30 Jul The 12 Knights
In almost all myths all over the world the same theme reoccurs. The 12 knights, 12 tribes, 12 heroes etc. In his last and longest dialogue (Laws), Plato teaches: “There are 12 feasts to the 12 Gods who give their names to the 12 tribes.” Also in early christianity, the image of 12 disciples with the Godman figure at their center echoes the 12 constellations which revolve in the heavens around the pole star. The importance of the pole and the zodiac in ancient Egypt is demonstrated by 2 so-called ‘air shafts’ found in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid. They are inclined to within 1 degree of accuracy on the celestial pole to the North and the constellation of Orion in the south. Lucie Lamy gives a more likely explanation of those peculiar shafts as “two ways offered to each individual, that of final liberation to the North or reincarnation on the wheel in the south”. In the Pyramid text one can read: “He climbs to the sky among the imperishable stars.” so, the distant realm to which the Pharaoh always goes is the sky.
The stars of the circumpolar region were considered eternal, for unlike the zodiacal band, they never descended below the horizon, i.e. they never come into reincarnation. In the Pagan Mysteries 12 initiates wore masks representing the zodiac signs and danced around a central initiate, symbolizing the Godman and the pole star. As the Flemish archaeologist and historian Frans Cumont notes, the sacred masks were interpreted by Pagan theologians as an allusion to the signs of the zodiac and even to the doctrine of metempsychosis which is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to transmigration of the soul. Also Christians practised similar ritual dances. The acts of John describes an initiatory ceremony in which the 12 disciples, representing the constellations, perform a dance around Jesus, who represent the pole star, at the centre. (See Acts of John 97 -100)
Jesus teaches that the true nature of suffering can be understood by comprehending the circle dance which he leads. What does he mean? The ancients conceived of the turning wheel of the zodiac as the ‘wheel of suffering’ or ‘wheel of necessity or ‘wheel of fate’.
In book 16 of the Corpus Hermeticum, Hermes Trismegistus explains:
It is man’s lot to live his life according to the fate determined for him by these circling celestial powers.
By identifying with the physical body, which is governed by the laws of cause and effect, we have become prisoners on the ‘wheel of necessity’. We are bound to the ‘wheel of suffering’ and must endure the consequences. The only escape is to realize our true impersonal identity as Consciousness at the still centre of the turning wheel, represented by the Godman and the pole star.
Because each of the constellations of the zodiac spends six months of every year below the horizon and six months above, the zodiac was also seen as representing the wheel of reincarnation, which carries us through a recurring cycle of life and death. As Pythagoras explains:
Revolving around the wheel of necessity, the psyche is transformed and confined at different times in different bodies.
The process of initiation was designed to free initiates from the wheel by revealing their essential identity at the still centre. Proclus, called the Successor, teaches that those initiated into the Mysteries of Persephone and Dionysus pray that they may cease from the wheel’.
In Pagan mythology, the sign of Cancer represents the path into the cave of the cosmos and the sign of Capricon represents the way out. Porphyry writes:
Cancer is the gate through which psyches descend, but Capricorn is the gate through which they ascend.
In astrology Cancer is ruled by the moon, the mistress of life, Capricorn by Saturn, the master of death.
And once again we encounter the paradox; life is death and death is life similar to the story of sleeping beauty as one out of many.