Soldiers have their sorrows,
The wretched have their rage,
Pray for the aged,
It’s the dawn of another age…
Phil Ochs, “Another Age”
On May 5, 2000, much attention was focused on the grand alignment the six inner planets with the Sun and Moon. Remarkable though it was, this alignment was but the portentous prelude for the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on May 28, 2000. Although Great Conjunctions occur every twenty years, this one was special because it involved a “mutation”. A “mutation” indicates a shift in the Zodiac “element”― Fire, Earth, Air, or Water ― in which a series of Great Conjunctions occurs. For the past 200 years, the Great Conjunctions have occurred in the Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn). The Great Conjunction of May 28, 2000, in Taurus marked a “mutation”, because it was the last in the current Earth‑sign series. Beginning with the Jupiter‑Saturn conjunction of December 21, 2020 in Aquarius, a new series of Air‑sign Great Conjunctions is inaugurated. The subsequent Great Conjunction on October 31, 2040 will take place in Libra, another Air sign.
While the Great Conjunction of May 28, 2000, took place in the Zodiac sign of Taurus, it actually appeared in the sky within the constellation Aries, quite close to the star Hamal, which marks the “head of the Ram”. Great Conjunctions follow a pattern know as a “trigon”, in which every third conjunction occurs in the same vicinity. In this case, the conjunction of 2000 followed two others ― in 1881 and 1941 ― which transpired in the constellation Aries near the star Hamal. Nostradamus clearly refers to these conjunctions in Century I, Quatrain 51:
Jupiter and Saturn in the head of Aries,
Eternal God, what mutations!
Then for a long age his malignant time returns, …
This particular Quatrain is to be found within a cluster of references to the emergence of Antichrist and the attendant crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. So it is not difficult to infer whose “malignant time” is meant to coincide with the last of these Great Conjunctions in the “head of Aries”. While the Provençal prophet generally shrouds his predictions in ambiguities, here he seems to go out of his way to leave no doubt by identifying the conjunction in question as a “mutation”. Quite deliberately, Nostradamus leaves us room for only one interpretation: The Great Conjunction/Mutation of 2000 augers the appearance of Antichrist on the World scene. Logically, we might expect this to coincide with the other side of this “mutation” ― i.e., the next Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction on December 21, 2020.
Prior to the current series of Great Conjunctions in the Earth signs, there was a series of such conjunctions in the Fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius). That series ended with a Great Conjunction in 1782 near the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn. Similarly, the next series of Great Conjunctions in the Air signs begins with the conjunction of 2020 right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius. Viewed in its broadest sense, therefore, the expired period of Great Conjunctions in the Earth signs can be seen as spanning about 240 years (1782‑2020), with a 20‑year overlap on either end with the preceding Fire‑sign series (1782‑1802) and the succeeding Air‑sign series (2000‑2020). For this reason, the ancient astrologers considered the period initiated by each mutation as extending for 240 years.
The Great Year
Among the astrologically‑oriented priesthood of the ancient Middle East, these mutations in the Great Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn were used in devising a prophetic calendar for the Great Year. As we know from the tradition embodied in the Six Days of Creation depicted in Genesis, this Great Year comprises a period of six thousand years. Divided into twelve months, the Great Year breaks down into “Great Months” of about 500 years. Since 500 years roughly corresponds to the duration of two mutations, every other mutation represents the transition between one Great Month and the next. The mutations occur in the sequence of Zodiac sign elements Fire‑to‑Earth, Earth‑to‑Air, Air‑to‑Water, and Water‑to‑Fire. Hence, the mutations that divide the Great Months are those that occur between the Earth and Air signs and between the Water and Fire signs.
Because the Great Conjunction of May 28, 2000, marked a mutation between Earth and Air signs, therefore, it also represented the end of a Great Month. This observation, however, begs the question: “Which month?” Jewish tradition as, set down in the Second Century Midrash Seder Olam Rabbah, assigns to the Great Month a duration of 490 years. This is based on Daniel’s prophecy of the “70 weeks” (9:24), which was interpreted to be 70 smittah “weeks” of seven years apiece. The Seder Olam Rabbah considered the “70-week”/ 490-year period to extend from the destruction of the First Temple to the destruction of the Second Temple. Nostradamus likely drew upon this Midrash for his own prophetic chronology, which also specifies a 490-year interval between the destruction of the two Temples (Epistle ¶ 40). Historical records, on the other hand, indicate that this period actually lasted about 150 to 200 years longer. Since the Midrashic dating became the basis of the official Talmudic chronology, the Hebrew calendar has a “shortfall” of the same duration. Hence, while the Great Conjunction of 2000 corresponded to the Hebrew year 5760, it actually transpired somewhere between 5910 and 5960 years after the Fall of Adam ― which is to say, quite close to the end of the Sixth Millennium of human history.
Midrashic tradition also taught that the Messiah was to be born at the beginning of the 8th Great Month ― which was calculated to fall late in the First Century BC or early in the First Century AD. This explains why Messianic anticipation was at such a feverish pitch when Jesus of Nazareth arrived on the scene. Jesus was actually born in 7 BC during a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that took place, appropriately enough, in Pisces, the sign of the Fish. The Great Conjunction of 7 BC was a triple conjunction, extending over a period of about six months. It was also a very tight conjunction, so that Jupiter and Saturn on three occasions seemed to merge into a single, exceedingly bright star, which we know as the “Star of Bethlehem”. The Great Conjunction of the Nativity was the last of its series in the Water signs, with the next Great Conjunction (14 AD) located in Sagittarius, a Fire sign. Thus, the Nativity coincided with the Water‑to‑Fire mutation which launched the 8th Great Month.
By this reckoning, the 9th Great Month would have kicked off with the Earth‑to‑Air mutation associated with the triple conjunction of 411‑412 AD. Interestingly, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of November 411 was followed in the same month by a conjunction of the two outermost planets, Neptune and Pluto. By an amazing “coincidence”, Neptune-Pluto conjunctions occur at 490-year intervals ― precisely the length of the Midrashic Great Month based on Daniel’s “70 weeks”! Since successive Great Months overlap one another, the 9th Month would have extended from 411 to 829 AD, when a new series of Great Conjunctions commenced in the Fire signs. The 10th month, in turn, lasted from 809 until the next Air‑sign series began in 1246 AD, overlapping for 20 years each with the 9th Month (809‑829) and the 11th month (1226‑1246). Similarly, the 11th month spanned the years 1226 AD to 1623 AD, overlapping with the 12th Month for the interval of the Water‑to‑Fire mutation 1603‑1623.
The beginning of the 12th ― and final ― month of the Great Year was accompanied by remarkable cosmic portents. The Great Conjunction of December 1603 in Sagittarius was followed by a dramatic massing of Mars with Jupiter and Saturn the next year. The Mars-Saturn conjunction of September 26, 1604, was followed by a Mars-Jupiter conjunction on October 9, 1604, which coincided with the appearance of a brilliant Supernova. Blood-red in color, Supernova SN 1604 ― as it was later named ― appeared very close to the three conjoined planets. Astronomer Johannes Kepler observed it in the “right foot” of the “Serpent-Handler” Ophiuchus, a constellation symbolically linked with Antichrist. The Supernova was at the apex of a triangle with Saturn and Mars/Jupiter at the base. Within a few days, SN 1604 ― or “Kepler’s Star”, as it was also known ― outshone the three planets and every other star in the sky. It would continue to dominate the night sky for 17 months, after which it faded away.
“Kepler’s Star” was the last supernova observed in our galaxy up to the present date. This extraordinary celestial phenomenon stimulated a wave of intense apocalyptic speculation which culminated in the emergence of an occult “secret society” that called itself the “Order of the Rosy Cross” ― or “Rosicrucians”. Anonymous Rosicrucian “manifestos” began to appear, proclaiming that the Supernova of 1604 was a heavenly sign signifying the discovery of the tomb of one Christian Rosenkreutz ― whose name means “Christ of the Rosy Cross”. Christian Rosenkreutz was reputed to have been initiated into a something called the “Priory of Solomon”, allegedly founded by the Knights Templar when they occupied the site of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem during the First Crusade.
The Great Translation
Thus began the 12th Great Month, which extends from 1603 to 2020, when the next series of Great Conjunctions moves into the Air signs. The transitional period, during which the 12th Month overlaps the 13th, began on May 28, 2000, with the Great Conjunction in Taurus (22degrees 43 minutes), and ends December 21, 2020, with the Great Conjunction in Aquarius (0 degrees 28 minutes). But what are we to make of the “13th Month”? In most ancient calendars, including the Hebrews’, a 13th “leap” month was periodically added to reconcile the solar year with the lunar month. In Hebrew gematria, moreover, the number 13 equates to the word echad, meaning “one”. So the “13th month” of the past Great Year is simultaneously the “1st month” of the next Great Year: It represents the “renewal of the Age”, so to speak. More ominously, the number 13 recurs repeatedly in the Luciferian occultism of the Knights Templar and their successors.
All of the foregoing symbolism informs what is perhaps the most consequential of all of the prophecies of Nostradamus. As in Century I, Quatrain 51, where he refers to the Great Conjunction of May 28, 2000, marking the beginning of the transition between the 12th and 13th Great Months, so in Century I, Quatrain 16, he clearly points to the Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020, which signifies the end of that transition.
The Scythe joined with the Tin in the Pond toward Sagittarius
At its pinnacle of its exaltation,
Plague, famine, death by military hand,
The Age approaches its renovation.
Since the Scythe and the Tin are the astrological sigils of the planets Saturn and Jupiter, respectively, and the Pond corresponds to the Zodiac sign of Aquarius, the “Water Pourer”, the stanza’s first line describes a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius. The Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020, occurs in Aquarius (0 degrees, 28 minutes) at the cusp of Capricorn, the Goat. Because it traditionally rules both signs, Saturn is “at the pinnacle of its exaltation” there, as specified in the Quatrain’s second line. In the night sky, this conjunction appears between the constellations Capricornus and Sagittarius, again in accordance with the first line of the stanza. In fact, it recreates the “Star of Bethlehem” beneath the Head of the Goat, within eyeshot of the Goat’s malevolent “left eye” – the star Dabih, which is Arabic for the “Butcher”.
In occult symbolism, the Head of the Goat is linked to the satanic Goat of Mendes, also known as Baphomet, the pagan idol worshipped by the Knights Templar. The hidden “Great Work” of occultism throughout the centuries has been to replace the Jewish-Christian-Moslem God – the God of Abraham – with a revived pagan idolatry. And under the reign of Antichrist, they are destined to achieve that goal… for a time.
In the infamous rendering of Baphomet by the 19th Century black-magician Eliphas Levi, we see the idol gesturing toward two crescents depicting lunar and solar eclipses, which always occur in pairs. Forebodingly, the Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020, will transpire in the wake of two such eclipses, with the “Black Sun” of a total solar eclipse appearing one week before the Conjunction, on December 14, 2020. Occult doctrine associates the “Black Sun” with the star Sirius, which is represented by the Pentagram on the forehead of Levi’s Goat icon above. This star was known as Sothis in ancient Egyptian lore and was often symbolized by the “Eye of Horus”, the “All-Seeing Eye” of Masonic imagery, which dominates the Great Seal of the United States of America.
Horus was the hawk-nosed Egyptian god of the Winter Solstice, which marks the day of the Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020. According to the notorious Luciferian Aleister Crowley, himself an acolyte of Eliphas Levi, mankind is on the threshold of the Aeon of Horus, in which Abrahamic monotheism is eclipsed. Crowley, who liked to style himself the “Beast”, looked forward to a “New Age”, ruled by an Egyptian-style High-Priest/King under the aegis of Horus. Notably, in Century V, Quatrain 45, Nostradamus seems to envision the same scenario – at least temporarily – in connection with the Renewal of the Age.
The great Empire will soon be desolated…
And Bronzebeard the Hawk-nose shall reign
In the context of our times, the “great Empire” is clearly the USA, with its military tentacles in some 80 nations worldwide. Its desolation will perhaps come in the guise of the plague and famine promised by Nostradamus’ prophecy concerning the Renewal of the Age – added to which may be a bloody military coup. Into the vacuum left by the collapse of the American Empire will step an incarnation of the Beast who Crowley aspired to be. His name, “Bronzebeard” is a translation of the Latin Aenobarbus, the family name of the Roman Emperor Nero, whose number 666 identifies the Antichrist of Revelation.
Long awaited, he will never return
In Europe, but will appear in Asia:
One of the league issued from the great Hermes,
And he will grow over all the Kings of the East. (Century X, Quatrain 75)
Hermes is the pagan god of the Underworld and Black Magic, the deceiving trickster embraced by the Knights Templar during their reign in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Not fortuitously, perhaps the most sinister modern Templar avatar, founded by arch-Satanist Crowley himself, is the Ordo Templi Orientis, or Order of the Temple of the East, abbreviated OTO. The “long awaited” one refers to the legendary return of Emperor Nero, expected to reappear in Persia (modern Iran) at the End of Time. In his Epistle ¶5, Nostradamus sees his advent in the Seventh Millennium coming at a time
… when the adversaries of Jesus Christ and his Church will begin to strongly congregate and forcefully overrun it …
Nostradamus refers to this reborn Nero, whose Scriptural number is 666, as the Antichrist – the last of three he describes in his prophecies. In Epistle ¶23, the Prophet envisions the “great Empire of the Antichrist” emerging from a conflict between the Atlantic powers (NATO) and Persia (Iran), a struggle which will spread to the Ukraine and Russia as well. After the abominable spirit of Nero “effects a transmigration” to possess the Antichrist, he unleashes a war against the Church of Jesus Christ and its lone defender among the nations of the world. As he expands upon further in the Epistle, this apocalyptic War on Religion results in a persecution of religion unprecedented in history, eclipsing even the Jewish Holocaust of the 20th Century, destroying entire nations and consuming two-thirds of the human race. And all of this horror has its origins in a crossroads of events which Nostradamus calls the “Great Translation”.
In the Old French of the Prophet’s time, the word “translation” had meanings that we no longer commonly assign to it. One of those meanings is a “relocation” or a “realignment”, which is applied in a religious rather than physical context. Thus, three of the great religious translations of the Mediterranean region have occurred with Moses and the Torah, Jesus and the Gospels, and Mohammed and the Koran, engendering the three major Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Great Translation to which Epistle ¶24 refers is one which will suppress the Abrahamic faiths and replace them – for a time – with a strain of Gnostic occultism, with roots in ancient Egyptian rites and the Grail heresies of the Middle Ages.
Saturn Reigns Again
The Great Conjunctions play out against the mythical background of a primordial “Great Translation”, in which the newborn god Jupiter/Jove (Roman names for Greek Zeus) overthrew and replaced his aged father Saturn (the Roman name for Greek Kronos) as the supreme pagan god. Since the Hebrew name for Saturn is Sabbatai, denoting the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday, the planet Saturn has long been identified with the Jews and with their emblem, the Star of David. Although the reign of Saturn in Greco-Roman myth was seen as a Golden Age of peace and good will, Saturn also had a dark side, characterized by malevolence, avarice and melancholy. During the Middle Ages, these ambivalent characteristics of Saturn were attributed to the Jews in furtherance of anti-Semitic themes relating to money-lending and the crucifixion of Christ. Saturn’s mythical role as a child-eater was also maliciously ascribed to the Jews to buttress “blood libel” accusations of their ritual murder of Christian children. Analogies were drawn between the pagan religious shift from Saturn to Jupiter and the monotheistic shift from Judaism to Christianity, with the displaced faith in each case seen as harboring a Saturnine vengeful resentment against its successor.
On the Jewish side of this divide, there was a strong association between the promised restoration of Saturn in a renewed Golden Age and the advent of a Messiah, under whom a redeemed Israel would rule over the Gentile nations. Medieval Jewish astrologers – upon whom Nostradamus drew for many of his prophecies – interpreted the Great Conjunctions between Saturn and Jupiter as auguring the emergence of new religions, as had been the case with the birth of Jesus. Since Saturn ruled the Zodiac signs Capricorn and Aquarius, these two signs were also identified with Jewish anticipation of a resurgent Israel dominating the Messianic Age. Hence, because these two signs define the cusp where the Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020 occurs, we should expect Israel to play a major part in the religious revolution which this Great Conjunction portends.
Among the unsavory mythical traits of Saturn are its connection with pandemic disease, such as the historic Black Death. Perhaps this explains why Nostradamus envisions the transition to the new Golden Age under Saturn’s rule as ensuing after decades of plague, famine and war. As we discussed earlier in reference to Century I, Quatrain 16, he views the Winter Solstice Great Conjunction of 2020 against a desolate backdrop of “plague, famine, [and] death by military hand”. And in both prose sections of his prophecies (Epistle ¶33 and Preface ¶25-26), Nostradamus sees two-thirds of humanity perishing during an unprecedented pandemic in the run-up to the revived Golden Age.
Meanwhile, such a plague will arise that more than two thirds of the world will be removed. So that one will be unable to ascertain the true owners of fields and houses, and weeds will grow in the streets of cities higher than the knees.
For according to the celestial signs , the reign of Saturn shall return…the world is approaching a revolution that breaks wholly with the past… the world shall be so diminished by plagues,by extended famines & wars & even more by floods… that no one shall be found willing to work the fields, which shall remain fallow for as long a time as they were subjected to the plow…
The upshot of all this suffering, according to Nostradamus (Epistle ¶54-56), is a desperate human race turning to a false messiah in a period of Tribulation preceding the Millennial Jubilee.
the Holy of Holies will turn to be destroyed by Paganism, and the old and new Testaments discarded and burned, and after that Antichrist will be the infernal prince again for the last time, all the Kingdoms of Christianity will tremble, and also those of the infidels, for the space of twenty-five years, and there will be wars and battles, and towns, cities, castles and all other edifices will be burned, desolated and destroyed, with great effusion of blood of violated vestals, married woman and widows, and sucking children dashed and broken against the walls of towns, and so may evils will be committed by means of Satan, Prince Infernal, that nearly all the world will find itself undone and desolated: and before these events some rare birds will cry in the air: Hui, hui [Today, today], and sometime later will vanish.
And after such times have long endured, there will be almost renewed another reign of Saturn, and golden age: Hearing the affliction of his people, God the Creator will command that Satan be bound and cast into the depths of the bottomless pit: and then a universal peace will commence between God and man, and Satan will remain bound for around a thousand years,…
The Golden Age to Come
At the time Nostradamus wrote his prophecies, the Wars of Religion between the Catholics and the Huguenots were ranging in France and the Inquisition was in full swing. Since the astrology and clairvoyance from which he drew his predictions were often equated with heresy, Nostradamus was obliged to leave “clues” as to his visions of the future, rather than revealing them explicitly. Accordingly, we have assembled a set of such clues regarding the new Golden Age inaugurated by the Great Mutation of December 21, 2020. In interpreting these clues, we must consider the mythical background against which they play out.
Before we start to talk about myths, we need to understand what they really are. Our modern “education” typically presents us with a very patronizing perspective on mythology – one which tends to dismiss it as a set of fantasies concocted by backward societies to explain phenomena beyond their scant knowledge. Now that our vaunted “science” has dispelled the fog of superstition, we relegate myth-making to the modern commercial “dream factories” of Disney and Spielberg. But myths actually represent a level of Reality above that encompassed by our narrow materialistic consciousness.
Myths are actually an expanded type of “memory”. I say “expanded”, because our diminished powers of memory pertain only to the Past, whereas the realm of Mythos lies outside our one-dimensional “time-line” of Past-Present-Future. Because our consciousness has been reduced to that of our individual egos, we seldom, if ever, experience the visionary Time of Mythos in our waking lives. This radically blinkered view of Reality would drive us mad were it not for the blessed balm of sleep, which plunges us back into a mythical Time, in which everything is in sync, and things happen “all at once”, in no particular order, with multiple versions of Reality interwoven like a tapestry. In Dreamtime, we transcend our little solipsistic ego-personas, bust through our quotidian prisons, and become truly complete, universal Beings. I can be you, you can be me, we can all be anyone or everyone – somehow it doesn’t matter. It’s like we’re driving a car on a highway with an infinite number of lanes, each one traversing its own special World within the highway Multiverse. As long as we’re dreaming, we can change lanes/Worlds as often as we like, but when we wake up, we forget how to do that. The first thing the awakening ego does is re-impose one-dimensional time – squeezing the expansive mosaic of the Dream into the strait-jacket of a bizarre linear narrative.
Until about 6000 years ago, Dreamtime dominated human consciousness, as it continued to do in some isolated aboriginal cultures well into the 20th Century. Then, around 4500 BC a period of rapid climate change brought arid conditions to the Middle East, disrupting the agrarian societies there and initiating a thousand year transition to urban civilizations based on mercantile economies and metallurgic technologies. In fact, the ensuing periods came to be known by the predominant metals in use: the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages. The use of metals in weaponry, combined with unstable social conditions, gave rise to an era of warfare and the rise of military empires. The use of metals as coins introduced money and bred a social hierarchy based on wealth, usury and ultimately slavery.
These profound social shifts were mirrored by religious transformations – or “translations”, as Nostradamus would have it – by which rites promoting the Earth’s fertility and the fecundity of its creatures gave way to a cult of war-like sky gods. In Greek religion, this translation was expressed by the overthrow of the agrarian god Kronos/Saturn by his warrior son Zeus/Jupiter, wielding the sky’s thunderbolt as his weapon. Tellingly, the mythical birth of Zeus took place on the island of Crete, which was then emerging as the West’s first great mercantile empire. Zeus presided over an age of carnage, greed and exploitation, turning the Golden Age of peace and abundance into an Iron Age of violence and privation, which continues to the present day. The Roman poet Albius Tibullus expressed it this way:
How well man used to live with Saturn as king,…
No house had doors to lock, no stones, set it the fields,
Marked fixed limits to the farms,…
No armies, no rage to kill, no war existed;
Nor had the cruel smith with brutal skill yet forged a sword,
But now in the reign of Jove, slaughter and wounds are ever-present…
While Zeus reigned high above mankind from the top of Mount Olympus, Saturn dwelt among his people, in a state of perfect equality and fellowship. Trecento Italian poet Fazio degli Uberti wrote:
This time was called the Golden Age,
because man lived together in harmony,
sober, chaste and free,
pure and without vice.
In spite of his benevolent regime, Saturn himself presents us with a very complex character, full of dichotomies and contradictions. While he is perhaps the greatest benefactor of the human race in the pagan pantheon, tutoring mankind in the fine arts, shipbuilding and agriculture, Saturn is also associated with malevolence, cruelty, avarice, melancholy, old age, and sickness. In order to ascend to supremacy among the Greco-Roman deities, Saturn castrated his father Uranus. Faced with a prophecy that one of his own children would depose him, he swallowed each of them in turn as soon as they emerged from the womb. Although his Golden Age transcended destiny, Saturn is typically portrayed as Father Time, the inexorable agent of decay and death, wielding his dreadful sickle or scythe – the same he used to emasculate his father – to harvest human lives. Yet even that ominous scythe equally displays the god’s benign agricultural aspect.
As paradoxical as these Saturnine dichotomies may seem when viewed from our “cause-and-effect” reference frame, they confirm that the most fundamental Reality resides outside that reference frame. Saturn the god breaks the chain of cause-and-effect, neutralizing the former when he castrates his father, and preempting the latter when he devours his offspring. Since, he is neither the deist god of the First Cause, nor the pantheist god of the Final Effect, he defines an ontology without boundaries, in which contraries are not separated, but rather co-exist, side-by-side. In this respect, Mythos anticipates quantum physics, which teaches us that, from instant-to-instant, the fabric of what is truly Real branches out like a boundless tree – the Tree of Life – with opposite outcomes dangling from adjoining limbs. In the purest state of Being, there are no endpoints: intervals in time are empty abstractions, because, as Zeno long ago demonstrated, not even the shortest interval can capture the motion of Becoming, the essence of Being.
Only what is Eternal is Real; all else is Vanity, as King Solomon observed in Ecclesiastes. Eternity perdures because of its contradictions, not in spite of them, because contraries are the engine that drives Becoming. Nobody had a better grasp of this than the poet William Blake:
Negations are not Contraries: Contraries mutually Exist:
But Negations Exist Not: Exceptions & Objections & Unbeliefs
Exist not: nor shall they ever be Organized for ever & ever:
If thou separate from me, thou art a Negation: a meer
Reasoning & Derogation from Me, an Objecting & cruel Spite
And Malice & Envy: but my Emanation, Alas! will become
My Contrary: O thou Negation, I will continually compell
Thee to be invisible to any but whom I please, & when
And where & how I please, and never! never! shalt thou be
But as a distorted & reversed Reflexion in the Darkness
And in the Non Entity: nor shall that which is above
Ever descend into thee: but thou shalt be a Non Entity for ever.
– Jerusalem, Plate 17, (E 161)
Eternity encompasses both Heaven and Hell, Life and Death, Good and Evil. Truth is not to be found by negating these polarities, because, like separated poles of a magnet, they are rendered non-existent. This is the error of dualism, which amounts to the worship of Vanities. Once divided, contraries clash and engender the violence and warfare that dominate the Iron Age of Jupiter. Things Eternal must be coherent, while the disjunction of opposites is decoherence. Reality cannot be disassembled and reassembled from its parts, because the partial cannot be Real. Reality is the child of conjunction, conceived in the marriage of contrarieties.
So, when we talk about a return of the Golden Age, we are venturing into an ontological landscape that is entirely different from our own. Almost all of what we regard as actual is in fact disjointed and therefore illusory. The incessant turmoil of our lives testifies to that fact. We live in a partial reality that increasingly decoheres toward a totally “virtual reality”, completely without substance. During the Golden Age, Saturn ruled over both the Living and the Dead, and there was no boundary between those two realms. Under the bygone Olympian religion and even the later monotheistic faiths, the supreme deity retreated into the sky, abandoning the World and the Underworld to demonic non-entities. Yet our collective yearning for Emmanuel, for “God with us” here on Earth, steadfastly abides and clings to a remnant of the Golden Age which persists in our year-end celebrations deriving from the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.
When Jupiter ousted Saturn as the supreme deity, the translucent fluidity of Dreamtime congealed into the unyielding opacity of clock time – the relentless, soulless cadence of marching armies and manacled captives. The Medusa gaze of rational certainty locked down experience in an adamantine prison of superficial facts that conceal the vast interiority of Meaning. Ostensibly gone were the magic moments of Metamorphosis, which poet Ezra Pound extolled:
The undeniable tradition of metamorphosis teaches us that things do not remain always the same. They become other things by swift and unanalyzable process.
Where Saturn had been the god of endless transformation, Jupiter presided over a static vista, a magic lantern show of still-frames mimicking motion – but devoid of real action and intractable to Will. But, for that very reason, Jupiter was incapable of officiating the annual transition from an old year to a new one. Since the Romans were intensely logical in their religion, they saw that casting Jupiter in such a role was inadmissible, so they had their chief god step down at year’s end and allow his predecessor Saturn to rule once more in that interval, which was the festival of Saturnalia. And so, the return of the Golden Age was not something whimsical or visionary for the hard-nosed Romans, rather it was an actual and recurring part of their lives.
That being said, we can best understand what our promised Golden Age redux might look like by contemplating the ancient Saturnalia rites. Those rites become even more relevant when consider that the harbinger of the new Golden Age – the Great Conjunction of December 21, 2020 – occurs on the pivotal date of the Saturnalia. Not only that, but it represents the Great Mutation which marks the end of the 6000 year cycle initiated by the rise of Jupiter and the fall of Saturn, a Mutation that betokens the reversal of that primordial revolution and the restoration of the former monarch. And the cosmic symbolism could not be more appropriate than at this crossroads where the planets Jupiter and Saturn will meet.
The Roman Saturnalia was a week-long carnival that began on December 17th and ended on December 23rd each year. In many ways, it was the template for the later Christian-Jewish year-end celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, especially in terms of the emphases on children, gift-giving, candle-lighting, joy and overall goodwill. But there was also a radically egalitarian and anarchic theme in the Roman festival which has been obscured by the commercialization of the “Holidays” in modern times. Just as the autocratic god Jupiter stepped down for this week in favor of his libertine father Saturn, so the despot Caesar gave way to the King of Saturnalia elected by the plebeians. With the laws suspended and the courts closed, there was absolute license granted for any kind of outrageous conduct and indulgence of appetites. Yet it was the most peaceful and crime-free time of the entire year.
Among the laws suspended during the Saturnalia was the lex alearia banning gambling in Rome. For a time, the conventions of society were cast aside in favor of the roll of the dice, and amidst the general carousing, the click-click of fritillis dicing boxes could be heard everywhere. But the stakes were not money or precious goods, but instead players gambled for ordinary nuts, as was the practice under Saturn’s prehistoric reign. In his Saturnalia dialogues, Lucian of Samosata, recites this exchange between Saturn and a Roman priest:
Priest: … But here is another question, please. Used mortals to play dice in your time?
Saturn: Surely; but not for hundreds or thousands of sesterces like you; nuts were their highest stake; a man might lose without a sigh or a tear, when losing could not mean starvation.
Putting this into context, the game of dice began as a method of divination, derived from “knucklebones”, which were ankle-bones taken from sacrificial victims – originally human and later animals. During the primeval Golden Age, farmers after sowing their seeds would cast dice as a way of gambling with the powers of the Underworld for a bountiful harvest. Since seeds are planted underground, they were thought to fall under the province of chthonic deities, who also ruled over the Dead. Greek historian Herodotus recounts legends of dice games with the chthonic corn goddess Demeter, daughter of Saturn/Kronos. Roman dice or astragali could be cubic or tetrahedral, which is revealing because, among the Platonic solids, the cube was associated with Saturn and the tetrahedron with Jupiter. In an amazing parallel, 17th Century astronomer Johannes Kepler, while studying the Great Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, discovered that their respective planetary orbits can be calculated based on a tetrahedron nested within a cube!
So it seems that the contrary qualities of Saturn rub off on his festival as well. Beneath the veneer of orgiastic merry-making lurk rites involving Death, the Underworld … and even human sacrifice. On one hand, the obsessive dice-playing of the Saturnalia was an expression of Liberty, as was the red pileus cap worn by everyone during the carnival. Both patricians and plebeians, masters and slaves donned the pileus – traditionally worn by freed slaves – to demonstrate that class distinctions were erased, freeing both masters and slaves from their false hierarchal identities. Much later in history, the same red pileus cap would serve the same purpose for the sans-culottes of the French Revolution.
The image above actually depicts the three Magi wearing the pileus as they bear their gifts to the new-born Christ child – yet another reminder, along the with red cap worn by Santa Claus, of the linkage between the Saturnalia and our Christmas holiday.
If dice-playing made the Saturnalia feel like one big game, it was to express the idea that social, moral and religious mores at all times are a game, and that the rules of the game can be changed. For all the nonsense one hears about how “human nature” preordains exploitive societies, the Romans annually demonstrated that humans can literally turn on a dime – or on the roll of the dice – from a hierarchal structure in which wealth and rank mean everything, to one in which they mean nothing. Cancelled is the Wheel of Fortune game, which arbitrarily confers bounty and bliss on some and wretched poverty on others. Instead, mankind can play the Reversal of Fortune game, in which all is shared in common, as it was in mythical reign of Saturn. What we have has no meaning, no efficacy until it is given. Wealth does not enrich Life unless it circulates freely, as opposed to hoarded wealth which “breeds” like a virus, a parasitic blight on Life. While the Saturnalia was in some ways chaotic, it had its rules, and Rule #1 was that man’s fate is not immutable – an assertion of the irrepressible freedom of the human Will. Life, like a die, can be cast again and again, generating a Multiverse of possibilities from which we have the power to choose.
But what guides us in that choice is all-important. Individual ego autonomy leads in one direction, collective solidarity in another – and humanity will find itself increasingly pulled in both directions as we approach the restored Saturnalia in the midst of world-wide plague, famine and war. It goes without saying that the dichotomies of Saturn lend themselves to such a critical watershed, which portends either the extinction of the human race or its ascension to the Presence of God. In his darker aspect, Saturn was identified with the bloodthirsty Punic idol Ba’al Hammon, who was worshipped as Melqart (aka Melkarth or Moloch) in Tyre. King Hiram, friend of Israel’s King Solomon, built a great temple of Melqart in Tyre, and then lent his architect Hiram Abiff and his skilled artisans to Solomon to build the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Testament of Solomon, he was given a ring with a pentagram seal by which he was able to control the demons – one of whom assumed the form of Kronos/Saturn – and compel them to work for him in construct the Temple. Solomon would later offer sacrifices to Melqart/Moloch to obtain the sexual favors of the Shulamite maiden, for whom he wrote the scriptural Song of Songs.
From this we can infer that the religious upheaval of Nostradamus’ Great Translation may culminate in a reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. As we will explore in subsequent chapters, such a project would involve a convergence of long-standing Masonic and Zionist agendas. With its roots in the infernal rites of Moloch, including human sacrifice, such a Third Temple has been prophesied to serve as the throne of Antichrist during the perilous transition to the Messianic/Golden Age. In that scenario, the coming Saturnalia could descend into a new Holocaust, a celebration of Death. And what is the alternative to that terrible prospect? Not the negation of Death, which would negate Life as well, but rather a conjunction of Life and Death, a tearing down of the wall between the two.
Such an epiphany is, in fact, implicit in the Roman Saturnalia, when the Dead were believed to return among the Living and share in their festivities. In the wake of sowing season, the Dead were like the recently buried seeds, awaiting rebirth. The Saturnalia was held during a void in clock time, between the Sun’s “death” at the Solstice and its rebirth thereafter, and between the “death” of the Old Year and the arrival of the New Year. At this critical juncture, the Dead draw close to the Living, sharing in the explosion of vital energy which the license of Saturn’s rites generate. While the participation of the Dead was seen as necessary to restore mundane time at the end of each year, at the end of the Great Year it takes on a heightened significance – that is, the restoration of the Dreamtime that came before one-dimensional time. Thus, the Resurrection of the Dead – the central theme of all three Abrahamic religions – represents the end of delusional time and the refounding of Time which is Real because it is Eternal.
And so, the ultimate game of Saturnalia is the reversal of Saturn’s overthrow by Jupiter – but this time not for just a week, but forever. The ending of the Great Year of Jupiter’s reign – the dark Age of Iron and Blood – and the beginning of a New Great Year reinstating Saturn’s Age of Gold and Bliss are marked in the heavens by the meeting of their planets on the Winter Solstice and renewed Saturnalia of the year 2020. In the next chapter, we will imagine how that Saturnalia plays out in Dreamtime.