When a man buries a pole in the sand,
he automatically creates a sundial and begins to mark time.
To begin marking time is to begin creating a culture.
In the beginning there was Void. The world was cloaked in boundless oceanic darkness penetrated only by the glowing din of scattered, innumerable and unnamed nebulae. Islands of gleaming, radiant antiquity. A wordless, untested rorschach of hoary archaic night.
The first map was not at all of-this-world. The blasphemy of astrological cartography was the invisible connect-the-dot graffiti etched into the otherwise capricious nebulae. Before there were no codices and tomes of charts and tables - no statistical graph-iti - inquiring into the 'reason' of the heavens. The first map was a contract written in blood. What 'real' terrain could astrology claim? To draw the heavens was to inaugrate the extraterrestrial despotism of the stars over the earth.
The philosopher-priest sat watching the shadow of the gnomon, the man-made phallus emerging from the adobe floor. Astronomy existed for centuries, before sundials, through the artifices of this simple device. It was only a stick. But the astrologer, his robes caked with the months of dust, watched the stick with the patience of an ascetic before his god. The span and ebb of the equinox was indicated, prophetically, in the signs and language of shadows. Pythagoras the Magician wanted more.
Gnomon - the "indicator." The signifier.
Babel, Eiffel, the Collosus - all were predestined in the chronomancer's first, archetypal erection. It was a phallus to measure against nature. Men could only ride the bull when they made-believe its testicals were smaller than theirs'.
Already the dramatis personae had appeared. Chronos, Mars, the Pleides - Time, War, and the Seven Sisters. The zodiacal signs weaved the first and eternal narratives in their luminous procreation. Constellations of meaning. Movements of negotiation, struggle - erotic and violent: necessity and purpose spelled with finality in the frost of stellar opalescence. The constellations decided the destiny and doom of every man, woman, and child. The golden threads of necessity were already bound before the first babe cried its dissent.
Why, why, oh why have I been born into a life that has already begun to end?
The heavens return no reply, for their law has already spoken. In dreams we can still the whispering of the daimon, the muse, the alien will of extraterrestrial Idea. The cosmos was a despotism; it was never a democracy.
Then there emerged those heroic ones, the archetypes of anarchy, taking up arms in the gigantomachal war against heaven. Gilgamesh the master of slaves. Pythagoras the magician. Gilgamesh conquered others. Pythagoras conquered himself. And then... there came Socrates, the fateful slayer of magic.
Pythagoras the Ionian trekked to seek the wisdom of all the wizards of antiquity. The hermits-arcane who chose not the wars of men, taking up instead the greater gigantomachy of the stars. He culled their secrets and added them to his own giodesic thaumaturgy of number, sphere, and line: Egyptian necromancy. Persian polito-theurgy. The ecstatic theophanies of the Cretan priestess. He even visited the barbarian shamans of the cold North, learning the indescipherable babble of their runic incantations. It was the age when all of the arts and sciences were considered magic.
Who knows what would have transpired if he had consulted the occult alchemy of the Taoist geomancers. History never recorded the handshake between Pythagoras and the old sage, Lao Tze. Pythagoras extended his hand in partnership. But who would have understood the meaning of this Occidental salute? Lao Tze could only smile and bow in silence. The signs were confused; the distance between the two men grew with the bowing. The East, the true Orient, receded infitely away from Pythagoras' salutory grasp.
The war between Europe and Asia had already begun with the kidnapping of Io, the woman who gave Ionia its name. The children of Gilgamesh had already taken up arms against the children of Herakles. Gemini smiled over the battle between twins. Pythagoras, a true son of Io, would have nothing of it.
Rumors circulated the ancient world: they said that the coffin lids of the pharoahs, the sarcophogae of the skeleton-kings locked away in their cyclopean palace-crypts, were inscripted with maps sufficient for navigating the ways and by-ways of intergalactic currents. Celestial code maps - the secret of magical interstellar travel beyond - transcribed from the last whisperings of cold dying lips. Schematics for dragonboats seaworthy enough for the primordial ocean of night, the "River of Heaven." Just as one could sail the Mediterranean in life, Pythagoras heard, one could sail the Milky Way in death and in mystical un-death.
Pythagoras wondered to himself, pondering the secrets lurking behind the black mirror of the sky ocean...