At last, Atlantis
July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
So we’ve talked, and talked, and talked but never really got to the heart of the matter. I’ve talked about Tiamat, the Enuma Elish, a conspiracy of goddesses who are all ultimately one goddess, and we’ve talked and talked about the deep time of prehistory and how much we don’t know about the past. I have talked at you a great deal. But what, ultimately, am I saying?
Rather than staying coy, let me get on with the meat of things. Rather than my usual spate of rhetorical questions, let me move straight to my thesis. Atlantis is everything. Atlantis was an island in the Atlantic, it wasn’t. It was a drowned land in the North Sea, but it wasn’t. It was America, it was the Azores, it has been every myth and cobbled together fantasy of every ancient historian and modern lunatic. Rand Flem-Ath, Lewis Spence, Ignatius Donnelly, Diodorus, Plato… all these and more were right. Howard’s Atlantis filled with savages waiting for the collapse of Valusia? Dead on. Domed underwater cities? Yep. And it was on the site of Atlantis that the Atlanteans themselves forever wrote their epitaph in water.
When I postulated about Tiamat being Atlantis, I was being literal. The Enuma Elish specifically states that the gods lived within and upon Tiamat herself. And when you read Plato’s Critias the first thing that always comes to my mind is the orichalicum. I’ve talked before about this. Back then I said that I thought I could talk forever about Atlantis, and I suspect this post won’t empty the well. I am haunted by orichalicum. What was this unique red metal? Why could it only be mined in Atlantis?
In the Enuma Elish, Marduk (standing in for Enki or Anu or Enlil, one of whom probably did the job in older versions) performs a world creation by destroying Tiamat, tearing her in half and forming the world and sky from her body. This is remarkably similar to the Norse creation myth, where Odin, Vili and Ve use the corpse of Ymir to do likewise. My question is, why? Why make the world from the corpse of a great monster? Then again, in both cases Ymir and Tiamat represent water (Ymir being made entirely of ice) and yet land and sky are made from them. And we know that on Earth, our water comes from the sky. Not just as rain – literally all the water in the world comes from comets and enormous Kupier belt objects similar in size and scale to Pluto, the former ninth world of our solar system. Our water comes from the heavens, descending frozen to massive stones, and crashing into our world in the time so far distant that to call it the past almost seems to be mocking it. Billions of years ago, before our moon had even been torn from the Earth, rocks from space with ice frozen to them crashed hard into our world. And without them the seas would not exist.
Remember what the priests of Neith told Solon?
For, indeed, the tale that is also told among you, how that Phaetheon yoked his father’s chariot, and, for that he could not drive in his father’s path, he burnt up all the things upon earth and was himself smitten by a thunderbolt and slain; this story has the air of a fable; but the truth concerning it is related to a deviation of the bodies that move around the earth in the heavens. whereby at long intervals of time a destruction through fire of the things that are upon earth.
Plato’s Timaeus, translations compiled by Lewis Spence in his A History of Atlantis
That’s some pretty specific statements, and very interesting to our modern eye. Sure, you could argue that they got it wrong and that the sun doesn’t orbit the Earth, and neither does most of the stuff up in space. And you’d be absolutely right. But just imagine someone before 600 BC arguing that bodies in space could deviate from their orbits, much less that in so doing they could cause fiery catastrophes on earth.
Now, I mentioned before when talking about the pre-historic period that the oceans have risen and fallen over the years. During the last Ice Age, I pointed out, the entire North Sea was a grassland, a prairie. I’m not saying that grassland was the first Atlantis, mind you. But do you remember when I said that if the glaciers were to melt today, if we lost our ice caps, then it wouldn’t be hard to imagine North America being divided by an inland sea? I said that because during the Cretaceous period, that’s exactly what happened. There was an island in the Atlantic then, and it was what would become today eastern Canada and the United States, the regions called the Maritimes and New England, as well as the Atlantic states. Modern day Labrador, Newfoundland, and the US’s northeastern states were an isolated island in the Tethys in those days, the world ocean that would become the Atlantic. And this island was further north and far closer to what is today Europe.
I’ve often puzzled why we assume that, throughout the billions of years of life on Earth, that we’re the first sapient beings. We see evidence of breathtaking variety and diversity among ancient arthropods, we see amphibians and reptiles develop some of the most complex anatomical structures (some that we still possess today), we see evidence for warm blooded animals with metabolisms not unlike our own, and we never once assume that some of these entities might have had intelligence that, while not the same as our own, was in its own way equal to or superior to ours? We know so very little about the distant past of our world. We know so very little about life, about how it arose, about how it groped blindly upward through these staggering gulfs of time. 1.8 million years ago, homo erectus (our predecessors) were spreading out throughout the world. Imagine what might have been happening in the Permian. We have found so little of what lived, crawled, flew, buzzed, croaked and roared in those distant times. We know so little about them.
What are gods? What are myths? Are gods more than the sum of their myths, or are they born in the stories told about them? Did Permian therapsids, our ancestors and cousins of our ancestors, dream? Did they tell stories in musk marked on trees? Did these creatures, as much reptile as mammal, tell stories about the soil beneath their feet as the world turned into a desert? Did they dream of fresh water as the ultimate drought struck them down? Did those few remaining therapsids, with mammalian brains and reptilian bodies, credit the bowels of the earth that they tunneled into to survive with their existence? Did they make a goddess out of the planet that had almost killed them and had begrudgingly sheltered them, did they imagine Apsu out of the endless fathoms of undrinkable water that mocked their plight? We are quick to imagine ourselves as unique, but hundreds of millions of years before us our scaled fathers held this world. Did the end of the Permian see the end of the first Atlantis?
One of the reasons I love David Bohm’s concept of the Implicate Order is the idea that behind our visible, physical reality there’s a kind of conceptually based DNA for existence, but one that’s constantly undergoing evolution as new concepts are created and linked to older ones through association. It’s the same basic idea as the Akashic Record, really, that outside of existence there’s a non place that has no time, and in that timeless non-place all of existence, past, present and future etches itself onto the palimpest of infinity. That idea A (we’ll call that idea the Mother Goddess) can become linked to idea B (the distant island home of all things) and idea C (the cataclysmic destruction and recreation of the world) so that, even though in our limited, causality-based perspective these things seem to have progressed and have clear starts and stopping points, it does not have to be so in the implicate. That because, at one point in time these things happened together, they have always been linked together even if that point in time is later from our perspective. So too Atlantis. It is possible to believe that, on an island in the Atlantic a group of men and women created the first great culture of mankind, harnessed forces unlike any before them, discovered elements that to us do not exist and in so doing, wrote themselves out of creation and carved their names onto the implicate order itself. Atlantis was literal fact. Atlantis made of itself a myth, and in so doing, made itself exist before and after itself when it no longer existed when it had been. Indeed, it may go even further. Atlantis, the true Atlantis, the land that was the goddess that birthed the gods, may have been torn asunder by those gods in order that they reach the implicate. Zeus did not destroy Atlantis because its people were deviants. He destroyed Atlantis as a result of his own deviance, his desire to be more than a man – a goal he achieved.
Imagine what it would have looked like. The orichalicum deposits, space born artifacts from the dawn of creation, naturally occurring and unusually stable artifacts from that moment when our reality moved away from the rest in the great tsimtsum, or contraction, mined and harnessed for every aspect of life. Worked into art, because art is the means by which concepts become expressed, the abstract remaining discrete yet being shared between minds. Art, whether it be paintings on a cave wall or patterns of worked orichalicum, helping to tune all Atlanteans to one frequency, their thoughts turned to one goal and one purpose, and by doing so their thoughts used to change the implicate order itself. And whatever is writ upon the implicate order becomes reality. The people of Atlantis created a geometrically perfect omphalos, with tamed water surrounding a mountain nexus, and wild water surrounding tilled and spaded land, and linked their city through orichalicum art to the natural deposits of the metal throughout the land. They told themselves the myth that their people were descended from divinity, the god come to mingle his divine essence with the maiden, a giant come to earth in those days. And in one moment, they dreamed themselves out of existence. Atlantis vanished.
To take its place in the past, and the future. The people of Atlantis were gone as if they had never been, because they had never been. The conversion from tangible, temporally limited, perishable matter to immortal, timeless, imperishable thought removed any sign or trace of them – it removed the orichalicum from existence, removed the island from the ocean, made it so it had never been. Moreover, it reached backwards and forwards in time, rippling as it went, and altered the very course of history. The dreams of the dreamers of the past resounded with the sound of dreams about the non place, and whether the dreamers dreamed them first to inspire the Atlanteans to become those dreams, or the other way around, is neither answerable nor material. There is no time in the implicate. Time is a product of explication, of creation, of the constant division and selection of the artist, or the fractal patterns of the mathematician. When there is only light, there can be no shadow because there is nothing to block the light. That means there is, effectively, no long since there’s nothing to differentiate it from.
It becomes easy to imagine that, ‘before’ the Atlanteans, Earth carried on much as we have seen it in the rocks. What little we can gather from that stayed the same, in that universe that the Atlanteans utterly destroyed. Rocks fell from space, carrying with them the primordial matter of the foundation of the cosmos. Arthropods rose, formed vast orders, dominated the world… did they, with their eyes made of faceted calcite, learn to dream? Did they, in their time, dream themselves out of existence, and in so doing turn their world into a seething mass of desert surrounded by frenzied salt water, devoid of the fresh needed for surface life? One can imagine the therapsids in their turn dreaming a dream of fresh water, of an earth that is a mother and not a desert, and calling that dream into life, a dream that haunted the Earth even after their death. Did their mother goddess follow the multituberculate descendents of the therapsidia into the long night, where they dwelled in darkness and shadow while the archosauria, the ruling reptiles seized the day? And did she in her turn call down the stones from heaven, laced with primordial matter, to crush the dinosaurs and kill their gods? Island after island, drifting on the salt sea, coveted by the fresh water. Watched over by the aggregated dreams of millions of years of outcasts, our ancestors, from whom we inherited everything that makes us who we are. Did they groove their habits into the implicate?
Call this force what you like, this longed-for dream of fresh water and survival, this procreator who knows the lust for life and the need to kill to live, call her Tiamat the earth and sky, Nyx the goddess of night (the primal night of the mammals who existed in the nocturnal world for 165 million years before the starry sky dropped a flaming rock of deliverance on our world) and imagine this – did the Atlanteans discover her? Worse, did they deliberately ensnare her in the net of their orichalicum city, a Marduk’s net of sigils and concepts, and did they use her to fuel their ascension? Did they use the mother of mammals as a lens to fire themselves like coherent light into the implicate order itself, transmuting flesh to thought? Did they kill the first dream, or try to?
If so, it does not seem to have worked. If Athena is Neith is Ta-Nit is Astarte is Ishtar is Innana is Aphrodite is Nyx, then they merely dragged this first dream up into the implacable implicate order alongside them. Tiamat’s water was their ticket to the palaces of thought, but it also required for them to abide their, and it must forever be watched and guarded. Because we can still make use of it, perhaps? If that rain ever fell, would a new Atlantis rise, and make of itself an entirely new dream, a new land girded by the sea? Diodorus may have been more right than he knew when he said Atlantis was the original home of the gods.
Did the Atlanteans take language up into heaven with them? Is that why we took so long to move from cave paintings in Lascaux to symbols meaning words in Egypt, Sumeria and India? Were the gods afraid of what we would do with the ability to tune our thoughts together, to express and share ideas, to become fields for concepts to mate, make war and die? And always prodding, like Athena’s attempt to overthrow Zeus, or Inanna’s raid into the otherworld, always prodding is the trapped goddess, the fuel, the first dream from whose body the world was made. Prodding us onward to cut her free, and take her place.
So many stories of Atlantis, the place we can never find staring back out at us from the inside. So many dreams, so many Thules, Avalons, Lemurias, Mus, Tir na nogs and Hy Breasils and lands to the west. As if the island were fighting its way back out of implication and into the explicate in the only canvas available to it, along that same sigil web of concepts that sent it away from us in the first place. Time and space, altered forever, and forever stamped with the image of the drowned land where time began again.