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With no common language, little literacy, and historical enmities, Jesus' followers remained fragmented and underground. Eventually, Jesus' reform message succumbed to a supernaturalism requiring less human responsibility than he called for. (113)

As most of the "civilized world" succumbed to the magical thinking of supernaturalism, small, learned communities tried to preserve a sense of emotional independence and freedom of thought. They attempted to keep a "here-and-now" perspective on humanity's place in the universe. Their orientation stressed the acceptance of personal responsibility and the inherent value of each individual. They have been fighting an uphill battle. (113)

In the early days of Roman Christianity, small groups had to go into hiding as supernaturalism gained control of cities and states. These became known as esoteric (inner) or occult (covered) groups who did not go along with the increasingly supernaturalist cults. Groups with varying degrees of a natural human perspective included the Hermetics, Magis, Kabbalists, Gnostics, Rosicrucians, and, later, the Templars and Freemasons. (113)

Christianity essentially is of an older tradition than Judaism, more deeply rooted, not a side-channel but in the main and flood stream of the world's theology. It is because Christianity was heir to the fashionable synthesis of the two great but conflicting religions, that of sun-worship and that of earth-worship: four thousand years of tension had not achieved a satisfactory synthesis so that Christianity took over and has continued rival doctrines which are contradictory, mutually exclusive. I contend that both Christianity and the sun-worship of the Incas descend from the sun-worship of the Indus Valley. (135)

May it not be possible then that the creation of man and society in the book of Genesis is a similar falsification to conceal the great social achievement of the earth-worshippers prior to the conquests of the sky-god? Does our history commence where it does in Genesis just because the records prior to this were maliciously destroyed by the god-kings? We do not yet know; but I believe we shall eventually discover that this was very much how the creation story was worked. (135)

Africa

 

Southwest Asia

...apparently deliberate impregnation of human females by gods (sexually or artificially) would play a great role in the procreation of special individuals who would make significant contributions to the course of human history. Jesus (Mother Mary, born 7 BC) came in a long line of such virgin births (a term used to imply a god was somehow involved in conception). Thus, Mary, the mother of Jesus, reportedly said something to the effect that "the Lord came unto me and told me I would have a child." Other such virgin births allegedly included Zoroaster (1500 BC), Krishna (Mother Devaki-1200 BC), Indra (in Tibet-700 BC), Gautama Buddha (Mother Maya-600 BC), and Attis (Mother Nama-200 BC). (113)

Using Jesus' name for purposes his teachings did not suggest, the first-century cult of Christos became the human implementer of the policy of restraint on human development (the objective of the Enlil/Ninurta/JHVH group). Its leaders, including Saul/Paul, took the traditional Old Testament notion of YHVH as the most powerful among gods and redefined him as the one supernatural God. (113)

It was easy for the Roman Empire, a little over 2,000 years ago, to divide the Jewish nation and render it a provincial backwater. In one of the great ironies of history, leaders of the very same empire that suppressed YHVHs people would turn to the use of his name and history (incorporated into the new religion of Christianity) in attempts to shore up their crumbling support among Roman citizens. (113)

The Dead Sea Scrolls show that 2,000 years ago YHVH was still seen as just one powerful god among many. By then Judaism was in disarray under the Roman emperors. (113)

Mohammed believed he had been called to organize a new religion under Allah to bring order and progress to the Arabian peoples. To motivate them he prophesied a coming "day of judgment" with future rewards and punishments, to be administered by a loving Allah. He channeled the Koran to complement the Old Testament and other religious texts. Mohammed had probably been exposed to the Ebionite and Nestorian followers of Jesus and saw Jesus as one of a line of prophets, like himself. (113)

So much confusion surrounds Jesus' often reinterpreted history that the truth now eludes us. His Hebrew name suggests he was the offspring of Mary (whose husband was Joseph) and an angel of YHVH. The Bible calls him Yeshua ben-Yussef (born of YHVH, son of Joseph). It is possible Joseph had descended from the demigods of the "royal lineage" even as Noah reportedly did. Such a diluted blood tie would have justified the label ben-Elohim reportedly given him (it means "Son of the Gods" like the "Sons of the Gods" in the Old Testament). Some reports suggest he also used the title ben-Adam, making the point that he was descended from Adamu, the humans created by the Elohim (gods). (113)

Regardless of his family tree, Jesus' message included the view that every son of mankind (Adamu) is equally a son of the gods. (This could be interpreted as placing stress on the universal nature of consciousness in all beings, or it could mean recognition of the mixing of god and human genes. A Hebrew teacher with such progressive ideas would have had to receive an education outside the radical Essene community with which he has been linked. Metaphysical sources report Jesus learned a natural perspective during youthful training in esoteric schools in Babylon, Persia, India, and Egypt. (113)

Jesus' message was clearly intended for a wider audience than the Hebrews alone. He opened his ministry to all people, inviting the "unclean" to a wedding, visiting the homes of people who had defied religious tradition, treating women as equals in religious discussions, and preaching forgiveness of sinners. Reflected in comments like the following in parentheses, he is believed to have stressed several principles of the perennial wisdom tradition: the power of one's own intentions in healing ("stand up and walk"), the role of self-judgment in determining moral behavior ("do unto others as you'd have them do unto you"), and conscious survival of the spirit after death, as after his crucifixion ("they thought they were seeing a ghost"). (113)

This revolutionary message was rightfully perceived to threaten both Temple and Roman authorities. To keep it from spreading, the local Roman ruler Pontius Pilate and the Temple leadership in Jerusalem conspired to have Jesus tried and crucified. He reportedly appeared afterwards in a ghostly body to demonstrate that consciousness could survive physical death. (113)

The close associates of Jesus went away with varying interpretations of his calls for reform and other teachings. On the basis of his martyrdom, his name and message energized a number of groups to spring up in Greece and Egypt as well as Palestine. They represented schools of thought ranging from a more natural orientation to just a new form of cult worship. Most lost sight of his truth. (113)

In acknowledged pre-Christian material, Jesus is neither the Greek Christ nor the Jewish Messiah. He tells his listeners they have the Kingdom of God within them. His vision of the future is a Heaven on Earth, possible if people live according to their inner wisdom. All beings are equal in his schema, with direct access to ultimate truth. Each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior. He gives simple and direct advice for peaceful and joyful living in harmony with others. Neither the vitriol of the old Hebrew god nor the authority of priests is evident. Faced with this unveiling, many "inside reformers" would like to redefine the traditional concept of Christ. (113)

Jesus was a member of the sect known as the Essenes, whose 'lost scriptures' we know as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The original Essenes were orthodox Jews who disagreed with the teachings of the priests in control of the Temple. In protest they withdrew to Qumran where they lived strictly ascetic lives. Their leader was Jesus's younger brother James, also known as the 'Teacher of Righteousness.' Both Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist were regarded by the Essenes as messiahs who were expected to lead the people in revolt against the Romans and establish the Kingdom of God. After the death of John the Baptist, Jesus became more radical, and spent the period of his year of ministry gathering followers. Convinced that the time for action had finally come, and that God would support the revolt, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass, fulfilling the prophecy of Zachariah that the king would arrive on a donkey. He caused a riot in the Temple by attacking the money-lenders, then withdrew to the nearby village of Bethany to await the revolt that he believed would soon follow. But there was to be no uprising, at least not yet. The Romans arrested Jesus and his brother James. Lomas and Knight believe that James was actually the character known as Barabbas (which is not a proper name, but a title meaning 'son of the father'). James was released; Jesus was crucified. Afterwards, when the body of Jesus disappeared from his tomb, it gave rise to the story that Jesus had risen from the dead. The Essenes believed that this was a sign of the fulfillment of Jesus's mission as the Messiah. So Christianity was born. The new religion was further transformed with the coming of Paul who, around AD 60, had a vision on the road to Damascus, and as a result became the chief exponent of a new kind of Christianity. It is important to note, Lomas and Knight point out, that this Damascus would not have been the Damascus in Syria, where Paul would have had no authority, but rather Qumran, which was also known as Damascus. James and his followers must have been incredulous when their chief persecutor arrived at Qumran, declared himself a Christian, and began asking questions about James's brother Jesus. But their relief would later turn to rage when they heard the kind of 'Christianity' Paul was preaching--that Jesus had died on the cross as a scapegoat for the sins of mankind, and that anyone could become free of original sin by accepting Jesus as the Son of God. The Qumran Christians began to refer to Paul as 'the spouter of lies'. (123)

The other hero of that time was Nehemiah, the cupbearer, or high court official, of the Persian king. Nehemiah heard about the poor state of the inhabitants of Judah and about Jerusalem's terrible condition of disrepair. Deeply affected at this news, he asked the Persian king Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem to rebuilt the city of his fathers. Nehemiah was also active in implementing social legislation, condemning those who extracted interest, and urging restitution of land to the poor. At the same time, he too prohibited Jewish intermarriage with foreign wives. These rulings by Ezra and Nehemiah in Jerusalem in the fifth century BC laid the foundations for Second Temple Judaism in the establishment of clear boundaries between the Jewish people and their neighbors and in the strict enforcement of the Deuteronomic Law. Their efforts - and the efforts of other Judean priests and scribes which took place over the one hundred and fifty years of exile, suffering, soul-searching, and political rehabilitation - led to the birth of the Hebrew Bible in its substantially final form. (143)

The judeans, or Jews, became known throughout the Mediterranean as a community with a unique devotion to their God. At its heart were not only the shared law codes and rules of sacrifice, but the saga of national history that began with the call of Abraham in distant Ur and ended with the restoration of the Temple community by Ezra and Nehemiah in the post­exilic period. With the abandonment of the monarchy and the scattering of Jews throughout the Greco-Roman world, the sacred text of the Hebrew Bible was gradually translated into Greek in the third and second cenruries BC and became the chief source of community identity and guidance for all those members of the house of Israel who lived beyond the immediate vicinity of the Temple ofJerusalem. Its saga of the Exodus and the conquest of the Promised Land offered a shared vision of solidarity and hope for every individual in the community - in a way that royal or heroic mythologies could not. (143)

The stories of liberation and Joshua's conquest gave special emotional power to the popular movements of resistance against local tyrants and Roman overlords throughout the first century BC and the first and second centuries AD. Nowhere else in the ancient world had such a powerful, shared saga been crafted: the Greek epics and myths spoke only by metaphor and example; Mesopotamian and Persian religious epics offered cosmic secrets but neither earthly history nor a practical guide to life. The Hebrew Bible offered both, providing a narrative framework in which every Jew could identify both family and national history. In short, the saga of Israel that had first crystallized in the time of Josiah became the world's first fully articulated national and social compact, encompassing the men, women, and children, the rich, the poor, and the destitute of an entire community. (143)

During the Sassanian, or second empire, period (AD 226-651) of Persian history, there existed a very dominant form of Zoroastrianism known as Zurvanism, or fatalism. It revolved around a great god named Zurvan, a word meaning 'fate' or 'fortune', who was seen as the genius, or intelligence, of Zrvan Akarana (Pahlavi Zurvan i Akanarak), 'infinite time'. The principal creation myth of Zurvanism ran as follows: In the beginning, only Zurvan existed. Then for a period of a thousand years he sacrificed barsom-twigs in the hope of achieving a son who would rule heaven and earth. At the end of this time he mixed together fire of the air and water of the earth to produce twins - Ormuzd (Ahura Mazda) and Ahriman (Angra Mainyu), who represented light and darkness, or good and evil. To the first to be born the great father promised dominion over the earth for 9,000 years. On learning of Zurvan's promise, Ahriman immediately broke free of the cosmic womb and approached his father. Yet on seeing that the child was dark and stinking, the great god realized that he was not the rightful heir. Ormuzd then was born, and on seeing that he was radiant with light, Zurvan knew that he was to be the true ruler of both heaven and earth. Yet because of his earlier pact with the first-born, he would have to grant Ahriman dominion over the earth for 9,000 years. During this time, Ormuzd was made high priest in heaven alone - and only afterwards was he able to reign supreme. (149)

Allusions to the 25,920-year precessional cycle can also be detected in the heavenly architecture outlined in a Manichaean gospel of the third century entitled 'The Myth of the Soul'. Chapter Eleven, for example, reads as follows: Now for every sky he made twelve Gates with their Porches high and wide, everyone of the Gates opposite its pair, and over everyone of the Porches wrestlers in front of it. Then in those Porches in everyone of its Gates he made six Lintels, and in everyone of the Lintels thirty Corners, and twelve Stones in every Corner. Then he erected the Lintels and Corners and Stones with their tops in the height of the heavens: and he connected the air at the bottom of the earths with the skies. Multiply the 12 Gates with the six Lintels to each Porch and you get 72 - the number of years it takes for the earth to move 10 of a precessional cycle. Multiply this number with the 30 Corners of each Lintel and you get 2,160 - the number of years in one complete precessional age. Multiply this figure with the 12 Stones in every Corner and you arrive at 25,920 - the number of years in one complete precessional cycle. (149)

Egypt  

Using murals, sculptures, and engravings from Uxmal and Chichen Itza, Le Plongeon re-created and narrated a history of several key Mayan rulers and their link to other cultures. The story, according to Le Plongeon, occurred 11,500 years ago. His history appeared fully developed in his book Sacred Mysteries Among the Maya and Quiches, and told of the love between Queen Moo and Prince Coh, and of his death by the hand of his jealous brother Aac. According to Le Plongeon's interpretation, during a period of civil unrest after the death of Prince Coh, Queen Moo was forced to flee to Egypt and on her arrival was recognized as a long-lost sister. The story was substantiated, Le Plongeon felt, not only by the wealth of artifacts recovered during excavations from Uxmal and Chichen Itza, but also by what he interpreted as the cremated remains of Prince Coh's heart. Le Plongeon tells us it was the story that was graphically illustrated on the walls of the Upper Temple of the Jaguars and in the story of the Troano Manuscript. Le Plongeon asserts that, according to their own history and legend, during prehistoric times, the Mayans entered the Yucatan from the west led by Itzamna, their earliest mentioned leader and hero. Along a pathway mysteriously opened through the waters, they came from the Far East beyond the ocean. (70)

A second migration occurred sometime later, during the second century AD, led by Kukulcan, a miraculous priest and teacher who became the founder of the Mayan kingdom and civilization. Of special interest to Le Plongeon was a story contained in the Troano Manuscript that told of a dreadful natural cataclysm, most likely an earthquake. Several pages at the beginning of the second part were dedicated to recounting the "awful phenomena" that occurred during the cataclysm that submerged ten countries. Among them was the large island call the "land of Mu," situated among the strangely crooked line of islands historically known as the West Indies. To the Maya, it was the "land of the scorpion." Le Plongeon was astonished and gratified to find an account of the events written during the lives of the characters he found in the ruins. Their history, described in the mural paintings, was also told in the legends and sculptures still adorning the walls of their palaces and temples. He was also pleased to learn that these ancient celebrities had already been converted, at the time of the Troano Manuscript, into gods of the elements. To the new Maya, these beings became the agents who produced the terrible earthquakes that violently shook the "lands of the west," as told in the narrative of the Akab-cib, and laid the island to rest beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. With the deciphering of the Troano Manuscript, the story of Queen Moo continued. Sailing out from the Yucatan, she sought refuge in the land of the scorpion (the West Indies), but discovered that Mu, the heart of the land, had vanished. With no alternatives, she continued her voyage eastward and succeeded in reaching Egypt. Le Plongeon substantiates this by implying that she is mentioned on Egyptian monuments and in papyri, always referred to as Queen Mau (Moo). To the Egyptians, she is better known as the goddess Isis, wearing vestments of various colors that imitate feather work, similar to the plumage of the macaw, after which she was named in the Mayan language. (70)

A very interesting statue crowned Prince Coh's mausoleum, a dying leopard with a human head. To Le Plongeon, it was a "veritable sphinx," and possibly the prototype of the mysterious Egyptian Sphinx. This Mayan sphinx, like the leopard in the sculptures, has three deep holes in its back, symbolic of the wounds inflicted by his brother Aac. This brave Mayan warrior, whose enemies could not kill in a fair fight, was treacherously slain by his cowardly brother, just as Osiris, in Egypt, was murdered by his brother Seth, and for the same motive--jealousy. In Egyptian history, Osiris comes to us as a myth. However, according to Le Plongeon, Prince Coh, the beloved Ozil, was a tangible reality--the remains of his charred heart were found, as well as the weapons that caused his death. In Sacred Mysteries Among the Maya and Quiches, Le Plongeon endeavors to show, from the identity of their history and from that of their names and totems, that the Egyptians worshipped Seb, Nut, and their children (Osiris, Seth, Aroeris, Isis, and Nike) as gods. Le Plongeon argues that these were the same personages as the Royal Mayan family: King Canchi; his wife, Zoc; and their five children, Cay, Aac, Coh, Moo, and Nike. (70) The close associates of Jesus went away with varying interpretations of his calls for reform and other teachings. On the basis of his martyrdom, his name and message energized a number of groups to spring up in Greece and Egypt as well as Palestine. They represented schools of thought ranging from a more natural orientation to just a new form of cult worship. Most lost sight of his truth. (113)

Indus Valley

 A period from c. 500 BC to c. 500 AD, when the Aryan, Vedic tradition and the earlier so-called Dravidian, Harappa traditions gradually combined to form the great structures of modern Hinduism and Indian medieval Buddhism. Whereupon India became the primary mythogenetic zone of the whole later Orient, sending its philosophically illuminated mythologies and mythologically illustrated philosophies northward and eastward into Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea, and Japan; southward and eastward to Ceylon, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia; and even westward, though with less force, into the Alexandrian sphere. The principal figures in this development were Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC); the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka (c. 274- 237 BC), who sent, according to his own report, missions to Ceylon, Macedonia, and Alexandrian Egypt; the anonymous author of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita; the Buddhist Emperor Kanishka (c. 78-123 AD), in whose time the Buddhist law was carried to China; the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (c. 200 AD), whose paradoxical teachings of the "full void" represent perhaps the culmination of the history of metaphysical speculation...(128)

Both the Greeks and the Hindus describe the Iron Age (the Hindu Kali Yuga) as being characterized by materialism and greed. Kali is literally translated as "quarrel and hypocrisy." In this age labor is degraded into toil for selfish ends; crime becomes commonplace; terrible wars break out; and fraud, deceit, and hatred rule. If all of this sounds familiar, it is because, according to Hindus, we are still living in this age, just as we have been for thousands of years. (69)

Buddha himself had attempted to reform the increasingly supernatural and ritualistic practice of Hinduism. He appears to have wanted a return to the Vedic view that the Almighty is immanent in humans and all of nature (not a being separate from its creation, but a force pervading it) and humans are aspects of the creator--Brahman is Atman and vice versa. He spoke against taking the symbols (names and images from Vedic literature) that represented aspects of the natural universe to be divine beings. (113)

We have noticed that among the earliest remains in India of the culture complex of the hieratic city state, dating from c. 2000 BC, representations have been found of figures in yoga posture. There is also a little scene from that period showing an apparition of the goddess among the boughs of a tree. And in the much later monuments of Indian Buddhist art, these same two themes of "the path of yoga" and "the goddess" are presented in the Great Gates of the Sanchi stupas (c. 200 AD), where they are represented, respectively, by "the Sun-wheel of the Buddha's Law" and "the Goddess of the Elephants," Gaja Lakshmi. (128)

Quetzalcoatl is frequently represented as a feathered or plumed serpent, and because of this serpent symbolism, the prophecies of the return of Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan have important associations with the esoteric parallel of Hinduism's secret knowledge of k'ulthanlilni (kundalini) and the seven chakras, the body's centres of energy. Although there is a tradition that before the Christian era Mayan elders and priests travelled to India taking their knowledge with them, the influence remains conjectural. Even so, it is remarkable that the Maya taught about the seven power centres of the human body by which means the energy of the cosmos was assimilated and expressed. In Hindu teaching, kundalini represents a serpent-like potential curled at the base of the spine. This vital link between the Earth and the body is one of the central themes of the prophecies that speak of the urgent need of humanity to recover its innate relationship with Nature. (150)

China

 

Europe

 Both the Greeks and the Hindus describe the Iron Age (the Hindu Kali Yuga) as being characterized by materialism and greed. Kali is literally translated as "quarrel and hypocrisy." In this age labor is degraded into toil for selfish ends; crime becomes commonplace; terrible wars break out; and fraud, deceit, and hatred rule. If all of this sounds familiar, it is because, according to Hindus, we are still living in this age, just as we have been for thousands of years. (69)

It was easy for the Roman Empire, a little over 2,000 years ago, to divide the Jewish nation and render it a provincial backwater. In one of the great ironies of history, leaders of the very same empire that suppressed YHVHs people would turn to the use of his name and history (incorporated into the new religion of Christianity) in attempts to shore up their crumbling support among Roman citizens. (113)

The Nicean manufacturing of this new church produced an institution with its heart and its head in competition. The YHVH tradition of the Old Testament emphasized blind faith and obedience to so-called temporal representatives of the divine. It promoted the use of force and ritual to inhibit the realization of individual and community experimentation. Incorporation of the New Testament message of Jesus emphasized individual responsibility based on values of peace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. Struggles within the church and within individual members have revolved around the differences in these two modes of being from the beginning. (113)

By this time the god cult movement had become stronger in Greece. Perhaps to attract followers, Pythagoras mixed some mysticism (such as belief in the transmigration of souls) with his powerfully rational concepts, and his followers slipped more toward magical thinking in the following century. Socrates attempted a similar balancing of the natural and supernatural, but his intellectual progeny, Plato and Aristotle, edged more toward the mystical side. Plato abandoned the Greek idea that truth could be proven only with the five senses and embraced the conception of a supernatural world of which this one is only a shadow. Aristotle's retrogressive astronomy provided a basis for the Christian Earth-centered universe that lasted until the sixteenth-century Renaissance. (113)

From Zoroaster's period until the Nicean Council, advocates of the supernatural view resorted to selective censorship to suppress memories of the Anunnaki gods as physical beings. For instance, the pre-Christian era Jewish hierarchy omitted several "sacred texts" from the Septuagint, including the Book of Noah and the Book of Enoch, with their explicit accounts of physical intercourse between the gods and humans. This version of the Old Testament was adopted by the new Christian religion as it developed in Greece. Such acts of censorship culminated with the church's codification of acceptable theology at the Council of Nicea, where it attempted to efface all evidence of realistic views of gods. (113)

By 500 BC, teachers with a more natural, realistic conception of reality were trying to bring the increasingly popular god-cults back to a human focus on Earthly life. For instance, Orpheus, in a cult that honored the Dionysus, did not support the idea of an anthropomorphic god. His concept was closer to Eastern thought, an immanent power that is also inherent in humans (similar to the teaching of Jesus). (113)

The close associates of Jesus went away with varying interpretations of his calls for reform and other teachings. On the basis of his martyrdom, his name and message energized a number of groups to spring up in Greece and Egypt as well as Palestine. They represented schools of thought ranging from a more natural orientation to just a new form of cult worship. Most lost sight of his truth. (113)

Over the course of the Roman Empire from 27 BC to 476 AD one can see the full transition from naturalism to the magical views of god-cultism, then to the official supernaturalism…(113)

It is difficult to doubt the authenticity of Plato's experience of a reality beyond the senses, or his capacity to rise, like the guardians of his ideal state, “out of the sea of change and lay hold of true being" (Republic). Although he avoided explicit descriptions of this Intelligible world, what Plato did write has been credited with influencing Christian, Islamic, and cabalistic forms of mysticism, as well as establishing the bases for two thousand years of rational western thought. But Plato was also a man of his time and, like Socrates, saw a need to counter the arguments of the materialists and the relativizing Sophists of the day. In the Timaeus he shows the universe to be, not the result of random forces, but a purposeful creation--a living creature with mind in soul and soul "woven right through from the center to the outermost heaven" (Timaeus). And it was through the educated contemplation of that divinely ordered cosmos, and the reproduction in one's own nature of its harmonies (manifest in music, mathematics, and astronomy) that the qualified individual of Plato's time could discover the truth of his being, his very likeness to the divine. (115)

In his Hymn to the Earth-mother, Oration V, Julian gives us a picture of her religion as it had come down to a Greek of the fourth century AD. Who then is the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods: she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; she came into being next to and together with the great creator; she is in control of every form of life, and the cause of all generation; she easily brings to perfection all things that are made; without pain she brings to birth, and with the father's aid creates all things that are; she is the motherless maiden, enthroned at the side of Zeus, and in very truth is the Mother of all the Gods. For having received into herself the causes of all the gods, both intelligible and supra-mundane, she became the source of the intellectual gods. Now this goddess, who is also Forethought, was inspired with a passionless love for Attis. For not only the forms embodied in matter, but to a still greater degree the causes of those forms, voluntarily serve her and obey her will. And the myth says that the Lion serves the creative Providence of the world, which evidently means the Mother of the Gods. Also Attis rules over the lions, who together with the Lion, who is their leader, have chosen for themselves hot and fiery substance, and so are, first and foremost, the cause of fire. And through the heat derived from fire they are the causes of motive force and of preservation for all things that exist. And Attis encircles the heavens like a tiara, and thence sets out as though to descend to earth. (135)

One of the principal animal forms of Angra Mainyu is the lion, and this association is personified no better than in the mysterious lion-headed figure once venerated in the dark subterranean temples dedicated to the god Mithras. Life-sized statues of this winged deity show it with the body of a human male, a pair of keys in one hand and either the earth or the cosmic egg beneath its feet. Coiled around its torso is a snake - its head rising up over the top of the mane (or sometimes shown entering the mouth of the lion), while studded either on to its chest or carved in an arc above its head are the twelve signs of the zodiac. Mithraism emerged into the limelight of classical history during the first century BC. According to Plutarch (50-120 AD), the pirates of Cilicia, a country in Asia Minor, conducted 'secret mysteries' to Mithra on Mount Olympus. He added that these strange rites had been 'originally instituted by them'. The cult's rise to prominence during this era may well have been influenced by the alliance forged between the Cilician pirates and Mithridates IV, the king of Pontus, a country in north-eastern Asia Minor, whose personal name meant 'given by Mithra' (149)

South America

 According to the Incan creation account, the creator Viracocha sent out two of his children--Manco Capak and Mama Oello-"to gather the natives into communities, and teach them the arts of civilized life." These two children, brother and sister, became husband and wife so that they could maintain the purity of the creator's bloodline. The supreme Inca had to carry forward this tradition by marrying his blood sister. Though he kept concubines, only the offspring of his sister could produce the next supreme Inca. The title was passed down from the father to the eldest son of the Inca queen. It was all a carefully controlled genetic operation, for the queen was selected from the best of the supreme Inca's sisters. (68)

The story of how the Incan world came into being aligns with the biblical account of Genesis: The world was created by Viracocha near Lake Titicaca. After the great deluge or the receding of chaotic floodwaters, Viracocha descended to earth and created plants, animals and men on the empty land; he built the city of Tiahuanaco and appointed four world rulers. (68)

Can we better define the identity of Viracocha? The chronicles, or oral records, of the Incas describe the citizens of Tiahuanaco as the Viracochas, who "were fair-skinned and wore long white robes." Viracocha is also described in the singular as "a man with fair skin, a white beard, attired in a long robe and sandals, carrying a staff, with a cougar lying at his feet." (68)

The Incan origin account is revealing: A long time ago, when the world was filled with savages, misery, and poverty, a brother and sister--a married couple--Manco Capak and Mama Oello [Viracocha's children] left Lake Titicaca. Inti, the sun god, had sent them to refine the surrounding peoples, and gave them a golden stick for testing the land for cultivation and then settling in a suitable place. (68)

Having found such a place, they had to found the state, teach the people to live proper lives, and advocate the worship of the sun god. The journey took a long time. Eventually, in the Cuzco Valley the golden stick disappeared into the ground, and they could start their mission. Manco Capak taught his people the cultivation and irrigation of land and handicraft, while Mama Oello taught women spinning, weaving, and sewing. (68)

The Incas did not claim to have invented their civilization but instead attributed it to a god and his children, who long ago lived among them and taught them many skills. All of these accounts suggest that these visitors were physical beings with superior knowledge and power--like the "sons of God" and the Nephilim in Genesis. There are an astonishing number of coincidences to be merely the result of happenstance. (68)

Throughout all these centuries, the teaching of Wiraqocha remained the essential cultural tool for mastering the complexity of the physical environment of the Andes. Down to the present day and impermeable to time, there endures among the Andean peasantry the fundamental religious principle of Andean agricultural society, taught by Wiraqocha. This is the principle of reciprocity--reciprocity between man and the environmental Powers, reciprocity between the living and the dead, and reciprocity among people. And since the dawning of the Age of Wiraqocha at about 200 B.C., the fundamental theme of Andean history has been the peasantry's nearly super- human effort to keep this principle alive despite successive hammerblows on the anvil of fate. Beginning with the advent of warfare in the seventh century, through the abandonment of the spiritual heart of the Andes at Tiahuanaco about A.D. 1000 and the accompanying fracturing of Andean life into a mosaic of warring tribes, through successive conquests by the Incas and the Spanish, and present-day exploitation and neglect, the native peoples of the Andes have tuned their collective soul to this ancient vibration. Reciprocity, rather than hatred, was and remains the price of cultural survival, impeccably paid. (167)

If there were three "worlds," and the boundaries of the middle world, kay pacha, were known to extend to the tropics, then the exact location of the "world above," hanaq pacha, and the "world below," ukhu pacha, was also knowable. The land of the dead was the entire section of the celestial sphere north of the northern tropic, and the land of the dead was the entire section of the celestial sphere south of the southem tropic. And now I knew why the flood of AD 650 was so important to the Andean priest-astronomers: the "bridge" to the land of the gods had been destroyed--not because the sun no longer crossed paths with the galactic plane, but because this crossing no longer led to the land of the gods. This is why Wiraqocha left, and left "forever." This bridge had a name--chacamarca, "the bridge at the highest point of the house"--and this name meant the northern tropic, the highest point of the "world house." But the bridge was going under--under the northern tropic, to be precise--"pulled down" by precessional motion. The Milky Way would no longer rise where and when the sun touched the northern tropic. This was, as we have seen, precisely the astronomical focus of the myths of the "flood." The celestial analogue of "access to the gods"--that is, the "bridge" to hanaq pacha--had been destroyed. For the first time since the Milky Way had "come to earth" in 200 B.C, this connection--the visible manifestation of the foundations of Andean spiritual life, the great seal of reciprocal harmony stamped upon the heavens by the Creator himself--was gone. (167)

Here, then, is a myth about two brothers whose exploits transpire at the precessional moment of the commencement of the heliacal rise of the Milky Way at June solstice, a point marked in the sky by the Western constellation Gemini, the Twins. In the Old World these Twins are associated with celestial fire, good luck in war and finances, and the planet Saturn, just as among the Aztecs they are associated with the firedrill, good luck for merchants and warriors, and the planet Saturn. In Canari lore, the brothers, one of whom is named "burning hot good luck in war and finances," are rescued through the agency of the god Wiraqocha, the keeper of celestial fire, the "primeval thunderbolt," the planet Saturn. According to Canari myth, the lightning bolt of this colossal, internally coherent thought-form came to earth at the moment of conception of Canari agricultural civilization. And it was dispatched toward these herdsmen by Wiraqocha, from his throne in Tiahuanaco. The Canari brothers possessed all the credentials needed for full and honorable participation in the Andean double-descent system. (167)

The paradigmatic account of this spread throughout the Andes is expressed in the creation myth by Wiraqocha's encounter with hostile villagers at Cacha--the traditional dividing line between the southern Andes and the Titicaca basin. Here Wiraqocha, backed only by moral authority, seeks to spread the word of the new way of life founded to the south. When threatened, Wiraqocha invokes "fire from heaven," which is to say the power of the heavens--the very system of ideas which he seeks to spread--and the people are won over, awed by the majesty of what has transpired. And if current archaeological thought is correct in assigning ecological crises a role in events leading to the creation of the ayllus, 116 then the self-evident wisdom of adopting a dynamic new system of food-getting must be viewed as a central element in Wiraqocha's "authority," an unprecedented wedding of the practical with the numinous. In these ways, both myth and archaeology draw attention to the Titicaca basin in the years immediately preceding 200 BC. It was at this time and in this place that an event of tremendous creative power transpired, an event that would transform forever the face of the Andean highlands. Because the indigenous record of the event--the creation of the sun, moon, and stars by Wiraqocha at "Lion Cliff"--was couched in the very terminology whose advent it was meant to memorialize, the myth's authority was incontrovertible Without the ideas expressed in this story, Andean agricultural society was not only inconceivable, but would have remained quite literally unconceived. (167)

Perhaps most important of all, beyond its many levels of intellectual virtuosity, the myth addresses the deep human yearning to found human society upon objective--which is to say sacred--norms. The unprecedented economic success of the vertical archipelagoes, which followed the illumination at Titicaca in 200 BC, could only serve to enhance the myth's powerful grip on the imagination of the people. For these reasons the Andean myth of creation was, and would remain, authoritative. It was from this myth, and the cosmological teaching it contained, that all future pretenders to "rulership" in the Andes would seek to derive their own claims to legitimacy. (167)

Some things don't have a linear explanation. According to the best available archaeological information, large-scale, organized warfare first appeared in the Andes in about AD 650 with the arising of the central Andean state known as Wari. Also in AD 650, two simultaneous and extremely rare astronomical phenomena, the one planetary, the other precessional, conspired to leave an indelible imprint on the Andean mind. As the pax wiraqocha was coming to an end on earth, confirmation of this dire truth was played out in the sky. Andean myth specifies a year--and even the hours, between dusk and dawn leading to June-solstice sunrise--when the whole world was destroyed by a "flood." Wiraqocha, in the twilight of his reign, would leave the earth for his celestial throne in the Milky Way--its entrance, as viewed in the cold light of the following dawn, now slammed irrevocably shut. Meanwhile, on earth, the Andean sierra fell under the sway of a proud, secular, and brutal state. Finally, because it is now possible to derive precise dates from the myths themselves, it is also possible to state that the myths of Huarochiri are, in one important respect, unique. They represent, to my knowledge, the only extant document in the world's literature chronicling the entire psychological process undergone by a society confronted for the first time by the advent of institutionalized warfare. As I will try to show, this experience changed not only the social order in the Andes, but also the relationship between the people and their myths. It was this latter change, fully expressed in the myths of Huarochiri, that would continue to reverberate down through all succeeding centuries of Andean experience, and contribute decisively to the formation of the Inca Empire. The story begins, then, with the archaeology of the "flood." Here, then, archaeology appears to support myth. The Age of Wiraqocha--commencing with the advent of the "river of fire" in 200 BC and ending with the "flood" of AD 650--was based on the principle of stateless, classless cooperation between distinct ethnic groups. At the end of the Early Intermediate Period (ca. A.D. 600), the Ayacucho valley appears still to have lain within the temporal and ethical boundaries of the Age of Wiraqocha. (167)

By associating the lineage wakas with the various luminaries and dark-cloud constellations of the fixed sphere of stars, the creators of this Andean myth succeeded brilliantly in objectifying the new social order, one based on a unity--forged from a galaxy of languages, dress, custom, and so on--among the various ethnic groups up and down the Andes. Just as each ayllu descended from a star, the people of each ayllu would live in harmony with all others, in the same manner that each star or constellation lived in fixed harmony with all the other stars. And just as each star or constellation possesses its own unique identity among other unique identities, the various ethnic units descended from unique wakas would maintain their ethnic identities while participating in a greater unity. Moreover, just as each star had a unique celestial location, each ayllu would have a unique terrestrial location determined by the pacarina, the mythical point of emergence of the lineage wakas at the outset of the agricultural age. That this analogy was intended is shown by the fact that pacatina means, literally, "place of dawning," suggesting that the arising of the lineage wakas mirrored the heliacal rise of stars at the dawn of the Age of Wiraqocha. (167)

In the doctrine of the pacarinas I found fully expressed the breathtaking scope of the cosmological notions that transformed the Andean civilization when both branches of the Milky Way "came to earth," about 200 BC. Wiraqocha made the lineage wakas. He told them to go beneath the "earth." Then, at specific points up and down the Andes, these wakas, representing stars and constellations, were commanded to rise at locations called "places of dawning." In this way the makers of Andean myth, in an act of pure creative genius, forged from a pattern of celestial relationships the guiding principles of an entire civilization. The socioreligious bonds of the Age of Wiraqocha-- humility, hospitality to strangers, and pride in one's community--were sacred bonds, the living manifestation of the cosmic order. The unparalleled brilliance of these ideas--offering as they did a level of prosperity, socia harmony, and spiritual nourishment utterly without precedent--explains their durability throughout the centuries that would follow. This truly was a religious perspective conducive to awe, to harmony, and to peace. (167)

The doctrine of the lineage wakas and pacarinas explains why states were neither desirable nor necessary until extreme pressure on the land brought matters to a head. Until it was broken there was no need to fix it. Perhaps, in the fullness of time, the radical secular intervention of Wari was inevitable. I now understood how, by declaring themselves descended from planets, the warriors had managed to break into this system. Henceforth, in the Andes, the warriors would claim as divine right their power to "rule" the peasantry based on the following proposition: since the lineage wakas of the warriors, namely planets, "ruled" the stars--that is, the lineage wakas of the peasantry--then cosmic law mandated that the warriors themselves should "rule" the peasantry. The damage done to Andean civilization by the introduction of this Great Lie is beyond calculation. By treating the technical language of myth as if it were literally true, the warriors tainted the seminal ideas of Andean civilization. Now cut loose from its original function as a mnemonic powerhouse, the technical language of myth would serve the warriors as a means of intimidation, and neither heaven nor earth would ever be the same. The primordial maxim "as above, so below" ceased to be an invitation to participation in a greater harmony. Now it signaled doom, for suddenly, the principles of war and dominance had been discovered in the sky. The contradictory information concerning the transition between the reign of Wiraqocha Inca and Pachakuti therefore suggests a breakdown in the social compact established centuries earlier between peasants and warriors. As the representative of the ancient ways of the peasantry, Wiraqocha Inca must in some way have taken a position in opposition to the warrior moiety sufficiently dangerous as to threaten the social fabric of Cuzco. The picture of the brutal and abject humiliation of Wiraqocha Inca by his son suggests a society on the brink of civil war. But such a conflict would have been suicidal for both parties because, as with all the tribes of the Andes the Incas were surrounded by enemies both actual and potential. (167)

In a world of shrinking resources owing to severe pressure on the land, the temptation must have arisen to make war more deadly, in the sense of pushing one's advantage to the maximum, seeking to annihilate the enemy's soldiers so as to avoid future retribution and assure future tribute. Yet just this state of constant enmity made it impossible to contemplate the kind of integration of resource use that might surmount the problem of shortages. The wondrous unfolding of Tiahuanacan civilization had begun when the solstice suns entered the Milky Way. This golden age had ended, and ended exactly when, simultaneously, the Milky Way ceased to rise at the June solstice, and war broke out on earth. Wiraqocha left the earth. The people and their gods would never again be so close. Now, with tribal enmity approaching unprecedented levels of danger, with shortages and hungry mouths to feed with land in short supply, and a murderous suggestion abroad to stop the peasants from "overbreeding" by whatever means necessary, everything appeared in peril. And there in the skies, once again exactly on time, was the ominous cosmic mirror of events on earth. Who indeed could escape astrological emotion? (167)

...beginning about 200 BC, Andean society underwent fundamental transformations each time the solstice suns entered or left the Milky Way. In addition, the eight-hundred-year periodicity of the conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter also took place against the background of the Milky Way at the same time that the major social transformations occurred on earth. (167)

Mesoamerica

 Every day on the Maya calendar had its omens, and activities were rigorously scheduled in accordance with their astrological significance. The Maya's "zero day," from which they counted time (and which they perhaps believed was the date on which the world was created) "was August 13, 3114 BC. Contrary to some speculations, the Maya apparently did not believe the world will end on December 24, AD 2011, but this date does mark the point at which the Long Count will return to the symmetry of its beginning. (51)

Using murals, sculptures, and engravings from Uxmal and Chichen Itza, Le Plongeon re-created and narrated a history of several key Mayan rulers and their link to other cultures. The story, according to Le Plongeon, occurred 11,500 years ago. His history appeared fully developed in his book Sacred Mysteries Among the Maya and Quiches, and told of the love between Queen Moo and Prince Coh, and of his death by the hand of his jealous brother Aac. According to Le Plongeon's interpretation, during a period of civil unrest after the death of Prince Coh, Queen Moo was forced to flee to Egypt and on her arrival was recognized as a long-lost sister. The story was substantiated, Le Plongeon felt, not only by the wealth of artifacts recovered during excavations from Uxmal and Chichen Itza, but also by what he interpreted as the cremated remains of Prince Coh's heart. Le Plongeon tells us it was the story that was graphically illustrated on the walls of the Upper Temple of the Jaguars and in the story of the Troano Manuscript. Le Plongeon asserts that, according to their own history and legend, during prehistoric times, the Mayans entered the Yucatan from the west led by Itzamna, their earliest mentioned leader and hero. Along a pathway mysteriously opened through the waters, they came from the Far East beyond the ocean. (70)

A second migration occurred sometime later, during the second century AD, led by Kukulcan, a miraculous priest and teacher who became the founder of the Mayan kingdom and civilization. Of special interest to Le Plongeon was a story contained in the Troano Manuscript that told of a dreadful natural cataclysm, most likely an earthquake. Several pages at the beginning of the second part were dedicated to recounting the "awful phenomena" that occurred during the cataclysm that submerged ten countries. Among them was the large island call the "land of Mu," situated among the strangely crooked line of islands historically known as the West Indies. To the Maya, it was the "land of the scorpion." Le Plongeon was astonished and gratified to find an account of the events written during the lives of the characters he found in the ruins. Their history, described in the mural paintings, was also told in the legends and sculptures still adorning the walls of their palaces and temples. He was also pleased to learn that these ancient celebrities had already been converted, at the time of the Troano Manuscript, into gods of the elements. To the new Maya, these beings became the agents who produced the terrible earthquakes that violently shook the "lands of the west," as told in the narrative of the Akab-cib, and laid the island to rest beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. With the deciphering of the Troano Manuscript, the story of Queen Moo continued. Sailing out from the Yucatan, she sought refuge in the land of the scorpion (the West Indies), but discovered that Mu, the heart of the land, had vanished. With no alternatives, she continued her voyage eastward and succeeded in reaching Egypt. Le Plongeon substantiates this by implying that she is mentioned on Egyptian monuments and in papyri, always referred to as Queen Mau (Moo). To the Egyptians, she is better known as the goddess Isis, wearing vestments of various colors that imitate feather work, similar to the plumage of the macaw, after which she was named in the Mayan language. (70)

A very interesting statue crowned Prince Coh's mausoleum, a dying leopard with a human head. To Le Plongeon, it was a "veritable sphinx," and possibly the prototype of the mysterious Egyptian Sphinx. This Mayan sphinx, like the leopard in the sculptures, has three deep holes in its back, symbolic of the wounds inflicted by his brother Aac. This brave Mayan warrior, whose enemies could not kill in a fair fight, was treacherously slain by his cowardly brother, just as Osiris, in Egypt, was murdered by his brother Seth, and for the same motive--jealousy. In Egyptian history, Osiris comes to us as a myth. However, according to Le Plongeon, Prince Coh, the beloved Ozil, was a tangible reality--the remains of his charred heart were found, as well as the weapons that caused his death. In Sacred Mysteries Among the Maya and Quiches, Le Plongeon endeavors to show, from the identity of their history and from that of their names and totems, that the Egyptians worshipped Seb, Nut, and their children (Osiris, Seth, Aroeris, Isis, and Nike) as gods. Le Plongeon argues that these were the same personages as the Royal Mayan family: King Canchi; his wife, Zoc; and their five children, Cay, Aac, Coh, Moo, and Nike. (70)

For me, Teotihuacan, then, was the supremely "Aryan" city in the New World, the city closest to the spirit of the Iranian/Mesopotamian origins of the Aryans. In spite of its emblematic, heraldic totem system, which was involved primarily with social organization/grouping, the core of its theism was the supreme sky-god, the sun, and the sky-god's messenger, Quetzalcoatl. The mixed Dravidian/Aryan group that had landed on the Pacific coast perhaps 3000 years before Teotihuacan had been founded, had evolved, and had its Aryan elements distilled and concretized into its purest expression at Teotihuacan. I saw Quetzalcoatl as a "refugee" from the Aryan-Dravidian wars among the Olmecs and the Olmecs as a Northern branch of the Aryan-Dravidian landing party on the Pacific coast. (120)

In the case of Quetzalcoatl, the first time he definitely appears (not counting the Quetzalcoatl epiphany on the Mochica raft already alluded to) is in Teotihuacan circa 200 AD. Here he is already deified, a plumed serpent-god. Only, unlike the case with Viracocha, the identity of the original person from whom the deity sprang is inextricably bound up with the personality of the second, dateable, traceable Quetzalcoatl--the King of Tula. Peru, in a sense, existed in an ethnological vacuum. Although the "legendary" Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan was elusive, the "historical" Quetzalcoatl was much more documented and traceable. He was originally from Tula (Tollan), the home of the Toltecs, a city about fifty miles north of Mexico City, which flourished between 856 and 1168 AD. Tula was a kind of earthly paradise, and the Toltecs were master craftsmen, silversmiths, jade workers, and goldsmiths who thrived under the rule of King-Priest Quetzalcoat1. (120)

The Maya artificially deformed the heads of babies to produce a steeply sloped forehead. The reasons given for simulating this simian effect range from their interest in snakes to the belief that the shape mimicked that of an earlier aristocratic class. As did other primitive people, they filed their teeth, and tattooed and scarified their bodies as a form of decoration. They both respected and feared death, grieving for the deceased. Maize was placed in the mouth of the dead as a symbol of rebirth, and jade, or stone beads were added as currency to pay for the spirit's journey. The corpse was wrapped in cotton, and as the colour red was symbolic of both death and rebirth, either the body or the grave was covered with cinnabar. (150)

In Mayan cosmogony, all numbers had symbolic meanings and, inevitably, they were all interlinked. Such is the centrality of number and mathematics, that it was built in to the Mayan concept of an absolute god called, Hunab K'u, 'Sole God', the giver of movement and measure. ...for the Maya, Venus was associated with a disaster of such huge proportions that only human sacrifice might prevent its recurrence. Sacrifice, of course, takes many forms, but all of them symbolize the offering of the self. Put simply, human beings were vicariously sacrificed to the gods as reimbursement for the gift of life. (150)

The two outstanding features of Mayan religion are the concepts of unity, and replication.

Unity: The gods, humans and numbers (or mathematics) are one and the same, representing a unity in plurality. Every multifarious aspect of nature fascinated the Maya who saw in the sky, earth and sea' a dynamic and coherent whole'. The kind of unity characteristic of Mayan religion is not the monotheism of biblical religion; if one word could sum up the Mayan concept, it is the word 'energy'. A single, all- pervading energy is understood to support the entire observable universe, all natural phenomena and life. For the monotheistic, biblical religions this unified energy is understood as God. The name of the Mayan concept for the one, Absolute being is Hunab K'u, the source of movement and measurement, and on whom everything is dependent. The name means 'solitary' or 'sole' god', an epithet for the Maya's trend towards monotheism. An important distinction is made between the soul and the spirit. The soul is the form of the spirit, while spirit itself is energy. In Maya this is known as K'inan, from K'in, the Sun, and an, a conditional form of the verb 'to be'. Spirit is the Sun's being, or energy. The soul is a manifestation of the spirit, it is energy endowed with intelligence, temporally housed in a body. It is the soul that is understood as 'Measure', and the spirit as 'Movement'. In combination, what this amounts to is form and its vitalizing energy, the latter being the unifying principle.

Replication: The concept of replication works both at a mundane and cosmic level. Patterns of everyday life are copied and cycled to form a map of fate, and the gods, together with their concerns and needs, were anthropomorphized to reflect cosmic geography. The human scale was copied into the cosmic, and the cosmic into the human. The Maya wanted to know who they were and where they were, and their experience of everything, from the cultivation of maize to calculating their location within cyclic time, was used in their search for an answer. Thus, their architecture also copied cosmic geography just as it did for the ancient Egyptians, the difference being that replication for the Maya meant establishing a human architecture that mirrored both its constructed and cosmic model. (150)

The central Mayan creation myth is best represented in the Popul Vuh of the Quiche Maya, which tells of the gods, Tepeu and Gucumatz alone with the sea, enjoying their conversation; by means of their speech, creation is set in motion. That it is the 'word' that creates resonates with many other religious traditions. The account includes the important mythology of two sets of twins, one pair of which is sacrificed in the underworld, the other pair being the hero twins, the demon-slayers, talented at the ritual ball game played in the ball courts. The creation 'discussion' continues with the destruction of the wooden people and the creation of the maize people. This concept of sequences of destruction and creation suggests multiple creations, a characteristic of Mesoamerican mythology which is still current among the contemporary Maya. The concept is also carried by the mythology of the world passing through five ages, or Five Suns, each ending with a destructive catastrophe before the 'New Age' is born. This is the cycle represented by the Long Count Calendar. (150)

The relationship and interdependence of earth and sky remains at the centre of Mayan religion and is significantly illustrated by the name of one their principal gods, QuetzalcoatL Quetzal, meaning a bird, and coati, meaning snake, respectively a figure of the sky and the earth. It also represents a duality that belies the Mayan quest for harmony and balance. For the Maya, the balance or harmony of the individual with the community, nature, the world, the planets and the cosmos is not just a metaphor of health, economic prosperity and long life, but a condition of these. In contradistinction, imbalance and discord are associated with sickness, famine, even of world destruction. (150)

Mayan cosmology understands the world to be flat, but arranged in three familiar planes, the underworld, the sky, and the earth. The underworld, ruled over by Ah Puch, the god of death, was a place to be feared, but not a place of punishment as in the biblical concept of hell. It had 9 levels, represented in several 9-level pyramids, whereas the upper world had 13. The sky, a window in which the minds and activities of the star-associated gods could be observed, was ruled by the Sun and Itzarnna, the Moon-god son ofHunab K'u. Thus, the constellations, their seasonal movements and intersections were observable phenomena that also told a story about the gods. (150)

The Maya supported a large pantheon of gods. They were not discrete and separate like the Greek gods, but entirely bound up with every aspect of human life. They 'did not have a mythical concept of deities, but instead maintained that lords represented the forces of nature'. Such were their attributes and affinities that they sometimes merged, as does the weather itself; gods might then represent Sun with rain, wind with thunder, sky in the form of low cloud and mist mingling with trees and hills. As with the Hindu pantheon, the gods are the manifestation of a single principle - for Hindus, Brahma, for the Maya, the consciousness of the one energy that pervades everyrhing.? This considerable pantheon is thought to describe a mathematical representation of what was observed of nature. Each god was perceived as if it was a number, its function and effects seen, as noted above, in combination with the interaction of numbers represented in the calendars. Since Mayan culture developed to its highest point among the forest peoples, it is not surprising that the central deities were associated with growth and constant renewal. Among them were, the Chacs, the rain gods; the Moon, understood as the goddess of soil, birth and fertility; the Sun, and the maize god who provided the substance that was the basis of Mayan agricultural economy. The Chacs, like the other gods, were set in groups of four, each related to a cardinal point of the compass, and associated with one of four colours: white, yellow, red and black. Importantly, the Maya conceived of a fifth direction, that of the centre, which was omnipresent. Even as there is always an 'east', so there is always a centre. This centre was imagined as a huge tree, the ceiba tree, which connected the different planes of existence. (150)

Of prime importance to the prophecies is the god Quetzalcoatl, referred to above. His name, in Yucatec Maya, is Kukulcan. As a synthesis of bird and serpent, he is familiarly know in the West as 'the plumed serpent'. The quetzal, a bird that inhabits the cloud forest, is prized for its emerald-coloured feathers; the coati is the rattlesnake. (150)

For normal, everyday purposes, the Maya were bound by the linear aspect of time, but their calendars, and their religion and mythology, indicate they were conscious of what might be termed 'cosmic time'. They were mindful, as we are, of mortality, and yet their calendric systems leave us in no doubt they were aware of, and lived by the rhythms of the infinite. (150)

Prophecy for the Maya was not just a way oflife, it was the ground of their being, the conceptual foundation of their mythology. Several elements combined to produce these prophecies; a class of specialized priests whose relationship with the gods gave them unique authority, the gods who imparted the prophecies, and the actual process of receiving and transmitting them. The prophecies cannot be interpreted and understood apart from the particular relationship that existed between religion, cosmology, astronomy, mathematics and spirituality. The priests transmitting the prophecies were mouthpieces, spokesmen, or interpreters and were highly regarded. They delivered the messages of the gods to the people, who carried them on. What we are considering is not simply a matter of concepts communicated by language, but an exchange, or a sharing of a unique kind of experience. The priest will have actual experience, at the highest spiritual level, of what he is required to communicate, in much the same way as he will have a perception of recurrences in the cyclic concept of time. These experiences are shamanistic and very persuasive. (150)

The jaguar figures considerably in Mayan mythology. It is said to be able to cross between worlds at a spiritual level, as it does between day and night which, for the Maya, represent different, but complementary, modes of being. The earth and everything that lives is associated with the day; the world of the spirit and the ancestors is associated with the night. (150)

Because of their cyclic concept of time, the Maya understood that history was also cyclic and that events of the past were likely, at least in general terms, to recur. Based on the precedents of Olmec and Zapotec decline, they would have had some presentiment of their own civilization's mortality, just as they would of its post-Classical resurgence, which in turn was overthrown by the Spanish conquest. This latter misfortune was...clearly prophesied. The extent to which the Maya were aware of the coming decline of their Classical civilization is uncertain, but the destruction, at a later date, of their resurgent culture by the Spanish is among the clearest of their prophecies. That being so, the general weight of the prophecy was to give early indication of radical and challenging change, and a warning to prepare for it. (150)

Mayan mythology has, to a great extent, pivoted around Quetzalcoatl, the plumed or feathered serpent, one of the principal gods of Mesoamerican religion, whom the Maya called, Kukulcan. His cult and its influence was not confined to the Toltec-Maya, and his emblem, the feathered serpent, is found throughout Mexico. (150)

Quetzalcoatl is frequently represented as a feathered or plumed serpent, and because of this serpent symbolism, the prophecies of the return of Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan have important associations with the esoteric parallel of Hinduism's secret knowledge of k'ulthanlilni (kundalini) and the seven chakras, the body's centres of energy. Although there is a tradition that before the Christian era Mayan elders and priests travelled to India taking their knowledge with them, the influence remains conjectural. Even so, it is remarkable that the Maya taught about the seven power centres of the human body by which means the energy of the cosmos was assimilated and expressed. In Hindu teaching, kundalini represents a serpent-like potential curled at the base of the spine. This vital link between the Earth and the body is one of the central themes of the prophecies that speak of the urgent need of humanity to recover its innate relationship with Nature. (150)

This prophecy of the return of Quetzalcoatl has a dimension that lies beyond the myth; it speaks of a resurgence of the kind of energy used in kundalini meditation that will take many creative forms. Thus 'return' can be read as a 'resurgence' of a fire-like spread of energy and the transformation of consciousness that leads, in turn, to the individual transcending an earthbound, materialistic way of life. In Mayan mythology it is the cycles of Venus that signal the return of Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl, and the consequent expanding or unfolding of human consciousness. According to the prophecy, Kukulcan promised he would return after 'five full cycles of the dawn star', that is, Venus as the Morning Star. It is to be noted that the galactic synchronization of December 2012 will be preceded by a transit of Venus on 6 June. (150)

Hunbatz Men tells us the priests believed that 'the spirit of Pacal Votan came from the stars and that he brought the wisdom of the stars with him'. This 'Wisdom' is believed to be the source of the Maya's astronomical and mathematical knowledge, and also of a more esoteric knowledge already referred to as the secrets of k'ulthanlilni, known in Eastern mysticism as kundalini. (150)

The mythology and prophecies associated with the Milky Way are multilayered; it was taken to be the Mayan World Tree, or Tree of Life, the source of life itself; it was seen as a road, a river, a Cosmic Mother and, of special significance, as a snake represented in Mayan art as a double-headed serpent or rattlesnake, with the Pleiades forming its tail. For the Maya, the source of all life was identified with the galactic or cosmic centre of the Milky Way, and in their mythology this was the 'Great Mother'. Her Dark Rift is the precise location where the December solstice Sun crosses the Milky Way and the mythology sees this conjunction as the sexual union of the First Father, the winter solstice Sun, with the First Mother, the Milky Way. The Milky Way, as the Tree of Life, can be seen during late summer when it turns on end taking the form of a tree. (150)

When the planet [Venus] rose, the Mexicans, from earliest times, closed the doors and windows against its light which was believed to be unlucky and the bearer of sickness. Mayan inscriptions record that the moment of the appearance of the evening star was the signal for an attack on a city. The sense of Venus as the 'dark' planet is thought to be due to its association with a catastrophic event in early Mayan history, such as comet impact, or massive flooding, which occurred at the time of a Venus transit. (150)

North America

 

Other

 The Australian Aborigones offer a wonderful subject for meditations on the nature of humanity. Consider: these people lived in what may have been nearly complete isolation for more than 40,000 years in an ecologically diverse continent, and when first encountered by Europeans in the 17th century, their technology hardly approached the sophistication of the Neanderthals: just simple stone tools and rudimentary wooden implements; and yet they evolved a kinship system and cosmology that most graduate students in anthropology have struggled to comprehend in all its complexity--and probably never do.(24)