Mythology and Planets
There have been two pivotal publications in recent years. The first was Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky (in 1950) and the second was the Saturn Myth by David Talbott (in 1980).
Worlds in Collision
In the first issue of Pensee, the editors captured in a few short pages a summary of this work. I have extracted much of that summary here.
Sometime in the second millennium B.C., a brilliant, fiery object entered upon a long elliptical orbit around the Sun. This was the comet and protoplanet Venus. Terrified, men watched the "bright torch of heaven" as it traversed its elongated orbit, menacing the Earth. Venus, a Chinese astronomical text recalls, spanned the heavens, rivaling the Sun in brightness. According to an ancient rabbinical source,
"The brilliant light of Venus blazes from one end of the cosmos to the other."
The fears of the star watchers were justified. As Venus arched away from one perihelion passage during the middle of the second millennium B.C., the Earth approached this intruder, entering first the outer reaches of its cometary tail. A rusty dust filtered down upon the globe, imparting a bloody hue to land and sea. The fine pigment chafed human skin, and men were overcome by sickness. Those who sought to drink could not. Rivers stank from the rotting carcasses of fish, and men dug desperately for water uncontaminated by the alien dust. From the Egyptian Ipuwer, we hear "Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere... Men shrink from tasting, human beings thirst after water... That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin." As recalled by the Babylonians, the blood of the celestial monster Tiamat poured out over the world.
But as the Earth's path carried it ever more deeply into the comet's tail, the rain of particles grew steadily more coarse and perilous, Soon a great hail of gravel pelted the Earth. From Exodus we hear "... there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation."
Fleeing from the torrent of meteorites, men abandoned their livestock to the holocaust. Fields of grain which fed great cities perished. From Ipuwer, "No fruits, no herbs are found. That has perished which yesterday was seen. The land is left to its weariness like the cutting of flax." From the Mexican Annals of Cuauhtitlan we hear these things happened when the sky "rained, not water, but fire and red-hot stones."
As our planet plunged still deeper into the comet's tail, hydrocarbon gases enveloped the Earth, exploding in bursts of fire in the sky. Unignited trains of petroleum poured onto the planet, sinking into the surface and floating on the seas. From Siberia to the Caucasus to the Arabian desert, great spills of naphtha burned for years, their billows of smoke lending a dark shroud for human despair.
Our planet was pursuing a near-collision course with the massive comet's head.
Suddenly, caught in an invisible grip, the Earth rocked violently; its axis tilted. In a single convulsed moment, cities were laid waste, great buildings of stone leveled and populations decimated. "The towns are destroyed. Upper Egypt has become waste... All is ruin... The residence is overturned in a minute." Around the world, oceans rushed over mountains and poured into continental basins. Rivers flowed upward. Islands sank into the sea. Displaced strata crashed together, while shifting Earth generated a global hurricane which destroyed forests and swept away the dwellings of men. In China, the Emperor Yahou spoke of waters which "overtopped the great heights, threatening the heavens with with their floods." Decades of labor were required to drain the valleys of mainland.
With dulled senses, survivors lay in a trance for days, choking in the smoky air. The tilting axis left a portion of the world in protracted darkness, another in extended day. From the Americas to Europe to the Middle East, records tell of darkness persisting for several days. On the edge of the darkness, the peoples of Iran witnessed a threefold night and a threefold day. Chinese sources speak of a holocaust during which the Sun did not set for many days and and the land was aflame. Peoples and nations everywhere, uprooted by disaster wandered from their homelands.
Led by Moses, the Israelites fled the devastation which brought Egypt's Middle Kingdom to an end. As they rushed toward the Sea of Passage, the glistening comet, in form like a dragon's head, shone through the tempest of dust and smoke. The night sky glowed brightly as the comet's head and its writhing, serpentine tail exchanged gigantic electrical bolts.
The great battle between the fiery comet's head and the column of smoke between a light god and a leviathan serpent was memorialized in primary myths around the Earth. Babylonians told of Marduk striking the dragon Tiamat with bolts of fire, The Egyptians saw Isis and Set in deadly combat. The Hindus described Vishnu battling the "crooked serpent." Zeus, in the account of Apollodorus, struggled with the coiled viper Typhon.
The fugitive Israelites, having reached the edge of the Red Sea, were pursued by the Pharaoh and his armies. The great sea lay divided before the slave people, its waters lifted by the movement of the Earth and the pull of the comet. Crossing the dry sea bottom, the Israelites escaped from Egypt.
As the comet made its closest approach to Earth, the Pharaoh's armies moved into the sea bed. But even before the entire band of Israelites had crossed to the far side, a giant electrical bolt flew between the two planets. Instantly, the waters collapsed. The Pharaoh, his soldiers and chariots, and those Israelites who still remained between the divided waters were consumed in a seething whirlpool.
The battle in the sky continued to rage. A column of smoke by day, a pillar of fire by night, Venus meted destruction to nations large and small. To the Israelites, however, it was an instrument of national salvation.
Through a series of close approaches, the comet's tail, a dreadful shadow of death, afflicted the Earth, wreathing the planet in a thick, gloomy haze that lasted for many years. And so, in darkness, a historical age ended.
Venus continued on its threatening course around the Sun, Under Joshua, the Israelites had entered the Promised Land, and again Venus drew near. It was while the Canaanites fled into the valley of Beth-horon, some fifty years after the Exodus, that Venus unleashed her fury a second time. "The Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekab, and they died." The terrestrial axis tilted. Once more, the Earth quaked fiercely. Cities burned and fell to the ground. Above Beth-horon, the Sun stood still for hours. On the other side of the Earth, chroniclers recorded a prolonged night, lit only by the burning landscape. This occurred, Mexican records report, about fifty years after an earlier destruction.
As in its first encounter with the young comet, the Earth's surface was torn and hurricanes scoured the land. But the Earth and some of its inhabitants survived.
Anticipating renewed devastation following another fifty-year period, nations bowed down before the great fire goddess. With bloody orgies and incantations, they enjoined the dreaded queen of the heavens to remain far removed from the human abode. "How long wilt thou tarry, O lady of heaven and earth?" inquired the Babylonians.
In both hemispheres, men fixed their gaze anxiously on the comet as, for centuries, it continued its circuit, crossing the orbits of both Earth and Mars.
But this time it was Mars, not Earth, that endured a cosmic jolt. Passing by the smaller planet, Venus pulled Mars off its orbit, sending it on a path that endangered the Earth. A new agent of destruction was born in the unstable solar system.
This occurred in the days of Uzziah, King of Jerusalem. Aware of the ominous meaning of irregular celestial motions, the prophet Amos, echoed by other observers of the sky, warned of new cosmic upheavals. Events soon vindicated the pessimistic seers.
As Mars drew near, the Earth reeled on its hinges. West of Jerusalem, half a mountain split off and fell eastward; flames leaped skyward. Buildings crumbled and the Earth opened up.
These cataclysms were associated with the founding of Rome and with the death of
Rome's legendary founder, Romulus. Ovid told us "Both the poles shook, and Atlas shifted the burden of the sky... The sun vanished and rising clouds obscured the heaven..." Mars, the lord of war, became the national god of Rome.
Mars, much smaller than Earth, did not equal Venus in destructive power.
Mars and Venus now competed for the allegiance of men. Cities and temples were dedicated to the two planetary gods who determined the fate of nations.
Hebrew prophets came to warn of upheavals yet to come. Reminding the Israelites of their passage out of Egypt, they declared that once more the whole Earth would quake, the Moon turn to blood, the Sun darken, and the Earth be consumed in blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.
The catastrophe, as Mars hurtled past the Earth, came on the day Jerusalem's King Ahaz was buried. Under the influence of Mars's passage, the Earth's axis tilted and the poles shifted. Israelites observed the Sun hastening by several hours to a premature setting. Seneca records that on the Argive plain, in Greece, the early sunset came amid great upheaval.
Mars, now the "king of battle," was still not finished with his work of destruction. In 687 BC, a powerful Assyrian army led by Sennacherib marched toward Judah. On the evening of March 23, the first night of the Hebrew Passover, when Sennacherib and his army camped close to Jerusalem, Mars made a last, fateful approach to the Earth. A great thunderbolt, a "blast from heaven," charred the soldiers' bodies, leaving their garments intact. Ashurbanipal, Sennacherib's grandson, later recalled "the perfect warrior" Mars, "the lord of the storm, who brings defeat."
The same night, March 23, 687 B.C., in China, the Bamboo Books reveal a disturbance of the planets caused them to go "out of their courses. In the night, stars fell like rain. The Earth shook." Romans would celebrate the occasion: "The most important role in the (Roman) cult of Mars appears to be played by the festival of Tubilustium on the twenty-third day of March."
From one continent to another, men, oppressed with terror, watched Mars battle Venus in the sky, speed fiercely toward the Earth bringing blasts of fire, retreat, and engage Venus once more. Perhaps the most startling literary account of this theomachy, or battle of gods, is contained in Homer's Iliad. As the Greeks besieged Troy, Athena (Venus) "would utter her loud cry. And over against her spouted Ares [Mars], dread as a dark whirlwind. . . . All the roots of many-founted Ida were shaken, and all her peaks." The river "rushed with surging flood" and "The fair streams seethed and boiled."
Finally Mars was thrown out of the ring; Venus emerged a tame (though very hot) planet pursuing a near-circular orbit between Mercury and Earth. Where once it ranged high to the zenith, now it became the morning and evening star, never retreating more than 48° from the Sun. Isaiah, who had witnessed the planet's destructive power, sang of its disgrace: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God."
Velikovsky documented how these events involving Venus and Mars were recorded in the myths and histories around the world.
The Saturn Myth
As this work documented, several independent mythical themes lead to the same unified conclusion. (This list is a copy from the article in the first issue of Aeon, January 1988.)
1) There was once a sun god different from the present Sun.
2) In former times the planet Saturn was the "sun".
3) The sun god stood within a band or enclosure indicated by the sign (o).
4) Saturn stood within a band or enclosure indicated by the sign (o).
5) The ancient sun god occupied the cosmic center; it did not move.
6) Saturn, the "resting god" occupied the cosmic center; it did not move.
7) The ancient sun god originally stood at the celestial pole.
8) Saturn originally stood at the celestial pole.
When Saturn ruled the world, the god stood at the celestial pole. A number of scholars are still investigating other aspects of the physical model implied by this mythical image, often called the polar configuration.
There is also the ongoing investigation into the connecting all these planetary events into a sequence that aligns with that recorded in the ancient mythologies. This research has also brought into question whether the current timelines for some of the ancient civilizations, such as Egypt, need revisions. This research results in the comparisons of adjacent histories and sometimes the time line for one will not align with another. A recommendation can be made based on the connection of the respective histories to common events (sometimes on a global scale).
Much has been discovered in the last 50 years. Many of these scholars have published their findings in several journals - that are listed elsewhere (see Velikovsky and others or my list of publications). The popular media will sometimes convey the impression that such theories as described above are from just a handful of scientists. The list of authors involved in these studies indicates that such is not the case.
created - Feb. 2001
last change - 12/16/2001
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