Archive for the ‘Ancient History’ Category

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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!

– Ian

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.”

At Moray, in front of the largest group of circular depressions, is a rectangular building (apparently) which was divided into two rooms. The length of the smaller room is 20.75 feet. The length of the larger room is 34 feet. The length of the entire building is roughly 55 feet. 55/34 = 1.617. 34/20.75 = 1.63. So, what looks like the ruins of an ancient building is actually a golden rectangle, laid out on the field in front of an enormous circular terracing system that archaeologists have no complete explanation for. I don’t have the time (or the technical expertise necessary) at present to fully work this out. The best I could do was create a golden spiral from said rectangle and see if that made any difference. It does seem to describe the placement of the other two main circular formations, with the tail of the spiral going through the center of one and touching on the edge of the other. But that’s all I’ve got. Any geometers want to have a go at this one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by David Livingstone, of The Dying God

The alchemical process, according to Zosimus of Panopolis, the foremost of the Hellenistic alchemists, and who lived at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth century AD, “is the Mithraic Mystery, the incommunicable Mystery.”(i) However, alchemical teachings could have no known association with Persian Zoroastrianism. Therefore, what does this quote tell us about the nature of Mithraism, and its connection to alchemy?

Although it contradicts the opinions of modern scholarship, Mithraism in Roman times was a cult regarded as preserving the wisdom of the “Magi”, having been founded originally by Zoroaster, as early as before the Trojan War. This opinion was to some extent promoted by Franz Cumont, who basically single-handedly founded the study of Mithraism, though today scholars of the subject have essentially rejected his thesis. As scholars maintain, there is very little evidence to maintain that Mithraism derived from Persian Zoroastrianism, but this was not the basis of Cumont’s theory.

Rather, Cumont had maintained that the early strata of the cult’s doctrines may have been formulated by a group of “heretical” Magi, which he refers to as Magussaeans, who inhabited Asia Minor, and which were by them imparted to the Greeks. In this cult of theirs we find teachings strikingly different from mainstream Zoroastrianism. Rather, these reflected a combination of Zurvanite Zoroastrianism and “Chaldean” or Babylonian astrology and magic. It was this creed, when brought to the Greeks of Asia Minor, with the advancing Persian armies in the sixth century BC, that contributed to the emergence of Greek “philosophy” and the Orphic cult of Dionysus. In the Hellenistic Age, it was the continuing presence of numerous Magian influences at the city of Alexandria in Egypt, with the inclusion of Greek philosophy, that contributed to the outgrowth of Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.

Although these Magi were regarded as the great founders of the art, the adepts of alchemy in Hellenistic times preferred to follow Hermes, thought to have been a great ancient Egyptian sage. Zoroaster, explained Zosimus, agreed with Hermes that men could raise themselves above Fate, but he took the way of magic, while Hermes, on the other hand, took the way of philosophy. Essentially, as Jack Lindsay described, in The Origins of Alchemy In Graeco-Roman Egypt:

It would seem then in the third and second centuries BC at Alexandria there went on a considerable fusion of Greek and Iranian thought. This fusion was expressed by bringing together the two great figures of Zoroaster the Persian and Hermes-Thoth the Egyptian in a large new corpus of magical recipes and ideas, above all in an endless series of pantheist correspondences between men, animals, plants, stones, stars and planets. (ii)

In this period, numerous works were compiled and erroneously credited to Zoroaster, as well as to his most famous pupil Osthanes, the “Prince of the Magi”, and his purported patron, Hystaspes. The reputed founder of early alchemy was thought to have been Osthanes, to whom several works on the nature of plants and minerals and their astrological properties were ascribed. Osthanes was said to have accompanied Xerxes on his campaign against Greece as his chief magus, and Pliny the Elder, believed, that he was the person most responsible for the introduction of magic into Greece. Osthanes, mentioned Pliny, was the first person to write a book on magic “and nurtured the seeds, as it were, of this monstrous art, spreading the disease to all corners of the world on his way. However, some very thorough researchers place another Zoroaster, who came from Proconnesus, somewhat before Osthanes’ time. One thing is certain. Osthanes was chiefly responsible for stirring up among the Greeks not merely an appetite but a mad obsession for this art.” (Pliny, Natural History, XXX: 8)

It is said that after the Persian emperor’s defeat at Salamis, Osthanes remained behind in Greece to become the teacher of the philosopher Democritus, an Ionian philosopher, born in 460 BC. The reputed author of seventy-two works, Democritus had apparently also visited Babylon to study the science of the “Chaldeans”, of which he is to have written on the subject. He summed up the results of his investigations in a Chaldean Treatise, another tractate was entitled On the Sacred Writings of Those in Babylon, and as a result of his visit to Persia, he wrote Mageia.

One of the first alchemical works written was by a certain Bolos of Mendes, in the second century BC, but falsely attributed to Democritus. One of the texts accredited to him, the Leyden Papyrus, consists mostly of recipes, but in one passage, Democritus describes an incident of divine revelation from his former master Osthanes, in which he acquired his alchemical knowledge.

It was long thought that it had been among the Magi that the various metals were connected with their astrological properties, but it was Zosimus who connected their cult with alchemy itself. To Zosimus, the mystic’s aim was to free the soul from the evil confines of matter and return it to God. To obtain the perfection of gold, he had only to free the essence of the noble metal from the base materials that imprisoned it. The goal of the alchemist, he explained, was the pursuit of a “stone which isn’t a stone, this precious thing which has no value, this polymorphous thing, which has no form, this unknown thing which is known to all.” (iii)

In Hermeticism, as described in the Poimandres, typical to Hellenistic mysticism, the soul must ascend through the seven planets, and into the eighth sphere, where it may unite with God. According to the Poimandres, man must first undergo a spiritual death and resurrection, followed by an ascent through the spheres of the seven planets, leaving behind him in each of them part of his being, the part which the original man had received from the stars. Finally, he will be reduced to just himself, and can enter the eighth sphere, to join the powers assembled there, with whom he comes before the Father and enters God.
Thus, we are able to discern the meaning of the explanation of the theology of Mithraism, as it was provided by Celsus, Roman writer of the second century AD:

 These truths are obscurely represented by the teaching of the Persians and by the mystery of Mithras which is of Persian origin. For in the latter there is a symbol of the two orbits in heaven, the one being that of the fixed stars and the other that assigned to the planets, and of the soul’s passage through these. The symbol is this. There is a ladder with the seven gates and at its top an eighth gate. The first of the gates is of lead, the second of tin, the third of bronze, the fourth of iron, the fifth of an alloy, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. They associate the first with Kronos (Saturn), taking lead to refer to the slowness of the star; the second with Aphrodite (Venus), comparing her with the brightness and softness of tin; the third Zeus (Jupiter), as the gate that has a bronze base which is firm; the fourth with Hermes (Mercury), for both iron and Hermes are reliable for all works and make money and are hard-working; the fifth with Ares (Mars), the gate which as a result of the mixture is uneven and varied in quality; the sixth with the Moon as the silver gate; and the seventh with the Sun as the golden gate, these metals resembling their color.” Origen. Against Celsus, (Contra Celsum), 6.22)

Therefore, essentially, the alchemists employed the language of chemical procedures as allegory. Transmuting lead into gold implied the purification of the soul. This process was represented by the transmutation of lead, the bases form, and the subsequent removal of its impurities until gold was achieved, also represented astrologically as ascending through the six planets, culminating in a
vision of the Sun, symbolized by gold.

Endnotes

i Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy, p 324.
ii Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy, p 324.
iii Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy, p 324.

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…

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…

Book Reviews

“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