Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ross Hamilton's Star Mounds

The following is the text of a review I just posted of Ross Hamilton's Star Mounds: Legacy of a Native American Mystery (2012):
Ross Hamilton has done and continues to do a great service to our generation and future generations in his thorough (and ongoing) exploration of the mysterious "Star Mounds" of the Ohio Valley, and his analysis and attempts to unlock their ancient messages, alignments and meanings. His deep knowledge of geometry, sacred geometry, and astronomy, as well as his profound respect for the Native American traditions and legends and teachings, shine through in this beautiful book. The geometric analysis was astonishing, and the connections to the constellations equally significant: these earthworks are truly an often-overlooked wonder of the world (many of the earthworks surveyed by Squier & Davis in the first half of the nineteenth century are now sadly lost), and Ross Hamilton's careful and insightful analysis should increase our awareness of and desire to learn more about these treasures from the distant past, and about those who envisioned them and caused them to take shape upon the terrain of our amazing and wonder-filled world. Through his patient and careful examination and his unique set of skills and abilities, Ross brings to light the truly breathtaking hidden patterns and connections designed into these mounds.
In the first line, I might also have said "and to past generations as well" -- because through his prodigious study and examination of these ancient earthworks Ross Hamilton has helped to discover, express, and preserve at least some of the multi-layered messages that the ancient builders of these incredible monuments were conveying in their monumental design.

The earthworks of the greater Ohio Valley are truly incredible in their size, scope, durability, and layers of mystery. Most well-known among them, perhaps, is the Great Serpent Mound, which Ross shows to function as the central "key" uniting all the far-flung structures, and to which he devoted an entire equally-essential earlier book, The Mystery of the Serpent Mound: In Search of the Alphabet of the Gods (1993), which I discuss in earlier blog posts such as this one and this one.

In that earlier book, Ross Hamilton presents convincing arguments and evidence to demonstrate that the Great Serpent Mound is a terrestrial model and reflection of the celestial serpent found in the constellation Draco; in Star Mounds the author provides additional evidence to demonstrate that the entire network of earthworks in the greater Ohio Valley region (covering -- at least -- an area claimed by four different modern states in the US) represents a vast mirror of the wider heavens, including the constellations of the zodiac band, the circumpolar stars of the north celestial pole, and even the Southern Cross.

Using diagrams of the earthworks created in past centuries by professional surveyors (before some of these precious monuments were obliterated or damaged almost beyond recognition), as well as modern LiDAR imagery, Ross illustrates the celestial connections -- and ties the constellations into Native American myth and legend (the Star Mounds are tied in to Star Myths! incredible!). Some of the most satisfying and difficult-to-dispute connections to celestial formations are those that Ross illustrates between the Newark Complex and the constellation Pisces (especially in his diagram at the top of page 169) and between the works known as the Cross and the constellation Cygnus (page 131), but there are many others, and there are so many correspondences that the resonance cannot be dismissed as being either imagination or mere "coincidence."

This analysis is of tremendous importance, for it demonstrates that the designers of the "Star Mounds" of the Ohio Valley region were involved in the very same kind of monumental terraforming to make the terrestrial landscape reflect the celestial that can be shown to have also taken place in South America, the British Isles, and the Nile River valley of ancient Egypt: the entire "Orion's Belt" thesis of Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval was an important recognition and discussion of this ancient world-wide endeavor, as were earlier works such as John Michell's View Over Atlantis (1969) and New View Over Atlantis (1983) and Kathryn Maltwood's even earlier Guide to Glastonbury's Temple of the Stars (1929).

These undeniable connections to similar projects around our planet make Ross Hamilton's demonstration of the celestial patterns in the North American complex of the Ohio Valley region extremely significant not just to North American history, but to the mysterious history of the entire globe, and to the ancient dictum (which can be shown to operate in all the world's mythologies) of "as above, so below," the microcosm and the macrocosm.

This accomplishment alone would make Star Mounds an essential reference to place in your library next to the other works just mentioned dealing with other regions, but that's not all for the hidden messages that Ross Hamilton has found in these ancient monuments -- not by a long ways. With his formidable knowledge of geometry and proportion, Ross Hamilton discerns undeniable evidence of advanced sacred geometry at work in many of the ancient earthworks -- some of them simply breathtaking.

As just a small example, take for instance his examination of the "works" located in Seal Township,  in Pike County, Ohio, and drawn by Squier & Davis in the illustration shown at top (the entire text of Squier & Davis's Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, published in 1848, can be viewed online here).

Ross Hamilton notes that the Seal Work monument itself consists of a square and a circle, connected by a "neck" feature that is aligned (along with the sides of the square) to true north with near-perfect precision. He points out that this "neck" feature in the Seal Work is the longest known among the Star Mounds. He then proceeds to demonstrate why the length of that neck is so important, and how the distance between the square and the circle was surely no accident or simple random decision by the ancient designers.

Taking the outline of the circle, which is incomplete due to its interruption by a steep cliff, he completes the circle -- shown below in green (these are my illustrations of the explanations that Ross Hamilton shows on page 41 of his book, which the interested reader should consult -- any mistakes in the discussion that follows or the diagrams that I've made to try to illustrate it are my own and should in no way reflect badly upon Ross Hamilton's book):

In the above diagram, I have also added a purple outline to the circular feature, because what happens next is that we slide that purple outline towards the square feature, until the closest edge of the square forms a tangent with the perimeter of the circle, as shown below:

As Ross Hamilton discovered, performing the above operation with the circle of the Seal Works and sliding its outline towards the square forms "a true vesica piscis" (the extremely important shape made by the overlapping outlines of the two circles shown above -- the words vesica piscis are Latin for "bladder of the fish"). The outline is a "true vesica piscis" if the widest point of the vesica touches the center-point of each of the two circles.

This geometric figure was obviously incorporated deliberately into the Seal Works, and it provides tangible evidence of the sophistication and geometric knowledge of the designers. 

It also speaks to their incorporation of sacred spiritual symbology in their Star Mound architecture: for the vesica piscis symbol relates directly to the message conveyed by the Ankh and the Djed discussed in a series of recent posts beginning with "Scarab, Ankh and Djed." That series of posts explores the symbology of the cross (including the Ankh, but also the Djed, which was depicted horizontally "cast down" and then vertically "raised up"), and presents evidence that this common and potent ancient symbol typifies our human condition in our incarnate material form: a horizontal "cast down" or "animal" component (our material, physical body of earth and water) and a vertical "spiritual and immortal" component (the Christ within, the divine spark that comes down from the realm of air and fire to inhabit this body of earth and water).

In The Jesus Mysteries (1999), Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy make the argument that the ancient symbol of the vesica piscis was known to convey the exact same message!

On page 40 of that text, Freke and Gandy provide a vesica piscis illustration, showing how it is the origin of the familiar Christian "icthys" symbol shown below:

In the caption beneath their illustration of the two circles forming a vesica piscis with superimposed icthys, they write:
The sign of the fish is widely used today as a symbol of Christianity, but originated in Pagan sacred geometry. Two circles, symbolic of spirit and matter, are brought together in a sacred marriage. When the circumference of one touches the center of the other they combine to produce the fish shape known as the vesica piscis. The ratio of height to length of this shape is 153:265, a formula known to Archimedes in the third century BCE as the "measure of the fish." It is a powerful mathematical tool, being the nearest whole number approximation of the square root of three and the controlling ratio of the equilateral triangle. 40.
The mathematical approximation of the square root of three that they are referring to is the number 1.732, which is also the result (or quotient) that we get if we divide 265 by 153 (265/153 = 1.732).

Is it not extremely noteworthy that the vesica piscis was anciently seen to be emblematic of the unification of spirit and matter, just as we have seen the crosses of antiquity to have been as well?

Freke and Gandy point out the fact that in the 21st chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, the risen Jesus showed himself to the disciples, who have been fishing all night but without success. From the shore, he directs them to cast their nets on the right side of the ship, and upon doing so they catch so many fish tthat "they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes" (John 21:6). After they get the catch to shore (with the help of another boat), we are told the exact number of the fishes that were caught, in verse 11: "Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken" (John 21:11). Freke and Gandy draw the direct connection to the anciently-revered sign of the vesica piscis and its known ratio of 153:265, and point out that the ancient Pythagoreans "were renowned for their knowledge of mathematics and regarded 153 as a sacred number" (39).

But this subtle incorporation of the sacred vesica piscis is not the only sophisticated mathematical message that Ross Hamilton finds hidden within the Seal Works of Pike County, Ohio. In the illustration below, the area of the square that is connected to the circle is designated as one square unit (for a square with sides of one unit), and the area is placed adjacent to the square, as shown below. A circle is then traced out which touches upon the four corners of the "doubled square" as shown in the illustration:

Here again we see that the distance between the circle and the square at the Seal Works was carefully thought out. Because the new larger circle thus indicated happens to reach precisely to a line drawn tangent to the edge of the original circle, and parallel to the edge of the original square (see diagram). In other words, we can see right away that the size of the square was no accident, if doubling it leads us to be able to draw a circle that precisely reaches to the nearest edge of the earthwork's physical circular space.

But that is not all, because the size of the square, and the distance between the square and the circle, incorporate an even more amazing connection than the one described in the preceding paragraph (as obviously deliberate as that preceding connection must be). Because Ross Hamilton demonstrates that the distance to the outer edge of the circle would be 0.618 units, if the edge of the Seal Works square is 1 unit. In other words, there is a golden ratio indicated by the ratio of the distance between the square and the new larger circle just described. Specifically, this aspect of the golden ratio (the 0.618) is called the sacred cut or the golden cut (for some discussion see here and also look at the subsection entitled "Golden Ratio Conjugate"). 

It would be very difficult to argue that these mathematically demonstrable aspects of the Seal Works were not intentional. Think for just a little while about the beauty and subtlety of the design of this ancient earthwork, and how the size of the circle feature is just right to create a vesica piscis with the distance along the "neck" to the square, and then how the size of the square feature was likewise made to be just right to create a double-square that yields a circle that indicates the golden ratio when placed at that exact same distance (along the "neck" again) back to the original circle!

And this is just one of the amazing earthworks in the Ohio Valley region and the subtle geometrical knowledge that it contains and that it preserved through the centuries (in addition to its celestial mirroring aspects!). There are many more which are equally if not more astonishing, and which Ross Hamilton demonstrates and illustrates in his remarkable book. I should point out that I myself would never have seen these subtle geometrical messages within the Seal Works if Ross Hamilton had not taken the time to discover and present them. He has truly done humanity an important service.

The book also illustrates that most if not all of the works also have a feature which can function as a sort of "hub" around which the outline of the entire earthwork can be (mentally) rotated in a full circle, and that the number of "complete outlines" which fit around such a circle is different in most cases but has some significance to the message of that particular earthwork. Often the fit is a perfect whole number, indicating still further levels of astonishing sophistication and subtlety in the design of these amazing treasures in the landscape.

Knowing what we now know about the incredible ratios built into the Seal Works shape discussed above, the reader will no doubt be as sickened as I was to learn that much of this incredible monument has now been destroyed in order to dig for gravel. The short-sightedness of that fact is difficult to express in words, and it seems distressingly symbolic of much of our modern disregard for the sacred landscape and for the incredible efforts and achievements of those who occupied long before us.

These incredible Star Mounds of North America should be known to all humanity, and should be revered -- not ransacked in order to dig gravel pits.

Ross Hamilton's encyclopedic examination of these earthworks and their stories should go a long way towards bringing this vast ancient heritage site the recognition and reverence that it deserves. We, and future generations, owe him a debt of gratitude for his work.