- Why did so much ancient architecture consist of seven
or nine steps or levels? Did this construction relate to the ancient cosmologies,
which speak of seven or nine layers, steps or tiers of heaven?
- That the ancients were in the habit of erecting large,
four-sided or pyramidal towers is well known. But why did so many of these
buildings consist of seven to nine stories? The earliest Egyptian pyramid,
the one constructed by king Djoser at Saqqara, was a so-called 'stepped'
pyramid, formed of six layers on a rectangular ground plan. The Babylonian
ziggurats or temple-towers of the 1st millennium BCE displayed a marked
tendency to count exactly seven stages. Seven or nine tiers dominated in
scores of stupas and pagodas scattered across India and the lands touched
by Buddhism and Hinduism. And the great pyramid-builders of Meso-America
likewise elected to construct most buildings in nine levels. The above
examples are the ruins of Temple I at Tikal, Guatemala, and the pyramid
of Djoser at Saqqara, Egypt.
- The pattern is not rigid. Many of the ancient monuments
had only three, four or five layers and often confusion arises over the
method of counting: the platform at the base or a tent or dwelling at the
top might or might not be included in the figure. But even allowing for
such flexibility, the predominance of seven and nine is too striking to
be dismissed as fortuitous.
- This impression is strengthened by the fact that the
number of levels is consistently embedded in a similar cosmological framework.
The tiered building is typically regarded as a manifestation of the cosmic
mountain in the sacred centre of the world. The Egyptians modeled the pyramids
on the Primordial Mound that rose out of the abyss at the time of creation.
And the pagodas of India were deliberate replicas of the polar Mount Meru,
called Kwen-lun in China. Like the towers, these mountains were widely
envisioned as terraced structures. As the mountain pierced through the
heavens, its seven or nine layers corresponded to the imaginary 'sheets'
of heaven that lay superimposed over each other. This belief system has
been detected in all ancient cultures and most illiterate cultures.
- Previous attempts to explain these beliefs have failed.
The concept of the seven or nine heavens could not have originated as an
expression of the planetary orbits because the planets were thought to
revolve in the same plane, not in seven layers neatly spaced out above
each other. Apart from that, the notions of the tiered mountain and the
layered heavens existed in cultures that were never acquainted with the
planetary astronomy of the Greeks, and the sanctity of seven and nine chronologically
preceded the rise of astronomy. Clearly, the seven or nine steps to heaven
relate to a much more archaic stratum of belief, rooting in the mythology
of the axis mundi.
- The preponderance of seven and nine in ancient number
symbolism cannot be separated from the propensity of a plasma pinch to
segment into a string of nine plasmoids. Plasma physicist Anthony Peratt
has demonstrated that a giant plasma column was produced in the atmosphere
of the earth some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago and that was luminous enough
to be observed by human populations around the world. An early development
of this column was that it transformed into a stack of nine segments that
subsequently merged to produce three or four layers. As this stupendous
plasma formation was the prototype for the axis mundi remembered in world
mythology, the layered heavens and the tiered mountains and buildings are
understood as commemorative symbols of the stratified plasma column.
- The remaining problem concerns relative chronology. The
respective seven- and ninefold towers were produced in widely divergent
periods: the stepped pyramids of Egypt were very ancient, but the sevenfold
towers of Babylonia are not attested until 2,000 BCE at the very earliest,
whilst the Meso-American parallels often date from less than 1,000 years
ago. This is not a serious objection to the plasma model. As seen, the
template for the tiered buildings was a mythological-cosmological concept
that could in some cultures have existed long before it was given architectural
expression. In addition, the stone monuments that survive today could have
had wooden forerunners that would naturally have perished over time. In
some cases, notably in Meso-America, the extant pyramids were erected over
the ruins of smaller structures that were much older. The earliest one
of these dates back to the 1st millennium BCE.
- See related essays on the Jeff Rense site:
- Celestial Fireworks in the Ancient Sky -- Part 1
- Part 2