Tao of the Tau
Tau is the Greek letter T or τ in lower case.
The symbol τ was used in mathematics to represent the golden ratio until the Greek letter Phi (Φ) gained prominance (after the first letter of Phidias, acclaimed sculptor of the Parthenon).
Tau is also known as the symbol representing the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its radius (equal to 2π).
Advocates for τ argue that radius is more fundamental to circles than diameter, and therefore, that τ (circumference divided by radius) is more fundamental than π (circumference divided by diameter). They think this makes formulas written in terms of τ express the mathematics more clearly than with π. –Source
Using τ instead of 2π makes a lot of sense to me:
- A circle is defined as all points in a plane a certain radius away from a center point.
- The unit circle has a radius of 1, not a diameter of 1.
- Angles measured in radians make more sense using τ rather than 2π because τ radians measures a full circle, so 1/4 circle is τ/4, 1/2 circle is τ/2 and so on.
However using τ is really a moot point because π already won the mindshare. However I find it interesting that Tau has been used to represent both the golden ratio (Φ) and the relationship of a circle to its radius (more commonly known as π).
I can think of one other symbol that encodes in its proportions both mathematical ideas: the Great Pyramid. Note that the proportions 4:π and Φ:1 are not taken at the same time but I’ve shown them together for simplicity, so read the left and right halves of the diagram separately.
“The Tau cross is also a symbol of the male or creative side of the deity, and is really a conventionalized form of the phallus.” –Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods by J.S. Ward
Crowley used an inverted Tau on the cover of his book Magick, which was “regarded in serious occult circles as a book of ultimate authority on sexual magic.” –Source
Seen right-side-up, the T is seen as the shape of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
The TAU cross is preserved to modern Masonry under the symbol of the T square. This appears to be the oldest form of the cross extant.” –The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall
There are several instances in the Bible of the Tau cross anticipating the Latin cross:
- The angel of death passed over the children of Israel who painted the Tau mark in goat’s or sheep’s blood above their doors to slay all Egyptian firstborn. This is better known as Passover. See Exodus 11:1 in the Brick Testament.
- The Tau mark was placed upon the foreheads of particular men to save them from being slain in yet another genocidal bloodbath depicted in Ezekiel 9 (unforunately this isn’t illustrated in Lego).
- The summit of Mt. Nebo in Jordan is the location of the Brazen Serpent Monument, featuring a snake wrapped around a Tau cross.
Image by Jerzy Strzelecki under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Mt. Nebo is where Moses saw the promised land of Israel (but wasn’t allowed to go there himself). You can see Jerusalem on a clear day from this monument.
Pope Benedict XVI visited the site on May 9, 2009, gave a speech, and looked out from the top of the mountain in the direction of Jerusalem. –Source
The fiery serpent comes from the Bible (Numbers 21:5-9):
- “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
- And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
- Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
- And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
- And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
Check out this version illustrated with Lego. I like the Brick Testament because it consistently shows the character of this God. In this case God kills his chosen people with snakes because they complained about being hungry and thirsty. It’s easy to forget that and recall only that he healed those who didn’t complain with the Nehushtan as it is also known.
The 25th degree in Scottish Freemasonry is called is The Knight of the Brazen Serpent.
Here is a old masonic jewel that is probably from this degree.
Thanks to Rick for this image
The above image reminds one of the Rod of Asclepius. Here it is as the Star of Life, logo of the emergency medical services worldwide.
Also the emblem of the World Heath Organization underlines the fact that it is a specialized agency of the United Nations with its 33 sector grid laid over the world.
The symbol of a serpent climbing the pole is also a symbol of Kundalini, or life force rising up the spinal column.
These symbols all came from the Crux Ansata, better known as the Ankh. Think of it as a yoni on top of a lingam, or vesica piscis on top of a tau if you will. What better way to symbolize life then through sexual union? This has been pushed into the shadow in the last two thousand years in the West.
Thanks to reader Rick for pointing out that the Hindu Ardhanari is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati: half male and half female, split down the middle. Note the Ankh is used here as a depiction of both male and female genitalia.
Image from Tantra: Cult of the Feminine by Andre van Lysebeth page 240
The Hindu androgyne reminds me of Baphomet whom the Templars revealed they worshipped under torture by the French Catholics in 1307.
Often mistaken for Satan, Baphomet represents the duality of male and female, as well as Heaven and Hell or night and day signified by the raising of one arm and the downward gesture of the other. –Source
I can’t help remember sex kitten Lady Gaga striking a similar pose in a Masonic Lodge (see Repeating Ones).
Look closely: Gaga’s left breast (on our right) is pushed up and her right breast is flattened much like Ardhanari. Gaga as Baphomet.
Image by Redtigerxyz under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
Andre van Lysebeth shows in Tantra that the Om glyph actually represents the sexual act (female on the left and male on the right in this case) with what looks to me like the sun and moon in the upper right:
Image from Tantra: Cult of the Feminine by Andre van Lysebeth page 170
The Ankh is similar to the concept of the Tao in Chinese philosophy and religion. Opposites coming together form a dynamic balance.
Thank you Ian le Cheminant for emailing me this vitally important concept:
I had always associated synchronicity with Carl Jung but recently rereading Lama Anagarika Govinda’s The Inner Structure of the I Ching I was reminded that as a mode of thinking it is profoundly Chinese. Govinda writes: “All our reasoning is based on the law of cause and effect operating as a sequence. The Chinese do not reason so much along this horizontal line from past, through present to future; they reason perpendicularly, from what is in one place now to what is in another place now. In other words, they do not ask why, or from what past causes, a certain set of things is happening now; they ask, ‘What is the meaning of these things happening at this moment?’ The word Tao is the answer to this question. The present situation within and around oneself is Tao, for the present moment is life. Our memory of the past is contained in it as well as the potentiality for the future.”
Squaring the circle also comes to mind as a larger resolution of opposites, in the case of heaven and earth.
Earth Sun Moon by Scott Onstott
Pi brings together the linear and the curved, the limited and the unlimited, the human and the divine.
The Sword and the Ring by Scott Onstott
Slight dyslexia is all you need to get from Angels to Angles. In many areas of mathematics angles are measured in radians rather than degrees. One radian is equal to about 57 degrees (57.2957795…).
360 degrees = 2π or 6.283185… radians. An angle of 1 radian results in an arc with a length equal to the radius of the circle.
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. Three Taus therefore have a value of 3 x 19 = 57.
Triple Tau is an important Masonic symbol.
“This emblem, placed in the center of a Triangle and Circle – both emblems of Deity – constitutes the jewel of the Royal Arch as practiced in England, where it is so highly esteemed as to be called the “emblem of all emblems,” and “the grand emblem of Royal Arch Masonry.” –Source
Image by PeRshGo under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
The Royal Arch Degree Jew-el has a Star of David composed of two interlocking triangles (male and female) and a triple Tau at the bottom. This reminds me of the phrase triple bottom line or Hermes Trismegistus.
This ancient Alchemical emblem found in the ruins of Pompei suggests that the Star of David is a metaphor for the sexual act, a fact covered up by the SATOR magic square (see Paternoster Squares).
Robert Fowler discovered a cipher in Shakespeare’s sonnets dedication poem that requires one understand the Royal Arch Degree jewel in order to decode it. It’s a fascinating intellectual journey that I won’t belabour in this post.
However I will mention the decoded message refers to eternal life and a diagram that appears to depict Orion, an obelisk, a pyramid, the Star of David, and rays of the Sun. It is becoming harder not to see that Francis Bacon was involved in writing the works of “William Shakespeare.”
Listen to Robert Newman on The Shakespeare Project.
The 33rd degree jewel depicts four Taus forming a Greek cross.
“The quadruple tau, moreover, being composed entirely of ‘right angles, horizontals, and perpendiculars,’ contains within itself all the secret signs of Freemasonry, a fact which I am not permitted to further explain. It will, however, be apparent to every ‘bright mason,’ who can soon study them all out for himself.” –Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy by Robert Hewitt Brown
I’m not a mason but am bright enough to see at least on one level that the Quadruple Tau cross represents the great cross in the heavens as discussed in my Esoteric Astronomy video. The four beasts corresponding to the fixed signs in the aforementioned alchemical seal and Royal Arch degree jewel support this notion.
Here’s the Hindu version of the 33rd degree jewel: the Sri Yantra aka Sri Chakra. In addition to four taus, it features nine interlocking triangles, just as the 33rd degree jewel shows a nine pointed star and the brazen serpent jewel depicts a nine-pointed star.
Image by N.Manytchkine under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
That brings me to a couple of very interesting buildings I’ve become aware of that I think encode the Quadruple Tau symbol. First up is Terrace on the Park at 52-11 111th Street in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY. Do you see the solar 52 weeks in a year encoded with all the ones? The building was contructed as a helipad for the 1964 World’s Fair, which I plan to post about another time. One can say it has a special connection with the sky.
Thanks to John Handrinos who lives nearby the park for pointing out many of its secrets in plain sight.
Here is the official video about what goes on inside Terrace on the Park. Lots of people getting married inside Terrace on the Park seems quite appropriate symbolically.
Finally my thanks to Grant Chamberlin who discovered something very interesting about the CitiGroup Center (aka 601 Lexington Ave) in Manhattan.
The square base reminds me of the Quadruple Tau even though it is not highlighted as such.
Grant noticed that there are 32 full panels across the top of the T plus 2 half panels, making a total of 33 panels on each side. Just a coincidence or the Tao of the Tau?
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