**Introduction**

**Much has been
written about the nature of space and time. Unfortunately the esoteric
delights of Quantum Theory and Relativity Theory are accessible to only a few,
and most of us have neither the time nor the inclination to study the necessary
mathematics and physics to understand the equations underlying the various
models of space and time, (or of some combination of them). Also,
while there may be some excellent non-technical books about these weighty
matters, which make it a joy to ponder the indeterminate status of Schrodinger's
Cat (poor thing!) as an alternative to counting sheep when insomnia prevails,
there is little of practical use for most of us who are simply trying to make
some sense of life's existence, and to better understand our place in the
cosmos.**

**Most of us
already understand enough about space and time to run our lives, at least at the
level of knowing that in order to meet up with someone, it helps if you arrange
to meet at the same place at the same time. Any failure to meet is not
likely to be due to Quantum effects, or the misapplication of Relativity
Theory. We have some idea of how to get around in space, and we understand
that we are born, we grow older and we die, sooner or later. We can use
calendars, clocks, maps and our memories to simplify dealing with space and
time, and to increase precision, but this is a convenience rather than a
necessity. **

**So why bother to
look any further? Does it really make any practical difference to our
lives whether space on the scale of the universe is flat or curved, whether the
universe will expand forever following the Big Bang, whether Time is linear,
cyclical, helical, multidimensional or whatever? I am asking here whether it really matters
to the ordinary person.**

**Most people would
probably say that, when compared with the importance of our daily activities,
our families, friends, relationships and ambitions, these philosophical
abstractions about space and time are pretty irrelevant.**

**With respect to
Astrology, which is very involved with space and time, there are really three
questions.**

**(1). Is it
worth our expending energy on studying the nature of space and time at all,
except out of a legitimate curiosity?**

**(2). Can
Astrology make any useful contributions to our understanding of space and time
from within its own discipline?**

**(3). If the
answer to question (2) is affirmative, can these contributions be translated
into terms that are easy to understand, and that make sense to the layman.**

**The answer to the
first question must be a personal one in the first instance, but let us see how
an understanding of Astrology might lead to some insights about space and time.**

**Astrology and
Astronomy**

**There is
sometimes considerable misunderstanding about the difference between Astronomy
and Astrology, and for those who are not clear about the similarities and the
differences I include a link in the bibliography.**

**At first sight,
Astrological "space" involves of the surfaces of two spheres, the
surface of the earth, (approximately spherical), and the surface of the
celestial sphere. However, the two surfaces can be placed into one-to-one
correspondence, in the sense that any unique point on the surface of the earth
can be paired up with a unique point on the celestial sphere. One way of
doing this is to relate each point on the surface of the earth to the equivalent
point on the celestial sphere that is directly overhead. We can therefore
make do with only one sphere, though in practice Astrologers tend to think in
terms of the earth's surface when calculating the Angles and Houses in a chart,
while considering projection on to the celestial sphere for the planets.
It is worth mentioning here that the Astrologer needs to know the place of
birth, (or of an event), in order to calculate the Angles and Houses in a chart,
though it is not necessary for calculating the positions of the
planets. **

**It is quite
possible to draw up a 3-D horoscope on the surface of the earth, and/or to
project this onto the celestial sphere. However this is not often
performed, and most horoscopes are 2-D with the planets and house cusps being
projected on to a Great Circle. This has the advantage of making a
horoscope easier to read for many Astrologers, but it also leads to meaningless
arguments as to which projection is the "correct" one!**

**We can leave
aside for the moment the question of whether the surface of a sphere is a 2-D
manifold, (where a point can be defined by just two coordinates, such as
longitude and latitude), or whether the surface of a sphere is really
"embedded" in 3-D space where 3 coordinates define a point, (e.g.
along x,y,z axes).**

**Astrology, (and Astronomy, in so far as it is used in
Astrological calculations), as we know them, appear therefore to be closely
involved with the surface of a sphere as the relevant "space".**

**What about
time? Well, Astrologers cannot draw up a horoscope at all if they do not
know the time, if time is meant in the normal way - year, month, day, hour,
minute and seconds. However knowing the time of an event to within a few
minutes normally allows an accurate chart, and ideally the time should be known
as accurately as possible. Assuming for the moment that time is linear,
and that for present purposes we are concerned with horoscopes for events
between, say, 5000 B.C. and 25000 A.D., (which ought to satisfy most people), we
need only to know, (as accurately as possible), where during that 30000 year
period our particular time is situated. Although there are many possible
times within this period, they all lie at unique points along this long time
line. Astrology therefore uses just one dimension of time, in this sense.**

**Yet there is a
paradox here. In addition to natal Astrology, or the study of the birth
chart itself, set up for a given time, astrologers also use charts cast for
different times, and use them to forecast trends or events. A common and
logical technique is to examine the transits, that is to compare the positions
of the planets now with their positions in the natal horoscope, looking for some
relationship between the two sets of positions. What is seemingly less
logical, at first sight, is the use of primary directions and secondary
progressions, and even converse directions and progressions. These methods
rely on drawing up charts for times other than the birth time or the present
moment. It is not intuitively obvious that a chart drawn up for a time 30
days after birth should bear any relation to the life of a person aged 30, yet
the successful use of secondary progressions suggests that there must be a link
somewhere.**

**In one sense only
one time dimension is involved, but in another sense it is as though there are
several dimensions of time that are independent yet linked in some way.
And somehow one can go "backwards", as it were, if converse techniques
are valid.**

**In the case of
some techniques, units of time and units of space can almost be interchanged in
a sense. A horoscope drawn up for 2 hours after a birth time, (equivalent
to age 30 using primary directions), is almost exactly the same as a chart drawn
for the original birth time at a place 30 degrees to the west (at the same
latitude). the Moon will have moved a degree or so, and some of the
planets a few minutes of arc, but that is all. The house cusps will be the
same.**

**Whatever the
reality, Astrology certainly appears to treat space and time as though they can
be dealt with rather more flexibly than ordinary experience would suggest.**

**Consciousness,
Space and Time**

**Over the last few
hundred years, advances in optics have enabled us to extend our normal visual
abilities to study distant objects through telescopes, and small objects through
microscopes. In this sense, some of the limits on our ability to explore
space have been removed. When it comes to time, technological advances
allow us to see models of protracted processes occurring very quickly, or of
brief processes being slowed down. We can press the fast forward button,
or we can view frame by frame.**

**While these advances have given us better
insights into the evolution of life's processes, and allowed us to examine space
and time at different scales, has this progress really increased our understanding at a
personal level? Does it increase our understanding of subjective time, of
the apparent quickening of the passage of time as we grow older for
example? Not in any obvious way, to my mind.**

**While individuals who
are interested in the philosophy of Astrology may indeed ponder space and time,
the materials with which they are closely involved, and may form their own
models to aid their understanding, they would still probably find it hard to
argue with the layman who suggests, (perhaps), that time appears to go twice as
fast at age 60 as it does at age 30 because, in percentage terms, two years at
age 60 is equivalent to one year at age 30. The layman might be right or
wrong, but it would be difficult to use understandings gleaned from Astrology to
affirm or to refute his plausible explanation.**

**No, I think it is
better to go about exploring time in an entirely different way. We can
come back to Astrology later.**

**On December 2nd
1875, the Author J. W. Dunne was born, and in 1927 his seminal work "An
Experiment with Time" was published. I first came across this book
when I was about 18, when browsing in a library. I was foolish enough to
lend the copy I bought to someone who had the sense to hang on to it. I
currently have the 1964 edition, and have not made the mistake of lending this
copy to anybody! "An Experiment with Time" was out of print for
many years, but I have discovered that the book is now available again. I
would recommend that anyone with an interest in time read "An Experiment
with Time".**

**The book is
written in such a way that it is difficult to convey the compelling nature of
Dunne's well-argued case, and his work might seem more like detective fiction
rather than fact, at first reading. If I were to be asked to select the
one book that had had the most influence on the way I live my life, and on my
attempts to understand the human condition, I would unhesitatingly choose
"An Experiment with Time".**

**In a nutshell,
(and in an informal way), here is the gist of the story. Dunne describes
how he appeared to have a disturbing ability to have dreams in which he dreamed
about events that occurred while he was awake. Nothing too abnormal about
that you might think. Most of us are aware of at least some of our dreams,
and can remember some of them upon waking. The vast majority of people
must have had the experience of doing something out of the ordinary during the
day, and then dreaming about it again during the ensuing night. The
problem for Dunne was that he sometimes had this sort of dream the night before
the waking event.**

**Initially he was
concerned that he might be going barmy, but fortunately he investigated other
individuals and found that some of them apparently also had dreams relating to
events that occurred in the future. Somewhat relieved that he was not
alone, he asked himself why this sort of phenomenon only occurred in
dreams. He then realised that he was begging the question, and he
demonstrated that under certain conditions this apparent "seeing into the
future" could occur when awake.**

**Dunne gave
detailed instructions in his book, for those who wanted to look into matters for
themselves. Basically this involves 4 steps.**

**(1). Have
some dreams.**

**(2). Record
the dreams in writing when you wake up, before you forget them.**

**(3). Review
the record of the dreams a day or two later.**

**(4). See if
an unusual waking event, described in the record, has occurred since the related
dream.**

**This looks
simple, but as Dunne points out, the mind plays all sort of tricks on the would
be researcher, where dreams are involved. Note that only unusual events
count. There would be no prizes for dreaming of driving to work, since
such a dream could just as easily relate to a previous commuting trip, as to a
future one. Dunne stresses the importance of detail in recording your
dreams. Dreaming of seeing a car accident, and then seeing a car accident
the following day would not necessarily be convincing. However, dreaming
of seeing an upside-down yellow truck, with green mudguards, by the side of the
road, with a tall man wearing a striped blue and pink anorak standing beside the
front of the truck, would be convincing, (provided that you had recorded this
detail in the dream, and noticed it again in the waking experience the following
day).**

**Essentially Dunne
found that most of his experimental subjects have some dreams that clearly
relate to previous waking events, a similar number of dreams that clearly relate
to "future" waking events, and many dreams that don't appear to relate
to anything very much at all in waking life.**

**Armed with these
results, Dunne set about developing a theory to explain his findings.
Essentially he arrived at a model where there is more than one dimension of
time, indeed he found that there is an infinite regress involving an infinite
number of dimensions of time. However he argued that the significance of
each further dimension decreases, so that for practical purposes three
dimensions of time are probably sufficient.**

**Dunne argued that
when we are awake, our consciousness keeps our focus of attention firmly in the
here and now, paying attention to what is going on around us. When we are
asleep, there is not normally much in the way of stimulation in the here and
now, and the focus of attention shifts to "now" in the second
dimension of time. As Dunne pointed out, the whole time-length of the
first dimension of time is accessible, (rather like a dimension of space), when
attention is moving along the "now" of the second time dimension,
hence an explanation of his "dream effect".**

**Dunne goes on to
discuss the implications of there being several time dimensions in his
model. He argues persuasively that if his model is correct, (or even
along the right lines), there is a highly convincing argument in favour of
immortality. OK, we may die in the first dimension of time, but we live on
in the second and higher dimensions of time. It will be a bit confusing at
first, just as dreams are confusing if we expect ordinary rules of behaviour to
apply.**

**Dunne also
discusses the false antithesis between Free Will and Determinism. Some of
his critics were quick to argue that his model demonstrated that the future was
"fixed" or predetermined in all dimensions if his model was
accurate. Dunne was well able to argue that this was not the case, and his
arguments were certainly no weaker than those put up by other supporters of Free
Will.**

**Those of you
lucky enough to have experienced (and recorded) the phenomenon of having a
dream, then of "waking up" into what gradually turns out to be another
dream, and finally waking up into consciousness have probably experienced
awareness in the third dimension of time, a curious world where things might
have happened, (but didn't), and might happen in the future, (but probably
won't, unless you are a Determinist, in which case they definitely won't!)**

**If you have a
headache by now, this is probably a sign of good mental health! Most of us
are thoroughly unaccustomed to thinking along these lines. Things get
easier from now on. **

**Back to Astrology**

**We looked at the
celestial sphere as Astrology's space, and we cheated a bit by leaving
Astrology for a detailed look at Dunne's model of time. Dunne's
model of time involves many dimensions of time, at right angles to each other in
a Euclidean sense. How does this fit in with Astrology, if it fits in at
all?**

**Well, provided we
make one small refinement, Dunne's model works very well with Astrology.**

**If the natal
horoscope is the starting point for all work, then transits measured along the
time line would correspond to the first dimension of time. Progressions
could work along a second dimension of time, directions along a third, and so
on, for example.**

**Unfortunately if
the time dimensions are strictly at right angles in a Euclidean sense, this set
up will not work. Any movement along one axis will occur entirely
independently of movement along any other axis.**

**You will perhaps
remember that earlier in this article I said that "We can leave
aside for the moment the question of whether the surface of a sphere is a 2-D
manifold, (where a point can be defined by just two coordinates, such as
longitude and latitude), or whether the surface of a sphere is really
"embedded" in 3-D space where 3 coordinates define a point, (e.g.
along x,y,z axes)."**

**Let us choose
another system of coordinates for the spherical surface that represents the
earth. We could equally apply the system to surface of the celestial
sphere, as the two surfaces can be placed in one-to-one correspondence, but it
is possibly easier to visualise using the surface of the earth.**

**Consider the
origin of the x,y,z system of Cartesian coordinates to be at the North Pole,
(for the sake of simplicity).**

**Let the x-y plane
be tangent to the earth's surface at the North Pole, with the z axis passing
through both poles in a straight line through the centre of the earth, and
extending beyond the earth's surface in a straight line in both directions.**

**Let the x axis
lie tangent to the surface of the earth in such a way that when viewed from
directly above the North Pole the x axis looks as though it lies along the
longitude 0 degrees and longitude 180 degrees circle.**

**Let the y axis
lie tangent to the surface of the earth in such a way that when viewed from
directly above the North Pole the y axis looks as though it lies along the
longitude 90 degrees east and longitude 90 degrees west circle.**

**Now let us change
the rules a bit and say that although the x, y and z axes are at right angles at
the origin, (the North Pole), the x axis and the y axis follow the surface of
the earth round the great circles that they project onto. The infinite
straight lines in Euclidean space that were the x and y axes, are now great
circles in positively curved spherical space. Those who speculate about
the structure of space-time commonly produce models involving positive or
negative curvature, so I have no problem with accepting this modification.
(The z axis might be positively curved as well, but for the moment let us assume
that if there is any curvature, the z axis is locally straight in the Euclidean
sense, so that it passes through both poles and the earth's centre).**

**Now let us
perform a similar act for the first three dimensions of time. Let us
suppose that two of these three time axes follow geodesics on a 2-D
(mathematical) spherical surface, again with the origin at the North Pole of
this rather ghostly time-sphere surface. (Again for the moment let us
assume the third axis is locally straight in the Euclidean sense).**

**At last we have a
rationale for the progressions. Movement along our new x axis, (now a
great circle), is no longer independent of movement along the z axis. If
we travel theta radians from the North Pole along the 0 longitude line, (the x
axis), we shall, by virtue of the properties of any sphere, inescapably move a
short distance along the z axis as well. This distance will be numerically
equal to 1 - cosine theta, (a fairly small distance for small theta, but a
distance nevertheless). Under these circumstances, it might make sense to
use a "day for a year" progressions, since the "day" would
be measured along a different axis from the "year". the point is
that movement in along the two axes would be inextricably
connected.**

**One could
speculate that the primary directions involve a third dimension of time.
It is interesting that the progressions involve a day for a year (365 to 1
ratio), while the primary directions involve four minutes for a year (360 times
365 to 1 ratio). Those figures of 365 and 360 are not very
different. **

**How about the
hastening of the passage of time with age? Well, a model like this gives a
rate of change equivalent to sine theta, which for small angles is approximately
equal to theta. So the rate at which you age depends on how much you have
aged already. Maybe the layman could be right after all!**

**Conclusion**

**While I have long
been familiar with the concept of many dimensions of time, I have only recently started to look
at the implications of one or more of these dimensions having curvature.
Further updates to follow as I explore further.**

**Relevant Links**

**Amazon
for books, including J. W.
Dunne's "An Experiment with Time"**

**Lucidity.Com****
for much useful info about
dreaming, including being consciously aware whilst dreaming**

**J.
W. Dunne
- a site that looks at the
first chapters of the book**

**The
Science of Time - an
excellent site featuring, inter alia, clocks in several dimensions.....**

**Astronomy
and Astrology - a brief
article about their similarities and differences**

**Page created
21st April 2001**

**Thank you for
visiting**