Telling Time, Astrology, and Japanese Kanji

Recently, I have been studying the Japanese language.  There are several reasons for this, but one of them is very much related to the work of this weblog.  The purpose of this weblog has been to explore, learn, and discuss the Ancient Wisdom that is the true foundation for Traditional Sciences, such as astrology once was.  Much of the material currently available to astrologers is post-Aristotelian.  As I discussed in previous articles, Aristotle taught a subtle, but quite significant, deviation from Traditional Wisdom with respect to the nature of Perfect Form and its relationship to physical manifestation.

I have observed that this deviation is embedded in all of Western thought, science, and philosophy.  Such a deviation did not occur in the East until the East was exposed to Western thought.  One can find information and clues with respect to Traditional Wisdom in Japanese kanji.  Recently, I have been studying time expressions, and the kanji for them are quite fascinating.

In order to fully understand why these kanji are so fascinating, it is important to understand the original and primordial purpose behind astrology.  As our ancestors became more consolidated into the material world, it was important to them to ensure that their earthly activities were still in harmony with the Divine Music of the Spheres.  They looked to the heavens and studied the movements of the heavenly bodies to determine the time that their endeavors were in accord with this Divine Music.

Music of the Spheres

The Feminine Scriptures contain references relevant to this:

It is Love that holds the stars within their courses, and all the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.

Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.

The Clew of Love

For there are ways and rhythms in the course of life, of day and night, of seasons and the moon, by which all life, all thought, all work are governed and these movements are the breath of the Divine, reflected in the highest spheres and every living thing.

All nature is a vast and subtle movement to which the innocent soul is close attuned.

The profane assay to sever themselves from this music, fixing new laws of gain and self-advantage against the law of universal love.

Honor in all things the times and the seasons, keeping fast in the times of fast with diligence and care; rejoicing in times of feast with generous outpouring.

No tree may blossom out of season, nor any flower greet springtime with austerity, but a maid lacking in inward control is broken from the rhythm.

The Way of Simplicity

Starry SkyFor readers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, these concepts can be found in the Hebrew written tradition as well:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.”  And it was so.

Genesis 1:14-15 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)

These are the traditions I am most familiar with; however, I would imagine that this is a Universal concept, and that it can be found in all traditions.

To my joy and delight, I discovered that this concept seems to be embedded in the Japanese kanji for time expressions.

TokiOn the left is the kanji for time, toki, and also, ji, the marker for hour expressions, the Japanese equivalent of “o’clock.”  This kanji is made up of two other kanji.  The element on the right is the kanji for “temple.”  The element on the left is the kanji for “Sun.”  Quite simply, the hours are marked by the temple watching the Sun.

JikanThe Japanese word for time in the abstract sense and the word used to mark a number of hours is jikan.  The kanji for jikan is to the right.  As you can see, this kanji incorporates the kanji for time with a second kanji.  This second kanji also includes the element for Sun, but it is inside an element that symbolizes a gate.  The Sun is contained inside a gate!

Another interesting kanji is found in the word, matsu, “to wait,” 待つ.  The kanji is the first character in this word.  The temple is in this kanji as well. The other element of this kanji, is labeled “going man,” by Rikaichan, a wonderful translation aid/kanji analyzer that works with Firefox.  That element, or radical, is also found in the kanji included in the word, iku, “to go,” 行く.  I think one could speculate that the kanji contained in the word for wait may indicate that human endeavors are being directed by the temple; in other words, people are waiting for the proper time for action!

I find all of this quite fascinating!

For more information about the metaphysics behind Japanese kanji, I refer the reader to the following excellent articles on the subject:

Japanese Kanji for Left and Right: Why They Are What They Are

Kanji Symbols – Fire, Movement and Humanity

Learn Japanese Kanji through Symbolism

The Unfolding of the Ages

The study of astrology is primarily a study of cycles of time from the Great Year, marked by the Precession of the Equinoxes, over a period of approximately 25,600 years to the daily cycle of 24 hours, and many cycles in between.  There is another cycle that we are much less aware of in the West, but which is still taught in Eastern traditions.

DawnThis is the cycle of the unfolding of the Ages.  This cycle is not necessarily marked by physical astrological signposts, but it is the cycle of our experience as Axial Beings.

Inherent in Filianist thealogy is the understanding that we are not our bodies.  We are not completely our souls either, but it is helpful to use the term soul as the individual Axial Being that undergoes the process of rebirth.  This concept is not as simple as it may seem, but the complexity of this gets into matters well beyond the scope of this article, and truly, it is a bit beyond what we can understand fully from a non-Enlightened state of being.

I have just introduced a term, Axial Being, and I believe that this term needs definition.  An Axial Being is one that has Free Will.  We must understand that Axial Beings are not necessarily the highest or most intelligent beings in manifestation.  Animals are non-Axial Beings, but so are angels.  Axial Beings are the souls that have the power to choose between good and evil and that can be something different than they were born to be.  A cat will always fundamentally be a cat and will act as it natural and normal for a cat.  There are a few very rare exceptions to this, but in general, this is true.  By the same token, an angel will always be an angel and will act the nature of an angel.  Axial Beings are the only beings that are capable of acting against their nature.

A fundamental belief of Deanism/Filianism is that we have been around since before the dawn of time.  The Filianic Creed begins: “I believe that I was created from before the dawn of time by the one eternal Dea.”  This does not mean we believe that we have inhabited physical bodies the entire time.  Indeed, the Filianic Creation Mythos speaks to an unmeasured period, after Creation and before time, where we lived in relative Union with Dea.  It is implicitly understood that at this time, we did not inhabit physical bodies, as we understand the concept today.

It is for this reason that the Creation/Evolution debate that so divides Modern Western culture is ridiculously literalistic from the perspective of Essentialist and Filianist teachings.  Where our actual bodies come from is really immaterial.  It may be interesting to ponder and study, but this study says nothing about us as Axial Beings.  At some point, Axial Beings began to inhabit the physical, human form.  How and when this happened is beyond the scope of what we can learn through physical science.

From tradition, we do have some teaching to inform us on this subject.  This teaching is that of the unfolding of the Cycles of Time.  There have likely been many full Cycles of Time since the beginning of time, but one Cycle of Time is the most that we are really capable of understanding from a state of non-Enlightenment.  The Cycle of Time is analogous to the yearly seasons we experience and is a cycle of consolidation into matter.

The first Age in the Cycle is the Age of Gold, or the Satya Yuga.  In this age, our souls barely inhabit physical form, if they do at all.  In the Age of Gold, we are mostly, if not completely, spirit.  With each subsequent Age, the Age of Silver, the Treta Yuga, the Age of Bronze, the Dvapara Yuga, and the Age of Iron, the Kali Yuga, we become increasingly consolidated into matter.  It is only in the Age of Iron that our souls are fully consolidated into matter, and the consolidation becomes heavier and stronger as the Age of Iron progresses.

Adam and EveThese Ages are not uniform in their length in terms of time.  Each of the Ages is far shorter than the subsequent Age.  The Age of Iron that we are currently in began around 5,000 or 6,000 years ago.  Interestingly enough, the Judeo-Christian written tradition gives the time of Creation and of Adam and Eve as around the beginning of the current Age of Iron.  While it is an overly simplistic interpretation to say that Creation began at this time, in a sense, there is some truth to it.  We really can not truly understand the lives of our ancentresses prior to the beginning of the Age of Iron with information we can obtain from our senses, either directly or through reason.  The reason for this is that we do not know the extent to which Axial Beings actually inhabited the physical human form in even the Age of Bronze, let alone in the Age of Silver or the Age of Gold.

Tradition tells us that we are currently in the final stages of the Age of Iron, and we will be next headed into a new Age of Gold.  For good reason, no legitimate tradition will tell us the exact time when this will happen, but will only give us clues and a general description of how long each Age lasts.

This understanding plays a huge role in our analysis of disciplines such as traditional medicine and classical astrology.  The Age of Iron is the age that we are the most consolidated into matter, and the consolidation increases as the Age progresses.  This is the reason that what we think of as magic “worked” early in the Age of Iron, and does not really “work” very well today.  As the Age of Iron progresses, we need more and more technology to accomplish what was accomplished through non-physical means at the beginning of the Age.  This is why it is not correct to say that our forebears were superstitious when they used non-physical means for healing, such as appeals to aspects of Dea known as “gods and goddesses.”  At the beginning of the Age of Iron, that likely still “worked.”  These things do not “work” in the same way in the very late Age of Iron that we are currently in, but instead, we need more and more physical methods of healing, such as surgery and medicine.

In my series, Astrology as a Traditional Science, I discussed that the seeds of the modern rationalist movement in the West started at around the time that Aristotle diverged from his teacher, Plato, on the subject of Perfect Form.  On one level, this divergence was somewhat false teaching, but on another level, there is some truth to what Aristotle and his contemporaries taught.  On a practical level, in applied sciences such as medicine and astrology, we must engage in observation in addition to study of traditional, metaphysical principles.  As our souls became more and more consolidated into matter, they became further away from their Perfect Form, and as that happened, pure metaphysical principles did not “work” in on a physical level in the same way as they did in earlier Ages, or even as they did at the beginning of the Iron Age.

So, for practical purposes, it might be useful to rely upon the information we derive from our senses in the late Iron Age, but we must still remember that Perfect Form exists, and we must also remember that in this late Age of Iron, we are as far away from Perfect Form as we can get in this current Cycle of Time.

While I have discussed the Cycle of Time as a movement of decline and a movement away from our Perfect Form, please understand that this Cycle is as natural as the cycle of the seasons of the year.  The Age of Iron will always follow the Age of Bronze, just as Winter will always follow Fall.  This decline will happen no matter what we as Axial Beings do or do not do.

There is another set of Ages that I believe that Axial Beings and societies do have a choice concerning, and that is the gunas, but that is a subject for another article.

See also:

Kali Yuga: the Patriarchal Dark Age

Cyclical Time or Spiral Time