Photos of Ancient Oddities

The Magonia Database Tracks 100 Years of UFOs

passport-to-magoniaIt’s hard to get too excited about modern-day UFOs, since most of them are just advanced military vehicles. But I’m intrigued when I read about UFO encounters that took place a hundred years ago or more, such as this one:

Apr. 15, 1897 Perry Springs (Missouri). A passenger train on the Wabash line, going toward Quincy, was followed by a low-flying object for 15 min between Perry Springs and Hersman. All the passengers saw the craft, which had a red and white light. After Hersman it flew ahead of the train and disappeared rapidly, although the train was then running at 65 km/h.

This story appears in the Magonia Database, which tracks 100 years of UFO encounters, from 1868 to 1968. The database was assembled by Jacques Vallée, upon whom the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based. It originally appeared in his recently reissued classic book, Passport to Magonia, whose main idea has been summarized thus:

…[UFO] beliefs identical to those held today have recurred throughout recorded history and under forms best adapted to the believer’s country, race, and social regime. If we take a wide sample of this historical material, we find that it is organized around one central theme: visitation by an aerial people from one or more remote, legendary countries. The names and attributes vary, but the main idea clearly does not. Magonia, heaven, hell, Elfland – all such places have in common one characteristic: we are unable to reach them alive, except on very special occasions.

In Passport to Magonia, Vallée investigates hundreds of intriguing incidents going back to ancient times, for instance:

[O]n September 12, 1271, the famous priest Nichircn was about to be beheaded at Tatsunokuchi, Kamakura, when there appeared in the sky an object like a full moon, shiny and bright. Needless to say, the officials panicked and the execution was not carried out.

On August 3, 989, during a period of great social unrest, three round objects of unusual brilliance were observed; later they joined together. In 1361, a flying object described as being “shaped like a drum, about twenty feet in diameter” emerged from the inland sea off western Japan.

…Pierre Boaistuau, in 1575, remarked: “The face of heaven has been so often disfigured by bearded, hairy comets, torches, flames, columns, spears, shields, dragons, duplicate moons, suns, and other similar things, that if one wanted to tell in an orderly fashion those that have happened since the birth of Jesus Christ only, and inquire about the causes of their origin, the lifetime of a single man would not be enough.”

Vallée takes a brave and brilliant look at stories of elves and fairies as they relate to UFOs:

However strong the current belief in saucers from space, it cannot be stronger than the Celtic faith in the elves and the fairies, or the medieval belief in tutins, or the fear throughout the Christian lands, in the first centuries of our era, of demons and satyrs and fauns. Certainly, it cannot be stronger than the faith that inspired the writers of the Bible—a faith rooted in daily experiences with angelic visitation.

An edition of Passport to Magonia, subtitled Of UFOs, Folklore and Parallel Worlds, is available free online as a pdf but without its Table of Contents or Introduction. You can buy the new edition here.

What Would God Drive?

font size="1">sourcehariot of Fire, woodcut for 'Die Bibel in Bildern', 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

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Chariot of Fire, woodcut for ‘Die Bibel in Bildern’, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

Divine chariots are described quite a bit in the Bible. They are often hard to distinguish from descriptions of Yahweh himself, who was known for making big noisy fiery spectacles in the sky. In fact, as many people have noted, Yahweh behaved a whole lot like a jet airplane.

Below are some descriptions of divine chariots in the Bible (you may also be interested in my post about vehicles of other deities).

Isaiah 66:5 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

Psalms 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

Jeremiah 4:13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

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'Viktor Vasnetsov. The Flying Carpet (1880). Oil, canvas. 165x297 сm. a depiction of the hero of Russian folklore, Ivan Tsarevich, on exhibit at the Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum.'

In an experience reminiscent of flying carpets, Zechariah reports:

Zechariah 5:1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.
2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

A cubit is about the size of a typical forearm, about 20 inches.

In the book of Acts, Peter gets take-out delivered by Yahweh:

Acts 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

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Mystic Wheel (Ezekiel's Vision) by Fra Angelico, circa 1451.

And then there’s Ezekiel’s wheel, the Biblical prophet’s famous encounter with the physical “word of God” and his very detailed (if odd) description of it, which so many people have interpreted as describing a spaceship.

Ezekiel 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity,
3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

We can’t blame Ezekiel for being confused; it sounds as if he just had no frame of reference for what he was seeing. Even modern-day people having encounters with “UFOs” have trouble understanding and describing what they have seen, and try to make sense of it by comparing it to things they do understand—in Ezekiel’s case, “living creatures” and wheels. For info on various interpretations of Ezekiel’s vision, see the section on the Book of Ezekiel on Wikipedia’s Ancient Astronauts page.

sourceEzekiel's Wheel. Woodcut for 'Die Bibel in Bildern', 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

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Ezekiel’s Wheel. Woodcut for ‘Die Bibel in Bildern’, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

sourceEzekiel's Wheel in St. John the Baptist Church in Kratovo, Macedonia.

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Ezekiel's Wheel in St. John the Baptist Church in Kratovo, Macedonia.

source'Engraved illustration of the 'chariot vision' of the Biblical book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, after an earlier illustration by Matthaeus (Matthäus) Merian (1593-1650), for his 'Icones Biblicae' (a.k.a. 'Iconum Biblicarum').'

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'Engraved illustration of the 'chariot vision' of the Biblical book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, after an earlier illustration by Matthaeus (Matthäus) Merian (1593-1650), for his 'Icones Biblicae' (a.k.a. 'Iconum Biblicarum').'

sourceThe Vision of Ezekiel, oil on wood by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518.

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The Vision of Ezekiel, oil on wood by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518.

Zechariah sees two chariots come out from between two mountains of brass.

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Zechariah sees two chariots come out from between two mountains of brass.

Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.
7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.

legend of st. francissource

Legend of St Francis, Vision of the Flaming Chariot, by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE.

In another painting by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE, St. Francis is receiving stigmata from a divine creature and/or chariot. It's often hard to tell the gods from their vehicles.source

In another painting by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE, St. Francis is receiving stigmata from a divine creature and/or chariot. It's often hard to tell the gods from their vehicles.

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'God in Majesty' from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.

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According to Babelfish's translation from the Russian caption, 'Paternity of icon (Yaroslavl, 17 c.) of.jpeg FATHERLAND Yaroslavl'. Third quarter OF XVII v. Tree, levkas, the tempera.'

A sun god drives his divine chariot across the sky.

A sun god drives his divine chariot across the sky.

This painting is reportedly at the altar of the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, circa 1350.

This painting is reportedly at the altar of the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, circa 1350.

A detail from the above painting.

A detail from the above painting.

A second vehicle from the above painting.

A second vehicle from the above painting.

sourceElijah and the Chariot of Fire, painting by Antonio Cifrondi.

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Elijah and the Chariot of Fire, painting by Antonio Cifrondi.

“Myths” of Global Catastrophes through the Ages

Here are some excerpts and notes from various sources regarding a few of the many “myths” of global destruction through the ages, including Ovid’s Ages of Man and Hindu scriptures, pole shifts, and “mythical” doomsday events in North America, Egypt, South America, Australia, and more.

In some of the most powerful and enduring myths that we have inherited from ancient times, our species seems to have retained a confused but resonant memory of a terrifying global catastrophe…. Where do these myths come from? Why, though they derive from unrelated cultures, are their storylines so similar? why are they laden with common symbolism? and why do they so often share the same stock characters and plots? If they are indeed memories, why are there no historical records of the planetary disaster they seem to refer to?

Could it be that the myths themselves are historical records? Could it be that these cunning and immortal stories, composed by anonymous geniuses, were the medium used to record such information and pass it on in the time before history began? —Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

Regius_-_Ages_of_Man

Regius_-_Ages_of_Man

Eschatology (from the Greek meaning “last” and -logy meaning “the study of”, first used in English around 1550) is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity — commonly referred to as the end of the world or the “World to Come.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell’”.

In the context of mysticism, the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine. In many religions it is taught as an existing future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

History is often seen as being divided into “ages” (Gk. aeons), an age being a period where certain realities are present. An age may come to an end and be replaced by a new age where different realities are present. This transition from one age to another is often the subject of eschatological discussion. So, instead of “the end of the world” we may speak of “the end of the age” and be referring to the end of “life as we know it” and the beginning of a new reality. Indeed, much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the “end of time” but rather with the end of a certain period of time, the end of life as it is now, and the beginning of a new period of time. It is usually a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living / thinking / being. This crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment or the reaching of a new level of consciousness. If a better world results, we say it is “utopian”. If a worse, it is “dystopian.” Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future (indeed, the same future may be utopian for some and dystopic for others – “heaven and hell” for example). —From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology

The Bible…envisages two ages of the world, our own being the second and last [the deluge having ended the first world, and the book of Revelation said to describe the end of the second world]. Elsewhere, in other cultures, different numbers of creations and destructions are recorded. In China, for instance, the perished ages are called kis, ten of which are said to have elapsed from the beginning of time until Confucius. At the end of each kis, “in a general convulsion of nature, the sea is carried out of its bed, mountains spring up out of the ground, rivers change their course, human beings and everything are ruined, and the ancient traces effaced….”

Buddhist scriptures speak of “Seven Suns”, each brought to an end by water, fire or wind. At the end of the Seventh Sun, the current “world cycle”, it is expected that the “earth will break into flames”. Aboriginal traditions of Sarawak and Sabah recall that the sky was once “low” and tell us that “six Suns perished … at present the world is illuminated by the seventh Sun”. Similarly, the Sibylline Books speak of “nine Suns that are nine ages” and prophesy two ages yet to come…. [T]he Hopi Indians of Arizona (who are distant relatives of the Aztecs) record three previous Suns, each culminating in a great annihilation followed by the gradual re-emergence of mankind.—Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

According to In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India by Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley: “[T]he ancient Hindus regarded the switch of the equinoctial point from one constellation to another (the end of an age) as an alarming event.”

Goldenes-Zeitalter-1530

Goldenes-Zeitalter-1530


Ages of Man, Ovid, Metamorphoses (Oxford World’s Classics):

Book I:89-112 The Golden Age This was the Golden Age that, without coercion, without laws, spontaneously nurtured the good and the true. There was no fear or punishment: there were no threatening words to be read, fixed in bronze, no crowd of suppliants fearing the judge’s face: they lived safely without protection. No pine tree felled in the mountains had yet reached the flowing waves to travel to other lands: human beings only knew their own shores. There were no steep ditches surrounding towns, no straight war-trumpets, no coiled horns, no swords and helmets. Without the use of armies, people passed their lives in gentle peace and security. The earth herself also, freely, without the scars of ploughs, untouched by hoes, produced everything from herself. Contented with food that grew without cultivation, they collected mountain strawberries and the fruit of the strawberry tree, wild cherries, blackberries clinging to the tough brambles, and acorns fallen from Jupiter’s spreading oak-tree. Spring was eternal, and gentle breezes caressed with warm air the flowers that grew without being seeded. Then the untilled earth gave of its produce and, without needing renewal, the fields whitened with heavy ears of corn. Sometimes rivers of milk flowed, sometimes streams of nectar, and golden honey trickled from the green holm oak.

Virgil_Solis_-_Golden_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Golden_Age

Book I:113-124 The Silver Age When Saturn was banished to gloomy Tartarus, and Jupiter ruled the world, then came the people of the age of silver that is inferior to gold, more valuable than yellow bronze. Jupiter shortened spring’s first duration and made the year consist of four seasons, winter, summer, changeable autumn, and brief spring. Then parched air first glowed white scorched with the heat, and ice hung down frozen by the wind. Then houses were first made for shelter: before that homes had been made in caves, and dense thickets, or under branches fastened with bark. Then seeds of corn were first buried in the long furrows, and bullocks groaned, burdened under the yoke.

Virgil_Solis_-_Silver_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Silver_Age

Book I:125-150 The Bronze Age and Iron Age Third came the people of the bronze age, with fiercer natures, readier to indulge in savage warfare, but not yet vicious.

The harsh iron age was last. Immediately every kind of wickedness erupted into this age of baser natures: truth, shame and honour vanished; in their place were fraud, deceit, and trickery, violence and pernicious desires. They set sails to the wind, though as yet the seamen had poor knowledge of their use, and the ships’ keels that once were trees standing amongst high mountains, now leaped through uncharted waves. The land that was once common to all, as the light of the sun is, and the air, was marked out, to its furthest boundaries, by wary surveyors. Not only did they demand the crops and the food the rich soil owed them, but they entered the bowels of the earth, and excavating brought up the wealth it had concealed in Stygian shade, wealth that incites men to crime. And now harmful iron appeared, and gold more harmful than iron. War came, whose struggles employ both, waving clashing arms with bloodstained hands. They lived on plunder: friend was not safe with friend, relative with relative, kindness was rare between brothers. Husbands longed for the death of their wives, wives for the death of their husbands. Murderous stepmothers mixed deadly aconite, and sons inquired into their father’s years before their time. Piety was dead, and virgin Astraea, last of all the immortals to depart, herself abandoned the blood-drenched earth.

Virgil_Solis_-_Iron_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Iron_Age

http://www.bible-knowledge.com/new-heaven-and-new-earth/
“Geological evidence found in Ohio and Indiana in recent weeks is strengthening the case to attribute what happened 12,900 years ago in North America — when the end of the last Ice Age unexpectedly turned into a phase of extinction for animals and humans – to a cataclysmic comet or asteroid explosion over top of Canada….”

According to Peter Kolosimo in his book, Timeless Earth, the Harris Egyptian papyrus “speaks of a catastrophe following which ‘south became north…and the earth turned round upon itself’. Herrodotus, moreover, tells us that according to the priests of Thebes (Luxor), ‘twice in past ages the sun used to rise in a different quarter from where it rises now, and twice it was wont to set in the east instead of the west’.” Kolosimo also relates a Toltec legend that the first age was brought to end by floods and lightning; the second age was peopled by giants called Quinametzin, who were mostly destroyed by earthquakes; and the remaining giants were killed by men during the third age, “just as Goliath was slain by David.”

Kolosimo asks:

What force can it have been that wiped out flourishing civilizations at a single blow, decimating the population of the globe and condemning the survivors to take refuge in caves out of which their ancestors had painfully struggled thousands of years before? Clearly the cause must have been some fearful cataclysm affecting the whole of our planet. There is much evidence that catastrophes on this scale did in fact occur.

Although complete carcases and skeletons are sometimes found, the remains usually look as if they had been torn about by some gigantic force. In some places there are heaps of bones as high as a small hill, the remains of mammoths being interspersed with those of horses, antelopes, bison, huge felines, and other smaller animals…. In 1901 a sensation was caused by the discovery of a complete mammal carcase near the Berezovka River, as this animal seemed to have died of cold in midsummer. The contents of its stomach were well preserved and included buttercups and flowering wild beans: this meant that they must have been swallowed about the end of July or beginning of August. The creature had died so suddenly that it still held in its jaws a mouthful of grasses and flowers. It had clearly been caught up by a tremendous force and hurled several miles from its pasture-ground. The pelvis and one leg were fractured — the huge animal had been knocked to its knees and had then frozen to death, at what is normally the hottest time of the year. —Scientist Charles H. Hapgood in Timeless Earth.

Kolosimo notes that, while traditionally science has held that Antarctica has been covered under a mile-thick ice layer for millions of years, there is reason to think the ice cover is much more recent, and related to the most recent worldwide cataclysm:

American scientists fished up from the bed of the Antarctic Ocean specimens of a muddy sediment which showed that in comparatively recent times Antarctic rivers had borne down to the sea the alluvial products of an ice-free territory. This was apparently the case ten or twelve thousands years ago, i.e., just before the time when the mammoth suddenly became extinct….

Movement of North Pole: Kreichgrauer says that during the fossil coal era the north pole was situated near Hawaii, while in later times it was at Lake Chad in Africa. (huge lake has no tribs nor outlets – created by melting of glacier?)

Pole is moving 40 miles a year, National Geographic article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091224-north-pole-magnetic-russia-earth-core.html

Potentially hazardous asteroids
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/P/potentially_hazardous_asteroid.html

Mahabharata Book 16, Section 1 [The King] Yudhishthira, beheld many unusual portents. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from every side. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The great rivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to be always covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on the Earth from the sky. The Sun’s disc, O king, seemed to be always covered with dust. At its rise, the great luminary of day was shorn of splendour and seemed to be crossed by headless trunks (of human beings). Fierce circles of light were seen every day around both the Sun and the Moon. These circles showed three hues. Their edges seemed to be black and rough and ashy-red in colour. These and many other omens, foreshadowing fear and danger, were seen, O king, and filled the hearts of men with anxiety. A little while after, the Kuru king Yudhishthira heard of the wholesale carnage of the Vrishnis in consequence of the iron bolt. … When the next day came, Samva actually brought forth an iron bolt through which all the individuals in the race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas became consumed into ashes. Indeed, for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, Samva brought forth, through that curse, a fierce iron bolt that looked like a gigantic messenger of death. The fact was duly reported to the king. In great distress of mind, the king (Ugrasena) caused that iron bolt to be reduced into fine powder. Men were employed, O king, to cast that powder into the sea. —http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m16/m16001.htm

Mahabharata Drona Parva Chapter Eleven Drona’s son then began a colossal carnage on the front line of battle. He piled up a mountain of heads from the Pandava army. Then touching water and invoking the Narayana astra, Ashvatthama aimed that invincible weapon at the Pandava army. The earth began to tremble and a great wind storm appeared on the Kurukshetra plain. In the heavens hundreds of thousands of celestial arrows appeared with flaming mouths. Maces, battle axes, Sataghnis, javelins and discs, effulgent as the sun, appeared in the sky, numbering tens of thousands. Coming down upon the Pandava army, those weapons began to destroy countless men. That divine weapon, owned by Lord Narayana, began to consume the Pandava army like a wild fire consumes dry grass.…

Ashvatthama invoked the Agneya weapon which caused intense fire to appear. Arrows with intense flames fell upon the Pandava soldiers scorching their bodies. Ashvatthama then directed that weapon toward the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. The Agneya weapon killed thousands upon thousands of chariot fighters, elephants and horsemen like a forest fire destroys trees. To save the Army, Arjuna invoked the Brahmastra weapon which countered the weapon released by Ashvatthama. When both weapons were withdrawn, the Pandavas saw that a full akshauhini division had been burnt by the weapon. So scorched were the soldiers that they could not be distinguished. Both armies thought that Krishna and Arjuna had been killed by the weapon, but upon seeing them in their chariot, the Pandava warriors cheered loudly and blew their conchshells. —http://www.warriormonks.com/kurukshetra/drona-parva/dp-11.html

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This antique carpet from India shows Arjuna and Krishna in their chariot.

Doomsday Events

Since life began on Earth, several major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate. The most recent, Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, which occurred approximately 65.5 million years ago (Ma), was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. In the past 540 million years there have been five major events when over 50% of animal species died. There probably were mass extinctions in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons, but before the Phanerozoic there were no animals with hard body parts to leave a significant fossil record.

Estimates of the number of major mass extinctions in the last 540 million years range from as few as five to more than twenty. These differences stem from the threshold chosen for describing an extinction event as “major”, and the data chosen to measure past diversity. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

A doomsday event is a specific, plausibly verifiable or hypothetical occurrence which has an exceptionally destructive effect on the human race. The final outcomes of doomsday events may range from a major disruption of human civilization, the extinction of humanity, the extinction of all life on the planet Earth, the destruction of the planet Earth, the annihilation of the Solar system, to the annihilation of our galaxy or even the entire universe.

Even though the term “doomsday” is taken from Christian eschatology referring to the Last Judgment, the term “doomsday event” as used here refers to alleged realistic dangers from natural or man-made causes, to be distinguished from catastrophic events in religious eschatology understood as an act of divine retribution or unalterable fate.

Doomsday events may include, but are not limited to these:

Natural occurrences
, including:

  • A sudden change in the physical constants governing the universe, such as that created by a vacuum metastability event.
  • A close approach of a black hole to the solar system.
  • A gamma ray burst or other devastating blast of cosmic radiation. One especially deadly hypothesized source is a hypernova, produced when a hypergiant star explodes and then collapses, sending vast amounts of radiation sweeping across hundreds of lightyears. Hypernovas have never been observed; however, a hypernova may have been the cause of the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events. The nearest hypergiant is Eta Carinae, approximately 8,000 light-years distant.
  • A drastic and unusual decrease or increase in Sun’s power output; a solar superstorm leading to partial or complete electrical or technological death of human civilization. (See solar flare.)
  • Abrupt geomagnetic reversal and/or drastic decrease of magnetic field of the planet Earth. Consequences can be the same as in the cases of cosmic radiation or solar radiation blasts.
  • The solar system passing through a cosmic dust cloud, leading to a severe global climate change.
  • An abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis.[6] It could be caused by extremely powerful internal geological or/and external cosmic factors. If it happens abruptly (and not slowly within a very prolonged interval of time) it will generate enormous multiple earthquakes, multiple volcano eruptions, a hypercane or multiple megacyclones, giant tidal waves and megatsunamis all around the globe.
  • An impact event causing a collision (or extremely close passage) of a large meteorite, asteroid or comet. A common theory postulates that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred approximately 65 million years ago as a result of the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event when a large asteroid struck the earth, producing atmospheric dust which blocked solar energy and caused a significant lowering of temperatures worldwide (“nuclear winter”). Evidence for this theory includes a sedimentary layer of iridium in the geological record and a large crater in the area of Chicxulub, Mexico. The Tunguska event (1908) was on a much smaller scale. In the case of a close passage of an object (a large asteroid, comet or planet) with a significant gravitational impact on Earth, the consequences could be the same as in the case of an abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis. And such a repositioning of the axis would not necessarily have to take place for the earth to see the same global effects.
  • A geological event such as massive flood basalt, volcanism, or the eruption of a supervolcano leading to the so called Volcanic Winter (Similar to a Nuclear Winter). One such event, the Toba Eruption, occurred in Indonesia about 71,500 years ago. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, the event may have reduced human populations to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. Yellowstone Caldera is another such supervolcano, having undergone 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions in the past 17 million years. Massive volcano eruption(s) will produce extraordinary intake of volcanic dust, toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with serious effects on global climate (towards extreme global cooling (nuclear winter when in short term and ice age when in long term) or global warming (if greenhouse gases prevail)).
  • An exceptionally devastating hypercane probably combined with global dust storm, taking up to the atmosphere enormous quantities of dust.
  • A global pandemic (assuming that the causing agent of the pandemic would have a natural origin) with very high or even 100% mortality rate.

Manmade events, including:

  • A global pandemic with very high or even 100% mortality rate caused by a human-made infectious agent, which could be released among population on purpose. The source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, governmental or international organization.
  • A nuclear, chemical, or biological war. A “softer” and “stealthier” case of each of these three types of warfare could be nuclear, chemical, or biological terrorism. Again the source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, religious zealots, governmental or international organization.
  • A grey goo scenario, in which self-replicating machines (often imagined to be nanomachines) get out of control and indiscriminately consume all kinds of matter in the process of building more replicas of themselves, eventually making earth inhospitable for biological life altogether. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_event

For an interesting list of ways the Earth could be destroyed, see Discover Magazine’s “20 Ways the World Could End” — although it doesn’t even mention one of the most likely ways, nuclear power plant accidents.

The very interesting academic paper, Echoes of Ancient Cataclysms in the Baltic Sea, by Ain Haas, Andres Peekna, Robert E. Walker, is well worth a read.

Ultimately, conditions will deteriorate to the point of a “sword-interval,” in which swords appear in the hands of all human beings, and they hunt one another like game. A few people, however, will take shelter in the wilderness to escape the carnage, and when the slaughter is over, they will come out of hiding and resolve to take up a life of skillful and virtuous action again. With the recovery of virtue, the human life span will gradually increase again until it reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_eschatology

Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, or the tenth and last Avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close, and Shiva dissolves and Brahma regenerates the universe.

Most Hindus acknowledge as part of their cosmology that we are living in the Kali Yuga, the last of four periods (Yuga) that make up the current age. Each period has seen a successive degeneration in the moral order and character of human beings, to the point that in the Kali Yuga where quarrel and hypocrisy are prevalent. Often, the invocation of Kali Yuga denotes a certain helplessness in the face of the horrors and suffering of the human condition and a nostalgia for a golden past or a future salvation.

However, Hindu conceptions of time, like those found in other non-Western traditions, is cyclical in that one age may end but another will always begin. As such, the cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and renewal at the individual level finds its echo in the cosmic order of all things, yet affected by the vagaries of the comings and goings of divine interventions in the Vaishnavite belief.

The Four Yugas
A Divya Yuga comprises four yuga’s and lasts for 4.3 billion years (close approximation to earth’s age Age of Earth of 4.54 billion years. One cycle of these four yugas complete the existence of the universe and the universe starts to contract backwards in time followed by a new beginning of big bang. Yuga Dharma is a self-realization in each yuga.

KRUTHA YUGA (SATYA YUGA) lasts 1.632 billion years. (Human beings as heavenly bodies)

TRETA YUGA silver age lasts 1.3 billion years.

DWAPARA YUGA Bronze Age lasts 884 million years.

KALI YUGA Iron Age of hypocrisy and quarrel lasts approximately 448 million years. (Lord Krishna’s Avatar – KALKI) —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_eschatology

The End of the Early Bronze Age
The Old Kingdom in Egypt, the period when the pyramids were built, a great and splendid age, came to its end in a natural disaster. “At the conclusion of the Sixth Dynasty . . . Egypt is suddenly blotted out from our sight as if some great catastrophe had overwhelmed it.” (1) The second city of Troy came to an end at the same time the Old Kingdom of Egypt fell; it was destroyed in a violent paroxysm of nature. The Early Bronze Age was simultaneously terminated in all the countries of the ancient East —a vast catastrophe spread ruin from Troy to the Valley of the Nile. This fact has been extensively documented by Claude F. A. Schaeffer, professor at College de France, excavator of Ras Shamra (Ugarit).

Schaeffer observed at Ras Shamra on the Syrian coast clear signs of great destruction that pointed to violent earthquakes and tidal waves, and other signs of a natural disaster. Among the greatest of these took place at the end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. At the occasion of his visit to Troy, then under excavation by Carl Blegen, he became aware that Troy, too, had been repeatedly destroyed by natural catastrophes at the same times when Ras Shamra was destroyed. The distance from the Dardanelles near which the mound of Troy lies to Ras Shamra in Syria is about 600 miles on a straight line. In modern annals of seismology no earthquake is known to have occurred covering an area of such an extent. He then compared the findings of these two places with signs of earthquakes in numerous other localities of the ancient East. After painstaking work he came to the conclusion that more than once in historical times the entire region had been shaken by prodigious earthquakes. As to the destruction that ended the Early Bronze Age, Schaeffer wrote, “There is not for us the slightest doubt that the conflagration of Troy II corresponds to the catastrophe that made an end to the habitations of the Early Bronze Age of Alaca Huyuk, of Alisar, of Tarsus, of Tepe Hissar [in Asia Minor], and to the catastrophe that burned ancient Ugarit (II) in Syria, the city of Byblos that flourished under the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the contemporaneous cities of Palestine, and that was among the causes that terminated the Old Kingdom of Egypt.(2)

In the same catastrophe were destroyed the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Cyprus. What caused “the disappearance of so many cities and the upheaval of an entire civilization” ?(3) “It was an all-encompassing catastrophe. Ethnic migrations were, no doubt, the consequence of the manifestation of nature. The initial and real causes must be looked for in some cataclysm over which man had no control.” (4) Everywhere it was simultaneous and sudden.

The shortcoming in Schaeffer’s work was in not making the logical deduction that if catastrophes of such dimensions took place in historical times, there must be references to them in ancient literary sources. If a cataclysm terminated the Early Bronze Age, decimated the population, but left also survivors, then some memory of the events must have also found its way to be preserved in writing—if not by survivors, turned to vagrancy and having to take care for the first necessities of life, then by the descendants of the survivors.

In my scheme the end of the Early Bronze Age or Old Kingdom in Egypt is the time of the momentous events connected with the story of the patriarch Abraham, and described in the Book of Genesis as the overturning of the plain.(5) The cause of the catastrophe could not have been entirely unknown to the ancients. We must therefore become attentive also to other traditions connected with these events. —http://www.varchive.org/itb/bronzage.htm:

References
1. G. A. Wainwright, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 16 (1930), p. 43.
2. Claude F. A. Schaeffer, Stratigraphie comparee et chronologie de l’Asie Occidentale (IIIe et IIe millennaires) (Oxford University Press, 1948), p. 225.
3. R. de Vaux, “Palestine in the Early Bronze Age,” The Cambridge Ancient History, Third ed., vol. I, pt. 2 (1971), ch. xv, p. 236. [According to J. Mellaart (“The Catastrophe at the End of the Eartly Bronze Age 2 Period,” The Cambridge Ancient History third ed. [1971], Vol. I, pt. 2, p. 406) in the period after the catastrophe the number of settlements “is reduced to a quarter of the number in the previous period.” Jacques Courtois, reporting the results of a survey in the valley of the Orontes, writes of the “extreme density of habitation of the plain in the Bronze Age, and particularly in the Early Bronze Age.” (Syria, 50 [1973], p. 99). In eastern Arabia “a sharp downturn in settlements and activity becomes apparent” after ca. 2000 B.C. (Michael Rice, “The States of Archaeology in Eastern Arabia and the Persian Gulf,” Asian Affairs, 64 [1977], p. 143). According to Kathleen Kenyon, “The final end of the Early Bronze Age civilization came with catastrophic completeness . . . Jericho . . . was probably completely destroyed. . . . Every town in Palestine that has so far been investigated shows the same break. . . . All traces of the Early Bronze Age civilization disappeared.” (Archaeology in the Holy Land [London, 1960], p. 134). According to Ernest Wright, “one of the most striking facts about the Early Bronze civilization is its destruction, one so violent that scarcely a vestige of it survived. We do not know when the event took place; we only know that there is not an Early Bronze Age city excavated or explored in all Palestine which does not have a gap in its occupation between Early Bronze Age III and the Middle Bronze Age. To date this gap, we know that it must be approximately contemporary with a similar period in Egypt called the ‘First Intermediate Period’ between dynasties VI and XI (ca. 22nd and 21st centuries B.C.).” (“The Archaeology of Palestine” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright [1961], p. 103).

The destruction can be traced also in Greece. “The destruction of the Early Helladic II town at Lerna in the eastern Peloponnese” is an example of “the widespread and violent destruction that occurred ca. 2300 B.C. in the Aegean and East Mediterranean” (Marija Gimbutas, “The Destruction of the Aegean and East Mediterranean Urban Civilization around 2300 B.C.,” Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean, ed. by R. A. Crossland and Ann Birchall [London, 1973], pp. 129f.) For Lerna, see also J. Caskey, “The Early Helladic Period in the Argolid,” Hesperia 29 (1960), pp. 289-290. “The burning of the House of Tiles . . . was the end of an era at Lerna.” The settlement “came to a violent end.” Not only Lerna, but also “the tiled buildings at Tiryns and Asine were destroyed by fire.”

It is quite probable that the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur occurred at the same time. Thorkild Jacobsen wonders about “the reasons for the dire catastrophes that befell the city of Ur in the reign of Ibbi-Suen, the sudden collapse of its great empire, and the later utter destruction of the city itself at the hands of barbarian invaders. . . . How an empire like that of the Third Dynasty of Ur . . . could so quickly collapse is really quite puzzling.” (“The Reign of Ibbi-Suen,” The Journal of Cuneiform Studies 7 (1953), p. 36. Although Jacobsen refers to the text known as “Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur,” he does not treat it seriously. Yet this poem provides specific information about the causes of the disaster. It speaks of a “storm’s cyclone-like destruction” (99), of a “storm that annihilates the land” (178), “in front of the storm fires burned; the people groan” (188). It tells of the sun being obscured: “In the land the bright sun rose not, like the evening star it shone” (191). It describes earthquakes that shook the land: “the destructive storm makes the land tremble and quake” (199). “In all the streets, where they were wont to promenade, dead bodies were lying about” (217). “Mothers and fathers who did not leave their houses were overcome by fire; the young lying on their mothers’ laps like fish were carried off by the waters” (228-229). The city, prostrated by the storm “which overwhelmed the living creatures of heaven and earth,” fell prey to hostile tribes and was looted. See S. N. Kramer, “Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton, 1950). Another lament, Oh, Angry Sea, transl. by R. Kutscher (Yale University Press, 1975), tells of the destruction of Ur, Larsa, Nippur, Sippar, Babylon and Isin by inundations sent by Enlil. I consider Enlil to be Jupiter.].
4. Schaeffer, Stratigraphie comparee, p. 537. In Alaca Huyuk there are unequivocal signs that an earthquake was responsible for the destruction (pp. 296f.). Cf. B. Bell, “The Dark Ages in Ancient History,” American Journal of Archaeology 75 (1971).
5. [The archaeological evidence uncovered in recent years strongly supports the conclusion that the cities of the plain flourished during the Early Bronze Age and that their destruction took place at the end of this period, more specifically at the end of EB III. See H. Shanks, “Have Sodom and Gomorrah Been Found?” Biblical Archaeology Review VI:5 (Sept./Oct. 1980), p. 28. Cf. D. Cardona, “Jupiter—God of Abraham (Part III),” KRONOS Vol. VIII.1 (1982), pp. 69ff.]

Also see my posts on the Deluge: Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations; and The Sumerian Noah Built an Ark — and So Did Others.

sourceThe Deluge by Paul Gustave Doré, from Doré's English Bible, 1865.

source
The Deluge by Paul Gustave Doré, from Doré’s English Bible, 1865.

Dwarves and Bizarre Religious Rites Popular with Both Ancient Egyptians, Mesoamericans

Located far away from one another, without known interactions, how did the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mesoamericans have so much in common? (Mesoamerica extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and was home to many pre-Columbian societies.)

Trait Ancient Egypt Ancient Mesoamerica

Loves and reveres dwarves. Believes dwarves are connected to the gods. Loves to watch dwarves dance. Makes lots of art showing dwarves.

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Religious system is built about nine all-powerful deities.

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Gods who die can be reborn as a star.

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To help a soul ascend directly to the heavens, without a journey through the underworld first, the high priest and four helpers conduct a ceremony at a pyramid, hitting the body very hard with a ceremonial knife.

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The afterlife is a journey full of peril, involving travel in a boat with a dog or dog-headed god, a bird or bird-headed god, and an ape or ape-headed god. The hearts of the dead are devoured by beasts.

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Graham Hancock, in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, suggests that the Egyptians and Mesoamericans did not somehow influence each other, but were independently influenced by a third party, an advanced civilization that may have disappeared under an ice age. Hancock also points out many similarities between these two cultures and Sumeria, including the fact that all three sprang into existence seemingly from nowhere, with writing, science, mathematics, and many other skills appearing in an advanced state, with no developmental stages.

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a … Mace?

A jet nose-driving prior to crashing at a Chinese air show.

A jet nose-driving prior to crashing at a Chinese air show.

When I saw a recent photo of a jet nose-diving at a Chinese air show, it jogged a long-standing question in my mind. Why do anthropologists and archaeologists call rock-art pictures such as the ones in this post “maces”? My suggestion for an answer is “Because their academic world-view does not allow them to see these pictures as airplanes or spaceships.”

Here’s a precolumbian Mesoamerican “avian-motif stone” that served as a macehead:

Later maces look quite a bit different:

In the spring 2011 article “America’s Ancient Cave Art,” from the Paris Review, via slate.com, John Jeremiah Sullivan makes an interesting observation. He and his colleague are lying on their backs in a Tennessee cave, looking up at a “panel” of images:

…And last a picture of a crown mace, a thing shaped like an elongated bishop in chess, meant to represent a symbolic weapon, possibly held by the chiefly elite during public rituals. It’s a ‘type artifact’ of the Mississippian sphere, meaning that, wherever you find it [in the U.S.], you have the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, or, as it used to be called (and still is by archaeologists when they think no one’s listening), the Southern Death Cult. In this case the object appeared to be morphing into a bird of prey.

See this post for more (mind-blowing) S.E.C.C. art. Also, see the post on Thunder Gods. There are some very interesting photos of cave art that accompany Mr. Sullivan’s’ article, especially this one.

The University of Arkansas offers a website with many good pictures of local rock art, including many pictures of maces, and also this rather amazing rock art picture:

Meanwhile, while researching “mace,” I wasn’t surprised to discover that (as with the ancient Thunderbird gods), the U.S. Air Force is using the name. The USAF used to have a surface-to-surface missile it named the Mace, and still has a tactical squadron of jet fighters called the Royal Maces.

'Hawk petroglyph with crown mace wings,' Devil Step Hollow Cave, Tennessee.

‘Hawk petroglyph with crown mace wings,’ Devil Step Hollow Cave, Tennessee.

Humans Were Created to Be Workers

It looks like Adam is the only one getting any work done. It looks like Adam is the only one getting any work done.

A recurring piece of information found in ancient creation stories is that humans were created to be workers. Although people commonly speak of freedom as mankind’s birthright, that’s not so if you believe the ancient texts — we were created to serve “God” or “the gods” as physical laborers.

Despite numerous images of Adam and Eve lolling about in the Garden of Eden, enjoying paradise, Bible scripture says otherwise. Adam’s (and presumably Eve’s) job was to take care of the garden:

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it [apply fertilizer to it] and to keep it.

Many events in Genesis have strong parallels with earlier Mesopotamian “myths.” For instance, the Biblical creation story has long been recognized as sharing numerous key similarities with the Babylonian creation story, the Enuma Elish (“When on High”), which itself is thought to be a version of earlier Sumerian texts, such as the Eridu Genesis, updated to feature the contemporary Babylonian pantheon.

In both the Mesopotamian accounts and in Genesis, one god makes the suggestion (in the Mesopotamian versions, to a divine council) that they make man in “our” (plural) own image.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….

The Akkadian text Epic of Atrahasis (an “exceedingly wise” king) re-tells the Enuma Elish story of the rebellion of the Minor Gods (the Igigi), who were working hard digging canals or mining gold, depending on the story, and the subsequent creation of humans by the Great Gods (the Anunnaki) so that humans could take over the work:

When the gods, like man, bore the work, carried the labor-basket—the labor-basket of the great gods—the work was heavy, much was the distress.

The seven great Anunnaki caused the Igigi to bear the work.

Forty more years they bore the labor night and day. They wearied, complained, grumbled in the workpits. “Let us confront the throne-bearer that he may remove from us our heavy labor….”

They set fire to their implements, to their spades [they set] fire, their labor-baskets into the flames they threw. They held them [as torches]; they went to the gate of the shrine of hero Enlil. It was night; at mid-watch the house was surrounded; the god did not know. It was night; at mid-watch the Ekur was surrounded; Enlil did not know.

When Enlil wakes up to find his house surrounded by irate minor gods, the Divine Council is called together to address the problem. Enki has a suggestion:

“While [Nintu the birth-goddess] is present, let the birth-goddess create the offspring, let man bear the labor-basket of the gods.”

They called the goddess and asked [her], the midwife of the gods, wise Mami: “you are the birthgoddess, creatress of man. Create lul[l]u-man, let him bear the yoke. Let him bear the yoke, the work of Enlil; let man carry the labor-basket of the gods.”

Nintu opened her mouth and said to the great gods, ‘It is not properly mine to do these things. He is the one who purifies all; let him give me the clay, and I will do (it).”

Did you notice that the mother of humankind is named “Mami”? Nearly every language on Earth uses a word for “Mommy” that sounds like the goddess name. And did you notice that the first humans are called “lulus” (supposedly means workers or bunnies or wanton or …? I’m still trying to find a reliable translation)?

For the fascinating and appalling details of how Mami and Enlil proceed to create lulus (involving the killing of a god and the use of his flesh and blood and the spit of all the gods), see Enki and the Creation of Humankind.

In most ancient religions, the people were considered slaves of the city’s god, and the priests, as intermediaries, controlled everyone’s lives. It seems clear if you look at the history and current state of the world that slavery is more our birthright than freedom. We’ve been the worker-slaves of those “above us” — whatever form they take — for millennia.

Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations

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Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Like Enoch, Noah also “walked with God”:

Genesis 6:9 … Noah is a righteous man; perfect he hath been among his generations; with God hath Noah walked habitually. —Young’s Literal Translation

So Noah built an ark according to the instructions Yahweh gave him. Rabbinical texts say that Noah kept preaching at his neighbors, which annoyed them, and that Yahweh had to post guards — lions and other wild animals — in order to protect them. Yahweh, or his angels, were reportedly the ones to provide the animals and food for the trip.

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind; two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

But apparently it was a little more complicated than just two of every living thing of all flesh:

Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

OR

Genesis 7:2 [O]f all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female;
3 also, of fowl of the heavens seven pairs, a male and a female, to keep alive seed on the face of all the earth…. —Young’s Literal Translation

“Cleanliness” of animals in the Bible determines whether they can be eaten or not. Presumably, Noah took more of the clean animals onto the Ark (seven pairs as opposed to two) to serve as food. Information re what was okay to eat is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Animals were clean if they had cloven (split) hooves and they did not chew their cud. Water-dwelling creatures who did not have fins and scales were unclean. “Every creeping thing that flieth” was unclean, and so on.

Finally Noah (who was 600 years old) and his sons and their wives and all their beasts went onto the boat, having been given a week’s warning by Yahweh as to when the rain would start, and “the LORD shut him in.”

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside.

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside. This painting from 1340, in Gurk Cathedral, Austria, reflects biblical descriptions of the ark, which make it sound more like a chest (from Latin arca) than a boat.

Genesis 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.

'World Destroyed by Water'

‘World Destroyed by Water’

It then rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and the Earth stayed flooded for another 150 days.

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Noah’s ark has a leak.

When Noah was able to send out a dove who first returned with an olive leaf and then didn’t come back at all, he knew there was dry land to be found. Noah “removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.”

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The Sumerian Noah Built an Ark

'The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land. In the British Museum.'

‘The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land. In the British Museum.’

In a great story that has survived the ages, Gilgamesh, a great King of Sumer, went looking for eternal life. He did not succeed, but he did bring back a tale from Utnapishtim (whose name means The Faraway) —himself a great king thousands of years before— about the deluge. Utnapishtim told how he had saved “the seed of all living things” in a boat he built after being forewarned by the god Ea, and how he and his wife had been made immortal in exchange for services rendered. Here are some excerpts from Tablet XI of the The Epic of Gilgamesh, “The Story of the Flood,” [older than Noah’s story], probably adapted from the ancient Epic of Atrahasis. Utanapishtim is speaking to Gilgamesh, having promised, “I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden, a secret of the gods I will tell you!”

You know the city Shurrupak, it stands on the banks of the Euphrates. That city grew old and the gods that were in it were old. There was Anu, lord of the firmament {earth}, their father, and warrior Enlil their counselor, Ninurta the helper, and Ennugi, watcher over canals; and with them also was Ea. In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamor. Enlil heard the clamor and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel {everyone talking at once}.” So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. Enlil did this, but Ea warned me in a dream. —N.K. Sandars, translating The Epic of Gilgamesh

Another translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh continues Utnapishtim’s telling of the Deluge:

[Ea was bound by oath to not tell humans about the impending deluge, so instead he told it to a wall through which Utanapishtim could hear him.]
‘Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall!
O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu:
Tear down the house and build a boat!
Abandon wealth and seek living beings!
Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings!
Make all living beings go up into the boat.
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Roof it over like the Apsu.
I understood and spoke to my lord, Ea:
‘My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered
I will heed and will do it.
But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders!’
Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant:
‘You, well then, this is what you must say to them:
“It appears that Enlil is rejecting me
so I cannot reside in your city (?),
nor set foot on Enlil’s earth.
I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea,
and upon you he will rain down abundance,
a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes.
He will bring to you a harvest of wealth,
in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!”‘
Just as dawn began to glow
the land assembled around me-
the carpenter carried his hatchet,
the reed worker carried his (flattening) stone,
… the men …
The child carried the pitch,
the weak brought whatever else was needed.
On the fifth day I laid out her exterior.
It was a field in area,
its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height,
the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times It cubits each.
I laid out its (interior) structure and drew a picture of it (?).
I provided it with six decks,
thus dividing it into seven (levels).
The inside of it I divided into nine (compartments).
I drove plugs (to keep out) water in its middle part.
I saw to the punting poles and laid in what was necessary.
Three times 3,600 (units) of raw bitumen I poured into the bitumen kiln,
three times 3,600 (units of) pitch …into it,
there were three times 3,600 porters of casks who carried (vegetable) oil,
apart from the 3,600 (units of) oil which they consumed (!)
and two times 3,600 (units of) oil which the boatman stored away.
I butchered oxen for the meat(!),
and day upon day I slaughtered sheep.
I gave the workmen(?) ale, beer, oil, and wine, as if it were river water,
so they could make a party like the New Year’s Festival.
… and I set my hand to the oiling(!).
The boat was finished by sunset.
The launching was very difficult.
They had to keep carrying a runway of poles front to back,
until two-thirds of it had gone into the water(?).
Whatever I had I loaded on it:
whatever silver I had I loaded on it,
whatever gold I had I loaded on it.
All the living beings that I had I loaded on it,
I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat,
all the beasts and animals of the field and the craftsmen I
had go up.
Shamash had set a stated time:
‘In the morning I will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!
Go inside the boat, seal the entry!’
That stated time had arrived.
In the morning he let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat.
I watched the appearance of the weather–
the weather was frightful to behold!
I went into the boat and sealed the entry.
For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman,
I gave the palace together with its contents.
Just as dawn began to glow
there arose from the horizon a black cloud.
Adad rumbled inside of it,
before him went Shullat and Hanish,
heralds going over mountain and land.
Erragal pulled out the mooring poles,
forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow.
The Anunnaki lifted up the torches,
setting the land ablaze with their flare.
Stunned shock over Adad’s deeds overtook the heavens,
and turned to blackness all that had been light.
The… land shattered like a… pot.
All day long the South Wind blew …,
blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
overwhelming the people like an attack.
No one could see his fellow,
they could not recognize each other in the torrent.
The gods were frightened by the Flood,
and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.
The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.
Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,
the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:
‘The olden days have alas turned to clay,
because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods!
How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,
ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!!
No sooner have I given birth to my dear people
than they fill the sea like so many fish!’
The gods–those of the Anunnaki–were weeping with her,
the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?),
their lips burning, parched with thirst.
Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.
When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war–struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor).
The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up.
I looked around all day long–quiet had set in
and all the human beings had turned to clay!
The terrain was as flat as a roof.
I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of my nose.
I fell to my knees and sat weeping,
tears streaming down the side of my nose.
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm,
Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
When a seventh day arrived
I sent forth a dove and released it.
The dove went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a swallow and released it.
The swallow went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a raven and released it.
The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back.
It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me.
Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed (a sheep).
I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat.
Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place,
and (into the fire) underneath (or: into their bowls) I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle.
The gods smelled the savor,
the gods smelled the sweet savor,
and collected like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice.
Just then Beletili arrived.
She lifted up the large flies (beads) which Anu had made for his enjoyment(!):
‘You gods, as surely as I shall not forget this lapis lazuli around my neck,
may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them!
The gods may come to the incense offering,
but Enlil may not come to the incense offering,
because without considering he brought about the Flood
and consigned my people to annihilation.’
Just then Enlil arrived.
He saw the boat and became furious,
he was filled with rage at the Igigi gods:
‘Where did a living being escape?
No man was to survive the annihilation!’
Ninurta spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:
‘Who else but Ea could devise such a thing?
It is Ea who knows every machination!’
La spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:
‘It is yours, O Valiant One, who is the Sage of the Gods.
How, how could you bring about a Flood without consideration
Charge the violation to the violator,
charge the offense to the offender,
but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off,
be patient lest they be killed.
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a lion had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a wolf had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that famine had occurred to slay the land!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that (Pestilent) Erra had appeared to ravage the land!
It was not I who revealed the secret of the Great Gods,
I (only) made a dream appear to Atrahasis [Utanapishtim], and (thus) he heard the secret of the gods.
Now then! The deliberation should be about him!’
Enlil went up inside the boat
and, grasping my hand, made me go up.
He had my wife go up and kneel by my side.
He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us:
‘Previously Utanapishtim was a human being.
But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods!
Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.’
They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers.

Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, discusses some of the many other “Noahs” around the world:

In other [Sumerian] tablets —some almost 5000 years old, others less than 3000 years old— the “Noah figure” of Utnapishtim is known variously as Zisudra, Xisuthros or Atrahasis. Even so, he is always instantly recognizable as the same patriarchal character, forewarned by the same merciful god, who rides out the same universal flood in the same storm-tossed ark and whose descendants repopulate the world….

According to Aztec mythology only two human beings survived [the deluge at the Destruction of the Fourth Sun]: Coxcoxtli and his wife Xochiquetzal, who had been forewarned of the cataclysm by a god. They escaped in a huge boat they had been instructed to build and came to ground on the peak of a tall mountain. There they descended and afterwards had many children who were dumb until the time when a dove on top of a tree gave them the gift of languages. These languages differed so much that the children could not understand one another.

[According to a] related Central American tradition, that of the Mechoacanesecs, …the god Tezcatilpoca determined to destroy all mankind with a flood, saving only a certain Tezpi who embarked in a spacious vessel with his wife, his children and large numbers of animals and birds, as well as supplies of grains and seeds, the preservation of which were essential to the future subsistence of the human race. The vessel came to rest on an exposed mountain top after Tezcatilpoca had decreed that the waters of the flood should retire. Wishing to find out whether it was now safe for him to disembark, Tezpi sent out a vulture which, feeding on the carcases with which the earth was now strewn, did not return. The man then sent out other birds, of which only the hummingbird came back, with a leafy branch in its beak. With this sign that the land had begun to renew itself, Tezpi and his family went forth from their ark, multiplied and repopulated the earth.

The Popol Vuh, an ancient sacred text of the Quiche Maya, also says there was a great flood “brought about by the Heart of Heaven” because humans did not “remember their Creator”:

[A] great flood was formed which fell on the heads of the wooden creatures…. A heavy resin fell from the sky … the face of the earth was darkened and a black rain began to fall by day and by night….

Fortunately, the Great Father and Great Mother survived to be fruitful and replenish the Earth.

Neptune, king of waters. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses Book I.

Neptune, king of waters. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book I.
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More than 500 ancient civilizations have deluge stories, including the Chibcas of central Colombia, Canarians of Ecuador, Tupinamba of Brazil, numerous Peruvian Indians, Araucnaians of Chile, Yamana and Pehuenche of Tierra del Fuego, Inuit of Alaska, Luiseno of California, Hurons, Montagnais (Algonquin), Iroquois, Chickawas, Sioux, Chinese, Chewong of Malaysia, Laotians, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Australian Aborigines, Japanese, Hawaiians, Samoans, Greeks (Zeus, Prometheus, Deucalion, Pyrrha), Vedic Indians, and Egyptians.[fn Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods] Graham Hancock says that in a study of 86 deluge legends “(20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr. Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.”

For a great look at Flood myths around the world, see mythencyclopedia.com.

Manabozho in the Flood.

Manabozho in the Flood.

The First Men Were Too Powerful

Popol Vuhsource

First page of a Popol Vuh manuscript.

According to Graham Hancock in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, the Mayans’ advanced learning came from “the First Men, the creatures of Quetzalcoatl”, namely “Balam-Quitze (Jaguar with the Sweet Smile), Balam-Acab (Jaguar of the Night), Mahucutah (The Distinguished Name), and Iqui-Balam (Jaguar of the Moon).” According to the Popol Vuh, the ancient Quiche Mayans’ sacred text:

[The First Men] were good people, handsome, with looks of the male kind. Thoughts came into existence and they gazed, their vision came all at once. Perfectly they saw, perfectly they knew every thing under the sky, whenever they looked. The moment they turned around and looked around in the sky, on the earth everything was seen without obstruction. They did not have to walk before they could see what was under the sky, they just stayed where they were. As they looked, their knowledge became intense. Their sight passed though trees, through rocks, through lakes, through seas, through mountains, through plants. Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar Night, Mahucutah, and True Jaguar were truly gifted people…. They understood everything perfectly, they sighted the four sides, the four corners in the sky, on the earth….

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'Becán, Campeche, Mexico: A bowl showing a jaguar with a human head in its mouth. Museum Campeche.'

According to the Popol Vuh, some of the gods did not like that The First Men were so powerful.

…[T]his did not sound good to the builder and sculptor:
“What our works and designs have said is no good: they understood too much
“We have understood everything great and small they said, they say,”
And so the Bearer, Begetter took back their knowledge….
[W]e will take them apart just a little. What we have
found is not good. Their deeds would become equal to ours, just their
knowledge reaches so far. They see everything,” so said
the Heart of Sky, Hurricane,
Newborn Thunderbolt, Raw Thunderbolt,
Sovereign Plumed Serpent,
Bearer Begetter,
Xpiyacoc, Xmucane,
Make, Modeler.

And when they changed the nature of the works, the designs it was enough that
they eyes be marred by the Heart of Sky. They were blinded as the face of a
mirror is breathed upon. Their eyes were weakened. Now it was only when they
looked nearby that things were clear.
And such was the loss of the means of understanding, along with the means of
knowing everything such was making, modeling of our first grandfather, our
father, by the Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth.

Hancock finds parallels between the story of The First Men and the Fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden:

Both the Popol Vuh and Genesis … tell the story of mankind’s fall from grace. In both cases, this state of grace was closely associated with knowledge, and the reader is left in no doubt that the knowledge in question was so remarkable that it conferred godlike powers on those who possessed it. The Bible … calls it “the knowledge of good and evil” and has nothing further to add. The Popol Vuh is much more informative. It tells us that the knowledge of the First Men consisted of the ability to see “things hidden in the distance”, that they were astronomers who “examined the four corners, the four points of the arch of the sky”, and that they were geographers who succeeded in measuring “the round face of the earth.”

The Mayan Calendar and Venus

maya glyphs for monthssource

These are calendar glyphs for the 19 months of the Mayan year, or, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_calendar, 'eighteen months of twenty days each plus a period of five days ('nameless days') at the end of the year known as Wayeb'.... The five days of Wayeb', were thought to be a dangerous time. Foster (2002) writes, 'During Wayeb, portals between the mortal realm and the Underworld dissolved. No boundaries prevented the ill-intending deities from causing disasters.' To ward off these evil spirits, the Maya had customs and rituals they practiced during Wayeb'. For example, people avoided leaving their houses and washing or combing their hair.' For an excellent look at the Mayan calendar, from the Maya World Studies Center in Yucatan, Mexico, click the 'source' link above.

The fact that the Mayan calendar failed the End of the World Test — the Fifth Sun didn’t end on December 21, 2012, as so many expected — doesn’t mean there’s not something going on there, and perhaps something catastrophic. But considering how wound up the calendar is with the movements of the planet Venus, as we will see, it seems at least possible that the calamity should be expected to involve that planet, as well as perhaps our own.

Mayans say they got their impressive astronomical and calendrical knowledge from The First People, who had vast knowledge and astonishing abilities, which the gods later took away. Archaeologists say the Maya got their famous calendar from the Olmecs, who used it unknown thousands of years earlier (Mayan civilization reached its height from circa 250–900 CE), but no one can say where the Olmecs got it.

The Maya knew how long it takes the moon to orbit the Earth — 29.528395 days, compared to the slightly more exact figure we know today, 29.530588. Mayan priests had tables they could use to predict solar and lunar eclipses, and they had some understanding of the celestial mechanics involved. They were also excellent mathematicians, with knowledge of the advanced concepts of zero and place numerals.

The Mayan calendar shows the solar year to be 365.2420 days; the Gregorian calendar we use today, instituted in 1582, uses 365.2425 days. We know nowadays that the actual figure is 365.2422. The Gregorian calendar is off by 0.0003 days, but the Mayans are off by only 0.0002 days.

Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, describes another piece of advanced knowledge the Mayans incorporated into their calendar:

The “synodical revolution” of a planet is the period of time it takes to return to any given point in the sky —as viewed from earth. Venus revolves around the sun every 224.7 days, while the earth follows its own slightly wider orbit. The composite result of these two motions is that Venus rises in exactly the same place in the earth’s sky approximately every 584 days. Whoever invented the sophisticated calendrical system inherited by the Maya had been aware of this and had found ingenious ways to integrate it with other interlocking cycles. Moreover, it is clear from the mathematics which brought these cycles together that the ancient calendar masters had understood that 584 days was only an approximation and that the movements of Venus are by no means regular. They had therefore worked out the exact figure established by today’s science for the average synodical revolution of Venus over very long periods of time. That figure is 583.92 days and it was knitted into the fabric of the Mayan calendar in numerous intricate and complex ways. For example, to reconcile it with the so-called “sacred year” (the tzolkin of 260 days, which was divided into 13 months of 20 days each) the calendar called for a correction of four days to be made every 61 Venus years. In addition, during every fifth cycle, a correction of eight days was made at the end of the 57th revolution. Once these steps were taken, the tzolkin and the synodical revolution of Venus were intermeshed so tightly that the degree of error to which the equation was subject was staggeringly small —one day in 6000 years. And what made this all the more remarkable was that a further series of precisely calculated adjustments kept the Venus cycle and the tzolkin not only in harmony with each other but in exact relationship with the solar year. Again this was achieved in a manner which ensured that the calendar was capable of doing its job, virtually error-free, over vast expanses of time.

Why did the “semi-civilized” Maya need this kind of high-tech precision? Or did they inherit, in good working order, a calendar engineered to fit the needs of a much earlier and far more advanced civilization?

Stelae have been found in Guatemala that refer to dates 90 to 300 million years ago. According to Hancock, “[T]he ancient Maya had a far more accurate understanding of the true immensity of geological time, and of the vast antiquity of our planet, than did anyone in Britain, Europe or North America until Darwin propounded the theory of evolution.”

But the Maya did not seem to really understand much of the information passed down to them. As J. Eric S Thompson, says in his book, The Rise and Fall of Maya Civilization:

What mental quirks led the Maya intelligentsia to chart the heavens, yet fail to grasp the principle of the wheel; to visualize eternity, as no other semi-civilized people has ever done, yet ignore the short step from corbelled to true arch; to count in millions, yet never to learn to weigh a sack of corn?

Hancock asks:

[D]id [the Maya] inherit the calendrical and mathematical tools which faciliated, and enabled them to develop, this sophisticated understanding? If an inheritance is involved, it is legitimate to ask what the original inventors of the Mayan calendar’s computerlike circuitry had intended it to do…. We have seen that the obsessive concern of Mayan society, and indeed of all the ancient cultures of Central America, was with calculating —and if possible postponing— the end of the world. Could this be the purpose the mysterious calendar was designed to fulfill? Could it have been a mechanism for predicting some terrible cosmic or geological catastrophe?

The overwhelming message of a large number of Central American legends is that the Fourth Age of the world ended very badly. A catastrophic deluge was followed by a long period during which the light of the sun vanished from the sky and the air was filled with a tenebrous darkness.

After the destruction of the Fourth Sun, the gods gathered together at Teotihuacan (the Place of the Gods) to bring forth the Fifth Sun, at which time Quetzalcoatl came to Earth to help the remnants of humankind acquire skills and knowledge to make their lives better.

So, after every cataclysm, comes an eventual rebirth.

Teotihuacán, “the Place Where Men Became Gods”

The Avenue of The Dead, with the Pyramid of the Sun in the distance, viewed from the top of Pyramid of The Moon.

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The Avenue of The Dead, with the Pyramid of the Sun in the distance, viewed from the top of Pyramid of The Moon.

According to Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, Central American legends collected in the sixteenth century by Father Bernardino de Sahagun say that Teotihuacán is known as the “City of the Gods” because “the Lords therein buried, after their deaths, did not perish but turned into gods….” (Note that ascension to “heaven” can be seen as becoming a god or a star.) Hancock writes:

[Teotihuacán] was “the place where men became gods”. It was also known as “the place of those who had the road of the gods”, and “the place where gods were made”.

Was it a coincidence, I wondered, that this seemed to have been the religious purpose of the three pyramids at Giza? The archaic hieroglyphs of the Pyramid Texts, the oldest coherent body of writing in the world, left little room for doubt that the ultimate objective of the rituals carried out within those colossal structures was to bring about the deceased pharaoh’s transfiguration — to “throw open the doors of the firmament and to make a road” so that he might “ascend into the company of the gods”….

There was widespread agreement among academics concerning the antiquity of the Giza pyramids, thought to be about 4500 years old. No such unanimity existed with regard to Teotihuacán…. Amid all this uncertainty about the age of Teotihuacán, I had not been surprised to discover that no one had the faintest idea of the identity of those who had actually built the largest and most remarkable metropolis ever to have existed in the pre-Colombian New World. All that could be said for sure was this: when the Aztecs, on their march to imperial power, first stumbled upon the mysterious city in the twelfth century AD, its colossal edifices and avenues were already old beyond imagining and so densely overgrown that they seemed more like natural features than works of man. Attached to them, however, was a thread of local legend, passed down from generation to generation, which asserted that they had been built by giants and that their purpose had been to transform men into gods.

Hancock also has some interesting thoughts on the mica found at Teotihuacán in the Pyramid of the Sun and in the Mica Temple. When the Pyramid of the Sun was being readied for “restoration” in 1906, the contractor, Leopoldo Bartres, immediately sold the valuable mica.

Speaking of the Mica Temple, Hancock says:

Directly under a floor paved with heavy rock slabs, archaeologists financed by the Viking Foundation excavated two massive sheets of mica which had been carefully and purposively installed at some extremely remote date by a people who must have been skilled in cutting and handling this material. The sheets are ninety feet square and form two layers, one laid directly on top of the other.

Mica is not a uniform substance but contains trace elements of different metals depending on the kind of rock formation in which it is found. Typically these metals include potassium and aluminium and also, in varying quantities, ferrous and ferric iron, magnesium, lithium, manganese and titanium. The trace elements in Teotihuacán’s Mica Temple indicate that the underfloor sheets belong to a type which occurs only in Brazil, some 2000 miles away. Clearly, therefore, the builders of the Temple must have had a specific need for this particular kind of mica and were prepared to go to considerable lengths to obtain it, otherwise they could have used the locally available variety more cheaply and simply….

Let us note in passing that mica possesses characteristics which suit it especially well for a range of technological applications. In modern industry, it is used in the construction of capacitors and is valued as a thermal and electric insulator. It is also opaque to fast neutrons and can act as a moderator in nuclear reactions.

The ruins of the temple at Abu Gurab in Egypt also contained huge sheets of mica. Some theorists believe these pyramids were facilities for refining gold, or making “gold juice”.

Art of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex

Here are some examples of artwork from ancient Native North Americans who lived primarily in what is now the Southeastern United States.

Chromesun_mississippian_birdman
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'A digital illustration by the artist Herb Roe, based on a S.E.C.C. design whelk shell engraving from Spiro, Oklahoma.'

A carving in shell.source

A carving in shell.

Prehistoric designs carved on shell, from southeastern USA.source

Prehistoric designs carved on shell, from southeastern USA.

sun-circles-19asource

Prehistoric symbols (sun circles), Middle Mississippi Valley, southeastern USA.

sun-circles-5csource

Shell gorget (throat-protecting armor, or ornamental throat ornament), from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma.

sun-circles-5bsource

Shell gorget (throat-protecting armor, or ornamental throat ornament), from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma.

Shell gorget (throat-protecting armor, or ornamental throat ornament), from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma.

Shell gorget (throat-protecting armor, or ornamental throat ornament), from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma.
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The Aztec Suns

Page 14 of the Aztec Codex Borgia, from the 1989 facsimile edition. As in so much Aztec art, the question that leaps to mind is, 'What is going on here?' Click  for a bigger look.

Page 14 of the Aztec Codex Borgia, from the 1989 facsimile edition. As in so much Aztec art, the question that leaps to mind is, 'What is going on here?' Click for a bigger look.
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The Aztecs believed that there had been four great cycles, or “Suns”, since the beginning of humankind, and that we are now in the Fifth Sun, the “Sun of Movement”, due to end soon with movement of the Earth that will kill almost everyone. Unfortunately, although the Aztecs knew that the Fifth Sun was already very old, having begun in the fourth millennium BCE, they had forgotten how to calculate exactly when the Fifth Sun will end. They thus conducted massive amounts of human sacrifices in hopes of postponing the end of the Fifth Sun. Since it continued to work for them, they came to believe that they were carrying out a divine mission to keep the Fifth Sun alive, which necessitated lots of war-waging so as to have plenty of humans to sacrifice.

Unlike the Aztecs, however, some of the earlier peoples had calculated exactly when a great movement of the earth could be expected to bring the Fifth Sun to an end…. [T]he Mayas, justifiably regarded as the greatest ancient civilization to have arisen in the New World, left behind a wealth of calendrical records. Expressed in terms of the modern dating system, these enigmatic inscriptions convey a rather curious message: the Fifth Sun, it seems, is going to come to an end on 23 December, AD 2012. —Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

Or maybe not. At any rate, in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock quotes from “a rare collection of Aztec documents known as the Vaticano-Latin Codex:

First Sun, Matlactli Atl: duration 4008 years. Those who lived then ate water maize called atzitzintli. In this age lived the giants…. The First Sun was destroyed by water in the sign Matlactli Atl (Ten Water). It was called Apachiohualiztli (flood, deluge), the art of sorcery of the permanent rain. Men were turned into fish. Some say that only one couple escaped, protected by an old tree living near the water. Others say that there were seven couples who hid in a cave until the flood was over and the waters had gone down. They repopulated the earth and were worshipped as gods in their nations….

Second Sun, Ehecoatl: duration 4010 years. Those who lived then ate wild fruit known as acotzintli. This Sun was destroyed by Ehecoatl (Wind Serpent) and men were turned into monkeys…. One man and one woman, standing on a rock, were saved from destruction….

Third Sun, Tleyquiyahuillo: duration 4081 years. Men, the descendants of the couple who were saved from the Second Sun, ate a fruit called tzincoacoc. This Third Sun was destroyed by fire….

Fourth Sun, Tzontlilic: duration 5026 years…. Men died of starvation after a deluge of blood and fire….

An alternative description of the Four Suns is from the Sun Stone of Axayacatl, weighing 24.5 tons and dating from 1479 CE. It says that during the First Sun “lived the giants that had been created by the gods but were finally attacked and devoured by jaguars.” At the end of the Second Sun, “the human race was destroyed by high winds and hurricanes and men were converted into monkeys.” In the Third Sun, “everything was destroyed by a rain of fire from the sky and the forming of lava. All the houses were burnt. Men were converted into birds to survive the catastrophe.” At the end of the Fourth Sun, “destruction came in the form of torrential rains and floods. The mountains disappeared and men were transformed into fish.” At the end of the Fifth Sun, allegedly coming right up, “There will be a movement of the earth and from this we shall all perish.”

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_religion:

Aztec religion is the Mesoamerican religion practiced by the Aztec empire. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it had elements of human sacrifice in connection with a large number of religious festivals which were held according to patterns of the Aztec calendar. It had a large and ever increasing pantheon; the Aztecs would often adopt deities of other geographic regions or peoples into their own religious practice. Aztec cosmology divided the world into upper and nether worlds, each associated with a specific set of deities and astronomical objects. Important in Aztec religion were the sun, moon and the planet Venus—all of which held different symbolic and religious meanings and were connected to deities and geographical places.

Large parts of the Aztec pantheon were inherited from previous Mesoamerican civilizations and others, such as Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, were venerated by different names in most cultures throughout the history of Mesoamerica. For the Aztecs especially important deities were Tlaloc the god of rain, Huitzilopochtli the patron god of the Mexica tribe, Quetzalcoatl the culture hero and god of civilization and order, and Tezcatlipoca the god of destiny and fortune, connected with war and sorcery. Each of these gods had their own temples within the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan–Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli were both worshipped at the Templo Mayor. A common Aztec religious practice was the recreation of the divine: Mythological events would be ritually recreated and living persons would impersonate specific deities and be revered as a god—and often ritually sacrificed.

Page 10 of the Aztec Codex Borgia, from the 1989 facsimile edition.

Page 10 of the Aztec Codex Borgia, from the 1989 facsimile edition.
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Page 17 of the Codex Borgia.

Page 17 of the Codex Borgia.
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Aztec ritual human sacrifice, page 141, Codex Magliabechiano.

Aztec ritual human sacrifice, page 141, Codex Magliabechiano.
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Aztec Gods from the Digital Edition of the Florentine Codex created by Gary Francisco Keller.  Complete digital facsimile edition on 16 DVDs. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Press, 2008.

Aztec Gods from the Digital Edition of the Florentine Codex created by Gary Francisco Keller. Complete digital facsimile edition on 16 DVDs. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Press, 2008.
Aztec Gods from the Digital Edition of the Florentine Codex created by Gary Francisco Keller. Complete digital facsimile edition on 16 DVDs. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Press, 2008.

Aztec statue of the goddess Chicomecoatl, 1300-1521 CE.

Aztec statue of the goddess Chicomecoatl, 1300-1521 CE.
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