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Modern Myth Articles
The Saturn Theory Overview
Vine Deloria, one of the most enjoyable speakers I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, has provided a catalyst here. I'd like to respond in discrete steps, to avoid getting ahead of myself.
"As to myth interpretation—if we have some scenario that suggests unusual physical activities and then find in so-called myths FACTS that must connect to the storyline we are in good shape. I think basically that is what Talbott is doing. I only wish it was clearer."
Vine is certainly not the only one. But there's a dilemma here. Unlike many competing catastrophist models, the "Saturn theory" involves explicit pictures showing "exactly" what we are proposing the ancients saw. And the claimed celestial images relate specifically to the positions of "planets" in the sky, planets that are "named". Moreover, the proposed celestial forms behave in an incredibly precise way. Hence, this behavior can be tested against all domains of evidence globally.
A picture of one phase in the hypothesized planetary configuration is shown on the home page of the Kronia Communications website—The claimed celestial form is very specific, as I'm sure all will agree.
The problem of confusion comes at two levels, I believe. For openers, the evolution of the proposed configuration grows highly complex—even clouded—at certain junctures, particularly periods of instability. For that reason, I've selected as a starting point for a series of overviews in the journal AEON the image illustrated on the website. I am simply taking that picture as a slice of history to show that this precise image, and attendant parts, was recorded around the world. And each part had remarkably unified meanings attached to it. From this starting point I will work forward in an overview of chronology, then eventually work backwards to the earliest remembered events as well. (Information on the journal AEON is available at the website address above.)
Readers of this submission who are unaware of the proposed collinear planetary arrangement are referred to either the video documentary, Remembering the End of the World, or the first AEON overview article (IV:3).
But there is also an issue of methodology. How can we prove something we are claiming was remembered and celebrated above all else around the world? In the methodology I am suggesting, nothing counts as ground floor evidence except "points of agreement" between widely disbursed cultures. To follow this methodology religiously is to have—well, a religious experience. Suddenly, it becomes crystal clear that ancient races really "did" remember things which, under the spell of the now-uneventful solar system, we have forgotten.
In terms as simple as I can muster, I'd like to work through some of these "points of agreement." I listed several fundamental and universal principles in my first submission, but it occurs to me that, in working from the general to the specific, I did not start at the "most" elementary level. For example, Vine asked the question, How many mythical themes are there? Well, it all depends. At one level—the most fundamental level of all—there is only one story, told with a thousand symbols.
Here is rough paraphrase of "THE ONE STORY TOLD AROUND THE WORLD."
Once the world was quite a different place. In the beginning, we were ruled by the central luminary of the sky, the motionless sun, presiding over an age of natural abundance and cosmic harmony. Creator-king, father of kings, founder of the kingship rites. And this earliest remembered time was the "exemplary" epoch, the Golden Age, the standard for all later generations.
But the ancient order was disrupted and the entire cosmos fell into confusion, when the Universal Monarch tumbled from his appointed station. Then the hordes of chaos were set loose and all of creation slipped into a cosmic night, the gods themselves battling furiously in the heavens.
And yet, from this descent into chaos, a new world emerged, now re-configured, but with the Universal Monarch himself, rejuvenated and transformed, assuming his rightful place in the heavens.
Is it really possible that this "one story"—a story so pristine and elementary—was remembered around the world? Is it really possible that all of the recurring storylines of world mythology are only a part of this singular story? Yes, I will swear by this. In fact I am eager for a challenge to this sweeping and seemingly outrageous statement. (A challenge will often help me to clarify such statements, in a context of interest to the one issuing the challenge.)
But remember: I DID NOT SAY THAT I GAVE YOU THE WHOLE STORY. For example, I did not mention the mother goddess, and I did not mention the ancestral warrior-hero. Both are inseparably linked to this one story. But we're going for simplicity here.
Now let's go back to the most pervasive motivations of early civilizations, a topic I noted in my earlier submission. Is it possible to reduce the cited motives of ancient cultures to more elementary principles, without falling into the reductionist fallacy? I think it is, indeed, possible. There is a singular principle, for example, that is beyond dispute: the builders of the first civilizations were incessantly looking backwards. In the first expressions of civilization, human imagination was dominated entirely by "things remembered".
Moreover, two contradictory impulses will be discerned in this alignment to the past, and neither will make any sense in terms of conventional assumptions about human history. One impulse is nostalgia, a yearning for something remembered above all else, but lost. The second impulse is terror: the pervasive, ever-present fear that something terrible that happened in the past will happen again. No civilization in the ancient world failed to express these contrasting motives, reflected in monument-building, commemorative rites, hymns and prayers to the gods, kingship rites, ritual sacrifice, and holy war.
How is this to be explained? One possibility has been consistently overlooked by the specialists: the possibility that celestial events of an unimaginable scale cast their shadow over all of civilization.
But why do nostalgia and terror exist side by side in such a paradoxical relationship? A comparative approach will show that this is no accident, that a unified memory lies behind both of the expressions—the memory of an ancient "paradisiacal" condition, the mythical "Golden Age," giving way to overwhelming catastrophe, universal darkness, cosmic tumult, and wars of the gods.
Look at the deepest yearning of civilization's builders, and you will see the yearning for paradise, a desperate longing to recover the lost Golden Age. For the Egyptians this was the revered Golden Age of Ra, and for the ancient Sumerians it was the Golden Age of An—a theme reverberating around the world.
But now look at the deepest fears of the same peoples, and you will see the Doomsday anxiety, the terror of the great catastrophe. This is not an isolated memory, but a memory inseparably linked to the theme of the ancestral paradise. The remembered events were not just catastrophic; they were the events that brought the Golden Age to an end, when the sky was overrun by chaos.
Two seemingly incompatible motives trace to a common experience, and both bring us back to the ONE STORY TOLD AROUND THE WORLD. Hence, the implication cannot be avoided. Something extraordinary was remembered by the first sky-watchers, something profound and yet unexplained.