Thursday, June 30, 2011

Taurus and the Hyades

The Hyades and the Pleiades are visible in the eastern sky before dawn as the sun is rising in Taurus.

To see them, you will need to get to a place with a good view of the eastern horizon (no hills in the way) by about 4:30 am, but if you are able to do so, the view is well worth it. The sun is currently rising at 5:22 am for an observer near 35o north latitude, and the sky brightens enough to really begin to drown out the stars by about 4:55 to 5:00 am.

The chart above shows the constellation Taurus, first with the decorative or allegorical drawing common in previous centuries (this one is from a set of cards called Urania's Mirror from 1825, engraved by Sidney Hall), and then with the new graphic lines devised by H.A. Rey (shown here in red).

In the pre-dawn sky above the horizon, the easiest parts of the constellation to make out are the bright red star Aldebaran and the beautiful Pleiades above it. The Hyades are more difficult to make out, but you can see how they make the shape of a boomerang in this diagram from Sky & Telescope which depicts the celestial objects you can see looking east before the sunrise right now. The full "play-by-play" description from Sky & Telescope of the moon and planets in the east before sunrise and again in the west after sunset can be found here.

We have already discussed some of the mythology surrounding the Pleiades, which often take the form of a net in Greek mythology and other mythology around the world. The authors of Hamlet's Mill point out that the Hyades also feature prominently in many important myths, which they believed encoded ancient astronomical knowledge, some of it very sophisticated.

The boomerang-shape of the Hyades, so apparent in the Sky & Telescope diagram referenced above, gave rise to legends in which the Hyades became a weapon. In some cultures they were actually a boomerang, but more commonly they were encoded in myth as a jawbone, which of course also resembles their shape. In the Mathisen Corollary book, there is discussion about the important resemblance of these stars to the implement known as an adze as well.

Hamlet's Mill authors Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend write about this jawbone:
For that jaw is in heaven. It was the name given by the Babylonians to the Hyades, which were placed in Taurus as the "Jaw of the Bull." If we remember the classic tag "the rainy Hyades" it is because Hyades meant "watery." In the Babylonian creation epic, which antedates Samson, Marduk uses the Hyades as a boomeranglike weapon to destroy the brood of heavenly monsters. The whole story takes place among the gods. It is known, too, that Indra's powerful weapon, Vajra, the Thunderbolt made of the bones of horse-headed Dadhyank, was not of this earth (see appendix #19).

The story is so universal that it must be seen as spanning the globe. In South America, where bulls were still unknown, the Arawaks, the Tupi, the Quechua of Ecuador spoke of the "jaw of the tapir," which was connected with the great god, Hunrakan, the hurricane, who certainly knows how to slay his thousands. In our sky, the name of the celestial Samson is Orion, the mighty hunter, alias Nimrod. He remains such even in China as "War Lord Tsan," the huntmaster of the autumn hunt, but the Hyades are changed there into a net for catching birds. In Cambodia, Orion himself became a trap for tigers; in Borneo, tigers not being available, pigs have to substitute; and in Polynesia, deprived of every kind of big game, Orion is found in the shape of a huge snare for birds. It is this snare that Maui, creator-hero and trickster, used to catch the Sunbird; but having captured it, he proceeded to beat it up, and with what? -- the jawbone of Muri Ranga Whenua, his own respected grandmother. 166.
If Maui caught the Sunbird in the net of the Hyades, and then beat it up with a jawbone, this almost certainly refers to the rising of the sun in the constellation Taurus, which is currently taking place. Be sure to get up early and check it out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How do you explain coral atolls?

Coral atolls consist of submerged volcanic mountains, often at great depths below the surface, upon which huge formations of coral have grown.

Scientists and engineers have drilled deep into several atolls and have been able to determine the size of the coral cap and the depth of the top of the volcanic seamount underneath the coral of the atoll. On Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu, drilling determined that the depth of the volcanic rock was nearly a thousand feet below the surface (see for instance Geology and Hydrogeology of Carbonate Islands, page 582). On Bikini Atoll, the coral cap goes down over 3,200 feet. Drilling has found that the mountain beneath Eniwetok Atoll is over 4,600 feet below the surface in some places.

Reef-building corals cannot survive and build reefs at depths below about 160 feet at the most, because they require sunlight for photosynthesis. Therefore, the great depths of some of the volcanic mountains supporting huge coral atolls poses something of a geological mystery. How could a mountain whose top is over 3,200 feet below the surface support the Bikini Atoll? How could a mountain whose top is over 4,600 feet below the surface support the Eniwetok Atoll? Even the atolls in Tuvalu, whose tops are just under a thousand feet below the surface pose a problem, since corals cannot begin their construction at anything near those depths. A related question concerns the existence of guyots or tablemounts, which are huge undersea volcanoes with flat, truncated tops, possibly sheared off by violent wave action, but often located many thousands of feet below the surface.

As it happens, Charles Darwin was aware of this mystery and proposed an explanation, which (according to this educational webpage from the University of Arizona) is still largely accepted today. He put the problem like this in the Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842), which can be read online in its entirety here:
What cause, then, has given to atolls and barrier-reefs their characteristic forms? Let us see whether an important deduction will not follow from the consideration of these two circumstances,—first, the reef-building corals flourishing only at limited depths,—and secondly, the vastness of the areas interspersed with coral-reefs and coral-islets, none of which rise to a greater height above the level of the sea, than that attained by matter thrown up by the waves and winds. I do not make this latter statement vaguely; I have carefully sought for descriptions of every island in the intertropical seas; and my task has been in some degree abridged by a map of the Pacific, corrected in 1834 by M.M. D'Urville and Lottin, in which the low islands are distinguished from the high ones (even from those much less than a hundred feet in height) by being written without a capital letter: I have detected a few errors in this map, respecting the heights of some of the islands, which will be noticed in the Appendix, where I treat of coral-formations in geographical order. 90.
Darwin's proposed explanation was simple: the existence of coral atolls is "quite inexplicable, excepting on the theory, that the bases on which the reefs first became attached, slowly and successively sank beneath the level of the sea, whilst the corals continued to grow upwards" (98).

Of course, Darwin was writing before the tectonic theory had even been suggested, and his explanation as to what could cause the mountains that formed the bases for these reefs to sink or subside into the depths below is pretty vague. He basically summed up the proposed cause of the subsidence as "subterranean disturbances beneath them" (98).

Unfortunately, in the ensuing period of over a century and a half, the explanation has not gotten much better. This article from the California Academy of Sciences declares that lower sea levels due to ice ages, followed by sea level rise after the end of an ice age, contributed to the ability of coral to grow to such heights (see the section entitled "Formation of Coral Reefs"). However, as we have discussed in previous posts, no ice age theory can account for 4,600 feet of sea level rise from ice melt alone. Further, if the ice had melted too rapidly and the ocean level had risen faster than the coral could grow upward, Eniwetok and other atolls could never have formed, because the sea-level rise would have "outrun them."

Other explanations are equally vague. The formation of Midway Island, a coral atoll located northwest of the Hawaiian Islands, is often attributed to subsidence due to the weight of the island and the coral, but clearly the Hawaiian Islands would have even more size and weight and should have sunk as well (some theories argue that they will, if we just give them enough millions of years, which function as a kind of magic wand for many theories that are short on details).

This webpage from the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a helpful graphic of a coral reef growing upwards and a volcanic island sinking downwards, but the explanation of how this takes place is fairly unhelpful: "As the reef expands, the interior island usually begins to subside and the fringing reef turns into a barrier reef." Why does it "usually begin to subside"? This sentence makes it sound as though the reef expanding has something to do with it.

In their description of the significance of Midway Island, the US Fish and Wildlife Service was forced to concede: "Midway is an example of atoll formation, a poorly understood geological process that can contribute to our understanding of the relationship between climate, reef development, and carbon sequestration" (3-4).

However, it is possible that in this case, Darwin was correct about the idea that coral reefs of such great heights grew atop volcanic mountains that once were near or above the surface, and then slowly subsided. While the tectonic theory has trouble explaining why they would subside, the hydroplate theory actually provides a very robust explanation.

Central to the hydroplate theory is the formation of the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, where the basement floor sprang upwards in response to the removal of tons of material by the jetting eruption of the waters that initiated the global flood. This upward movement would not have created a huge air pocket in the middle of the earth, but rather would have pulled or sucked the earth upwards on the opposite side from the bulge -- which is exactly what happened to create the deep basins of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

This downward motion would explain the characteristic "arc-and-cusp" patterns of many deep ocean trenches in the Pacific, as well as the gravity anomalies beneath these deep trenches, which have far less gravity than the tectonic theory would predict. The violent downward buckling of the Pacific and Indian oceans would have also created massive friction and melting of rock deep under the surface, creating vast reservoirs of magma, much of which either seeped upwards and formed volcanoes and volcanic mountains and islands (note that the "Ring of Fire" marks the edges of the part of the earth that was sucked inwards according to this explanation), or else it would have sunk deeper into the earth to contribute to the liquid outer core beneath the mantle, according to Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory.

As we have explained in previous posts, the sea levels would have been much lower after the events surrounding the flood, but would have slowly risen in the centuries thereafter, as the continents sank downwards. At the same time, the Pacific floor and many of the volcanic formations on it would have also experienced sinking, due to the entire mantle sinking into the liquid of the magma that was created by the intense friction of the event just described.

Dr. Brown explains this process in relation to the formation of seamounts and atolls (which are found almost entirely in the Pacific directly on the other side of the globe from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, right where his theory says they should be, as well as to a lesser extent in the Indian Ocean):
All the fracturing and shifting deep within the earth produced frictional heating, gravitational settling, and huge amounts of heat and magma. Most of that magma now constitutes the earth’s outer core. [. . .] For years after the flood, much magma escaped upward along faults, especially in the Pacific, which had the fastest-sinking and most fractured portion of the crust. Volcanic cones rapidly rose, many reaching the ocean’s surface, where large waves leveled the volcanic peaks. Over the next few years, the mantle below the Pacific plate sank even further into the growing liquid outer core, because the Pacific plate was loaded with thick, dense magma. That sinking pulled tablemounts down 3,000–6,000 feet below sea level. The tablemount and trench region is several thousand feet lower than the average depth of the Pacific. [. . .] Clustered tablemounts sometimes differ in elevation and depth by 1,000–2,000 feet, so they apparently formed at different times while local ocean depths were changing rapidly. This probably happened during the years after the compression event as the mantle below the Pacific plate sank into the growing liquid outer core. When new cracks permitted magma to escaped upward, seamounts grew from different depths. Therefore, the first tablemounts that formed were usually shorter than tablemounts that formed after the plate had been pulled deeper. Earlier tablemounts were then pulled down farther than those that formed later. Consequently, short tablemounts can be far below sea level, while nearby, taller tablemounts can have their tops at shallower depths. From the online edition; see the full explanation from which the quoted section above was cited here.
Dr. Brown provides much more discussion which supports this explanation of the formation of tablemounts. While Darwin appears to have deduced the correct explanation as well, he could not provide a solid geological explanation for the mechanism that would have caused the subsidence of the areas of the Pacific containing tablemounts and atolls. The hydroplate theory does.

This is yet more evidence that the hydroplate theory should be carefully considered as a possible explanation for the many features we see in the world around us, features that are difficult or impossible to explain with the reigning tectonic theory (numerous others are listed here). The ability of the hydroplate theory to explain such widely varied geological mysteries is truly impressive. As one might expect, if the hydroplate theory is indeed correct, it would also help shed light on numerous mysteries of mankind's ancient past as well, which is the subject of the Mathisen Corollary. The case of the coral atolls should be seen as a very strong argument in its favor.

Magnetic anomalies and the ocean ridges

In the previous post, we touched on the earth's magnetic field, and linked to a page from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville discussing some of the principles of the magnetosphere created by the interaction of earth's magnetic field with the ionized solar wind.

In the section entitled "Origin of the Magnetic Field" on that page, the authors have written:
Rocks that are formed from the molten state contain indicators of the magnetic field at the time of their solidification. The study of such "magnetic fossils" indicates that the Earth's magnetic field reverses itself every million years or so (the north and south magnetic poles switch). This is but one detail of the magnetic field that is not well understood.
As it turns out, this is another area of geology in which evidence that is difficult or impossible to explain using the tectonic theory can be better explained by the hydroplate theory. For a list of other similar evidence discussed in this blog, see this previous post or simply go to the website of Dr. Walt Brown, the originator of the hydroplate theory, where he has published his entire book detailing the evidence supporting his theory on the web for anyone to read.

Dr. Brown explains that the theory of "magnetic reversals" is a byproduct of the assumptions of the tectonic theory, and is derived from magnetic readings from the ocean floor, taken along the Mid-Oceanic Ridge. An explanation for these readings was one of the important factors leading to the acceptance of the long-ridiculed tectonic theory in the 1960s:
The plate tectonic theory gained acceptance when an important discovery of the 1960s was misinterpreted. The public was told that paralleling the Mid-Oceanic Ridge are bands of ocean floor with reversed magnetic orientation. These "magnetic reversals" alternated with bands of rock having the normal (north pointing) polarity. At a few places, the pattern of reversals on one side of the ridge is almost a mirror image of those on the other side. This suggested periodic reversals of the earth's magnetic poles, although there is no theoretical understanding of how this could have happened. Molten material supposedly rose at the ridge, solidified, took on the earth's current magnetic orientation, and then moved away from the ridge like a conveyor belt. That explantion is wrong. 7th edition page 91.
Elsewhere, Dr. Brown explains in great detail the problems with the tectonic explanation for this phenomenon, as well as an explanation from the hydroplate theory.

Among the many problems with the tectonic explanation is the question of how these undersea ridges form in the first place. The tectonic theory explains such ridges as being formed when two plates drift apart over millions of years, allowing magma to seep up and cool, hardening into a ridge as the floor spreads or expands. However, as can be seen in the above image of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (from a US Navy map showing sound surveillance sensors emplaced to listen for patrolling submarines in the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap), these ridges not only feature a long "axial" rift or crack perpendicular to the supposed direction of seafloor spreading, but also numerous faults that cut across the axial rift all along the length of the ridge. These are difficult to explain according to tectonics, but are exactly what we would expect according to the hydroplate theory based upon its explanation for the origin of the ridge in the first place.

Other evidence posing grave difficulties for the tectonic explanation include the fact that, if ocean ridges are caused by spreading of plates and ocean trenches are caused by subducting plates, we would not expect to find places where ridges and trenches intersect, and yet we find such intersections in three places in the eastern Pacific, as Dr. Brown explains on this web page, along with many other difficulties for the tectonic explanation of ridges and trenches.

Beyond the problem of the origin of the ridges in the first place, current theory has no explanation for what could have caused the magnetic poles on earth to supposedly reverse several times in the distant past. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville page above, which states that this happened, admits that "this is but one detail of the magnetic field that is not well understood."

However, Dr. Brown's theory explains that the magnetic field did not reverse at all. That explanation is a byproduct of the erroneous tectonic explanation for the magnetic readings we find near mid-oceanic ridges. Instead, he explains, the magnetite and hematite in oceanic basalt is highly magnetic, but that it (like other magnetic materials) loses its magnetism at a certain temperature, known as the Curie point for a substance. The Curie point for basalt is near 578o C. In the diagram below, used by permission, Dr. Brown shows a typical cross-section of a mid-oceanic ridge.

He explains:
The ridge's temperature generally increases with depth. However, the walls of these cracks in the Mid-Oceanic Ridge are cooled by cold water circulating down into and up out of them by natural convection. The cracks act as chimneys; hotter rock below serves as the heat source. After several thousand years of cooling, the constant temperature line corresponding to the Curie point should be as shown by the long dashed line. As a rock particle cools from 579o C to 577o C, for example, it takes on the magnetism of the earth's magnetic field at that point. Therefore, more magnetized material would be near each fracture. Magnetic anomalies would also occur perpendicular to the ridge -- as they do [this fact contradicts the tectonic explanation and involves the perpendicular faults that cross the axial rift discussed above]. Naturally, if a device that measures magnetic intensity (a magnetometer) is towed across the ridge, it will show the magnetic anomalies of Figure 45 on page 91 [the figure referred to as Figure 45 can be seen on this web page at Dr. Brown's website]. These magnetic anomalies, however, are not magnetic reversals.

Incidentally, the hot water that rises from these sediment-filled cracks probably accounts for the jets of up to 400o C water that shoot up from the ocean floor. Such black smokers are often aligned parallel to the ridge and are intermittent as one would expect from the above explanation. 115-116.
More information on black smokers, which were discovered by the ALVIN submersible in 1977 and are always found near ocean ridges, can be found here.

Thus, the magnetic anomalies on the bottom of the ocean appear to be more evidence supporting the hydroplate theory and undermining the tectonic theory.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Magnetic polarity at Avebury Henge

In the previous post, I reported on the work of Walter Cruttenden and the theory that the phenomenon of precession is caused not by a wobble in the earth's axis but rather by the elliptical motion of the earth around another faraway stellar object.

The point of that post was not to suggest that I necessarily subscribe to that particular theory but to point it out as noteworthy -- something that people who are interested in the mystery of mankind's ancient past should be aware of and keep an eye on.

Obviously, Mr. Cruttenden's work involves some common points of interest with the subject matter covered in the Mathisen Corollary, including the phenomenon of precession as well as the thesis that and ancient civilization (or civilizations) achieved levels of advancement far beyond anything currently described in conventional timelines of history.

One other extremely interesting point which Mr. Cruttenden mentioned briefly during his interview on Red Ice Radio (which can also be accessed via podcast by searching iTunes for the phrase "Red Ice Cruttenden") is the work of the late John Burke, author of Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty.

Mr. Burke and his colleagues were involved in measuring the electromagnetic fields found at henges and megalithic sites around the world, and they reportedly found that certain structures appeared to be designed to channel the earth's naturally-occurring telluric energy in some way. The earth's magnetosphere results from its interaction with the ionized solar wind, as explained in this description with diagrams from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and the changes in this magnetic field create very low-frequency underground electric currents which travel over long distances on the earth.

In the interview, Mr. Cruttenden brings up a startling finding reported by John Burke and co-autor Kaj Halberg in their book. They report that measurements of the stones at Avebury Henge in England detected low levels of magnetic polarity in each stone, and the surprising fact that the circle stones appear to have been arranged such that the south pole of one stone faces the north pole of the next, to create a circle of magnetic polarity as well as a physical circle of stone.

On page 130 of their work, Burke and Halberg report:
These big slabs of sandstone, dragged from nearby Marlborough Downs, contain black magnetite, which makes the stones magnetic. Retaining their original polarity from their formation deep underground, each stone acts like a weak but very large magnet. While the magnetism of the standing stones is not strong enough to noticeably deflect a compass needle, the more sensitive magnetometers show that the stones are indeed magnetic, as geological studies have confirmed. We recorded a particularly powerful jump in the magnetometers by holding the probe up to a fist-sized cluster of magnetite crystals, visible in one of the avenue sarsens.

If these stones were strictly for cermonial purposes, the magnetic orientation of the stones would not be of consequence. However, the south pole of each stone faces the next stone in line as you move toward the circle. This arrangement means that the north poles of the stones generally point south, which are opposing the geomagnetic field. Inside the main and the minor stone circles, the south poles of all stones point at the next stone in the circle, in a clockwise direction, with two exceptions. The stones at the two intact causeway entrances have their poles aligned with those of the avenue, rather than with the clockwise pattern of the circle, up to a ninety-degree difference from their companions in the ring. We measured all sixty-seven remaining stones, with an average of sixteen readings per stone. None had a detectable magnetic pole pointing in a direction that would contradict this pattern. 130-131.
Mr. Burke and Mr. Halberg note that the henges (circular ditches with accompanying circular mounds) found throughout western Europe and the British Isles would tend to disrupt the telluric current, but that these ditches almost always feature an intact causeway or bridge (or place where the ditch stops on either side before completing the circle) where the current would tend to be focused more strongly (just as water, flowing through a chokepoint or narrow place, will flow with more velocity, a principle which is incorporated in shower heads or kitchen faucets that produce many tiny jets using very small openings). You can see the very prominent ditch and embankment at Avebury, along with part of the circle of stones, in the image above.

The authors theorize that these constructions might have created beneficial stress upon seeds, inducing them to grow better and produce more food yield. In a 2008 interview between Mr. Cruttenden and Mr. Burke available at the official CPAK online website here, Mr. Burke notes that ancient construction with measurable electromagnetic effects are not confined to the Old World but exist all over North America as well, and points to an early record from a Jesuit missionary who said the Native American tribes in the area of Louisiana would still bring seeds to a certain mystical location in order to receive a sort of blessing upon the seeds prior to planting them.

Whether this is the correct explanation or not for these ancient monuments, it is certainly an interesting area for further research. It may be that there were other original purposes for the constructions, and that they also had beneficial agricultural side effects which were noted by either the original architects or by later peoples.

Whatever one concludes, the bigger point seems to be that if in fact the huge multi-ton stones of Avebury are situated such that their poles align with the circles themselves, this would constitute powerful evidence that the designers possessed far greater levels of technological advancement than conventional historians attribute to them. Images of other magnetometer and caesium gradiometer surveys at other megalithic stone circles and henges done by other researchers appear to confirm the findings of Mr. Burke and Mr. Halberg -- some of them can be found here.

Magnetic anomalies have been recorded at many ancient sites in North America as well. The numerous chambers found in New England often share similar construction techniques and solar orientations to passage mounds found in Ireland and other parts of Europe, a fact I discuss towards the end of the Mathisen Corollary book. This website by Dr. Bruce Cornet notes the location of several dozen such stone constructions in New York state, as well as diagrams of the magnetic anomalies near many of these sites.

The fact that sites in the New World appear to contain evidence of deliberate electromagnetic manipulation or orientation provides yet another clue suggesting ancient contact across the oceans, contrary to what is taught in schools from kindergarten to the university. For other posts discussing other clues that contradict "isolationist" doctrines, see here and here.

This evidence would certainly appear to be a fertile field for future research. While much of it is quite startling and open to many possible interpretations, and while some of the evidence and interpretations offered so far may require more examination, simply rejecting it out of hand is probably not the wisest course of action if we really want to learn more about the real ancient timeline of mankind. Perhaps it is best to close this brief examination by referring back to the quotation by Edgar Smith Craighill Handy, cited approvingly by Thor Heyerdahl in 1953: "There is such a variety of possibilities open in the matter of relationships and derivations that my own feeling is that there is only one sure way of being in the wrong, and that is by asserting dogmatically what is not true" (cited in American Indians in the Pacific 8).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Binary Model of Precession

If you have visited the interview of Mathisen Corollary author David Warner Mathisen at Red Ice Radio, you may have noticed that the producers of Red Ice linked several other previous Red Ice interviews on related topics among the links below the description area on the page.

Among these is a fascinating interview with Walter Cruttenden of the Binary Research Institute, from April, 2010. While Red Ice makes hour one of all interviews available to everyone for a full year after they are posted, after that time a subscription to Red Ice is necessary in order to listen to them, and a subscription is always required in order to hear hour two. However, most Red Ice interview hour ones are available as free podcasts in the iTunes store, and the first hour of Walter Cruttenden's Red Ice interview can be found as a free download in the iTunes store -- simply go to the iTunes store and conduct a search for the phrase "Red Ice Cruttenden."

The interview is fascinating and thought-provoking on several levels, and is well worth a listen, even if you do not agree with every conclusion or assertion proposed. Among the striking concepts that are discussed is the theory that the precession of the equinoxes is caused by an elliptical orbit of the sun through space around another star or stellar object -- the "binary model" of precession. This motion is described in the above video segment, along with animation.

Note the discussion of the changing rate of orbit that the sun would take if such a theory were true (due to Kepler's laws of motion). We discussed this very concept of faster and slower orbit with reference to the earth's orbit around the sun in this previous post, in which we compared it to the motion of a surfer speeding up and slowing down as he goes down and then back up the face of a wave (and not just any surfer and any wave, but the great Shaun Tomson surfing a long right at J-Bay). According to proponents of the binary theory, astronomers have measured just such a speeding up of the rate of precessional motion that would be consistent with the sun's orbit around a distant stellar object.

In his interview, Mr. Cruttenden points out that electromagnetic waves, including light waves as well as other forms of electromagnetism emitted by stars such as our sun, have powerful effects on virtually every lifeform on earth. When our portion of the globe faces away from the sun, we generally drop into an unconscious state until we are facing the light again, and the same is true of the seasons that are caused by earth's orbit and obliquity, which have a tremendous impact on the life cycles of countless plants and animals. If this is true for earth's daily spin and annual orbit, he argues, it might also be true of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by this proposed companion object, causing civilizational advance when we grow closer and civilizational decline and a rise of barbarism and violence when we draw further away from our companion star.

While one may or may not accept the binary theory, Mr. Cruttenden in his interview and the narrator in the video segment above (Darth Vader) point out that many theories that were once ridiculed later gain widespread acceptance: popularity is no measure of the truth of a theory. This is another theme we have discussed previously on this blog several times as well with regard to the theory of plate tectonics and the hydroplate theory, for example. It is also discussed in the new introduction to the Mathisen Corollary posted here (and in the older introduction as well).

For all these reasons, the interview with Walter Cruttenden is well worth careful attention, as are the arguments put forth by the Binary Research Institute. Check it out for yourself!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hawaiki and Hawaii

In the previous post, "Vindication for Thor Heyerdahl," we examined new evidence that appears to support some of Heyerdahl's theories about contact between Easter Island / Rapa Nui and the Americas.

In that post, we noted Heyerdahl's assertion that ancient voyagers who set out into the Pacific from the Americas would likely first encounter either Easter Island or Hawaii, depending on their point of departure and direction of travel. We also noted the fact that the Polynesian historical traditions themselves clearly relate -- "and quite independently on widely separated Polynesian islands -- that the first land discovered and settled by their ancestors in the ocean was an island, or rather a group of islands, referred to in most Polynesian dialects as Hawaiki, in others as Hawai'i" (Heyerdahl, American Indians in the Pacific, 40-41).

Today, despite the extensive evidence Heyerdahl mustered in support of his theory, the idea that Polynesia was originally occupied by a people coming from the east (the Americas) is almost universally rejected, and along with it the idea that Hawaiki could refer to Hawaii itself as the first ancestral homeland in the Pacific, where some remained to settle and from which others spread out across the Pacific to discover and settle new islands.

As mentioned in the post linked above, some modern historians have held that Hawaiki must refer to Java in Indonesia, and that the oral traditions which describe Hawaiki as being located east of other Polynesian lands (such as New Zealand) must be incorrect -- in other words, maintaining that the keepers of these traditions didn't know what they were talking about and that some of the most superb mariners the world has ever known didn't know their east from their west.

Others today argue that Hawaiki may have been Taiwan (a theory we shall look at shortly).

Thor Heyerdahl provides characteristically thorough evidence and analysis in support of his assertion that Hawaiki actually refers to Hawaii. First, he notes that while the oral traditions found on almost every other Polynesian island refer to a migration from Hawaiki, no such oral tradition exists on Hawaii itself. If Hawaiki were actually in Java or Taiwan, such an omission would be unusual, but if Hawaii is the Hawaiki referred to by other islanders, then we would not expect there to be such a legend on Hawaii itself.

Further, Heyerdahl points to texts which historians made in the early 1800s of Maori oral tradition regarding the route of their ancestors from Hawaiki to Aotearoa / New Zealand. He notes that according to Maori tradition, Kupe was the first to reach Aotearoa from Hawaiki, and he later returned to the islands of Hawaiki. Later, according to Maori history, we learn that a progenitor named Whatonga and a number of his firends went on a visit from an island called Ahu to the main island called Hawaiki, to take part in a canoe race (170).

During the race a strong offshore gale carried Whatonga and others out to sea, where they became lost in the fog and eventually ended up in Rangiatea (the Maori pronunciation of Raiatea, in the Society Islands near Tahiti), where they made preparations for their return to Hawaiki and eventually left to successfully return to Hawaiki. However, in the interim, Whatonga's grandfather had set out to search for him, first landing in the Samoan group of islands, then proceeding to Rarotonga, and then to the Chatham Islands and finally to New Zealand in his search.

When Whatonga arrived in New Zealand and heard that Toi had gone to find him and not returned, he set out himself in a new deep-sea canoe named Te Hawai, and after reaching Rarotonga and hearing of his grandfather's earlier visit there, continued to Aotearoa and finally caught up with Toi there. These accounts were "painfully memorized by every generation among the subsequent occupants" of Aotearoa (170). Analysis of the genealogies that were also carefully memorized and passed down indicates that Kupe's visit was probably around AD 950, and that of Toi and Whatonga around AD 1150.

Heyerdahl notes the very clear parallel between the names of the islands Ahu and Hawaiki and the islands of O'ahu and Hawai'i, as well as the fact that historians have recorded that the island of O'ahu was originally called Ahu (170).

Another remarkable tradition preserved by the Maori is the sailing directions from Hawaiki, and particularly the starting point. Tradition states that "the bows of the canoes must be directed straight south from Maui-taha and Maui-pae" (172). These two names denote twin islands within the Hawaiki group, and in fact there are two small islands to the west of Maui (seen in the image above -- Maui is the island just north and west of the Big Island or Hawaii itself, and to the west of it can be seen the islands of Lanai and Kahoolawe, which may correspond to Maui-taha and Maui-pae). Hawaiian tradition also tells us that voyages were to start from this location (172). Is it not remarkable that Maori tradition mentions the names of the islands Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii?

From there, the sailing directions of the Maori oral tradition tell us, the canoes must proceed due south, in order to reach Rarotonga (which was known as the "Road to Hawaiki" among the Maori), after which they were to bear southwest, placing the prow to the left of the setting sun (172). These directions are perfect for reaching New Zealand from Hawaii, but atrocious if one wishes to reach New Zealand from Java or Taiwan.

Heyerdahl also provides quite convincing evidence from the preserved genealogy lists of both the Maori and the Hawaiians, in which some names and generations match (the names of both the husband and the wife, and on more than one occasion) (172-172).

Recently, some historians have argued that Hawaiki must refer to Taiwan, and point to mitochondrial DNA evidence as conclusive proof. This article from the Economist in 2005 makes that case, noting that "In a study involving 640 people from nine Taiwanese tribes, Dr Trejaut and Dr Lin found three mutations shared by Taiwanese, Polynesians and Melanesians (who also speak Austronesian) which are not found in other Asians."

Of course, the presence of unique mitochondrial DNA shared by Taiwanese and Polynesians could indicate the origins of the Polynesians from the islands of Taiwan, but it could just as easily indicate a visit from the opposite direction. This is especially true since the people whose DNA was tested are from an ancestry of a different origin than the majority of Taiwan's inhabitants. The mitochondrial DNA studies are an important clue, but they should be included along with all the other evidence in the search for the truth, rather than being used to force the acceptance of a single theory.

Since the publication of Heyerdahl's book in 1953, successful voyages have been made from Hawaii to Tahiti and other destinations in the Pacific by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, using double-hulled canoes and other technology available during the era before European contact. This map of the first voyage of the Hokule'a in 1976 clearly shows Raiatea, where Maori oral history tells us that Whatonga first landed after he was blown off course and then lost in the fog during his race.

This issue illustrates the fact that even today, the analysis of evidence regarding even the fairly recent past can be disputed by reasonable observers. The issue is also important from many other perspectives. First, it is important to the Polynesians themselves. It is also important because, as we have seen in several previous posts, the mysterious origins of the people of Polynesia appear to hold numerous clues concerning mankind's very ancient past.

Caution: staring too long at the above image of Hawaii may induce an irresistible urge to go surfing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DMT, Egypt, evolution, and other subjects

Here is an amazing episode of Magical Egypt featuring the work of John Anthony West and other researchers -- his pioneering and penetrating work can be found at his website here. The segments of the video can be found by following the links below, and it is well worth consideration as an introduction to a whole new layer of insight into the civilization of ancient Egypt.

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The incisive analysis of Mr. West illustrates a truth that I have stressed before in previous posts: namely, that just because there are clear astronomical and mathematical truths encoded in ancient myths and texts, this does not take away the many other rich layers of meaning which are also present. In other words, seeing celestial codes in literature does not take away from the deep and powerful illumination of other aspects of the human condition in that literature. It only adds; it does not take away (see for example the discussion in this previous post and this previous post).

The documentary segment above neatly illustrates the way numerous other layers may be going on at the same time that celestial truths are being preserved. For example, the videos begin with an extensive and erudite explanation of the text of "The Book of What is in the Duat" found in the tomb of Tuthmoses III (reigned 1479 BC - 1425 BC) by John Anthony West. This is an extremely important text (also known as the Amduat) and it is well worthwhile to listen to Mr. West's explication of it. Its first complete known appearance is in the very tomb of Tuthmoses III shown in the video. Tuthmoses III was the great-great-great grandfather of Tutankhamun, or the grandfather of the grandfather of Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten.

At approximately 8:40 in the second of the above six videos, Mr. West describes "a familiar figure" which confronts the progress of the solar bark through the twelve hours of the Amduat. This figure, we are told, is the "great serpent, which is being chopped up by knives. This is the serpent Apep, or Apophis, which is a form of Set, the opposition." The point of bringing this up is to show that, while Set plays an incredibly important role in the astronomical knowledge hidden in the Egyptian myths (which surface again and again in mythology around the world), a role which is described in Hamlet's Mill and elaborated upon in greater detail in Jane Sellers' Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt and in the Mathisen Corollary, this celestial role does not mean that Set cannot also stand for several other principles which have less to do with astronomy and more to do with life, death, and the human condition. This is an important point to consider.

Along these lines, the transition of the discussion in the above videos to the work of dimethyltriptamine (DMT) researcher Dr. Rick Strassman follows an extremely interesting analysis of the Amduat text which begins at approximately 3:00 minutes into segment three of six above. There, the assertion is made that the geometry and negative spacing of one drawing of two human figures flanking two intertwined serpents topped by a solar disc suggests a human skull, with the sun disc approximating the location of the pineal gland (and the Uraeus headdress).

From there, the videos explore the rather controversial theory of Dr. Strassman, who believes that the powerful hallucinogenic compound DMT may be naturally produced in certain conditions in the human body, perhaps by the pineal gland, and that this substance is tied to the perception of mystical experiences as well as to visions of the afterlife and the well-known reports of near-death experiences by numerous individuals. Small amounts of naturally-occurring DMT have been found in human tissues, and the theory of some researchers is that certain types of meditation or certain levels of stress could trigger increased production of DMT and possibly the onset of powerful visions and otherworldly experiences.

A brand-new documentary discussing Dr. Strassman's theories, and the implications of DMT in general, based upon and named after Dr. Strassman's book The Spirit Molecule, is currently being released.

The implications of this theory, as well as the very interesting ties to ancient Egypt discussed in the remaining segments of the video above, are fascinating to consider, whether one accepts them or not. Another important theme of this blog and my book is the importance of considering alternative theories and examining all the available evidence for and against them, rather than rejecting them out of hand as is too often the case today. Thor Heyerdahl's approving reference to a quotation by Edgar Smith Craighill Handy is worth repeating in this context: "There is such a variety of possibilities open in the matter of relationships and derivations that my own feeling is that there is only one sure way of being in the wrong, and that is by asserting dogmatically what is not true" (cited in American Indians in the Pacific 8).

If a naturally-occurring chemical compound is in fact responsible for mystic visions and concepts of otherworldly beings and an afterlife, does this mean that critics can dismiss the reality of a soul and a spirit world, mystical revelation, and other related concepts as mere figments of a chemically-induced altered state of consciousness?

One strong argument against Darwinian evolution is the extensive evidence for a spiritual aspect to human existence. Spirits or souls cannot really be explained by Darwinian evolution at all, which is why the existence of such concepts is vehemently rejected by most Darwinian apologists. If any supernatural experiences can be attributed to naturally-occurring hallucinogenic compounds, perhaps produced by the pineal gland, then this would appear to be a powerful new argument in the evolutionists' arsenal.

However, there are several counters to this line of argument as well. First and most obvious among them is the possibility that naturally-occurring DMT is not responsible for visions at all (this hypothesis is still speculative and has not been proven). Another counter is the fact that some DMT users (and near-death experience survivors) appear to have experienced things that they would not be expected to know or that their brains could not be expected to have "dreamed up," whether under the influence of a chemical or not. There are also other evidences of spiritual aspects to the human experience which do not seem to rely upon altered states of reality among those who experience them (for instance, some of the physical feats performed by yogis, fakirs, or advanced martial artists). Finally, there is the entire discussion in the final videos of the series above in which doors and passwords for use in the afterlife are discussed, and the insightful comment of the narrator at the beginning of the discussion that such knowledge, in order to be useful, implies the transmission of data and knowledge from someone or something from the "other side."

Again, to discuss these things is not to imply agreement with or acceptance of everything that is discussed. However, it is a fascinating layer of analysis of a very ancient civilization, and an important line of clues into their "technologies" (technologies not only in the sense in which we commonly use the word, but also in the sense that martial arts and other forms of human achievement and science can be thought of as technology). It is important that researchers and analysts such as John Anthony West, Rick Strassman, and the others involved in the video and in ongoing investigations continue to probe in new and unconventional directions, because one never knows what will be discovered and when a new breakthrough might occur.

We should all be stimulated to apply our own gifts and areas of expertise in the same way to areas of research or analysis to which we are drawn, as the mystery of human existence and mankind's ancient past is too big for any one individual to decode in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The hydroplate theory and the lunar surface

In previous posts, we have presented extensive evidence which supports Walt Brown's hydroplate theory, which argues that most of the geological features found on earth are best explained by the events surrounding a catastrophic global flood rather than by tectonics and other "uniformitarian" theories which argue that most geological features were formed by the same processes which are going on today, working over tremendous lengths of time.

Previous evidence which we examined included the shape of deep ocean trenches, the gravity readings found above those ocean trenches, many aspects of earthquakes, many aspects of the Grand Canyon, the existence of fossils and geological strata, submarine canyons, the locations of volcanic activity, the case of the frozen mammoths, the fossil evidence found in Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the origin of petrified wood, and the apparent lack of impact from continental drift on megalithic monuments of great antiquity.

Going beyond evidence found on earth alone, Dr. Brown points out aspects of other bodies in the solar system which would also have been affected if the hydroplate theory is correct. He argues that the violence of the escaping water that caused the flood during the initial rupture event would have flung some water and rocks out of earth's orbit and into space. As the water burst out, not only would it have flung spray high into the atmosphere and even into space, but it would also have eroded the sides of the continental plates as it jetted out, filling the waters that covered the earth with tons of sediments and flinging a lot of it high into the atmosphere as well.

Additionally, the mass of the miles-high cliff faces created by this rupture would have caused huge blocks of earth and rock to collapse -- some of these giant chunks would have been forcefully jetted out into space. Most of those that were caught by earth's gravity would have burned up in the atmosphere, but the moon is not protected by an atmosphere and some of these huge pieces of earth would have struck it full force. You can see the scar left by this violent rupture and read more about the hydroplate theory in this previous post.

Dr. Brown argues that this theory provides a better explanation for the features on the surface of earth's moon than do other theories. For one thing, scientists know that the side of the moon that is always turned towards the earth has far more of the largest craters, which is very difficult to explain unless the source of the impacts was from the earth. Large space objects would be unlikely to circle around to the earth side of the moon and then turn around and dive onto the moon's surface instead of continuing on towards earth.

Even more mysterious, the dark patches on the moon's surface, which are visible from earth and are called the maria (or "seas") -- such as the Sea of Tranquility, or Mare Tranquillitatis -- are acknowledged by conventional scientists to have been formed by lava flows which have now cooled and hardened, and the vast majority of these are also on the earth-facing side of the moon as well. Why would almost all of them be on the earth-facing side? The few that are located on the far side are very small and are close to the few large craters on that side.

Dr. Brown explains on his site:
Some have proposed that the Moon’s crust must be thinner on the near side, so lava can squirt out more easily on the near side than on the far side. However, no seismic, gravity, or heat flow measurements support that hypothesis. The Moon’s density throughout is almost as uniform as that of a billiard ball, showing that little distinctive crust exists. Not only did large impacts form the giant basins, but much of their impact energy melted rock and generated lava flows. This is why the lava flows came after the craters formed. These impacts appear to have happened recently.
[. . .]
If the impacts that produced these volcanic features occurred slowly from any or all directions, all sides would be equally hit. Only if the impacts occurred rapidly from a specific direction would large impact features be concentrated on one side of the Moon. Of course, large impacts would kick up millions of smaller rocks that would themselves create impacts or go into orbit around the Moon and later create other impacts—even on Earth. Today, both sides of the Moon are saturated with smaller craters. Were the large lunar impactors launched from Earth?
Even conventional theorists admit that whatever caused the craters and the lava appears to have taken place in a relatively concentrated window of time in the past. In other words, uniformitarian processes (processes that are going on now, acting over very long periods of time) do not satisfactorily explain the features of the lunar surface. Some unusual event must have caused them.

We might point out as an aside that if this is true of the features on the moon, it appears to be even more true for the features of the earth. The events described in Dr. Brown's theory would provide a very good explanation for these puzzling aspects of the lunar surface.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Great time of year to erect a menhir

Now is a great time to begin tracking the sun's path where you live, if you haven't done so already. You can erect a gnomon or a menhir in a part of your property where the shadows from other objects (such as trees, hedges, fences, or your house) will not interfere with its shadow during the day.

A gnomon is the general term for the central "fin" or obelisk in a sundial, designed to cast a shadow which has a definite point that can be tracked across the ground or the sundial surface. The word is derived from the Greek word "to know" and is related to the word "gnosis."

A menhir is a more specific term for the unhewn standing stones found throughout the world (and especially in western Europe and the British Isles), some of them of great size. The word is derived from French by way of Breton, a language spoken in Brittany and related to Brythonic (a Celtic language). It is composed of two words, men meaning stone and hir meaning long.

The fact that most menhirs found around the world are unhewn or undressed stone is another clue in the discussion found in the post "Who were the ancient Celts and Druids?" in which allegations of a connection between the ancient Hebrews and Phoenicians and the ancient Celts are examined. The Hebrew Scriptures stipulate in Exodus 20:25 "And if thou shalt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it." We also find in Genesis 28:18 "And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it."

In any event, if you set up a gnomon or a menhir on your property (or in some open space near your home), you can observe the changing shadows cast by the sun throughout the year. This phenomenon is caused by the tilt of the earth's axis, which causes the path taken by the sun (the "ecliptic") to change its angle as the earth goes around the sun (for this reason the tilt of the earth's axis is also known as "the obliquity of the ecliptic").

This tilt of the earth's axis causes the sun to rise and set in the northern hemisphere from a point furthest north at the summer solstice (where earth is now), which makes sense if you think of a globe with an axial tilt and its north pole pointed most directly towards the sun. During the opposite solstice, when the earth has moved around its path such that its north pole is pointed most directly away from the sun, the sun's rising and setting will be furthest south in the northern hemisphere.

This phenomenon is depicted in the rough sketch above. The earth's surface (with a menhir or gnomon) is drawn as a rectangle, with the east edge and west edge labeled. The unlabeled north edge is of course the one to the left and the unlabeled south edge the one to the right. Along the east edge, where the sun rises each morning, the rising points of the summer solstice, winter solstice, and both equinoxes are marked with the letters SS (for summer solstice), E (for the point at which the sun rises on both equinoxes), and WS (for winter solstice).

Note that the ecliptic path traveled by the sun looks like a "tilted rainbow" or arch in this diagram. The arch is more tilted at winter solstice (that is, its apex is closer to the horizon) than at summer solstice (when its apex is further from the horizon). This also makes sense if you imagine again the globe with an axial tilt going around the sun.

The differences in the tilt of the sun's path will create a different shadow length throughout the year. If you think about it for a moment, you will realize that the sun traveling along the more upright arc traveled by the sun at summer solstice will cast a shadow that is much closer to the gnomon or menhir than will the sun when it is traveling along the more tilted arc of winter solstice, which will cast a much longer shadow.

The path of the shadow will actually make a tight arc around the gnomon or menhir on summer solstice, which will gradually uncurl into a straight line at the equinoxes, and then begin to curve outward as it begins to approach winter solstice. The three lines approximating shadow paths made on the solstices and the equinox are sketched into the drawing above*.

This pattern was discussed previously in the post entitled "What are cross-quarter days?" and again in greater detail in the post on "The Solar Double Spiral," which included a link to an excellent site by artist Charles Ross illustrating this principle (to see the animation of the shadow field, follow the link and then click the link for "Solar Pyramid and Shadow Field" and then click the link for "Shadow Field"). That post also explains how this curling and uncurling shadow pattern is related to the ancient double spiral that represented the sun's path from one solstice to the other throughout the year.

So, if you don't have a sundial or menhir, today is a great day to set one up and begin tracking the shadows through the year. It takes only a small bit of commitment to set up a good one (certainly much less commitment than it takes to get a solar double spiral tattooed across the bridge of your nose).

* Note that this pattern is that which is found in between the tropics and the arctic or antarctic circles in either hemisphere. North and south of the arctic and antarctic circles, respectively, the sun will not rise at all during the winter, and will not set during the summer. From the equator to the lines of the tropics north and south of the equator, the sun will actually cast a shadow on either side of the gnomon or menhir depending upon the time of year. This is an important piece of information to know if you are ever stranded on a desert island like Robinson Crusoe or Tom Hanks: observation of the shadow of a gnomon or menhir can help you determine north and south, and whether you are within the two tropics or outside of them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who were the ancient Celts and Druids?

The June solstice is here (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere), and ancient solar monuments such as Stonehenge are the site of all kinds of solstitial revelry, as is increasingly common in recent years.

While these celebrations are often associated with neo-paganism and other forms of nature-worship, it is appropriate to ask if the builders themselves may have intended them to represent something quite different. In particular, it is perhaps worthwhile to look at some alternative theories regarding the ancient Druids and Celts which were put forward in previous centuries, which are largely ignored or ridiculed today.

We venture into this territory only very tentatively and with sensitivity for the fact that the subject is a very living and personal issue to many individuals around the world today. In fact, members of the order of Druids may still be said to exist, and so any discussion of the subject must maintain respect for this fact.

While some may vigorously disagree with their conclusions, it is clear that many scholars in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries believed that the Druids, and the Celts in general, appeared to have strong connections to the ancient Hebrews and Phoenicians, and may well have shared their religious beliefs to some extent which is difficult to determine today.

To begin with, many ancient historians including Josephus, Posidonius, and the more recent 12th-century Byzantine scholar John Zonaras believed that the people the Greeks called the Celtae and the Romans most often the Gauls were descended from Gomer the son of Japhet the son of Noah in Genesis, and that the names Comerian, Kumero, Kumeri, Cymero, Cimmerian, Cimri, Cymbri, Cambria, and other ancient names for these people were all derivations of the name Gomer. The traditional name for Wales is Cymru ("the land of the Cymry").

Eustathius of Antioch, who was a participant in the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, wrote that "Gamer [as the name Gomer was written in the Septuagint] was the founder of the Gamerians, whom we now call Galatians or Gauls" (cited in Godfrey Higgins [1772 - 1833], Celtic Druids [1829], page 55). St. Jerome voiced a similar opinion.

Ancient Phoenician and Hebrew culture shared many similar aspects, including language and style of writing (from right to left and without vowels in the earliest forms), and eighteenth-century scholar Charles Vallancey (1721 - 1812) argued that "the Celtic, Punic, Phoenician and Hebrew languages" share "the strongest affinity (nay a perfect identity in very many words)" (in An Essay on the Antiquity of the Irish Language, page 21). He points out that the ancient Irish assumed to themselves "the name of Feni or Fenicians, which they have retained through all ages," and gave the name Bearla Feni ("the Phoenician tongue") to one of their languages (19).

Vallancey also lists numerous words from ancient Hebrew and Phoenician that correspond to Irish words, such as gan and gan-gamel (Hebrew and Phoenician words for a hovel or small enclosure) and Irish gan, gan-ail, and gan-gamuil for the same concept, or the ancient Phoenician term shac for a king or ruler, corresponding to Irish seadh for the same concept (17). He alleges that the ancient Phoenician word suren and Hebrew sar, for next in power to the king, became Irish saor and saoi, and is related to the modern word "sir."

In speaking of the ancient Druidic religion, Vallancey maintains that it was preserved in its purest form in the British Isles (probably because Roman conquest ignored Ireland)(55). He declares that "The pagan Irish never admitted the modern Deities of the Greeks and Romans into their worship; even to the days of St. Patrick their worship was pure Assyrian, and consisted of the heavenly host alone, as I have described elsewhere" (65). He notes that they did not make idols or representations of the deity (and that if they had it would have certainly attracted the attention of St. Patrick) and that there is ample evidence that they maintained a Sabbath on the seventh day, a system of tithes, and used the term Beith-Al to refer to the "House of God" (55-56, 64). Other historians have noted that the Druids, like the Levitical priests of the ancient Hebrews, were exempted from military service.

Julius Caesar noted that the Druids were extremely learned, declaring in Book IV of the Gallic Wars that:
They have, also, much knowledge of the stars and their motion. They hold long discussions about heavenly bodies and their movements, the size of the universe and the earth, the physical constitutions of the world and the powers and properties of the gods, and they instruct the young men in all these subjects.
Is it possible that these very learned students of nature, the heavens, and the movements of the celestial bodies, who shared so many linguistic and cultural affiliations with both the ancient Hebrews and Phoenicians, whom Vallancey alleges "believed the Deity to be infinite and omnipresent, and thought it ridiculous to imagine that he whom the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain, should be circumscribed within the narrow limits of a roof" (55-56) were practicing some form of the Hebrew religion, and that the deities and sun and moon worship attributed to them is related to the encoding of celestial motions within myths and legends as discussed in this previous post on "God and the gods"? That there was a long-running tension between those who began to worship the heavenly bodies themselves and those who worshiped the one who created and set in motion those heavenly bodies is quite clear from the Hebrew Scriptures.

There are other pieces of evidence that historians of previous centuries have noted, such as the possibility that the Goidels or Goidelic Celts took their name from the Hebrew tribe of Gad, or that the phrase Tuatha de Danann may be related to the Hebrew tribe of Dan.

This subject is taken up in the final chapter of the Mathisen Corollary book as well.

In closing this brief foray into a very deep and complicated subject, it is important to stress that these clues and the interpretations offered for them by scholars of previous centuries are just that: scattered clues and the analyses of those clues offered by admittedly imperfect human beings, each of them with various gaps, biases, and possibly agendas of their own. It is probably important not to become too dogmatic on this subject, since very little is really known for certain about the most ancient origins of the Druids and Celts of twenty-three or even twenty-eight centuries ago. These clues are important to examine and not to simply dismiss, and it is probably best to adopt the attitude that those who look into these matters should be open to looking at the strengths and weaknesses of all the possible explanations, and ways in which those explanations fit or do not fit the various pieces of evidence that remain to us today.

The Hobbit and Summer Solstice

The earth is rapidly approaching the point of June solstice -- summer solstice for the Northern Hemisphere, the point at which the north pole points most directly at the sun, which will take place on June 21 shortly after 10 am California time.

Of course, this is a very important point in the annual cycle of the sun, and was duly marked and encoded in various ways by ancient civilizations. Readers are encouraged to revisit the previous post entitled "The Solar Double Spiral" for a discussion of one important representation of the sun's annual path in ancient art.

It is very likely that this particular symbol is represented by the double Uraeus found on the mask of Tutankhamun, for example. While conventional historians often declare that the Egyptian Uraeus featuring both an asp and a vulture represents political symbolism -- the uniting of the earthly geographic realms of Upper and Lower Egypt -- the authors of Hamlet's Mill argue that celestial imagery is "continuously mislabeled" in political terms, and that the mislabeling of celestial imagery as the Uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt is one of the most common examples of this confusion (see for example pages 162 and 163).

The serpentine path of the sun throughout the year discussed in the post on the solar double spiral also suggests the form of a dragon, and likely also relates to the Norse myth of a serpent that encircles the entire earth (the Midgard Serpent). In the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (which take place in "Middle Earth," an English translation of the Norse word "Midgard"), the concept of an encircling "ring" is of course very prominent, as are dragons (especially in The Hobbit). William Lasseter has written a very insightful discussion of some of the themes in The Hobbit (including the hospitality theme, which is central to Beowulf, which Tolkien analyzed extensively in his professional life as a literary and linguistic scholar), which can be found on his blog ScribbleBibble here. He argues that Tolkien's "dragon-imagery embodies the action of self-reflection that emerges in serious intellectual inquiry" -- that Bilbo's confrontation with Smaug is in many ways a confrontation with himself (as is the encounter with Gollum).

Interestingly, the summer solstice plays a role in the entrance into this encounter with the dragon in The Hobbit. At the beginning of the book, Gandalf reveals a map which indicates the existence of "a closed door which has been made to look exactly like the side of the Mountain" (26).

Then, in Rivendell, where the party stays until the night of midsummer (summer solstice and the period of three days surrounding the solstice), Elrond discovers "moon-letters" which give the clue to opening this mysterious door: "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the key-hole" (52). Elrond is able to see this message only because he looked for them on precisely the right day, as he explains:
"Moon-letters are rune-letters, but you cannot see them," said Elrond, "not when you look straight at them. They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the more cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written. The dwarves invented them and wrote them with silver pens, as your friends could tell you. These must have been written on a midsummer's eve in a crescent moon, a long while ago." 52.
The next morning, midsummer's morning, the party sets off from Rivendell -- a place of safety and song and assistance, after which there is the wild and a series of increasingly dangerous incidents leading up to the encounter with the dragon. Thus, it is appropriate that Tolkien has his party leave there at the summer solstice, after which the year begins to decline towards winter, and the days grow shorter and shorter.

Tolkien's work, which is familiar to many modern readers, is an example of the way in which celestial imagery can be encoded in memorable stories. To say that there are celestial themes working alongside the other themes in a piece of literature does not take anything away from the other themes of human existence which are usually present as well (such as the theme of self-confrontation and identity which Bilbo must wrestle with). On the contrary, they add to it. This appears to be what is going on in ancient myth as well (see for example the discussion in this previous post).

As summer solstice approaches, it is appropriate to consider the events in The Hobbit as an accessible modern window into the way that ancient myth encodes truths about celestial events, and is thus linked not only to literature but also to science. Considering the role of the summer solstice in The Hobbit may also reveal a hidden door for us to enter into our own "action of self-reflection" or confrontation with ourselves, as it does for Bilbo.

References to page-numbers in The Hobbit are from the 1978 hardbound Houghton Mifflin edition, reprinted in 1998.

The Mathisen Corollary blog now available for Kindle subscription

The Mathisen Corollary blog has recently been made available for subscription on Kindle. Now readers who keep up with their favorite news and blogs via their Kindle device can have the Mathisen Corollary blog delivered automatically to their Kindle whenever a new post is published. The service costs $1.99 per month, and comes with a fourteen-day trial period.

Of course, you can also read the Mathisen Corollary blog for no charge right here on the web, and subscribe to it via RSS feed in a web "reader" or subscribe to receive email notification whenever a new post is published, using the links in the right-hand column of this page.

However, for those readers who prefer to use their Kindle to keep up with news and other web content, perhaps because they are constantly traveling by airplane or otherwise on-the-go all the time, this option is now available.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vindication for Thor Heyerdahl

Here is a link to a recent story in the Telegraph UK entitled "Kon-Tiki explorer was partly right -- Polynesians had South American roots." It reports that new genetic research by a University of Oslo professor has discovered genes in blood samples taken from Easter Islanders in 1971 and 2008 that were previously only found in indigenous American populations.

Norwegian explorer and author Thor Heyerdahl (1914 - 2002) put forward the thesis that the original settlement of the Pacific islands of Polynesia most likely came from the east (North and South America) than from the west (Asia and Malaysia), providing extensive evidence to back up his argument which filled an 821-page book, and famously venturing out himself across the Pacific in the Kon-Tiki raft to prove that the currents from South America supported his theory.

These stories about the genetic research concerning Easter Island first began to surface in some news outlets around June 6 and June 7, only a week after this blog published a post entitled "A Memorial Day Meditation on the mystery of Easter Island" on May 31, in which we argued for Heyerdahl's theory.

We noted then that it continues to be fashionable to ridicule Heyerdahl's theory and cited an article by author Jared Diamond who declared that Heyerdahl "brushed aside overwhelming evidence that the Easter Islanders were typical Polynesians derived from Asia rather than the Americas and that their culture (including their statues) grew out of Polynesian culture."

Here is a link to an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle back in April (just over a month before this new genetic evidence was released) about Easter Island which mentions Thor Heyerdahl and Easter Island, calling him the "author of a few wildly popular (and even more wildly speculative) books about the place." Perhaps this article's author, Spud Hilton of the Chronicle, and Jared Diamond will soon be publishing apologies for their dismissive words about Heyerdahl.

Far from "brushing aside overwhelming evidence" or floating "wildly speculative" theories, Heyerdahl amassed overwhelming evidence in support of his argument, the vast bulk of which is never directly addressed by his critics. Now, modern science appears to have added new genetic evidence to Heyerdahl's pile of data about the origins of the Polynesian cultures of the Pacific ocean.

Heyerdahl noted that the prevailing currents (see map above) support migration from the Americas rather than from the west. In his 1953 work American Indians in the Pacific: The Theory behind the Kon-Tiki Expedition he noted that the Polynesians themselves in their oral history and legends always identified their ancestors came from the east to the west, and that the first land settled by their ancestors was a group of islands known as Hawaiki or Hawai'i. Heyerdahl notes that these traditions are held "quite independently on widely separated Polynesian islands" and also notes that the first islands that would be encountered by mariners sailing from the direction of the Americas would be Hawai'i and Easter Island (41).

While opponents of his theory argue that Hawaiki must refer to Java in Indonesia and that the Polynesians were simply mixed up about the direction of their ancient origins, Heyerdahl points out numerous problems with this theory, beginning with the direction of the prevailing winds and currents. He notes that the Polynesians were outstanding mariners, and could and did complete successful voyages against the wind and the currents over great distances, but argues that the first men to reach the scattered islands of the Pacific were not necessarily as skilled as their descendents later became. Of those first settlers of the vast Pacific, he says:
If they had come from the east, from America, they could have reached Polynesia even against their own will and intention, merely by clinging to any buoyant coastal craft that was driven to sea and carried west by the prevailing winds and currents. But, if they had come from the west, from Asia, they could have reached Polynesia only if they were already, before departure, expert mariners with a keen insight into navigation and highly developed craft with rigging capable of forcing an eastward journey against the prevailing wind. 41.
Those who argue that the ancestors of the Polynesians came from the direction of Asia and Malaysia or Indonesia must also explain where such a group came from, who were simultaneously expert mariners but whose descendents in Polynesia did not use technologies that were present in Indonesia and Melanesia from very ancient times, technologies such as the loom for weaving (Polynesians made bark cloth instead of woven cloth, while the loom was well known in Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia), iron (Captain Cook noted that the islanders he encountered appeared totally unaware of the value of the iron ore he saw deposited in streams when he first reached their islands), alcohol, shell currency, kite fishing techniques, and numerous other developments present in Indonesia and Malaysia from a very early period.

On the other hand, the Polynesian level of seafaring ability was far beyond anything displayed by any of the cultures or locations in Asia, Indonesia, or Malaysia where conventional theorists believe that they originated.

Again, those who hold the conventional theory must argue that these impressive seafaring people were so confused about direction that they got east and west reversed in their own legends, and thought their forefathers came from the east when they actually came from the west, and that when they said Hawaiki was to the east they were mistakenly referring to Java, which was to the west. And they maintain this despite the widespread oral traditions among the islanders that the early generations of Polynesian seafarers made numerous return voyages back to Hawaiki. He notes that:
During the first generations after the dispersal of the Maori-Polynesian people from Hawaiki, courageous mariners, from all the major islands, made return voyages to this first discovered island, to visit their relatives and the earliest Pacific abode of their sacred ancestors. A lively contact existed between the central Polynesian islands and Hawaiki, and even between New Zealand and Hawaiki, until this great maritime activity gradually ceased. The historical traditions of the New Zealand Maori are especially rich in detailed accounts of the arrival of their ancestors from Hawaiki and subsequent return voyages to the same islands. 41.
Heyerdahl also cites an ancient Maori chant, documented by the prolific researcher of Maori culture Dr. Peter H. Buck (born 1880, whose Maori name was Te Rangihiroa, and who achieved the rank of Major and earned the combat valor award of the DSO in World War I, where he served in Gallipoli and in France), in 1938. This traditional Maori chant concerned the voyage back to Hawaiki, and clearly indicates that that homeland was to the east, in the direction of the rising sun:
Now do I direct the bow of my canoe
To the opening whence arises the sun god,
Tami-nui-te-ra, Great-son-of-the-sun.
Let me not deviate from the course
But sail direct to the Homeland. Cited in Heyerdahl 58-59.
Are we to understand that the Maoris sailed to Java to visit Hawaiki but did not realize that it was in the direction of the setting sun instead of the rising sun? And yet this is the position that critics must maintain who argue that Hawaiki was really in Indonesia. It is also very strange that if numerous return voyages were made to Indonesia, no record exists in Indonesia of such contact, and the Polynesians who went there did not pick up the techniques for making alcohol, iron, woven fabric, or the others mentioned above from the people that they found there when they returned to their supposed Asian homeland. He also notes that there is no trace of influence of Buddhism or Hinduism in Polynesian culture, in spite of the very strong cultural influence of both in Indonesia and Asia stretching back to centuries BC (43).

In addition to all this evidence against the idea that the people of Polynesia came originally from the west and Asia to the east, Heyerdahl also presents voluminous evidence which argues for connections with peoples of North and South America, including the accomplished builders of the spectacular pyramids and statues of Peru, and that the stone sculptures of Easter Island and the megalithic "arch" and pyramids of Tonga resemble those of Peru, Bolivia, and elsewhere in the Americas more than anything from Asia.

He also presents startling similarities between Polynesian culture and many aspects of the culture of the Northwest Indians (Native Americans) such as the Kwakiutl, the Nootka and the Haida. He was not the first to note these similarities -- many early European explorers who visited Polynesia and then the Northwest (including Captain Cook) were struck by these amazing similarities, and remarked upon them in their logs and records. They especially noted the similarities to aspects of the Maori culture, many of which Heyerdahl lists and which are too numerous to include in detail here.

One of the most obvious similarities was the similarity between the magnificent oceangoing canoes of the Northwest Indians and those of the Polynesians. Below is a photograph from 1910 of an ocean canoe of the Kwakiutl (which apparently is an Anglicized version of the true name of this people, which is Kwakwaka'wakw).

These canoes were extremely seaworthy, capable of slicing their way over the mammoth ocean swells of the Pacific, and were the defining cultural artifact of those Northwest tribes, as described by an officer of the US Navy, A.P. Niblack (who achieved the rank of Admiral but made contact with the tribes of the Northwest as a young ensign) who in 1888 wrote:
The canoe is to the Northwest coast what the camel is to the desert. It is to the Indian of this region what the horse is to the Arab. It is the apple of his eye and the object of his solicitous attention and affection. It reaches its highest development in the world among the Haida of Queen Charlotte Islands. Cited in Heyerdahl 95.
Admiral Niblack was not the only observer to rate these canoes the finest ocean canoes in the world; American geologist and anthropologist William Henry Holmes (1846 - 1933) said of them, "These dugout canoes are often of great size, beauty, and seaworthiness, and are probably the world's highest achievement in this direction," and New Zealand professor and scholar John Macmillan Brown (1846 - 1935) said of the Northwest tribes, "Their canoes are large and roomy, capable of accommodating scores of men; they are made with great skill and artistic talent; they are of all primitive craft the most fitted for meeting the conditions of oceanic voyaging, and have a great resemblance to the Maori war canoe . . ." (cited in Heyerdahl 95).

The remarkable similarity to the wakas, or war canoes of the Maori, can be seen by comparing the photograph above to the beautiful waka in the photograph below:

Heyerdahl's book provides evidence of many further similarities beyond their shape and appearance (even though the similarities in shape and appearance, and their seaworthiness, are striking enough by themselves). Note also that the prevailing currents indicated on the map at the top of this post are quite favorable for a voyage from the islands of the Northwest tribes to Hawaii and the Pacific islands of Polynesia.

Finally, Heyerdahl offers what may be the most significant and amazing evidence that is rarely mentioned anywhere today, and that is the tradition of a culture hero who came among the Northwest tribes on foot, performing wonderful works and doing supernatural feats, and then went away over the ocean to be seen no more. An early visitor to the Kwakiutl, G. M. Dawson, who in 1888 published "Notes and Observations on the Kwakiool People of the Northern Part of Vancouver Island and Adjacent Coasts" (which contained a dictionary of about seven hundred Kwakiutl words, and which can be read in a sometimes very poor transcript from a microfiche online here) said, "The name of this hero, like other words in the language, is somewhat changed in the various dialects. After hearing it pronounced by a number of individuals in the northern part of Vancouver Island and on the west coast, I adopted 'Kan-e-a-ke-luh' as the most correct rendering" (Heyerdahl 148). Dawson records:
No one knows his origin or whence he came. He never travelled in a canoe, but always walked. He is regarded as a diety and as the creator.
and also:
At last Kan-e-a-ke-luh left Cape Scott finally, going very far away and disappearing altogher from mortal ken, so that the people supposed the sun to represent him. 148-149.
Heyerdahl notes the well-attested fact that a very similar legendary culture hero in Hawaii was named Kane, and in New Zealand among the Maori he was known as Tane (and that the Hawaiian letter "K" is consistently rendered in Maori by the letter "T")(149).

Even more startling is the fact that these legends are almost identical to the now-famous legends of a culture hero who moved among the ancestors of the ancient high civilizations of Central and South America, the Maya, the Inca, and the Aztecs, and that he was known as Viracocha but also as Conn or Kon-Tiki (and sometimes as Kon-Tiki Viracocha). Graham Hancock chronicles this legend in great detail in Fingerprints of the Gods, but Heyerdahl does as well in American Indians in the Pacific.

All of this evidence is perhaps even more conclusive than the recent genetic tests announced by the Telegraph yesterday. Nevertheless, even after this new vindication of Heyerdahl's thesis, the articles on the subject say that he was only partly right -- or even (in the less charitable description of the Norwegian professor who conducted the DNA tests themselves, cited at the end of the Telegraph article) that "Heyerdahl was wrong but not completely." The conventional theory that the Polynesians came from Asia appears to be very difficult to shake, and this new evidence is being seen as supporting a very small and unimportant contribution from the Americas.

However, as noted above, Heyerdahl presented far more evidence than he is given credit for -- evidence that should be sufficient to cause us to reconsider the assumptions of conventional history, and to believe that there may well have been contact across the oceans far earlier than conventional theorists would like to admit.

This new evidence should provide some vindication for the work of Thor Heyerdahl, although if his other evidence does not cause modern researchers to reconsider their opinion of his work and his theory, we should probably not be surprised if the gene tests do not either.