Sunday, May 19, 2019

Introducing the Ancient World-Wide System: Star Myths of the World, Volume One (Second Edition)

I am especially excited to announce the publication of my newest book, The Ancient World-Wide System: Star Myths of the World, Volume One (Second Edition).

This latest volume constitutes a greatly expanded and completely revised version of Star Myths of the World, Volume One, which was published in 2015. Weighing in at 912 pages, it is nearly twice as long as the original version of Volume One, and brings to bear completely new perspectives and insights that I have gained since writing the first edition (perspectives and insights gained during the process of writing Volumes Two, Three and Four, as well as Astrotheology for Life and Ancient Myths, Ancient Wisdom, not to mention more than 300 additional blog posts and dozens of additional videos).

It is safe to say that this is the most comprehensive examination of the ancient system of celestial metaphor underlying the world's myths that I have written thus far. You can check out the Table of Contents, selections from various chapters, and the Index (approximately 80 pages all together) in the "Books" section of my primary website, here.

Among other aspects of ancient myth, this volume explores:
  • Celestial foundations for myths from ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient India, ancient China and Japan, and the cultures of Australia, Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific.
  • Celestial foundations for the stories surrounding the life of the Buddha.
  • Celestial aspects of the Tao Te Ching and the accounts of Laozi.
  • Connections between myth-patterns found in numerous cultures, including stories of the "baby cast adrift" or the "unsuccessful retrieval from the land of the dead."
  • Celestial foundations for the patterns of the special "handbag" or "bucket" seen in artwork from ancient Mesopotamia as well as from the Olmec civilization of Central America (as well as on Pillar 43 of Enclosure D at Gobekli Tepe).
  • Celestial foundations for the avatars of Vishnu found in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India.
  • Evidence that the "termite mounds" mentioned in the myths of ancient India and the sacred stories of Aboriginal Australian cultures have their celestial original in the same important constellation in our night sky.
  • Undeniable artistic connections between depictions of deities in Mayan codexes and depictions of deities from cultures such as ancient Greece and ancient India, and evidence that these deities are all connected to the same constellation in each case.
  • Discussion of the possible esoteric meaning that these ancient myths intend to convey to our understanding, and the reason this message is still so vitally important to us in this very moment of our lives today.
In the conclusion of this volume, I write that:
I could of course have divided this present volume into a number of shorter books, each examining for example the myths of a different continent, but in doing so I felt something might have been lost: the ability to present a very broad sweep of myths from literally around the globe, and to see again and again certain patterns and oicotypes emerging which argue very strongly that the world's ancient traditions all belong to a single amazing system . . . 
827 - 828.
I hope you will agree that this comprehensive tour of ancient myths from around the world provides the best possible introduction to the ancient system of celestial metaphor that informs the ancient sacred stories given to our ancestors in remote antiquity around the globe, and the most comprehensive introduction to the other volumes which follow this one in the series examining the Star Myths of the World.

Below is a new video I made to introduce The Ancient World-Wide System. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who is interested in these subjects, or who might benefit from this information:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Good Vibes to new visitors from the Grimerica Show, and to returning friends!

Big thank-you to Darren and Graham of the Grimerica Show for having me over for another thought-provoking visit to Grimerica and conversation about myths, stars, books, and everything.

Welcome! to any new visitors who are exploring the Star Myths for the first time after hearing the interview or seeing the video -- as well as to returning friends. 

The interview was recorded and live-streamed on YouTube Live on May 08, 2019. As you can hear from the interview, I prepared a number of images including artwork and star-charts to help illustrate some of the areas of discussion during the talk. 

Unfortunately the live video of the interview itself was somehow lost to history, so I made a shortened version and added-in the images retroactively, and the end result is almost as good as the original! 

The version above, with the images added, is shorter than the original interview, because it is centered on the part of the discussion that addressed the artwork and star-charts. If you want to listen to the entire interview (without the visual aids), you can go to the Grimerica YouTube channel and find the May 08 interview here. You can also go to the Grimerica podcast archive and download the audio file here.

We explored a wide range of subjects during our conversation. Below are a few links to previous posts with more discussion of some of the subjects we touched upon during the show, for those who are interested in exploring further:
I urge everyone to listen to and support non-corporate-controled media as much as possible, including the Good Vibes Land of Grimerica.

Thanks for listening -- please share with others and hope you will visit often! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Present Moment and the Higher Self

Above is a brand-new video I've just published entitled "The Present Moment and the Higher Self."

It explores some of the amazing aspects of the myths and characters contained within the Gilgamesh cycle from ancient Sumer and Babylon and the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia.

The Gilgamesh series was re-discovered during the nineteenth century after thousands of years, inscribed upon ancient clay tablets in fragmentary condition. These tablets and their texts constitute some of the oldest, if not the oldest, extended human writing to be found anywhere in the world thus far, and us contain some of the oldest, if not the oldest, myths to have been written down and to have survived -- and yet their message is as relevant and important to our lives today as this present moment in which you and I are living right now.

Some of these tablets were inscribed close to the year we call 2000 BC, and the Gilgamesh cycle itself is thought to date to some time prior to 2000 BC. The fragmentary tablets were first deciphered, in part, by George Smith (1840 - 1876), whom scholar and translator of the definitive translation of the Gilgamesh cycle Professor Andrew George refers to as the "first professional Assyriologist" in this lecture regarding the ancient material, and whose life and achievements were discussed in this previous blog post written on George Smith's birthday, which is well worth re-visiting on this occasion.

I hope you will enjoy this new video about the vitally important subjects of the present moment and the Higher Self, and the ways in which the ancient myths and sacred stories entrusted to humanity in remote antiquity were designed to impart understanding of these concepts to our "intelligence-of-the-heart" (as Schwaller de Lubicz called it) through esoteric metaphor.

Please feel free to share with your friends and family who might also benefit from this information, and thank you for watching!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Cinco de Mayo against Imperialism

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The observance of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla on the 5th of May, 1862, during which a hastily-assembled and numerically-inferior force of Mexican patriots, led by Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated a numerically-superior, better-equipped, professional force of French soldiers who were supporting the imperialist policy of Napoleon III of France. The French army at that time was extremely formidable and had a reputation of invincibility.

Imperialism can be defined as the practice of taking the land and resources that have been given by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature) to the men and women of one land and, through forms of coercion, appropriating them for the benefit by of another group, rather than for the benefit of the men and women to whom those resources were given.

In his essential 2017 book J is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception, Professor Michael P. Hudson has an entry on imperialism which reads in part:
The first and most brutal form of imperialism was military conquest. The object was to seize land and natural resources. The next step was [for the conqueror] to tax the population and extract land rent, turning the conquered territory into a colony, raising money to pay [the taxes imposed on them] by producing exports desired at home -- especially raw materials. Britain's colonial system is the classic example. It aimed to achieve imperial self-sufficiency in raw materials and money, while making colonies and other countries dependent on the resources it provided. 123
In his 1972 book Super Imperialism: the Origins and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance, Professor Hudson explains how the united states, once a group of colonies who had chafed at the imperial system imposed by Britain, became the world's dominant practitioner of imperialism following World War II:
Europe's industrial nations would open their doors and permit U.S. investors to buy in to the extractive industries of their former colonies, especially into Near Eastern oil. These less developed regions would provide the United States with raw materials rather than working them up into their own manufactures to compete with U.S. industry. They would purchase a rising stream of American foodstuffs and manufactures, especially those produced by the industries whose productive capacities had expanded greatly during the war. The resulting U.S. trade surplus would provide the foreign exchange to enable American investors to buy up the most productive resources of the world's industry, mining and agriculture. 10 - 11 (quoted from the Second Edition, published in 2003).
Note a pdf version of extended selections from Super Imperialism is available at Professor Hudson's website: the above quotation can be found on page 22 of that pdf version.

Super Imperialism goes on to explain that the united states policy has been to deliberately undermine agricultural self-sufficiency and food independence in countries rich in coveted natural resources, in order to coerce those countries into purchasing agricultural exports from the united states and pay for them by selling off the rights to the natural resources given to the targeted country by nature (or, as I would say, given to those men and women by the gods).

Professor Hudson explains that if countries rich in natural resources are allowed to be self-sufficient, they might decide to conserve those assets rather than exporting them:
Mineral assets represent diminishing assets. It is in the interest of developing peoples to conserve such assets for their own ultimate use in manufacturing industries, as these develop within the borders of nations rich in raw materials but backward in general development. In the short run such domestic use of mineral resources is not possible because of inadequate industrial capital and consumer markets. 213
He then points out that such inadequate capital could be overcome, if for example "World Bank loans and technical assistance" were used "to foster agricultural self-sufficiency among these peoples." Such self-sufficiency would enable the men and women of those nations, to whom nature (or the gods) had given those natural resources in the first place, to decide whether or not to sell those resources to foreign governments and foreign corporations, or to use them for their own domestic purposes, or some combination of the two of their own choosing:
Thereafter, exportation of fuels and minerals would become a matter of choice by these peoples, not a necessity. Such export might continue at current levels; it might increase, or it might diminish. The decision to conserve or to dissipate exhaustible resources would be autonomous, a matter of choice by these peoples and their governments, not something imposed on them from outside. The decision about desirable levels of population also would be a local matter, not something demanded among the terms on which capital resources are obtained from foreign suppliers. The peoples now dependent would escape that trap. This is not intended or desired by the World Bank or by the U.S. Government and its client regimes. 213 - 214
Note very closely what Professor Hudson avers in this passage: those pursuing a policy of imperialism (or hyper-imperialism) are not at all interested in the ability of the men and women of a targeted nation to have their own autonomy in deciding what to do with the resources given to them by nature. 

In other words, imperialists are not at all interested in promoting self-sufficiency, nor in promoting "democracy," if democracy means enabling the men and women of a nation to make their own decisions about the use of their country's own natural resources. This fact can be seen quite plainly in the ongoing (and recently-intensifying) attempts to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Venezuela in order to seize their country's abundant natural resources by instituting "regime change."

Returning to the definition of "imperialism" offered in Michael Hudson's J is for Junk Economics, the passage goes on to explain that:
Modern imperialism is largely financial. Armies are no longer needed to appropriate foreign real estate, natural resources or public infrastructure. Financial dependency makes debtor countries subject to IMF and World Bank "conditionalities" imposing austerity that forces them to pay creditors by selling off their public domain. This transfers assets to the United States and other creditor powers, while avoiding overt colonialism's expensive military overhead. 
U.S. diplomats seek to consolidate American financial power by sharing gains with local client oligarchies that remain in the dollarized financial system and adopt neoliberal Washington Consensus policies. Pinochet-style "regime change" is mounted against countries that try to protect their political and financial independence by creating or joining rival currency blocs and banking systems (e.g., Libya and Syria). 123 - 124
In other words, when financial coercion does not cause targeted countries to submit to imperialist arrangements, then those countries will be targeted for "regime change." The term "local client oligarchies" refers to those who collaborate with the imperialists to sell out the natural resources of their nation -- given to the entire country by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature) -- in exchange for a piece of the action, taking for a few the benefits of the resources given to all the men and women permitted by heaven to be born in that country. 

It is primarily the members of these "local client oligarchies" who are collaborating now with the attempts to enact "regime change" in Venezuela, although the majority of the population clearly stands in opposition to the naked attempts to remove the elected government.

Below is a map of known world crude oil reserves which demonstrates the riches in natural resources coveted by those seeking regime change in Venezuela, which was included in this article on the situation written by former British diplomat turned activist and whistleblower Craig Murray and which was originally published here.

Returning to the subject of Cinco de Mayo and the resistance to naked imperialism by Mexico in the 1800s, note that Mexico also has large reserves of crude oil, and that Mexico's agricultural self-sufficiency was also deliberately demolished during the second half of the twentieth century under the same formula of hyper-imperialism described by Professor Hudson in the quotations above. 

Targeted nations are flooded with inexpensive agricultural produce from the united states until their own domestic farmers are destroyed (many of whom have then been forced to find work elsewhere, including in the united states as immigrant workers), and a dependent relationship is established which forces the privatization of the natural resources and utilities of the targeted country.

The observance of Cinco de Mayo, then, which may be an even bigger celebration in the united states than in Mexico (beginning apparently in California in 1863, the year after the victory at Puebla over the French army), should be understood in the context of resistance to the ongoing scourge of imperialism and the seizure of that which was given by nature (or the gods) to the people -- and as a commemoration of an unlikely victory against the forces of imperialism by a brave force of Mexican patriots in the face of one of the most powerful military imperial powers on earth at that time.

If the men and women of the united states, vast numbers of whom of all backgrounds and walks of life celebrate Cinco de Mayo each year, could understand how imperialist policies inevitably lead to the immiseration of huge numbers of people around the world, as well as to financial dependence upon a "global cosmopolitan class" (as Professor Hudson demonstrates in his books Super Imperialism and J is for Junk Economics) they could end this incredibly destructive and unethical system. 

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! 

Below is a song by one of the most-beloved singers of Mexican ranchera (or nortena) music, Jose Alfredo Jimenez (1926 - 1973): "El Rey" -- the lyrics of which can, in light of the above discussion against imperialism, be seen as proclaiming that the people are the king.

The singer declares that although he appears down and out and has none of the traditional trappings of wealth or power, he is nevertheless El Rey: ". . . y mi palabra es la ley!" — which, translated, means and my word is the law, which is true in a democracy and should be seen as a rallying cry against imperialism everywhere, and the against kind of regime change currently being attempted in Venezuela. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A terrific day with Graham Hancock, discussing his latest book: America Before

Today I had the opportunity of attending a fantastic presentation by Graham Hancock at the New Living Expo 2019 in San Mateo, California.

San Mateo happens to be my hometown, the place where I was born and grew up and went to high school.

Graham is currently on an extended tour of the United States and Canada, discussing his latest book, America Before: the Key to Earth's Lost Civilization, which just went on sale this week, and which is available from Barnes & Noble in a "Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition" with special added content here. You can see the schedule of upcoming talks here.

Graham Hancock is rightly world-famous for his ability to explore and analyze the complex matrix of evidence about humanity's ancient past -- traveling around the world to visit the sites themselves and to converse with other researchers and experts in various fields and disciplines -- and (most importantly) to see a coherent narrative and the significance of that data, and convey his vision to the world in a way that is simply unmatched.

America Before marks an important new chapter in Graham's synthesis of the evidence pointing to the existence of a "lost civilization" in human history, predating (perhaps by many thousands of years) even the most ancient civilizations known to conventional academia. To get an idea of the significance of this subject -- and what it means for us at this important juncture in human history -- give a listen to these two outstanding interviews with Graham from earlier this week, the first one on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (from April 22, 2019) and the most recent from my friends at the Grimerica Show (from April 26, 2019):

(link to the above video here).

(link to the above video here).

Graham's work has obviously been very important to my own research, and it was actually the book Heaven's Mirror (1998) by Graham and his wife Santha which got me started down the path of research which I am following today (and which, along with his breakthrough book Fingerprints of the Gods, published in 1995, which I read immediately after reading Heaven's Mirror, pointed me to the book Hamlet's Mill, by Hertha von Dechend and Giorgio de Santillana, another book which fueled my snowballing fascination with the connection between the ancient myths and the stars and heavenly cycles).

Graham has graciously hosted me as an "Author of the Month" twice over the years as well as publishing on his website essays and articles I have written, and generally encouraging me (and other authors) to pursue the vast body of evidence worldwide which points towards the existence of a predecessor culture (or cultures) of tremendous antiquity, predating the most ancient known cultures and civilizations by thousands of years.

I also had the opportunity of attending the Summer Solstice Celebration at the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio in 2017, where Graham begins the narrative of America Before (Graham and Santha were there at Serpent Mound that summer solstice, and it was truly an unforgettable event). At that solstice celebration, Graham and Ross Hamilton gave extended presentations on the significance of the earthworks of the Ohio Valley; some previous blog posts which discuss Ross Hamilton's amazing research and insights regarding these earthworks can be found here, here and here.

The subjects which Graham Hancock explores in this new book are truly fascinating -- and of vital importance to our situation today. If we don't even recognize the fact that there was an advanced culture in our distant past, which was destroyed so thoroughly that its very existence is denied by conventional historians, and yet so culturally and spiritually advanced that echoes of its accomplishments, and of its profound esoteric system of mythology, survives around the world, then we cannot begin to learn any lessons which that culture -- and its cataclysmic disappearance -- may have for our own situation, our own civilization.

I would encourage everyone to read Graham's latest book (which I have just started reading) and to listen to his presentations on this crucial subject -- in person, if at all possible!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The buried divinity

original image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The next few days mark the annual commemoration of the culminating episodes of the gospel stories, including the accounts of the Last Supper, the Passion in the Garden, and the eventual Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection of the Christ.

These stories are extremely moving and powerful and, like all ancient myth, deserving of deep contemplation and interrogation. They want to convey a profound message which we very much need to hear -- or, rather, to "see," because they convey their wisdom through stories intended to evoke a response in us: a response which can really only be evoked through this kind of powerful dramatic illustration.

Although we have been taught that these stories were intended to be understood literally, and that we cannot properly understand them and give them due reverence and respect unless we accept them as accounts of literal and historical persons and events, an overwhelming abundance of evidence points to the exact opposite conclusion: that the stories and characters described in the gospel accounts, as well as in the rest of the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, are based on an ancient worldwide system of celestial metaphor which forms the foundation for virtually all of the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories, from cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet.

Because the characters and events can be shown to be based on celestial metaphor, it should be quite obvious that they are not intended to be understood literally.

Instead, I am convinced that the purpose of these powerful stories preserved in the ancient myths is to evoke a sudden recognition, an intuitive flash of perception, very much akin to a Zen koan. 

The stories, in other words (and paraphrasing Alvin Boyd Kuhn's important quotation discussed here) are not about someone else, someone who lived thousands of years ago, someone external: they are about you.

The Bible stories are not separate and distinct from the rest of the world's ancient myths: they are part of the same family and built upon the same celestial patterns. Indeed, numerous startling parallels can be demonstrated between events described in the gospel accounts and episodes preserved in the Odyssey of ancient Greece (which was almost certainly committed to writing at least seven centuries earlier, and may have been passed down in oral form for several centuries prior to that); some but by no means all of these parallels are discussed in this previous post

When the cuneiform inscriptions on thousands of fragmented tablets from ancient Mesopotamia were first being deciphered again during the nineteenth century, after a period of more than two thousand years during which time the writing system had been forgotten, the early translators were astonished to discover direct parallels between familiar Bible stories and the characters and events described in the ancient tablets, some of which preserved records from well over a thousand years prior to the presumed dates of the earliest Old Testament scriptures. 

It is at this point very difficult to deny that the story of the death and burial of the divine Christ parallels an important pattern central to many other myths from cultures around the globe, including the death of Osiris and descent into the underworld (ancient Egypt), the banishment of Kronos to the underwater cave of Ogygia (ancient Greece and Rome), the descent of the goddess Inanna into the underworld, where she is for a time hung up upon a great hook, and her eventual return (ancient Mesopotamia), the descent of the Hero Twins into the underworld of Xibalba, and their eventual return (the Popol Vuh of the K'iche' Maya of Central America), and many others.

But how does any of this help us? What insight is it intended to evoke within our deeper understanding?

Well, my first advice would be to go to the myths themselves and ask them, rather than asking me or anyone else. My second reply would be to caution that any thoughts I offer here will necessarily be very brief and that these powerful stories have very deep and indeed endless depths of wisdom to offer, so anything I say here will only be a pointer towards those depths: to reach further you will have to dive in for yourself.

That said, I would argue that these stories are very much about you and your connection with what some traditions refer to as the Higher Self (if you prefer a different term, feel free to use a different term and don't let the terminology be a distraction). 

And how do I know that you, the reader, have a Higher Self? Well, on a very practical level, I would start by pointing out that I know for certain that you have a subconscious. No one can deny that he or she has a subconscious. 

But I also know that you, like everyone else, are estranged from your subconscious, because as we develop a conscious mind we become more and more tangled up in all the rules and norms and mores and structures of society. which introduce doubts and divisions that actually divide us from ourself in a way that is difficult to explain but familiar to just about everyone.

Our subconscious knows many things that our conscious mind is not aware of. In fact, I would argue that there is abundant evidence that our subconscious seems to be connected to other people and information that at times defies the normal boundaries of our five physical senses. See for instance some of the discussion in this and this previous post. In a way, we could say that our subconscious has access to knowledge that goes beyond the boundaries of the physical and material world.

Indeed, we could actually say that our subconscious is connected to the Infinite, to the divine realm described in the ancient myths: the realm of the gods. But our conscious mind has a very hard time accepting that fact -- or even accepting that as a possibility. 

Our conscious mind is full of doubts, because existing in society among other people requires doubting, and judging, and weighing one action against another, and ranking "shoulds" and "oughts" with a level of subtlety that we have been improving ever since we were very young (when we first started to become divided from ourselves, by the imposition of these webs and structures and matrices that are part of learning how to successfully navigate through human society and its various power structures and rules). We need our conscious mind, and we cannot realistically "go back" to that state of innocence before we developed the doubting, judging, weighing, and balancing conscious mind that enables us to navigate society but which simultaneously divides us from ourselves.

The way forward, then, is to reconcile our "doubting self" with our Higher Self, and to bring the two into proper relationship and balance. This can only be achieved by reconnecting with the subconscious, which is connected in a way not fully understood (at least by me) to awareness beyond the boundaries of the physical senses, and indeed to the realm of the gods themselves. 

But how do we do that?

The subconscious is hidden away. It is available, but not easily accessible. It is buried, like the divinity in the myths, inside the deep undersea cavern of Ogygia, or the underworld tomb into which Osiris has descended and hidden himself. In the myths, Isis searches diligently for Osiris before she finally finds him, his coffin enclosed within a tree which has been cut down and used to make the pillar which holds up the roof of a palace.

The myths are showing us, I believe, that reconnecting with that inner divinity, that Higher Self, is not an easy process -- it requires diligent searching, as the goddess Isis demonstrates for us in her search for the hidden Osiris. It requires quieting the conscious mind, in order to re-connect with the subconscious from which we have allowed ourselves to become estranged, and which is now buried in deep darkness, just like the story of Christ within the tomb (or all the other parallel myths from other cultures).

The conscious mind remains necessary for our day-to-day lives -- but estranged from our deeper self, our conscious mind (with its endless doubts, and self-criticisms, and weighing and judging and "should haves" and "could haves") will hold us back. But through disciplines such as regular daily meditation (for example), or other ancient practices such as Yoga or the martial arts or close communion with nature or with music, we can reconnect with that deeper intuition which can then guide and direct and lead that more constricted part of our mind that is better at doubting (and worse at leading).

I would argue that this reconnection, and the restoration of the proper relationship between our lower ("doubting") mind and that hidden, buried, deeper awareness which is in fact our conduit to what the ancient myths describe as the Infinite Realm, or the Invisible Realm, lies at the heart of many of the ancient myths -- including the episodes involving the descent of the Christ into the tomb and ultimate restoration.

Indeed, I am convinced that the well-known episode of Doubting Thomas, and his encounter with the risen Christ, dramatizes for our deeper understanding the restoration of the proper relationship between the "doubting mind" and the divine Higher Self. For more discussion of the Doubting Thomas episode, see here, here and here.

I am convinced that the ancient myths are intended to uplift and empower men and women. Unfortunately, they can be wrongly used to have the opposite effect -- as can other kinds of dramatic spectacle deliberately produced in order to engender feelings of powerlessness by those who do not have the uplifting and empowering of other men and women in mind.

I hope that this week you will find time to consider deeply the ancient myths entrusted as a precious inheritance to the human race, and that whatever myths you choose to focus on, you will see ways in which their story is actually about you -- and ways in which they can enable you to reconnect with your own Higher Self.
The kingdom of heaven and the hope of glory are within. They lurk within the unfathomed depths of consciousness. Divinity lies buried under the heavier motions of the sensual nature and the incessant scurrying of the superficial mind.   -- Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Lost Light, 46.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

(Note the "Scorpio-figure" asleep in the lower-right corner of the painting by Rembrandt, 1634).

Friday, April 5, 2019

How Old is Human Civilization? New documentary planned by Robert Schoch and friends

Professor Robert Schoch has been involved in some of the most important research and discoveries over the past twenty-five years regarding the questions of humanity's ancient past, the evidence pointing to the existence of some now-forgotten advanced culture predating those known to (or admitted by) the conventional paradigm of human history, and the likelihood that some terrible worldwide cataclysm struck our planet, separating us from that previous age.

Along with the late John Anthony West, Robert Schoch has written landmark books and has been involved in important documentaries which have raised awareness of this critically important subject and helped inspire others, including myself, to investigate these matters further.

Now, Robert Schoch and friends are planning a brand-new documentary, and have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help get that documentary produced.

I consider Robert Schoch's work to be very important. In fact, I mentioned his work in the previous blog post about the newly-uncovered Ratnagiri petroglyphs in India -- when I wrote that post, I had not yet learned about these documentary plans or the Kickstarter campaign.

If you are interested in learning more about and perhaps helping to fund this important project, entitled "How Old is Human Civilization," just follow that link -- and note that there are some great rewards for donors beginning at the $10 level. Please spread the word to those you know who might be interested in helping make the planned film become a reality!

The documentary appears to have plans to film at sites in Egypt, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), and Gobekli Tepe, among other places. I hope Robert and team will have a successful campaign to raise the funds and wish them the best with their upcoming documentary!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The incredible importance of the Maharashtra petroglyphs

image: article by Bibhu Dev Misra, "12,000-year-old Petroglyphs in India Depict Sacred Symbols of Global Importance", published March 28, 2019 on
Researcher and analyst of ancient history Bibhu Dev Misra has just published an updated and expanded article exploring the extensive ancient petroglyphs located in the western part of India which he previously discussed in this post on his website Myths, Symbols, and Mysteries.

The latest article, entitled "12,000-year-old Petroglyphs in India Depict Sacred Symbols of Global Importance" is a must-read discussion of a discovery with tremendous implications for our understanding of human history: I recommend going to it and reading through it carefully before continuing here, and clicking on all the images in the article in order to examine them in detail.

In the article, Bibhu analyzes some of the over 1,000 petroglyphs which have been discovered at 52 sites thus far in the state of Maharashtra near the cities of Ratnagiri and Rajapur beginning in about 2012. This article, which is linked in Bibhu's discussion, provides some background on the way this extensive body of petroglyphs was uncovered by a group of dedicated individuals called  Adgalnavarche Konkan, or "Unexplored Konkan," started by electrical engineer and amateur archaeologist Sudhir Risbood, who remembered seeing a petroglyph near his village of Nigali outside of Ratnagiri while still a boy in school, described as being "full of curlicues and interlocking circles," and later came across other such rock art while assisting with projects at the site of the historic Aryadurga temple outside of Rajapur.

Scholars now suggest that these petroglyphs may date to approximately 10,000 BC, based on tools which have also been discovered. Such a date would place them in the same time period as the amazing archaeological site known today as Gobekli Tepe, which was deliberately buried in material that has been dated to about 8,000 BC, indicating that the site itself is older than that (see for example the discussion in Robert Schoch's Forgotten Civilization, page 42). The creation of such petroglyphs appears to have been practiced worldwide and the practice is very ancient. 

Bibhu Dev Misra's analysis of these recently-uncovered ancient petroglyphs in Maharashtra is extraordinarily important because he perceived that artwork displays distinctive patterns which are found in other cultures literally around the globe!

For example, the article linked above describes petroglyphs from India which exhibit patterns which have been called the "Master of Animals" or the "Mistress of Animals," as well as the pattern of the "Staff God" (and provides photographs with examples) which are found in artwork from ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, and even at the mysterious site of Tiahuanaco in South America!

Bibhu also perceived that another recently-uncovered petroglyph in Maharashtra displays an outline with clear similarities to the "Winged Scarab" motif which was extremely prevalent in ancient Egypt. 

As he correctly points out, the discovery of such symbology in petroglyphs which are thought to date back to 10,000 BC has tremendous ramifications for our understanding of humanity's ancient history, and provides supporting evidence to the analysis of other researchers who have been documenting and discussing other types of evidence from around the world which shows that the conventional paradigm of ancient history is gravely flawed and in need of radical revision. 

In Bibhu's article, he writes:
It boggles the mind to think that the Winged Scarab symbol, which was so popular in ancient Egypt, has been in existence since the very beginning of the post-glacial epoch. How did such esoteric concepts and symbology appear at such an early age?  
Surely, this could not have been the work of primitive hunter-gatherers. Who carved these remarkable petroglyphs, and for what purpose? 
Is it possible that the Winged Scarab symbol encodes the cosmic wisdom of an erstwhile "Golden Age" civilisation that perished during the cataclysms of the Younger Dryas period (10,900 BCE - 9700 BCE) when our planet was struck by multiple fragments of a giant comet?
Equally astonishing is another discovery made by Bibhu Dev Misra regarding these remarkable petroglyphs: the depiction of zodiac symbology. As seen in the image at the top of this post, and discussed further in Bibhu's article, one of the newly-uncovered Maharashtra petroglyphs clearly indicates the Fishes of Pisces! 

This discovery is of tremendous importance, because as I have documented in several books totaling over 3,000 pages collectively (thus far), as well as in this blog which to date has well over 1,100 posts, and in dozens of videos, an overwhelming amount of evidence suggests that the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories from cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet preserve an extremely ancient system of celestial metaphor in which the various figures and events described in those myths are based on very specific constellations in the night sky, including of course the important zodiac constellations.

This evidence strongly suggests the existence of some now-forgotten predecessor culture of tremendous antiquity, predating even the most ancient civilizations known to conventional history (since the system of celestial metaphor is already in evidence in the most-ancient writings of cultures such as those of ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and ancient India). The presence of petroglyphs which may date back millennia before Egypt and which clearly invoke constellations such as the Fishes of Pisces, provides powerful supporting evidence for the existence of such a "predecessor culture" which ascribed tremendous importance to the constellations of the heavens -- and which used the same system of envisioning the constellations with which we are still familiar today, the same system of envisioning the constellations which also appears to form the foundation of the ancient myths and sacred stories worldwide (in spite of the fact that various cultures around the world have their own different ways of seeing and describing the constellations -- their myths can be shown to be built upon a single worldwide system which uses this common way of envisioning the constellations). 

Note that some critics who wish to deny or refute the evidence that the world's myths could be built upon a common system of celestial metaphor have argued that the zodiac constellations with which we are familiar today is a relatively recent invention, possibly dating back to about 500 BC but not earlier. I have previously discussed this incorrect assertion, and provided some examples of why it is false, in a blog post from early in 2015 entitled "The 'Recent Zodiac' Canard: or, One of the most common arguments used by opponents of astrotheology, and why it is almost certainly wrong."

At the time I wrote that post, the numerous Maharashtra petroglyphs had not yet come to light. However, Bibhu Dev Misra's insightful observation that these ancient petroglyphs contain a clear depiction of the zodiac sign of Pisces is obviously of enormous importance, because it demonstrates that the zodiac constellations were known and employed at an extremely early date -- possibly as early as 10,000 BC (over 12,000 years ago)! 

And, as Bibhu correctly argues in his article, there is a very real possibility that these petroglyphs preserve the remnants of a system of even greater antiquity, which was destroyed by some cataclysm of world-shaking proportions (recall the fact that the extensive and precisely-cut stone circles of Gobekli Tepe, covering an area of some 22 acres at least, was deliberately buried for some unknown reason, a project which would have required a massive amount of effort and time).

And, as Bibhu Dev Misra also notes with his insightful analysis of the Maharashtra petroglyphs, the depiction of the Pisces Fishes is by no means the only outline in the artwork suggesting a constellation in the night sky, and what's more a constellation as envisioned by the familiar constellation-envisioning system we still use to this day. His most-recent article published this week at Graham Hancock's website argues that one of the petroglyphs displays distinctive characteristics of the constellation Aquarius -- an identification with which I also agree:

image: article by Bibhu Dev Misra, "12,000-year-old Petroglyphs in India Depict Sacred Symbols of Global Importance", published March 28, 2019 on
As Bibhu points out in the graphics above, the figure he identifies as Aquarius is found in the proximity of fish-outlines which may indicate the constellations Piscis Austrinus (the Southern Fish, located immediately below -- that is to say, south of -- Aquarius in the heavens) and the Fishes of Pisces which is a constellation eastward of Aquarius in the sky and which is the zodiac constellation in which the sun rises after it rises in Aquarius for about a month.

Additionally, although not specifically pointed out in Bibhu's labeled image above, one of the most distinctive features of the constellation Aquarius is the constellation's extended and very straight "forward leg" which is a feature of the constellation that plays an important role in many different Star Myths around the world. This distinctive straight "forward leg" shows up in myth in various ways, sometimes as a spear which is entering into the side of a figure (or which has already gone through a figure from the back and is now coming out of the gut), or as a spear with which a figure is trying to spear a great fish (because of the location of the Southern Fish, just below Aquarius), or even as the male sexual organ (such as in the story of the nakedness of Noah following the planting of the first vineyard, in the story of Shem, Ham and Japheth found in the book of Genesis).

Note that in the petroglyph shown in Bibhu's analysis above, the figure that Bibhu identifies as Aquarius has been depicted by the ancient artist with a distinctly straight "forward leg," matching this important aspect of the constellation itself. Below is an outline of Aquarius showing the actual stars themselves, with the connecting lines as suggested by H. A. Rey in his important 1952 book The Stars: A New Way to See Them (which we might suggest could also have been titled "The Stars: An Extremely Ancient Way to See Them"!).

Based on this outline of Aquarius with the distinctive forward leg, I would also suggest that there may be an Aquarius-shape indicated on the large petroglyph shown at the top of Bibhu's recent article, among the markings within the body of an enormous elephant. Note that once again the ancient artist has depicted a number of fish-like outlines in the vicinity of this Aquarius-like figure, one of which is in a location to suggest the Southern Fish (Piscis Austrinus):

Original image source (top image):  article by Bibhu Dev Misra, "12,000-year-old Petroglyphs in India Depict Sacred Symbols of Global Importance", published March 28, 2019 on

Note that in the above image, not only is there a figure depicting in a posture which may be evocative of the outline of Aquarius (with the "forward leg" and a fish-ouline directly below), but there is also a quadruped depicted just above and adjacent to the possible Aquarius outline. This quadruped is in fact in the correct location to indicate the constellation Pegasus, if the human outline above the fish outline does indeed represent another Aquarius figure among the petroglyphs (in addition to the one that Bibhu Dev Misra has already identified). I have indicated the "quadruped-outline" which is in the correct location for Pegasus in the image above, and again in the close-up image shown below. Note that the only problem with this identification is that the head of the quadruped outline in the petroglyph is pointing in the "downward" direction while the Pegasus outline in the sky is envisioned with the head upwards (in the outlining-system suggested by H. A. Rey, which I have used in the star-chart shown above).

Despite this reversal of orientation for the outline that may suggest Pegasus, the possibility that we are looking at a representation of the region of the sky containing Aquarius, Pegasus and the Southern Fish in the ancient petroglyph shown above appears to be likely. Here is a closer look at that region of the petroglyph, along with a star-chart of the section of the night sky containing Aquarius and friends:

Clearly, Bibhu Dev Misra's analysis of these Maharashtra petroglyphs has uncovered some celestial correspondences of incredible importance, which provide strong and compelling evidence that the constellation outlines which we still know today were known many millennia ago -- in fact, many millennia before the rise of the most ancient civilizations known to conventional history!

The presence of these outlines adds supporting evidence to the arguments that the world's ancient myths are based on the very same constellations, which form the characters and events described in the sacred stories from cultures around the world. The figures of Aquarius and the Southern Fish, for example, appear in the miracle of the coin in the mouth of the fish which is recorded in the gospel accounts, as I discuss in a 2016 post entitled "The Tribute Money in the Mouth of the Fish." 

The figure of Aquarius pouring water over the Southern Fish also appears to form the basis for the baptism scene of Jesus by John the Baptist (John the Baptist can with great certainty be identified with the outline of Aquarius, as I have documented in many previous posts and videos, including this one, this one, and this one).

Lest any object that ancient petroglyphs cannot possibly use a system of outlining suggested in a book by author H. A. Rey in 1952, I would point out that there are countless other pieces of ancient artwork which can clearly be shown to be based upon the same outlining system, which is obviously very ancient. A tiny sample of such ancient artwork would include the images of Heracles on countless pieces of ancient pottery, such as those shown here, or the artwork in the amazing Pylos Combat Agate which was uncovered in 2017 from a 3,500-year old tomb of a warrior in Pylos on the western coast of the Peloponnese in Greece and which I discuss in a video entitled "The Pylos Combat Agate among the Infinite Realms."

Indeed, as I pointed out in an earlier blog post regarding Bibhu Dev Misra's October 2018 discussion of these Maharashtra petroglyphs, the outlines of the "Master of Animals" or "Mistress of Animals" or "Staff God" or "Winged Scarab" can all be shown to be based upon specific constellations in the heavens as well!

And, Bibhu's insights regarding these petroglyphs of ancient India don't stop there either, as he has also pointed out that some of the petroglyphs appear to depict animals which are not found in India and have not been known there in recorded history, including a possible depiction of a kangaroo! You can see the outline of the possible kangaroo at the bottom of the original image above (the image in which I have focused on a small subsection which may depict the outlines of Aquarius, Piscis Austrinus, and even Pegasus), and you can read more about the outline of the kangaroo and other animals not indigenous to India in Bibhu's recent article. 

As Bibhu insightfully notes in his article, there are legends in India of a lost Golden Age at the end of which certain islands sank beneath the waves. Is it possible that there were dry-land connections between south Asia (including India) and other continents (including Africa and even Australia) in a bygone epoch, and that rising sea levels covered these land-bridges at the end of that "Golden Age"? Graham Hancock has documented plenty of archaeological and geological evidence which suggests that such an event may have taken place, including in his 2002 book Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization. Mr. Hancock, of course, has been tracking down and analyzing the evidence pointing to the existence of a Lost Civilization for decades.

The depiction of animals not indigenous to India in these ancient petroglyphs may very well be an additional clue pointing to their extreme antiquity. Note that the cultures of the Indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia are thought to have been isolated from other people-groups for many thousands of years prior to the 1700s when the continent was "rediscovered." Nevertheless, their ancient myths and  sacred traditions can also be shown to have their foundation upon the same worldwide celestial system (including a myth in which a powerful fisherman with a spear hunts a tremendous fish with glowing eyes, which is almost certainly based upon Aquarius and Piscis Austrinus in the heavens).

The world owes a debt of gratitude to Sudhir Risbood and the other members of Adgalnavarche Konkan for uncovering these extensive ancient petroglyphs of Maharashtra. The world also owes a debt of gratitude to Bibhu Dev Misra for his penetrating analysis of the figures depicted in the ancient images, and their significance to our understanding of humanity's ancient past. And the world similarly owes a debt of gratitude to Graham Hancock for his tireless and ongoing efforts to discover the truth about our history and for his support of other researchers who are following his lead in this critically important subject.

These petroglyphs join an already-compelling (and I would argue, conclusive) body of evidence which points to the existence of a now-forgotten ancient culture of tremendous sophistication and knowledge, remnants of which can still be detected in ruins around the world, as well as in the myths and sacred stories preserved in far-flung cultures on continents and islands far removed from one another. 

The fact that all these myths diverge so widely from one another in surface detail but still preserve evidence of a common origin may indicate that after whatever cataclysm brought an end to that now-forgotten culture, the memory of the system was preserved by people who were then isolated from one another -- which is just what these petroglyphs from India seem to suggest as well, based on the outlines that Bibhu Dev Misra has noticed and analyzed. 

This is a discovery of tremendous importance which should be more widely publicized and discussed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

George Smith, 1840 - 1876

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

March 26 is the birthday of early Assyriologist George Smith, born this day in 1840.

He would play an important role in the discovery of decisive evidence for the close relation between the world's ancient myths and scriptures, in stark contrast to the prevailing paradigm which taught (and continues to teach) that the scriptures of the Bible are in a category unto themselves, set apart from the myths of all the other cultures of the world.

Decades before, in the 1840s and early 1850s, Austen Henry Layard (1817 - 1894) and Hormuzd Rassam (1826 - 1910) had discovered the site of the library of Ashurbanipal, last king of the Assyrian Empire, who had reigned from 668 BC to 627 BC. The library contained hundreds of thousands of fragmented clay tablets, inscribed with the cuneiform writing of ancient Mesopotamian civilization -- undecipherable at the time of this discovery. At least a  hundred thousand fragments were sent back to England, where they would be housed in the British Museum.*

Over the next decade, a team of scholars would unlock the mystery of the cuneiform writing system, and begin the painstaking process of translating some of the tablets from the library.

Into this quest to rediscover the literature and culture of ancient Mesopotamia entered George Smith, in his early twenties. In his 2006 account The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, Professor David Damrosch of Harvard University writes:
George Smith's parents had no such academic illusions for their son, who was born in 1840 in the London district of Chelsea, at that time a seedy area of grimy tenements and high unemployment. They belonged to London's large, anonymous pool of unskilled labor -- even after George became famous, no one ever bothered to record his parent's occupations, or even their names. When George turned fourteen, his father took the sensible route of apprenticing the boy to a skilled trade. Apparently George's literary and artistic interests were already becoming evident, and so his father did the best he could, articling his son to the printing firm of Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, where he was put to work learning to engrave banknotes. 14
As Professor Damrosch explains, this apprenticeship not only provided young George Smith with sills that "would later serve him well in his work with cuneiform tablets" (14), but the location of his employment was fortuitous in that it was roughly a mile away from the museum at Great Russell Street:
It was natural for Bradbury and Evans to have located their printing firm just off Fleet Street, the center of the London newspaper industry, and this location made all the difference in Smith's life. If Bradbury and Evans had situated themselves another mile away from the museum, then Smith wouldn't have had the time to get to it during business hours, and he never would have made the discoveries that led to his new career. 16 - 17.
As it was, at the age of twenty, George Smith "began to haunt the Near Eastern collections at the British Museum." As Professor Damrosch goes on to explain, the nascent field of Assyriology was at that time in need of talent, providing "a rare chink in the armor of the British class structure" -- one in which a brilliant mind such as that of George Smith could gain access without the usual need for credentials, introductions, or connections (16). And, as it turns out, George Smith was a true genius, who saved up his money to purchase all the books published by the early Assyriologists and pored over them late into the night. He would later reveal a unique talent not only for learning and then translating the cuneiform system, but also for reassembling the shattered tablets by fitting together fragments from the various tens of thousands of broken pieces that were assembled in the museum's collection. He began spending his lunch hours in the museum on the three days of the week that the museum was open to the public, working on the ancient texts.

The abilities of the young banknote engraver were noticed by the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Samuel Birch (1813 - 1885), who eventually brought George Smith to the attention of Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810 - 1895) -- one of the three men whose efforts over a period of nearly ten years had succeeded in unlocking the cuneiform system itself. Professor Damrosch explains that as he observed Smith's volunteer work over the course of time, Rawlinson "was strongly impressed by his ability to piece tablets together, a task requiring an exceptional visual memory and manual dexterity in creating 'joins' of tablet fragments. A given tablet might have been broken into a dozen or more pieces, now widely dispersed among the hundred thousand fragments in the museum's collection" (30).

Rawlinson persuaded the museum to hire George Smith, and in 1867 he left his "well-paid  trade and regular employment" as an engraver, as E. A. Wallis Budge would later write in Rise & Progress of Assyriology, "to follow his literary bent" -- which the partners of the banknote printing firm considered "an act of pure folly" (107). Had he remained at his previous occupation, Budge notes, Smith "would undoubtedly have become one of the master-engravers of the nineteenth century."

As it was, however, George Smith would leave a different mark on history. One day in November of 1872, five years into his employment at the British Museum and at the age of 32 years old, George Smith was reading a tablet and he came across a passage describing a great Flood, and a boat resting on a mountain, and the sending out of birds to search for land! As Wallis Budge describes the scene, 
Smith took the tablet and began to read over the lines which Ready had brought to light [Robert Ready, a former tobbaconist, had developed secret proprietary methods for removing mineral deposits from the tablets and otherwise cleaning the surfaces so that parts of the ancient text which were obscured could be read again after thousands of years of neglect]; and when he saw that they contained the portion of the legend he had hoped to find there, he said, "I am the first man to read that after more than two thousand years of oblivion." Setting the tablet on the table, he jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself! 153
The impact of this discovery was enormous, as Smith's astonishing reaction would indicate. He had just read an account with close parallels to the description of the Flood in Genesis, from a tablet written many centuries before the accepted date of the composition of the Pentateuch, and from a different culture which worshiped gods and goddesses such as Marduk and Enki and Ishtar.

Smith's paper describing the text of this "Deluge Tablet" (now known to be Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh cycle) was presented by Smith on December 3rd, 1872 before the Society of Biblical Archaeology, "and his discovery made a profound impression upon his hearers," as Wallis Budge writes on page 113 of Rise & Progress of Assyriology. Several politicians, scholars, and theologians were present. 

The implications of these parallels between the mythology of ancient Mesopotamia and the events and characters described in the Bible are profound. In many ways, they shatter the conventions and historical paradigms which frame our present-day understanding of ancient myth and history every bit as much as they rocked the foundations of the paradigm that was dominant in 1872. In many ways, we have yet to come to grips with the implications of this discovery -- implications so shattering that they caused George Smith to "rush about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, begin to undress himself!"

The parallels between the myths of ancient Mesopotamia and the accounts in the Biblical scriptures are far-reaching and profound. But there are other parallels from other cultures which similarly reveal the undeniable truth that the events and figures found in the Bible belong to a world-wide system of myth and are by no means separate from the sacred traditions of other lands and even other continents. 

For example, there are numerous parallels between the events of the Odyssey of ancient Greece and events described in the gospels of the (so-called) New Testament, despite the fact that the events described in the gospels are supposed to have taken place at least eight centuries after the likely date of composition of the Odyssey. There are equally many parallels to be found between the Norse myths and the characters and events described in the Biblical scriptures -- some of which I explore in Star Myths of the World, Volume Four (Norse mythology).

The parallels go even deeper than the similar patterns between characters and events, because (as can now be demonstrated in detail, backed up by abundant and compelling evidence) these characters and events are based upon specific constellations which were imbued with distinctive characteristics and significance in an ancient system of celestial metaphor -- an ancient system which was in use world-wide, from Mesopotamia and the Near East to the islands of the South Pacific; from the continents of Australia and Africa in the southern hemisphere to the farthest northern climes of Scandinavia; from ancient Egypt and ancient India to ancient China and even Japan.

Like the system of cuneiform, which was forgotten and unreadable for more than two thousand years, until it was rediscovered and deciphered during the nineteenth century, the world's ancient myths are speaking to us in an unrecognized language of celestial metaphor -- but this language can be deciphered. As we begin to do so, the astonishing message of the ancient myths can be heard once again, with life-changing and indeed civilization-changing impact. 

George Smith left the mortal world under somewhat mysterious circumstances at the age of 36, in the year 1876. As Professor Damrosch notes, "all modern scholarship on Babylonian literature stems from his pathbreaking work" (77). It is difficult to read his story and not see him as being uniquely gifted to carry out the work that he did, at the right place and moment in time, with the right talents and abilities and passions. He was the first to find undeniable proof of the close parallels between the Biblical scriptures and the ancient Mesopotamian texts -- Mesopotamian texts which may constitute the oldest surviving literary narratives known at this time. 

The work of unlocking these parallels is not yet finished: indeed, it is only barely begun. My sense is that George Smith would want us to continue that effort.


* Note: It should go without saying that just because this post describes the historic achievements of George Smith and others with regards to the translation of ancient Mesopotamian texts, such commemoration does not mean that I condone the nineteenth century British imperial project in Mesopotamia (or other imperialist projects in that or other regions before and since) or the shipment of antiquities out of their country of origin to other countries: the entire worldview which supported (and continues to support) such long-standing structures of colonialism and imperialism is itself often based in large part upon the very Biblical literalism and exceptionalism which Smith's discovery above subverts and overturns.