, giving the 2:1 relationship; and the two vibrations would
combine to give a very pleasant sound.
It is strange that the note combinations we find the least harmonious are not those that are mid way between the most harmonious combinations, but are the vibrations that are just 'off' from the most harmonious. These discordant combinations happen to be the ones with the most complex numerical relationships. This is illustrated in the diagram below.
A c' is held on one violin while another glides
through two octaves. The harmonies are recorded.
In the diagram above we can clearly see the most
harmonic notes, bounded on each side by the discordant shoulders forming
humps, seemingly there to keep the harmonious grooves in place. Surely
this is a feeling we have all felt: of being 'in the groove', of doing
something that feels 'just right'. It is certainly a feeling common to
writers, poets, musicians and artists: they have described it many times.
Is this Jung's synchronicity, the state of being when coincidences 'just
happen'? Surely this is the state that Robert Graves was in when he wrote
the bulk of 'The White Goddess' in three weeks of fevered writing and
which he descrbes most eloquently in an appendix to the book. At its most
extreme could this be the explanation for religious ecstasy, when direct
communication with 'something' is felt?
Mankind has always been fascinated with questions
like those above. Pythagoras (572-497 B.C.) is famous for his pioneering
work in the fields of number and trigonometry, but less well known as
a musician and astrologer (used here in its true sense as 'one who studies
the stars'). In fact it is Pythagoras who is credited with being the first
to investigate the relationship between one musical note and another -
it was he who discovered the perfect fifth, as well as the square root
rules linking the lengths of the sides of a right angled triangle.
So, if Nature was to pluck a string somewhere in the cosmos.......
In fact there is one creature on Earth that plucks a string when she vibrates the first filament of her web to allow natural resonance to space the markers around which she builds the rest of her creation....... Wisdom indeed!