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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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Atlantis - Phaeton

This email resumes the Atlantis series. You can also find the complete series so far at the web site by going to www.blavatsky.net then clicking on "science" then on "atlantis".

Just to recap this presentation - a cosmic intruder entered the solar system, did substantial damage, passed by the earth, and likely was consumed by the sun. In passing by the earth it did very considerable damage to civilization and caused major other disasters to our planet including major topographic change. The process sunk Atlantis.

The book Cataclysm, that I have referred to frequently, identifies the Greek mythical character of Phaeton with the cosmic intruder. So this letter will examine Phaeton.

Quite strikingly, Phaeton is mentioned in the legend of Atlantis as described by Plato. And almost equally striking, very few Atlantologists seem to notice this. For example, one scientist that I very much respect for his science on the subject says

"We must point out that the Plato legend contains no indication and not even the vaguest hint that Atlantis perished as a result of a cosmic catastrophe. Plato was not indifferent to events of this kind and if such an event caused the destruction of Atlantis or even accompanied it, he would have given it prominence." ("Atlantis Atlantology: Basic Problems " by N. Zhirov p 371.)

Zhirov is definite isn't he? What is our opinion? Here is what the Timaeus says in part as it presents the Atlantis legend with the Egyptian speaking to the Greek:

"There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phaeton, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore."

This occurs prominently in Plato's story of Atlantis at the introduction. True enough the Egyptian did not literally say "Phaeton caused the destruction of Atlantis". But do we think Plato just happened to place these words about a destruction at the beginning of the dialogue concerning a destruction?

Now lets look at those words more closely. Here is the key passage "Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth". Doesn't this clearly say that an inclination of the axis was involved with the sinking of Atlantis? Isn't Plato saying that in this case what is presented has the form of a myth but it describes a specific global reality? It seems to me he says it straight out.

BTW, it was a real surprise to me to discover these words in the Timaeus. Do people generally know or not know that Plato gives a cosmic reference at the beginning of the presentation of the legend?

HPB mentions Phaeton twice in the SD. It appears clear in the following that she is associating Phaeton with a tilt in the axis

"Thus, on the blind faith of his “ignorant” religion, which taught that Phaeton, in his desire to learn the hidden truth, made the Sun deviate from its usual course—Xenophantes asserts somewhere that, “the Sun turned toward another country”; which is a parallel, however slightly more scientific, if as bold, of Joshua stopping the course of the Sun altogether. Yet it may explain the teaching of the Northern mythology (in Jeruskoven) that, before the actual order of things, the Sun arose in the South, and its placing the Frigid Zone in the East, whereas now it is in the North." (SDii535)

In this second quote she also seems to associate Phaeton with an axis shift.

"In the myth of Phaeton it is said that at his death his sisters dropped hot tears which fell into Eridan and were changed into amber! Now amber is found only in the northern seas, in the Baltic. Phaeton, meeting with his death while carrying heat to the frozen stars of the boreal regions, awakening at the Pole the Dragon made rigid by cold, and being hurled down into the Eridan, is an allegory referring directly to the changes of climate in those distant times when, from a frigid zone, the polar lands had become a country with a moderate and warm climate. The usurper of the functions of the sun, Phaeton, being hurled into the Eridan by Jupiter’s thunderbolt, is an allusion to the second change that took place in those regions when, once more, the land where “the magnolia blossomed” became the desolate forbidding land of the farthest north and eternal ices" (SDii770 fn)

In passing we should also note the reference to "amber". Phaeton's tears became amber. And amber is only found in the northern seas, in the Baltic. I remember wondering years ago why his tears should be associated with the North. Now it is clear. That is where the cosmic intruder passed by and caused the amber. (Some other time I may find the references that link the amber to the major event of 12,000 years ago.)

All of the above clearly links the sinking of Atlantis to an axial shift and demonstrates HPB's knowledge of that connection. However, we can go a little further if we review the myth of Phaeton itself.

The name "Phaeton" means "the shining one." Appropriate isn't it?

The Roman Pliny refers to Phaeton (calling him Typhon) and says

"... it had a fiery appearance and was twisted like a coil, and it was very grim to behold: it was not really a star so much as what might be called a ball of fire..." (Rackham, H (translation). 1938 Pliny, the Elder, Natural History (London) vol ii, p 91)

Adam Rockenbach writing in 1602 and claiming to quote the best of ancient sources said

"It was fiery, of irregular cirdcular form, with a wrapped head; it was in the shape of a globe and was of terribloe aspect ... in the form of a disc ..."

Now the myth. I don't remember where I found this so this part is from memory.

People were gossiping that Phaeton was not fathered by Helios, the sun. He was illegitimate. Therefore, to prove his parentage, he decided to approach his father Helios and ask him for a favor that only a father would grant. As usual, after being so approached, Helios said of course he would grant the wish - what was it? Well Phaeton wanted to drive the chariot of his father. He wanted to direct the course of the sun! As usual in these situations, his father was reluctant to grant his son's wish but finally capitulated and agreed to allow his son to drive the chariot.

Phaeton started out the drive okay but then a problem arose. The horses sensed something. (I forget whether they sensed the driver was the wrong person, or the driver was lost or whatever.) The horses left the well worn track and Phaeton could not control them. They passed way to close to earth. Zeus, out of mercy, sent a bolt of lightening down and zapped Phaeton. He died and fell to the earth at the river Po.

Is this beginning to look more like a mythological reference to the event of the cosmic intruder?

We should recall how things seemed to the ancients. The ancients were well accustomed to the planets moving in the sky. The stars kept their relative positions in the firmament but the planets moved around differently and even went backwards sometimes (retrograde in astrology). The planets were gods. No one had ever seen them die. They were immortal.

The Phaeton arrives in the firmament and seems to come from nowhere. This was new. His parentage was "unknown". Hence the illegitimacy issue.

The issue of getting off the track and coming to close to the earth is clear. The cosmic intruder had come close to the earth.

The issue of being killed by a thunderbolt probably also makes sense. There was a high electrical interchange between the intruder and the earth. Hence lightning bolts. The record of massive conflagration in myth and achaology support this.

He fell to earth. Yes debris fell to earth from the intruder.

And the tears of amber fits in. The intruder came from the north. (And as I have said, I have seen some connection between the amber
and the disaster.)

His relationship to Helios? Makes sense. He was a very bright object in the sky. And got brighter as it/he came closer.

So what do we say? Is this a reasonable way to interpret myths? Is it too materialistic? Does Phaeton have all the earmarks of a cosmic intruder?

Does this help us understand the sinking of Atlantis?

Reed Carson



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