Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vile Vortices (part 1 of 2)


Vile vortices's are phenomena that was proposed by a noted naturalist and paranormal investigator, Ivan Sanderson.  Mr. Sanderson originally garnered notoriety by writing and lecturing on the animal kingdom.  he was a frequent contributor to The Saturday Evening Post as well as a guest on The Gary Moore Show.  After having some cryptozoological encounters as a youth he took up interest in the field and subsequently also took up researching UFO phenomenon as well.  

While investigating the paranormal he developed the theory of "Vile Vortices".  The theory attempts to explain why areas of the world seem to have higher incidents of paranormal phenomenon then others.  The theory states that there are twelve (12) locations around the globe, which are equidistant from each other, which have predispositions to paranormal phenomenon.  There are five (5) located at 26° 34' 12" N and five (5) located at 26° 34' 12" S latitude.  They are exactly 72° degrees longitudinally apart from each other around the circumference of the globe.  In addition the points in the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere are staggered longitudinally by 36° so that all of the individual points are 4457.30 miles from their neighboring points.  In essence, by just using the points supplied by Mr. Sanderson you turn the sphere of the Earth into an Icosahedron, a polyhedron with twelve (12) vertices's, thirty (30) edges, and twenty (20) faces.  To the right is a graphical representation of the structure "sans" earth.  The next logical questions is whether there is evidence that these points are any more prone to paranormal phenomenon, and if so, why?

In 1972 Mr. Sansderson wrote an article titled "The Twelve Devil's Graveyards Around the World" for Saga magazine.  In the article Mr. Sanderson attempted to show, using statistical analysis, that the vortices's mentioned above had increased chances of ships and planes to go missing.  Two (2) locations do, to this day, have a well developed mythology surrounding them.  The first (1st) would be:

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is an area of ocean off the north American eastern seaboard that people have stated has a higher incident of unusual phenomenon than normal.  Numerous ships and planes have gone missing in this triangle consisting of points in Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda.  There is no question that hundreds (100s) of ships and planes that have gone missing in the triangle, the question is why?  Numerous theories have been proposed to explain the disappearances and they have ranged from simple human error to tears in time-space allowing the unfortunate travellers to travel into the past or future.  A full article on this locale would be quite large, as there has been numerous famous, and some not so famous but equally unusual mishaps have occurred, to speak nothing of all the theories, paranormal or otherwise that would need to be expounded on.  So let's just say for now that this vortice does appear to sync up with a noted paranormal location.  Score one (1) for Mr. Sanderson.  This leads us to the second (2nd) vortice, which has actually been acknowledged by a nation's government:
The Devil's Sea

The Devil's Sea is a area of ocean off the coast of Japan that is known to be prone to ships and aircraft going missing.  Unlike it's "cousin" the Bermuda Triangle, its size and shape are not in complete agreement amongst researchers.  In the illustration to the left the map shows the two (2) most common shapes.  As you can see, one of the shapes is located more predominately off the coast of Japan, as opposed to the other which grazes the waters off the city of Yokohama then dive south-southeast to the island of Guam.  There are some researchers that have proposed that the Bermuda Triangle should be larger, are positioned differently but it seems with the Devil's Sea the tendency to do this is much more prevalent.  Like the Bermuda Triangle there have been a number of noted missing ships, unfortunately many of these are unknown to western researchers due to the fact that many of the reports are in Japanese which makes them difficult for people unfamiliar with the language to discover.  The next site is:

Karachi, Pakistan (Rama civilization)

This vortice itself does not appear to have any reports of unusual phenomena but the area was the home to an ancient and quite extraordinary civilization, if the reports are in any way correct.  Below is an excerpt from a web article which really does define very well how the Rama civilization was discovered, what is encompassed, and some of the more exotic lore surrounding the culture.

"It was 1856 when a group of English engineers in then British-dominated India were confronted with an incredible discovery. They had been seeking hard-to-find rocks to place under the railroad they were constructing and asked the locals for advice where to go. The natives had no problem with the answer. They claimed there were many fine bricks in an ancient deserted town nearby a place they called Mohenjo-Daro' (translated it's Mound of the Dead).

The British, ever skeptical of local assuredness and confident they knew India better than anybody who had lived their for several millennia, consulted their maps. The British found no such placed marked Mohenjo-Daro. Fortunately, they checked it out anyway and discovered a whole lost city in the ruins under the dust.

Because of the reluctance of Western historians and society to accept the facts that were being dug up, it was not until 1920 that Mohenjo-Daro was established as part of the seven great Rishi (Sanskrit for Master) cities of the ancient Rama Empire of the Indus Valley of Ancient India.

It took until the 1980's for this new find to get even the scarcest of mentions in a few history and encyclopedia books.

According to ancient Sanskrit texts like the Ramayana and Mahabahrata, the Rama Empire thrived thousands of years before the English believed a civilization even existed in the area. Current texts admit that this great civilization ended somewhere between 2,500 and 4,500 B.C. When did it all begin? Some Sanskrit scholars would say the Rama Empire thrived around 10-15,000 B.C. and that only remnants survived the great war that their history recorded.

Western archeologists have long insisted that the tales of a technologically advanced civilization were merely figments of some over-imaginative Indian writer, but they will admit to being puzzled at the findings at Mohenjo-Daro and other Rishi cities.
The cities were highly developed with a great degree of pre-planning in streets, covered sewage systems, private toilets, running water to homes, remarkable plumbing and homes constructed of kiln-fired brick. This is more sophisticated than many of the cities in India, Pakistan and Asia today.

What is so special bout kiln-fired brick? According to Jay Carrigan, the former VP of Alton Brick of Illinois, "It requires 1,700-1,900 degrees of heat to bake the bricks. Currently the ceramic lining is used inside the ovens and the oven needs to withstand temperatures of 2,500 to 3,000 degrees".

In spite of the evidence, many experts say they could not have manufactured kiln-fired bricks as they did not have the technology to do so.

What is even more baffling is how the ancient Sanskrit texts say this civilization ended.

According to the texts a great war erupted between the Rama Empire and a more militaristic group called the Atlans. The Asvin Priest Kings of the Rama Empire were forced to use their mental-psychic powers to create a defensive illusion. While this tactic was successful at first, the Atlans persisted and returned with their ultimate weapon. This weapon is described as Kapillas Glance in both the Mahabaharata and Drona Parva. It was described, "A single projectile, charged with all the power of the universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as the thousand suns rose in all its splendor. It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced the entire race of the Vrishnis and Andhakas to ashes. The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. The hair and the nails fell out. Pottery broke without apparent cause and the birds turned white. After a few hours all the foodstuffs were infected. To escape from this fire, the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment.".
Possibly a nuclear detonation over 14,000 years ago?

Within the remains of Mohenjo-Daro there is evidence to back up the Sanskrit texts. Beginning in the 1950's thousands of black lumps and stones in these cities were examined and found to be vitrified. This process is only possible with heat well in excess of natural means. Also, skeletal remains examined by soviet scientists found radioactivity levels 50 times that which is considered normal.

Robert Oppenheimer, regarded as the "father of the atomic bomb" was aksed after the first detonation at Alamogardo if that was the first atomic bomb ever to be detonated? Oppenheimer, who was known to be familiar with Sanskrit writings, replied "Well, yes in modern history."

Source: Associated Content

Wharton Basin
Wharton Basin is the named part of the marine area of the north east quarter of the Indian Ocean.
It lies east of the Ninety East Ridge and west of Western Australia.  I included line of longitude and latitude in the above map to assist with the location of the point since, other than the sub-continent of Australia to its west, there is very little around this point.

It is of interest in relation to Indian Ocean floor movement and adjacent fracture zones and the relationship between the Indian and Australian plates and is one a number of features of the Indian Ocean that has been studied extensively.

Primarily due to the remoteness of this location I have uncovered no reports of any unusual activity in the present or past.


Location of the "Algerian" Vile vortice.  Note it is near the juncture of Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania.
Below is an excerpt from a public domain book available online, Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples by Marquis de Nadaillac (1892).  In the text below the author goes into details about megalithic sites that have been discovered in Algeria.  Unfortunately, since the writing of this book many of the locations mentioned have changed names, or the names he referenced were used just by the local peoples which caused them never to be used on an official map of the area.

"Algeria presents a vast field for research, and it is easy to find dolmens and cromlechs, such as that shown in Fig. 64, which are sepulchres with a central dolmen surrounded by a double or triple enceinte of monoliths driven into the ground. These monuments, much as they differ in form and arrangement, are undoubtedly the work of one strong and powerful race that dominated the whole of the north of Africa; and are represented in historic times by the Berbers, and at the present clay by the Kabyles.
Cromlech near Bône (Algeria).  Fig. 64
 Although a very great many of them have been destroyed, the French possessions in Algeria are still as rich in monuments of this kind as any of the countries of Europe. On Mount Redgel-Safia six hundred dolmens have been made out, with stone tables resting on walls of dry stones and frequently surrounded by cromlechs. Dr. Weisgerber has recently announced the discovery in the valley of Ain-Massin, on the vest of Mzab,) of a cromlech consisting of a number of concentric circles of large stones set upon an elliptical tumulus, more than fifty-four square yards in area. Quite close is a workshop of flint weapons, probably in use at the time of the erection of the megaliths.  In Midjana, the number of megaliths exceeds 10,000, and General Faidherbe counted more than 2,000 in the necropolis of Mazela, and a yet larger number in that of Roknia. “At Bou-Merzoug,” says M. Feraud, “in a radius of three leagues, on the mountain as well as on the plain, the whole country about the springs is covered with monuments of the Celtic form, such as dolmens, demi-dolmens, menhirs, avenues, and tumuli. In a word, there are to be found examples of nearly every type known in Europe. For fear of being taxed with exaggeration, I will not fix the number, but I can certify that I saw and examined more than a thousand in the three days of exploration, on the mountain itself, and on the declivities wherever it was possible to place them. All the monuments are surrounded with a more or less complete enceinte of large stones, sometimes set up in a circle, sometimes in a square. In some cases the living rock forms hart of the enceinte, which has been completed with the help of other blocks frolic elsewhere. It is often difficult to decide where the monument end, and the rock begins. When the escarpment was too abrupt, it was levelled with the aid of a kind of retaining wall, which forms a terrace round the dolmen. The dolmens in the plain seem to have been constructed with even greater care. The enceintes are wider and the slabs of the tables larger.” Megalithic monuments are met with even in the desert. A pyramid built of stones without mortar rises up in the districts inhabited by the Touaregs; and quite near to it are four or five tombs surrounded by standing stones.

In Algeria, we also meet with quadrangular pyramids called djedas, which measure as much as ninety feet on each face, but do not rise more than three feet above the ground. The dead were buried beneath them in a crouching position. We know nothing either of the origin of these djedas or of the date to which they belong.
Source:  Globusz

Now we know that there are, or were, megalith structures in north Africa, specifically Algeria, the next question who put them there?  Now, there have been numerous civilizations that have existed in north and west Africa but we are going to focus on the civilizations that appear to have existed far enough into antiquity that they may have been responsible for the megaliths.

To the right is a map of Africa that breaks down the language groups that prevalent in various regions.  This map is valuable in the fact it gives a overall feel to where various cultures have resided in the past, as the languages of many now defunct civilizations do persist long after the civilization has faded away.

There are three (3) north-west African ancient cultures, so far discovered, that seem to be the most likely responsible for the megaliths in the excerpt above.

The first (1st) we will mention is the Songhay or Songai empire.  There have been three (3) empires that have existed in the area of Mali and Mauritania, and the Songhay appears to be the most recent, yet it is the only one that's area extended far enough north in Mali to approach the actual vortice.  The map shown below left show the greatest extent of the three (3) empires.  An interesting fact about the Songhay, and Mali, empires is that they both encompassed the area known as Timbuktu.  In the map to the right it is labeled with one of its alternative spellings, "Tombouctou".

In reference to the city:

"In its Golden Age, the town's numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore madrassah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Several notable historic writers, such as Shabeni and Leo Africanus have described Timbuktu. These stories fuelled speculation in Europe, where the city's reputation shifted from being extremely rich to being mysterious. This reputation overshadows the town itself in modern times, to the point where it is best known as a metaphor for a distant or outlandish place."
Source:  Wikipedia

Light Blue : Chleuhs
Purple : Zaians (Middle-Atlas mountains Berbers, also
called Amazighs in a specifically sense or Brabers)
Yellow : Riffis Pink : Chenwis Red : Kabyles
Green : Chawis Dark Blue : Tuaregs
Orange : Saharian Berbers (Zenagas, Mozabites, Siwis)
 The next culture that seems a reasonable candidate are the Berbers.  The name Berber appeared for the first time after the end of the Roman Empire.  The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) at the areas where later would be found the Berbers. 

Northern African cave paintings, dating back 12 000 years, have been found at Tadrart Acacus in Libya. A Neolithic culture, marked by animal domestication and subsistence agriculture, developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean region (the Maghreb) of northern Africa between 6000 B.C and 2000 B.C. This type of life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer cave paintings of southeastern Algeria (below left), predominated in the Maghreb until the classical period. The proto-Berbers lacked a written language and so have tended to be overlooked by written historical accounts.  The modern Berbers are assumed to be descended from the tribes of Ancient Libya which are mentioned in records of Ancient Egypt. During the New Kingdom, the Egyptians later fought against the Meshwesh and Libu tribes on their western borders.  During the pre-Roman era, several successive independent states (Massylii) existed before the king Masinissa unified the people of Numidia.  In historical times, the Berbers expanded south into the Sahara, displacing earlier populations such as the Azer and Bafour.  The Bafours were the original inhabitants of Mauritania, and the ancestors to the Imraguen and Soninke peoples of western Africa.

The last possibility for I will delve into is the Zingh Empire.  If there was ever a society shrouded in mystery and psuedo-science it would be this one.  Very little is known of it, or even the sources for the information we do have.  Below is an excerpt which covers most everything that we "know" of the empire.  This may be the subject for a future blog post.
"The ancient West African coastal and interior Kingdoms occupied an area that is now covered with dense vegetation but may have been cleared about three to four thousand years ago. This includes the regions from the coasts of West Africa to the South, all the way inland to the Sahara. A number of large kingdoms and empires existed in that area. According to Blisshords Communications, one of the oldest empires and civilizations on earth existed just north of the coastal regions into what is today Mauritania. It was called the Zingh Empire and was highly advanced. In fact, they were the first to use the red, black and green African flag and to plant it throughout their territory all over Africa and the world.

The Zingh Empire existed about fifteen thousand years ago. The only other civilizations that may have been in existance at that period in history were the Ta-Seti civilization of what became Nubia-Kush and the mythical Atlantis civilization which may have existed out in the Atlantic, off the coast of West Africa about ten to fifteen thousand years ago. That leaves the question as to whether there was a relationship between the prehistoric Zingh Empire of West Africa and the civilization of Atlantis, whether the Zingh Empire was actually Atlantis, or whether Atlantis if it existed was part of the Zingh empire. Was Atlantis, the highly technologically sophisticated civilization an extension of Black civilization in the Meso-America and other parts of the Americas?

So what we have here are three (3) different societies which could have been responsible for megaliths in north Africa.  In my humble opinion the culture that created these monuments migrated out of the area when the desertification of the Sahara destroyed their homeland.  What was left of this culture was more likely than not swallowed by the sands.  The only incidents where this did not happen are situations like in Egypt where the structures left, namely the pyramids, were so immense and made out of a material so strong that the sands have not been able to erode them down and they are too large to bury.  One must wonder how many ruins of civilizations have disappeared globally, whether eroded away by blowing sands, buried under miles of ice, consumed by rising oceans, or devoured by encroaching jungles.

Hawaii, United States

The next vortice we will be covering is the off the coast of Hawaii.  The vortice resides approximately six-hundred (600) miles north-east of the "big island".  Beings that we are dealing with a location in the open ocean it somewhat limits the number of phenomenon we can look for.  Now, this isn't to say that this location is devoid of phenomena, it unfortunately may be going on without any witnesses.  As you can see below there is some shipping interests that navigate this part of the ocean.  The graphic below is a one (1) month window of traffic that flows through this part of the seas.

The one (1) item of note about the area is that the island of Hawaii is the world's largest volcano.  Being's that this volcano is not located at the interface between two (2) plates it has been identified as being over a "hot spot".  Wikipedia defines a "hot spot" as "The places known as hot spots or hotspots in geology are volcanic regions thought to be fed by underlying mantle that is anomalously hot compared with the mantle elsewhere. They may be on, near to, or far from tectonic plate boundaries. There are two hypotheses to explain them. One suggests that they are due to hot mantle plumes that rise as thermal diapirs from the core-mantle boundary.  The other hypothesis postulates that it is not high temperature that causes the volcanism, but lithospheric extension that permits the passive rising of melt from shallow depths.  This hypothesis considers the term "hotspot" to be a misnomer, asserting that the mantle source beneath them is, in fact, not anomalously hot at all."  Now if we are to entertain the theory that the vile vortices are location where anomalous phenomena occur than we must consider that possibility that this location was more susceptible to becoming a "hot spot" due the nearby vortice.

To the left is a map demonstrating the locations of possible hot spots around the wold.  The red markers denote well established hot spots, the yellow are older, and the green are the oldest locations.  Note that Bermuda (Bermuda Triangle) is also a long extinct hot spot.  Of course, the argument can be made that if you put enough dots and lines on a map they are bound to intersect, and that point is valid.

Lastly we will look at the ages of the various islands and sea mounts which comprise the chain.  This is illustrated to the left.  Currently it is debated as to whether the migration of the volcanism across the Pacific plate is due to the plate moving above it, or the actual plume located in the mantle to be migrating under the plate.  Either way, this plume of magma has found its way rather close to one of the vortices so I will leave it up to the reader to determine whether this is coincidence or a phenomena similar to how a sunflower always turns its "face" to the sun.

Ok readers, this posting has gotten larger than I ever intended so I have decided to break this article into two (2) parts.  This, of course, is part one (1) and it contains six (6) of the twelve (12) vortices to be covered.  The second (2nd) part will come as soon as I get it finished.  I would imagine a week would be a good estimate of time for its release.  I hope you are enjoying this article so far and you return for the second (2nd) part.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Angels & the Seven Heavens

In my opinion, I think you would be hard pressed to find another subject, paranormal or otherwise, other than politics, that individuals can me more emotional about.  If you believe the stories, and there are quite a few of them, they are responsible for everything from turning cities to salt, to saving babies in burning buildings.  Theories on their existence, or lack of, are just as varied.  The theories include everything from ancient astronauts, to servants of "God" or "Satan", spirits or souls of the dead, polytheistic deities (Apollo, Venus, Gaia, etc), or "who knows what".  It is kind of striking how the camps break down.  It appears that people either believe in one (1) of the theories very strongly or they fall quite solidly in the "who knows what" category and seem quite resistant in even contemplating what they could be.  Is this a fear of the unknown, a fear of what may be, or maybe its just complacency to even theorize on something that they believe is just plain non-sense? 

Whatever the case is many books have been written on the subject, some religious and some not, but the fact is that at the end of the day many people don't know more about angels than what they've seen in pop culture (see Frailty and Dogma).  Maybe they know the names of some angels like Micheal and Gabriel.  They may have even heard about the Book of Revelation in the new Testament of the Bible where the "war is heaven" is described, again another reference brought to the fore front by being the basis of screenplays (see Constantine and The Prophecy). 

Truth be told, most of the things we know about angels is not in the Bible.  The Bible only references seven (7) angels.  Michael as one of the leading angels is considered "Prince" of the heavenly hosts, and appears twice in the Book of Daniel (10:13 and 12:1). He is the only one in the Bible referred to as an Archangel (Jude 1:9), and serves a major role in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation. The angel Gabriel first appears twice to Daniel (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21), but is best known for the Annunciation to Mary that she would be the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). The Book of Tobias (Tobit 12:15) names Raphael as "one of the seven who stand before the Lord." Revelation 8:2 also refers to the seven angels who stand before the Lord. The seven are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the three named in the Bible, and Raguel, Remiel, Saraqael, and Uriel, named in Enoch (20:1-8), a book found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Bible of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Ethiopia.  So, if these are the only ones referenced in the Bible and these are the only situations they are referred to in where does the rest of the lore, and the innumerable names of them come from? 

For the most part they come from apocryphal texts.  The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical".  Here is a very brief list of apocryphal books, it may not seem especially brief but, believe it or not, there is a tremendous amount of literature out there that may or may not have been part of the Bible at some point in its development:
  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Additions to Esther
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach)
  • Baruch with the Letter of Jeremiah
  • Song of the Three Young Men and Prayer of Azariah
  • Story of Susanna
  • Bel and the Dragon
  • Prayer of Manasseh
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
Further books in the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian, Georgian, Syriac and Ethiopian traditions include:
  • 3 Maccabees
  • 4 Maccabees
  • Psalm 151 (in the Septuagint) and Psalms 152-155
  • Enoch
  • Jubilees
  • 2 Baruch or the Letter of Baruch
  • 3 Baruch or the Apocalypse of Baruch
  • 4 Baruch or the Paralipomena of Jeremiah
  • 1, 2, 3 Megabyan
This in itself is just a very small sampling of all the non-canonical texts, and these are representative of just the Judeo-Christian genre.  Remember that the holy book of Islam, the Koran, shares much of the old testament of the western bible, and has just as many fascinating stories.  This is where the Angels reside, this is where they dwell truly in our literature.

Now, lets keep this in mind, this is a blog post.  We cannot expound on everything "Angels" in just one post.  That would be impractical and probably not much fun to read.  There is a lot of material out there and, as I stated above, much of it is alien to all except for a few biblical scholars.  That being said, there is a lot of material that has not been referenced for movies and books that is just as fascinating, some would even say bizarre.  There is a reason why the early Judeo-Christain leaders allowed some books into the Bible, and why some were not.  Mind you, the Bible is full of miracles and wonders, but if everything ever written intended for the Bible, was in the Bible, it would be tens of thousands (10,000's) pages long and be full of material that would rival our most outlandish fantasy novels.  A book like this would be firstly too ungainly for all but the most wealthy, and secondly would most likely classified as more of a book of mythology, and less a book of historical fact.

Today we will taking a very small, but interesting sampling out of angelic lore.  Today we will be speaking of "The Seven Heavens".  Even with all my ribbing of pop-media using angels for material, and me speaking of all the relevant material other than they have utilized, I have chosen a subject that has been touched fleetingly  by the media.  In nineteen twenty-nine (1929) a film was released named "Say it With Songs".  In it the legendary Al Jolson sings a song called "I'm in Seventh Heaven", but what does it mean?  In the song a man sings about loving a woman but there is much more to the "seventh heaven" than that, and it starts with a man named Enoch.

Enoch was a man who lived nine-thousand (9,000) years ago, according to the Bible.  If you look above you will note that "Book of Enoch" is one of the apocryphal texts.  The contents of said book are quite extensive and filled with some of the more incredible stories of the Bible.  After all, its not everyday you read about a man who doesn't die, walks with God, told the secrets of the universe, visits the Garden of Eden, and is made into an angel who is called the "king of the angels".  My suspicion is this prophet will be revisited in future posts but for today lets concern ourselves with the "secrets of the universe" part of his resume.

The story of when Enoch is shown the seven (7) heavens is in Second Book of Enoch, in the first two (2) sections.  In the first section (chapters 1-21) Enoch, when already at the age of three hundred and sixty-five (365), is taken by two angels and made to pass through the seven heavens, one by one. The first heaven is found to be the place where the angels control atmospheric phenomena. In the second heaven he finds the prison for the rebel angels. In the third heaven he finds both paradise (as in 2 Cor 12:2) and hell for the men. The fourth heaven is the place of movements of the sun and of the moon which are described in detail. In the fifth heaven Enoch finds some Grigori that are grieved and he persuades them to resume their liturgical service. In the sixth heaven he finds the angels in charge of governing the cosmos and peoples.  In the second section (chapters 22-37) Enoch, now guided by Gabriel, is allowed to enter in the seventh heaven where he sees the Lord face to face. Afterwards he is anointed by Michael and becomes similar in appearance to the angels. The Lord asks the angel Vereviel to dictate to Enoch three hundred and sixty (360) books containing all that is knowable. Later, the Lord himself tells to Enoch the secrets of the creation up to the flood, which are unknown even to the angels. Enoch is finally sent back on the earth for thirty days.

Some additional information in regards to the seven (7) heavens:
  • First Heaven (Shamayim) - The angelic ruler is Gabriel.  This is has been said to have been the abode of Adam and Eve.  As the other heaven's are situated in the vault above the Earth, this heaven seems to almost exist next to the Earth.  (En:III:1) "Eventually, we landed on the First Haven and, there, they showed me a very great sea, much bigger than the inland sea where I lived."
  • Second Heaven (Raquia) - The angelic ruler is Raphael.  This is where Enoch claims the fallen angels are imprisoned.  Both Moses and Enoch visited this heaven which is also rumoured to be the dwelling place of John the Baptist.
  • Third Heaven (Sagun or Shehaqim) - The angelic ruler is Anahel.  It is also the domain of Azrael, the Islamic angel of Death, which seems to accord with Enoch who places Hell within its northern boundaries.  Here the wicked are punished and tortured by the angels.
  • Fourth Heaven (Zebhul or Machanon) - The angelic ruler is Micheal.  Here is the sight of the heavenly Jerusalem, the holy temple, and its altar.  Enoch states it is in this heaven that Eden resides with the Tree of Life.  (Enoch XXXII3-6) "And I came to the Garden of Righteousness, and saw beyond those trees many large trees growing there and of goodly fragrance, large, very beautiful and glorious, and the tree of wisdom whereof they eat and know great wisdom.  That tree is in height like the fir, and its leaves are like (those of) the Carob tree: and its fruit is like the clusters of the vine, very beautiful: and the fragrance of the tree penetrates afar.  Then I said: 'How beautiful is the tree, and how attractive is its look!'  Then Raphael the holy angel, who was with me, answered me and said: 'This is the tree of wisdom, of which thy father old (in years) and thy aged mother, who were before thee, have eaten, and they learnt wisdom and their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they were driven out of the garden.'  When Enoch discovers the Tree of Life, Micheal himself explains it's plan. (Enoch XXIV4-10) "Then I said: 'How beautiful is this tree, and fragrant, and its leaves are fair, and its blooms very delightful in appearance.' Then answered Michael, one of the holy and honoured angels who was with me, and was their leader.  And he said unto me: "And as for this fragrant tree no mortal is permitted to touch it till the great judgement, when He shall take vengeance on all and bring (everything) to its consummation for ever. It shall then be given to the righteous and holy.  Its fruit shall be for food to the elect: it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the Lord, the Eternal King.Then shall they rejoice with joy and be glad, And into the holy place shall they enter; And its fragrance shall be in their bones, And they shall live a long life on earth, Such as thy fathers lived: And in their days shall no sorrow or plague Or torment or calamity touch them.'
  • Fifth Heaven (Machon or Ma'on) - Seat of God, Aaron, and the Avenging Angels.  Angelic ruler is Sandalphon, even though some authorities claim that Sammael is the Dark Angelic Ruler.  Land where the gigantic Grigori serve eternal punishment for what they did to the daughters of man.  It is here where they crouch in silent and everlasting despair.
  • Sixth Heaven (Zebul or Makhon) - Domain of duality.  Zebul rules by night and Sabath by day.  Dwelling place of seven (7) Phoenixes and seven (7) Cherubim who chant in praise of God, and a vast host of Shining Ones who study time, ecology, the seasons and mankind in a vast Building of Knowledge.
  • Seventh Heaven (Araboth) - The Angelic ruler is Cassiel.  This is the abode of God on His Divine Throne, surrounded by Seraphim, Cherubim and Wheels all bathed in ineffable Light.
So, the question must be asked, where was Enoch?  The truly devout will tell you that he was just where the Bible tells you he was, in the various heavens that make up the Kingdom of God.  Others may say that this may just be a clever story attempting to answer some of the questions that the early church would get asked.  Like, "Where is the garden of Eden?" or "Where did the fallen angels go?"  It might be noted as well that multiple heavens are being used as penal colonies for those that have angered the Lord, possibly a not so subtle hint to the people of the ancient world not to trifle with the God of the Jews.  Some may even say that Enoch was raised off the ground by something that his mind could not fathom and was shown things that he could not comprehend.  Dare I say an ancient astronaut encounter which he may have tried to explain using what he knew of the world, God and Heavens.  In the end, we may never truly understand what happened to Enoch.  Where he went and what he saw is purely the opinion of the reader.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Amazons

Throughout human history civilizations have risen and fallen.  The Romans, Greeks, Huns, and Mongols are all examples for large and well developed ancient societies that had periods of expansive growth.  In the end though, all these cultures inevitably retracted back to close their original sizes.  Due to the size and scope of these, and many other, culture's influences it is no great challenge for someone to simply open an atlas or do a web search and find where said societies originated and how far they had expanded, but not all cultures are like this.  There have been many cultures that have developed, then matured, and even expanded, only to dissipate without a whisper of verifiable archaeological evidence.  Legends and myths persist about these cultures, usually written by their neighboring societies.  Many times these societies / cultures are termed "Lost Civilizations".  When people use this term the stories of Atlantis, Shangri-La, Lemuria, and until recently, Troy, would come to mind.  I say until recently in regards to Troy due to the fact that for hundreds (100s) of years the stories that encompassed it were considered fiction (see The Trojan Horse), but all of that changed in eighteen sixty-five (1865).  In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlık, and in 1868 Heinrich Schliemann, wealthy German businessman and archaeologist, also began excavating in the area after a chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale.  These excavations have led to the dicovery of what many consider the site of the historical Troy.  So, as you can see, sometimes the legends of myths of the path are more than just that, sometimes they are more like shadowy echoes of the past and with hard work, and a lot of luck, we find that once was fiction is actually fact.

This leads us to another even more elusive culture that to this day still echoes in popular culture, the Amazons (see Wonder Woman).  The Amazon's were a matriarchal race that on numerous occasions waged war on ancient Greece.  The stories of their military exploits ring though in Homer's Illiad.  Now, having a culture that is devoid of men would not do well for the longevity of a society as eventually, especially in a warring state, the number of citizens would dwindle down to a point where either it would be absorbed, or overrun, by one (1) of its neighbors.  The Amazonian's get around this by once a year, in order to prevent their race from dying out, they visited the Gargareans, a neighbouring tribe. The male children who were the result of these visits were either killed, sent back to their fathers or exposed in the wilderness to fend for themselves; the females were kept and brought up by their mothers, and trained in agricultural pursuits, hunting, and the art of war. In other stories when the Amazons went to war they would not kill all the men. Some they would take as slaves, and once or twice a year they would have sex with their slaves.  So with all the legends and myths we should know precisely where there civilization resided, right?  Wrong.  To date archaeologists have yet to determine where they originated from.  Some stories speak of historical Scythia and Sarmatia in line with the account by Herodotus, but some authors prefer a comparison to cultures of Asia Minor or even Minoan Crete.  Below is a map I generated using Google Earth, some overlays, and a bit of research.  Hope this helps in visualizing the possible locations of this great, and mysterious people.

In the above map you can see the where Greece, Sarmatia and Scythia are located in the world.  It is approximately a thousand (1000) mile ride from the modern Ukraine (Sarmatia) and fifteen hundred (1500) mile ride from Kazakhstan (Scythia) to Greece, ancient or otherwise.  Additionally both of these proposed locations would require travelling around the Black Sea.

In the above map you can see a blow-up of Greece from the original map.  You can clearly see the island of Crete at the bottom of the map, another location where the mythical Amazonians may have originated from.

In this final map you can get a idea on where Libya is in proximity to Greece.  As you can see, if the Amazonians originated in Libya they would have to have either sailed across the Mediterranean sea, a five hundred (500) mile voyage, or traveled around the "Med", conservatively a two thousand (2,000) mile land route.

In the end, I think the classicist Peter Walcot may have summed it up best when he wrote, "Wherever the Amazons are located by the Greeks, whether it is somewhere along the Black Sea in the distant north-east, or in Libya in the furthest south, it is always beyond the confines of the civilized world. The Amazons exist outside the range of normal human experience."