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4. Gold: Michaelmas, Phi Days and the Milky Way

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

10th-century gold and enamel Byzantine icon of St Michael, in the treasury of the St Mark's Basilica, Wikimedia Commons

We've looked at the links between the Mont Saint-Michel, Saint Michael's Mount and Stonehenge. How do these relate to the other places on the Michael alignment, such as Skellig Michael, Sacra di San Michele, Monte Sant' Angelo, and the others on the way to Israel? What about the English Michael alignment? What can we learn from the various orientations of these lines?

Skellig Michael

Another rock surrounded by sea, named after the archangel... yawn. Except, it's also another amazing place! The waiting list for tickets to get there is pretty long, especially after Luke Skywalker spent some time there.

But it's not just the physical similarity to the other two Michael places we've looked at so far that makes it special, nor the fact that it is roughly aligned to them, nor even its amazing bee-hive huts. All of these things put together, its remoteness, its starkness, its history have to be considered with the fact that it's the beginning of the famous Michael - Apollo - Artemis line that stretches from the most westerly part of Europe to the middle East, at Mount Carmel. And the distance between the Mont Saint-Michel and Skellig Michael is 454.95 miles. That's the distance between Saint Michael's Mount and the Mont Saint-Michel divided by ten and then squared. It's also the distance between the Mont-Saint Michel and Saint Michael's Mount plus 248.83 miles, which is 1/100th of the meridian circumference of the Earth (24,883.2 miles).

The view from Skellig Michael of Little Skellig, By mym, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The neighbouring island, Little Skellig, is home to thousands of puffins. You can just about see on the photo here the mainland in the distance behind it. There are plenty of other islands around here, Puffin Island, Scarriff, Deenish, Horse Island, some of these are just as dramatic looking, jagged, sharp, threatening even, like the heads of sea dinosaurs that have swum up for air. There was once an oratory and a church on Scarriff Island. So why is Skellig Michael the one that has been considered so special for centuries?

For one thing, it is the furthest to the westerly places in Europe, second only to the Blasket islands, 20 miles or so to the north, are slightly further west again. The next place after that is Newfoundland, almost 2,000 miles away. Being so remote, Skellig Michael could be the starting point (or the end) of a journey. I'm taking it as the starting point of the European Michael line.

The azimuth of the line linking this island to Saint Michael's Mount is 115.42 degrees. What is the significance of this? How exactly does it relate to the sun? Or to the moon? And is there a line with a similar azimuth to the English Michael line, crossing Ireland from Skellig?

I thought it best to start with trying to figure out the movements of the sun as seen from Skellig Michael, and I found a great website called You put in the location and the date that you want and you can get the number of hours of daylight and the orientation of the rising and setting sun, amongst other things.

I wondered what date to pick first. I thought the most obvious would be to check the dates on which the feast of Saint Michael is celebrated, so 29th September, and in France, 8th May.

Skellig Michael

29 September Sunrise 05:39:03 Sunset 17:25:07 Azimuth sunrise 92.69° Azimuth Sunset 266.99°

Number of hours of daylight 11:46:04

8 May Sunrise 04:01:08 Sunset 19:17:18 Azimuth sunrise 60.57° Azimuth Sunset 299.73°

Number of hours of daylight 15:16:10

I wasn't really sure what to make of these figures, or what to do with them. So I decided to check to see on Google Earth what was 92.69° away from Skellig Michael, the line of the first point of sunrise on Michaelmas, 29th September.

I was very very surprised to find that it led straight to the Stonehenge area.

A Skellig Michael Michaelmas Line


I just stared at the screen not knowing how to interpret this. The first moments of Michaelmas sunrise at Skellig Michael were linked with Stonehenge, all the way over in England? For some reason, it just seemed unlikely. And yet, why not? It seems clear to me now that people in the distant past were good astronomers and cartographers, the capability was there. And the will was there, plenty of structures from the Neolithic and Bronze Age are oriented to something or other in the night sky. And are not most churches, at least the ones built before the last century, aligned with the sunrise of the feast day of the saint they are supposed to be dedicated to? And aren't the Michael lines in England and Europe connected to the path of the sun, and directly linked to Stonehenge, as we've seen in earlier posts? It kind of made sense, but still, it was strange. Even with the connections I'd found between Stonehenge, the Mont Saint-Michel and Saint Michael's Mount, I hadn't expected this, perhaps I should have done.

The line I traced didn't actually go through the main part of Stonehenge, the famous ring of stones, but just under a mile to the north, between the Great Cursus and Durrington Walls. The line did go past or through some interesting shapes on the landscape, none of which I could identify, circular shapes, cigar shapes. I looked on the interactive map created by Historic England but none of the places I wanted to know about were labelled. ( I have marked them below with question marks.

The exact orientation of the line from Skellig to Stonehenge itself is 92.80° and the distance is 377.87 miles. From Skellig it runs through Kerry and Cork, through Kinsale before hitting the sea, then over the Cheddar Gorge, skirting a couple of very old churches on the way, such as St Mary's in Shrewton, St Mary's in Frome, St Andrew's Church in

Radstock, Holcombe, and St Andrew's in Compton Bishop. The line also passes close by the Giant's Grave Long Barrow in Southmead, Charmborough Hill Chambered Tomb, and Big Tree Long Barrow.

I wondered why the line between Skellig and Stonehenge wasn't more precise, why it didn't head for the henge itself. I drew the line from different parts of Skellig Michael, just to see if it made a difference, but it didn't much. But then I figured that the sunrise azimuth for the days before and after would have been way off the mark. If the intention of whoever designed this layout was to mark the Stonehenge - Skellig line exactly with this date, then actually the 29th September was the best you could do. The previous day, the 28th September, has a sunrise azimuth of 92.06, and the following day has an azimuth of 93.32 which are both way off. If you draw lines for both of these days, and measure the distance between them in the Stonehenge area, they are 8.3 miles apart. So each of these sunrise lines from Skellig, 28th, 29th and 30th September, projected all the way to Stonehenge is just over 4 miles apart from the next. So to have a sunrise line that is just under a mile off the main event in Stonehenge is probably as good as you can get.

What does this mean? Why the 29th September? Is it purely to mark the link between two already well established places? Already there are links between the positioning of Stonehenge with Lundy, the Mont Saint-Michel and Saint Michael's Mount. Now with Skellig too, there is a direct connection. Michaelmas is a famous religious feast day, it has been celebrated for centuries, though in recent decades perhaps less so.

Michaelmas is also known as the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels (depending on the religion).

It's not just a day of religious importance, it's also an important day in the calendar as it's one of the quarter days: even though it's a week after the autumn equinox, it's Michaelmas rather than the equinox which marks the beginning of this new quarter of the year. It is also one of the quarter days of the financial and legal year, and until a few decades ago it also gave it's name to the autumn term in schools and universities.

There's a flower associated with Michaelmas: the Michaelmas daisy. It's worth noting because the flower is associated with coastal salty places, just like the mounds associated with Michael in North West Europe, and is named after the Greek word for star. I was wondering about a connection with stars when I glanced over to my left and noticed something very like the Michaelmas daisies (as they are known) I was reading about on my computer screen in a vase right next to me: a mix of sunflower, aster and eucalyptus leaves. How strange that I've had these flowers for almost a week now and I never thought to wonder what the purple ones were.

Strange too that they go so well with sunflowers, which, like the Michael mounds, are connected to the path of the sun.

It occurred to me I hadn't checked what lay on the azimuths for Michaelmas sunrises from the other Michael places. Nor from Stonehenge itself. So here they are below.

Saint Michael's Mount 29 September sunrise azimuth 92.61°

I traced a line on Google Earth from Saint Michael's Mount with this azimuth. Nothing much, The English Channel. A bit of Northern France, but nothing of note.

Then I checked the same thing for the Mont Saint-Michel.

Mont Saint-Michel 29 September sunrise azimuth 92.55°.

I traced a line along this azimuth. Also nothing. Just north of Chartres, but not much else that I could see.

So it seems, for now, the Michaelmas date applies specifically to Skellig Michael.

And Stonehenge?

Stonehenge 29 September sunrise azimuth 92.65°

I drew a line from Stonehenge in that direction, on Google Earth, which brought me less than half a mile south of the famous Grand-Place in Brussels, and just south also of the Cathedral, dedicated to none other than Saint Michael, and to Saint Gudula, the two patron saints of the city.


The azimuth from Stonehenge to the Grand-Place is in fact 92.47° and to the cathedral 92.45°. Sunrise azimuths for the previous and following days are 92.03° and 93.27°, so in fact the Michaelmas sunrise azimuth from Stonehenge is in fact the best fit for Brussels.

How odd to find a connection between England and Brussels just weeks before Brexit. And it's also a link with Ireland, and line drawn from Ireland, a line connecting the most complicated aspects of the Brexit conundrum. It's the opposite of a border, it's a line that brings places together, but I don't suppose it could ever hold much sway in resolving the impasse that is Brexit (or as it should properly be called, 'UK-exit', as Northern Ireland is forced to leave the EU too, together with Britain - perhaps if people had called it UK-exit from the start, they might have given the Irish border more thought). You can't help but notice sunrise in Ireland points to England, or that sunrise in England points to Brussels, and just as Ireland sought to escape England, England seeks to escape Brussels.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels, Wikimedia commons

The distance in miles between the centre of Stonehenge and the cathedral is 270.64, and in feet you can measure exactly 1,429,000 - henge to cathedral. This is also close to 100 x (19.008 / 7), which is 271.542857. There are 19.008 / 7 feet in an Astronomical Megalithic Yard.

There's a public garden, a play area nearby, with paths in the shape of a cross and circle, and the distance to that from Stonehenge is exactly 270 miles, but it is entirely modern I think.

It's hard to make out from the pictures on Google Earth, and having never been, I didn't know that there was an island here, that, in fact, the original settlement of what was to become Brussels was on a small island in the river Senne. A chapel. And for a long time, just a chapel, before there was a town around it. And it seems this is apparently older then the first chapel on the Mont Saint-Michel, as the bishop of Avranches had his vision of the Archangel Michael, and from that the conviction that he must build a chapel, in the year 708. The chapel was first built on this island in Brussels in the year 580, by one of these awful Saint Martin of Tours types, who went around destroying pagan shrines and giving non-Christians a very hard time. Whether the chapel he built was in the place of one of these pagan shrines, I don't know.

Glass window of the Maes-chapel of the St. Michael and Gudula cathedral in Brussels, depicting St. Michael, by Viktorhauk - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In both the Mont Saint-Michel and Brussels, it seems, megaliths were there first anyway, but they are long gone now, all that's left is traces of the people associated with megalithic culture. Perhaps there was once a dolmen on the Grand-Place. The two World Wars left the city relatively unscathed, but the worst of the destruction has been since the sixties, with famous landmarks absorbed by relentless building. I tried to see if I could find my bearings on an old map of Brussels from 1574, but it's very hard, it is a completely different city.

This next map is interesting as you can see the fortifications.

What both of these maps fail to show is any sign of Saint Michael, which makes you wonder if the city's connection with the archangel remained constant throughout the middle ages, or if someone at some point in the last few hundred years decided to revive the status of Saint Michael and put him on the map. On the second map, the now cathedral (it was formerly just a magnificent church) is referred to simply as 'Templum S. Gudula'. The websites, however, all say that the church was dedicated to both saints from the start.

The idea I've been following so far is that many places associated with Saint Michael were of pre-Christian importance, possibly at least as old as Stonehenge, and that somehow, Christianity, though destructive and violent towards anything and anyone not in keeping with its ideas, somehow managed to absorb many pre-Christian symbols and beliefs. But perhaps the fortunes of many of the deities and ideas accepted or reinterpreted by Christianity were mixed, sometimes in favour, at other times not. This might explain why a chapel originally dedicated to Saint Michael in Brussels became a church primarily known as Saint Gudula, before finally becoming the church, and then cathedral, of Saints Michael and Gudula. Perhaps the pilgrims needed to be told about the saint whose relics they might actually see, Saint Gudula, as opposed to an archangel's. There is a legend attached to Saint Gudula: one night she was walking to the Saint-Sauveur chapel in the village of Moortsele when the devil blew out her lantern and started laughing. She was scared but she prayed, and who should come down and relight it but the Archangel Michael. She was never troubled again by the devil. Once again, the archangel is associated with light, and the defence of humans against evil and darkness.

The Brussels Meridian marked by a brass line in the floor and the window the light comes through on the solstice, by Maxifred, Wikimedia Commons

The cathedral really is magnificent, a gigantic piece of filigree, every part of it pointing skywards. Inside, it is filled with statues and stained glass, many of them depicting Saint Michael, and there's a relic called the True Cross, apparently made in England a thousand years ago. There is also a reference to a meridian that goes right through the cathedral: on the solstices, a beam of sunlight shines through a hole in the window of the south transept, onto brass nails in a line in the floor representing this meridian.

This is quite enigmatic in that it's not an important meridian, being E 4° 21'34.56''. I was half expecting it to be a nice round figure. I had a look to see if anything of note was also on the same meridian, either North or South, but I found only the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor in Nîmes, the meridian running through the square in front of the church. It also runs right through the centre of the famous arena in the city, and not far from the Roman temple known as the Maison Carrée.

If anything, the latitude of the church seems more interesting: a line running just past Brussels Cathedral building is 50°50'50.50''N, and the centre of the building is 50°50'52.28''N. The 50°50'50.00''N parallel runs through the top North corner of the Grand-Place, through the Concept Hotel. I had a look for other places of interest on the same latitude, but I didn't find much. So if the longitude is significant, it must be by association with some other place I suppose, and any importance the latitude has must be because of its association with the number 5.

The Grand-Place is an enigmatic place; the square is important to alchemists, as I found out by watching a series called Le Voyage Alchimique, presented by an alchemist called Patrick Burensteinas. It's not on YouTube anymore, sadly, but this little free snipet is worth watching. (It's in French) or in English.

It shows Brussels, and in particular the Grand-Place, as good place to start a pilgrimage to Compostela, via such places as the Mont Saint-Michel, Chartres, Rocamadour, and Notre-Dame de Paris.

The Brussels Town Hall stands 96 metres (315 ft) tall and is capped by a 3-metre (12 ft) statue of Saint Michael slaying a demon.By Alina Zienowicz Ala z - Own work, Wikimedia Commons

The Grand-Place seems to be full of symbolism, in its statues and ornamentations. It's on the UNESCO Heritage list, and yet most of it is quite new, bombed in 1695, defaced during the French Revolution, what is there now is what the XIXth century townspeople thought the city ought to look like. In the palace gardens, nearby, you can see the shape of what seems to be a gigantic compass, absent from the early maps above. As it is a masonic symbol, I had a look into it, and it seems that there may be a link with a masonic lodge called Minerva and the Three Palm Trees. Apparently, the person who's idea the park's design was, the prince of Stahemberg, was a member of the Loge Minerve aux Trois Palmiers de le Stricte Observance Templiere - a link with the Middle East, then, that is with the Knights Templar and Jerusalem. The main sculptor, Gilles-Lambert Godecharle, was also a Free-mason.

The link is interesting in two other ways, one that, if it is a masonic compass, then there may be some kind of connection with sacred geometry, and the other is that Minerva is associated with spears and snakes. Also, Minerva's Greek counterpart Athena gave her name to a city which is on the European Michael line: Athens.

Minerva was celebrated all over the Roman Empire, and is directly linked to the baths at a place near Stonehenge, in the city of Bath. Another possible connection here is that the Romans celebrated her festival from the 19th to the 23rd of March, Spring equinox, and very close to another figure associated with snakes, Saint Patrick, though he carries a staff instead of a spear.


Medaille (Bijou) von 1766 der Loge Minerva zu den drei Palmen, Von R. (Medailleur) - Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, Inv. MS/799/2004, Gemeinfrei,

So is this a new Michael line? They seem to be multiplying. Skellig to Stonehenge, Stonehenge to Brussels? Where to next?

I had a look on for the sunrise azimuth for the 29th September in Brussels, which was 92.63°. I drew a line from the cathedral along this orientation which took me to Aachen, which also has a magnificent cathedral. I didn't realise till now, looking it up on Wikipedia, that Aachen was the same place as Aix-la-Chapelle, the burial place of Charlemagne, who began construction in about 796. I went to school in France and I remember learning all about Charlemagne, and how he split up the kingdom into three parts so each of his sons could inherit a nice chunk of it, which was, predictably, a disaster. I remember that he got the pope to crown him but recommended to his sons that they crown themselves. Not a man then, to pander to others, least of all the pope. And yet a man who took religion very seriously.

The palace he built is gone, but his chapel remains. You can see on the picture below how Byzantine it looks, and it is a reminder of how much early Christians were influenced by the East. I checked, out of interest, to see if the line from Skellig and Stonehenge via Brussels to Aachen was at all in the direction of Istanbul...., but no.

Interioir of the palatine chapel at Aachen, by Velvet - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Was Charlemagne aware of a Michael line? Why did a king of France have his palace and final resting place built in what is now Germany, that is to say, right at the edge of his vast kingdom? The usual answer is that he went for the healing waters, Aachen being a spa city. What was the significance of the place to him? Are there any links to Brussels?

Brussels Cathedral - Aachen Cathedral is in fact 93.16° and 75.68 miles.

The sunrise azimuths for the previous day is 92.01°, and the following day, 30 September, is 93.24°, so the 29th September is the best fit for a sunrise in Brussels to line up between the two cathedrals.

Chapel of St Nicholas and St Michael, Aachen Cathedral, by Lokilech, Wikimedia Commons

There's a chapel dedicated to St Nicolas and St Michael in the cathedral, so again the Michael connection remains. Perhaps the connection remains with Minerva too: Aachen was a Roman bath town, like Bath, and once had a football team named after Minerva.

The next thing was to see where the sunrise azimuth for Michaelmas in Aachen took me.


Beethoven, in 1803, painted by Christian Horneman, by Shakti - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

To Bonn! Birthplace of Beethoven, and home of one of Germany's oldest churches, Bonn Minster.

The azimuth of Michaelmas sunrise in Aachen is 93.24°, which takes us pretty much to Bonn Minster, but the Michael connections are wearing thin here. I can't see anything much to do with Michael, apart from a statue of the archangel in the university. There is a church dedicated to Saint Michael, but it seems to be a modern structure.

Aachen Cathedral to Bonn Minster is 44.62 miles and 93.28°.

If nothing else, the link with Beethoven makes it a special one I guess.

After that I'm not sure if there any more connections to follow. The line goes through Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Moldova. It kind of peters out. But then you have to wonder what kind of line it was in the first place, how did it ever peter in? After all, it was just a Michaelmas connection between Skellig Michael and Stonehenge in the beginning, a sunrise connection, held together by a thread, a beam. Then I'd follow a sunrise azimuth and find another Michael place at a random distance. Where is the logic in this line? First a stretch of 377.87 miles, then 270.64, then 75.68 and then 93.28 miles. Basically I've drawn a sunrise Michaelmas line and stopped when I found an interesting place with a Michael connection, then done the same thing again till I ran out of interesting places. It is like a sparrow hoping here and there.

1026.42 miles away from Bonn Minster is the cathedral of Saint Michael in Kiev. I looked to see if I could make it fit into the logic of my line so far, but I couldn't. The orientation of the line from Bonn to Kiev is 81.95°. It just doesn't work. I looked again at the places between Bonn and Kiev, I drew Michaelmas sunrise lines from Bonn to spots 75 or so miles away and drew another Michaelmas sunrise line from that point, and so on, but it came to nothing, or nowhere. It seemed like one big chapter of The Unconsoled, a vast central European space I knew nothing about, and I was like Ryder, trying to make sense of it all and failing. Had I found a Gustav or a Brodsky I might have stayed. On the plus side, though, I realised that if Kiev didn't fit with a Skellig Stonehenge Brussels line, then maybe there is a logic to this line after all.

So, is there a Michaelmas path from Skellig to Bonn, via Stonehenge, Brussels and Aachen? It's an odd one. Perhaps, like Brodsky, you'd need an ironing board as a crutch to walk along it. I'm inclined to keep it and put it in a cabinet of curiosities. Why this azimuth? Why this date? Does Michaelmas mark an important day thousands of years old?

What's the other time of year when the sun rises at this azimuth from Skellig Michael? I looked on, and the closest match in spring is the 15th March, with a sunrise azimuth of 92.53°. (It's 92.69°on the 29th September.) That's just two days before St Patrick's day, and close to the spring equinox, but not close enough to really make a connection. And for that matter, the 29th September is very close to the Autumn equinox, but not close enough. So perhaps the Skellig - Stonehenge line marks the geographical link between two already established places, or there is some other thing, perhaps something like a star rising, that Skellig and Stonehenge mark in their relationship with each other.

Back West again. What about that other feast day for Michael, the 8th May?

A 7th- 8th May Michael Alignment

I checked the Mont Saint-Michel, in Normandy, as it's there really, not in Kerry, that the 8th May is the Saint Michel feast day. I had a look at the figures.

Mont Saint-Michel

Date Hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise Azimuth sunset

8 May 14:54:47 62.67° 297.6°

For some reason, before I checked the sunrise azimuths, I had a look at the number of daylight hours there were. I'd been reading the Book of Enoch (don't ask...) and there's a bit when they discuss the ratios of day to night, 7 parts to 11 parts, or 9 to 9 parts, always a total of 18 parts. I thought that was an unusual way of looking at time, and that it may have been commonplace a long time ago. So I checked the ratio of day to night at the Mont Saint-Michel on the Saint Michel day.

14 hours 54 minutes and 47 seconds are 14.913 hours and 24 is 1.60933. Surprisingly close to phi! I was not expecting that. There's a golden ratio between daylight and darkness on the feast day of Saint-Michel in Normandy?

Date Hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise Azimuth sunset

7 May 14:51:51 63.11° 297.16°

6 May 14:48:52 63.57° 296.71°

The 7th May was an even better match, with, in decimals, 14.864167 hours, and 24 / 14.864167 is 1.61462. The 6 May has 14.8144 hours of daylight and 24 / 14.8144 is 1.620045. An exact match would be 14.833127 hours (24 / 1.618 = 14.833127). If you were to pick a day that had a phi ratio of light to darkness, then these two days would be it: not exact matches, but as good as you'll get, except perhaps some years, either one of these dates might have an exact match. Divide 24 hours by 1.618, you get 14.833127. That's 14 hours, 49 minutes and 59.26 seconds. So a phi day would have a day or a night that's 14 hours, 49 minutes and 59.26 seconds long. (That leaves 9 hours 10 mins and 0.74 seconds for the other 'half')

So these dates are phi dates, the 7th May being the best, on, for 2019.

Avranches (France, Normandy), Basilique Saint-Gervais, by Palamède, Wikimedia Commons

It's hard not to notice that the azimuths here point to familiar vanishing lines. The orientation of the sunrise on these dates is very close to the orientation of a Normandy alignment (already well established) that runs close by the Mont Saint-Michel, from the Mont-Dol to Avranches: azimuth roughly 67°. Mont-Dol to the Basilica in Avranches is in fact 66.78° and 20.40 miles, and Mont-Dol to the Eglise Notre-Dame is 66.87° and 20.14 miles, both of these churches being exactly on an alignment with the Mont-Dol.

Mont Dol Chapel, Martin Burns, Wikimedia Commons

Mont-Dol to Mont Saint-Michel is a little different, azimuth 68.99°, and 12.60 miles, the line passes half a miles north of the island. The line from Mont Saint-Michel to both churches in Avranches is 63.49°, which is pretty much the azimuth of the rising sun on 6 - 7 May (this year, sun rise azimuths being 62.11° and 63.57° for these two dates.) And as we've seen, the 6 - 7 May have close to a phi ratio of daylight to night time hours.

Is it significant that the Mont Saint-Michel is situated very close to a phi point in the Mont-Dol - Avranches line? 20.4 / 12.6 = 1.619. Perhaps I'm just seeing golden ratios everywhere now.

In any case, Mont Saint-Michel - Avranches has almost the same orientation (with a difference of 0.08°) as sunrise on the 7th May, which is the day with a phi ratio between daylight and darkness. The 7th, more than the 8th, of May defines this sun path. Does this explain the importance of these places?

The Mont Saint-Michel to Avranches Basilica line extends all the way to Rouen. We've seen that Rouen Cathedral and Abbey are exactly the same distance from Stonehenge as are Saint Michael's Mount and the Mont Saint-Michel.

Mont Saint-Michel - Rouen Cathedral: 63.80° , 130.76 miles. Mont Saint-Michel to Avranches Notre-Dame church and Basilica: 63.39°.

I think the connection between the Mont Saint-Michel and the golden number phi is intriguing. If I can find similar connections in other Michael places, then perhaps it's not just a fluke. Are there any other sunrise paths? It's a path that can be seen for only a few minutes at sunrise, only twice a year, as it depends on the sun being in exactly the right place in order to guide you. In his poem 'The Path', Edward Thomas wrote: 'The path, winding like silver, trickles on'. The watery landscape around the Mont-Saint Michel is silvery and sinuous, but this kind path is made of light beams, straight and focused, more like gold than silver.

Golden Lines and Phi Days

The 7th May at the Mont Saint-Michel has close to a phi ratio between day and night. It's a 'phi day'. So what are the other phi days at the Mont Saint-Michel? I had another look at

Mont Saint-Michel

Number of hours of sunlight Azimuth of sunrise

26 January 09:10:38 118.04°

7 May 14:51:51 63.11°

6 August 14:50:29 63.04°

15 November 09:13:03 117.5°

You could say the 63° azimuth is for a summer phi day sunrise, what about the winter sunrise on phi days? Their azimuth is quite close to the azimuth of the Mont Saint-Michel - Sacra di San Michele line, the Sacra being the next official point on the European Michael line.

Mont Saint-Michel - Sacra di San Michele: 117.03°

It's close enough, I think, to make a connection between sunrise at the Mont Saint-Michel on a phi day and the direction of the Sacra di San Michele from the Norman mount.

Also, Le Mans is sometimes considered a contender for being on the Michael line. Mont Saint-Michael to Le Mans Cathedral is 89.90 miles and 118.24°. That's just 0.20° off the 26th January sunrise azimuth - a phi day sunrise.

If you wanted to mark the sunrise azimuth for a winter phi day from the Mont Saint-Michel with a cathedral, you couldnt get much more exact than the location of Le Mans cathedral.

So it seems that on the date where there is a phi ratio between daylight and darkness at the Mont Saint-Michel, the first moment of sunrise points to the nearest basilica, at Avranches, or to the Michael line itself, via Le Mans cathedral.

What about the other places dedicated to Saint Michael, do the phi days there, when daylight and darkness are in phi ratio, have any interesting alignments attached to their sunrises?

I found that at Skellig Michael, the phi dates were: 1st / 2nd February, 1st May, 12th August, 9 November. (There is never a day with an exact match, you have to pick the closest, every day has about five minutes more or less daylight than the previous)

Skellig Michael

Number of hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise

2nd February 9:11:54 116.75°

1st February 9:08:30 117.25°

1st May 14:51:57 64.11°

12th August 14:50:24 64.01°

9 November 09:11:11 116.66°

The line running from Skellig Michael to Saint Michael's Mount is 115.42°. The closest of these days to a winter phi day is the 9th of November, and the sunrise azimuth is 1.24° more than the Skellig Michael Mount line. It's close, but not perfect. Still, I think it's close enough to consider a connection between the two. A closer match would be the 7th of November, with a sunrise azimuth of 115.65°. There are 9 hours, 18 minutes and 01 seconds of daylight on that day at Skellig.

Christ's Saddle, the steps, by mym, wikimedia commons

I don't know how much all these figures might have changed by, over the centuries. I know that the angle of the tilt of the earth's axis has changed, it could have been half a degree greater apparently. It's now 23.5°, and it may have been 24° degrees in the Bronze age or late Neolithic. It may be that, with a change in the obliquity of the earth, the phi days would occur on different dates, maybe a day or two earlier or later, but I think that the azimuth of the rising sun would still stay the same relative to the number of hours of daylight on a particular day, regardless of the calendar day, at the same latitude.

What about the daylight hours ratio for Skellig Michael for the 29th May, Michaelmas?

There are 11:46:04 hours of daylight, which is 11.76778 hours. That leaves 12.23222 hours of darkness, or vice versa.

The daylight to darkness ratio is: 24 / 11.76778 = 2.039467 (or 24 / 12.23222 = 1.962031)

Or divide the 24 hours into 18 parts, as they do in the book of Enoch, and you get 8.825835 parts daylight to 9.174165 parts darkness.

The numbers don't stand out stand out as being very interesting.

Saint Michael's Mount

There are four phi days at Saint Michael's Mount: 4 May, 8 August, 12 November and 29 January.

Number of hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise

29 January 09:09:28 117.66°

4 May 14:51:45 63.63°

8 August 14:53:31 63.06°

12 November 09:12:19 117.07°

13 November 09:09:17 117.52°

The winter Phi Day in November is in fact somewhere in between the 12th and 13th November.

These orientations are very close to both Michael lines:

Saint Michael's Mount - Glastonbury Tor: 58.70°, to Avebury: 58.82°

Saint Michael's Mount to Mont Saint-Michel: 118.32°.

And to Saint Michael's Mount - Stonehenge: 63.96°.

That's even closer.

(For Star Wars fans: 4 May, may the fourth be with you - first, a Skellig Michael connection and now a Michael Mount connection!!)

So are these phi day sunrises the explanation for the alignments running from Saint Michael's Mount?

Take the 29th January, the closest to a winter phi day. The sunrise azimuth is 0.66° off the actual line running from Saint Michael's Mount and the Mont Saint-Michel.

And the sunrise azimuth for the 4th May is 0.33° off the actual azimuth of the line running from Saint Michael's Mount to Stonehenge.

I think that if you envisage the Michael alignments as curved lines, as a series of sunrise lines from one place to the next, they make more sense. Detractors of the whole Michael line idea have said it can't exist because it's not even straight. Or that if it's straight, how come people had maps with a Mercator projection five thousand years ago to make it straight on such a projection? Thinking of the line as a series of sunrise sighting lines on specific days, chosen for example for their sunlight to darkness ratio (being as close to phi as possible) makes sense of the Michael lines, I think. It doesn't explain the criteria for the distances between these places. Nor does it explain how a great level of accuracy was achieved over long distances, but I have a feeling it's to do with star charts designed for navigation purposes (such as are mentioned in the book 1434 by Gavin Menzies - a very interesting book).

So what day of the year does the sun (currently) rise at the Mount at an azimuth that matches the orientation of the line from Saint Michael's Mount to Stonehenge, 63.96°?

5 May: 63.12°

4 May : 63.63°

3 May 64.09°

So the 4th May is the best fit. And it's also a phi day, with 14:51:45 daylight hours - very close to 14 hours, 49 minutes and 59.26 seconds, which would be exactly the amount of daylight to be phi more than darkness.

So the Saint Michael Mount - Stonehenge line is oriented to a phi day sunrise as seen from the Mount.

What sunrise date fits best with the Michael Mount - Glastonbury - Avebury line, azimuth 58.70°?

15 May 58.64°

14 May 59.06°

The best fit is the 15th May.

The 15th May comes up at Skellig Michael - see below. The Skellig - Dublin - Durham line is oriented to sunrise on the 15th May. Here we have another important alignment on a 15th May sunrise. What's the significance of the 15th May?

I looked up feast days for the 15th May. I got this:

St. Achillas, St. Andrew, St. Bertha, St. Britwin, St. Caesarea, St. Caesarn, St. Cassius of Clermont, St. Dionysia, St. Dymphna, St. Gerebrand, St. Hallvard, St. Hilary of Galeata

St. Isidore, the Farmer, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, St. Nicholas the Mystic, St. Peter and St. Waldalenus.

All I could see was plenty of no Michaels or Marys. Interesting names though. At a pinch, Saint Peter could be loosely compared to Michael in his role as keeper of keys to heaven: after all the archangel Michael is a psychopomp, who helps the souls of dead get to where they want to go (or where they deserve to go...).

So if the 15th May is significant, then maybe it is for reasons lost to the existing religious groups. But what?

One possible reason is that it's kind of a phi day in that if you divide the number of days between the summer solstice and the spring equinox by phi, you get a date close to this. Spring Equinox at Saint Michael's Mount seems to be, according to, on the 18th March, when you get 12:01:14 hours daylight. Summer Solstice at the same latitude seems to be on the 21st June, with 16:23:34 hours sunlight. That's a period of 95 days. Divide that by 1.618 and you get 58.714, which, from the 18th of March, brings us up to the 15th day of May (or the 15.714th to be exact!). So the 15th May marks a phi point between equinox and solstice, perhaps that's the reason for it's importance.

Whatever the reason, the English Michael line is oriented to a 15th May sunrise, and a 15th May sunrise as seen from Skellig Michael shares an azimuth with a line that runs through the heart of Dublin all the way to Durham Cathedral.

And to fit the line between the two Michael Mounts best?

On 27 January, the azimuth of sunrise from Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall is 118.52°, and on that date there are 09:03:43 hours of daylight. (The azimuth of the line running from Saint Michael's Mount to the Mont Saint-Michel is 118.32°.) This is quite close to the 9 hours 10 mins and 0.74 seconds of daylight needed for it to be a phi day.

And what about the line from Saint Michael's Mount to Durham Cathedral via Lundy? The azimuth is 25.52°. Could this correspond to the tilt of the earth at some remote date? That sounds a bit mad, as apparently the maximum angle of the earth's tilt is supposed to be 24.5°. However, there is some suggestion that an obliquity of 26.5° has occurred before. See the work of George Dodwell.


Stonehenge isn't dedicated to any saint, obviously, never having had a cathedral or church built on it, but it's worth looking at phi dates and Michaelmas here, as well as the 15th May.

Number of hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise

31 January 09:09:01 117.37°

1 May 14:48:11 64.49°

2 May 14:51:39 63.98

11 August 14:50:16 63.86°

10 November 09:11:48 116.77°

15 May 15:33:35 57.86°

29 September 11:46:32 92.65°

It's interesting that here, at Stonehenge, the summer phi day is in fact the same as May Day. So this is the latitude at which the celebrated May Day has phi ratios of daylight to darkness.

Another thing to point out is that, according to a plan by C A Newham, and published in Robin Heath's book Stonehenge Temple of Britain, May 1st corresponds to the orientation of the station stone rectangle: the axis that runs diagonally across this rectangle in a roughly westerly direction corresponds to sunset on May Day and August 5th. The other end of this diagonal is said to correspond to sunrise on November 5th and February 5th. These dates are five days off the phi days.

I don't know how exact that is, as I can't place the station stone rectangle exactly on Google Earth, you can't see well enough to place the lines. But gives a value of 295.82° for sun set on the 1st May.

In the opposite direction, this same diagonal line has an azimuth of 115.82°, (if you subtract 180) which is close to the orientation of the line from Skellig Michael to Saint Michael's Mount. What I do know about this station stone rectangle is that it forms a 5 x 12 rectangle, is that the North-South line runs through the top corner and the middle of the longer side. If this is correct, then the North South line forms a 5 : 6 : 7.81 triangle, and in that case, the orientation of the diagonal running from the top left hand side of the station stone rectangle to the bottom right must be 117.574°, which is a bit different to the sunset figures I found for the dates said to match this line. This azimuth is in fact closer to the phi day sunrise values above.

In terms of the plan by C A Newham, it strikes me as odd though that the 1st May and the 5th August have different sunset azimuths anyway: the 1st of May is 295.82°, and the 5th is 298.77°. The best match to the 1st May in August is in fact the 11th August, with a sunset azimuth of 295.82°. The 1st May and the 11th August are both phi days at Stonehenge.

Similarly for November 5th and February 5th, the two other dates mentioned: November 5th has a sunrise azimuth of 114.28° at Stonehenge, and February 5th is a little different, 114.9°.

If the orientation of the diagonal that runs across the rectangle in a roughly westerly direction is 117.574°, then in the other direction, i.e. + 180°, this becomes 297.574°. That's quite close to the 295.82° of a May Day sunset, but is there a closer match? According to, the 4th May has the closest sunset azimuth with 297.35°, and in August, the 9th is the closest match with a sunset azimuth of 296.83°. But I guess that on the ground, being actually there at sunrise and sunset is a different matter. I'm only looking at a computer screen.

I had a look on Google Earth but couldn't see anything of interest for the phi day sunrise azimuths. However, on the 15th May line from Stonehenge is St Albans Cathedral (exact azimuth 57.69°, just 0.17° off). Saint Alban was executed on the hill where the cathedral and abbey now stand sometime in the IIIrd or early IVth century. The place was important to pre-Christians, and St Albans was the Roman city of Verulamium, built next to a celtic settlement.

Saint Albans Cathedral, By Shakti - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Stonehenge - St Albans Cathedral: 75.28 miles, 57.69°.


I think Brussels counts as a place dedicated to Saint Michael.

Number of hours of daylight Azimuth sunrise

31 January 09:11:08 117.17°

2 May 14:49:30 64.19°

10 August 14:51:37 63.56°

11 November 09:10:49 117.04°

15 May 15:30:52 58.13°

29 September 11:46:48 92.63°

The 31st January sunset takes you to Mount Carmel, via Munich. The other direction (+ 180°) takes you to the centre of Bruges, and then on through England via Colchester (another important Roman city), then Wales, to Holyhead, and to Mayo in Ireland.

The other dates: nothing. Except the 29 September, to Aachen.

Munich and Mount Carmel aren't bad though.

Brussels Cathedral - Munich Cathedral (Frauenkirche) - 374.59 milews 117.26°

the winter phi day sunrise line runs just half a mile to the North of this cathedral, and what's more, beside the cathedral there is a huge church dedicated to Saint Michael.

Frauenkirche, Munich, Martin Falbisoner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Munich is the capital of Bavaria, and the third largest city in Germany. The name comes from an old German word meaning "by the monks", as an order of Benedictine monks ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich. The cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady.

Interior of St. Michael's Church, Munich, by Yelkrokoyade, Wikimedia Commons

Saint Michael's Church (Munich, Bavaria) - relief of Jesuit emblem, by Nheyob, Wikimedia Commons

Saint Michael's Church (Munich, Bavaria) - statue of Saint Michael, by Nheyob, Wikimedia Commons

An Irish Michael line to mirror the English and French ones

So France has a Michael line, roughly parallel to the English one, from the Mont Saint-Michel to Avranches, loosely including the Mont-Dol, and reflecting a summer phi day sunrise. I wondered if Ireland had one too. I just checked again to see the orientation of the English Michael line (not starting from Land's End, but from St Michael's Mount).

St Michael's Mount - Glastonbury Tor: 58.70°

St Michael's Mount - Avebury 58.82°

St Michael's Mount- Burrow Bridge 58.64°

Saint Michael's Mount - The Hurlers stone circles: 58.31°

Since these figures are not too far off the phi day sunrise azimuths at Skellig Michael, I thought I'd have a look along some lines drawn from Skellig with orientations matching the various phi day sunrises. A sort of a mirror image of the English Michael line, but starting on Skellig Michael instead, and making its way through Ireland. I was surprised to see that the May and August phi day sunrises link Skellig Michael to the Rock of Cashel, and the line goes right over two of the highest peaks in Ireland. This line goes on to Anglesey.

So perhaps there is an Irish 'Michael' line too then.

In the image below, I included the Skellig Michael - Saint Michael's Mount line, as it's only a few days out from being a phi day sunrise.

I also included the Durham connection, azimuth 57.21°, which corresponds to a 15th May sunrise.

The Round Tower, Rock of Cashel, my photo

The Rock of Cashel, my photo

(For all the best research on Irish megalithic sites, go to: and

So is this line a significant one? Is it connected to the European Michael line and the azimuth of sunrise on a phi day? Perhaps.

The Rock of Cashel is dedicated to Saint Patrick. Wouldn't it be nice if it had been dedicated to Michael? But hang on, what was that thing I watched on YouTube one time, about a constellation being the possible source of the Patrick story, Sagittarius it was I think, slaying a dragon-like constellation on the 17th March. I remember thinking that it was pretty similar to the Michael story, that maybe they were two offshoots of the same primary story. And now I find that a major site dedicated to Patrick is on a line projected from a Michael site. Then there's those snakes Patrick gets rid of.... Is this a Michael line or a Patrick line?

Just in case anyone was wondering, it's impossible for reptiles to live in Ireland except in the Reptile House in Dublin zoo, or as pets, it's just too cold for them.

The many coats of Sagittarius (or Ophiuchus?)

I couldn't remember where exactly online I had found this blog. Then while I was driving it came back to me. Mathisen, was the name. David Warner Mathisen is a writer I'd come across a while back, and I remember being quite intrigued by this post, about Saint Patrick's Day:

In this post, Mathisen suggests that the constellation Sagittarius pursues the constellation Scorpio, and is finally victorious. Sagittarius the archer is to the left of the Scorpio creature, and as a result of the motion of the planet, and the sky seeming to turn clockwise night after night, the constellation of Scorpio appears to die when it is eventually driven below the horizon, pursued by Sagittarius. Mathisen says : 'As the earth rotates on its axis towards the east, the stars we see appear to rotate towards the west, which is why Scorpio (located to the west of Sagittarius) appears to be "driven out" by Sagittarius as the earth turns throughout each night -- and why Scorpio will eventually sink out of sight into the western horizon before Sagittarius follows later on.'

Sagittarius, the archer, the dragon slayer.

Sant Jordi (Saint George), by Pere Niçard - Llompart, Gabriel (1987) La pintura gòtica a Mallorca, Barcelona: Ajuntament Palma ISBN: 84-343-0481-3., Public Domain,

Mathisen makes some more very interesting comments, firstly that the archer associated with the constellation Sagittarius is not necessarily a centaur figure, but can be a man, perhaps a man like Saint Patrick.

Why not go further with the idea and say perhaps a man on horseback, like Saint George? In this way the horse connection is maintained, though it is a man with legs of his own, not a half man half horse creature.

In this painting, the way that Saint George is portrayed is strikingly similar to the usual way Michael is portrayed: the boyish face, the armour, the lance cutting across the scene from top left to bottom right and hitting the dragon right inside its open mouth. The main difference is that here the assailant is on horseback and has no wings. In the background you can see a princess, and at the very back the city of Mallorca. Perhaps the girl symbolises the Virgen Mary, I don't know, the page on Wikimedia I got this from says she is a princess ('En primer pla Sant Jordi matant el drac, en segon pla la princesa i al fons la Ciutat de Mallorca i la badia').

This brings to mind King Arthur and the the lady Helen on the Mont Saint Michel, the niece of Duc Hoel. Could King Arthur be a Sagittarius figure too?

Mattheus Borrekens, « Saint Patrice », 1625-1670, estampe, by Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam., Wikimedia Commons

David Mathisen shows how Sagittarius can be interpreted as a man with no horse or centaur connection at all, just standing, with a long tunic, in the way Saint Patrick is usually shown. He is inspired by H.E. Rey, who drew outlines to the constellations to try and make them more like the figures they are supposed to represent in the myths we know. I had a look at some of these drawings and I liked them so much I bought the book.

I wrote to David Mathisen asking him for his views - in particular, are Michael and Patrick potentially the same figure? My initial idea was that if Patrick could be considered as derived from Sagittarius, could Michael be too? Or could either one be considered as any of the constellations that routinely send Scorpio packing under the horizon... Hercules, Ophiuchus…? It seemed to me that the important thing was that someone was defeating Scorpio, someone was slaying the snake or dragon. The important thing was that Scorpio was disappearing from sight for a while.

David got back to me, with lots of helpful comments, and said that in his view Michael was more likely to correspond to the constellation Ophiuchus, not Sagittarius. He also said that maybe Patrick could be considered as Ophiuchus too.

In this engraving of Saint Patrick, the man is less youthful than George or Michael, less fearsome. He has a beard, a book, he looks like a quiet type, a reader, a soldier, yes, but a retired one. But what is similar to the usual George and Michael depictions is the staff, from top left to bottom right, and the reptiles at his feet. An angel is doing the dirty work for him, stamping on and prodding the snakes. There's a dragon there as well as snakes, for some reason, looking worn out by the constant harassment.

In this way, it's not impossible to compare King Arthur with the constellation Sagittarius, as he goes around defeating dragons and saving (or in the case of Helen, failing to save) young ladies.

Artemis, Wikimedia Commons

The constellation Sagittarius can even be envisioned as a woman, or a goddess, and Mathisen suggests it may be 'the goddess Artemis (…) slaying the unfortunate youth Actaeon'. The link to Artemis could be interesting here, as she is directly linked to the southern half of the European Michael line. The Sagittarius / Ophiuchus - Scorpio pair could be connected to any two mythical or religious figures engaged in a struggle, especially if they are traditionally represented with the slayer to the left and the slain to the right, in the way that Michael, George and Artemis usually are. In fact, in another post, Mathisen even makes a comparison between Sagittarius and locusts, and Scorpio to the generation of vipers referred to in the bible, Matthew 3:7. (

Whatever constellation it is that slays Scorpio, Sagittarius or Ophiuchus, could also be Saint George, that dragon slaying horseman. Just as Saint Michael is the patron saint of France and Germany, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and Saint George is the patron saint of England. Funny how they all possibly derive from the same deity, the same constellation. Funny, also, to think that in battle, when pitted against each other, soldiers from these different nations were shouting out the name of their patron saint as a rallying cry or for protection, when in fact their patron saint was probably really the same figure as the enemy's patron saint.

The constallation Scorpio can of course be seen as the dragon. Mathisen writes that 'we can easily see how a figure associated with the constellation Sagittarius could be found in a story which involves driving out snakes, because the outline of Scorpio is often envisioned in myth as a serpent with multiple heads, or as a many-headed dragon of some sort'.

And if we cast our minds back to the images of Saint Michael, the monster being slain is often depicted as five or six-headed. There must a connection then. Below is one example, and the way the angel and the dragon stand is very similar to the two constellations in the sky as we see them, except that the dragon's head faces away from the archer in the sky. And what do Apollo and Saint Michael have in common, apart from having this alignment named after them? They slay monsters and ward off evil. And they are both associated with the sun and light, and high places. Perhaps the sun itself, especially at sunrise, was associated with this archetype deity. Apollo's main other name is Phoebus, which means bright. In parts of Northern Europe like Gaul, he was called Apollo Belenus, which means bright, and suggests a direct connection with the Celtic god Belenus, himself a sun god. Both Apollo and Saint Michael are sometimes referred to as the benefactors of mankind, as helpers. Like a link between the heavens and humans.

And what about Scorpio? The two seem to go together: the slayer and the slain.

In fact, in almost every painting of Saint Michael I've seen, Michael is depicted to the left and the dragon to the right. The positioning of the angel to the left and the dragon to the right in painting means I think that in people's minds, there was a direct link between the story of Saint Michael and the constellations above, which must have seemed obvious to them. Or at least it was a convention, linked to this knowledge at an earlier time. It seems to me that the constellation Saggitarius or Ophiuchus could equally well be the archangel Michael and the constellation scorpio the dragon.

Illustration from Johannes Kepler's book De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (On the New Star in Ophiuchus's Foot) indicating the location of the 1604 supernova, Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps all these figures, from Saint Patrick to Artemis, Apollo to Michael, the centaur Sagittarius to Saint George, and King Arthur, can be seen as the refracted light from the stars that make up Sagittarius, always through slightly different prisms. Scorpio is the dragon, the monster, the snake. The time of year at which the constellation Scorpio goes below the horizon, is defeated by whatever character, be it Patrick, Michael, Arthur, George, Apollo, etc.

David Mathisen then came back and said he favoured the idea of Patrick being derived from the same constellation as Michael, and that that constellation could well be Ophiuchus, not Sagittarius. He posted this really cool video:

and I'm really grateful to him, as he mentioned a few of the things I talk about here.

In my first post, I quoted Alfred Watkins, who compared a path to a jacket, worn by many different people over the years. Perhaps this jacket analogy could be made with the mythical figures or gods connected to these paths too. So now we're talking about the many coats of Ophiuchus, not Sagittarius! And it seems that Saint Patrick, the archangel Michael, Apollo, Saint George, maybe even King Arthur may have worn them. (From what I read, King Arthur was a myth long before he was a historical person - be it from Roman times or Medieval times, and he too is associated with Stonehenge and the Mont Saint-Michel)

So what star is it in Scorpio that hits the horizon at the exact date of Saint Patrick or Michaelmas? And at what epoch? Was the coincidence of two phenomena importance at some time: sunrise at equinox and one of the main stars of Scorpio descending below the horizon?

So, to go back to the question of the Skellig - Stonehenge 'of line', that extends all the way to Bonn, why the 29th September? Is it to do with Ophiuchus? Could the constellation that best fits St Michael and St Patrick have risen, in some epoch, just before the sun on the day Skellig Michael and Stonehenge are geographically united by the Skellig sunrise.... Or is it more likely that it has to do with Scorpio, perhaps the moment when its brightest star Antares touches the horizon?

I think the constellation Scorpio is the most obvious contender, as the images that have come down to us of the Archangel Michael slaying the dragon seem, on the whole, to fit the constellation, especially when considered next to Scorpio, as the slain dragon. Antares is the brightest star in Scorpio, and represents the dragon's heart, but in most of the pictures of Saint Michael, his lance spears the dragon through his mouth, not his heart. There doesn't seem to be a star to represent the dragon's mouth though. The nearest is the forehad, and this is represented by Delta Scorpii, or δ Scorpii, which is in fact a binary star, the main star of which is Dschubba. An added complication is that often the dragon is represented with six heads.

This is how the constellation Scorpio is shown on Wikipedia:

By Scorpius_constellation_map.png: Torsten Brongerderivative work: Kxx (talk) - Scorpius_constellation_map.png, CC BY-SA 3.0,

You can see this star, δ Scorpii, just below the word Libra, and it could be seen as one of three heads on this diagram. On other diagrams, more stars are included in the constellation, to make up 5 or 6 heads instead of 3. Sometimes these 'heads' are the scorpion's claws, or even the constellation Libra.

By Till Credner - Own work,, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Milky Way

Perhaps the most important thing about the constellations Ophiuchus and Scorpio is the Milky Way, our galaxy, that river in the night sky. If the constellation Ophiuchus is about light, being linked to solar and light deities, it is also about defeating darkness. Is it significant that such a strong figure is placed here?

A view of the Milky Way toward the constellation Sagittarius (including the Galactic Center), as seen from a dark site with little light pollution (the Black Rock Desert, Nevada). The bright object on the lower right is Jupiter, just above Antares., By Steve Jurvetson - Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

For me, the Milky Way has always been a bit of a mystery, having lived in suburbs with street lighting all my life. You just can't see it, you're not aware of it. But to people in the countryside, and to people in the world before street lighting, it's a huge part of the night canopy. The Milky Way divides the sky into two roughly equal parts.

Mathisen quotes a passage from Santillana and von Dechend:

'The Galaxy was and remains the belt connecting North and South, above and below. But in the Golden Age, when the vernal equinox was in Sagittarius, the Milky Way had represented a visible equinoctial colure; a rather blurred one, to be true, but the celestial North and South were connected by this uninterrupted broad arch which intersected the ecliptic at its crossroads with the equator. The three great axes were united the galactic avenue embracing the "three worlds" of the gods, the living and the dead. This "golden" situation was gone, and to Eridanus was bequeathed the galactical function of linking up the "inhabited world" with the abode of the dead in the (partly) invisible South. Auriga had to take over the northern obligations of the Galaxy, connecting the inhabited world with the region of the gods as well as possible. There was no longer a visible continuous bond fettering together immortals, living and dead: Kronos alone had lived among men in glorious peace.'

Santillana and von Dechend, p 258 - 259.

What's a visible equinoctial colure? defines colure as 'either of two great circles intersecting at right angles at the celestial poles and passing through the ecliptic at either the equinoxes or the solstices'. The equinoctial colure is 'a great circle which passes through the celestial poles and the ecliptic at the two equinoxes'. The other colure is the 'solstitial colure'.

So there was a time when the equinoctial colure and the Milky Way were sort of one, and this time was considered golden. Hmmm, more gold.. First we had the golden ratio, and now a golden time.

The coincidence of Milky Way and equinoctial colure seems to be quite important in terms of beliefs in the passage of souls to and from the wold of the living. This would have changed over time of course, every 72 years or so corresponds to 1 degree of rotation, in terms of precession. One cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, defined by the same website as 'the slow retrograde motion of equinoctial points along the ecliptic', lasts about 25,772 years (and 25,772 / 360 = 71.5889). And 25,772 / 2 = 12,886, so every 12,900 years or so, the Milky Way corresponds to the equinoctial colure. And the same goes for the solstitial colure. So when did the Milky Way last correspond to and equinoctial colure?

I think this was when the March equinox used to occur in Gemini. The Age of Gemini began c. 6,450 BCE and ended c. 4,300 BCE, or c. 6,006 BCE and ended c. 4,006 BCE, depending on various points of view.

The Chalcolithic (Stone-Bronze) period began about 4,500 BCE. In southeast Europe, agrarian societies first appeared in the 7th millennium BC. The first phase of Stonehenge dates to about 3,100 BCE, I think, as does Skara Brae, and Newgrange goes back to around 3,200 BCE.

Around 5,000 BCE, farming reaches the Atlantic side of Europe. The menhir alignments at Carnac in France are thought to be from around c. 4,250–3,750 BCE. The 6th and 7th milleniums are a time of rising sea levels, and the English Channel is formed around 7,000 BCE. Most of Doggerland was submerged around 6,500–6,200 BCE, and all the European coastlines were changed. There's not much left of Age of Gemini human activity, perhaps because of these rising sea levels - presumably then, as now, most human activity was near a river or the coast, and when the sea levels rise, all trace of settlements vanishes.

So if the Milky Way was like an equinoctial colure around 4,000 to 6,000 BCE, and the Milky Way being slap bang in the middle of the constellations Ophiuchus and Scorpio, this must be around the time at which Scorpio is defeated by Ophiuchus at the same time as sun rise at the spring or vernal equinox. In that way Ophiuchus is linked to the sun and light and some kind of force helping humankind, and Scorpio to darkness and evil, something to be defeated.

Michael and the dragon, Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Freres Limbourg

My idea, sparked by David Mathisen suggesting Sagittarius as Saint Patrick and Scorpio as the dragon or snake, and later changed to Ophiuchus instead of Sagittarius, is that the dates marked today by celebrations of St Michael or St Patrick, and marked also by the sunrise azimuth links over land and sea between various places dedicated to Michael and Patrick, might go back to a time when the sun and its helper, the constellation Ophiuchus, defeats the forces of darkness, i.e. night time and Scorpio. It's all very Manichean. Ophiuchus and the sun are working together to rid the world of darkness and evil. Ophiuchus is thus a protector of humans, and a deity associated with light and the sun. Imagine the dawn on which Antares goes below the horizon for the last time in a few months, and the sun rises...

Gemini - Apollo and Artemis are twins. Are they the twins which defeat darkness and bring light to the world? Are they Gemini?

You can see on this beautiful zodiacal wheel below that if the sun rises in Gemini it will set in Saggitarius, and vice versa. So if the sun was rising in Gemini for a time, at the spring equinox during the Age of Gemini, then half a precessional cycle later (or earlier) it would be rising in Saggitarius and setting in Gemini, on the same Spring Equinox.

At the present time, on the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, (it's hard not to say that in a singing voice) Saint Patrick's day is a few days before the spring equinox, and Michaelmas is a few days after the vernal equinox. The constellation Scorpio disappears from the night sky for a time around Saint Patrick's day in March. This does not correspond with the spring equinox but is very close. .

Wheel of the zodiac: This 6th century mosaic pavement in a synagogue incorporates Greek-Byzantine elements, Beit Alpha, Israel., NASA website:, Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Maksim., Public Domain,

In the painting by the Freres Limbourg of the archangel Michael above the Mont Saint-Michel, from the Very Rich Hours of the Duc de Berry, the archangel is actually made of sunbeams and the colour blue. He has stars on his chest, albeit in nice neat rows, not arranged in anything like a constellation. It's about as close as you can get to equating an archangel to a sun deity and a constellation, and possibly hinting at traditions earlier than Christian belief. The dragon is to the right, and it too has circular markings, as if to suggest a constellation. With the night sky invariably turning clockwise over the course of a night and over the course of a year, any constellation near the horizon is going to suffer at the hands of another constellation to the left, and is literally going to bite the dust sooner than the one to the left. The dragon's wound is to the neck here, and the blood from the wound drips down directly onto the great church at the Mont Saint-Michel, which benefits in this way directly from the slaying of the monster, the defeat of the forces of evil. The sun beam snake staff that Michael carries also points down to the church, blessing it with light and energy - here the snake seems to have positive associations as it would have done in pre-Christian times, perhaps signifying energy or kundalini, the snake is made out to benefit us all. It's a million miles away from the snake that Saint Patrick crushes, and yet it is all part of the same tradition. The snake in this painting has positive connotations, and in others, negative ones. It is the dragon here who signifies the forces of evil to be defeated. The snake as a pagan element becomes a symbol of paganism and it too has to be defeated, but this is not what happens here at least. Here the snake is associated with light and energy. There must have been for a long time in Christian Europe a slightly ambiguous value conferred on the snake, even well after Saint Patrick was applauded for getting rid of snakes in Ireland. After all, the painting above is medieval, and Saint Patrick from Roman times. Nevertheless, there is not much subtlety in the battle of light versus darkness, of good versus evil. This is very reminiscent of the Manicheans, very black and white. The fact that the archangel's staff of light points to the ground hints at the idea that there is darkness and trouble to be found in the human world itself, not just in the sky. It's interesting to see on the map below that Manicheanism is compatible, geographically, with the Michael - Apollo - Artemis line, from Britain to Greece and the Middle East, extending then all the way to Persia and China.

The spread of Manichaeism (300–500). World History Atlas, Dorling Kindersly.By Aldan-2 -, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Manicheans were all about the struggle between good and evil, darkness and light, and it's all a bit negative, in fact: they believed that over the course of time things only ever got worse, and light was in short supply, being returned gradually from our world to the place it came from originally. They weren't around for too long, having been persecuted and either killed by the Christians, or forcibly converted. Augustine himself was a Manichean for a time, but came to his senses and converted. The Zoroastrians were and are also into this dualism between good and evil, and in a lesser way today, so are Christians. Perhaps this duality goes back thousands of years in human belief systems.

One thing that's not in the painting of the archangel Michael above the Mont Saint-Michel is the Milky Way or any sign of a belief in the transmigration of souls. The belief in rebirth was absolutely not tolerated by the Catholic Church, and many were burned to death for believing in it, such as the Cathars in the South of France. They too believed in the two principles of good and evil engaged in a perpetual battle, but this was basically believing in two gods. Their fate was brutal, Cathars being tortured and burned at the stake whenever possible by the Church over the two or so centuries of their existence. In one particularly awful massacre, 20,000 men women and children were killed in the town of Beziers in 1209 by the forces of the papal legate, Arnaud-Amaury, who boasted to the pope that 'twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex'.

If nothing else, it shows how hard it was to get rid of the old beliefs in reincarnation, and in the dual forces of good and evil, light and dark in Europe. The Catholic Church's retribution was terrible.

You can see below that the Cathars, together with other similar sects believing in the dual forces of good and evil, (and possibly reincarnation), were located in places close to the European Michael line.

The development of Paulicianism, Bogomilism, Catharism and Waldensians., By Aldan-2 -, CC BY-SA 4.0,

And I think these connections are very compatible with a belief in the transmigration of souls. Many ancient cultures, from the Americas to Egypt and Greece, believed that souls travelled along the Milky Way to be incarnated into a living body, and then again after death, back to the heavens. The Milky Way was a sort of motorway for traveling souls, and in that way a bond between the living and the dead.

To go back to the constellations Ophiuchus and Scorpio, and the correct positioning of the Milky Way to allow for souls to travel up along it, why did it matter that the Milky Way should be there? At first, I thought it must have been central to the belief in the Ophiuchus deity defeating the Scorpio entity: The Milky Way had to be between them for the souls to be able to travel up along it. The Ophiuchus figure would guide them. Hence, Michael is viewed in part as a psychopomp, guide to the souls in the afterlife. But maybe this belief only held for as long as the Milky Way, together with Ophiuchus and Scorpio, were in the right place, due East. These beliefs must be rooted in the Age of Gemini. It's the only way to make sense of them.

So when, in the quotation earlier from Santillana and von Dechend, it is said that the Milky Way was 'the galactic avenue embracing the "three worlds" of the gods, the living and the dead', this means that the Milky Way is not good enough in and of itself to serve as this connection, as a motorway for souls. It needs to be in the right place, straddling East and West, Equinox sunrise and sunset. The Milky Way had to be correctly positioned for it to be of value in this transmigration of the souls belief, it wasn't necessarily important in and of itself. What seems more important to believers in the idea that souls travel skywards is the connection with East and West, and to whatever sky structure seems to be there at any given time, be it the Milky Way or a constellation. When the Milky Way was no longer on the equinoctial colure, linking East and West, according to the authors, it was demoted, and two constellations replaced it in its role as soul motorway: Auriga, the charioteer, which is near Gemini, and in the Northern hemisphere, and Eridanus, the river, which flows from the Northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere. They also say that when the Milky Way was in the right place in the sky, this had been a golden time. Kronos, or Cronos, the son of Gaia and Uranus, father of Zeus, a Titan, and possibly a major god before the Greek pantheon was dreamt up, 'had lived among men in glorious peace.'

So during this time when the Milky Way was in the right place, things had worked out, the belief that the souls of the dead travelled up to the heavens along it could have been going strong, and it seems to have fitted in generally with a religion based on the transmigration of souls, or reincarnation.

But was the Milky Way really demoted? How come Saggitarius / Ophiuchus and Scorpio endured in many traditions, in their eternal fight, as we see in the stories of King Arthur, Saint Patrick, Saint George, Saint Michael, Apollo, Artemis, etc? Also, I know that in other traditions, souls transmigrated up and down through the gates at the solstices, which is different again. I'll have to come back to this subject.

Back to Aachen

I forgot to see what happened to the Mont Saint-Michel - Avranches line if you extended it. The line from Mont Saint-Michel to both churches in Avranches is 63.49°, which is pretty much the azimuth of the rising sun on 7 May (this year's sun rise azimuth being 63.57°)

It turns out Aachen is aligned with the Mont Saint-Michel and Rouen.

Mont Saint-Michel - Rouen Cathedral 130.82 miles 63.82°

Mont Saint-Michel - Aachen 370.93 miles 63.61°

We came across Rouen in the previous post, as Rouen Cathedral, and the abbey and church of St Ouen are exactly the same distance from Stonehenge as the two Michael Mounts. And we came across Aachen before as it's on the Skellig Michaelmas line, together with Stonehenge, Brussels and Bonn.

So a French - Belgian - German phi day sunrise line starting from the Mont Saint Michel mirrors the English Michael line.

And heading South - West to Brittany, there's a basilica in Dinan and an Abbey called Boquan on the line.

Brittany... That reminds me, it might be an idea to have a look at Carnac before moving on to Southern Europe.


The village of Carnac in Brittany is close to several stone alignments, made up of over 3,000 stones. The alignments date from around the stones date from 4,500 BCE, which is around the time of the Age of Gemini, when the Milky Way was in the place of the equinoctial colure. The reason I'm including it here in the places dedicated to Michael is that there is a tumulus there, an artificial hill, called Saint-Michel, which dates from between 5,000 BCE and 3,400 BCE.