The Neo-Platonists compared an entire 26,000 year cycle to one year, and referred to it as a “Platonic Year.” This analogy is extremely useful. Just as one year has twelve months and four seasons, a Platonic Year also has twelve months and four seasons. However, one month in a Platonic Year is 2160 years long and each season is 6480 years long. These figures are arrived at using simple math, but where do we start the Platonic Year or the 26,000 year cycle? What establishes the boundaries for beginning and ending the Platonic Year? This is identical to the problem of where to begin a circle. In this case the circle represents the plane of the solar system, or the ecliptic, marked by the signs and constellations of the zodiac. The best way to begin a circle is to cut through the circle from the outside. For example, Aries is the first sign of the zodiac (or circle), because conventionally it is the first thirty degrees following the spring equinox. Therefore it is the spring equinox that cuts the circle of the zodiac to begin a standard solar year. However, where do we begin marking the beginning and ending of the entire 26,000 year cycle? Is there something else we can use to determine the beginning and ending of the circle relative, not to one standard solar year, but to an entire Platonic” year? If so, this issue of where to begin and end the greater cycle could be resolved. This also means that the smaller issue of where to begin and end one of the Platonic months (i.e. Aquarius) becomes far less significant.
A mytho-shamanistic approach to astrology involves the direct observation of the night sky, connecting with natural phenomena using the human senses. It is not based on an abstract, complicated computer-generated solution to a problem. In the night sky, there is one very clear and even dramatic phenomenon that cuts the circle of the zodiac. It is the Milky Way! The plane of our galaxy cuts the zodiac/ecliptic belt at about a sixty-six degree angle in the region of the zodiacal constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpius. The Milky Way intersects the zodiac near the center of the galaxy in an extremely rich and thick field of stars. Looking out towards deep space in the opposite direction, another intersection takes place in the vacinity of the constellations of Gemini and Taurus where the Milky Way is barely noticeable. The phenomenon of precession does not change these intersection points. The Milky Way’s fixed star relationship to the zodiacal constellations creates a visible framework far grander, and much longer lasting,than even the 26,000 year precessional cycle.
While we have now established what cuts the circle and establishes a wider context than one year, a timer is still required to determine the end and the beginning of the 26,000 year cycle. The majority of the world’s cultures have chosen solstice or equinox points within a solar year to determine the beginning of the new year. The only exceptions to this are locations on the planet, close to the equator, where the seasons are similar and not much difference is noticed between solstice time and equinox time. These cultures, such as the Hawaiian, choose the rising of a star or constellation (i.e. the Pleiades), and then calibrate that event with a new Moon to mark the new year. Most cultures, however, have chosen either the spring equinox, winter solstice, autumnal equinox, or occasionally the summer solstice as the new year’s point. For example, our modern western secular calendar, which begins on January 1, originally began on the winter solstice. Both astrologers and astronomers today begin their coordinate and calendric systems with the spring equinox.
The solstice and equinox points can also be used as the timer for the wider 26,000 year framework. These points can be used to determine the astrological age, or Platonic Month, the Platonic Season, as well as the Platonic Year, because they precess at approximately one degree every seventy-two years. It’s the arrival of the solstice and equinox points at the intersection of the Milky Way and zodiac that clearly determine the Platonic Seasons, which occur about every 6480 years. But what Platonic Season determines the end and beginning point of the Platonic Year? Which of the two intersection points is more important? And which of the four solstice and equinox points has precedence?