image: Wikimedia commons (link).
Above is a remarkable podcast interview between Moe Bedard of Gnostic Warrior Radio and Crichton E. M. Miller, the author of The Golden Thread of Time: A Quest for the Truth and Hidden Knowledge of the Ancients.
Mr. Miller argues that the symbol of the Celtic Cross, which is a cross superimposed upon a circular nimbus, actually represents a measuring device related to the sextant, octant, or quadrant (all of which are named for the fraction of a full circle which they represent), but using a full circle rather than a portion of a circle. He argues that this device would enable a user to make accurate determinations regarding where they are located on our planet (longitude and latitude), as well as where the planet is on its annual journey around the sun.
Mr. Miller describes some of the details of the way he believes such a device could have been constructed, as well as some of the analysis and experimentation which led up to his discovery of this idea, beginning at around the 8-minute mark of this YouTube video and continuing to the end.
I have not personally analyzed all the arguments, or the possibility that the cross with a circle circumscribed might represent an actual ancient navigational device, although I have analyzed a large amount of evidence which suggests that the various crosses of antiquity (some of which predate the historical rise of Christianity, and others of which were present in the Americas prior to the first conventionally-recognized contact with Europeans) have esoteric connections to the annual "cross" of the year formed by the solstice-line and equinox-line on a zodiac wheel, as well as to the spiritual concept of combined spiritual component and material component present in each incarnate man and woman, expressed in ancient Egypt by the concept of the Djed-column "cast down" and the Djed-column "raised up" (among other expressions the Egyptians used to articulate the same idea): see for instance the discussion in this previous post, as well as some of the other posts linked in that discussion.
However, just because the ancient symbol of the cross can be shown to connect the annual "cross of the year" to an understanding of the universe as containing both spiritual and material aspects does not automatically mean that the Celtic Cross itself could not also have links to an ancient navigational device resembling the one proposed by Mr. Miller. On the contrary, Mr. Miller's analysis clearly incorporates the centrality of the "cross of the year" and the zodiac wheel that encircles the year, and his recognition of their connection to the Celtic Cross certainly seems to strengthen his arguments.
The parts of the interview that I found most fascinating were Mr. Miller's arguments about some of the Bible passages which might refer to the importance of being able to "measure rightly," which he argues may have been talking directly to the closely-guarded skill of being able to measure rightly in time and in space, but also by extension the importance of being able to "measure rightly" in terms of right behavior and morality -- and that the scriptures might be seen as arguing that the two concepts are related, or even identified as two sides of the same idea.
At about the 40-minute mark in the above podcast, Mr. Miller explains that it is the axial tilt of the earth (the fact that earth's poles are tilted in relationship to the ecliptic path, at an angle sometimes referred to as the "obliquity of the ecliptic," which is currently an angle very close to 23.4 degrees) which creates the annual cross of solstices and equinoxes in the first place, which creates the four seasons of the year, and which enables us to determine our location on the annual orbital journey of the earth.
He then makes the astonishing suggestion that the fourth verse of the Twenty-Third Psalm in the Hebrew Scriptures ("the Old Testament") -- that is to say, Psalm 23:4 or the Psalm whose number corresponds to the obliquity of the ecliptic -- contains a clear reference to a device of measuring! That famous verse in that beloved Psalm, of course, is:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Crichton Miller then goes on to explain that:
Now what a lot of people don't realize is a rod means a ruler: it's a measuring-stick. It comes from reed, because a reed is a segmented piece of grass which the Egyptians used. So reed became a rod, and a rod is not used to beat children: it's used to measure with, if you go back to the, you know, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child.' What they were actually saying was, 'Fail to teach the child how to measure the consequences of their actions, and how time works, and you'll spoil the child.'
Now this is a truly amazing connection, and quite a "coincidence" for a verse that is found in the fourth sentence of the Twenty-Third Psalm -- the only place in the Psalms which corresponds to the number of the obliquity of the ecliptic.
What is even more incredible is the fact that, after listening to this podcast for the first time and remarking at what an amazing connection Mr. Miller had just articulated, I returned home to find a message from Pat B., whose insightful questions and comments have inspired other blog posts in the past about subjects in the Old Testament scriptures, noting that he had recently been thinking about how important earth's 23.4-degree axial tilt is in creating the solstice and equinox alignments of the year, and then pointing out the significance of Leviticus 23:4 in light of that importance!
Leviticus 23:4 declares:
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
Obviously, the "seasons" are here mentioned in a verse which is numbered with the angle of the very obliquity which produces the seasons! Not only that, but the holy feasts and convocations throughout the year -- both in the times in which the Old Testament was anciently used, and even to the modern day -- can be indisputably demonstrated to be linked to the days of the year marked out by the solstices, equinoxes, cross-quarter days, and other specific annual points of significance which all depend to some degree upon that axial tilt.
Now, it would seem that there should be no way that Pat B. would have known that I had downloaded that podcast, nor of knowing that I had listened to it on the same day that he sent this observation about Leviticus 23:4, or that I had noted as most striking the above discussion of Psalms 23:4 by Crichton Miller in that podcast. But his observation about Leviticus 23:4 certainly provides powerful additional evidence that Psalm 23:4's connection to the angle of the axial tilt of the earth is not "mere coincidence."
Note that in Psalm 23:4, the "valley of the shadow of death" can be very convincingly argued to refer to the lower half of the zodiac wheel, which was anciently depicted in the world's celestial "star myths" as Hell, Sheol, Tartarus, the Land of Bondage, the Underworld, etc. -- just as the upper half of the zodiac wheel was variously depicted as Heaven, the Garden of Eden (Paradise), the Promised Land, the City upon the Hill, the City whose streets are paved with gold, Mount Zion, Mount Olympus, etc. For more discussion of that metaphorical connection, see this previous post on Hell, this previous post on Heaven, and the extended discussion in the recent series of videos entitled "Star Myths and the Shamanic Worldview" (especially the discussions found in Part 2 and Part 5).
The fact that the "lower half of the year" is caused by the 23.4-degree axial tilt of the earth, and that it appears in Psalm 23 precisely at the fourth verse as "the valley of the shadow of death" is still further confirmation of Mr. Miller's analysis that this verse may encode ancient understanding of the importance of that axial tilt. If so, then the "comfort" provided by the rod and the staff, which Mr. Miller argues may have been referring to ancient devices for measuring the year and the seasons, would be the comfort of being able to know that the sun would soon turn back towards the "upper half of the wheel" again (or of knowing that it had already done so), and that spring and life would return again in their due time.
Mr. Miller's additional reference to the verse commonly referred to as teaching "spare the rod and spoil the child," and his assertion that this verse is misinterpreted when it is taken literally (as it so often is) to mean that physical punishment of children is necessary for keeping them from being "spoiled," is also most notable. He asserts that the verse has nothing to do with physically punishing children with a rod, but rather that it is admonishing the passing along to the upcoming generations the knowledge of how to rightly measure time, space, and the seasons -- and that such "right measuring" would then extend to the teaching of the child the knowledge of "how to measure the consequences" of his or her actions.
The actual verse in question comes from Proverbs chapter 13, and reads in part: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son" (Proverbs 13:24), and while the second half of the verse goes on to say that "he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes," it is comforting to consider the possibility that the verse has nothing to do with physically punishing a child but rather teaching him or her to "measure rightly" -- including passing along the ancient art of knowing where we are on our beautiful planet and where we are in the annual orbit as delineated by the signs and seasons of the year (including the solstices, equinoxes, and other major stations on the circuit).
All of this listening to the podcast and considering these admonitions made me think of the teaching of my own father, who recently celebrated a birthday (birthdays being another example of those annual markers which we recognize each year, and which relate to the motions and measurements of the earth and its progress through space and time), and who certainly taught me while growing up to find and appreciate the constellations that are hanging in the heavens to act as our guides in measuring our place in our annual circuit, and which should also be our familiar companions throughout life. Thanks Dad and Happy Birthday!
These are all amazing and important concepts to consider deeply, for all of us (and to pass on to future generations).