V. Mythology and Cosmology
[Myths] are a tantalizing fragments of a lost whole. They make one think of those “mist landscapes” of which Chinese painters are masters, which show here a rock, here a gable, there the tip of a tree, and leave the rest to imagination. Even when the code shall have yielded, when the techniques shall be known, we cannot expect to gauge the thought of those remote ancestors of ours, wrapped as it is in its symbols.– Hamlet’s Mill, (Giorgio Santillana and Hertha von Dechend)
The power of the world always works in circles, and everything is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours….. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.– Black Elk
To act and act wisely when the time for action comes, to wait and wait patiently when it is time for repose, put man in accord with the rising and falling tides (of affairs), so that with nature and law at his back, and truth and beneficence as his beacon light, he may accomplish wonders. Ignorance of this law results in periods of unreasoning enthusiasm on the one hand, and depression on the other. Man thus becomes the victim of the tides when he should be their Master.– Helena Blavatsky
What is eternal is circular and what is circular is eternal.– Aristotle
The Mythic Legacy
As we step onto a new field of play, we must prepare ourselves for a different way of thinking. Though we will continue to speak the symbolic language, the myths and legends of old give much greater detail and expression than do stone buildings, yet both require a correct interpretation if the true meaning is to reach us. In order to read into this meaning, we must fully grasp the frame and context of the medium.
We have been told that myth served as a kind of education for primitive societies – that these stories were aimed at communicating moral codes in the form of a narrative in the hopes of guiding students into a virtuous life. This is indeed accomplished, yet it is by no means the whole function. Certainly, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer served as the primary textbooks for Greek youths, just as the Biblical canon serves as the fundamental sourcebook of virtues for modern Christians at Sunday School. Yet, the morals and teachings of these stories are only the surface of a deeply evolved system of metaphysical wisdom.
Myth represents a world of its own, in which secret truths are disguised to the profane and the higher teaching is uncovered by the few. The ancients knew the meanings behind these symbols, yet today we must rediscover their language. It is as foreign to us as are the esoteric hieroglyphs, yet interestingly, it speaks with the same symbolism.
How, then, is it possible to decode this language from a long forgotten time? Primarily, we must collect and organize all the remnants from the entire world, pool them together and analyze their congruities. From this we will be able to build an encyclopedia of fundamental principles. If these are found to be consistent the world round, then they may have some truth to them.
Joseph Campbell is a globally recognized authority on mythology, and for good reason. His research has shed a great deal of light on the subject. In his works, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, as well as The Masks of God and The Mythic Image, he brings clear attention to the fact that the archaic symbolism found in all myths of the world is deeply rooted in psychological imagery of the human mind. Therefore, it is within psychoanalysis that we may find modern correlations to what might be called a dead language. With the works of Carl Jung, we may cross this void of confusion and arrive nearer to a reasonable interpretation.
There is perhaps no other man in recent history that has delved as deeply as Jung has into the subconscious mind. In Psychology and Alchemy, he graphically illustrates the concept of a conversation that continually exists between a person’s wakefulness and their subconscious state. When this conversation is balanced and in harmony, our lives are ‘on point’ and the events therein flow smoothly. When the conversation is in discord, then confusion takes its hold on the life of the subject – depression and the sense of failure arise in an atmosphere of separation from one’s true purpose. Therefore, the clear goal is to hear the unconscious voice that guides us from beyond the mortal plane and follow where it leads. This, and only this, will provide mankind with adequate reason and purpose in life, or fulfillment. This is why Siddhartha sat beneath his tree in the wilderness – to open himself up to his deeper consciousness; to remove himself from the dogma of immediate reality. His intention was to distance himself from the world in order to hear the inner voice of wisdom that speaks in universal, eternal truth.
This is precisely the function of myth. It is the language of these principles. As Campbell and others describe, all myths are but one – what we might call the Monomyth. It is a shape shifting, yet constant story and its format is always the same. It reflects the tale of the hero’s separation from his original reality, or accepted world, and details his trials and tribulations through the greater world that is discovered, often reflecting the search within their own mind for a greater, wider universe. In the end the hero returns to his daily life, but something has changed. Perhaps he has gained mastery over his emotions, thoughts or desires or has obtained newfound powers or understandings. A conflict arises and it is conquered. This represents a sort of initiation for the hero.
This is the format, Separation – Initiation – Return. The terms initiation and initiate shall continue to arise and so we must make clear the intended definition. It is quite a mysterious term since it has its place in many cultures of the world including some of the most remote and isolated ones. How could major civilizations and primitive tribes alike ‘initiate’ members of their society into an elite group of wise men when all these societies are isolated?
It is because this is a universal process. Though it may be called rites of passage or ‘coming of age’, or by any other name, it represents the process of closing oneself off from the external and opening the doors to internal reality. The process follows the mythic journey and even today the Freemasons and other initiatory traditions still use the format of a story to guide the ritual, just as in the Orphic or Eleusinian Mysteries of old. These rites are designed to remove the subject from their normal life and isolate them within their own soul. Often times they are blindfolded or they are mentally guided through the process of death. Generally this takes place within a temple or sanctuary that has been built with the intention of creating a specific atmosphere that is profoundly different than the normal world and its effects are powerfully aimed at bringing about a trancelike state. If no such temple is available, as in shamanistic tribal cultures, the same effect is often brought about by chants, dances and elaborate masks and costumes. It is also common within many initiatory traditions to use mind-altering substances.
The goal is to bring the subject into a realm in which the archetypal imagery of the mental or spiritual plane is fully surrounding and embracing them, even interacting with them. It is intended that they will arise from the ceremony with new eyes and ears and mind that are all capable of discerning this symbolic language in life. One will come to understand that these images can not be invented, suppressed or ordered, but that they are both archaic and eternal. We are reminded of the Neteru – those master forces that are the true creators of events and physical manifestations. These, the initiate will recognize as allies standing by to aid him. He must attune himself to the will of these forces if he is to have the favor of the Gods during his sojourn in the mortal sphere.
If it is not yet clear to the reader what these forces are, there is a simple way to identify them – anything that is not created, destroyed or transformed by time belongs to this family – for the archetypes are outside of time’s influence. The are the cogs and axles that transfer motion from their central engine, down through the ‘World of Formation’, to individual beings. They are fractalized aspects of the Godhead – differentiated from unity so that they might be perceptible to us, at least by their unique effects.
Indeed, mythology itself tends to be the initiatory tradition, embodied as best it can, within the limitations of language. As we have seen, this same ‘journey’ is also incarnated in stone, so as to tell some of the truths that words cannot. In both cases however, it is through symbol, number and geometry that this message is encoded.
Our dreams constitute a sort of personal mythology that constantly need recognition if we are to lead a life that is augmented by, or in harmony with, the invisible principles. This is perhaps our only connection to the ‘other world’, where the archetypes reside, considering that we today are lacking a comprehensive, or national system of mythology. Our modern world has murdered this language by separating religion from philosophy, from art, from science, from music, from physics. With the lack of a central belief system guiding our culture, we are lost and confused in the dark world of materialism. We, as a species, suffer from what Joseph Campbell termed, a ‘symbolic deficiency’, yet the rudimentary, and often unrecognized personal mythology of dreams can light our way.
It must be acknowledged that the dream realm is by no means fake and the waking world has never been proven to be real. If anything, the subconscious is the closer to ‘base reality’, as it is consciousness that creates the physical world – not the physical that creates consciousness – and in the field of quantum metaphysics this is essentially understood. No physical matter (manifestation) exists without a conscious mind present, who can collapse the etheric wave of potential into a manifest particle. This means that if no conscious observer is present within a given room, let’s say, then no object in that room exists. The chairs and tables that you automatically accept as part of that room will return when you walk back in, but while you are away, they rest in a state of un-manifest potential.
Of course, our world has continuity because thankfully, life is constantly flowing through every atom in the cosmos, and therefore, the observer is ever-present, sustaining the creation (Vishnu). This is the Aether – the ever present mind, also called Akasha. It regulates our reality and gives it balance. When we hold certain thoughts in our minds, they take on physical forms in the Aether and hang around our heads and in our ‘mental’ bodies. That is why we see them in our dreams. In a much calmer state, we are easily able to process these mental impressions within us and look face to face at the forces that govern our own habits and decisions.
Are these faces ugly or kind? Are we at odds with our inner powers? In our own psychic dreamscape, do meet our regrets or our gratitudes? Which ones do we place behind the proverbial driver’s wheel of the persona? Our traumas, our hopes, our fears, our loves, contentions, joys, doubts, beliefs, religions, schools, jobs, children, parents?
One’s subconscious mind will constantly manifest a world around it that is suitable for whatever lesson the persona needs to learn. Your ‘greater mind’ will create a world for you that is line with those things you deposit into it’s vaults. Thus they who believe they are insignificant will become insignificant. They who are confident, will achieve their aims. Those who are angry will attract only more anger. Those who are loving will find love in return. If one learns this law in full, then they may train their mind to let go of the laws of the universe they used to believe and understand completely that they can manifest any creation they can conceive of, allowing that they have sufficient willpower.
When this process is understood, then the reigns of creation may be grasped by the conscious observer in their everyday, waking state. Until then, their world is being created automatically and if there are toxic elements within this pool of forces, then all attempts should be made to cleanse such stains from the Aura. Indeed, thought forms (as they are called by certain Theosophists) alter the vibration that one emanates into the field on any given day. Material is mirror that reflects such emanations directly back us. Who is to tell on what day some negative emotion stored within you might manifest as a sickness or injury, or which positive vibration might attract your soul mate or financial security?
If you had the option to run on autopilot or else grab the controls, which would you prefer? Therefore, the practice of mindfulness is essential to mystical teachings. When our mind is disciplined, then the higher self may control it. This much is stated plainly throughout ancient cosmologies, as we shall see.
The neters, these ‘eternal ones of the dream’, govern us in both life and death. Therefore it is only by studying our dreams and learning to control them that we might train ourselves to be in control of the afterlife. To lucid dream is to learn the secret of navigating the Duat – the obstacle course that awaits the soul, filtering out those that are not yet ready for ascension to the heavenly abode. This is the ultimate end of the perfected human. After passing through the trials of our own subconscious, we are allowed to enter into the super-conscious, to be reabsorbed into the divine light. That is to say, collective, non-localized, supreme consciousness.
In contrast to our modern, personal mythology is the ancient take on the issue. In such cultures a common mythology takes the place of theology, science, astronomy, morality, philosophy, and any other field of study that tries to define human purpose. The ancients realized the importance of such a format to not only describe the meaning of daily life, but to demonstrate the singleness of human aspirations and to unite the people in a common language of the soul, that all might make progress towards a state of illuminated society. This was, and still is the challenge within the alchemical Great Work.
With this in mind, we embark upon a search across literary worlds that might each help us to define the various characteristics of the divine forces. It may be appropriate to start at the beginning. Even for science and religion, the greatest conundrum is that of creation, our genesis or origin. For this reason, creation myths are perhaps the most profoundly abstract of all, and the elements of such stories may be the hardest to understand, yet the most meaningful.
The Void and the Light
There are two different categories of creation myths; that which explains the origin of the universe and time, and the other relating to the origin of a specific culture, race, or civilization. In the first category we might expect to find certain elements in common, as the problem of ‘something coming from nothing’ asks many very specific questions and there are only so many ways to answer these. The second category, however, we would assume to be very different from place to place and from time to time. Very often, the two types overlap and are indistinguishable from each other. Though it is really the more historical accounts we must analyze in order to find out more about the ancient astronomer-masons themselves, the myths of universal origins will help us to understand the extent of their wisdom of the cosmos and time.
The formation of existence implies one thing, and it is the mission of the ancient wise men to describe this one thing. It implies a prior state. Since it is nearly impossible for man to imagine a state without existence, and since we realize that something cannot come from nothing, we reason that there was something before. This thing must not have been manifested, but held the potential for manifestation – a sort of battery that was not in use. In many cases the elements were used to describe this state. Some believed our current condition to have been birthed from watery, cosmic embryonic fluid. Others described it as emerging from the primordial fire. Others used the air or the earth as the womb, though these two often gave way to the former two. Fire and water are often spoken of together, each creating one of the two worlds of man; spirit and body, and in the macrocosm, the spiritual heavens and the material universe. Yet in the very beginning, it was most common to use the waters as the origin, not yet to represent physical nature, but simply for the property of something that flows without form or substance.
In myth and Alchemy, this unified state is often referred to as an egg, as in the ‘Cosmic Egg’ or the ‘Orphic Egg’. Clearly a symbol of unity, the egg represents the single embryonic cell that contains within it the DNA or blueprints for creation. Like our word Universe, the egg implies ALL – everything that exists, whether we know of it or not. It must be a condition that is the source of all times and creations, yet time and space could never measure it. Besides the Egg, or simply the Waters, this state is represented as a void or abyss. In Egypt it is called Nu or the Cosmic Egg. The Hebrew-Christian version describes darkness upon the surface of the watery deep. The Hindu creation describes the destruction of the previous universe leaving only a vast ocean upon which sits Vishnu, the preserver. The Greeks imagined Nyx, a blackbird, laid a golden egg which she sat upon for ages until finally, life began to stir within it. The Scandinavian account calls this state Ginnungagap – an emptiness waiting to be filled.
In creation myths, the first event is nearly always the separation or polarization of this unity, the step from one to two. When the separation occurred, this was the first action within our time or our condition. Symbolically, it begins by separating the heavens from Earth, the light from darkness or the day from night. All these represent the physical and the spiritual realms or the body and the soul. We often find that the light, or Word, streams into the dark void, and it represents reason, cause or will. It is internal conception, which brings about external manifestation. Neither one on its own can contain existence as we know it. So the world that we inhabit is the surface between two realities, one being a timeless, spaceless, conscious energy, and the other a measured, ordered, timed, physical enactment of the first. Humans and all other physical life forms live in both worlds. Thus we, and our universe have two sources, an objective one and a more mystical, transcendent one.
To describe this state, the Babylonians speak of three Duads, or polarized beings that eternally existed. They shift back and forth between inward existence and outward form. This is similar to the Duat of the Egyptians, as the boundary or stage between physical life and the spirits ascension to the heavens. Also, the Egyptians believed that Geb (Earth) was separated from Nut (Sky). In Greek it was Gaia and Uranus. The monotheistic equivalent describes God calling the light into being and causing a division between light and darkness. One He called day and the other He called night. Within monotheism, many of the minor deities are usurped by a single God who performs all these tasks.
This unconscious realm is chaos, without control or organization. Its opposite, the conscious is a force that aims to bring organization. Soon the unconscious gains the attributes of evil – something brewing nightmarish ideas and forming creatures with human and animal characteristics. It can be thought of as the dream world in which conscious thought has no power over the instincts of the liberated mind. Therefore, this principle also takes the shape of the ‘underworld’, ruled by night and inhabited by the dead who are outside of the ordered limitations of physical existence.
But before this condition is developed to such a point, we find descriptions of a time in which the unconscious universe is teeming with action. It is a matrix of conditioned states that spin out strange productions, though not yet physical. Motions and impulses turn the gears of a machine with no one at the wheel. The Qabalasts describes a phantasmagoria of monsters and creatures emerging forth from it. All sorts of beasts resembling nothing of this world are produced. This condition also has many names amongst the ancients. It is called Elas, or Elium. Alchemists know it as Prima Materia, meaning the first substance. To them it is an important concept, especially considering their belief that lead can be transmuted into gold, For, the Prima Materia is the source state of both elements.
In many systems, it is thought synonymous with the original unity, (the ‘egg’ or ‘waters’) though the more advanced cultures distinguished the two. Even still, this collection of information and ideas represents the unharnessed imagination, and either this was the original to which order was added, or else the original was both chaos and order as one and the cleaving in two of this unity became the state of their independence from one another – the light bound in darkness.
The Greeks expressed the first deity to arise being Eros, or love. This concept reflects a state of relationship, or balance, and could be equated with gravity. As Hermes describes, coils of darkness surrounded a great column of light. So all this paints a picture of a time in which an unrestricted form of consciousness was engaged in a relationship with a certain will or power that sought to order the chaos by the use of reason. The Word spoken by the creator gives reason to the creation, and it is equivalent to the light, the mind. It is the vibration that runs through the ethereal frame and calls forth the third dimensional existence (physical world).
Now the nightmarish realm of the unconscious, populated by beasts and monsters is often given a ruler. He is called Enlil by the Sumerian and later Mesopotamian societies. In Babylonian myth Tiamat takes this position. In Greece and Rome, Hades and Pluto or Plouton rule the underworld. The Aztecs called him Mictlantecuhtli, while Maya called him Hunhau or Uacmitun Ahau. Of course, there are countless names for this one who is ruler over the ‘other world’. He is the adversary, Satan, which is a corruption of the Egyptian Set, who was understood not the embodiment of evil, but as the principle of ‘spirit that is bound in flesh’. While some traditions hold a form of this character that they consider to be evil, others simply imply that he is outside of morality and the innocent ruler of Chaos, like Loki of Norse mythology, or the Pagan Pan. The basic structure of this character represents a sort of carelessness – a rebellion against order, and therefore a bringer of mischief. He is merely one who ‘stirs the pot’. However, this mischief is not always maleficent to man.
Another element introduced into the creation story is generally one or several ‘Ancient Ones’, or gods that are often thought to have come from a previous time. These are the bringers of light in opposition to the bringer of chaos. The ‘Old One’ represents order and reason. He is also associated with time. For instance, the root of the word Chronology is found in Kronos, the Greek version of this god. In many circumstances this entity is not personified, but rather it is described as something containing eternity within itself. It is this force that gives rise to a ‘son’ who is the more personified creator. For instance, Kronos gave birth to Zeus who eventually gained kingship over the creation. We see a very vague master force of the Universe producing one personified God-King.
In Hinduism, Brahman is the divine ground, the ultimate divinity, but Brahma is the creator god. In monotheism, Jehovah is claimed as the ultimate God, but he makes for himself a helper, Michael the Archangel, who is in charge of creating the Earth. The Kabbalists however, may understand that even Jehovah was only one aspect of the timeless entity. They recognized this ultimately force above time as Ain Soph Aur – the Boundless Light. Jehovah would not have demanded that the Israelites worship ‘no other God’ if no other Gods existed, so He admits, in his first encounters with Moses that other Gods existed. E’a, in Babylonian is the ‘Ancient One’, and his representative is Marduk. In Egypt, Re was the first to arise from the sea as a solar creator, while Osiris was the more clearly personified god-king, one who, posthumously impregnated Isis, who gave birth to Horus. This immaculate conception is mirrored in the story of Jesus. The creation of this ‘Son’ represents thought created from mind. While the greater God embodies the entirety of Chaos and reason, the lesser god embodies only the latter, and is therefore opposed to the devil. He is the universal mind mediating the world. The supreme godhead, however, exists above this polarity.
This is to say the unfathomable, eternal GOD contains within it BOTH our creator god[s] AND our devil[s].
Therefore, it is the secondary entity (the son) that will confront the adversary. Often there will be a time at which the Gods determine to speak with the Lord of the Underworld in order to convince him that existence can be ordered. The adversary refuses and so it is the created God’s duty to harness the rebellious one. Here we find the creator slaying the dragon or putting him into a place of banishment. Very often, he will be thrown down and the Earth will be formed out of his body. For example, Marduk “having thus subdued [Tiamat] he extinguished her life. He cast down her carcass to stand upon it.”
The biblical version says, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Was he ‘cast out into the earth’ as in, his race came to live among men, or does this mean that the Earth was cast, as in a mold, from the material substance that was understood to be represented by this symbolic character?
Other ways of describing the Earth’s formation include the egg that cracks in half, forming the earth and heavens. Oftentimes there are references to a mound rising up from the waters – or physical manifestation arising from the thought-forms of the ocean of conscious thought. In any case, the earth is formed only when chaos has been defeated and the victor of the battle becomes king of the creation. Zeus destroyed the Titans and therefore became the God over all the creation. In the Norse version, we have a great giant, Ymir, from which many other giants emerged in his sleep. These would equal the nightmarish creatures emerging from the unconscious state. At the same time, a cow was formed and as she licked a salty stone, soon there emerged from the stone a man who was called Buri. He was the first of the Gods. He had a son with one of the Jotuns (giants) who he named Bor, and who became the father of Odin and his siblings. In this case, it was Odin and his two brothers who killed Ymir, From him issued forth great streams of blood which wiped out all but two of the Jotuns in a massive deluge. From this blood came the waters and oceans and from his body came the Earth.
Once the adversary has been conquered, the world has been formed. At this point the wild dream realm is cleansed. Thought and mind regulate fear and chaos, and revise the unconscious into an ordered, functioning Universe. This is how the physical world is formed, and soon after it is populated with humans.
Usually, the formation of mankind begins with the God fashioning bodies out of clay or dust. Sometimes wood or even plants like corn are the preferred materials. In the earliest myths, such as the Sumerian, this is done in order to make a race of beings to perform tasks for the gods and to set them out to be custodians of the Earth. However, there is another step involved. There is generally a point at which the god takes a piece of himself and places it within the man. Sometimes it is a piece of his flesh, sometimes his breath, but either way, it symbolizes the entrance of the spirit into the man, or perhaps his DNA. One way or another, it always implies that the god has given a part of his own being to the people. It implies that man contains the spirit of God within him, and often goes as far as to say that God and Man are one – macrocosmic and microcosmic editions of the same being. While God’s domain is the infinite Heavens, ours is the lower physical creation. This connection implies the immortality of the human soul and always depicts a sacrifice by the God. Also, there are often accounts of disagreement amongst the gods in that some do not wish for man to be given such an opportunity, in the fear that he might become equal with them.
For instance, some say Lord Brahma tears himself in two to form male and female. He becomes one again, but humans have been created. Alternatively, some say that every living thing comes from a different part of his body. Brahma is a part of the Supreme One, so everything is part of the Supreme One. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into the figure. In the Bible, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The Q’uran states, “Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay.” [32:7] The Sumerian version states, “Mix the heart of the clay that is over the abyss, The good and princely fashioners will thicken the clay, You, [Nammu] do you bring the limbs into existence; Ninmah will work above you, The goddesses… will stand by you at your fashioning; O my mother, decree its fate, Ninmah will bind upon it the image of the gods, It is man…”
The Serpent and the Plume
After this, there is generally another character, and at this point we crossover to the more historical origin myths from the cosmological ones, if we hadn’t already. Now we are dealing with a very specific identity, one that may represent an actual, historical person rather than a universal concept. Oftentimes, he is said to come from the sea and brings to the people wisdom and the secrets of civilization. It is often said that he takes the form of a fish mixed with a human – a merman, and this will give us the image of one who is a mediator between the collective unconscious, represented by the sea, and the conscious human world. Nevertheless, in some cases he is described much more literally as a real person arriving on the shore to bring wisdom to the people.
Adapa was the name of the Babylonian version, coming from the second millennium BC. He was a son of E’a, or the Sumerian Enki. He was advisor to the first king of Eridu, Alulim. He sailed out into the ocean to go fishing “And without a rudder his boat would drift, Without a steering-pole he would take his boat out. . . into the broad sea.”(George Barton, Archaeology and the bible) He is also thought to be associated with Oannes, who fits the description much better. Oannes, or Hovhannes in Armenian, was a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. He had the body of a fish, but underneath the figure of a man. He was thought to live in the Persian Gulf, but to come on land in the daytime in order to instruct mankind in writing, arts and sciences. His name is likely derived from Uanna, or Uan, a name used to describe Adapa.
Dagon was another Assyrian-Babylonian God associated with fish and fishing. It has been said that he was a fish from the navel down and man above. This image also emerges when Pan, or Aegipan as he is called in his Goat-God form, is attacked by the monster Typhon. He dives into the Nile and the parts of him above the water remain goat-like while the parts below become like a fish. The half goat, half fish is associated with the astrological sign of Capricorn.
In Egypt, the legend belongs to Thoth, in Greek; Hermes, and in Rome; Mercury. Thoth is considered an immortal being who brought writing, art, music and science to Egypt and later to Greece by the name Hermes. He is the god of wisdom and the revealer of secrets – the messenger of the gods. The original form of the name Thoth in earliest Egypt was Tjehuti. Again, this is not a person, but a principle. In this case, it is the principle of advanced knowledge and creative essence, and more specifically, the human experience of such things.
Consider that humanity as a whole, has a subconscious that has been called the superconscious, the Gaian Mind, or the collective consciousness. If we can learn to read our own subconscious, we can also learn to read the greater one. Those who can successfully tap into this collective reservoir of wisdom, then, might be fit to be called by the title of Thoth or Hermes. They have conversed with the collective vibration of high wisdom and can pull from the consciousness known as Tjehuti, which feeds, and is fed by, all the knowledge of its various avatars. This also applies to the Krishna Consciousness and Christ Consciousnesses.
Quetzalcoatl was thought to have been a god who felt pity for humans. He saw them toiling in their days labor and decided to take on a human form in order to bring to them the wisdom of the gods. He traveled the world for a long time before arriving by a boat that moved on its own. As he arrived he witnessed a sacrificial ceremony being carried out to honor his god-brother Tezcatlipoca. Enraged, he stopped the ritual from taking place. The executioner began to yell angrily at him and great thunderclouds gathered above. Quetzalcoatl told the people that as long as he remained in Tollan, the city would flourish like never before. He then raised his arms and parted the clouds from the sky. After this, he was revered as a god amongst the indigenous people. He taught them how to cultivate seeds like corn, to work with jade, gold and obsidian, the arts of astronomy, writing, and many others, bringing to them a high degree of sophistication. He forbade human sacrifices and taught his people to practice self-sacrifice instead by pricking themselves with thorns.
Eventually, Tezcatlipoca became jealous and decided to take revenge on his relative. He disguised himself as an old man and presented Quetzalcoatl with a drink. The drink made him intoxicated and after breaking his celibacy, he was so ashamed that he either threw himself onto a funeral pyre to be burned with his soul rising to become Venus, the morning or rising star, or else he went to the sea and built himself a raft of snakes which he sailed away upon. Either way, he told the people that one day, he would return. His names the Plumed Serpent, and this symbol can be found in Aztec, Mayan, Toltec and even Olmec artifacts. His image is also found at Teotihuacan. He is said to be of pale skin and bearded by some accounts, but is not Quetzalcoatl also a metaphor?
The Plumed Serpent is one with access to both their terrestrial and spiritual bodies. The serpent represents, in one sense, the earthly grounding, much like the merman or Fish-Goat – the access into the underworld. The Plume is the lightweight soul, showing its powers of free travel, as it has gained access the Akashic Field and can astrally project anywhere it wishes.
In Egypt, the winged solar disk marked all the temples of the adepts. It is a compound symbol, having many layers. For one, it speaks of the united hemispheres of the brain and of cmplete balance of opposites. It represents the Pineal gland fully activated; the result of the serpentine Kundalini energy that rises to awaken this sacred eye. On this level, the wings illustrate the liberation and mobility of the soul – the plumes of the serpent. The many feathers signify the points of light that shine forth when the Crown Chakra is activated. So, at least in one sense, this symbol represents the very same principle as Quetzalcoatl, which could be equated in the local Khemetic tongue, as Tjehuti; in either case, a human who has reached their mature state and gained access to their full biology, in all dimensions. Is it any wonder, then, why Horus and Thoth were both represented as birds?
In Mayan mythology, this character or principle is known as Kukulkan, which also means ‘Plumed Serpent’. It is thought that he was the creator of all men. After traveling to the underworld, he gathered the bones of the people of the last world and brought them back to the earth. With them, he formed the bodies of the new humans and gave them life.
In South America, we find the same character. Viracocha was said to have arisen from Lake Titicaca, arriving at Tiahuanaco. He, as well, is described as being white skinned and bearded. The legends of the Inca, Maya and Aztec all describe him coming to their land with several followers, or disciples. He is always considered the bringer of technology and peace – the protector of mankind and the initiator of civilization. Sometimes on top of this he is also credited with being the primary creator god. He is also known as Gucumatz, Votan in Palenque, and Zamna in Izamal. Hotu Matua on Easter Island. It was often said that he had crossed the great ocean to the East. Besides the other arts he taught the people, he was said to have bestowed upon them the calendars they use.
Then in Europe there is the legend of Melusine, which was the basis of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid. She can also be seen on the Starbucks logo. She was thought to be a historical woman, and even the progenitor of a royal bloodline. Yet the legend tells that she was a mermaid, often portrayed with two tales extended to either side. This again suggests the balancing of forces that eventually restores third eye sight, at least within much of this iconic artwork.
Abraxas was also a symbolic deity that had two legs that were snakes, a human body and the head of a bird, generally a chicken. Yet another plumed serpent. The image is even echoed by the bird and snake, respectively at the top and bottom of Yggdrasil, the world tree, as we will soon see. Also the serpent in the garden of eden, wrapping around the tree of life.
The symbol is echoed yet again in the Nagas of Southeast Asia. In the Vedas, there are many different creation accounts and they are all quite varied, yet it is always acknowledged that the world was created from a previous one. Shiva, the destroyer will wipe out the world with a flood or some other cataclysm, Vishnu will preserve the necessary pieces and Brahma will create the new world. These worlds were known as the days and nights of Brahma, and the Vedas describe vast numbers of these cycles having passed already. It is thought that he emerged from a lotus flower in the navel of Vishnu who had arisen from the sea on a mound. In Hindu thought, all life comes from other life. Death is necessary for life to sustain itself. In the larger sense, previous worlds must be destroyed before the new one can arise. Shiva, the destroyer carries on his shoulder, a serpent, called Vasuki; a Nagaraja who served as the rope in the churning of the sea of milk.
The Nagas are described as deities, or as semi divine race, that live within the earth, but sometimes interact with humanity and take on a human form. They may also take the form of a snake, or of a half man, half snake zoomorph. Nagini is a term for a female Naga, perhaps like Melusine, and was even the name given for the serpent featured in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows. They are often associated with bodies of water and are the protectors of treasures hidden within the earth.
In direct opposition to this race is Garuda, (or the Garudas) who takes the form of a bird, or bird human hybrid. He is the ‘vehicle mount’ on which Vishnu rides. He is the enemy of the Nagas and flies high above the earth, as a courageous protector. Garuda represents the Mahayanic Vehicle that transports one’s consciousness into higher realms. Therefore, the balance of Nagas and Garudas again demonstrate the plumed serpent symbology.
Ultimately, this balance is describing the ‘Grand Arcanum’ – the secret of secrets – the Sacred Secretion. In each of us is sexual energy, or libido. This is the unrefined material which can be either spent or savored. It can be released through an orgasm, or it can be drawn upward through the spine, sending each Chakra spinning as it climbs. There are even techniques of recycling this energy back into oneself during an orgasm. The Tantra is divided into three grades. Black Tantra aims to increase the orgasm. Grey Tantra is essentially just learning how to have an actual orgasm (which is widely unknown within our sexually saturated, lust-driven western culture). White Tantra seeks to eliminate the orgasm. Why would anyone ever try to do such a thing, one might ask?
The sexual energy can be used in other ways, namely to break you free from the cell you are trapped in. It is the divine substance from which the soul can be constructed. It is the force that can join you to your higher bodies and open your inner eye. The Serpent is the crude material. The Bird is the ascended soul. The symbol represents your choice between the two. It represents your biological right to an ascended form. It represents your spiritual anatomy.
We find this symbol also in the Caduceus, or the staff of Hermes. His staff, or rod, shows two serpents wrapping around it and at its top is classically, a rough pine cone shape, which is the shape of the pineal gland, thus its name pineal. So the staff of Hermes, often seen on ambulances and in hospitals today, represents the human spine and the serpentine energy that sustains its life.
Even Santa Claus is a symbol of this process. Claustrum is a Latin term meaning to shut or close. It is also an organ that connects the cortical and subcortical regions of the brain. Colostrum is a substance found in both blood and in early-stage breastmilk. One is red and the other white, just like the snakes of the caduceus and Santa Claus, who descends and ascends the ‘chimney’. He is the substance that abides in your ‘north pole’ (brain), which runs down through the spine and ascends again as a new purified substance that feeds the third eye system.
This is also the biblical Milk and Honey. The milk is a reference to the cruder liquid that descends (similar to colostrum in breastmilk, or even a reference to semen), while the honey is the refined spiritual nectar. In Man; The Grand Symbol of the Mysteries, Manly Hall describes it as ‘brain dew’. The Kingdom of Heaven, is the world that one enters when the eye is opened. Bill Donahue, in his Hidden Meanings series, elaborates on Jesus’ many symbols that directly correlate to such higher understandings of the brain and universal consciousness. As a Master Adept, having attained Christ Consciousness, Jesus naturally preached, through encrypted language, a secret inner message to those with ears to hear and eyes to see. He encoded the highest truths into his outer teachings, which, if the reader has not yet noticed, is a common theme that we will notice throughout history as we proceed. The world’s most sacred wisdom is actually staring us in the face every day, in plain sight. It is hidden within religious symbols, within languages themselves, within monuments and temples, within art, music and as we are seeing, certainly within ancient mythology.
In the universal form, this characterization of humanity’s quintessential paradox known as ‘the plumed serpent’, has many common attributes in it’s various representations. Though not all of the stories are exactly the same, they speak of an individual who is sometimes born of Gods, arriving on the coasts of their land, usually in boats that move themselves. (Perhaps sailboats?) They come onto the land and travel for a great length of time and finally settle down with a population in order to teach them about the stars, to teach them trades, develop language, formulate calendars, introduce mathematics, perhaps stone working methods, arts and sciences, and all other forms of the sacred teachings. Then, in most cases he will leave for one reason or another and promise to return at some point.
Most importantly, the cultures that live among ancient temples and observatories almost always state that such structures existed before their people arrived – that they were built in another time altogether and by unknown peoples. The origins of the monuments of such cultures are never explained within the myths of their own origins. This in itself says something.
In the bible the closest character would probably be Noah, who emerged from the sea with the tools to build society after the last age of man had been destroyed, though Jesus also came to his disciples from out of the sea. Though much of his fish and ocean symbolism is directly a reflection of his ties to the Age of Pisces, when he tells his disciples to caste their net on the right side of the boat, he may be referencing the right hemisphere of the brain and the subconscious. Much of the New Testament is a retelling of ancient folklore, and Jesus spoke firsthand with the same symbolism of the creation myths, so it does hold some relevance to this discussion, but for the most part, let us remain focused on the most ancient myths themselves.
To look at these myths from an even wider perspective, we will notice that they not only describe, using brilliant metaphorical characters, the creative forces of the universe, but they also demonstrate keys to human anatomy, just like the Temple of Man in Luxor. Now we shall see that they, likewise, embody high mathematics and precise knowledge of the stars and their precession. It was believed that these movements measured out the ages of mankind and could help to predict the grand transitions from one world to the next.
It was a curious coincidence that Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend both began independently researching a seemingly obscure thesis at the same time – that coded within these myths and folk legends, (hundreds of them) are clear references to archaeo-astronomical information. The theory claimed that these oral and written traditions have been very misunderstood by modern thinkers as children’s stories and examples of moral guidelines, nothing more, when in fact they are carefully organized to communicate advanced understandings of celestial movements and specifically, the precession of the equinoxes and the impact of this great cycle on human civilization.
Eventually these two researchers met one another and in 1969, coauthored Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth. This is considered the greatest work to this day regarding the theory that advanced information can be found encoded into mythology. It is a work of incredible quality that has profoundly affected the way many imagine our ancestors. The basic premise is that these myths and ancient texts relate to one another in that they all employ clever symbolism to encode important astronomical events. Often the same plots, symbols, and characters are shared by cultures that were supposed to have been disconnected from each other.
Using Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a starting point, the authors describe all the predecessors of the story in detail. The Icelandic equivalent is the story of Amlodhi, from which the name Hamlet was derived. In Rome he was called Lucius Junius Brutus, with earlier versions as well. In Finland his name was Kullervo. From Iran came the epic of Kai Khusrai in which the cosmological evidence is seen quite clearly, and in India, the vernacular legend is that of Krishna. Elements of the story are also found in Arthurian legend, with Hamlet corresponding to Mordred. Even today we might recognize the tale as the Disney movie, The Lion King.
Essentially, the cruel and jealous uncle murders his brother, the king, and drives his son into hiding and madness until he returns to reclaim his throne and save his mother. The common elements of all these myths include the following. The protagonist must avenge his father’s death. His mother is engaged to his evil Uncle. He becomes mad from all the stress and his lover or his sister, Ophelia, is drowned – not helping to calm his madness. In some cultures, this particular story is a part of a much larger one. Shakespeare’s version was likely taken from the Danish version attributed to Saxo Grammaticus in which Hamlet is called Amlethus.
There is one more element to the story that is truly the key to understanding it, though unfortunately, Shakespeare chose to leave this aspect out when he (re)wrote it. This is the mill itself, which is a grinding stone, containing a central axle pointing upward. Such millstones were used to grind grain, corn, salt or any number of things. Perhaps this quality of universality is another reason it was a perfect choice. Hamlet’s mill symbolizes the Earth’s axis. as it wobbles through the zodiac in its precessional cycle. It’s just like the scene from Ankgor – the devas and asuras playing tug of war with the Naga wrapped around Mount Meru.
In Saxo’s version of the story, most of the cosmological references appear as events taking place during the madness of Amlethus. These, along with the mill itself, do not appear in Shakespeare’s version. It is thought that by the time Shakespeare had adapted the story, this major, yet hidden theme was already lost.
In the Bhagavata Purana, we find an ancient reference to the mill imagery. “The exalted seat of Vishnu, round which the starry spheres forever wander, like the upright axle of the corn mill…”
In the Edda, a predecessor of Skaldic literature in Iceland, there is another reference to the mill. Here we find Frodhi, whose name is synonymous with Freyr, one of the Vanir, or Titans, of Norse myth. Frodhi was the owner of a great mill, or quern, that was called Grotte, or the ‘crusher’. He searched the land for someone who could operate it and finally found two giant maidens in Sweden, named Fenja and Menja. He told them to grind out gold, peace and happiness, which they did, but he drove them day and night and only allowed them to rest long enough to recite a certain verse. One night, when all were sleeping, Menja stopped her work and sang a prophetic song. This verse predates the story itself and may represent the oldest existing portion of skaldic literature.
Frode! you were not wary enough,
You friend of men, when maids you bought!
At their strength you looked, and at their fair faces,
But you asked no questions about their descent.
Hard was Hrungner and his father;
Yet was Thjasse stronger than they,
And Ide and Orner our friends, and
The mountain-giants’ brothers, who fostered us two.
Not would Grotte have come from the mountains gray,
Nor this hard stone out from the earth;
The maids of the mountain-giants would not thus be grinding
If we two knew nothing of the mill.
Such were our deeds in former days,
That we heroes brave were thought to be.
With spears sharp heroes we pierced,
So the gore did run and our swords grew red.
Now we are come to the house of the king,
No one us pities. Bond-women are we.
Dirt eats our feet. Our limbs are cold,
The peace-giver we turn. Hard it is at Frode’s.
Now hold shall the hands the lances hard,
The weapons bloody. Wake now, Frode! Wake now, Frode!
If you would listen to our songs,
To sayings old.
Fire I see burn East of the burg,
The war news are awake. That is called warning.
A host hither hastily approaches
To burn the king’s lofty dwelling.
No longer you will sit on the throne of Hleidra
And rule o’er red rings and the mill.
Now must we grind with all our might.
No warmth will we get from the blood of the slain.
Now my father’s daughter bravely turns the mill.
The death of many men she sees.
Now broke the large braces ‘neath the mill,
The iron-bound braces. Let us yet grind!
Let us yet grind! Yrsa’s son
Shall on Frode revenge Halfdan’s death.
He shall Yrsa’s offspring be named,
And yet Yrsa’s brother. Both of us know it.
The Following day, Mysingr, the Sea King arrived by ship and slayed Frodhi. He took the mill and the giantesses. He ordered them to grind again, but this time to grind salt. This they did for a while until the ship sank and the mill was left broken on the bottom of the sea.
“And from that time there has been a whirlpool in the sea where the water falls through the hole in the mill-stone. It was then that the sea became salt.”
The Norse poem, Vafthrudnismal, describes the death of the great Ymir, the giant whose body becomes the earth. When he was killed, we might remember, blood flowed forth from him causing a great deluge which was survived only by Bergelmer and his wife. Later in the story, Odin asks the wise giant Vafthrudner what is the oldest event that he can recall. He replies, Countless ages ere the earth was shapen, Bergelmer was born. The first thing I remember is when he laid on a mill, or lays beneath a millstone.
In the Lokasenna, a poem from the Edda describing Loki’s various ‘quarrels’ with the gods, he taunts Freyr who is defended by Byggver. Loki responds, “What little boy is that whom I see wag his tail and eat like a parasite? Near Freyr’s ears always you are and clatter ‘neath the mill-stone.”
Even in Mexico is a similar reference. When Quetzalcoatl descends to the underworld, he retrieves the ‘jewel bone’ or sacrificial bone’ and brings it to Tamoanchan. The Goddess Ciuacuotl grinds it on the grindstone. The substance is placed into the ‘jewel bowl’ and several of the gods drip their blood onto the meal in order to produce mankind. Once again the iconic mill is seen as playing a crucial role in the progression of one age of mankind into the next.
A story from the Ostyaks of the lrtysh river valley in Siberia gives another account. “There is a mill which grinds by itself, swings of itself, and scatters the dust a hundred versts away. And there is a golden pole with a golden cage on top which is also the Nail of the North. And there is a very wise tomcat which climbs up and down this pole. When he climbs down, he sings songs; and when he climbs up, he tells tales.”
This pole is clearly another reference to the Earth’s axis. The ‘Nail of the North’ is a sure sign of that, but it is also quite similar to the image of the ‘Cosmic Tree’, which represents the same thing. This tree is said to reach up into the heavens. It is the ‘world oak draped with the starry mantle’ of Pherecydes and the Edenic Tree of Life from the Bible. In the Edda, it is a giant Ash tree called Yggdrasil and the tomcat of the Ostyak story is represented in the Norse version’s squirrel, Ratatosk, who climbs up and down the tree trying to stir up drama between Nidhoggr, the serpent on the ground and the eagle who lives in the canopy. This tree is the very same thing as the mill axle, and clearly also another symbol of the fluid that moves up and down the spine between the ‘serpent’ and the ‘bird’. Therefore, like Santa Claus, it represents the Crown Chakra symbolized by the North Pole.
In the Kalevala we find many of these images that represent the precession of the ages. Vainamoinen, cast upon the shores of the northland, Pohjola, encounters Louhi, the sorceress of the land. She asks for him to build a Sampo. This object is the mill and a symbol of connection between the earth and sky, one that grinds out prosperity in gold and grain, peace and happiness. Vainamoinen, wise amongst the wise, tells Louhi that he cannot build it, but that Ilmarinen, the ancient smithy could forge it for her. She agrees to send him back to Kalevala to find Ilmarinen and send him to her, promising that if he can build for her the Sampo, he may take her virgin daughter as his wife. On his return home, Vainamoinen stops “near where Osmo’s field is bordered”.
“Then began old Wainamoinen,
Ancient bard and famous singer,
To renew his incantations;
Sang aloft a wondrous pine-tree,
Till it pierced the clouds in growing
With its golden top and branches,
Till it touched the very heavens,
Spread its branches in the ether,
In the ever-shining sunlight.”
Eventually he finds Ilmarinen and tries to convince him to go and build the Sampo, but in vain. Then, he tells Ilmarinen of the great pine he saw.
”On the crown the moon is shining,
In the boughs the bear is resting.”
The moon is clearly an astronomical symbol, but the bear also likely represents Ursa Major, the bear whose back is the big dipper, and knowing that this tree ‘touched the very heavens’ with its ‘branches in the ether’ reminds us again that we are dealing with cosmological imagery. This tree, being in the northland, can be understood as the celestial North Pole – the zenith that points directly outward from the top of the earth. “In the ever shining sunlight” is a pretty direct message – it never falls into the shadow of night because it is the spinning Earth!
Ilmarinen is overcome with curiosity and follows Vainemoinen to the tree. He climbs to the top in order to grab the moonbeams and starlight, but Vainemoinen begins then to sing and summons the wind to carry Ilmarinen to Pohja. He meets Louhi and agrees to build the Sampo. After finding a proper place and building all his tools and bellows, he begins forging. On the first day, from the fire came a golden bow, but it was not to his liking and he threw it back into the fire. The next day came a boat of copper, but it was also not to his liking. On the third day there came a cow, but the cow did not satisfy him either. The fourth day produced a plow, and this was also rejected. Then he called the winds to work the bellows with the utmost of their power. Finally, he looked in to see the Sampo forming.
Thereupon smith Ilmarinen,
He the great primeval craftsman,
Welded it and hammered at it,
Heaped his rapid blows upon it,
Formed with cunning art the Sampo.
And on one side was a corn-mill,
On another side a salt-mill,
And upon the third a coin-mill.
Now was grinding the new Sampo,
And revolved the pictured cover,
Chestfuls did it grind till evening,
First for food it ground a chestful,
And another ground for barter,
And a third it ground for storage.
Now rejoiced the Crone of Pohja,
And conveyed the bulky Sampo,
To the rocky hills of Pohja,
And within the Mount of Copper,
And behind nine locks secured it.
There it struck its roots around it,
Fathoms nine in depth that measured,
One in Mother Earth deep-rooted,
In the strand the next was planted,
In the nearest mount the third one.
So the Sampo was fixed at a specific place for a long while. Perhaps the gates are the nine planets, considering that one was rooted in Mother Earth. Ilmarinen left without his bride who had made up excuses as to why she should remain in her own land. It would be a long time before he would return to Pohja and when he did, it was with the intention of recovering the Sampo to bring it back to his homeland and provide prosperity to his own people. In the meantime, Louhi received the benefits of the great object. It was capable of grinding out what we are calling a ‘Golden Age’ in which peace existed and bountiful abundances of food and health graced the land. It is for this reason that, in the end of the epic poem, the three brothers, Vainemoinen, Ilmarinen, and Lemminkainen set out to retrieve the Sampo.
Before they do, Kullervo, the Hamlet archetype, is introduced. He is the son of Kalervo who was murdered by his jealous brother, Untamoinen. After realizing the incredible magical skill of Kullervo and hearing from his mouth pledges to avenge his father at only three months of age, Untamoinen grows fearful of him and tries to have him killed. After many attempts, he determines that Kullervo is immortal and decides to try to employ him instead of kill him. He is given many tasks but turns out to be a dreadful babysitter and home keeper. He seeks a hero’s life and his magic is too great to be wasted.
Eventually, he is sold to Ilmarinen as a servant. Ilmarinen now has his wife from Pohja and she is unkind to Kullervo, her slave. One day she hides a stone inside a loaf of bread for him. When he tries to cut the loaf, his knife is broken. This knife is the only family heirloom he has and so he becomes very angry. He sees her milking the cows one day and uses his magic to turn all the cows into bears who kill her.
Afterwards, he escapes from slavery to find his family, but the first time he meets his sister, he unknowingly seduces her and she kills herself for shame, drowning in a whirlpool. Eventually, Kullervo does take vengeance on Untamoinen and kills his whole tribe, but only after his own family had been telling him to turn from the path of violent revenge. So mad did he become that he did not realize as his own family died off one by one. When he returned home, he found their bodies untended. Finally, he falls upon his own sword to kill himself. Here we can see the full story of Hamlet incorporated into the larger epic of the Kalevala.
The plot is then shifted back to Ilmarinen’s voyage northward. When they arrive in the Northland, Vainamoinen begins to play his Kantele and sing, which brings all the inhabitants of Pohjola into a deep sleep. The three brothers creep into the great mountain in which the Sampo is kept and try to move it. Eventually they find a giant bull who helps them ‘uproot’ it – meaning the North Pole was shifting into the Age of Taurus.
Asked the smith, said Ilmarinen,
And he spoke the words which follow:
“Whither shall we bear the Sampo,
Whither now we shall convey it,
Take it from this evil country,
From the wretched land of Pohja?”
Vainamoinen, old and steadfast,
Answered in the words which follow:
“Thither will we bear the Sampo,
And will take the pictured cover,
To the misty island’s headland,
At the end of shady island.
There in safety can we keep it,
There it can remain for ever,
There’s a little spot remaining,
Yet a little plot left over,
Where they eat not and they fight not,
Whither swordsmen never wander.
As they sail off with the Sampo, they pass a crane who is scared off by Lemminkainen’s singing. He screams and squawks in terror, waking all the people of Pohjola. Louhi pursues them angrily, defending her precious Sampo, but the brothers overcome her threats. Eventually, she turns herself into a great eagle, who fills the space between the waves and the sky, and she snatches the Sampo away. The Eagle may represent the higher aspect of Scorpio.
She drops it in the water and it smashes to pieces. Many pieces of the cover lie floating on the water, and these Vainemoinen collects, bringing favor to his homeland. He buried the pieces and from them grow trees. The trees bring forth new life and ‘every kind of increase’. We are reminded of Vishnu floating on the water to preserve the world and of Quetzalcoatl building humankind out of the remains from the previous age. We are reminded of Noah and his Ark floating in the Ocean, or for that matter, Jason and his Argo (ship).
Vainemoinen builds himself a new Kantele from birchwood and continues singing. To hear his voice, the Sun and Moon come forth from their dwellings. Louhi captures them and hides them in an iron mountain, but eventually lets them go since she is fearful of the hero brothers and her powers wane without the Sampo. Vainemoinen realizes that time is short for him as well, and so he kindles a new fire and sings all the songs he has left to sing.
Day by day he sang unwearied,
Night by night discoursed unceasing,
Sang the songs of by-gone ages,
Hidden words of ancient wisdom,
Songs which all the children sing not,
All beyond men’s comprehension,
In these ages of misfortune,
When the race is near its ending.
At this time, he knew his age was ending. Soon a son was born to the virgin Mariatta, and Vainemoinen knew that he and the child could not both live in that land. The child was a herald of a new age, and his own age was passing.
And began his songs of magic,
For the last time sang them loudly,
Sang himself a boat of copper,
With a copper deck provided.
In the stern himself he seated,
Sailing o’er the sparkling billows,
Still he sang as he was sailing:
“May the time pass quickly o’er us,
One day passes, comes another,
And again shall I be needed,
Men will look for me and miss me,
To construct another Sampo,
And another harp to make me,
Make another moon for gleaming,
And another sun for shining.
When the sun and moon are absent,
In the air no joy remaineth.”
Then the aged Vainamoinen
Went upon his journey singing,
Sailing in his boat of copper,
In his vessel made of copper,
Sailed away to loftier regions,
To the land beneath the heavens.
Often I have heard it chanted,
Often heard the words repeated:
“Worthy cataracts and rivers
Never empty all their waters.”
Thus the wise and worthy singer
Sings not all his garnered wisdom;
Better leave unsung some sayings
Than to sing them out of season.
The entire theme of the Kalevala is that the ages are passing. Just as the human being or the Earth is a microcosm of the Universe, the Kalevala is a microcosm of time. The Tree that grows to the heavens with its branches among the Ether is a sure sign of a connection between the Earth and stars. The Sampo represents the Axis of Earth as it turns and grinds out the ages of man. More specifically, it symbolizes a perfect time, when mankind is in harmony with the universe and arts and culture flourish. In following, the stealing of the Sampo by the brothers describes how the earth axis leaves its ‘rooted’ position and slowly turns away from the former pole star. When it breaks, the age is over and a new one must begin. The axis proceeds forward to the new astrological age and so the Golden Age of the Sampo, this connection with the heavens that provides all life-sustenance and peace, diminishes slowly into a dark age, until once more, the wise will call out to Vainemoinen once more.
In the Kalevala, we find almost all the elements we have been discussing in terms of astronomical symbolism. The Sampo is the greatest emblem of all. Many generations of students have wondered at what it actually is. It is similar to some other objects, such as the Cornicopia of Greek mythology, which provides endless goods. The Holy Grail was also said to be able to produce wealth and health for its bearers. The Alchemical Philosophers Stone is another clear reference to an endless source of prosperity, or the Stone of Destiny. In the Mahabharata we find the Akshaya Pathram – a bowl that created food within itself that was given to the Pandavas from Krishna. There is also the Grotte or Grottasongr of Nordic mythology, which grinds out peace and happiness as well as gold and salt. Of course, not all these symbols are blatant references to the North Pole’s slow motion, but all represent a fountain of unlimited wealth, health and prosperity and also the understanding that this is not available to all beings at all times. Of course, a golden age must, by it’s nature be balanced by a darker one, in which the grail lies hidden.
These objects are not meant to be understood literally, but as representations of time and cosmological influences as they affect our planet and life thereon. Time has a frame. The mythic world is an acknowledgement of the astrological ages and describes this ‘frame of time’ in a coded language. At the same time, it was designed as a medium that could traverse the dark ages and remind future generations that this Golden Age had already come and gone. They are telling us that we, as a species, have been smarter than we are today. They are telling us that progress is not a straight line, but a wave. Birth – Life – Death – Renewal.
The Great Flood
Upon realizing so many similarities between cultures so vastly different and apparently isolated, we are left to conclude that in one way or another, these varied traditions must stem from a common root. They are the branches of a tree whose trunk contains the fundamental truths of our world. Since the different branches of this tree are all defined by individual style, composition and in many cases by the choice of symbols used, we might imagine that a fair amount of development away from this source had occurred after the initial establishment of the knowledge within a specific land. The common denominator, therefore, would likely take the form of an ancient ancestor civilization. We must be dealing with a collective that served as a sort of ‘Johnny Appleseed’, only instead of planting apple trees, they built megalithic radiators of earth energy and bestowed upon the indigenous populations knowledge of the transcendent universe.
We know already that possession of the secret doctrine implies an unparalleled level of civilization. Not only that, it implies that this civilization must have been present for thousands, or more likely, tens of thousands of years prior to the very earliest dynasties of Egypt. Otherwise, how could the precession of the equinoxes and other large-scale time cycles have been measured so accurately?
We also see that much of the message from the past demonstrates an effort to describe great catastrophes on our planet and may serve as a warning of impending challenges to come. Is it possible then to imagine that a great global empire did exist and that it was destroyed, leaving only remnants of wisdom passed down to surviving pockets of people? Are there any better theories as to how such knowledge came to be spread across the globe in ancient times? The truth is that such a possibility is frightening to mankind and perhaps this is the reason why those who study the ancients are so quick to dismiss mythology and legend as being purely metaphorical and unhistorical. Regardless of such ignorant claims, we must look to these myths as our first clues. We will find plenty of implications that great disasters play a large role in the mythology of literally every culture.
Perhaps one of the earliest myths of the deluge is that of Gilgamesh. Some consider this to be the earliest written story on earth. It comes to us from ancient Sumer, written upon twelve clay tablets in cuneiform script. It is apparently about a historical King of Uruk, or modern Iraq, who lived sometime between 2750 and 2500 BC.
Gilgamesh was one third man and two thirds god. He was tall, handsome and incredibly strong. He took any woman he wanted and forced the masses into labor. When he built the walls around Uruk, his workers laments were very great, moaning in anguish as they toiled. When the Gods heard this, they decided to create a man to challenge him, or at least check his power. So they created Enkidu, though at first, he was more of a beast and he lived in the wilderness. Eventually he becomes seduced by a beautiful woman and thus left the animal world for the human world.
Having heard of Gilgamesh’s lavish lifestyle, Enkidu becomes angry and decides to go to Uruk to challenge him. When they meet, Gilgamesh is about to take a woman against her will and so Enkidu stands in the door to block his way. They begin to fight violently, but eventually they both realize the strength of their opponent and become friends and equals.
The newly made friends then go off in search of adventure. They head towards the forest of cedars far away to steal a great sacred tree (the cosmic tree). The forest is forbidden to mortals and it is guarded by the demon Humbaba, a servant of Enlil. The two heroes defeat the monster with the help of the sun god, Shamash, and return home with the greatest of the cedars.
Upon their return, Ishtar, the goddess of love, wants Gilgamesh terribly, but he refuses her. In a rage, she asks for her father, Anu, to send down the bull of heaven (Taurus) as a punishment. The great bull, however, is no match for the two friends. They kill the bull and this is enough to make the gods worried. They hold a council in which they decide to kill Enkidu. They send to him an illness that eventually takes his life, leaving Gilgamesh heartbroken.
At this point the theme of the whole work is introduced. Gilgamesh becomes so upset at the death of his friend and at the realization of his own inevitable death, that he gives up his throne and garments for the wilderness, and animal skins. He wanders off into the wild in order to find Utnapishtim, the Sumerian precedent of the biblical Noah. Utnapishtim had been granted eternal life by the gods because of his service in preserving humanity. Therefore, Gilgamesh seeks him in order to ask how to gain immortality himself.
He reaches the twin peaked Mount Mashu, on which the Sun rises on one side and sets on the other – reminding us perhaps of Mount Mandara or Meru or certain other mountains which represent the world and its turning. The way through is protected by two great scorpions, (Scorpio) Gilgamesh simply pleads and reasons with the scorpions and they allow him to pass. After crossing through complete darkness in a tunnel through the mountain he arrives at a beautiful garden by the sea. There he meets Siduru, a veiled tavern keeper. Upon hearing of his quest, she tells him how pointless and dangerous it is to search for immortality. She tells him to simply be happy with the mortal world, but eventually she directs him to the ferryman, Urshanabi.
Finally, after crossing the sea and the waters of death, he finds Utnapishtim. He gets straight to the point and asks Utnapishtim the secret of his immortality.
“I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden,
a secret of the gods I will tell you!
Shuruppak, a city that you surely know,
situated on the banks of the Euphrates,
that city was very old, and there were gods inside it.
The hearts of the Great Gods moved them to inflict the Flood.
Their Father Anu uttered the oath (of secrecy),
Valiant Enlil was their Adviser,
Ninurta was their Chamberlain,
Ennugi was their Minister of Canals.
E’a, the Clever Prince(?), was under oath with them
so he repeated their talk to the reed house:
‘Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall!
O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu:
Tear down the house and build a boat!
Abandon wealth and seek living beings!
Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings!
Make all living beings go up into the boat.
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Roof it over like the Apsu.
I understood and spoke to my lord, E’a:
‘My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered
I will heed and will do it. ”
Here we see the clever god E’a speaking to the walls of the house so that he would appear not to break his vow of secrecy, though he knows that Utnapishtim is listeningfrom outside. In this way, he is saving the human race, though the rest of the Gods have decided not to. Utnapishtim then follows the orders and builds the ship and awaits the coming rains.
“I watched the appearance of the weather.
The weather was frightful to behold.
I went into the boat and sealed the entry.
For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman,
I gave the palace together with its contents.
Just as dawn began to glow
there arose from the horizon a black cloud.
Adad rumbled inside of it,
before him went Shullat and Hanish,
heralds going over mountain and land.
Erragal pulled out the mooring poles,
forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow.
The Anunnaki lifted up the torches,
setting the land ablaze with their flare.
Stunned shock over Adad’s deeds overtook the heavens,
and turned to blackness all that had been light.
The… land shattered like a… pot.
All day long the South Wind blew,
blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
overwhelming the people like an attack.
No one could see his fellow.
They could not recognize each other in the torrent.
The gods were frightened by the Flood
and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.
The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.
Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,
the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:
‘The olden days have alas turned to clay,
because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods!
How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,
ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!
No sooner have I given birth to my dear people
than they fill the sea like so many fish!’
The gods – those of the Anunnaki – were weeping with her,
the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief,
their lips burning, parched with thirst.
Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.
When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war – struggling with itself
like a woman writhing in labor.
The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind and flood stopped up.
I looked around all day long – quiet had set in
and all the human beings had turned to clay!
The terrain was as flat as a roof.
I opened a vent and fresh air
fell upon the side of my nose.
I fell to my knees and sat weeping,
tears streaming down the side of my nose.
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm,
Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
When a seventh day arrived
I sent forth a dove and released it.
[Note here that the seventh day, or seventh chakra, is associated with the completion of the week; the seven days of the creation or the activation of all the Chakras, ending with the Crown. This results in the third operating as a receiver for the astral body that can now travel forth – fly free like a bird – yet always return back to it’s body…]
The dove went off, but came back to me,
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a swallow and released it.
The swallow went off, but came back to me,
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a raven and released it.
The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back.
It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me.
Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed a sheep.
I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat.
Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place,
and into the fire underneath I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle.
The gods smelled the savor,
the gods smelled the sweet savor,
and collected like flies over a sacrifice.
The seven and seven cult vessels clues us into the ‘Seven Rays’ which each existed within seven levels, giving a total of 49 essential qualities, or angels of GOD. (I will used the fully capitalized GOD to represent the ‘Supreme Existence’ so as not to confuse it with the various demiurges and sub-deities, written herein as Gods or God.) This ritual sacrifice was the first sustenance the Gods had tasted since the flood had begun and they had realized that they needed the human race in order to live. The gods ‘fed’ on the sacrifices offered by humans and this was their only source of nourishment. If there were no men left alive, the Gods would find no sustenance. Therefore the Gods were happy that Utnapishtim had survived and they rewarded him by making him a God like themselves. This is how he ‘found life’.
At this point Utnapishtim asks Gilgamesh how he intends to convene the gods in order to receive his own immortal life. He tests Gilgamesh by asking him to stay awake for seven days, but as soon as Gilgamesh sits down, sleep blows over him like a fog. Ultimately, Gilgamesh returns home, still as a mortal, but he realizes that to have built such a beautiful city and to be remembered by it is as close to eternal life as a mortal can come.
It is quite obvious that this account is near identical to the story of Noah in the bible, yet it is clear that this was the predecessor of the two, and that in truth, the flood of Noah was one of the latest or most recent versions of the story. George (G. I.) Gurdjieff relates that his father used to tell him the tale of Gilgamesh in his youth, and nearly word for word, the tale his father told was identical to the actual tablet’s account, which was discovered later…That is to say that Gurdjieff’s father was a memory keeper, and though the story was written down, it was also committed to memory as well, and passed from generation to generation as an oral tradition. After thousands of years, this oral tradition maintained nearly every single word of the epic story, and this was proved by the discovery of the ‘world’s first book’. Why must it have been remembered WORD FOR WORD? This is because there are codes within it…
The Greek version is that of Deucalion, the son of Prometheus and Clymene. He was married to Pyrrha, and was king of Phthia. Zeus had determined at this time to destroy the degenerate form of man living on earth, but Deucalion was warned by his father and told to build a ship and carry into it provisions. When the great flood came, he and his wife were the only survivors. In the most common tradition, the boat finally landed on Mount Parnassus. When the waters had passed, Deucalion offered up a sacrifice to Zeus Phyxius, or the ‘Helper of Fugitives’. The God then sent Hermes to offer Deucalion the granting of any wish he desired. He chose to wish that Zeus might restore mankind.
In the Hindu tradition, Manu is the first man which all others come from. According to the Puranas, the seventh Manu was named Vaivasvata Manu. In a way, Manu was a measurement of time as well.
“The duration of one manvantara, the lifespan of one Manu, is seventy-one Mahayugas, and each Mahayuga is 4,320,000 years”. The present Manu has already lived for 4,320,000 years multiplied by 28.”
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.30.49
Of course, we see the precessional number of 4,320,000 also used in the pyramids relationship to the earth, and other places, but in this case it is directly tied into the age of Manu. So how did this age begin? One day, Manu found a tiny fish in a bowl of water while washing his hands. The fish asked him to place him into a larger body of water. This fish was an incarnation of the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu. In exchange for the service of providing a larger space, the fish told Manu that he would be spared from a great flood that would soon destroy all living beings. Manu helped the fish by putting him into a larger bowl. Soon the fish grew larger and was then moved into a tank, and then a stream, and finally the sea.
At this time, the fish told Manu to build a great ship in order to save himself from the coming flood. He was told to bring onto the ship two of every animal on earth as well as the seeds of every plant. Then, when the flood came, Manu used a rope to tie his ship to a great horn of the fish who then towed the boat to the Himalayan mountains. Once there, Manu was instructed to tie the boat to one of the mountains and wait for the waters to subside. When the waters lowered, he found himself to be very lonely. He offered up a sacrifice and was rewarded with a wife with whom he repopulated the earth.
In Mexico, a Toltec legend states that the previous creation lasted 1716 years and was destroyed by a flood and survived by only one family. In the Aztec tradition, a man named Tapi was told by the creator to build a boat that he would live in. He was told to take his wife and a pair of every living animal on board with him. He was considered crazy until the rain started and the flood came. All the other animals and men tried to climb the mountains, but these also became submerged. Finally Tapi decided that the waters had dried up when he let loose a dove that did not return.
The Inca’s relate that at one time the people became very evil and neglected the gods. Two brothers living in the highlands of the Andes noticed strange behavior of their llamas. They asked the llamas what was wrong. The llamas told them that the stars had told them of a great flood coming that would destroy all life. The brothers took their families and flocks into a cave high in the mountains. It rained for four months, but as the waters rose, so did the mountain, keeping its peak dry. Eventually the rain ceased and the mountain returned to its original height. The shepherds repopulated the land. The llamas remembered the event and ever since have preferred to live in elevated areas.
The Delaware Indians’ version describes an evil spirit who came to cause a great flood. Only a few people had taken refuge on the back of a giant turtle. A loon flew over and was asked to retrieve the earth from beneath the sea, but it found no bottom. Then it flew far away and returned with a piece of dry land. It guided the turtle towards the land.
The Chaldean version is about Xisuthrus, who, when warned of the flood, built a boat, brought on all creatures in twos and waited out the flood. After releasing some birds, he noticed mud on their feet when they returned. Thus he determined that the waters had receded.
A classic piece of Chinese literature called the Hihking describes the family of Fuhi that was saved from the great flood by building a boat. Fuhi was considered the father of their civilization. He, his wife and his three sons and three daughters were the only ones to survive and thus to repopulate.
The Maori of New Zealand tell of a time when many tribes all quarreled with each other. The worship of Tane was neglected. Two prophets then taught the doctrine of the separation of earth and heaven, but they were mocked by the people. They built a large raft at the top of the Tohinga River. They built a house upon it and brought on board ferns, sweet potatoes and dogs. A few others then joined them on the raft and they prayed for rains to come. It rained hard for four or five days and then they prayed for the rains to stop. Even still, the raft was taken down the river into the sea. In the eighth month the waters passed. They had landed at Hawaiki, where they began making fires and producing seaweed offerings to the gods. Today, only the chief priest is allowed to visit these alters.
There are so many versions of this story that it is beyond the skeptics to ignore or debate. It is simply one of the many unsolved mysteries of the past. From every corner of the earth, the tale is nearly identical. Historians may attempt to explain these coincidences away as related to minor local floods, or say that traditions from foreign nations were introduced into these remote societies, but neither explanation comes close to accounting for the undeniable relationships of the stories. In fact the only explanation for this phenomena is that all these stories must have referred to an ancient time in which the earth really was torn apart by a great disaster or at the very least, a catastrophe that ripped apart the homeland of the singular culture that ended up bestowing this wisdom on the various peoples of the world. It is nearly impossible to believe that this one source of humanity, one family or one couple, was actually many different sources that were all described in the same way. It is foolish to think that these stories are not all speaking of a singular event or at least period of time.
For this to be true, however, the event must have taken place long before all the civilizations of the world came to be. It does not contradict the case that we are currently building. After a great flood, the teachers of civilization would have come out from the sea to aid mankind on its path of reconstruction. The order or brotherhood of preservation, including Quetzalcoatl, Kulkulkan, Viracocha, and all the others that we’ve discussed, would have seen this coming destruction and set out to reinstate the human race. They would have brought the story of the great deluge to all the lands in which they built their megalithic observatories and pyramids. From that point, the story would develop into a more region-specific variation of the original form. This band of emissaries was associated with the Gods.
Judging from the most popular aspects of the story, we can imagine that the original, and therefore the most accurate version would include the following. It would begin with a world that lived in harmony with the gods and enjoyed their favor. Then it would develop to the point at which mankind would have forgotten its gods – forgotten its relationship to nature and desecrated the earthly temple. At this age of ignorance and quarreling, the gods would grow angry. They would resolve to annihilate their once-beloved human race. Just as the human body will resist illness or cancerous growth, the Earth would purge itself of the human infection, and the Gods were agents of the Earth’s will, as the Earth’s will is an echo of GOD’s will.
Yet in a state of compassion, the righteous would be spared, and all the life on earth would be preserved in a seed state that would once again grow into a functional global population and ecosystem. To accomplish this, one man or one family would preserve the human race and the same would apply to all flora and fauna. This complete renewal would eventually reach a climax, followed by an end, and the hero of the story would send out a bird to help him find land. Upon landing, he gives up a sacrificial offering to the gods – thanking them for sparing his life and that of his family. The happy ending is the fresh beginning as the human race begins to grow again and flourish. Their relationship with the gods once again becomes harmonious. The following graph demonstrates how many similarities can be found in all these varied versions of the most universal myth on the planet.
|D = Destruction by Water|
|.||G = (God) Divine Cause|
|.||W = Warning Given|
|.||H = Humans Spared|
|.||A = Animals Spared|
|.||V = Preserved in a Vessel|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||01 Australia- Kurnai|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||02 Babylon- Berossus’ account|
|D||G||W||H||A||V||03 Babylon- Gilgamesh epic|
|D||G||W||H||.||V||04 Bolivia- Chiriguano|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||05 Borneo- Sea Dayak|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||06 Burma- Singpho|
|D||G||.||H||A||V||07 Canada- Cree|
|D||G||W||H||A||V||08 Canada- Montagnais|
|D||G||.||H||A||V||09 China- Lolo|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||10 Cuba- original natives|
|D||G||W||H||A||V||11 East Africa- Masai|
|D||G||W||H||.||V||12 Egypt- Book of the Dead|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||13 Fiji- Walavu-levu tradition|
|D||G||W||H||A||.||14 French Polynesia- Raiatea|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||15 Greece- Lucian’s account|
|D||G||.||H||A||V||16 Guyana- Macushi|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||17 Iceland- Eddas|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||18 India- Andaman Islands|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||19 India- Bhil|
|D||.||W||H||A||.||21 Iran- Zend-Avesta|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||22 Italy- Ovid’s poetry|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||23 Malay Peninsula- Jekun|
|D||.||W||H||.||V||24 Mexico- Codex Chimalpopoca|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||25 Mexico- Huichol|
|D||G||.||H||.||V||26 New Zealand- Maori|
|D||.||W||H||A||.||27 Peru- Indians of Huarochiri|
|D||.||W||H||.||V||28 X . Russia- Vogul|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||29 U.S.A. (Alaska)- Kolusches|
|D||G||.||H||A||V||30 U.S.A. (Alaska)- Tlingit|
|D||.||W||H||A||V||31 U.S.A. (Arizona)- Papago|
|D||G||.||H||A||V||32 U.S.A. (Hawaii)- legend of Nu-u|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||33 Vanualu- Melanesians|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||34 Vietnam- Bahnar|
|D||.||.||H||A||V||35 Wales- Dwyfan/Dwyfan legend|
|35||18||17||35||24||32||Total Occurrences out of 35|
“At the head of the Egyptian Delta, where the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which Amasis the king was sprung. And the citizens have a deity who is their foundress: she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, which is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes called Athene (Athena).
Now, the citizens of this city are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them. Thither came Solon, who was received by them with great honor; and he asked the priests, who were most skillful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old.
On one occasion, when he was drawing them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world–about Phoroneus, who is called ‘the first,’ and about Niobe; and, after the Deluge, to tell of the lives of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and attempted to reckon how many years old were the events of which he was speaking, and to give the dates.
Thereupon, one of the priests, who was of very great age; said, ‘O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are but children, and there is never an old man who is an Hellene.’
Solon, hearing this, said, ‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean to say,’ he replied, ‘that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you the reason of this: there have been, and there will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes.
There is a story which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phaethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now, this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving around the earth and in the heavens, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth recurring at long intervals of time: when this happens, those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the sea-shore; and from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing savior, saves and delivers us.
When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, among you herdsmen and shepherds on the mountains are the survivors, whereas those of you who live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea; but in this country neither at that time nor at any other does the water come from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below, for which reason the things preserved here are said to be the oldest.
The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer sun does not prevent, the human race is always increasing at times, and at other times diminishing in numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed–if any action which is noble or great, or in any other way remarkable has taken place, all that has been written down of old, and is preserved in our temples; whereas you and other nations are just being provided with letters and the other things which States require; and then, at the usual period, the stream from heaven descends like a pestilence, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and thus you have to begin all over again as children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves.
As for those genealogies of yours which you have recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children; for, in the first place, you remember one deluge only, whereas there were many of them; and, in the next place, you do not know that there dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, of whom you and your whole city are but a seed or remnant. And this was unknown to you, because for many generations the survivors of that destruction died and made no sign.
For there was a time, Solon, before that great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war, and was preeminent for the excellence of her laws, and is said to have performed the noblest deeds, and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.’
Solon marveled at this, and earnestly requested the priest to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens.
Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your State in our histories; but one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valor; for these histories tell of a mighty power which was aggressing wantonly against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end.
This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which you call the Columns of Heracles [the Strait of Gibraltar, also known as the Pillars of Hercules]: the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from the islands you might pass through the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbor [the Mediterranean], having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a continent.
Now, in the island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire, which had rule over the whole island and several others, as well as over parts of the continent; and, besides these, they subjected the parts of Libya within the Columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Italy).
The vast power thus gathered into one, endeavored to subdue at one blow our country and yours, and the whole of the land which was within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind; for she was the first in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes.
And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjected, and freely liberated all the others who dwelt within the limits of Heracles.
But afterward there occurred violent earthquakes and floods, and in a single day and night of rain all your warlike men in a body sunk into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared, and was sunk beneath the sea.
And that is the reason why the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is such a quantity of shallow mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.’
-Excerpt from “Critias” by Plato c.428 – c.347 BC
(Translation from The Antediluvian World, by Ignatius Donnelly )
The most popular account of Atlantis comes from Plato’s Critias, quoted above. Critias was the sequel to Timeaus and was supposed to have been the second of a trilogy ending with Hermocrates. Unfortunately this trilogy was never finished and even Critias itself, is today, incomplete. The whole work was aimed at describing the ideal state of man in all its forms and phases, including its corruption and destruction.
Solon, a statesman, lawmaker and Archon of ancient Athens, was the original source of the story. Some called him the father of democracy. Around 595 BC, he brought about major reforms to ancient Athens. He repealed many laws of his predecessors. He ended the system of debt slavery that was burdening the land, much as it does today at the hand of the Federal Reserve today. His reign as king was nothing short of a full restoration and fresh beginning for Athens. Once his reformation was more or less complete, he had made so many enemies among the nobility, landowners and those who utilized ‘debt slavery’ to make their riches, that he no longer felt safe or honored to be the Archon of Athens. Solon decided to leave office and traveled the world in search of greater wisdom regarding the laws of civilized and humane governance.
He traveled to Egypt where he met with the priests of Sais, who worshipped at the shrine of Isis. He was received kindly and he told them all about his attempt to purify and renew Athens. One night, they led Solon through dark passageways in the temples and descended a staircase, lit only by torches. They arrived at a series of subterranean chambers carved from the bedrock. Through the chambers flowed a river, which the priests told him was the Nile, coursing underground to water the fields of the underworld. On the edge of the stream, a boat was waiting which they boarded. The rowers of the boat were blind men and they set off the shore.
Finally, they arrived on the shore of an underground island. The torchlight fell onto two great pillars, built from a strange metal and inscribed all over in an unknown language. The high priest then spoke to the astonished Solon, telling him that these pillars had been placed there thousands of years before by a lost people who had vanished from the earth. They were built from a substance that neither rusted nor deteriorated in any way.
He told Solon that once, long ago, there existed an enormous empire that stretched all across the globe. Great fleets of ship had traversed the oceans and brought their goods to the central city of the Golden Gate. There were schools dedicated to the mysteries of nature and giant towers built as observatories of the stars. They mined the earth for precious minerals and metals. The empire was ruled over by seven kings, the descendants of Neptune, God of the Seas.
Then there came a time when the seven kings had determined to conquer the entire world – in disobedience to the gods. Thus was the beginning of war. They invaded all of Europe, attacking the Greeks. This, said the high priest, had occurred around 8,000 years earlier. The gods became quite angry at this. They caused the earth to be shaken and the great islands of the west were made to disappear into the sea. In a single night, he said, millions of humans died. In time, the name of the Atlantic Empire had become forgotten as punishment for neglecting the gods.
The high priest then concluded, “From these ancient columns we have read the laws that were given in olden times for the government of nations. These laws are not made by men, but are the will of Eternal Nature. Upon these laws enduring states must be built. To depart from these laws is to die. So perished the nations of the elder world.”
Solon returned to Athens, intending to write the story he’d been told into an epic poem, but never had the chance. Instead, he described the story in great detail to his good friend Dropidas. Dropidas then told the story to his son, Critias who in turn told it to his own grandson, also named Critias. This Critias then became a student of Socrates, and his retelling of the story to his master is the dialogue that Plato (Aristotle’s teacher) records in this account. Therefore, it is told, in Plato’s own words, as a history, and not a myth.
Modern scholars are quick to state that Plato’s Timeaus and Critias are the only sources of possible evidence for the existence of Atlantis. Even these, they generally claim to be only parables and metaphors that Plato used as a basis for describing his utopian Philosophers City, in which peace and harmony were the result of a monarchy led by benevolent philosopher kings.
Certainly it may contain levels of information that are not literal, but that does not mean that it was not also describing a historic event. On the contrary, it is sad to see that one of the most respected minds of all time is simply ignored, when describing something that he himself considered to be of the utmost importance – something to which he devoted the last years of his life. It is worse still when skeptics take his story to be true but say that his timeline was flawed. The priest said this occurred 8000 years earlier, or roughly 9000 BC. Simply because in our minds, this was a time when civilization should not have existed, some suggest that the priests of Egypt had meant 800 years ago rather than 8000.
It is a disgrace to Plato to consider his entire life’s work in philosophy, government and countless other fields to be legitimate, but to imagine that he simply miscalculated this one piece of critical information, which is perhaps the single most important bit of information he ever recorded. Certainly it is worth entertaining that it may have referenced actual events, especially having so many other puzzle pieces already in place.
This being understood, let us also recognize that Critias has many other layers of encrypted data, beyond the historical aspects, just as all these myths have. This higher message, like many myths, speaks in riddles of number, harmony, proportion, and the cyclical nature of time. Ernest McClain’s The Pythagorean Plato unlock’s much of this wisdom – a book that John West mentioned to me as one of the largely unknown and highly underrated works that shine a great deal of light on the Atlantis Mystery.