Thank you to Alex Tsakiris for having me over to his Skeptiko podcast and channel for another discussion about stars and myths.
Welcome to any new visitors who are here for the first time after listening to the interview, or watching it on YouTube. Here is the page on the Skeptiko website where you can download the audio to a mobile device (you can also do that at the Skeptiko iTunes webpage here).
This conversation is a little different from other podcasts I've appeared on, because Alex didn't want to spend much time discussing the actual evidence that the world's ancient myths can be shown to be based on a shared system of celestial metaphor. He thinks that I've already established that thesis with my writing, and discussed it extensively on other podcasts, so he wanted to focus on where that system might have come from and what its purpose might be.
This subject can make for a very profitable discussion, but perhaps I was not clear enough in stating my position that there is a sharp divide between what I believe I can "prove" (or at least what I can support using overwhelming evidence), and what must remain speculation at the present time until we have more evidence.
I can prove -- or at least establish with overwhelming evidence -- that virtually all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories, from cultures on every continent and inhabited island on our planet, are built upon a common, worldwide system of celestial metaphor, one which is exceedingly ancient (indeed, it is already fully-formed in the most ancient extant texts known to us at this time, including the early clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia containing the Gilgamesh cycle and the Enuma Elish, or the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt which incorporate elements of the Osiris and Horus cycle).
On the other hand, I cannot state at this time exactly where this ancient system came from. Indeed, no one can tell you where it came from!
Anyone who tells you that they know for certain where this ancient system came from is either lying or mistaken.
The reason they cannot tell you for certain is that it clearly originates prior to any civilization known to conventional history at this time -- perhaps thousands of years prior to any civilization known to conventional history at this time.
The origin of this world-wide system of celestial metaphor may be so ancient that it originated in a culture that was more ancient to the earliest dynasties of ancient Egypt than those earliest dynasties are to our own civilization! In other words, if the earliest dynasties of Egypt were about 5000 years prior to our own time, the ancient origin of the world-wide system of celestial metaphor may have been more than 5000 years prior to the earliest dynasties of Egypt.
For example, below we see a seal attributed to King Den of the First Dynasty of Egypt, who is thought to have died in approximately 2995 BC:
image: Wikimedia commons (link).
As I explain in my most-recent book, The Ancient World-Wide System, the above imagery is unmistakably celestial in origin, based on specific constellations, as are virtually all of the characters and episodes described in the ancient Egyptian myths.
King Den lived approximately 5000 years ago, from our perspective today in the year 2019. And yet the amazing stone circles of Gobekli Tepe, which only began to see the light of day again in the late 1990s and early 2000s of our present era, appear to have been deliberately buried not later than the year 8000 BC -- and its creation must of course have been prior to its burial, meaning that it could be a great deal older than that. In other words, Gobekli Tepe is at least 5000 years prior to the time of the First Dynasty King Den, indicating the existence of a previously-unknown culture capable of engineering an enormous and mysterious field of massive and precisely-planed, astronomically-aligned stones (some of them adorned with sculpted high-relief representations of animals such as the pillar shown below) existing as many years before the life of King Den as the life of King Den is before our own time in the present day.
image: Wikimedia commons (link).
There is simply not enough information about whatever culture lived so long before the first civilizations known to conventional history (so long before the time of ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient India and even the Indus-Saraswati Civilization) for us to make any definitive pronouncements about how they lived or whether or not they are the originators of this ancient world-wide system (although it certainly indicates the existence of sophisticated and extremely ancient cultures which are completely outside the current historical paradigm and which may well point us towards the answer to the question of where this ancient system of myth might have originated).
Additionally, no one can tell you dogmatically and with certainty the original purpose of this ancient world-wide system. Anyone who confidently and self-assuredly tells you that they can is either mistaken or they are lying to you.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that this world-wide system exists, that the evidence is overwhelming and conclusive, and that the existence of this system demonstrates that the conventional timeline of ancient history is fatally flawed and in need of radical revision.
I cannot tell you dogmatically that I know for certain where this system originated or even what it ultimately means -- what its original and complete intended purpose was.
After studying it for ten years, I certainly have some likely suggestions and strong opinions about the answer to these questions, but I will not dogmatically assert that I know for certain (and, again, I believe that anyone who tells you that he or she knows the answer with certainty is either naive and mistaken because they do not understand the full scope of the subject matter yet, or else they are a charlatan who is lying to you).
In the above interview, Alex appears to be quite willing to accept the evidence that I have been presenting for the past several years in my books, blog posts, videos, and other podcast interviews which demonstrates the existence of an ancient world-wide system of celestial metaphor underlying the myths, scriptures, and sacred stories of cultures around the world (and reflected in ancient artwork as well). He is so willing to accept it that he did not want to focus on that evidence during the interview, instead pushing into the areas of where it came from and what its purpose might be, even though on those topics I can only offer suggested possibilities rather than dogmatic assertions (as I've just explained).
Indeed, he apparently feels that my research validates a possibility about which he is very excited --visitation by extraterrestrials -- and he was very eager to get me to agree with him on that explanation.
However, as I've explained in many previous posts, my years of research on the world's ancient Star Myths do not conclusively indicate extraterrestrial origin at all. In fact, I have reason to be deeply suspicious of many vocal extraterrestrial advocates from the past several decades (predating the Second World War but increasing dramatically in the decades following the putative end of that conflict), who almost universally argue that "the ancient myths actually document extraterrestrial contact" and that "the beings described in the myths as gods were actually visitors from other planets."
The evidence that I have been writing about actually refutes and even disproves that widely-repeated hypothesis (that the supernatural beings and marvelous events described in the ancient myths are extraterrestrials) by showing that the figures and episodes described in the world's ancient myths are metaphorical, rather than literal.
The ancient myths may indeed be describing gods and goddesses who are very real, but they are not literal, physical, extraterrestrial visitors arriving in mechanical craft to visit our planet. The gods and goddesses who move through the world's myths are realities and powers of the spiritual realm, an Invisible Realm which interacts with and indeed interpenetrates our physical realm, but their attributes are explained for our understanding using a sophisticated metaphorical code based upon the constellations in the heavens, because through the imagery of the stars which we can see we can understand truths about the Infinite Realm which we cannot see (and pause for a moment to consider what an ingenious choice this was, because when we look into the stars of the night sky, we are indeed looking into an infinite realm).
A few previous posts I've written in which I voice my misgivings about the "ancient aliens" hypothesis and about ascribing the origin of these myths to extraterrestrials include:
- "Doubts about 'ancient aliens' do not preclude possibility of ancient advanced civilizations and technology"
I have also created a fairly detailed and lengthy video discussing the famous "vision of Ezekiel" found in the Old Testament scriptures of the Bible, an episode in the ancient text which is often cited by proponents of the ancient alien hypothesis as evidence for ancient extraterrestrial contact -- a video in which I demonstrate that the text is clearly based upon celestial metaphor, containing a sophisticated description of the turning of the heavens throughout the year which matches very well to the models of celestial mechanics which we call an "armillary sphere," and describing the yawning of the ecliptic path above and below the celestial equator at the two points of solstice, and the intersection of that same ecliptic with the celestial equator at the two points of equinox during our annual orbit around the sun. The "four living creatures" introduced in Ezekiel chapter 1 and verse 5 clearly correspond to the zodiac constellations stationed at these four important points of the year (the two solstices and the two equinoxes).
In addition to that video on the vision of Ezekiel, I also wrote another extended blog post exploring its significance and its clear origin in celestial metaphor which can be found here, and there is also a discussion of this important passage in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World, Volume Three: Star Myths of the Bible.
The frequent subject changes of this particular interview, and the fact that I sometimes take too long to try to explain a point when it would be better if I just stated my view clearly and succinctly, meant that I did not really sketch out my suggestion of where I believe this ancient world-wide system might have originated (although I did attempt to present some discussion of my view on that question). I have elaborated on this topic at greater length in my 2014 book The Undying Stars.
Very briefly, in that book I explain that I would divide the timeline into three very broad segments:
- the time in the far distant past (long before any written records we have in our possession at this time) when this ancient system was understood and informing an extremely ancient culture (or cultures) which far predates any of the known civilizations and which may have been destroyed by some type of tremendous cataclysm (the deliberate burial of the massive Gobekli Tepe complex may point to the same conclusion),
- the period after this culture disappeared (likely due to some catastrophe) during which remnants of the ancient system survived (and during which remarkable civilizations such as those of ancient Sumer and ancient Egypt appear to have been informed by some preserved knowledge from that much more ancient period -- perhaps because they were a kind of "re-start"), during which the ancient myths were revered by the various cultures of the world, each of which maintained a set of sacred traditions that can all be seen as utilizing this same ancient system of celestial metaphor, and finally
- the period after the rise of Literalist Christianity, during which the ancient wisdom contained in the myths was deliberately and aggressively stamped out, beginning in the region controlled by the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean, and then expanding into western Europe and northern Europe, resulting in a tragic disconnection from the ancient wisdom, and leading to the establishment of feudalism in Europe (and as far east as Russia) and eventually to the establishment of colonial powers (primarily situated in western Europe) who then continued to expand around the globe and work to stamp out connections to the ancient wisdom wherever it had survived (usually replacing them with Literalist Christianity, which is a political, empire-building system), a process which continues to this day.
I believe it is very likely that the profound system of ancient esoteric teaching, which appears to have originated in the first period described above (long before any civilization we know of, and perhaps separated from all the civilizations we know about by some tremendous catastrophe), contained the keys to greater harmony with the universe around us, including the cycles of the heavens and the energy of the earth itself, as well as harmony with our own essential self, through whom (the ancient myths appear to tell us) we have access to the divine realm: the Infinite Realm, a realm of pure potential -- the realm of the gods. It may be that these myths not only help us to recover our connection to Self, but they also point us towards the realization of potential that today lies mostly dormant.
Some of the original purpose may well have been preserved following whatever disaster led to the almost complete disappearance of that "predecessor culture" described in the first bullet-point above, during the period described in the second bullet-point (the period informed by the ancient myths, prior to the rise of Literalist Christianity). However, the rise of Literalist Christianity reveals the undeniable presence of forces who want to sever our connection to the ancient myths, and our connection to the gods and goddesses described in the "original instructions" preserved by virtually every culture on the planet (the term "original instructions" is one that I borrowed from a lecture by the important and incredibly insightful author Peter Kingsley).
It should not be very controversial to argue that Literalist Christianity has as an explicit goal opposition to the gods described in the ancient myths, and that the agents of Literalist Christianity have gone around the world seeking to eliminate reliance upon the "original instructions" and replace that reliance with acceptance of the doctrines of Literalist Christianity (in one form or another), and that this went on for centuries and still continues although to a lesser degree. Following the decline of mass acceptance of literalism, I would argue that other proxies were adopted to continue the mission of disconnection from the incredible power available in the ancient myths -- and it is very possible that the "ancient aliens" or "extraterrestrial" movement (which at times can very much resemble a fundamentalist faith, its proponents arguing its certainty with a kind of missionary zeal and fervor) has been fostered with this exact purpose in mind (note, as mentioned above, that a great majority of the proponents of the "extraterrestrial faith" insist that the ancient gods and goddesses were simply alien visitors who exist in the material realm, just as we do).
I personally am very suspicious that the popular extraterrestrial narratives, which actually began to appear well before the Second World War and which have a long history of overlap (of ideas and of proponents) with detestable racist and elitist movements such as the eugenics movement, might well be a tool of the same groups who are fighting to preserve the kinds of feudal and colonialist mechanisms of exploitation and oppression brought about during that third phase described above (the period following the rise of Literalist Christianity). I mention some of these racist and elitist connections (such as those described in the despicable doctrines promulgated in the "Urantia Book") in a fairly-recent video entitled "Literalism and 'Alien Contact'."
Despite the sometimes-contentious nature of the above interview, I'm grateful to Alex for having me over to Skeptiko for another visit. I think that Alex is very appreciative of the evidence connecting the stars and the myths, and is very excited by the ramifications of that evidence (even if he and I have some disagreements about all of the details of those ramifications). He wants to jump straight from the evidence of a world-wide system of Star Myths directly to a supposed validation of extraterrestrial visitors, because that is a topic that is apparently important to him (even though it is one about which I have serious misgivings, as described above).
But I am convinced that disagreements and even debate can play a very positive role in forcing greater clarification of one's points (and, when necessary, re-examination of positions and the evidence in order to see where conclusions may need to be changed, or where additional analysis may be necessary).
I believe the most important distinction I would like to reiterate is a sharp dividing line between the clear evidence I have found which demonstrates the existence of a common world-wide system of celestial metaphor informing the myths of cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet and indeed forming their foundation, and the question of where this system came from and what it could mean (questions about which I have some definite opinions, but upon which I refuse to be dogmatic because I argue that we cannot possibly know at this point with the evidence that we have at hand -- probably because the origin of this system is far earlier than any civilization about which we have extensive evidence or any written record). We may well have more evidence about this second subject area at a later date, but at this time I do not believe anyone can speak dogmatically about it.
However, the myths themselves contain a wealth of evidence which helps us to begin to grasp more and more of their incredible and profound ancient message for our lives. And I firmly believe that the more we can learn to listen to them in the language they are actually speaking, the better opportunity we have to hear more of what they are trying to say -- and that the language that they are speaking is a celestial language, an esoteric language, and a metaphorical language, based on an incredible system of extreme antiquity, a precious inheritance from ancestors so distant we do not even know what to call them, but who are speaking to us in a language which we can actually decipher: the language of the stars.
The above interview was recorded on August 15, 2019. You can see the interview of my first visit to Skeptiko (from January of 2017) here.