The Tower of the Winds

An Example of Ancient Astrological Architecture



mercury face ruler

The Tower of the Winds is a marble tower traditionally built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC in Athens, Greece. It is over 36 feet tall and includes sundials, a wind vane and interior water clock. Around the top are reliefs of the 8 Winds, Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (E), Apeliotes (SE), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW).

The following description of the Tower of the Winds comes from the Seyahatname of Evliya Celebi written in 1668. The translation comes from, "A Turkish Description of the Tower of the Winds" Pierre A. MacKay American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 73, No. 4, (Oct., 1969), pp. 468-469. It is notable for the description of the use of astrological talismans to protect the entire city from pests, which is not unusual for astrological magic sources, se e.g, The Book of the Treasure of Alexander.

we have other astrological magic towers described in our traditional sources. For example, the temples of the Harranian Sabians were said to differ in their shapes, while the temples of the supreme principles, the Demiurge, the World-Soul, Matter, Space and Time were round,

"[the temple] of Saturn is hexagonal; of Jupiter, triangular; of Mars, long (rectangular); the Sun, square; that of Venus, a triangle in a quadrangle, and that of the Moon, octagonal. The Sabians have in them symbols and mysteries which they keep hidden."

al-Masudi, the Golden Meadows, cited in Tamara Green, City of the Moon God (Brill 1992) at 173.

The most famous astrological grimoire, Picatrix tells of Hermes Trismegistus and his fabled city of Adocentyn,

"At the summit of the citadel he caused to be built a certain tower, which attained a height of thirty cubits, and on the summit of it he commanded to be put a sphere, the color of which changed in every one of the seven days. At the end of the seven days it received the color it had at first. Every day, that city was filled with the color of that sphere, and thus the aforesaid city used to shine every day with color.
Around that tower, in a circle, water abounded, in which many kinds of fish used to live. Around the city he placed diverse and changing images, by means of which the inhabitants of the city were made virtuous and freed from sin, wickedness and sloth."

Picatrix, Bk IV, ch 3.

The TOWER of the WINDS

from the Seyahatname of Evliya Celebi


Athens-Near the Eski Cami, there is a comprehensive scientific school of learned men which is called Plato's pavilion. It consists of a remarkable sort of stone tent, with eight sides facing the eight winds, each side formed from a single slab. On each of the sides of this pavilion a human figure is depicted, formed from a single piece of white marble. Each figure holds in his hands the characteristic implements of one of the winds. Four of the winds are depicted as male and four as female. The four males are shown with the moon-like features of a youth bright as the sun's rays, and the four women are por- trayed as lovely creatures.

The winds depicted as men are North, Northeast, Northwest and East, and the women are Southwest, West, South and Southeast' In truth it was the magic art that made these images so that each one stands facing one of the winds.

The dome of the pavilion has been formed of white marble inside, and 12 compartments have been established there according to the 12 constellations of the zodiac. One compartment is the constellation of Aries. This is a fiery house, and in it Mars is shown retrograde. In the compartment of the constellation of Taurus, an earthy house, Venus is inscribed; in Gemini, an airy house, Mercury; in Cancer, a watery house, the Moon; in Leo, a fiery house, the Sun; in Virgo, an earthy house, Mercury; in Libra, an airy house, Venus; in Scorpio, a watery house, Mars; in Sagittarius, a fiery house, Jupiter; in Capricorn, an earthy house, Saturn; and in Aquarius, an airy house, Saturn again is inscribed. In the twelfth compartment of the pavilion, that of Pisces, a watery house, Jupiter is marked down.

Thus it is a unitary instructional pavilion built of marble, with twelve compartments where the influences of the seven planets and other heavenly bodies dependent on these constellations of the zodiac are determined and recorded at the level of manifest magic.

Inside this pavilion-shaped dome there is a tomb in which all the Christian infidels believe that the Greek, Philip, is buried, and on their infamous feast- days they visit it. At the extreme head and foot of this tomb, the date has been registered in the Greek tongue. On the outside of this marble pavilion-dome there is a thin pivot, and in the days of the learned ancients they say that there was a mirror of the world set on this pivot, like the mirror of Alexander [on the Pharos]. And they say that whenever an enemy started out against the city from anywhere in the world, the enemy army, as it marched, was revealed along with its commander in this mirror of the world. The place for the mirror remains, but the mirror is no longer there. In those days also, each of the learned men in the city devised for it a different sort of strange talismanic protection, marvelous to relate. Each day, one of them created a talisman of surpassing wondrousness, so that in this city, it is said, there were no plagues, snakes, centipedes, scorpions, storks, crows, fleas, lice, bedbugs, mosquitoes or houseflies. To put it succinctly, at break of dawn on every one of the 366 days in a year, they threw one talisman on the ground, and one talisman of the sort associated with the sea into the sea.

But on the day when the Apostle of God emerged from his mother's womb, the authority of these talismans became as nothing, and on the night of the birth of the Beloved of God, all the talismans and charms were turned topsy-turvy, and their effect was nullified. And even now there are many places visible, which I have seen, where there used to be talismans. And for that matter, even now there are no mosquitoes, centipedes, storks or crows, and even if they come here, they do not settle down, and if they stay for long, they die.

If a man enters the pavilion when he is feeling nauseated, he will be relieved within the hour, and will vomit up bits of black and yellow bile and phlegm, and other humors. This is because in one of the compartments of the dome there is a piece of Yemeni alum, and in another there is an azure-colored blue vitriol eye-stone. Likewise, by the effect of their odor, a feverish man, once he has vomited, will be cured of his fever. This is a well-tested remedy. "Equivalent to the eight winds on the outside of this pavilion dome, one of the learned men, an accomplished master, has contrived a time-piece based on the knowledge of the stars and of the astrolabe. It consists of a quadrant, together with slanting lines of celestial declination, carved into the marble in such a way that never under all this devious firmament, whether it be by one of the Ptolemies, or by al-Hakim bi-Amr Al- lah, or by 'Ali the Falconer in the age of Mehmed the Conqueror, has such a time-piece been constructed. "To sum it all up, this is an exemplary and elevated edifice.

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