Atlantis and the Cycles of Time (cont.)
By Joscelyn Godwin
Anyone who keeps abreast of the “New Archaeology” is well aware of all this. He or she may also have noticed that the New Archaeology has a New Age aura about it. Among its prime movers, Colin Wilson is one of the most popular authors on occult traditions. John Anthony West has written a defence of astrology and an exposition of the Hermetic adept Schwaller de Lubicz. Graham Hancock now writes about experiences with entheogens. Robert Bauval’s theories touch on equally Hermetic doctrines of astral immortality. Robert Schoch is now concerned with parapsychological research. However, their prime material is still the monuments themselves; their prime intent, to understand why they are as they are. The only explanation that satisfies them is that prehistoric peoples experienced states of being incomprehensible through the materialist paradigm. The reasonable course, then, is to try a different paradigm.
Another type of Atlantologist has been doing this all along, by taking a supra-rational approach to the question of prehistoric high culture. It is wrong to call them irrational, because they do not reject reason. However, they consider other avenues of knowledge supplementary if not superior to it. The traditionally minded put their faith in scriptures and sacred authorities, while those open to the paranormal rely on intuition, initiation, clairvoyance, or mediumship. One might call them occultists, but only in the sense that they all claim access to knowledge that is “occulted” or hidden from the rationalists.
The occultists’ Atlantis is a colorful and often beautiful tapestry, woven by visionaries, prophets, and receivers of divine revelation. But I cannot leave it at that. I want to turn the tapestry over to see how the knots are made, then snoop around in their workrooms.
One of the first facts to emerge is that there are distinct national schools. The first Atlantologists of the modern age were two Frenchmen of the Enlightenmen, the astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly and the theosopher Fabre d’Olivet,. Together they launched a particularly French strain, carried onward by Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Edouard Schuré, Papus, René Guénon, and Paul le Cour. After World War II this spawned a more popular genre with Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians, the review Planète, and the books of Robert Charroux, who blended it with the Ancient Astronaut theory.