Atlantis and the Cycles of Time (cont.)
By Joscelyn Godwin
Each of the major strains of occult Atlantology has its own style. The Germans are more indebted to Theosophy and its concept of root races (see below), which the Ariosophists developed in one direction, the Anthroposophists in another. They almost never claim supersensible powers themselves, but believe that such existed in ancient times and may be revived in the future. The third major national strain is the British, which differs from the French and German by its openness about its methods and the great variety of these.
From Britain, we have accounts of Atlantis from self-trained trance mediums (Dion Fortune, Margaret Lumley Brown); dictation by an inner voice (H. C. Randall-Stevens); vision of the past induced by meditating at an ancient site (Paul Brunton); open-eyed vision on site by a medium (Olive Pixley); manuscripts made available during initiation into an arcane order (Lewis Spence); a discarnate entity who takes the subject on a tour (Daphne Vigers); the return of a well-known nineteenth- century medium (Mandasoran); another medium who acts as mouthpiece for his controlling entity (Anthony Neate); a person who has a single flash of inspired vision (Katharine Maltwood), from which she develops a system; an enthusiast for outlandish theories (Brinsley le Poer Trench) who constructs his own eclectic model; and another (John Michell) whose enthusiasms lead to a geometric revelation of his own. The variety of methods is matched by the variety of Atlantises thus received.
Beside these three principal strains there are undoubtedly Russian Atlantologists, and certainly some scientific interest there and in Eastern Europe, but apart from Nicolas Zhirov and Zdeněk Kukal (who have been translated), these await researchers who know the relevant languages. In any case, to classify modern Atlantology by national schools overlooks the biggest contributor of all. None of the twentieth-century authorities, whatever their alleged sources, could avoid the influence of Theosophy.
Modern Theosophy has passed through two distinct eras, often mistaken for a single one. The earlier one is represented by the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and her contemporaries; the later, by Charles Webster Leadbeater and Annie Besant. Blavatsky made some remarks on Atlantis and prehistoric cultures in Isis Unveiled (1877), but it was a series of letters signed by the Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya that outlined the definitive scheme of human evolution from the occultist point of view. Blavatsky amplified it in The Secret Doctrine (1888), which chronicles five “root races” that have nothing to do with the colored races of French Atlantology, but are large-scale stages of human evolution. They begin with humanity in an ethereal or gaseous state (the first two root races) and devolve through a gradual coagulation and division into sexes (the third, called Lemurian) into full physicality with the fourth root race (Atlantean). With the fifth (Aryan: our current state), we are on the long return journey to spiritualization.