Author of the Month

Atlantis and the Cycles of Time (cont.)
By Joscelyn Godwin

Scott-Elliot’s book includes four maps of Atlantis, first published in 1896, which have been reproduced countless times since. Sinnett, in his preface, says that these maps come from “records physically preserved,” and Scott-Elliot describes them as “a globe, a good bas-relief in terra-cotta, and a well-preserved map on parchment.” From later sources we learn that they are in Tibet, in the Museum of Records of the Great White Brotherhood, and that Leadbeater was given permission to visit it in his astral body and copy the maps there.

The Atlantis myth carries a powerful psychic charge, and has served many groups and individuals in their manipulation of people’s belief systems. I am not in the business of debunking, but I like to get to the bottom of tall tales like Scott-Elliot’s maps. Other popular clichés would be James Churchward’s Mu, the last words of Jesus, reputedly spoken in “pure Mayan,” Katharine Maltwood’s Glastonbury Zodiac, the Lemurians of Mount Shasta, and the various Atlantean scenarios put out by Rosicrucian orders. By clearing away such growths, one has a better chance of tackling the genuine enigmas of human origins and evolution.

Whom then should we trust? I listen to them all: Rudolf Steiner, Alice Bailey, the ill-matched Tradionalist couple of René Guénon and Julius Evola, the Avalonians from Dion Fortune to John Michell; the excruciating Oahspe, wily Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub, Phylos the Tibetan, who starts the Mount Shasta business; Edgar Cayce, the “I AM” folk, William Dudley Pelley of Silver Shirts fame, Doreal-Doggins with his Emerald Tablets; the teasing trio of George Adamski, Richard Shaver, and George Hunt Williamson; wise old Seth, tough old Ramtha, James Merrill with his Ouija board, and quite a few others.

Am I laughing at them, or with them? It depends on the degree to which they were deliberately putting one over on their disciples or audiences. And having said that, who is meant by “they”? The channelers themselves, or whatever is communicating through them? Most channelers seem sincere: almost all of them started their careers unwillingly after a transcendent irruption into their lives. But I am suspicious of their sources which, when they are not total bores, often seem to be stretching our credulity for their own amusement. Since they do not agree with one another, they cannot all be right: for example, they date the Great Pyramid at anything from 200,000 to 6000 years ago. Yet each source has an amazing consistency and personality, and a seemingly inexhaustible fund of knowledge.

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