Archive for the ‘Mythology’ Category
Tags: aliens, atahuallpa, atahualpa, bolivia, chambers, chinkana, coricancha, cusco, cuzco, ecuador, egypt, hall of records, ian driscoll, inca, jinn, labyrinth, orbs, peru, subterranean, tayos, tiwanaku, tunnels
Tags: andes, anselm pi rambla, atlantis, coricancha, cuzco, inca, quito, records, sacsayhuaman, subterranean tunnels, tayos, tiwanaku, underground
My next book, entitled Chinkana: The Subterranean World of the Inkas, is due to be released in the coming months. In it, I discuss the multitude of historical records, myths and legends that testify to the existence of a vast network of subterranean tunnels which are said to run throughout the ancient Incan Empire. So, get ready, and tell your friends!
From the back cover: “In 1532, the greatest existing civilization in the Americas was overthrown by fewer than 200 conquistadors. Literally tons of gold was plundered and shipped back to Spain, for the glory of the crown. But rumors have persisted since the conquest that the treasure obtained by the Spaniards was only a grain of sand in comparison to what was secreted away by the surviving Incas in mysterious underground chambers, supposedly built long before the arrival of the Spanish by a people unknown. Chinkana: The Subterranean World of the Inkas, collects in one place all of the myths and legends surrounding the vast networks of subterranean roads and temples that from Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire, extended north to Quito, Ecuador; south to the ancient citadel of Tiwanaku, Bolivia; and east, deep into the Amazon jungle.”
Tags: america, aztec, cocaine, comparative mythology, egypt, egyptian, giza, horus, india, kukulkan, maya, mythology, osiris, pyramids, quetzalcoatl, serpent, viracocha
The debate between what’s been termed “independent invention” and “diffusion” came to a head in the first half of the twentieth century. Those advocating independent invention claimed that although cultures worlds apart may have come to similar conclusions and may have employed similar religious practices, they did so only because they developed in similar environments and thusly had like experiences…the conclusions which these cultures reached were only “natural” according to the independent inventionists. The diffusionists, on the other hand, stated that although certain similarities could be explained by environments and experiences that were akin to one another, many details could not so easily be dismissed as a natural product of the human mind. As Darwinism (which promotes slow, gradual, and above all, linear evolution) took hold and a lack of interest and imagination settled in, independent invention emerged as the clear victor in the minds of many. Today, a good sixty years from that great debate, diffusion has been relegated to the theories of the past, as asinine to most anthropologists and archaeologists as the fringe theories of alien landings and Atlantis. The case, however, is not nearly as open and shut as it may seem. When viewed objectively, I believe there is more than enough evidence to suggest the diffusion of culture from a common source. To fully grasp who we are as a race, we must first know what and where we’ve come from. I believe cultural diffusion to be integral to this knowledge. To illustrate this assertion, I shall now endeavor to outline some of the basic anthropological evidence in the Old World and the New (both archaeological and mythological) which substantiates the theory of cultural diffusion. For the sake of brevity, I will focus mainly upon the connections between the societies of Mesoamerica (the Aztec, Maya and Inca) and the more well known civilizations of the Old World (chiefly Egypt, but also Asia, India, Sumeria, etc…).
Throughout the cultures of Mesoamerica there lurks a fair-haired, white-skinned civilizing deity. Called Quetzalcoatl by the Aztecs, Kukulkan by the Maya, and Viracocha by the Inca, the story always runs roughly the same: the great man (usually the son of the sun) came to them from the east, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge. He taught the people the art of agriculture, architecture, the working of precious stones and metals, astronomy, language, and everything that we would associate with civilization today, and then he abruptly returns to his homeland for one reason or another. Quetzalcoatl (of whom we know the most thanks to the Spanish record-keepers) met his downfall in a plot by his enemy, Tezcatlipoca, who, in one version of the story descends from above on a spider web and offers Quetzalcoatl a draught of pulque (a native intoxicant). Quetzalcoatl accepts the drink and commits a grievous sin (the particulars vary), and in shame resolves to leave the way he came, setting off for his homeland of Tlillan Tlapallan (the place of red and black) in the east. This is certainly of interest, as the two names for ancient Egypt are kmt and dsrt, meaning “black land” and “red land”. He is met on the journey by a company of Nahua deities, who engage him in the following conversation:
“Where do you go?” they asked him. “Why do you leave your capital?”
“I go to Tlapallan,” replied Quetzalcoatl, “whence I came.”
“For what reason?” persisted the enchanters.
“My father the Sun has called me thence,” replied Quetzalcoatl.
“Go, then, happily,” they said, “but leave us the secret of your art, the secret of founding in silver, of working in precious stones and woods, of painting, and of feather-working, and other matters.”
But Quetzalcoatl not only refused to oblige them, he hid, burnt down or otherwise destroyed all of his sacred jewels and possessions and continued on his way to the coast. He there embarked upon a raft made of serpents, and amid promises to one day return, he sailed away into the sun. In some versions, his raft catches fire and in his death he becomes the Morning Star (i.e. Venus). Some, however, say that the great civilizer voluntarily threw himself onto a pyre and after he burnt, and his heart ascended to the sky with the same result.
Having covered the myth itself in a very broad fashion, let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics, with a mind towards world-wide mythological comparisons. Beginning first with Quetzalcoatl, we find him described generally as a tall, bearded (usually) white man, with a handful of followers and dressed in a long robe. Juan de Torquemada, a Spanish chronicler around the time of the conquest, wrote in his Monarchichia indiana that the natives believed Quetzalcoatl to be “a fair and ruddy complexioned man with a long beard”. He is also said to be
a tall, bearded white man who taught people to use fire for cooking. He also built houses and showed people that they could live together as husband and wife; and since people often quarreled in those days, he taught them to live in peace.
Torquemada also wrote that Quetzalcoatl was, according to native tradition “era Hombre blanco” (a white man) and possessed “la barba grande redonda” (a great, round beard). The idea of a bearded stranger is substantiated by the presence in Mexico of carvings depicting nobles adorned with false beards. Perhaps the nobles wore false beards as an homage to the fair gods from afar, or as a sign of their supremacy over the common people, just as the gods had been superior. James Bailey writes on this subject:
Widely in Central America, a false beard was worn as a badge of office. There are carvings of priests and other notables wearing false beards, though Indians today are not bearded and cannot achieve a beard. Constance Irwin has suggested that the practice sprang from the prestige bestowed by the bearded bringers of culture.
Edward H. Thompson, the author of the book People of the Serpent, wrote of a similar tradition held by the modern peoples of the Yucatan. Writing of the arrival by ship of the People of the Serpent (a group of civilizing deities who have much in common with the myths of Quetzalcoatl) he states that
In these craft were light-skinned beings, and some of the traditions have it that they were tall of stature and blue-eyed. They were clad in strange garments and wore about their foreheads emblems like entwined serpents. The wondering natives who met them at the shore saw the manner of their coming with the symbol of the Sacred Serpent, which they worshipped, on their brows, and knew the strangers to be their gods come down from their home in the sun to teach and guide them.
The description of the entwined serpents upon the brows of these fair strangers immediately brings to mind the uraeus-serpent of the Egyptian pharaohs which symbolized Lower Egypt and was worn on the brow along with the vulture which symbolized Upper Egypt as the symbol of divine power.
The fact that Quetzalcoatl had a physical appearance markedly different from that of the natives of Mesoamerica is made absolutely certain by the story of Cortez and Montezuma. In 1519, as Hernando Cortez was sailing towards Mexico afflicted with feverish bloodlust and an unquenchable desire for gold, he was completely unaware what awaited him upon his arrival. Having spotted his ships from afar, the servants of the great Aztec ruler Montezuma rushed hurriedly off to report to him. Montezuma was not surprised. Omens had been plaguing the Aztec kingdom for years, including the close passing of three comets. According to reports, Cortez had landed at Veracruz, the very spot where Quetzalcoatl was prophesied to return. Cortez also was fortuitous in his choice of the year of his arrival, which in the Aztec tongue was Ce Acatl (One, Arrow Reed), the same year that Quetzalcoatl was expected to return. If all this was not enough, Cortez’s physical appearance was the deciding factor. In the minds of the Tlaxcala natives who initially opposed but finally assisted Cortez in his conquest of the Aztec empire, the minds of many of the Aztec people and eventually the mind of Montezuma himself, Cortez was Quetzalcoatl returned, just as prophesied those many years ago. This is illustrated in the speech given by the Aztec ruler at one of his initial meetings with Cortez:
For a long time we have known from the writings of our ancestors that neither I, nor any of those who dwell in this land, are natives of it, but foreigners who came from very distant parts; and likewise we know that a chieftain, of whom they were all vassals, brought our people to this region. And he returned to his native land.
And we always held that those who descended from him would come and conquer this land and take us as their vassals….And in the land that lies in my domain, you may command as you will, for you shall be obeyed; and all that we own is for you to dispose of as you choose.
In an earlier speech, Montezuma was said to have addressed Cortez:
O our Lord, thou hast suffered fatigue, thou hast endured weariness. Thou hast come to arrive on earth. Thou hast come to govern thy city of Mexico; thou hast come to descend upon thy mat, upon thy seat, which for a moment I have watched for thee, which I have guarded for thee….O that one of [the previous rulers of the Aztecs] might witness, might marvel at what to me now has befallen….I do not merely dream that I see thee, that I look into thy face….The rulers departed maintaining that thou wouldst come to visit thy city, that thou wouldst come to descend upon thy mat, upon thy seat. And now it hath been fulfilled; visit thy palace.
Quetzalcoatl was considered to be the father of the Toltecs. He was said by some to be the seventh son of the “Toltec Abraham”, whose name Iztacmixcohuatl means “White Grass Snake Nebula”, which some take to refer to the Milky Way. In other myths, Quetzalcoatl is said to have been conceived when his mother swallowed a green stone. Again in other versions Quetzalcoatl appears as the son of the sun, as referenced above. This idea of being descended from the sun is nothing new. Osiris, Buddha, Rishabhdev (the founder of Jainism) were all said to be sons of the sun. Quetzalcoatl was said to have brought with him the gift of civilization, thus ranking him as what is termed a “culture-hero”. Much like his Mexican counterpart, the chief god of the Egyptians, the god Osiris, was also a civilizing deity. Sir James G. Frazer writes of him:
Reigning as a king on earth, Osiris reclaimed the Egyptians from savagery, gave them laws, and taught them to worship the gods. Before his time the Egyptians had been cannibals. But Isis, the sister and wife of Osiris, discovered wheat and barley growing wild, and Osiris introduced the cultivation of these grains amongst his people, who forthwith abandoned cannibalism and took kindly to a corn diet….Eager to communicate these beneficent discoveries to all mankind, he committed the whole government of Egypt to his wife Isis, and travelled over the world, diffusing the blessings of civilization and agriculture wherever he went.
The cult of Quetzalcoatl was intimately connected with the concept of green stones, called chalchihuites. Bernardino de Sahagun, a conquest-era chronicler, writes regarding this that
the vassals he had were all artisans and skillfull in working green stones that were called chalchihuites, and also in melting silver and doing other things, and all these arts had their origin in the one named Quetzalcoatl.
This green stone imagery is quite important, as it tends to crop up in other religious systems, particularly Egypt. Certainly Horus, the son of the risen god Osiris and the personification of Venus is referred to in the Pyramid Texts (which date to the third millenium BCE) as “Lord of the green stone”. The Eye of Horus itself was originally conceived of as a green stone, used to open the mouth of dead in an elaborate ritual. And in both Egyptian and Pre-Columbian culture, the natives were in the habit of placing a green stone in the mouth of the dead. As was discussed above, Quetzalcoatl himself is associated with the planet Venus, the “Morning Star” so important in Old World cultures. The following excerpt from the Codice Chimalpopoca describes his identification as the “Great Star” in more detail:
It is said that when it burned, at once its ashes arose….When the ashes were finished, at that moment they saw Quetzalcoatl’s heart rise. According to those who knew (the ancient sages), he was in the sky and he entered into the sky. The elders used to say that he was transformed into the star that comes out at dawn….They say that when he died, he did not appear for four days, because then he was dwelling amongst the dead (Mictlan); and that also by the fourth day he was provided with arrows; so that on the eighth day the great star appeared (Venus, the Morning Star), that they call Quetzalcoatl. And they added that it was then that he was enthroned as Lord.
The mention of the numbers four and eight in relation to a god personified as the Morning Star also appears in the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. Utterance 670 reads:
Osiris speaks to Horus, for he has removed the evil [which was on the King] on his fourth day, he has nullified what was done to him on his eighth [day, and you have come forth] from the Lake of Life, having been cleansed [in the Lake] of Cool Water and having become Wepwawet.
Again in Utterance 535 we read:
…you have been cut up (?) into three (parts) in these your four days and your eight nights.
The Morning Star is also referred to as being “Green” in the Popul Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya. Venus was also personified in the Aztec tradition as Citlalpol (The Great Star) and Tlauizcalpantecutli (Lord of the Dawn). Spence describes the representation in this way:
In several of the pinturas he is represented as having a white body with long red stripes, while round his eyes is a deep black painting like a domino mask, bordered with small white circles. His lips are a bright vermilion.
The planet Venus, then, is associated with the colors red, black and white in Aztec tradition. In its role as the Evening Star it apparently has a negative connotation, being occasionally portrayed with a skull, and considered to be “malignant” in nature.
Quetzalcoatl is associated with the direction of east, as that is where he is said to have come from and that is where he returned to. He is also, however, a god of the cardinal points, and is often portrayed in connection to the symbol of the cross. Accordingly, the four sons of Horus were also said to be gods of the cardinal points. On a related note, the four Becabs or Chacs (the deities of the cardinal points) not only served as funerary jars which held the internal organs of the deceased just as did the four sons of Horus in Egypt, but also were associated with the color red, just as were the four sons of Horus in Egypt.
The name Quetzalcoatl literally translates as “Plumed Serpent”, but can also mean “Precious Twin”. His twin is sometimes portrayed as Xolotl, a monstrous dog-like creature who is seen as the personification of the Evening Star just as Quetzalcoatl is seen as the personification of the Morning Star. Xolotl is described as either “fire rushing down from the heavens or light flaming upward”. He is not a “natural dog” and one authority identifies him with the tapir. Lewis Spence relates that
Sahagun speaks of a strange animal-being, tlaca-xolotl, which has “a large snout, large teeth, hoofs like an ox, a thick hide, and reddish hair” – not a bad description of the tapir of Central America.
This cannot help but bring to mind the many descriptions of the unknown animal associated with the Egyptian Set, the murderer of his brother Osiris and enemy (though sometimes portrayed as twin) of Horus, his nephew. The animal associated with Set has been variously described in the following ways:
The first certain attestation of Seth can be found on the protohistoric votive mace head of King Scorpion on which appear clear depiction of dog-, pig-, or ass-like socalled Seth animals with the typical long, curved snout, truncated ears, and raised tails.
Plutarch, in his De Iside et Osiride, has an interesting passage concerning the alleged resemblance between the ass and Set. He says (the translation is the old one of Squire):
Hence their ignominious treatment of those persons, whom from the redness of their complexions they imagine to bear a resemblance to him; and hence likewise is derived the custom of the Coptites of throwing an Ass down a precipice; because it is usually of this colour….In a word, this animal is in general regarded by them as unclean and impure, merely on account of the resemblance which they conceive it bears to Typho…
Whilst [Ra and Horus] conversed there passed them a black hog, a huge, sinister animal, ferocious of aspect, and with eyes that glinted with cunning and cruelty. Now, though neither Ra nor Horus was aware of the fact, the black hog was Set himself, who had the power to take upon him the shape of any animal he chose.
All desert animals and those which inhabited the waters were regarded as the children of Set, as were animals with red hair or skins, or even red-haired men.
That said, we must also give heed to the words of E.A. Wallis Budge, who wrote:
Heru-ur [Horus], as we have already seen, was the god of the sky by day, and Set was the god of the sky by night; this fact is proved by the figures of the double god which are found in mythological scenes whereon the head of Heru-ur and the head of Set are seen upon one body.
To summarize, what we have are two sets of gods (Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl, Horus and Set) who were seen not only as twins, but as dual aspects of the planet Venus. Quetzalcoatl and Horus both being associated with precious green stones, the four cardinal points, and birds (Horus being a falcon deity), Xolotl and Set both being associated with the perceived negative influences of the Evening Star and a curious animal who resembles at once a pig, a dog and an ass, and who is red in color. Is this a “natural” conclusion for cultures worlds apart to make? No, certainly not.
Quetzalcoatl, like the Egyptian Horus, is also closely related to his nemesis, Tezcatlipoca. In many mythologies, the two are so entwined as to take on the characteristics of one another, sometimes suffering the same hardships and assisting each other in their trials. In one particular myth, the two gods work together to create earth. They change themselves into two great serpents and tear apart the goddess of the primordial waters, Tlaltecuhtli, creating the world from her various appendages. This immediately brings to mind the Sumerian creation myth revolving around Marduk and the destruction of Tiamat, along with the various other giant/world mythologies such as those found in the Rig Veda of India, the Eddas and Sagas of the Nordic races and the creation mythologies of the Chinese. Tezcatlipoca is the god of the air or wind, and his name means “Smoking Mirror”. He is so named because he is said to be in possession of what most scholars assume to be a mirror made of obsidian, possibly used for divination. Tezcatlipoca was also associated with the green stone, just as was Quetzalcoatl. He is described as possessing a green stone which was positioned in his navel. This too harkens back to the Pyramid Texts of the Egyptians, in which the Eye of Horus (originally a green stone) is referenced in the following way:
O little finger of the King, pull out this which is in the navel of Osiris.
Yet another similarity to Quetzalcoatl is Tezcatlipoca’s association with the colors black, red and white, the same colors used chiefly to denote the planet Venus, of which Quetzalcoatl was a personification.Tezcatlipoca is also said to be missing a foot, which in one version is replaced with a serpent. This, of course, is also of interest, for the chief opponent of Osiris/Horus was Set, who was associated with the great celestial serpent Apophis. Continuing the similarities with Set, Tezcatlipoca was also considered to be a god of the north, as was Set. And perhaps the most curious similarity of all, both Tezcatlipoca and Set were considered to be the gods of the constellation known as the “Great Bear” or “Big Dipper”. And as though the above were not sufficient, there also existed a form of Tezcatlipoca known as “Red Tezcatlipoca”, thus identifying him with that primary color just as is Set.
To sum up once again: we have here two gods who are the chief opponents of the great civilizing son of the sun. Both are identified with serpents, both are gods of the north, both are gods of the constellation known as the “Great Bear”, and both are associated with the color red. Is this simply a “natural” conclusion that two cultures would come to through independent development? It seems rather doubtful.
I will now proceed to enumerate a few of the other mythological oddities common to both Egypt and Mesoamerican civilizations before moving on to the most convincing archaeological evidence for cultural contact: The scribal god of Egypt was called Thoth. He was associated with the moon and portrayed as both an ibis and a baboon. The most common Mayan representation of scribal deities was the monkey, with the rabbit occasionally used as well – the rabbit being closely associated with the moon in the minds of the Maya.
The idea of the water-confining dragon was also present in the New World just as in the Old. The following illustrations illustrate the common theme present in both Mesoamerican and Egyptian society:
The picture on the top is of the Mayan water-confining serpent (the glyph in the center denoting water) and is taken from Donald A. Mackenzie’s Migration of Symbols (p.99), the picture on the bottom is of the Egyptian water-confining serpent (the figure in the center being Hapi, the god of the Nile) and is taken from William R. Cooper’s Serpent Myths of Ancient Egypt (p.47). Certainly the myth of the water-confining serpent is not simply limited to either of these two cultures, the best example being the Indra and his slaying of the drought-causing dragon Vritra in the Rig Veda.
Now we come to the best piece of archaeological evidence for transatlantic contact between the Old World (specifically Egypt) and the cultures of Mesoamerica prior to Columbus: drugs. In 1976, the mummified body of Ramses II (who reigned during the 19th dynasty in Egypt, or roughly the 13th century BCE) was shipped to the Museum of Mankind in Paris, France. A scientific team was assembled in order to repair and restore the mummy. This team included Dr. Michelle Lescot of the Natural History Museum of Paris. She received bits of bandages from the mummy and discovered a plant fibre within the fragments. As she examined the plant more closely, she discovered that it was tobacco. Her first thought was that a mistake had been made, so she tested the plant fibre further. Upon receiving the same results, she announced her findings. The idea of a New World plant in an Old World mummy was too much for most academics to take, and the idea and the evidence was dismissed as quickly as possible. But then, sixteen years later in 1992, a German toxicologist named Dr. Svetla Balabanova carried out testing on the mummified remains of Henut-Tawy, Lady of the Two Lands, who had lived during the 18th dynasty, roughly the 14th century BCE. The results were astonishing. Dr. Balabanova found traces of both nicotine from the plant Nicotiana tabacum and cocaine from Erythroxylon coca. Despite severe criticism, academic chastisement and critical analysis from the opposition, the results have held up. The results of the tests of both Balabanova and Lescot should be enough for us to seriously reevaluate the relationship between the Old and New Worlds prior to Columbus, but it seems that the academic world is not ready to face facts, dismissing the finds as fraudulent and faulty despite clear evidence to the contrary.
As I stated in the beginning of this paper, I believe that when viewed objectively, there is enough evidence to warrant a serious and scholarly examination of possible cultural contact and diffusion between the Old and New World prior to Columbus. Unfortunately, objectivity has been nearly completely obliterated in most academic circles, with many specialists as entrenched and dogmatic as any religious fundamentalist ever was. Thus, it is left to those who are still interested in truth (not simply the preservation of the status quo) to force the academic world to both admit the evidence and to critically examine it. If the theory of diffusion is found wanting, then so be it. If, on the other hand, the theory of independent invention is found to be fundamentally flawed, we must reexamine our entire history from the ground up, so to speak, and be prepared to accept our mistakes and begin again. To sacrifice our history, our very heritage as a race, due to pride and arrogance would be disastrous. If we do not know what and where we have come from, we cannot hope to know who we are and where we’re going, and in these turbulent times the knowledge of ourselves is something we cannot afford to be without.
 Spence, L. (1994). The myths of Mexico and Peru. New York: Dover Publications. p.79
 Florescano, E. (1999). The myth of Quetzalcoatl. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.42
 Spence, Mexico and Peru, p.65
 Mackenzie, D. A. (1996). Myths of pre-Columbian America. Mineola, N.Y: Dover Publications. p.258
 Quoted in Irwin, C. H. F. (1963). Fair gods and stone faces. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp.37-38
 Bierhorst, J. (1974). Four masterworks of American Indian literature: Quetzalcoatl/The ritual of condolence/Cuceb/The night chant. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p.161
 Irwin, Fair Gods, pp.37-38
 Bailey, J. (1973). The God-Kings & the Titans. NY: St. Martin’s. p.51
 Thompson, E. H. (1932). People of the serpent: Life and adventure among the Mayas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p.77
 León-Portilla, M. (2009). The broken spears: The Aztec account of the conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press. p.5
 Collins, A., & Rohl, D. M. (2000). Gateway to Atlantis: The search for the source of a lost civilization. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p.212
 Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl, p.202
 Ibid. p.201
 Collins, Atlantis, p.208; Spence, Mexico and Peru, p.79
 Florescano, Quetzalcoatl, p.39
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.31
 Frazer, J. G. (2008). The golden bough: A study in magic and religion. S.l.: Penguin Books/Paw Prints. p.421
 Florescano, Quetzalcoatl, p.36
 Faulkner, R. O. (2000). The ancient Egyptian pyramid texts. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Publishing. Utterance 301
 In Budge, E. A. W. (1972). The book of opening the mouth: The Egyptian texts with English translations. New York: B. Blom. Vol. 1. p.358
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.206
 Bierhorst, J. (1998). History and mythology of the Aztecs: The Codex Chimalpopoca. Tucson, Ariz: Univ. of Arizona Pr.
 Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, Utterance 670
 Ibid. Utterance 535
 Christenson, A. J. (2003). Popol Vuh. Winchester, U.K: O Books. p.218
 Spence, Mexico and Peru, pp.96-97
 Ibid. p.97
 Florescano, Quetzalcoatl, p.19
 Miller, M. E., & Taube, K. A. (1997). An illustrated dictionary of the gods and symbols of ancient Mexico and the Maya. New York: Thames and Hudson. p.141
 Spence, L. (1990). Ancient Egyptian myths and legends. New York: Dover Publications. p.28
 Ibid. pp.28-29
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.243
 Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, Utterances 513, 440, 481
 Is it a coincidence that a unified Egypt (Upper Egypt symbolized by the vulture and Lower Egypt symbolized by the snake) also produces a “Plumed Serpent”?
 Florescano, Quetzalcoatl, p.64
 López, P. J., Sodi, M. D., & Díaz, I. F. (1982). Quetzalcoatl, in myth, archeology, and art. New York: Continuum. p.45; Collins, Atlantis, p.209
 Spence, Mexico and Peru, pp.93-94
 Budge, E. A. W. (1969). The gods of the Egyptians; or, Studies in Egyptian mythology: Vol. 2. New York: Dover Publications. pp.242-243
 Redford, D. B. (2003). The Oxford essential guide to Egyptian mythology. New York: Berkley Books. p.333
 Spence, Egypt, pp.101-102
 Ibid. p.96
 Ibid. p.100
 Budge, Egyptian Gods, Vol. 2, pp.242-243
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.271
 Florescano, Quetzalcoatl, p.179
 Dalley, S. (2008). Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the flood, Gilgamesh, and others. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.256-257
 Doniger, W. (1981). The Rig Veda: An anthology : one hundred and eight hymns, selected, translated and annotated. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books. Hymn 10.90
 Guerber, H. A. (1992). Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and the sagas. New York: Dover Publications. pp.5-6
 Willis, R. G. (2006). World mythology: The illustrated guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p.90
 Spence, Egypt, p.59
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.272
 Ibid. pp.272-273
 Ibid. p.280
 Faulkner, Pyramid Texts, Utterance 204
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.280
 Ibid. p.281
 Budge, vol 2, pg.247
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.287
 Spence, Egypt, p.101
 Mackenzie, Pre-Columbian America, p.276; Budge, Egyptian Gods, Vol. 2, p.249
 Ibid. p.272
 Spence, Egypt, p.100; Budge, Egyptian Gods, Vol. 2, p.247
 Müller, W. M., & Müller, W. M. (2004). Egyptian mythology. Mineola, N.Y: Dover Publications. p.33
 Miller, An Illustrated Dictionary…, p.148
 Ibid. p.142
 Doniger, Rig Veda, Hymn 1.32
Tune in tonight @ 9pm EST on FreeThinkRadio to listen to Question Everything!
Tonight’s topic is ancient high technology. We discuss: stone levitation, megalithic construction, the Incas, the Mayans, the Egyptians, Ed Leedskalnin and Coral Castle, Nan Madol, the Ark of the Covenant, Ollantaytambo, Viracocha, construction through sound, Tibetan Buddhists, etc…
Tags: celtic art, emerald isle, guinness, ireland, serpents, st patrick, st patrick's day
St Patrick’s Day has become associated in the minds of many with the color green, Guinness, drunkenness and partying, but who was St. Patrick? And what did he do for Ireland?
St Patrick was born in the latter half of the 4th century CE, and very little is known about his life. When he was roughly 16, he was captured by Irish raiders, and taken aboard their slave ship to Ireland, where he remained in servitude for 6 years before being able to return to his home in Briton.
After entering the Church, Patrick left again for Ireland as an ordained bishop full of missionary zeal, though following this history generally loses track of him. It’s known that he worked in the north and the west of the island, but details beyond this stem primarily from hagiographies (semi-factual biographies mixed with a heavy dose of folklore) which are generally discredited today.
The most well-known legend of St Pat is his banishment of all of the snakes from the Emerald Isle. But the majority of archaeologists assert that snakes never actually inhabited the island:
…climate in Ireland was inhospitable to snake species until 10,000 years ago, when the seas arose and snakes were unlikely to be able to find their way to Ireland in the frigid seas. Snakes cannot survive in areas that are frozen year round as Ireland was until after the Ice Age, and they do not swim great distances to migrate to other areas as is seen in Hawaii, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica which are all snake-free. Following the Ice Age, however, snakes did return to northern and western Europe, reaching as far as the Arctic Circle.
This has led many to speculate that the legend of St Patrick is largely metaphorical. Could it be that Patrick did not banish actual serpents from Ireland, but pagan, serpent cults that predated Christianity?
Some have pointed to early Irish art as evidence of the existence of a serpent religion existing on the island long before the advent of the Catholic Church. This from Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions, written in 1894:
Allowing for the pre-Christian origin of some Irish crosses, we may understand why these were accompanied by twining serpents. “Is it not a singular circumstance,” asks Keane, “that in Ireland where no living serpent exists, such numerous legends of serpents should abound, and that figures of serpents should be so profusely used to ornament Irish sculptures? There is scarcely a cross, or a handsome piece of ancient Irish ornamental work, which has not got its serpent or dragon.”
The singular cross of Killamery, Kilkenny Co., exhibits thereon two Irish serpents. The font of Cashel illustrates the same mystery. The writer saw several stones at Cashel cathedral with sculptured snakes, one large specimen ornamenting a sarcophagus. The Crozier, or Pastoral Staff of Cashel, which was found last century, bears a serpent springing out of a sheath or vagina. The end of the sheath is adorned with wreathing serpents. in the handle a man stands on a serpent’s head with a staff, at which the reptile bites. This staff was like that of a Roman augur, or of an Etruscan and Babylonian priest.
Brash’s Sculptured Crosses of Ireland refers to one cross, at Clonmel, having four serpents at the centre, coiled round a spherical boss. Several instances were known in which the serpents have been more or less chipped away from off such crosses.
A serpent occupies a large space on the beautiful Irish sculptured stone, Clwyn Macnos, or Clon Macnois. Not long ago, a stone serpent was discovered, with twelvedivisions, marked as for the twelve astronomical signs, reminding one of the Babylonian serpent encircling the zodiac. Several ancient Irish fonts have upon them sculptured serpents. Glass snakes of various colours have also been frequently turned up.
When the author was at Cashel some years since, he saw, among a lot of fragments of the ancient church, a remarkable stone, bearing a nearly defaced sculpture of a female–head and bust–but whose legs were snakes. This object of former worship was not very unlike the image of the Gauls, that was to be. seen in Paris, though that goddess had two serpents twisted round her legs, with their heads reposing on her breasts. The Caribs of Guadaloupe were noticed by the Spaniards worshipping a wooden statue, the legs of which were enwreathed by serpents. Auriga is sometimes represented with legs like serpents. The Abraxis of the Christian Gnostics of the early centuries had serpents for legs.
The author continues:
The Irish early Christians long continued the custom entwining their old serpent god around the cross. One has said, “The ancient Irish crosses are alive with serpents Their green god-snake was Gad-el-glas. The word Tirda-glas meant the tower of the green god. The old Milesian standard, of a snake twisted round a rod, may seem to indicate a Phallic connection with the Sabh.
So did St. Patrick actively work to eradicate an ancient, snake cult reaching back into the prehistory of Ireland? It’s possible. We may never know, as the church was very thorough in its decimation of older, pagan religious systems.
One thing is certain: the presence of serpentine imagery in Irish history is undeniable. Kennersley Lewis is quoted as saying the following: “Search where we will, the nuptial tree, round which coils the serpent, is connected with time and with life as a necessary condition; and with knowledge–the knowledge of a scientific priesthood, inheriting records and traditions hoary, perhaps, with the snows of a glacial epoch.”
This article is a summary of the content of Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis, by Matt Kurtz and Ian Driscoll. The book is available to purchase here from Amazon.com.
Since Plato first recorded the myth of Atlantis in his two dialogues, the Timaeus and Critias, the question of the tale’s meaning has been fiercely debated. Aristotle, Plato’s Academic successor, is said by Strabo to have stated categorically that the legend had no historical basis. Proclus, the often quoted Neo-Platonist of the 5th century CE, makes clear his opinion that the story should be interpreted as a spiritual allegory as well as a factual account of historical events. Modern theories on Atlantis are innumerable, ranging from the tediously scholastic (the modern Santorini hypothesis) to the fringe (Atlantis as a dramatic representation of quantum mechanics). Atlantis has been “found” over a thousand times in a hundred different locations in the last century alone, forcing us to wonder whether we may be asking the wrong questions or looking in the wrong directions. In Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis, I and my co-author, Matthew Kurtz, investigate the curious creation mythology referred to as the “Building Texts” inscribed upon the walls of the temple of Edfu in Upper Egypt as a possible Egyptian source for Plato’s famous narrative. We expand this investigation in the second part of that work to include creation mythologies from around the world, comparing the themes found within the myths of disparate cultures to those present in Plato’s tale of the lost civilization of Atlantis. Our intention here is to very briefly summarize our findings in order to give the prospective reader a sampling of the book’s contents.
The temple of Edfu in Upper Egypt, built between 237 and 57 BC (a construction project spanning the reign of 13 Ptolemaic Pharaohs), is one of the most well-preserved edifices in the country. Likewise, carved upon its walls, is one of the most unique and enigmatic mythological sagas to be found in Egypt – or anywhere else, for that matter. The glyphs themselves were inscribed over two-thousand years ago, but certainly the content of the story which they tell dates to an age long before that, shrouded in the mist of time.
The tale speaks of an ancient, island civilization, founded by the gods, and ruled over by a group of twin deities. In the center of the island was erected the palace of the supreme lord of the land, the Earth-god, who rested upon a great pillar known as “djed”, meaning “stability” or “permanence”. Life seems to have continued unabated in this place for a great span of time, until, at some remote point in history, a great storm devastated the island. The storm, apparently brought on through the agency of a malevolent serpent, raged incessantly. It drowned the island’s original inhabitants and washed away nearly all trace of their former civilization. The island itself was entirely inundated – completely submerged beneath the advancing waves. E.A.E. Reymond, an Egyptologist who devoted much of her life to the study of the Edfu mythology, writes of the cataclysm:
This sacred domain, having been constituted by the creators themselves, came to its end at a definite moment of the primeval age. A storm, perhaps, came over the island during which an attack was made by an enemy pictured as a snake. The aggression was so violent that it destroyed the sacred land, with the result that the divine inhabitants died.
Following this terrible destruction, a very long period of time elapses. During this time the island rested beneath the abysmal water in total darkness, with only a bit of reed plant protruding above the surface of the sea to serve as the crude grave marker of the dead civilization. But then, at some undetermined time, a light shown out in the midst of the darkness. At this, two deities emerged from the ocean. Their origins are unexplained, and the Building Texts do not provide further detail. The two deities made their way to the tufts of reed which indicated the shoreline of the sunken land. Here, they fashioned a pillar from the reed stalks and erected it in the midst of the island, at the place of the fallen “djed” of the old Earth-god. As if by magic, the waters began to recede, and a new deity – the successor of the old – was summoned. This new god (who had the appearance of a great falcon) would preside over the restoration of the fallen world, and would ultimately vanquish the malevolent serpent that brought about the annihilation of the ancient civilization of the gods.
We have said all that is necessary for our comparison. The island homeland of the gods, with its central pillar and twin lords, destroyed suddenly in one catastrophic storm, is clearly analogous to Plato’s island of Atlantis, which shares all of the same features. In the beginning, we are told, Poseidon was allotted the island of Atlantis, upon which dwelt a young girl of childbearing age. He sired upon her ten sons, being five pairs of twins. The island was divided amongst them, and they embarked upon a number of building projects, not least of which was the erection of the central palace, which contained in its middle a large pillar of reddish metal that gleamed with the intensity of fire. This pillar functioned as the lynchpin of Atlantean society. Upon the pillar were engraved the injunctions of Poseidon which governed the behavior of the ten kings, and here it was that the fraternal bonds of kingship were renewed on a regular basis. Atlantis, the ideal society, grew strong and prospered for many years, until, as Plato writes:
… the divine element in them became weakened by frequent admixture with mortal stock, and their human traits became predominant, [and] they ceased to be able to carry their prosperity with moderation. To the perceptive eye the depth of their degeneration was clear enough, but to those whose judgment of true happiness is defective they seemed, in their pursuit of unbridled ambition and power, to be at the height of their fame and fortune. And the god of gods, Zeus, who reigns by law, and whose eye can see such things, when he perceived the wretched state of this admirable stock, decided to punish them and to reduce them to order by discipline. He accordingly summoned all the gods to his own most glorious abode, which stands at the center of the universe and looks out over the whole realm of change, and when they had assembled, addressed them as follows…
Here the text breaks off, forever incomplete. We know from Plato’s Timaeus, however, that “there were earthquakes and floods of extraordinary violence, and in a single dreadful day and night…the island of Atlantis was similarly swallowed up by the sea and vanished.” We might easily imagine a great storm overwhelming the island nation, wholly submerging it beneath the waves of a merciless ocean – a fate similar to that of the Egyptian island of the gods.
The themes (which we examine in far greater detail in Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis) common to both the Edfu mythology and the narrative of Atlantis are marked, but as we explain in our book, they are not limited by the borders of Egypt. The themes present within the Atlantis story are found throughout worldwide creation myths. In the second half of our book, we utilize the creation mythologies of just eight cultures (from the hundreds possible) to demonstrate our conviction that Atlantis must be properly understood not as a record of a literal, historical event, but as a myth of creation, to be placed alongside the Judaeo-Christian Genesis and the Hindu Puranas. From the garden of Eden and Noah’s flood, to the great Norse tree of Yggdrasil and Ragnarok, to the Hindu island of Jambu, with its towering central mountain and twin inhabitants, each of the cultures featured in our book possess strikingly similar creation myths, the features of which run parallel to those found within Plato’s famous narrative of Atlantis. The question is not where, but what is Atlantis…
The conspicuous similarities between worldwide stories of creation and the myth of Atlantis beg a final question, of course: what does all of this mean? If the true mystery is, as we suggest, not the location of an island, but the nature of the myth itself, how might we go about solving said mystery? In our final chapter, we explore several lesser-known theories on the meaning of Atlantis as presented by scholars both ancient and modern. Our own feeling is that Atlantis, as a creation myth, speaks to the timeless process of becoming – the transition from the formless to form. We believe that it speaks to the eternal and omnipresent creation of the world (and, by extension, the “return to the source”, as the Hermetic philosophers would phrase it). We readily admit that this is not the solution to the enigma of Atlantis, but we believe it to be a step in the right direction. The purpose of our book is to stimulate constructive thoughts and provoke questions rather than to provide pat answers. Only the reader can judge whether or not it accomplishes this goal. The quest for Atlantis continues…
“Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis offers a refreshing outlook on the mystery of Atlantis, along with compelling arguments linking the Atlantis tradition both to ancient Egypt itself, and to worldwide ancient cosmological traditions in general. The book also provides a very good comparative overview of the creation and destruction myths of the ancient world.”
- Laird Scranton, author of The Science of the Dogon
“I thoroughly enjoyed Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis. This well-researched, logically organized book is a welcome contribution to a field that has often been cluttered with crank theories or oversimplifications. The authors clearly demonstrate how the myth of Atlantis may be anchored in the creation mythologies not only of Egypt, but other nations, and deftly point out the parallels and overlapping themes. The authors provide a clear-headed and interesting contribution to the subject.”
– J.F. Bierlein, author of Parallel Myths
“We see the past through the lenses of the present but who amongst us is fully aware of how those lenses also block our view? Is there a primordial worldview that humanity has lost? This is the legitimate question posed by Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis.”
– Rand Flem-Ath, author of The Atlantis Blueprint