The Atlantean world crumbled because it wavered from the law. It forgot that Nature was the ruler of all things, and in attempting to survive unnaturally it was destroyed.
Manly P Hall: Ancient Wisdom
History tells it the other way around - from a different beginning – and the stories that follow concern the evolution towards the gradual attainment of consciousness in a Darwinian sense.
The resulting paradigms appear at odds - diametrically opposed – inhabiting either ends of a stark polarity. Yet both ways of looking have their importance in different ways. They do not cancel one another out.
Carl Jung, the swiss psychiatrist who brought to the western imagination the notion of the collective unconscious speaks of a Two Million Year Old being - an aspect of consciousness residing within us all - a deep racial memory if you like - containing the whole of human history & and pre - history - the full story - the all and everything, the majority of which has sadly been forgotten & lost in the mists of time.
Yet when we delve into this shared collective unconscious we find remnants of such stories, fragments of dreams so to speak, that still recall wonderous beginnings & great civilisations and also tales of how they fell from grace and - in the Myth of Atlantis - brought upon themselves a cataclysmic deluge that swept over the earth, engulfing & destroying all in it's wake.
Tolkien himself was for many years disturbed by such a dream which he speaks of in his letter to Christopher Bretherton.
"This legend or myth or dim memory of some ancient history has always troubled me. In sleep I had the dreadful dream of the ineluctable Wave, either coming out of the quiet sea, or coming in towering over the green inlands.
--Letter to Christopher Bretherton, 16 July 1964
It may well be so that in some mysterious way history & legend mingle & merge & certainly as we have said, peoples from across the globe & over many centuries have told stories of a great distant flood in their different unique ways, from the ancient Sumerian account of Gilgamesh inscribed on excavated stone tablets from the Bronze Age, through to the biblical tale of Noah, the ark & the epic inundation told in Genesis.
Such deeply rooted tales speak to us profoundly on a multiplicity of levels
elucidating truths to be pondered and understood and heeded.
Falling from Grace - a storytelling
It is said they were over twelve feet tall, that their skin was golden hued and translucent. They had little need of food - spheres of bright light surrounded them - & like Tolkien's elves, they lived for hundreds & hundreds of years.
Highly skilled in poetry and song and in matters of deep learning, they were matriarchal in nature, seeking harmony not power & they had no thought or feeling toward war or competition - and they used their gifts wisely to build great temples and places of learning and beauty.
They are said to have resonated at a high frequency and could not always be apprehended in the third dimensional sphere, again like Tolkien's elves who ofttimes passed through the forest unseen by men & hobbits & dwarves.
They had a great love & understanding of crystals with which they worked to create beautiful temples, as well employing them for healing, when the need arose - and as a major source of power for their cities, all of which were crowned with crystalline power domes & the capital Poseida it is said, had the most beautiful emerald dome whose rays embraced the entire realm.
Thereafter they no longer lived for hundreds of years, their need for food & sustenance increased & their priorities shifted away from the pursuit of Beauty toward material gain, toward power and eventually to violence & war.
And those over whom this shadow had fallen sought to subdue their neighbours and to bring them under their control as slaves. And it is said then that the secrets of the sacred crystals were stolen from those who remained true and that they were gradually subverted, eventually being utilised to create terrible weapons that laid waste their enemies lands, terrorised their peoples & brought vast numbers under their dominion.
Some say the corrupted Atlanteans eventually became like Tolkien’s orcs – once fair and pure souls – now withered & warlike & totally estranged from the light.
Poseidon, Lord of the Ocean long ago fell in love with a mortal girl and together they had many sons. And he made a home for them all on a beautiful island and he called it Atlantis & when the sons were grown he divided that land into ten parts and gave each son dominion over one of one of them before returning to his home beneath the waves.
But there was one law he set in stone before he left that forbade them on pain of death - ever to make war with one another. For many years all went well - for you see they were the sons of a god and therefore not fully mortal - but as time passed they forgot themselves - :
“…and when the divine portion began to fade away, … and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power.”
(Plato, Critias)― Plato,
Rare moments indeed – brimming with meaning & significance. Free will is sacred within all these pantheons of course– and yet it seems there are times when humankind goes too far – attracting if you like, the wrathful interventions of the divine – in order maybe - that the great cosmic harmony is not disturbed. Complex notions all and beyond the scope of this short piece yet suffice to say, the tales clearly tell – that there are absolute boundaries that cannot be violated nor gone beyond and that there are cataclysmic consequences for those who attempt to do so.
For such peoples, the story ends abruptly here as they are drowned & pulled down into the depths – maybe to come again to earth one day – to try again, maybe not. Yet for others, those who somehow escape or are miraculously saved from the divine wrath, the great journey continues – and it is their story that we will take up by and by.
I don't think I have had it since I wrote the 'Downfall of Nùmenor.'
Letter to W. H. Auden , 7 June 1955
It still occurs occasionally, though now exorcized by writing about it. It always ends by surrender....
Letter to Christopher Bretherton, 16 July 1964
All these tales - ancient & modern alike - were conceived & set down long before our current climate crisis came to the fore and yet seem as pertinent now as they ever were. It is salutary to consider that civilisations do not last forever but rise & fall in their cycles. Pondering the fragments of these long-lost tales can be most enlightening - for above all they show us the moral conditions that may bring about the fall of civilisations - and these things are crucial for all of us.
x x x