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February 28, 2007

Wandering Stars

Ancient Records Of Pole Shifts

Velikovsky started it all with his controversial 1950 book Worlds in Collision, that threw establishment science into fits with its contention, among many other things, that the Earth's axis was shifted in two near-encounters with Venus 52 years apart around 1500 B.C., and again later in a series of interactions with Mars in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. Today, the axis points in the north toward the Pole Star, close to the constellation of Ursa Minor, marking the "north celestial pole," about which the heavens appear to turn. But if sudden, catastrophic movements of the axis did in fact occur, this would not always have been so in ages past. Other parts of the sky would have occupied the center, placing the associated deities in the privileged position as ruler among the gods. Their subsequent displacements would be seen as defeats in cosmic struggles and rivalries, which with the attendant visual spectacles in the sky and calamitous upheavals on Earth would surely constitute times of awe and terror that the witnesses who lived through them would try to record.

After devoting more than twenty years of research to the subject, Georgia Balbin has produced an intriguing book, packed with detail, entitled Cyclical Catastrophe, which interprets and correlates information encoded in ancient myth, legend, ritual, symbol, art, and architecture from cultures the world over that corroborates just such a story. In the process she reconstructs the path that the celestial pole has followed across the heavens: from the constellation of Draco at a time when all ancient peoples told of a Golden Age, to the Silver Age under Taurus, the bull that was killed by Perseus, and then when Perseus died, briefly into Hercules, the grandson who succeeded him, into Ursa Major during Roman times, and finally to where we see it today.

The five ages described by Hesiod dovetail neatly with the Velikovskian catastrophies as the times of violent events terminating one and beginning the next. Thus, the two Venus-Earth encounters ended the Silver Age and separated the ensuing Bronze Age from the Age of Heroes; the Earth-Mars wars separated the Age of Heroes from the Age of Iron, that continues to the present time. These ages in turn match the legendary five suns of Mexico, while the final violent transition from the Age of Heroes to the Iron Age, whicn involved a 17 degree movement of the pole, corresponds to the separation of the Mexican Sun of Ollin from the Jaguar Sun, the Kali Yuga from the Dvaspara Yuga in India, and the Chou from the Shang dynasty in China.

The interpretations of events immortalized in myth and legend are thought-provoking indeed. For example, Hercules's labor of obtaining the golden girdle of the Amazon queen, Hippolyte, refers to the new celestial equator that resulted after the first Venus-induced pole shift. Mythologists have long thought that the Labors of Hercules represent a journey around the heavens, but they could never really make them agree with the zodiac signs that exist today. But plot the equator as it would have been with Hercules at the pole, and everything fits. Corvus, the crow, becomes the Stymphalian birds that Hercules drove from the marsh. Hydra, the snake, is seen as the Lernean Hydra. Crater, the cup, gives the golden goblet shaped like a water lily that Helius lent Hercules to sail in to Eritheia. Canis Minor, the dog, is Cerberus, the Hound of Hell that Hercules had to bring back from the underworld. The myth of Hercules's superhuman strength derives from his taking over from Atlas the task of supporting the sky between the two Venus events.

All in all, many seeming corroborations of Velikovsky's ideas from a new direction that surely deserve serious attention, along with--for me, at any rate--a lot of fascinating new and informative reading.

Cyclical Catastrophe by Georgia Balbin, TET Publishing, Boulder, CO, 2005. 316 pp., ISBN-10: 097634520X ISBN-13: 978-0976345206

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