Saturday, October 22, 2016

The bad judgment of King Midas, and what it teaches us

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

King Midas is a well-known figure from ancient Greek mythology famed for his bad judgment.

He is most remembered for his request, when granted one wish by the god Dionysus, that everything he touched would turn to gold -- a request which, when granted, made him so giddy with happiness that he could hardly believe what he thought to be his good fortune. As everyone knows, however, he soon came to regret that awful request.

There is another episode from ancient myth in which Midas again displays his bad judgment, this time when he was asked to judge a competition of musical skill between Apollo -- the very god of music who is referred to in some ancient texts as Apollo Musagetes, a title which signifies "leader of the Muses" (see for instance Diodorus Siculus Book I and chapter 18, fifth sentence, which you can read online here) -- and a satyr (in some accounts a satyr named Marsyas, and in others the god Pan himself). 

Apollo of course played upon a lyre, and the satyr upon the pan-pipes, and in some accounts Midas, the King of Phrygia, was appointed to be the judge of the contest, while in other accounts it was the mountain of Timolus itself (or the god of that mountain) which was to be the judge. In those accounts, Timolus wisely judged that Apollo was the winner, but Midas loudly disagreed with him and indicated that the satyr was the more skilled, while in the accounts in which Midas alone was the judge, he also unwisely selected the satyr as the winner of the contest -- and as a punishment, Apollo gave Midas the ears of an ass, saying that the dull judgement of Midas and his lack of discernment in hearing should from then onwards be visible for all to see. 

Both of these episodes have clear celestial foundations, and add to the overwhelming body of evidence which supports the conclusion that virtually all the world's ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories are built upon a system of celestial metaphor, in order to impart deep knowledge about the simultaneously "material-spiritual" universe in which we find ourselves, as well as our own inherently dual material-spiritual nature as men and women. 

In fact, not only do I believe that overwhelming evidence points to the fact that virtually all the world's ancient myths are built upon celestial metaphor involving the constellations and heavenly cycles, but I also believe the evidence indicates that they are all built upon the same system of celestial metaphor -- a common, worldwide system which appears to indicate that they all somehow share the same common source. 

This common system unites the ancient myths and sacred stories of all the varied cultures from around the world and across the millennia -- and should in fact be seen as uniting us all as men and women sharing an incredible common inheritance of tremendous value.

In fact, in both of the above episodes involving King Midas and his terrible judgment, we can see very clear echoes to two other well known "judgment myths" or sacred stories involving very much the same theme: the famous "Judgment of Paris," which ultimately leads to the Trojan War, and the equally-famous "Judgment of Solomon," in which -- unlike both Midas and Paris -- King Solomon displays right judgment when presented with a very similar choice.

In the Judgment of Solomon episode, the most famous aspect of the story involves two mothers and two babies, one of them alive and one of them dead, and Solomon's wisdom in solving the dilemma with which he is faced, in which each of the mothers claim that the living child belongs to her. However, as this previous post discusses in more detail, the famous scene with the two mothers as told in the text of I Kings chapter 3 actually follows immediately from a previous episode in the same chapter, found immediately preceding the two mothers scene, in which Solomon in a dream is visited by the Most High, who asks Solomon what he would like to be given.

This offer very much parallels the offer made to Midas in the myths of ancient Greece, in which Dionysus also offers to grant one request to Midas. Midas unwisely asks for unlimited riches -- specifically, the power to turn everything he touches into pure gold. In contrast, Solomon asks for a wise and understanding heart, so that he can be a better ruler on behalf of the people -- and the text tells us that this request pleases the Lord, who says:
Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life [literally: "many days"]; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
Behold, I have done according to thy words [. . .]
And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. (I Kings 3: 11 - 13).
Note that Solomon's request for wisdom and discerning judgment is contrasted with other possible choices, including riches, honor, long life, or power over his enemies. Clearly, this story has points of resonance with with the story of Midas, who unwisely asked the divine Dionysus for the equivalent of riches -- with disastrous results.

In similar manner, in the episode from Greek myth known as the Judgment of Paris, the youth of the same name (Paris, a prince of Troy) is presented with a contest of beauty among three goddesses, each of whom offers him a reward if he will select her. The rewards offered to Paris by the three goddesses include rulership and power (offered by Hera), heroism and fame (offered by Athena), and the most beautiful woman in the world to be his bride (offered by Aphrodite). 

As we know, Paris selected Aphrodite and in doing so launched the Trojan War, because the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen, was already married to a king of the Achaeans, and all the other Achaean kings and heroes had previously promised to defend whichever among them would be so fortunate as to have won the right to marry Helen.

This disastrous decision by Paris again has clear echoes with the judgment offered to Solomon -- who decided not to request riches or honor, but rather asked for wisdom, and who was told that because of this choice, he would also be given those things for which he did not ask, such as riches and honor.

The episode in the Midas story which perhaps resembles the Judgment of Paris even more closely is the  episode in which Midas must judge the musical contest between Apollo and either the satyr Marsyas or the god Pan -- because in both of those myths, there is an actual contest involved. Midas, clearly an exemplar of bad judgment, fails to recognize the god Apollo as the winner -- the very deity from whom all skill and talent in music proceeds in the first place. Thus, Midas inverts the proper order of things, disrespecting the divine source, and is punished by being given the ears of an animal (in this case, the long hairy ears of an ass or donkey).

Interestingly enough, this punishment brings to mind a masterpiece of esoteric fiction written by the later Roman author Apuleius (who appears to have been an initiate into the Mysteries of Isis, as well as perhaps other mystery schools). That story was originally called the Metamorphoses (not to be confused with the more famous work of the same title by Ovid), but the Metamorphoses of Apuleius is more commonly known as The Golden Tale of the Ass, or simply The Golden Ass. In that story, the narrator (Lucius) is himself transformed into an ass, and undergoes a series of outrageous adventures before he is restored to his original form by the goddess Isis herself.

Not only is the condition of Lucius when transformed into an ass reminiscent of the fate of Midas who is given long ass-ears for his lack of judgment, but the restoration of Lucius comes not long after a climactic episode in which Lucius witnesses a re-enactment in a Roman arena of the mythical episode of the Judgment of Paris itself! Thus, it would appear that the theme of "judging or discerning rightly or wrongly" is very much central to the tale of Lucius in The Golden Ass -- and that Apuleius himself understood the important thematic connection between the Judgment of Midas (in which King Midas ends up receiving donkey-ears, just as Lucius in the story is turned into a donkey) and the Judgment of Paris (the very episode Lucius sees enacted just before his own restoration, and an episode in which Paris brought "damnation upon mankind" by his desire to possess another man's wife, in the words of Apuleius -- an interesting way of viewing the story of the Judgment of Paris).

The fact that Paris in that beauty contest selects the winner by giving her an apple is extremely interesting -- especially because the mystery initiate Apuleius says that the disastrous choice of Paris brought "damnation upon mankind." We can all probably think of another ancient episode involving an apple (or other unspecified fruit) which was said to have brought damnation upon mankind as well. 

I believe that all these ancient mythological episodes can be shown to be built upon celestial metaphor -- and therefore to be esoteric in nature, designed to impart knowledge to us about our own inner connection to the infinite realm: our own spiritual nature, even encased as we are in a material (animal) body of flesh during this life. 

The story of King Midas can be shown to relate to very specific constellations in our night sky (and constellations which are in fact visible at this very time of year, during the end of the month of October).

In the story of the disastrous request for the gift of the golden touch, several ancient sources tell us that Midas was at first overjoyed at the granting of his request, but soon realized to his horror that he could neither eat nor drink anything without it also turning to gold (a situation which would soon end in his own death as well).

In some versions of the story, the king's own daughter runs up to embrace her father and is herself transformed into solid gold. This particular aspect of the story does not seem to be present in many of the most ancient accounts, but it is perhaps the most well-known part of the King Midas story today.

In almost every ancient version of the myth, Midas prays to heaven (in some versions to Dionysus, who had originally granted Midas one request, and in other versions to Apollo) to have the curse of the golden touch taken away from him, and is told to go immerse himself at the source of the river Pactolus (which is found at the aforementioned Mount Timolus). In some versions of the story, Midas is to immerse his head three times in the river at its source. Thereupon, all the things which had been turned to gold by Midas after his terrible choice were restored to their original condition -- and the river Pactolus from then on had golden sands which often yielded up gold flakes or gold nuggets.

For a variety of reasons, I believe it is almost certain that this story of King Midas is founded upon the constellation Perseus, who is presently rising above the eastern horizon in the hours after midnight. Perseus is a constellation who is located near the very "top" of the Milky Way band as it arches across the sky, on the far side of the galactic trail from the brightest and widest part found between Sagittarius and Scorpio (the galactic core). Thus, it can be envisioned as the "upper reaches" of the galactic river -- allegorized in the myth as the upper source of the river Pactolus. 

There, Perseus can be clearly seen to be immersing himself in the river -- or even dunking his head in it! Here is a star chart with the constellation Perseus outlined in yellow, presented first unlabeled and then below it labeled:

Can you see the brilliant arc of the Milky Way band? In real life, if you go outside into the night sky, you will see this arc going over your head, beginning at the western horizon (on the right side of the image above) and crossing the center of the sky towards the east where you will see Perseus (on the left side of the image above). This image is from the perspective of a viewer in the northern hemisphere, looking towards the south.

Below is the exact same image, but this time the figure of Perseus (playing the role of King Midas) is outlined and labeled, rising out of the east. Now we can see why the myth tells us that he went to the source of the river Pactolus, and there he immersed his head (or his entire body, depending on the ancient account):

The most dramatic part of the episode of Midas and his golden touch, of course, comes when his daughter runs to him and is herself turned to gold, to the king's horror. This aspect of the myth is almost certainly inspired by the outstretched arm of Perseus on the western side of the constellation (the right side as we face the image above). That part of the constellation reaches out towards and almost touches the constellation Andromeda, representing a beautiful maiden in many myths:

Can you see how the story of Midas touching his daughter can be clearly seen in the above constellations? We can be very thankful that the god allowed Midas to change his mind and restore all that he had previously turned to gold, by immersing himself in the river!

I believe that the very same constellations that form the basis for the disastrous golden touch episode also play the main parts in the episode of the Judgment of Midas between the music of the god Apollo and either the satyr Marsyas or the god Pan.

Now, instead of playing the beautiful daughter of the king, the constellation Andromeda actually plays the role of the satyr, with arching tail and pan-pipes. Can you look at the image above and see which parts of the constellation play the role of the tail of the satyr, and the pan-pipes?

My interpretation of the story is seen in the star-chart below:

It is notable that the contest takes place in the vicinity of Mount Timolus (or Tmolus), which is also the source of the river Pactolus -- indicating that we are still in the same place in the sky (because Midas went to Pactolus' source at Timolus to dunk his head in the stream).

Look at some of the classical paintings from later centuries shown below, where we can see that the posture and attitude of Midas is very reminiscent of the constellation Perseus with its outstretched arm (sometimes envisioned as a sword or a wand):

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the above image, Midas can be easily identified by his pointed ass-ears. He is reaching towards Pan with his wand to indicate that he believes Pan to be the winner of the contest rather than the god Apollo. Apollo can be seen playing a viola instead of his usual ancient Lyre in this painting (from the early 1600s).

Below is another example, from the late 1800s:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note in the above image that the pan-pipes are held aloft, in a manner very reminiscent of the way the constellation Andromeda holds up the part of the constellation that I believe can be identified as the pan-pipes in the constellation (when playing the role of the satyr Marsyas or the god Pan). Note also that Apollo in this painting exhibits the characteristic of "walking away while looking back" -- a very distinctive feature of the constellation Sagittarius found in countless ancient myths from around the world. I believe for a great number of reasons that Sagittarius frequently plays the role of the god Apollo -- and I discuss these reasons in detail in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (which focuses almost entirely on the myths of ancient Greece).

For those still not fully convinced that the constellation Andromeda, usually envisioned in myth as a beautiful maiden, can also play the role of a satyr (as the constellation does in this episode of the Judgment of Midas), please observe the characteristic "arching tail" of the satyr in the ancient Greek artwork below, which corresponds very well to the "upper leg" of the constellation Andromeda (which is labeled as "tail" in the star-chart above):

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Recall also that in the story of King Midas, after his poor judgment in the music contest involving the god of music himself, the hapless king receives ass's ears as a punishment and a sign of his brutish lack of discernment. In almost every ancient version of the story, the detail is included that the king usually tried to hide his deformity beneath a tall cap -- known specifically as a "Phrygian cap" (King Midas, after all, was the King of Phrygia).

Note that the constellation of Perseus, as outlined in the star-charts above and as labeled in the chart below, does indeed feature a tall, peaked cap! This is only evident if you follow the inspired outlines suggested by H. A. Rey and discussed in this previous post (among other posts and also my published books as well).

This celestial detail should pretty much cement the identification of Midas King of Phrygia with the constellation Perseus in these mythical episodes.

Below is an image of a classic Phrygian cap, for those not familiar with them. Note that in many cases, the cap has "ear flaps" which can perhaps be envisioned in the constellation outline as seen above.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Significantly, the above figure from an ancient temple is thought to represent Paris -- the very character responsible for the disastrous judgment that led to the Trojan War! The ear-flaps on his Phrygian cap appear to be "tied up" so that they will not hang down, in this particular case.

And, if all of the above discussion does not thoroughly establish that Midas in these myths is associated with Perseus the constellation, there is also the fact that Perseus is almost directly above the constellation Taurus in the sky -- and that the long horns of the constellation Taurus could sometimes in ancient myth be envisioned as the long ears of an ass instead of the long ears of a bull. For this reason Perseus-characters in many myths are described as riding upon an ass or donkey -- as Balaam is described as doing in another Old Testament story, this time from the book of Judges (see extended discussion here, containing star-charts showing the horns of Taurus immediately below Perseus). 

This connection adds still more weight to the mountain of evidence we have already discovered linking Midas to Perseus, and linking the Midas episodes described above to the region of the sky surrounding Perseus.

This discussion should help to firmly establish the argument that the world's myths are all in fact closely related, and built upon a common system of celestial metaphor. The purpose of this ancient system is, I am convinced, to impart to our deep understanding the true nature of the simultaneously material and spiritual universe in which we find ourselves, and the simultaneously material and spiritual nature of the human condition. 

In the Midas story, we see powerful illustrations of the teaching that we are not advised to contact the invisible realm for the purpose of acquiring wealth or riches. Midas is given a wish by the god Dionysus, and can ask for anything he chooses -- and Midas chooses unwisely.

In contrast, Solomon is approached by the Lord in a dream and similarly offered anything Solomon wishes to request -- and Solomon does not ask for riches, or for harm to his enemies, or long life. I believe that one way to interpret this story is that we are strongly advised not to use our contact with the invisible or the divine realm in order to try to obtain riches for ourselves, or power over others.

Instead, Solomon asks for wisdom in order to help others: this request is in fact a proper request to make of the divine and the infinite.

Midas with his animal ears is a picture of our own condition in this world, entangled with an "animal nature" and prone to becoming seduced by that which is material and that which is lower -- instead of seeking that which is spiritual, which is in fact the true source and fount of everything which we see manifested in the material realm. The mistaken judgment of Midas in the contest with Apollo is a dramatic example of this failure to acknowledge the true divine source from which everything flows and has its fount (in this case, Apollo is the divine source of music, but Midas fails to acknowledge this truth).

Failing to acknowledge and properly value the infinite realm, the spirit world -- or trying to use it for personal gain or for destroying one's opponents -- leads to objectification of oneself and others, turning us and them into objects, as Midas ends up doing to his own daughter after his disastrous wish for gold.

The ancient myths provide us with powerful teaching to help us to overcome the "Midas condition" and elevate our spiritual awareness, and to put us in touch with the true divine source which we should acknowledge and recognize and revere and uplift.

I am convinced that our ability to hear their powerful message is greatly enhanced when we begin to understand the celestial language that they are speaking.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Evidence in the World's Myths for a Lost Ancient Civilization

Here is a new video I just published entitled "Evidence in the World's Myths for a Lost Ancient Civilization," posted on October 13, 2016.

It discusses the indisputable evidence in archaeology for an advanced ancient civilization existing over 12,000 years ago -- even though the guardians of the conventional historical paradigm continue to have difficulty admitting it (or changing their dating for ancient colossal monuments such as the Great Sphinx at Giza).

The video also discusses the evidence arguing for an advanced ancient civilization, prior to ancient Egypt and Sumer, which is found in the Star Myths of the world -- and the common system of celestial metaphor to which both ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia can be shown to have been heirs, along with virtually all the other known cultures on our planet.

For some additional posts on this and related topics, please see:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Geology, mythology, cataclysms, and the world's ancient wisdom

Photo from 1859 showing Sphinx buried in the sand, with only the head protruding, Wikimedia commons (link).

In the late 1970s, the pioneering researcher, author, lecturer, guide and "rogue Egyptologist" John Anthony West published Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. There, he set forth a revolutionary proclamation: overwhelming evidence points to the conclusion that "Egypt did not 'develop' her civilization, but inherited it."

In the final chapter of that book, he set forth evidence that the weathering on the Sphinx indicates a date of original construction far older than the conventional dating for its construction or conception between 2500 BC and 2600 BC (conventional history dates the construction of the Sphinx to the reign of Khafra aka Chepren, c. 2570 BC). 

John Anthony West attributes the germ of this revolutionary idea to a comment included in a book published in the early 1960s in France (and not yet published in English when Serpent in the Sky was first written) by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, entitled Sacred Science: the King of Pharaonic Theocracy (published in France in 1961 as Le Roi de la theocratie Pharaonique, first published in English in 1982). 

There, on page 96, Schwaller writes:
A great civilization must have preceded the vast movements of water that passed over Egypt, which leads us to assume that the Sphinx already existed, sculptured in the rock of the west cliff at Gizeh, that Sphinx whose leonine body, except for the head, shows indisputable signs of aquatic erosion.
At this point, Schwaller includes a footnote, where he continues:
It is maintained that this erosion was wrought by desert sands, but the entire body of the Sphinx is protected from all desert winds coming from the West, the only winds that could effect erosion. Only the head protrudes from this hollow, and it shows no signs of erosion. [footnote 28 on page 96].
Schwaller then goes on to cite some ancient sources saying that the Sphinx was actually buried in the sand even in ancient times, and that pharaohs (specifically Thothmes IV, an 18th dynasty king who reigned until his death which may have been in 1391 BC, and who is thought to have been the father of Amenhotep III, the father of Akhenaten, thus making Thothmes or Thutmose IV the grandfather of Akhenaten) were visited in dreams and advised to clear away this sand buildup, a task that Schwaller suggests probably took place more than once over the centuries during dynastic Egypt.

All of this, John West perceived, meant that the Sphinx must be much older than 2500 or 2600 BC (to have sustained such weathering, despite spending long centuries buried up to the neck in sand -- and, what is more, to have sustained weathering that strongly suggests water erosion rather than wind erosion). 

John Anthony West's realization of the significance of this remark by Schwaller de Lubicz was absolutely essential to the research which was to follow, regarding the evidence pointing to the existence of advanced ancient civilizations centuries or even millennia before dynastic Egypt.

Equally significant was the move that John West made next, after publishing the first edition of Serpent in the Sky: he contacted a friend who was an English professor at Boston University, to see if that professor knew any geology professors who might be interested in looking at the evidence in order to help corroborate this revolutionary hypothesis. 

Fortunately for those who value the quest to uncover the true story of our planet's past and humanity's ancient history, that English professor decided put geologist Dr. Robert Schoch in touch with John Anthony West -- a Yale-trained professor who was open-minded enough to travel to Egypt to see the Sphinx for himself in 1990 . . . and the rest is history.

Dr. Schoch confirmed that the body of the Sphinx as well as the walls of the Sphinx "enclosure" showed unmistakable signs of water erosion -- and not just a little water erosion, but what may have been many centuries of water erosion. Because the available evidence and the accepted climate models  posit that the Giza plateau has been extremely dry and arid since at least 5,000 BC, this undeniable evidence of massive water erosion on the Sphinx suggests that it was originally conceived and created no later than 5,000 BC, and by the extent of the weathering probably several centuries or even millennia earlier than that.

Along with his lifelong curiosity about ancient history and his extensive training and expertise in the field of geology, Dr. Schoch has the ability to see important connections between different sites and different evidence which relates to this critical subject, and in the decades since that first visit to Egypt he has published many books detailing this evidence, and its revolutionary implications for our view of humanity's ancient past, including Voices of the Rocks (1999) and Forgotten Civilization (2012), and he will be releasing a new book written with co-author Robert Bauval and detailing additional developments which support the overall thesis in March of 2017, entitled Origins of the Sphinx: Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization.

When Dr. Schoch first lent his expertise in geology to the observations of John Anthony West (who caught the idea from Schwaller de Lubicz's 1961 articulation of the idea) beginning in 1990, the idea that a culture capable of creating the Sphinx could have existed prior to 5,000 BC was so revolutionary that it was attacked mercilessly by conventional Egyptologists as well as conventional historians, archaeologists, and defenders of the prevailing paradigm that argues humans were primitive hunter-gatherers or nomadic shepherds and herders prior to the first agricultural civilizations in the third or fourth millennia BC. As the pioneering geologist supporting that idea, Dr. Schoch's work and professional reputation were also viciously attacked by the same defenders of the conventional paradigm.

However, the evidence for the existence of extremely sophisticated civilizations prior to 5,000 BC received incredible confirmation in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the excavation of the complex at the site known today as Gobekli Tepi, which dates to at least 10,000 BC, and which was deliberately buried for reasons unknown by massive amounts of transported dirt, rubble and debris not later than about 8,000 BC. 

This fact of the burial of the site means that whatever civilization conceived of and executed the breathtaking artwork and massive but exquisitely engineered stones in the Gobekli Tepi complex must have done so well before 8,000 BC.

This discovery vindicates the arguments of Robert Schoch and John Anthony West (and Schwaller de Lubicz) about the evident antiquity of the Sphinx, and the undeniable evidence pointing to the existence of an incredibly sophisticated ancient culture long before conventional historical timelines will admit to such a possibility.

I had the opportunity to listen to both Robert Schoch and John Anthony West deliver terrific presentations at the 2016 Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge about two weeks ago, and it is no exaggeration to say that the magnitude of the importance of the paradigm shift which they and subsequent researchers have ushered in since the first publication of Serpent in the Sky in 1979 is difficult to quantify.

All those who realize the importance of better understanding the true story of the ancient history of our planet and of humanity should be extremely grateful for the insight -- and the courage -- that both of them have displayed in tackling this vital question, and the graciousness with which they both continue to share their knowledge with the world. The discovery at Gobekli Tepi was not even dreamed about when their study of the Sphinx began -- but fortunately their earlier work (and earlier "trial by fire" of defending their observations and insights) enabled them to immediately grasp its significance and see how it (and other evidence around the world) may fit into the big picture, and their work also set the stage for subsequent researchers and enabled new insights from others who have brought other new evidence to light.

It should at this point be widely accepted that some sort of very advanced and very sophisticated civilization existed on this planet thousands of years prior to the time that the conventional paradigm has been telling us that human civilization first appeared.

In addition to the overwhelming geological evidence and overwhelming archaeological evidence which points to such a conclusion, I would like to suggest that there is also undeniable mythological evidence which supports the very same conclusion of an advanced but now forgotten ancient civilization.

As I have detailed with several hundred examples in this blog and in my multi-volume series Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them (Volumes One, Two and Three so far, totaling 1,966 pages) as well as The Undying Stars (444 more pages of evidence), the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories found in virtually every culture on our planet, on every inhabited continent and island, can be shown to share a common foundation which employs a very specific way of looking at the constellations and celestial cycles, and a very specific way of encoding those constellations and cycles into myth.

This system can be shown to be operating in myths and sacred stories from Africa, Australia, ancient China, ancient India, ancient Japan, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, northern Europe, other parts of Asia, the Americas, and across the length and breadth of the Pacific.

Elements of myth-systems founded upon this metaphorical methodology can be seen in the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt, dated to the period between 2300 BC and 2400 BC -- and it is fairly evident that the system was already extremely mature and well understood at that point in time (it was not being introduced for the first time in the Pyramid Texts: of that we can be fairly certain). 

Clear examples of this same worldwide system can be seen to be in full operation throughout the Gilgamesh series of myths found in the cuneiform tablets of ancient Sumer and Babylon, some of them thought to have been etched in the same third millennium BC that saw the inscription of the Pyramid Texts in Egypt.

Star Myths of the World, Volume One, gives some examples and explication of the celestial system as it is seen in these ancient texts from Egypt and Mesopotamia.

But Volume One also provides conclusive evidence that this very same system of celestial metaphor can be seen to be at work in the sacred stories of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia -- thought to be one of the oldest continuous cultures to be found anywhere on the planet, with some scholars attributing their arrival in Australia to dates of unbelievable antiquity, perhaps 45,000 years ago or even earlier according to some theories. It is thought that their culture may easily go back 10,000 years in fairly unbroken succession, making the Aboriginal people of Australia contenders for the title of very oldest continuous and surviving culture to be found anywhere on Earth. 

If they somehow possess this same system, then this seems to be strong evidence arguing for an origin in extreme antiquity, perhaps among the now-forgotten civilizations or cultures responsible for the Sphinx and for the ruins at what we know today as Gobekli Tepi. It is possible to argue that the Aborigines of Australia or their predecessors originated the system, and somehow spread it to all the other cultures of the world in the subsequent millennia, but given the general consensus regarding the relative isolation of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia from ongoing contact with peoples on other continents, this hypothesis seems to be less likely at this time.

It seems to be much more likely that some very sophisticated ancient culture (both technologically sophisticated -- judging by the incredible workmanship at Gobekli Tepi and Giza, as well as their apparent understanding of phenomena such as precession and other advanced astronomical and mathematical concepts -- and also  spiritually sophisticated, judging by the beauty and power and subtlety of the worldwide esoteric system of myth and celestial metaphor) was nearly wiped out by some sort of massive catastrophe that may have operated on a global scale, at some time in the distant past (probably earlier than 9000 BC).

Robert Schoch puts forth reasoned arguments backed up by ice-core data and scientific papers published in academic journals which indicate the possibility of a Coronal Mass Ejection from our Sun at a point in time he believes would correspond to 9700 BC. For details of his argument, please see his book Forgotten Civilization, and also his online article here

Other researchers have proposed comet strikes or other catastrophes. Longtime readers of this blog and of my first book will know that I also believe there is overwhelming evidence on our planet which points to one or more cataclysms of almost unimaginable violence in Earth's distant past.

Intriguingly enough, the sacred site known as Painted Rock (located in the same county in California where I live and make my domicile), appears to provide important additional evidence supporting the revolutionary paradigm of ancient human history described above. I have written two extensive blog posts about this incredibly significant ancient sacred site -- most recently this post published earlier this week, as well as this post published about a year ago.

Even conventional archaeologists agree that Painted Rock, located in a long narrow valley known today as the Carrizo Plain, and the surrounding country was a site of extensive human occupation and activity stretching back to at least 10,000 years before the present (to at least 8,000 BC). 

That date in itself is obviously significant in regards to the paradigm of ancient human history -- but even more so because the Painted Rock formation itself is home to a class of unusual and distinctive rock art which (even in its tragically damaged and vandalized condition) bears the unmistakeable evidence of the very same system of constellational outlining that informs the myths, scriptures and sacred stories found everywhere else in the world, from Australia to Africa to ancient China to ancient India, ancient Japan, ancient Greece, ancient Mesopotamia, across the Pacific Islands, and even in just about every story in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible!

Even in its now criminally-defaced condition, the sacred enclosure can be seen (to this very day) to display outlines that  I am convinced correspond directly to the constellations Scorpio, Ophiucus, and Aquarius (some recent photographs of these are shown in the previously linked posts). Additionally, photographs taken prior to the deliberate destruction of some of the artwork appear to indicate undeniable correspondences to the constellations Pisces, Aquila, and Gemini (and probably to others as well).

Although some scholars believe that the rock art itself may not date all the way back to 8,000 BC, that is not firmly established, and because there are datable markers of human habitation that may go back all the way to 8,000 BC, the presence of sacred rock art with clear use of recognizable constellational (and indeed zodiacal) outlines in the most distinctive rock formation in the landscape of the Carrizo Plain appears to be a strong argument for the use of these constellations in a sacred capacity in North America at dates approaching or even surpassing the antiquity of the earliest surviving Pyramid Texts of Egypt or cuneiform tablets of Mesopotamia.

Perhaps equally important and intriguing is the fact that this ancient sacred stone enclosure, which preserves the rock art described above, is itself evidence of potentially catastrophic or cataclysmic geological processes in Earth's distant past.

The massive stone ring known today as Painted Rock is a sandstone extrusion located towards one edge of an elongated basin or canyon, which even now contains an alkali dry lakebed consisting of a layer of mineral salts, similar to the salt flats of Utah.

Below is a screenshot from Google Maps showing the location of Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain:

image: Google maps.

Note in the above image the white patch in the center of the plain which is the satellite image of Soda Lake, a dry lakebed composed of alkali salts in powdery form. On either side of this dry lakebed we can see ranges of mountains extending in a kind of "V-shaped" pattern that comes together in the southeast (bottom right of the screen). The upper chain of uplifted ridges or mountains is the Monte Diablo range, and it follows and is undoubtedly a product of the long, straight line of the San Andreas fault, which can be seen running alongside the southern edge of the ridgeline.

Below is the same image, with the above terrain features labeled for your convenience:

image: Google maps.

In the image, I have labeled Soda Lake and pointed towards it with a yellow arrow. I have labeled the Monte Diablo Range in a cream or tan color. And I have labeled the San Andreas Fault in bright green, with a series of small green arrows pointing to the fault line itself.

Painted Rock itself is located due south from the southernmost point of Soda Lake. 

Here is a closer view, zoomed in to the horseshoe-shaped natural stone enclosure of Painted Rock:

image: Google maps.

And here is an aerial photograph of Painted Rock, showing the same outline. Note that in the above image, we can clearly see that the opening of Painted Rock is to the north (even though Painted Rock itself looks very small in the satellite photo above). The image below, from Wikipedia, is taken from an angle that positions the opening to the lower-right corner of the screen (that way is generally north in the photo below):

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that the upper arm of the formation as we face the image shown above is smooth and contains countless parallel striations over its surface. Most geological descriptions of this formation describe it as sandstone. 

I believe that Painted Rock shows clear signs of being a liquefaction mound, as defined and described by hydroplate theory originator Dr. Walt Brown, in a chapter of his book devoted entirely to the important geological phenomenon of liquefaction.

Liquefaction is a geological phenomenon that can be described as generally "catastrophic" in nature, or as a phenomenon that is primarily found in conjunction with catastrophic processes -- specifically earthquakes and flooding. It is a phenomenon in which the water already present in soil is forced upwards by the sinking and settling motion of the soil particles (usually caused by the vibration of earthquake forces, or by the compressing action of waves moving above the soil, if there is a body of water or an ocean above the soil in question). This upward-moving water can cause the soil particles to suddenly lose their cohesion and solidity and turn into a liquid slurry.

Here is the Wikipedia article describing liquefaction.

Here is a page in Walt Brown's online book describing liquefaction, its causes and results (in much more detail than the Wikipedia article).

And here is a blog post I published almost five years ago, discussing the evidence that the mighty terrain feature known as Uluru in Australia (also known as Ayers Rock) is a liquefaction mound, based on the discussion of this geological phenomenon presented by Dr. Brown. 

As that post (and the above-linked page from Dr. Brown's book) explain, a liquefaction mound is created when the upwelling slurry in liquefacted soil erupts out of the ground and spills out in a kind of slumped-bowl shape. You can see examples of such eruptions in photographs and videos from recent major earthquakes of the past five years, such as in Christchurch, New Zealand or Tokyo, Japan. Here is a photo of some such eruptions from Christchurch:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As Dr. Brown explains (in a quotation I cited in my discussion of Ayers Rock / Uluru), these slushy "volcanoes" will usually wash away -- but if they happen to erupt into a basin of warm water that remains relatively still for hundreds of years and cools, the sandy mound can harden into sandstone -- and then it may survive, even after the water in the natural basin eventually breaches and drains away, or evaporates over hundreds or thousands of years. 

In fact, as I point out in that article discussing Uluru, liquefaction mounds (and their cousins, liquefaction plumes) are often found in ancient basins that once contained trapped inland lakes or seas. 

And this description matches exactly what we find in the formation of Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain (even though I was completely unaware of the existence of Painted Rock and the Carrizo Plain back in 2011 when I wrote that post about Uluru in Australia).

Clearly, Painted Rock is situated in an ancient basin -- the Carrizo Plain. 

Equally clearly, that ancient basin once held a trapped inland sea -- the dry lakebed known today as Soda Lake is unmistakable evidence of this fact (and the fact that the water in the basin probably had no outlet, leading eventually to the formation of a salt flat once the shallow inland sea dried up).

Additionally, the Carrizo Plain is traversed along its long axis by the line of the San Andreas fault -- which indicates the possibility of earthquakes in the distant past. Earthquakes are often associated with the eruption of liquefacted soil, or the creation of liquefaction mounds.

Below are some recent photographs I took of the awe-inspiring terrain feature of Painted Rock, showing that it possesses all of the attributes described by Dr. Brown in his discussion of liquefaction mounds:

The above image is looking towards the southeast, and approaching from the northwest. The opening is to the left of the photo as we face it (the leftmost portion of the formation is pointing almost due north -- our left). You can see the first-quarter waxing moon of October 08, 2016 directly above the highest portion of the liquefaction mound that forms Painted Rock. The moon in this photo is moving across the sky from the east but has yet to reach its zenith. 

Deep striation can be seen along the back of the mound's shoulder, as we face the formation, towards the right side as we view it.

It may not be easy to view from this distance, but the distinctive "undercut edge" which is seen in many liquefaction mounds (including some on the page from Dr. Brown's book, linked above) can be observed on the far right lower edge of the formation of Painted Rock. This undercut edge will be more visible in subsequent photos.

Below we see another aspect which is very characteristic of liquefaction mounds: "water vents" along the sides of the feature. These vent-holes are caused by water escaping the liquefacted soil when the mound is still erupting. They are not caused by later weathering -- and thus are not found along the top surfaces of liquefaction mounds, as we might expect if they were caused by rainfall over the centuries, for example.

The vent-holes in the side of Painted Rock as we approach it from the northwest resemble a face giving a fierce warning to all who approach (certainly appropriate, given the disrespectful vandalism that took place to the sacred site's artwork during the first part of the twentieth century):

Once again, we can clearly see the smooth striation which curves over the "shoulder" of this ancient liquefaction mound. Similar striation can be observed on Uluru / Ayers Rock in Australia.

Below is another view of the smooth striation of Painted Rock:

The very existence of this terrain feature argues that the entire Carrizo Plain was once under water, and for a long enough period of time that the erupted sand from below the surface was able to harden to the point that it would not be swept away when the water in the basin either drained out or evaporated.

Note also that the presence of massive salt deposits in the Soda Lake formation argues that the water that was trapped in the Carrizo Plain geographic feature was not "freshwater," if the mineral salt remaining in the dry lakebed was once in the water that later evaporated away and left the salts behind. Below is an image looking east towards Soda Lake (visible as a thin white stripe), with the line of the Monte Diablo range in the background:

this image taken by David Mathisen, as are all other images in this post not attributed to another source

I personally am not prepared to make an definitive pronouncements regarding the time period in which this flooding and liquefaction may have taken place. The event (or events) that produced Ayers Rock and Painted Rock and the other liquefaction features around the globe (and especially in the American southwest) may have happened long before the catastrophes that researchers such as Dr. Schoch are proposing for the event that may have disrupted the cultures that created the Sphinx or Gobekli Tepi.

 However, the fact that Ayers Rock (which is far larger than Painted Rock) also appears to have been formed by similar processes (but in a basin of water that must have been much deeper and more extensive) does appear to argue for the possibility of a massive flood at some point in our planet's distant past. 

If these features in California and Australia were formed under the water remaining from the same flood, that would argue for a massive flood indeed (and note that the entire American southwest is home to numerous liquefaction features and other evidence of massive trapped ancient bodies of water).

What I am prepared to say is that the above discussion should demonstrate very clearly that the subjects of geology and of the possible ancient catastrophes which may have wracked our planet is vitally connected to the question of a now-forgotten ancient civilization. The evidence on our planet for both (for both an advanced ancient culture, and for some sort of cataclysm or cataclysms which may explain the disappearance of that culture) appears to be virtually undeniable.

Finally, it is very noteworthy (I believe) to observe that both Ayers Rock and Painted Rock are sacred sites to the indigenous cultures of the continents on which these two ancient terrain features are found. We have evidence that these places were (or are) places of contact with the Spirit Realm, and possibly with beings from the Other World.

Is it possible that there are aspects in their formation which cause these natural formations to have certain qualities that are conducive to such contact? The above discussion touched on some of the aspects of the conditions under which liquefaction mounds tend to form, usually involving the deep wave action of earthquakes or of powerful ocean waves, setting up a settling motion in the soil particles and an upwelling motion in the saturating water molecules, creating a lifting motion and sometimes an eruption of soil that has temporarily turned to liquid.

Is it possible that the liquefaction mounds themselves retain some of the structural alignments caused by these ancient low-frequency vibrations (from the earthquake or ocean wave-pounding that set them off in the first place, so long ago)? Perhaps in some way, they function as physical conductors of wave energy, even to this day.

Note also that the sacred natural rock temple of Painted Rock is located in a long, very linear valley, with the distinctive line of the San Andreas Fault itself clearly visible for many miles: a possible natural line conducting Earth energy (see this previous post on "dragon lines" and related subjects).

Clearly, ancient traditional cultures understood that these specific places on our Earth's surface could be used for making contact with or even traveling to the Invisible Realm.

Perhaps, in the year 8,000 BC (when we know men and women were conducting activity in and around Painted Rock on the Carrizo Plain), these generations who were not so far removed from the cataclysm that may have struck around the year we call 9,700 BC (or BCE) still retained much of the sophisticated understanding that informed the now-forgotten culture or cultures responsible for giving us some of the mysterious monuments we still see at significant geological locations around the globe -- and responsible as well, perhaps, for the incredible worldwide system of celestial metaphor which informs the myths of all the cultures on earth.

The other pressing question we might ask ourselves would be -- how is it that so many today have forgotten it, and how was this ancient understanding lost (or even deliberately stamped out) in so many parts of the human family at some point?