432 is a number that has kept showing itself over the last year and it seems to be intrinsically related to topics covered in this blog. Recently a piece on 432 was posted on the excellent Sync Netz blog, and in April another entry on 432 appeared in another favourite blog, The Building Roam. Prior to seeing these, I had already began to ponder this number with some fellow researchers. The net itself is pretty filled with talk on 432. Why? I'd like to add to this discussion.
The last post laid out the "method" of this blog -- the attempt to connect all things symbolically into one vast tapestry of correspondences that can be wholly grasped in a single instant. No need for modesty here! So this is where I'll start with 432 (and 4 and 32). I will try to bring in as many elements as possible in the attempt to create a whole picture, a gestalt, that vividly emerges from the fractured and alienating nightmare of modernity.
Walking on Shells
We can begin the ride back at the Madonna Superbowl ritual on the 5th of February. Much has already been written about this on the net, (including its possible sinister connections with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee starting on Feb. 6th and the death of Whitney Houston on the 11th), so this post will only cover the central symbolism involving 432.
During the halftime show of the 46th Superbowl, Madonna as Isis/Ishtar/Esther makes her entrance held aloft by a phalanx of Roman/Egyptian/Babylonian centurions seated on a golden throne with the glyph for her MDNA album displayed on it. The A of MDNA is at the top. This provides the clue.
MDNA in simple English numerology is 13+4+14+1, four numbers that sum to 32. 32 is the number of paths on the Tree of Life. MDNA describes a journey, across the Abyss, on the central pillar of the Tree of Life. It begins on the 13th path of the High Priestess, crosses the 4 at Da'at (beginning with the fourth letter Daleth or Delta -- the door), intersects the 14th path (14=N) between Binah and Chokmah, and finally reaches the Aleph at the crown of Kether. From here it is possible to merge into the Ain Soph -- the 33, or 32+1.
Madonna's serious involvement with the Kabbalah is a matter of common knowledge. She is a high-ranking member of the controversial Kabbalah Centre, and the symbolism of MDNA would certainly be known to her. Among traditional Kabbalah practitioners, however, the teachings of the Centre, and the actions of its celebrity followers like Madonna, are highly unorthodox. Here is a statement from one Rabbi about Madonna's practices:
I personally do not know Madonna and therefore, I do not wish to cast aspersions on her that she intentionally and willingly wishes to act with sacrilege against the holy Torah and the sacred Kabbalah. That would be anti-Semitic and I do not believe that Madonna is an anti-Semite. I cannot tell you why Madonna presented herself as having a tattoo of a holy Name on her shoulder, wrapped herself with mock tefillin straps, and made use a Holy Name in a most unholy fashion (in a rock music video).
The challenging of orthodoxy can sometimes be a good thing, but in the case of this and many other very public rituals it appears that traditional rites are intentionally inverted. Even Crowley warned about attempting to cross the Abyss with one's ego firmly intact. Instead one must become "no man" or "nemo." If the public rituals are attempts to signify and thus direct the collective passage across the Abyss, the thing most noticed is the complete glorification of the ego and its materialist aims.
Within the tradition of the Kabbalah, these aims can be acquired through magical work with the Qliphoth, the Shadow of the Tree of Life. These rituals are very powerful, but they are systematic inversions of the real thing. Here's a bit on what occult adept Dion Fortune writes about the Qliphoth:
The Qliphoth are aptly termed the evil and averse Sephiroth, for they are not independent principles or factors in the cosmic scheme, but the unbalanced and destructive aspect of the Holy Stations themselves. There are, in fact, not two Trees, but one Tree, a Qliphah being the reverse of a coin of which the obverse is a Sephirah. Whoever uses the Tree as a magical system must perforce know the Spheres of the Qliphoth, because he has no option but to deal with them.
Are Madonna and others intentionally working with this type of magic? Do those behind the rituals realize that an egoless passage across the Abyss is an impossibility for the Masters of the Empire of Ego, and that therefore the only option they have for continued dominance is to pass through the Door in reverse? We must be wary of one-sided interpretations.
The Man in the Mountain
The Tree of Life is also representative of the body of Man. He is called Adam Kadmon in the Kabbalah, Albion in Blake, and Finn in Joyce. Each country, and the world itself, is also a higher fractal iteration of this cosmic Man. Nature itself has fallen with his Fall. Nations, then, also have this four and thirty-two structure.
Both Blake and Joyce employ the symbol of the four provinces of Ireland and the traditional 32 counties. Blake expands this out to the 32 nations (eight on each of the four continents of America, Europe, Asia and Africa) who will rule the Earth and protect liberty after the revelation of the New Jerusalem at the end of the Age.
Interestingly, there were exactly 32 nations involved in fighting World War One. This war is what most historians agree ushered in our present modern era and these 32 nations have now, through decolonization and separation, become the several score of nations making up the present UN.
The UN itself appears to be perpetuating this symbolism on its flag. 32 segments of the globe are depicted with the 33rd circle at the Pole representing Zion, the New Jerusalem. Even the blue shade of the flag is reminiscent of the Israeli flag.
Other traditions also uphold the 32 division of the cosmic Man. In Buddhist tradition the Buddha is identified by 32 signs on his body. It is also significant that these 32 signs are also found on the body of the Cakravartin, the future benevolent leader of the 4 traditional continents of the world.
In our own bodies, naturally divided into four by four limbs and also by front, back, left and right, 32 is prominent. Adults naturally have 32 teeth (upper and lower jaws, right and left side =4), and there are 32/33 vertebrae in our spine. Of course there are 32 main degrees in Freemasonry crowned by a symbolic 33rd degree. Christ was 32 or 33 when he was crucified (cross=4). etc.
The Destroyer of Worlds
4 and 32 are significant numbers in time as well as space. Connected with the spatial division of Ireland is the fact that it is the year 432 AD which traditionally begins St. Patrick's mission to Ireland. Robert Anton Wilson called Ireland "a living synchronicity, having 4 provinces divided into 32 counties and also having been converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in 432 A.D."
Modern historians have now come to doubt this date because, as Joseph Campbell points out, 432 has magical significance and may have been chosen for this reason. Campbell notes that 432 is intimately associated with the traditional reckoning of the Hindu Yuga cycle of 4,320,000 years, with 432,000 years in the present Kali Yuga.
Campbell also compares this with the tradition in the Poetic Edda of Iceland that at Ragnarok 800 warriors would emerge from the 540 doors of Odin's hall in Valhalla. This makes 432,000 warriors and matches the number of years in the Kali Yuga. Dividing the traditional 25,920 years of the precessional cycle by 60 (one Babylonian soss unit) we also get 432. The page linked here gives an excellent overview of 432's connection with precession and the shifting of the ages in various traditions.
St. Patrick is most commonly associated with his ridding Ireland of snakes. We also find this theme in many traditions. The story of Guru Rimpoche's subjugation of the demons of Tibet, which is then converted to Buddhism, is very similar. Both are variations on the dragon-slaying mythos which generally indicates the end of an age.
Similar themes are present in Homer's Iliad. This epic of the Trojan War is also about the the end of the Age of Heroes and the start of the present Age of Iron. Ages in mythology usually end with the slaying/banishment of serpents/dragons and/or a great world-destroying battle. Ragnarok, for example, has both. Ages can also end in floods or fire.
The Iliad in key ways directly parallels the Indian epic, the Mahabarata, and especially in its climax, the Bhagavad Gita. In the Iliad the hero Achilles needs convincing to join in the battle which he knows will end the age. In the Bhagavad Gita it is Krishna who convinces Arjuna to fight in a battle which ushers in this Age of Kali. Both Achilles and Arjuna are archetypes of the Cakravartin.
The pivotal point of the Gita is when Krishna reveals to Arjuna his universal form, the Vishvarupa.
In a modern parallel, it is exactly from this moment of climax in the Gita that Robert Oppenheimer quotes when witnessing the Trinity atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945:
Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
The Trinity test is now held to be the start of the Atomic Age, a tighter turn of the Age of Kali spiral. Oppenheimer takes this quote from chapter 11 verse 32 of the Gita. 1132 happens to be the most recurrent, most mysterious number in Finnegans Wake, a book which RA Wilson believes predicts the atomic bomb.
July 16th is also significant. 25 years later the first manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 11, was launched on July 16th, 1969. 30 years later Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut, was released on July 16th, as he had intended, to mark to the anniversary of the Apollo mission. Kubrick's relation with the Apollo missions has been the cause of much speculation. On the same day in 1999, JFK Jr. died in a plane crash. It was his father's famous desire that put a man on the moon by the end of the Sixties. Why do these events all occur on July 16th?
The Islamic calendar also begins on July 16th, 622 in the Julian calendar. Some scholars say that this corresponds to the heliacal rising of Sirius, presumably in Mecca. This could easily be verified with astronomy software.
As laid out in the last post, the purpose here is to demonstrate how all things are linked together simultaneously in both time and space. 4 and 32 are key pieces to this puzzle. The body of Albion will be reformed at the end of the Age. This appears to be happening right now.
To the Fairest
The Iliad, an epic of the end of the last Age, is the story of the rise and fall of Achilles at the end of the Trojan War. We all know how the mythical Trojan War began. The goddess Eris or Discordia, crashed a party of the Gods and threw a Golden Apple with the words "To the fairest" inscribed on it into a cluster of three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.
All three vainly claimed the apple for themselves and called on Zeus to judge who was the most beautiful. Zeus wisely refused to do so and demanded that Paris of Troy make the judgement. Each of the goddesses attempted to bribe Paris, but Aphrodite's offer was the best. The Love Goddess promised to grant Paris the beautiful Helen who unfortunately was already the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta. Paris' abduction of Helen directly led to the war.
I'm most interested in the Golden Apple here. The apple was stolen by Hera from the Garden of the Hesperides. The tree was guarded by 3 or 4 nymphs and the serpent/dragon Lacon. This all has obvious resonances with the Garden of Eden story and, in this sense, the whole Trojan epic represents another version of the Fall.
The Hesperides are, in some accounts, the daughters of Hesperus, the Evening Star. Hesperus and his brother, Phosphorus the Morning Star, are later recognized as being one star, Venus or Lucifer. The nature of the snake in the garden becomes clear with this connection and definitely matches the Biblical account.
The eating of the Apple of the Garden of Eden, being the fruit of the Knowledge (Da'at) of Good and Evil, represents the passage through Da'at. The Golden Apple of the Garden of the Hesperides would also represent this. In the Greek story the Goddess (Eve) is divided into three parts -- the mother (Hera), the maiden (Athena), and the sexual temptress (Aphrodite). Paris' choice of Aphrodite clearly marks the connection of the Golden Apple with sexual Knowledge (Da'at or Gnosis).
The Snake coiled around the Tree in both myths is a version of Hesperus/Lucifer. This, of course, is also the symbol of Caduceus -- the staff of Hermes and also of Iris, the Rainbow. This symbol also appears as the spine in Kundalini yoga, and later as DNA. All of these symbols are linked and all signify the knowledge gained from generative energy.
Interestingly, the same symbols of the Sun, the Moon, the Golden Apple, and the coiling serpents were all very prominent during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in London. This symbolism represented a continuation of themes presented at the Olympic Games, and it is evident that all of the ceremonies of London 2012 consisted of a powerful four-part mega-ritual designed, perhaps, to facilitate our collective passage through the Abyss.