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Pictured above left: Greek and Roman artists depicted the god Ammon with a pillar-like trunk in the form of a serpent.
Right: Serpent columns of the Toltec Temple of the Warriors, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, accord with the world tradition:
the male dragon manifest as the pillar of heaven


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Electric Cosmos

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May 09, 2005
Electric Universe: Part IV
Plasma and World Mythology

The memorials to plasma discharges in Earth’s prehistoric sky are not confined to images carved or painted on rocks. If ancient artists recorded the life-like configurations of plasma instabilities, we can be sure that the witnesses would also have told stories about the life-like movements and transformations of the instabilities. And if rock art exhibits identical forms around the world, the stories should do the same.

Ancient narratives, passed down from prehistoric times, are called “mythology”. At the dawn of recorded history, every culture was centered around a body of such narratives, harking back to a prior age of celestial wonders. The myths commemorated the activities of gods, goddesses, and cosmic warriors, and in particular the ordeals they faced when serpents, dragons, or other monsters invaded their celestial domain.

A comparison of the themes in these myths—the plots, the characters, the details of divine habitations and relationships—reveals two enigmatic forms of parallelism:

First, among widely separated cultures the same mythic themes stand out, and these archetypes are all intimately linked to each other. The land of the gods was a luminous enclosure or turning wheel. It rested upon a mountain rising to the center of heaven. The mountain became a tower of seven or nine levels or tiers. A dragon, demon, or monster once held a princess captive in the tower. The warrior-hero slew the dragon and rescued the princess. Cross cultural comparison has now documented many hundreds of such archetypes—far too many to be explained by any common view of human history, either archaic or modern.

Second, we find that widespread cultures preserved the same improbable parallels in their complex mythic interpretations of the underlying events. The land of the gods was not just a “place” in the sky; it was the womb of the mother goddess. The cosmic mountain was not just a mountain; it was a river or pillar of fire. The great warrior’s sword was not just a sword; it was a cosmic thunderbolt. The repeated associations suggest a substructure of astonishing unity. The female dragon was the mother goddess in her terrible aspect. The male dragon was the warrior-hero in his terrible aspect. The warrior’s arrows launched skyward became a ladder to heaven. The ladder was a pyramid or tower of seven or nine levels.

The fact that this parallelism has never been explained is only part of the challenge. Here is another part: Of the hundreds of archetypes now enumerated by comparative study, not one answers to the familiar face of nature today. Hence, the dilemma is both inescapable and profound. The events that acted on ancient consciousness are not occurring now. And this means that scholarly investigations into the human past have missed the most fundamental point of all: Our ancestors lived beneath an alien sky.

While the contributors to this Picture of the Day do not all share the same convictions about the things that appeared above the ancient witnesses, all agree that Anthony Peratt’s field work on rock art and plasma discharge configurations has laid the foundation for a breakthrough. People from widely distributed cultures told the same stories because they saw the same drama played out in the sky. A global experience explains global stories. In fact, mythologists for a long time have been seeking just this type of explanation. But they never found a phenomenon that could make sense of the universal patterns. Common elements of nature—sunrise, or the seasons, or thunderstorms—were far too limited and lacked the vital details. Understandably, the mythologists never considered the possibility that the mythic archetypes could have their referents in plasma discharge at a sufficient distance from the earth to have been witnessed globally.

Plasma discharge fills in the details that are missing in other attempts to account for the patterns of ancient testimony. Seemingly disparate mythic content can then be seen as different human interpretations of the same unearthly events: In its most archaic form, the dragon is not earthbound, but moves about in the sky, the domain of plasma. The dragon undulates like a serpent because that is the character of plasma discharge. The dragon has luminous “feathers” or long-flowing “hair” because plasma discharge produces filamentation. The dragon has antennae or horns, wings, arms, legs or other protrusions resembling nothing in nature so much as plasma instabilities. The dragon is either a flame or torch in the sky, or it “breathes” fire, as we should expect. And of course, when the dragon appears cosmic thunderbolts invariably follow—a direct pointer to the electrical nature of the devastating “monster”. Thus, the characteristics of the dragon and the characteristics of  plasma discharge can be systematically compared down to every recurring detail.

However, one important aspect has not yet been discussed. Peratt’s model of an enhanced aurora does not address the question of where the surge in the circuit came from. It does not locate the “electrodes” between which the plasma instabilities evolved. But ancient astronomies provide clues that, if followed conscientiously, could revolutionize our understanding of both cultural history and solar system history. They invite us to consider the role of planets in the ancient events. For the world’s first astronomers revered the planets as the greatest gods of primeval times.

More than thirty years ago David Talbott suggested that world mythology reflects a planetary arrangement unlike anything observed today. He identified several planets in an ancient “close congregation of planets in polar alignment”, and he named them. Decades later, this vision has grown to expansive proportions, though it remains tentative in many of its aspects. The underlying reconstruction of the celestial formations led to a collaborative effort and a consensus far greater than the disagreements. Today the most prominent contributors to this consensus are, in addition to Talbott, Ev Cochrane, Dwardu Cardona, Rens van der Sluijs and, most recently, Ken Moss.

Those who hold to the planetary model see the ancient planets as charged bodies on much different paths than today, moving through a rich medium of electrified plasma. Some contributors remain undecided as to the merits of the planetary model. All agree that the first requirement is to identify the formations seen in the sky because as these are confirmed the tests of the planetary model become increasingly precise.

Beyond this, all agree that the planetary model is unthinkable in the gravity-only universe of popular astronomy. In a gravity-only universe, the mythic archetypes can only be ignored, since they could never be comprehended. In a gravity-only universe, our ancient ancestors, required by necessity to honor nature’s ways, were nevertheless obsessed with fantasies that defied nature at every turn.

For Talbott and his colleagues, a milestone occurred when the historical investigation converged with the work of Wallace Thornhill, the leading proponent of the “Electric Universe”. It was Thornhill who convinced Talbott that the formations reconstructed from ancient testimony were plasma discharge configurations. Three years later a convergence of equal magnitude occurred when Anthony Peratt, who had devoted decades to investigating plasma discharge phenomena, informed Talbott that his (Talbott’s) reconstruction of events leading to the mythic “ladder of heaven” matched precisely the evolution of the “Peratt Instability”. This, in turn, led to several years of extensive field work by Peratt, gathering ancient rock art images and related designs by the tens of thousands and verifying that the ancient artists were not hallucinating; they were recording the same configurations that Peratt himself had documented in the laboratory. For Talbott and his collaborators this documentation may well turn out to be the strongest confirmation of the myth-based reconstruction.

The convergence of myth and science in this investigation has established that the “one story told around the world” need not remain a mystery forever. The substratum of human memory is not a “coincidence” to be dismissed. It is an intelligible and coherent set of ancient patterns explicable in physical terms. Our ancestors may well have been obsessed, but for good reason: Their survival depended on the vagaries of plasma discharge, seemingly under the control of capricious gods. So it is not just the gravity-only universe that is at stake here. Also at stake is the twentieth century vision of an uneventful and stable solar system moving with clock-like regularity across billions of years.

The Electric Universe is more than a story about electricity on a grand stellar and galactic scale. It is also about a local planetary system wracked by recent instabilities and cataclysms. But the limits of scientific investigation here should be obvious. Not even the best scientific instruments could, on their own, produce a reliable reconstruction of the ancient dramas. It is therefore essential that we now listen to those who lived through the events, and honor the artists, the chroniclers, the astronomer priests, and the monument builders who helped to preserve the story across the centuries.


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Amy Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Mel Acheson, Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong

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