“The ancient Sumerians understood the connection between cycles, time and mathematics. In addition to the pragmatic use of the wheel or circle, they also developed the initial calculations of the circle to be 360 degrees. Their use of base-60 ‘sexagesimal’ math in the systematic measurement of time has carried with humanity to this day…”
[This mardukite.com blog post is officially excerpted from Liber 51/52, available in the anthology “Mesopotamian Religion“ by Joshua Free. It is also available as the stand-alone title: Sumerian Religion II, and in the Mardukite Year-2 Anthology: Gates of the Necronomicon by Joshua Free.]
The annual year was originally only divided into three seasons: beginning, middle and end. A year in Babylonia was separated into a cycle of 12 periods of 30 degrees or days. These periods, equated to the ‘moon’, were called ‘moonths’ or more appropriately ‘months’. Of course, the sky-wise priests were aware of the actual appearance of 13 lunar cycles in a year, so an additional shortened month was acknowledged to make the cycle fit. In most cases, a ‘new moon’ meant a ‘new month’ and so the days counted in a month are the days counted in the progression of a moon – though naturally the disparities between lunar and solar time had to be accounted for, and with time the ‘Chaldeans’ had perfected it.
The annual cycle was marked distinctly by two primary religious festivals – the spring festival of Akitu and the winter festival of Zagmuk. Both appear to be represented or distinguished by the symbol of ‘divine marriage’, later meaning the relationship between the ruling king and his lands.
Originally, however, the more popular fertility interpretation of these festivals, particularly in the spring, were based on land renewal and with the development and spread of these tradition, Akitu became known as Ostara – the pagan Easter – in dedication to Ishtar (Inanna). Not too surprisingly, the pre-Christian account incorporated into the symbolism of the later Judeo-based traditions also includes the proverbial theme of resurrection – in our case: the infamous story of Ishtar’s ‘descent‘ into the ‘Underworld’, where she is perceived of as ‘dead’ for three days.
Given the way modern calendars are oriented, the start of each ancient month would be considered near the ‘middle’ of current months – much like the seasonal observations. Although the festivals in ancient times were oriented to the naturally occurring solstices and equinoxes, it was often customary to observe them ceremonially during the closest full moon. All of this gave way to a generally ‘fluid’ incorporation of time into society that is varied in its interpretations among modern scholars.
The ancients made use of ‘water-clocks’ at night and ‘sun-clocks’ during the day. But more important to the survival of an agricultural society then gauging the minutes of a day for a ‘time-punch’ was the tracking of the annual cycle for planting and harvesting. Quite different than what the remainder of the Western World has familiarity with, the seasonal cycles in the deserts of Babylonia are unique. We have a recognizable summer in June, July and August where there is not rain and nothing grows – as we might expect – but then the region is plunged right into its rainy season in September, and farmers must be ready to plant their barley by October with a harvest necessary before the summer sun returns.
A different system of observation was used to calculate and measure ‘divine time’ in relation to ‘earth time’. This gave rise to what contemporaries call an ‘age’ – such as the current ‘age’ of Pisces and the forthcoming ‘age’ of Aquarius. Apart from the garbled nonsense of today’s horoscopes, the observation of zodiacal ages and alignments during the year are very real events. For whatever credibility the modern mind might wish to give the ancient astrologie omen tablets, the ability to perfectly chart time over long periods by using verifiable astronomical events, that we can even rely on today as investigators into this ancient culture, is quite impressive by any standards.
We can establish the chronological procession of the ages, but not necessarily a definition of when they have absolute turning points. They are measured in 2,160 year periods (72 x 30), connected to their ‘domain’ of visibility in the ‘Celestial Sphere’. The progression is visible in the stars but the clear boundary line that defines each is in many ways obscure. For example, when specifically does the current age enter ‘Aquarius’? Counting backward, the Mardukite school of thought might have suggestive input to apply.
Following earlier thwarted attempts to solidify global rulership, the real Babylonian Reformation by the Anunnaki god MARDUK, with the aid of Nabu, occurred as a result of the ‘Age of Aries’ having arrived and ‘promised power’ not being ‘passed’ to him. This would have to be circa 2150 B.C., when the movement became notably public.
How long prior to this, pointing to the turn of the ‘Age of Aries’, would they have waited? If it were only ten years, then the Piscean Age really would have been marked by the birth of Jesus Christ – exactly 2,160 years later – notoriously represented by the fishes. Other ‘scholarly’ dates for the start of the Age of Aries include 2200, 2150, 2000 and 1875 B.C. Based on these figures, this ‘era’ of reportedly ‘new consciousness’ could be in effect now, later in this century, in the year 2150 or even closer to 2600…
Time, as we have found no different today then yesterday, is indeed entirely relative!
One response to “Babylonian Astrology & Age of Aquarius: How the Sumerians Measured the Heavens”
Pingback: NEW BABYLON RISING – Books of Pheryllt, Mesopotamian Mathematics & The Anunnaki – Winter 2014 eZine | BABYLON 3.0 - A Brave New Babylonian Rising