The Great Year is a concept and a measure of time, where five ancient planets, together with the Sun and the Moon, conclude the full circle by returning into their original places in the Sky. Dozens of remarkable scientists, including Plato and Cicero, studied and tried to understand the wisdom of the Great Year.

Much later, Sir Isaac Newton was able to understand the cause of precession. He established the rate of precession at 1 degree per 72 years, which is very close to the true value. Newton understood that from the Earth’s point of view the Sky is really moving in one huge circle, and that it takes 360 times 72 years for celestial bodies to return their original posts. This provided Newton with the key for calculating the exact length of the Great Year.

72 × 360° = 25 920 years = 1 Great Year.

NASA almost agrees with Newton with its definition of the Great Year as: "The period of one complete cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, about 25,800 years. Also called platonic year." (NASA, 2010)

In the Egyptian tradition, the story of the Great Year is related to that of Thoth, a wise and clever God, who played dices against the god Atum, and won. As a reward he asked for five extra days in a year. Since it was the Law that Nut and Geb (Heaven and Earth) could not have children at any day of the 360 days year, on these five extra days they could. (e.g. Husain, 2004) This was the beginning of a new era. The Gods and Goddesses started to reproduce. Soon there was Osiris, Horus the Elder, Seth, Isis and Nephthys. Ever since then, these five days have been known as ‘five days for five Gods’. It is in the Egyptian tradition where the 365-day-solar year is derived from.

For the extra five days to reach a full year (360 days), it takes 72 years. Probably Thoth defined a year to be one circle consisting of 360 days. This is very easy to equate with the 360 degrees of a circle. When the 5 extra days are added, since they do not fit into the already complete 360-day-circle, imagine them forming a new circle. Therefore, after two years, there are two full 360-day-circles, and beside them, ten days in the ‘extra-day-circle’. This pattern is repeated until the ‘extra’ circle is complete. In the words of mathematics, we have

5x = 360, thus x = 360 / 5 = 72 years.

In other words, it takes exactly 72 years (= ‘Great Day’) for the extra days to form a complete 360-day-circle. With this new equation, we reach the length of the ‘Great Month’: 72 x 30 = 2160 years. And thus using months, we derive the Great Year: 2160 x 12 = 25.920 years. This result, 25.920 years, is in fact the same result as that of Newton.

Perhaps Newton was better aware of Thoth, the god of calendar and numbers, than we know. What we do know for a fact, however, is that among Newton’s notes on alchemy there was one of the most famous translations of the Emerald Tablet (Dobbs, 1988). The Emerald Tablet is the most popular alchemist text presenting the function and mechanisms of the Sun. According to the traditional tales, The Emerald Tablet is said to be written by Thoth himself. (See Appendix 13: The Emerald Tablet.)

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