‘…In the knowledge of Cosmology the history of the Earth is permanently recorded in a way that is indelible, because the information is ever there in the workings of the cosmos, in the structure of our solar system, and as long as our system prevails, this record is infallible.’ The “Map of the 12 Manifestations“ or ‘Map of the Ages’ holds the key to understanding the developmental scheme of history and the organisation of ancient and modern civilization.… However, man is dependent on one thing for the possibility of deciphering the cosmic scripture: he must receive the light from above, the divine word or revelation must be granted for the task. In no other way can he pretend to know the universal language. The heavens are there, the symbols are preserved, but he is blind to these workings unless the divine will grants him the light whereby to see.’—Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea), The Gnostic Circle, Aeon Books, 1974, pp. 32-33
One of the most important tools of the Supramental knowledge is the map of the 12 Manifestations. By studying its cycles we are able to discover what may be considered the greatest of all mysteries, a vision of ‘Mahakala’ – the Time-Spirit and the birth of the ONE. As in all of Thea’s work this is not a scholarly or intellectual pursuit but the careful cultivation of an understanding that the individual, the solar system, the galaxy, and finally the whole of the universe are One Being. By understanding the laws of correspondence and equivalency; each can be observed enjoying the same orderly movements and rhythms ordained by the Time Spirit. This is especially important in the study of world history because it grants to the student the vision of a hidden preexisting order that has escaped the grasp of academic scholarship.
Our present though limited view of history has been given to us by historians, paleontologists and archeologists following the preferred scientific method of analyzing the material clues of bygone civilizations in the hope of piecing together a linear, orderly and meaningful sequence of events from the primitive to the more advanced civilizations that now populate the globe. For hundreds of years scientists and scholars have sifted through the detritus of ancient civilizations only to conclude that civilized cultures began to appear with the creation of writing around 5,000 years ago. There is however an abundance of evidence that contradicts this view and demonstrates that advanced civilizations existed long before the timeline of modern historical theory.
A Wider View of History
‘As archaeologists and scientists advance in their knowledge and probe with greater skill through the strata of time, they come closer and closer to the conclusion that not only is our civilisation much older than has been believed, but that long before ours came into being there may well have been civilisations which existed, flourished in a manner undreamt of today, and then were apparently completely demolished… There is indeed evidence of advanced civilisations having populated the Earth in ages gone by, and a history that extends into a past far more distant than any contemporary academic would allow us to believe.—Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, The Gnostic Circle, p. 20
This wider view of history was part of a revered tradition of the ancient Mystery Schools whose sages, record keepers, and astrologer priests preserved and sustained the thread of higher consciousness and knowledge that we find woven through the culture of all civilizations. And while they understood that history was cyclical in character, with a vast repeating series of ages or ‘Yugas’, it was nevertheless a Static vision, an endless cycle consisting of two golden ages, two silver ages, two bronze ages, and two iron ages, with the larger cycles or yugas subdivided into the smaller yugas of: Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali, whose lengths follow a ratio of 4:3:2:1.
As with all knowledge and the passage of time, the underlying cosmological basis of the Cycle of Yugas became corrupted and the original realization was lost.
“What we have inherited from the Middle Ages regarding the Yugas is not really the way things ARE out there. Somehow this ‘tradition’ got established and passed on, just like the wrong calendar in use based on the Nirayana (sidereal) system. These things get established by some authority or another; and then everyone goes on repeating them, and the errors compound. The situation has reached the absurd point where it is believed that Kaliyuga will last 432,000 years!”—Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, Private Correspondence
It is for this very reason that these ancient ‘keys’ of knowledge require a periodic updating and this is the role of the Avatar. Sri Aurobindo, the 9th of Vishnu’s line, found the Yugas with their circular view of evolution to be incomplete, just as the more modern secular view of endless linear progress. In The Life Divine, he proposes that the procession of human history follows a ‘Spiral’, which contains something of both the circular and linear movements but which goes beyond these to imply an ordered and purposeful evolution. According to Sri Aurobindo,’ the wheel of Brahma rotates forever, but it does not turn in the same place; its rotations carry it ever forward’.
While Sri Aurobindo gave us the overview of his Supramental Time vision in the Synthesis of Yoga, the details of this forward moving spiral of time were set forth by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, (Thea) in the ‘Map of the 12 Manifestations’.
The Spiral Movement
‘In order to give the proper understanding of the movement, the circles are drawn in a spiral, since this is the motion in space of the universe, reflected in the very structure and movement of our galaxy. Then, each of the sections of the spiral corresponding to a quarter of the Circle is given a number, going backwards, or clockwise, through the spiral as the precession of the equinoxes moves. These are called the Manifestations. When they are all numbered we find that there are twelve, and if we count the number of zodiacal signs included in this triple spin, there are found to be thirty-six in all….’In this manner we find that our spiral is really a reproduction of what some astronomers and archaeologists consider the oldest existing astrological documents on Earth, the ‘astrolabes’ of Mesopotamia, which as yet they are unable to decipher.
‘This Map of the I2 Manifestations, as we have termed it, becomes dynamic when we add to it the factor of Time, and this is accomplished by the Precession of the Equinoxes. It takes 25,920 years (12 X 2,160) for the Precession to make one complete round of the Circle, or to pass through the twelve signs of the zodiac once, taking us through four Manifestations. The completion of the entire three circles on the spiral takes then 77,760 years (3 X 25,920), and this we call one ‘Great Circle’.Ibid, p. 20
When we study the Map of the 12 Manifestations in conjunction with the Gnostic Circle it becomes self-evident that there is a direct correspondence that exists between the cycles of the Earth and the life of the Individual. Both are based upon the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Owing to the 23 ½ degree tilt of the Earth’s axis, its Annual cycle is divided into four quarters which causes us to experience the Solstices and Equinoxes – four points which mark off the stages of the great cycle of life. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are the seasons that organize all life on Earth from birth to death to rebirth in an eternal cycle. They represent the ebb and flow of energy-consciousness in various stages of manifestation. But it is not just the Earth that experiences orderly and purposeful seasons in its cycle, the individual follows an identical plan in the cyclic unfolding of his own life. Once again we are given correspondences that bring to light the structure and process of our own becoming. When we explore these symmetries we discover that the Earth’s four seasons find their equivalence in the individual as he cycles through the four planes of consciousness and the four parts of his own being.
The Structure of the Circle
‘…as we have studied the Circle divided into four parts and seen its profound meaning in the flow of energy, we can also see this division of four as meaningful in the question of the Earth’s birth. There are four births, which would correspond to the four different sheaths. We therefore proceed through the Circle of 12 Manifestations four times before the true and full birth is accomplished; nearing the fourth, the child is truly born and delivered into his rightful destiny.
‘If this is related to time we must allow 311,040 years for the full process (4 X 77,760). Each Great Circle (twelve Manifestations) completed signifies the birth or the fulfillment of one of the four parts of the Body. Therefore, 311,040 would correspond to a full and total manifestation. Within this period, 77,760 years is the time necessary for any one of the ‘sheaths’ to be matured. Thus in the span of the Greater Circle there are four civilizations or empires that come forth and each one points to a particular sheath, the Physical, the Vital, the Mental and the Spiritual. Remnants of these past achievements always remain on Earth during the full gestation, until the time when the entire work is to be dissolved and drawn back into the womb of the Mother.
‘Traces of these other ‘sacks’ are to be found in the legends and fossils and ruins of olden times, of other Great Circles… For this purpose humanity is left with fragments of past teachings, to assist man in understanding his place on the spiral of evolution. This is the sole and only reason that wise men passed down the Knowledge, as well as constructed monuments that show the race the heights of the achievements of lost civilisations. In our times this would perhaps be Atlantis, and the monument that captures and preserves something of that civilisation’s accomplishments absorbed by the present race is the Great Pyramid. From that point we work to bring about another birth or shedding of the sack. We have moved through two such births. The first corresponded to the Physical, the second to the Vital, to which the civilisation of Atlantis belonged, and the third is the Mental. It is supposed that after our period of 77,760 years the birth of the Spirit will fully take place. In this way, 144 signs of the Zodiac are traversed to complete the process, the square of 12.’
‘…During the Third Great Circle, our own times it is in the 2nd Manifestation that the Mental development begins, only 6,480 to 12, 960 years after the commencement of our Circle, or approximately 47,520 years ago. Then each passage through the Vital quarter would be a time when destruction would be necessary, in order to subdue the development of that part of the Earth’s being, so that a balanced and harmonious growth could ensue. If this did not occur, humanity could never reach the pinnacle toward which it moves. Destruction is particularly necessary when dealing with the bodies of the lower half of the Wheel, the Physical and Vital, since in this region Prakriti is particularly strong and the Ignorance can often be dealt with only in this way.
‘Referring to the map of the Greater Circle it can be seen that passing though the 77th, 89th and 101st signs would perhaps signify the breaking down and absorption of the Vital formation of the previous Great Circle. If this is referred to events of our times, what we call the Atlantean civilization would appear then to have undergone certain periods of destruction, the first occurring about 40,000 years ago and the second about 12,000 years ago. The Third, which Edgar Cayce has referred to, might have been the destruction that took place during the Second Great Circle itself, not affecting the Atlantean race but rather the remains of the Manifestation of the previous Great Circle, the Physical.Ibid, pp. 23-27
The Cosmic Necessity of Destruction
‘In the Fourth Great Circle to come, as well as in ours, though there may be destruction, it is hardly likely that we shall have to lose the conscious link with the past. Working in full consciousness with the harmonies and laws of evolution this evidently will not be necessary. The ‘missing link’ periods correspond to the great destructions when it is necessary to erase certain evidences of the passage to a higher state, and that only the species perfected up to that point remain. What disappears in the destruction is the negative appendage that served as a transition. No specimens of man’s leaps to a higher state remain, the real transitional beings. These are carried away during the periods of the great catastrophes, and it is usually at the solstice points of the Circle that this occurs; so this possibility is present while passing through any Cancer or Capricorn Age. The time of destruction in the coming Capricorn Age, some two to three thousand years from now will most likely leave only the Supramental beings and do away with the transitional race.
‘If Nature did not cover up her footprints, man would cling to his old form and would be unwilling to move to the next stage, because he always fears the unknown. Thus destruction is a prime part of evolution and is a process that cannot be eliminated. It corresponds to the guna of tamas, Shiva’s force, the force of our times. But there is one factor that must be stressed again: if man is conscious enough and understands the coming stage and the work being accomplished, accepts it and willingly discards his old ways, he can avoid destruction. Evidently it has never happened yet it is possible at this time. It is also possible that instead of sweeping catastrophes being employed, a gradual process of elimination may now occur. Presently the guna of tamas or destruction, can be realised as an active passivity, an action in non-action, a conscious surrender.’
‘…The period that served to leave us the traces of the Atlantean civilisation was between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago. After this or precisely around 8,640 years before the beginning of this Aquarian Age, which took place during the 20th Century, there was evidently a minor natural catastrophe, minor compared to the great destruction that overtook the Atlantean civilisation. It probably occurred during the time that the precession of the equinoxes was moving over the second Cardinal point Cancer, or to be more precise, during the last 360 years of the Age of Cancer, which being a Water sign we can understand why there exists to this day the legend of the Great Flood. That disaster is said to have covered the globe in water but perhaps it was only the Mediterranean area that suffered, most of our records of the flood having come from this portion of the civilised Earth. The Great Pyramid survived the disaster and was later restored: it appears that many different hands have passed over this monument, but the essential structure remains the same.
‘We shall not dwell to lengthily on that civilisation, though if the student is inclined to he can reconstruct this epoch on the basis of the zodiacal wheel, not so much in the details of the material life of the times, but rather with the knowledge of the zodiac and its symbols and time relationships it is possible to understand the spiritual development of the civilisation existing then and what it was to contribute to the movement of evolution. In precisely the same way that we know what the contribution of the actual 9th Manifestation is to be, culminating in the Age of Capricorn, so that we can reconstruct the direction of the evolutionary urge during any particular period, `based on the zodiac and the harmonies of the spheres. To study ancient history properly the only way possible is on the basis of the cosmic harmonies; there is no other key that can be used in such a precise way. These harmonies do not depend on methods of preservation of knowledge that are fallible and subject to the decaying hand of Time.’Ibid, pp. 27-32
The Involution and the Evolution
When we think of the Map of the 12 Manifestations as ‘a spiral of evolution’ we must also understand that ‘Evolution’ is simply an inverse action of the ‘Involution’. What the Map expresses is the orderly unfolding or Becoming in Time of an original Involutionary principle. What is an ultimate and last derivation in the involution is the first to appear in the evolution. What was original and primal in the involution is in the evolution the last and supreme emergence; a mind of knowledge that knows all things as itself and in itself and therefore knows them intimately, completely, in their reality as well as their appearance. This is the Supramental Gnosis that gave rise to Thea’s Map and for which reason Sri Aurobindo wrote:
‘The secret truth that emerges in Supermind has been there all the time, but now it manifests itself and the truth in things and the meaning of our existence.’—Sri Aurobindo, Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, p. 592