Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 108-Year Rosicrucian Cycle Part One


Back in 2008, I happened to enter a used bookstore while exploring a city during travel. The most fascinating item within the store was one of its customers -- a woman holding her pet snake. She was standing and talking to the owner of the bookstore at the front desk. Beside them was a small bookshelf and on the shelf was a copy of Robert Anton Wilson's cult classic, Cosmic Trigger.

I had read several of Wilson's books, but I had always heard that this was one of his best. For some reason, though, I had never taken the effort to find it. Here it was on the shelf next to the snake woman. I picked it out knowing that I would buy it and began a conversation with the woman and the owner. She seemed vaguely familiar and within a few minutes she let me handle her snake.

I bought the book, but it wasn't until a couple months after returning home that I began to read it. True to its title Cosmic Trigger "triggered" the most amazing synchronicities, many involving the star Sirius, which is a major topic of the book.

Dawn of the Aeon

This post is not directly about Cosmic Trigger, or Sirius, or the snake woman, but will touch on all of these. The theme of this piece takes off from a single sentence of Cosmic Trigger, in a section where Wilson is comparing possible references to Sirius in the work of both Aleister Crowley and James Joyce. Wilson writes,

My fantasy leaped and I asked myself why Joyce set Ulysses in spring 1904, the same time that Crowley was receiving The Book of the Law.  

Wilson is referring to an event that Crowley considered to be the highpoint of his magickal (Crowley's spelling) career -- the transmission of The Book of the Law by his "Holy Guardian Angel," Aiwass, in March/April of 1904 while visiting Cairo with his wife, Rose.

According to Crowley and his followers, the new Aeon of Horus began with this transmission in 1904. Much has been written about this episode and the start of the new Aeon, but few if any writers have taken up Wilson's suggestion that this event might be linked to June 16th, 1904 -- the day when everything in Joyce's modernist masterpiece, Ulysses, takes place in Dublin. This time and place Joyce presents as a microcosm for all times and places.

That both authors, two of the most influential of the last century, accepted 1904 as a pivotal year is certainly striking, as Wilson noted, but might it only be a coincidence?

A few months after reading Cosmic Trigger, I started to wonder about the relationship if any between the Aeon beginning in 1904 and the coming Mayan calendar end date. By simple subtraction I arrived at 108 years (2012-1904=108).

108 is instantly recognizable as a significant number. It plays a very important role in Buddhist/Hindu philosophy, most notably representing the number of beads in a mala prayer string.


108 degrees is the largest angle of the pentacle, the shape most associated with the Venus cycle. In the Kabbalah, it is known that there are 108 mentions of the word "Zion" in the old Hebrew Bible. 108 years also represents the movement of a degree and a half in the precessional cycle (72+36). Is this the period of transition between two Zodiacal Ages? The period of time, for instance, needed to move from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius?


Brothers of the Rose and Cross

While wondering about the precise connection between 1904 and 2012, I was able to find some sort of an answer while visiting another used bookstore back home. The first book that caught my eye was a work on the history of the Rosicrucians by AMORC head, H. Spencer Lewis.

Opening to the contents, I noticed a chapter on the 108-year cycle of the Rosicrucians. In this chapter Lewis explains that Rosicrucian lodges have a cycle of 108 years of private, secret or esoteric activity followed by 108 years of public, explicit or exoteric activity.

My mind instantly took a leap -- does the 108 years from 1904 to 2012 represent the hidden, incubatory or preparatory cycle of the New Aeon?

My suspicion grew when I found out that Lewis and Crowley knew each other well. Lewis was a high-ranking member in the OTO, and Crowley at one point wanted to become the head of AMORC. This means, with almost certainty, that Crowley would have been well aware of the 108-year cycle and so would have known that 2012 was 108 years after 1904. Did he plan for this? Given his attention to fine details of meaning and interconnection, this definitely would have been of the utmost significance to him.

There is some evidence that Robert Anton Wilson also was aware of the 108-year cycle from 1904 to 2012. Cosmic Trigger, first published in 1977, was one of the first books to feature an analysis of Terrence McKenna's speculations about 2012. Wilson writes,

But the McKenna theory goes far beyond this. There are 64 time-scales in the hologram of our universe, they say, and each one is related to one of the 64 (8 x 8) hexagrams of the I Ching... We are riding not one but 64 evolutionary waves all mounting towards a cosmic Awakening something like the Omega Point suggested by palaeontologist Teilhard de Chardin... 

The McKennas have programmed a computer with their 64 I Ching time systems and the answer is that everything goes jackpot around A.D. 2012.

With his genius for making fantastic connections and finding truly uncanny synchronicities, would RAW have missed the 108 year link between 1904 and 2012 -- two years that he identified in the same book as being very meaningful?


A Helping Hand

But was Joyce aware of the 108-year cycle? There is not much evidence that Joyce and Crowley knew each other, but it is clear that Crowley was an immense fan of Joyce's work. By a curious coincidence, 2012 is also the year that Joyce's work goes into the public domain.

As mentioned, Ulysses takes place in one day -- June 16th, 1904. All over the world June 16th is now celebrated by Joyceans as Bloomsday, named after the hero of the book, Leopold Bloom. But why did Joyce choose June 16th? The polite story goes that Joyce chose this date for the book because it was the day of his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle.

Wilson explains in other writings, though, that we know from Joyce's letters that this was actually the day when Nora gave Jim her first handjob. A sample of these infamous "dirty letters" can be found here.

Leaving aside Joyce's various proclivities for the moment, there might be a deeper significance to all this. As RAW reveals in Cosmic Trigger:
It occurred to me that I finally had the secret of the Illuminati. They were not the fantasy of right-wing paranoids. 'The Illuminati' was one of the names of an underground mystical movement using sexual yoga in the Western world.
According to Wilson, figures like Dee, Bruno, the Rosicrucians, and Crowley himself had nothing to do with plots to take over the world (can we be sure?), but were sex magicians who had to protect themselves from persecution from institutions like the Holy Inquisition. Can we add Joyce to this list? Certainly it seems that another one of his deep heroes, William Blake, also practiced a form of sex magic.

Undoubtedly this is all wild speculation. The connection of any of these figures, excluding Crowley, to "sex magic" is bound to be controversial. There are enough clues and hints, though, to make this type of speculation very tantalizing.

Could there be any other reason why Joyce chose June 16th, 1904? Scholar, Enrico Terrinoni points out in his book, Occult Joyce, that June 16th, 1885, was the date of the first meeting, presided over by W.B. Yeats, of the Hermetic Society of Dublin (also founded by Yeats). Yeats later became a member of the Golden Dawn and at one point held an enormous amount of influence over the young Joyce.

During 1885, Yeats was involved in the formation of the Dublin Hermetic Order. The society held its first meeting on 16 June, with Yeats acting as its chairman. The same year, the Dublin Theosophical lodge was opened in conjunction with Brahmin Mohini Chatterjee, who travelled from the Theosophical Society in London to lecture. Yeats attended his first séance the following year. He later became heavily involved with the Theosophical Society and with hermeticism, particularly with the eclectic Rosicrucianism of the Golden Dawn. During séances held from 1912, a spirit calling itself “Leo Africanus” apparently claimed it was Yeats’ Daemon or anti-self, inspiring some of the speculations in Per Amica Silentia Lunae. He was admitted into the Golden Dawn in March 1890 and took the magical motto Daemon est Deus inversus—translated as Devil is God inverted or A demon is a god reflected.

Joyce, despite his mocking of the Theosophists and other shallow occultists, had huge respect for traditional Hermeticism and would have been well aware of this date in Dublin's recent history.

Was this the reason he set his most famous book at this date and/or convinced Nora Barnacle to give him a sex magical handjob? Clearly, we can't take these suggestions entirely seriously.

Patiently Waking

But could Joyce have been aware of the occult connections that people like Yeats and Crowley were making? Definitely Joyce was aware of the Osiris cycle and drew upon it heavily in his next book, Finnegans Wake. Related to this, in the Wake we can find overt references to Sirius and its place in the death and rebirth cycle.

This recalls Crowley's own association with Sirius. His higher initiate order was called the A:.A:., the Argentium Astrum or Silver Star, which occultist and Crowley disciple Kenneth Grant identified with Sirius. Crowley was also a high-ranking member of Golden Dawn, and we know that Joyce had close connections with the poet Yeats and others who were heavily involved in the Golden Dawn.

While Ulysses is set in June 16th, 1904, some scholars believe that Finnegans Wake represents a dream in the early morning hours of the 17th of June. The Wake also "takes place" in the same year that Crowley had his revelations in Egypt and later declared was the first year of the Aeon of Horus. Finnegans Wake, depicting on one level the resurrection of Osiris/Horus at its culmination, seems also to mark the start of this new era.

Was Joyce, like Crowley and other Golden Dawn members, aware of this and did he encode it into his books? I looked for evidence that Joyce knew about the 108 year cycle in Ulysses, but I couldn't find much (although there is a direct reference to 108 in the "Ithaca" chapter of Ulysses -- clearly alluding to the suitors) .

I then discovered that in Homer's Odyssey, the major source text for Ulysses, Odysseus comes home and has to kill the 108 suitors of his wife, Penelope. This revenge of Odysseus is the last major event of the Bronze Age. Could these 108 suitors represent the 108 years in a similar shift of the ages ?


By chance, on page 108 of Finnegans Wake we find:

Now, patience; and remember patience is the great thing, and
above all things else we must avoid anything like being or be-
coming out of patience. A good plan used by worried business
folk who may not have had many momentums to master Kung's
doctrine of the meang or the propriety codestruces of Carpri-
mustimus is just to think of all the sinking fund of patience pos-

Is this a call for "patience" in carrying out the "good plan" of the 108 years from 1904-2012? Is this "plan" equivalent to the "Great Work" of the alchemists which, although usually conducted on an individual basis, could also be part of a collective Great Work to assist in the passage from one Age to another? As in the Wake, the primary virtue to succeed in the Great Work is patience.

If there is such a 108-year plan then who is behind it? It would seem that the Golden Dawn is a good place to start, although the scope of this plan would certainly be much larger than even this important occult organization. It is revealing to look at a list of people directly involved in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

In addition to Yeats and Crowley, members included authors Gustav Meyrink and Bram Stoker, Allan Bennett, who introduced Buddhism to the West, Charles Williams, who formed the Inklings with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, Algernon Blackwood, who heavily influenced H.P. Lovecraft, and so on. The combined cultural influence of these people on the 20th century to the present is gigantic. Is it because of this influence that the Hermetic philosophy is now everywhere, to the point where it seems to be built into the structure of events? Is it there by design?

The Plan?

Does the whole of the last century, involving two world wars and the Cold War, the Great Depression, the rise of communism and fascism, the psychedelic revolution, the New Age, jazz and rock, abstract art, the computer revolution, feminism, the internet, 9/11, the war on terror, etc., follow the course of some massive, unimaginable -- almost impossible -- synchronistic art project? Are things somehow unfolding according to a Plan? Are the Masters of the Rose and Cross about to finally present themselves in the sunrise of the New Aeon?

Crazed fantasies, obviously.

If there is such a Plan, if the architects of the Great Work were patiently working behind the scenes to fix events in just the right way, then certainly we would expect to find traces of it beyond the work of just two authors. Are there any other events of 1904 that might support these frenzied conclusions?

Square and the Wheel

Another possible clue to 1904 is One Times Square in New York. This building was completed in 1904 and had its first fireworks display on New Year's 1904/1905. The Big Apple dropping ceremony began in 1907 and this ritual continues to this day. Most people now think of Times Square when they think of the New Year's celebration. It is the original modern celebration of Sirius -- which always culminates at midnight on January 1st -- and it began in 1904.

Another 1904 event that almost certainly would be linked to the 108-year cycle, should this cycle actually exist, are the Olympic Games of that year held in St. Louis, Missouri. It increasingly seems that the modern Olympic Games form an occult narrative that continues and progresses every four years. The 1904 St. Louis Games, only the third modern Olympics,  represents the start of the 108-year cycle. These games seem pretty insignificant historically, but they merit further and deeper research. St. Louis is, after all, the "Gateway to the West".

The 1904 Olympics, which were combined with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, had as a central attraction the giant Ferris Wheel first unveiled at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.This original Ferris wheel was constructed to rival the Eiffel Tower, another blatant freemasonic monument. The capacity of this great Wheel reveals its secret. It had 36 passenger cars each able to hold a maximum of 60 people. At full capacity, then, the Ferris Wheel could take up to 2160 people.


2160, of course, is the traditional number of years in one astrological age. Does the Ferris Wheel represent the 2160 years of the Piscean Age turning on the wheel of the Great Year and shifting to the Age of Aquarius? Does the fact that the Ferris Wheel was reconstructed for the last time at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis signify that the 108 years of the transition between these two ages had begun?

In the second post on this topic we'll see how this Ferris wheel symbolism was dramatically repeated during the Closing Ceremony on London 2012. The 108-year cycle has completed and the great wheel has shifted into a new age.

Tightening Gyres

As in Terrence McKenna's Timewave Zero theory, it appears as if the transitional periods are increasingly compressed, in a fractal pattern, into shorter and shorter durations. On a wider scale there is the degree and a half movement of 108 years from 1904 to 2012, perhaps indicating the movement from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.


A smaller fractal pattern, though, is from 9/11/2001 to 12/21/2012. We are at the end of an eleven year transition period, roughly coinciding with the eleven year sunspot cycle. 2012 itself represents an even shorter transition period, and London 2012 ritualized the entire process. We are in transit across the Abyss between Ages. The recent rituals all indicate this. 2012 certainly is the year.

Like the Renaissance magi, the powers that be are using the symbols of the celestial world, what Giordano Bruno called the Shadows of Ideas, in order to manipulate and have sway over this elemental plane. The obvious overlay of technological, scientific materialism really veils the deeply held occult beliefs of the elite. Materialism is projected, as Blake taught, to disallow our being the masters of our own imaginations.

Because of this, everything is being aligned on Earth to reflect and thus receive the patterns and energies of the planets and stars in their cosmic cycles. The Maya chose the 2012 end date for a reason. The alignment of the winter solstice sun with the galactic equator, which has been happening for the last couple of decades, is only part of this greater alignment.


The biggest astronomical event of this year was the return Venus transit (the first transit in this pair being in 2004). This is the only year during the winter solstice alignment period when this return transit takes place. The importance that the Maya placed on Venus and its cycles is well known. It would be no surprise, then, that the return Venus Transit, in the same year as a galactic alignment on the Winter Solstice, represents the second part of the celestial marker the Maya used to determine the end of the Age.

As Jung taught, though, the turning of the Ages does not really have much at all to do with real, physical energy emanating from the cosmos. The relative positions of the planets in the Zodiac are merely like the hands on the clock which tell us the time. And the "time" which they indicate are phases within a great cycle of our collective consciousness.


The turning of the Ages will be accompanied by a reversal of the collective psyche, a psychic poleshift if you will. Our cultural and historic exploration of dualistic and materialistic modes of thought and expression have reached their natural limits. At any moment now, we are bound to reach the point of what Jung called the enantiodromia -- the process whereby a catastrophic instant occurs when any extreme suddenly flips to its opposite. It is the moment when the Shadow, all of the forces and ideas suppressed and repressed by history, surface at once. This is the point that we have reached.

This is widely known at higher levels. The more and more blatant rituals we witness in the media are all about the elite trying to maintain their power games through the course of this shift. They have been preparing for many decades, but as their rule is fundamentally based on the preservation of the Ego, and in suppression of the Shadow, they seem bound to fail in this attempt.

But it is not as cut and dry as all of this. There are also "whites hats" among the elite and on the margins who have their hands and wands in these rituals and are aiming for the opening of the perception of everyone. We also have the ability to use these rituals for our own purposes. If we don't absorb these spectacles as passive media consumers, or as paranoid conspiracy theorists, we have the opportunity to creatively use them to shift ourselves.

The role of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of Crowley, of Joyce, of Blake, of the woman and her snake in all of this is airy theorizing. I'd like to think they're helping us, all Jedi-style, so that every one of us can make the shift. The truth is that I do not know.


  1. Damn fine work my friend. You write with astonishing clarity, and I look forward to reading more.

  2. Wow! Was that really your captcha for this comment?

    I agree with you entirely. Joyce scholarship has only been scratching the surface of his work. At times he does not even seem human to me. What Krishnamurti was to have been for Theosophy was Joyce, on a deeper level, for the Golden Dawn crew? I doubt this, though. Joyce was even a bigger anarchist than Krishnamurti.

    I too wonder about a new Dark Age.

    Thanks, Bill. Your work, in text and voice, streams with obvious radiance for me as well.