April 2018 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the April 2018 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
Atlantis: Fact or Fable?
By Geoffrey Hodson
An Extract from Sharing the Light
Soundings and explorations of the bed of the Atlantic Ocean and recent expeditions in search of facts supporting the existence of Atlantis, have drawn public attention to the idea that such a continent may have once existed.
According to Plato, who first related the story publicly, the people of Atlantis formed the oldest civilization in the world. They possessed great cities with palaces, temples of gold with huge golden images of its deities, roads of great size and, length, chains of canals, and rejoiced in a climate so benign that they reaped two harvests a year. They owned ships and war chariots, and bred the finest horses and cattle. Atlantis, said Plato, was situated in front of the Straits (of Gibraltar) then called the Pillars of Hercules and led to a succession of islands through which one might pass to the whole of the opposite continent, that is to say, to what is now America.
How did Plato hear all this? From his grandfather, Solon. During a visit to Egypt, Solon, the famous Athenian philosopher and law giver, was told of Atlantis by an aged priest at Sais, who added: ‘There dwelt in Atlantis the fairest and no blest race of men who ever lived, of whom you and your city are but a seed or remnant’. The original Atlantis, he said, was pre-eminent in laws, performed the noblest deeds, and possessed the finest constitution, its antiquity being such that it was ‘founded by the goddess Athene a thousand years before Sais’. It was ‘a great and wonderful empire, which had rule over the whole island and several others, as well as over parts of the continent. A mighty power invaded it and also endeavoured to subdue our country (Egypt) and yours (Athens) and the whole land within the Straits (of Gibraltar). But violent earthquakes and floods in a single day and night caused the island and its warlike men to sink beneath the seas’. Such in brief, is the ancient legend repeated by Plato. A great continent existed, suffered invasion by a mighty host, a great war, and ultimate submersion through violent earthquakes and floods.
Justification for a belief that such a great continent linking the Americas with Africa and Europe did once exist rests on quite a number of physical facts. Here are a few of them.
The Dolphin Ridge, a plateau 9,000 feet above the Atlantic ocean bed, extends from near the coast of Ireland to the coast line of South America near French Guiana. Dry land fossils have been brought up from the bed of the Atlantic. Lava from this plateau brought up by cable-laying vessels is demonstrably dry land lava erupted less than 15,000 years ago. Mayan literature contains flood and creation stories closely resembling those of Genesis, Egypt, India, Babylon and Chaldea.
Egyptian manuscripts discovered by Dr Henry Schliemann, discoverer of Troy, have convinced him that Atlantis existed. One such manuscript records that an expedition was sent by a Pharaoh about 7,650 B.C. to seek traces of the Motherland from whence Egyptians first came, but found no traces. Indeed, all had disappeared in the flood of 10,000 B.C. It is, however, a fact that Egyptian civilization has no known root and no primitive period. A papyrus found by Dr Schliemann, written by the priest-historian Manetho, gives reference to a period 13,900 years ago as the date of the Kings of Atlantis in Egypt. At Troy, Schliemann found an ‘owl vase’ bearing Phoenician hieroglyphics reading: ‘From King Chronos of Atlantis’. This peculiar owl vase was duplicated in a collection of objects from Tiahuenaco, South America.
Then again, pyramids, monoliths, and semi circles of stones like the Druid formations in England were found on the Island of Bonaca off South America. Furthermore, the step pyramids of Egypt are duplicated in America. In American Indian languages there are over one hundred words that are similar to words of the same meaning in the Arabic and Greek languages. The myths of Greece are repeated in Indian and Mayan tradition, as for example that of Atlas. In fact the people of Atlantis were called Atls: A-T-L-S, and the syllable Atl is the root of many place names in America today, e.g. Atlanta, Popocatapetl, and in the name of the Toltec ruler and law giver: QUEXAL-CO-ATL. A close correspondence exists between the flora and fauna of the Southern U.S.A. and that of Europe. The monk seal does not frequent the open ocean. Yet it is to be found in both the Mediterranean and the West Indies. Certain exactly similar ants are found in the Azores and U.S.A. Moths and butterflies of the Canary Islands are identical with those in America. But none of these could fly across the Atlantic. The Basque language has no affinity with other European languages; it rather resembles aboriginal tongues of America in grammatical structure. Cro-magnon skulls found in France resemble those found in Logoa Santa in Brazil. I think you will agree that these similarities cannot all be coincidences. There must once have been a land connection to account for them.
What has Theosophy, whose teachings are the fruits of the occult investigations of countless generations of initiated seers, to say about Atlantis and the Atlanteans? A great deal, as reference to Theosophical literature will demonstrate. The history of Atlantis is said to be divided into four epochs separated by four cataclysms. Up to 850,000 years ago, when a great flood occurred, Atlantis extended from a few degrees east of Iceland to about the site now occupied by Rio de Janeiro. It embraced Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, the southern and eastern states of America, Labrador, and the area from there to Ireland, Scotland and a small portion of the North of England. It reached also from Brazil to the African Gold Coast.
The distribution of the land after the first great catastrophe of about 850,000 years ago, in the Pliocene Age, shows that a considerable portion of the north of the continent was submerged, and the rest was much rent. The growing American continent was separated by a chasm from the remainder of Atlantis, which then occupied the bulk of the Atlantic basin, from about 50° N. Lat. to a few degrees south of the equator.
Great subsidences and upheavals in other parts of the world also took place. The British Isles, for example, then formed part of a huge island embracing the Scandinavian Peninsula, the North of France, all the intervening and some of the surrounding seas. The land surface after the second catastrophe about 200,000 years ago was much changed, although this cataclysm was relatively smaller than the first one. Atlantis proper was now split into a Northern Island called Ruta, and a Southern Island called Daitya. The future North and South America were separated from one another. Egypt was submerged and the Scandinavian Island, which included the British Isles, was then joined to the future Europe.
A stupendous planetary convulsion took place in 75,025 B.C., the third of the four cataclysms. As a result of it, Daitya, the Southern Island, almost entirely disappeared, Ruta was reduced to the comparatively small Island of Poseidonis, which was situated at about the centre of the Atlantic ocean. The other land surfaces were then roughly as they are today, though the British Isles were still joined to Europe, the Baltic Sea was non-existent, and the Sahara Desert was still ocean.
In the fourth and final cataclysm of 10,000 years ago Poseidonis entirely disappeared and the submergence brought up the Sahara Desert out of the sea and caused huge tidal waves in the Mediterranean countries. This is the historical basis for the story of the Deluge in the Bible and other ancient books.
Concerning the civilization and people of Atlantis, Theosophy agrees with the descriptions given by Plato and also has much further information to give. The Atlantean Race was the fourth of the seven major races of man which will occupy this planet during this present period of activity. The fifth or Aryan Race is now in process of development.
The Atlantean peoples are still numerically preponderant on the earth. Here is a list of some of the nations which belong to that Race: The Laplanders, the Patagonians, the American Indians of both North and South America, the inland Chinese, the Basque people of Spain, the Magyars of Hungary, the Japanese and all the Mongolian, Malayan and the Eskimo peoples. Naturally, great diversity of religion, politics and social structure was displayed throughout the long period of Atlantean development. Occult records exist of a very high state of civilization achieved about the midpoint of the Atlantean race and centred around the capital city. This was the famous City of the Golden Gates. This epoch is sometimes called the Toltec Golden Age; for an almost perfect, communal society then existed for some 100,000 years. This civilization was based upon this central idea: from each according to his capacity, to each according to his need. During this time there was practically no crime and the most serious punishment consisted of banishment which was dreaded. The Atlanteans were great colonizers, sailors and merchants. They founded an empire in Peru and earlier still in Egypt. Eventually, serious malpractices, including very evil forms of sorcery, developed and threatened the progress of the whole Atlantean race. They eventually recovered, however, and gave birth to the Aryan race to which most of us belong.
The progress of humanity thus continues. Indeed, the Theosophist cannot despair, cannot fear that all human achievement could be swallowed up in unheeding, everlasting night. The Theosophist knows that mankind moves through innumerable ages to ever-increasing power, wisdom and glory.
Commencement of Study Class on Viveka-Chūdāmani
We are happy to announce the commencement of the 2018 Study Class. This year we will be studying the book Viveka-Chūdāmani.
We have studied At the Feet of the Master, The Voice of the Silence and Light on the Path. Viveka-Chūdāmani is the fourth book of equal significance providing guidelines on the Path of Occultism.
Study Class will be held on Tuesday evenings, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., commencing on 24 April 2018. Please enrol, if you have not already done so, to join the class.