by Todd Jackson
“The old physicians called the Sun the heart of heaven. Heraclitus called it the fountain of celestial light. Most Platonists located the world soul in the Sun, which, filling the whole sphere of the Sun, poured out through that firey-like globe just as it poured out spirit-like rays through the heart, and from there through everything,
to which it distributed life, feeling, and motion universally.”
This past Winter Solstice, I decided to cultivate a constant awareness of the position of the Sun in relation to the rotating surface of the Earth. To cultivate a capacity to envision, at any moment, Earth as seen from the Sun, and to know upon which peoples Noon and Midnight fell, to know who now was enjoying a new Dawn, and upon whom the Sun now set. I wanted to learn to envision the Earth rotating, and indeed wobbling slowly upon its axis, as a real-time animation perfectly mirroring the physical planet.
It seemed the sort of thing so certain to generate something wonderful, I found no need to ask which wonders I wished to generate. Let the world spin, let the sparks fly.
I recall Julian:
“IT is my opinion that the present subject interests all:
“‘Whatever breathes, and moves upon the earth,’
“all that are endowed with existence, with a rational soul, and with a mind: but that above all others it interests myself, inasmuch as I am a votary of the Sun. Of which fact I possess the most certain evidences in my own case; but one instance, which it is allowable to adduce, is the following:—-From my earliest infancy I was possessed with a strange longing for the solar rays, so that when, as a boy, I cast my eyes upon the ethereal splendour, my soul felt seized and carried up out of itself.”
Already, I had taken up the practice of the Solar Invocations, as described by Plethon in his Book of the Laws. Already, I had going on nine years in with weekly worship of Apollon through the worship circle I’d started, Kyklos Apollon – every Sunday Dawn, reckoned from Temple of Delphi time, honoring the God with, at this point, anywhere from seven to seventy others from all across the world, and that only counts corporeal beings. This new step seemed a natural extension of this worship.
I would offer the Muse Urania a precise charting of the Dawn, Solar Noon, Sunset, and Midnight. Moreover, I would not chart these coordinates simply for my home town, Las Vegas NV, but also for two great Solar temples: The Temple of Apollon at Delphi in Hellas, which has been my weekly focus for almost a decade, and, appearing abruptly in my life, like a meteor, the Shingon Temple at Mount Koyasan, Japan.
It was meant to be a small offering, one among many offerings to many deities. The temples were chosen both because of their Solar dynamis as and because they are two farflung points on Earth, with my location representing a third. I expected that I might cultivate the power of those temples over the course of the year, as part of the observance’s natural evolution into ritual. For the moment, what mattered was that together we made three disparate points, sufficient to describe the planet at any point in its rotation. I was not promising, yet, full attention to each Solar node, much less anything like ritual. Merely that they would be charted, and that, through charting them, I would have to become aware of each of them as they passed each day. It seemed a good thing to offer Urania.
Three columns, then, headed “Vegas,” “Delphi,” and “Koyasan.”
Each date covered for the next week, and beneath each date, “Dawn,” “Noon,” “Sunset,” and “Midnight.” It goes without saying that by Noon and Midnight we mean true, Solar Noon and Solar Midnight, with the Sun at absolute perpendicular to the horizon line, regardless of the fickle report of our clocks.
I would learn the Transmundane Sun not just as doctrine but as experience, by tracking the Dawn in the middle of the Night, as at Kyklos Apollon, but no longer just weekly but as part of the daily wheel of the stations of the Sun. I imagined them flowing into a single Solar Belt encircling the Earth both Day and Night. So flowing, so unified, they would all the better imprint themselves as not merely the physical Sun but the Sun of Intelligence, and beyond that, the Sun as First Existent, cheek to cheek with The One itself.
What I did not foresee was that in these first two months of the year, so much of the lesson would be about the Earth as a particular planet; to perform this observance is to feel the particularity of the Earth as, not a planet, but this planet. First, that it is always bright here but dark elsewhere, or the reverse, makes it impossible for the modern mind to entertain the ancient view of the Sun as, itself, rising, soaring, then setting in the sky, drawn eastwest as though by a chariot. I begin to perceive Day as an object, a feature in space almost like the planets themselves, and to reckon Night likewise. We, wherever we are, are best understood as gliding through the bodies of these deities, themselves still and fixed with relation to the rotating Earth.
To feel the breadth of Day and Night is to feel the true rapidity with which we rotate beneath the Sun. It is also to feel the encroaching of Day upon Night as the Earth tilts and we move inexorably toward the Summer Solstice. Each Dawn is now one minute earlier, each Sunset one minute later. These two move quickly from one day to the next, while Noon and Midnight remain relatively unmoving, maybe changing by a minute per week, maybe not.
At the beginning of this swelling of the Day, each morning offered a powerful Dawn Constellation as I called it, with Dawn in Vegas quickly followed by Noon at Koyasan and Sunset in Delphi. Shortly after the Solstice, for a span of less than fifteen minutes, the three Suns seemed a true coherence of visible and invisible, and I could just almost contact the Earth’s whole circumference from these three points along its breadth. Then, day by day, the Constellation parted, each Sun drifting toward its own corner of the morning, till by mid-February each occupies its own hour between 6 and 8AM.
Midnight can be especially powerful, as Midnight draws a line from the soles of my feet down into the Earth, to the center of the Earth, the Core that is just hotter than the surface of the Sun, out through the Earth, and out into space in a straight beam to the Sun. I like it that Earth turns out to be molten iron, then molten rock, then an interregnum of solid rock, then me. I like knowing that the swirling Core generates enough power to deflect the Sunblast at the bright Auroras. The Earth really does stand its own against the Sun; the lady has a heft all her own. But she is terribly finite, and it does not take too many weeks before that finitude begins to seem a smallness. The Earth can seem almost terribly small, a problem the ancients did not face, and as the Sun ambles into Pisces I wonder how the amplification of this effect will play out, month after month and through the seasons.
I like to look West over the Red Rock Mountains at mid-afternoon, imagine past California and into the Pacific, imagine the descending arc of the Earth beneath the West horizon, and know that this same late-afternoon Sun now rises at Dawn at Koyasan. When my imagination and the phenomenal planet are one, I will be in one small way one with Mind.
It’s just about to be the two-month mark since the Winter Solstice.
This will be the enchanting of the Copernican Cosmos. That enchantment will fall like overripe peaches as the third or thirty-third time I’ve recognized say Midnight at Delphi becomes the hundred and third, the two hundred and twenty-ninth. It will fall ripe as recognition accretes into invocation, and an offering to a Muse becomes a working with her . I don’t know what will happen or why it should, only that it will. This is the path of light.
The ancient Cosmos, with its embracing, ultrafine shperes, is a triumphant meeting of Mind and Eye. Its mysteries retain their power. This new Cosmos, however, unfolding only since the Renaissance, is but “known” by us. It has yet to be truly comprehended. Cosmos will become Cosmopolis.
It is nearly two months since the Winter Solstice, long enough to begin to comprehend not just the Earth’s rotation but its slow up-down wobble. Over half the rest of the country is beneath snowfall, but I can feel the inexorable movement toward Summer, like a titanic train barreling down its track.
That movement is an expression of the Earth’s particularity as a planet, which is to say, of its being something other than a perfect sphere rotating another perfect sphere, both edge-on along a perfectly undeviating plane. Today, we know that geometric perfection as that which is in common and prior to each one of countless trillions of Sun-planet orbits, each at its own individual variance from the perfect. There is an infinite number of points along the arc of possible axes between Sun and planet, and there is an infinite number of Sun and planet pairings to express each point. And when I look upon the Sun each Dawn, I know today that there is no longer only the Sun and the Stars, but an infinite number of Suns. I also know that they are not a scattering of discrete grains like sand tossed across a table. They are nodes of a single, common, electrical circuit that, as per Heraclitus, is and is not willing to be called Zeus. “The Rays of the Primal Fire emanate throughout the universe, down through its levels, connecting it into one whole and harmonizing its parts.” And so the visible Sun is already Transmundane; in its innumerable trillions even its mundaneness is Transmundane. Among bodies in this Solar System, it signals its proximity to the Noetic not just in its centrality as Hearth Fire to the planets, but in its being of all bodies the most perfectly spherical.
All sound philosophies, and their apparent contradictions that so trouble philosophers but not, somehow, Gods, can be resolved in the utter singularity of the Sun just as all the Stars in the Cosmos can be so resolved. Even the fundamental Is/Is Not along which Vedanta cracks against Buddhism, can be resolved in the Solar Logos, if tenuously, as two irreducible results of a single quantum phenomenon, akin to particle and wave. There’s plenty of Sun for both the Materialist Stoic and the Idealist Orphic Platonist.
“All yield to the Noeric Lightning-storm of the
Noeric Fire and serve the Father’s cogent Will.” 1
So my soul.
This observance teaches the Earth but it is not an agrarian celebration. This Sun cult, of Zeus identified with Helios in the Derveni Papyrus, of the Pythagorean Apollo and the Helios Apollon of the Greek Magical Papyrus, of the bull blood spattered Mithraeum and the Imperial Cult of Sol Invictus, concerned itself with ripening souls, not produce. Souls that belong to the Sun.
This weekend’s New Moon will be just the time to tighten my grip on this observance. I’m ready to make it more strict, and to transmute mental observance into theurgical praxis. It will be time to begin to juggle that third heavenly body, the Moon, along with the Earth and the Sun.
Already, a flood of magic has entered my life. She’s making herself a coffee at the stove right now. Last week we placed pennies for Hermes at the four corners of our steel railing, twice, at Solar Noon and Solar Midnight. We receive enchantment, we enchant in turn. The Cosmos is electric. It’s going to be a great year.