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in hoc signo vinces

"In this sign you shall conquer."

 

 

The stars in the diagram above are named by standard astronomical nomenclature; for example, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra is named alpha Lyrae ("Lyrae" means "of Lyra" in Latin); the second brightest star is named beta Lyrae; the third gamma Lyrae, etc. Thus the brightest stars in the constellations Lyra the harp, Hercules, Aquila the eagle, Serpens the serpent, and Capricorn the sea-goat comprise the asterism in the celestial chart above. Notice also that the brightest star in each constellation has its own, proper Arabic name, Arabia being the center of learning during the dark ages after the fall of Rome and Greece. Thus alpha Lyra is Vega, alpha Aquilae is Altair, and so forth. The number after each star name is that star's apparent magnitude, or relative brightness (the "-" before each magnitude above is just a hyphen, not a minus sign; the magnitudes of all the stars in the above diagram are positive.) The lower the magnitude, the brighter the star. Between magnitude 6 and 7 is the magnitude of the faintest stars that can be seen by the unaided human eye; going down 1 number in magnitude indicates an increase in brightness of 2.5 (or precisely, by a factor of the fifth root of 100). Venus, the brightest object in the sky other that the Sun and the Moon, has a maximum apparent magnitude of -4.7 (remember, lower is brighter); and the two brightest stars, Sirius and Canopus, have magnitudes of -1.5 and -0.7, respectively; Uranus' apparent magnitude is 5.5. Notice too, that the horizontal bar of the X in Constantine's Chi-Ro was formed by the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as illustrated above. With the exception of Mercury (which is always so close to the Sun that it is usually impossible to see), this asterism includes all of the visible planets in the solar system. 

 

 

(this story was continued from here) In 312 AD, while marching to battle against Maxentius, Constantine supposedly looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it with the Greek words “Ev Tousw Niaa” ("By this, conquer") or in Latin, "In hoc signo vinces" ("In this sign, you shall conquer"). Constantine didn’t understand the meaning of this vision, but that night had a dream in which Christ told to him to use the sign against his enemies. Shown above, the night sky held 15 bright stars and the 4 brightest planets forming a sign. "The sign" was Chi-ro (C-r): the first two letters of "Christ" in Greek

superimposed on each other, as displayed above. Constantine painted it on his helmet and ordered his soldiers to paint it on their shields. This had an "unfortunate and abiding effect; for the first time Christ became a god of battles." Although his soldiers revered him, they found Christian symbols, especially the cross, distasteful. He nevertheless won the Battle at Milvian Bridge—his 50,000 against his brother-in-law’s (Maxentius’) 75 to 120,000 men—and the next day marched triumphantly through Rome’s open gates. The senate declared Constantine Emperor of the West, and after a succession of victories declared him sole ruler of the Roman Empire.

Before Chi-ro was the monogram for Christ, it was the monogram for Kronos/Saturn and several solar deities; it is also the origin of abbreviating Christmas with an "X." After Constantine’s victory it became known as the "Labarum of Constantine" (a labarum was a Roman Pagan battle standard). Constantine declared he owed his victory to the god of the Christians, and in 313 passed The Edict of Milan legalizing all religions within the Empire. In 324 AD he made Christianity the state religion, and in 325 convened the First Council of Nicea, in which the Christian church codified its denial of the divine origin of the soul. Although Christian mystics following Origen still sought union with god, this Nicene Creed began a chain reaction leading to a curse on Origen’s ideas. Constantine did not convert to Christianity until a few days before his death in 337.

In 553 AD the emperor Justinian convened the Fifth Council of Constantinople (Second Ecumenical Council) that decreed there is "no pre-existence of the soul," thus separating Christianity from its origins and from most major religions. And at the same time that the church was rejecting reincarnation, it was embracing the concept of original sin, a doctrine that made it even more difficult for mystics to practice.

Like the original Christian church, I too believe we are evolving consciousness or souls that go from life to life learning from experience. Life on Earth can thus be looked at as a school. The kindergartners or first graders have very little responsibility and lots of play; the graduate students of life have a great deal of responsibility, with more consciousness and respect for the law. And what is this "law?" It is the natural way things are when we can see everything and are not identified with our personal desires and egos. Then we truly see that we are our brother’s keepers, and that all that we do belongs to and returns to us. (click here to return to beginning of this story)

This In hoc signo vinces page and much of this 600-page website are excerpted from the personalized Fine Art Book You and the Universe.

 

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© Carl Woebcke: In Hoc Signo Vinces, 1991-2016. All rights reserved.