Monday, 2 February 2015

Myths, Legends and Ancient Civilisations

Wow: not only a long subject title but a huge subject. I hardly know where to start. We could come at this from various perspectives. For example, if we are interested in myths and legends, then we could look at classical mythology or we could concentrate on interpretations of such myths. For the latter, we might look to Joseph Campbell or Carl Jung, both of whom had interesting things to say and are considered to be the authorities in that field.

Another expert is a local man, living here in Dorset, and writing some incredibly deep and perceptive books which build on the work of Campbell and Jung and probe the symbolism of myths from classical Greek to children's fairy stories. His name is Patrick Harpur and I would recommend his book, The Complete Guide to the Soul.

On the other hand, are we intending to discuss the evidence for ancient or lost civilisations? If so, who do we turn to? The accepted academic sources or the alternative history set? My guess is that, for most who favour the orthodox view of ancient history, a visit to the British Museum and a few BBC2 documentaries might satisfy your curiosity. The controversial, therefore exciting, action is in the alternative camp. Here we will find a host of amateur (and some professional) researchers, each with their own theories to lay before a wide-eyed and eager public. Some of these theories compliment each other, while others venture way out on the fringe. Unfortunately, the academics will consider anything which questions their own view as being way out on the fringe, so carefully researched and reasoned theories are lumped together with wild and unsubstantiated speculations. Such is the nature of orthodoxy: there is no tolerance of dissent.

Before I started writing this page, I requested some feedback from some of our membership and, from the replies, I'm getting the impression that it is the Ancient Civilisation aspect which is of most interest. So I'm going with that and, perhaps, we can revisit the symbolism and metaphorical interpretations of mythology in another session?

Ancient History: Sources of Knowledge

Generally speaking, what we know (or assume we know) about the ancients has been gleaned from two major sources: physical evidence uncovered by archaeology and human traditions containing myths, legends and sacred texts such as the Old Testament or the Indian Vedas. One has to be very careful with myths and religious texts because, as the Joseph Campbell quote (above) points out: so much is metaphor. Metaphors may have deep and important messages for us, at any point in our history, but they are not necessarily accurate history in themselves. So we need to examine all this evidence in the context of their times. For example, the depiction of an angel with wings might be a metaphor for a soul taking flight to the next world but it might also hark back to shamans who wore feathered cloaks which were, in themselves, metaphors for  shamanistic flights taken in alternate realities.

So, here again, we are presented with a variety of paths to follow. We might be interested in sacred history, symbols and geometry as preserved in hermetic teaching which, until very recently, has been hidden from all but "those who had eyes to see and ears to hear". Hence the term "occult", meaning hidden. Or we might want to probe the evidence for religious figures such as Jesus. Or we might be persuaded by those who maintain that the academic have it wrong and that the ancients date back much further than they would have us believe. That there were civilised and technologically advanced people operating thousands of years earlier than the text books would have us believe. And again, just how sophisticated were these ancients? What did they believe? What do all those myths and symbols mean? Just ceremonial trappings or do they hint at powers and knowledge that we have lost sight of along the way?

For anyone interested in religious or esoteric history, I posted a blog page here in September of last year which is the text of an article I wrote for another web site I used to maintain several years ago. The page was called Esoteric Traditions.

Links and Videos

A really good starting point is this lecture by Graham Hancock from last year. It is something of a summary of his previous book, Fingerprints of the Gods and a preview of his forthcoming book, Magicians of the Gods. Anyone who is a visitor to Dave Haith's Facebook Group may have already seen this video as he posted a link a few weeks ago.

Hancock and his critics

Here, Graham Hancock talks about the critical reception of his books by the mainstream. This looks like it is one of many short videos, mostly about his investigation of psychedelics covered in his book, Supernatural.


Precession of the Equinoxes

At some time during last Thursday evening's Meetup, I was asked about the zodiac and I mentioned the Precession of the Equinoxes but didn't do an explanation justice by any means. Here is Graham Hancock again doing a bang-up job describing that very important subject.

Egypt, The Pyramids and the Orion Correlation

Robert Bauval, co-author and friend of Graham Hancock, originated the Orion Correlation Theory in the mid 1990's. His theory has been dismissed by Egyptologists ever since so who do we believe? I did manage to find a rather technical academic paper on the validity (or otherwise) of the theory by Vincenzo Orofino which, if you are so inclined, you can read here.

Andrew Collins, Watchers, Gobekii Tepe, etc.

I'm a bit of a fan of Andrew Collins. He runs a conference every year, inviting lots of interesting speakers some of whom have been mentioned here on this page. His pet subject is the Nephilim, or Watchers, and the historical evidence for them. A long time ago, I read his book, From the Ashes of Angels, and was impressed by his research and ability to join the dots. I thought I might include a video featuring Andrew but have to admit that I've only just found it and have yet to watch it, so apologies if it isn't that relevant. I suspect it will be, however.

Robert Scoch

Robert Schoch is one of those professionals I mentioned earlier. He is a geologist with a PhD and has researched many ancient sites. He's yet another friend of Hancock and their theories tend to support each other.

Ancient Astronauts

I was in favour of avoiding this particular variation of the ancient mysteries theme but, as Dave Haith pointed out, there may well be others who find it intriguing. Dave has pointed me to a YouTube channel with lots of Video features on this subject so you can all indulge in alien conspiracies to your heart's content.

However, Dave also recommends this video which debunks the whole Ancient Alien genre. Be warned, though - it is a 3 hour documentary.

Cappadocian Underground City

Mike Forte was keen to have Cappadocia included and he sent me some links. I also found some others. Here is a History Channel video and Mike's links are below.

From Mike:

Ref the underground cities in Cappadocia, Turkey. Apparently over 30 have been found. 
The deepest is Derinkuyu (the one I mentioned) which housed over 20,000 people... 

Kaymaki is the widest... 

Vid regarding underground city in Malta...

Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson

Lawrence offered the following advice:
Please don't forget about Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson's 'Hidden History of the Human Race' with a forward by Graham Hancock. Copy attached, or the more concise Forbidden Archaeology again attached.  

I couldn't find an option for attaching PDF documents to this blog so here, instead, is the PDF online. And also, the above mentioned Forbidden Archaeology in PDF format.

For those who would prefer a video, here's Michael Cremo himself delivering a presentation on Forbidden Archaeology.

Online Periodicals, etc.

Here's one that Dave Haith brought to my attention:

This is The Heretic Magazine but it only posts samples - the magazine itself has to be purchased.

The editor of The Heretic is Andrew Gough who has a large collection of interesting articles on his own website:

New Dawn Magazine often has interesting articles. I can particularly recommend anything by Richard Smoley.

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