A thunderstorm can
be a terrifying event. The lightning flash and
thunderclap may indeed awaken a primal fear, and a
cursory acquaintance with mythology may elicit a
newfound empathy for the mythmakers of antiquity. In the
presence of a thunderstorm, was it not natural for our
ancestors to envisage lightning-beasts roaring in the
heavens or celestial armies hurling lightning-spears
across the sky?
common suppositions have prevented investigators from
examining the underlying patterns of "lightning"
symbolism. Cross-cultural comparison reveals numerous
global images of "lightning" in ancient times, but these
are a far cry from the phenomenon familiar to us today.
Ancient descriptions suggest that the "lightning of the
gods"--the cosmic thunderbolt--altered the order of the
heavens and changed planetary history. To describe the
cosmic thunderbolt, ancient chroniclers employed a wide
range of natural and man-made symbols, and the images go
well beyond those that would seem appropriate for
lightning. The legendary bolt was a serpent. It was a
sword or arrow. It was a blossoming flower. It grew
horns or wings. It was a whirlwind. It was a comet.
Terrestrial lightning was but one of many hieroglyphs
used to describe this celebrated weapon of gods and
The breadth of
images will, in fact, appear quite meaningless until we
find a new vantage point, one permitting us to discern
the archetype, the original form that preceded the
symbols and gave them their mythological context.
Analysis will show that the weapon was electrical: the
ancient interpretation as a thunderbolt was highly
appropriate, as were the alternative mythic
interpretations, all rooted in the same human
The montage above
shows three Greek images of the god Zeus launching his
weapon, whose most elementary form was that of simple
missile with a corkscrew configuration upon it. But
numerous illustrations of the weapon show it sending
forth leaf-like sepals, then "flowering" into a
lotus-form. The petals of the lotus-thunderbolt are also
elaborated as horns or wings, a fact that appears absurd
today, until we discover the underlying structure. The
patterns are, in fact, surprisingly consistent.
One example of the
evolving form is seen in the picture of Zeus confronting
the feared monster Typhon. Below this picture we
present, as a starting point, three of the more
elementary forms of the Greek thunderbolt, representing
the foundation upon which all of the more elaborate
images were built.
TPODs, we'll examine the cosmic thunderbolt in detail,
with an emphasis on cross cultural comparison. Clearly,
the subject was not a bolt of lightning such as we
observe in the sky today. It was a plasmoid, a
configuration typically formed at the "z- pinch" of
interacting electrical currents. In intensely energetic
plasma discharges, a plasmoid can evolve violently,
through a series of metamorphoses, or quasi-stable
phases, and many of these forms have now been well
documented through several decades of laboratory
research. The literary and artistic images of Zeus'
thunderbolt capture some of the most prominent phases of
intense plasma discharge.
What is the Electric Universe?