The Law of Octaves was first suggested by Pythagoras in ancient
Greece. Having observed that the eight notes of the conventional Occidental
musical scale were governed by definite mathematical relationships,
Pythagoras proceeded to create a whole cosmology based on 8s. In this
octagonal model Pythagoras made numerous mistakes, because he was
generalizing from insufficient data. However, his work was the first
attempt in history to unify science, mathematics, art and mysticism into
one comprehensible system and as such is still influential. Leary, Crowley
and Buckminster Fuller have all described themselves as modern
In China, roughly contemporary with Pythagoras, the Taoists built up a
cosmology based on the interplay of yang (positive) and yin (negative),
which produced the eight trigrams of the I Ching, out of which are
generated the 64 hexagrams.
In India, Buddha announced, after his illumination under the Bodhi
tree, the Noble Eightfold Path. Patanjali subsequently reduced the science
of yoga to eight "limbs" or, as we might say, eight "steps."
The game of chess appeared, somewhere in the East, with a grid based
on 8x8 (64) squares.
Kepler discovered the laws of planetary motion serendipitously, while
trying to make the planets fit into the Pythagorean octave.
In the 1860s, English chemist John Newland showed that all the
chemical elements fall into eight families. Since Pythagorean mysticism was
unfashionable at that time, Newland was literally laughed at and rejected
by the Royal Chemical Society. In the 1870s, with much more detail than
Newland, the Russian chemist Mendeleyev proved once and for all that the
elements do, indeed, fall into eight families. His Periodic Table of the
Elements, an octave of hauntingly Pythagorean harmony, hangs in every
high-school chemistry class today. (The Royal Society later apologized to
Newland and gave him a Gold Medal.)
Nikolai Tesla invented the alternating current generator which
unleashed the modern technological revolution after a series of visions in
which, among other things, Tesla "saw" that everything in the universe
obeys a law of Octaves.
Modern geneticists have found that the DNA-RNA "dialogue"the
molecular information system governing life and evolutionis transmitted
by 64 (8x8) codons.
R. Buckminster Fuller, in his Synergetic-Energetic Geometry, which he
claims is the "co-ordinate system of the Universe," reduces all phenomena
to geometric-energetic constructs based on the tetrahedron (4-sided), the
octet truss (8-sided) and the coupler (8-faceted with 24 phases). Fuller
argues specifically that the 8-face, 24-phase coupler underlies the 8-fold
division of the chemical elements on the Mendeleyev Periodic Table.
In 1973, unaware of Fuller's couplerwhich I called to his attention
laterDr. Leary began to divide his 8 circuits into a 24-stage Periodic
Table of Evolution (see diagram). Leary also began attempting to correlate
this with the Periodic Table of Elements in chemistry.
The eight families of elements are:
The first four families, Leary argues, are terrestrial; that is, they
are heavy and tend to fall to Earth. The second four familes are
extraterrestrial; that is, they tend to float off into space. Similarly, he
says, the first four circuits of the nervous system are terrestrial; their
function is to control survival and reproduction at the bottom of the
4,000-mile gravity well in which we presently live. The second four
circuits, then, are extraterrestrial; they will come into full play only
when we live normally in zero-gravityin free space.
- Noble Gases