"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned." Richard Feynman
"All the stories, characters, and adventures narrated by mythology concentrate on the active powers among the stars, who are the planets." Giorlgio de Santilla, Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill
The famous auroral Dragon photographed in 2019
"But when the planets in evil mixture to disorder wander,
What plagues and what portents, what mutiny,
What raging of the sea, shaking of earth,
Commotion in the winds!" William Shakespeare
Modern scholars generally define myth as a form of
sacred history which attempts to describe the origin
of the world and various cultural institutions. If,
as seems to be the case, myth also preserves clues for
reconstructing the recent history of our solar system,
its study becomes all the more important. Comparative
mythology highlights striking cross-cultural similarities
which strongly suggest that the core of most if not
all ancient mythology has planetary origins. This begs
the question: How is it that planets which appear as
mere tiny specks in the night sky could have held such
a profound fascination for our ancestors?
According to the prevailing dogma, the Nebular Hypothesis,
planets and stars accreted from the dust cloud after the Big Bang billions of
years ago. In this dubious model it is assumed that these bodies have occupied
more-or-less steady and unchanging orbits ever since. Anyone who challenges this
ideological assumption is quickly reminded of the 'fact' that the only forces
at work are gravity and inertia. Any contrary viewpoint thus requires 'mysterious'
forces. But these mysterious forces, as it turns out, are not so mysterious after
When the role of plasma and electromagnetism is acknowledged, this broader perspective allows us to view ancient mythology
with more respect and less contempt. Is so much ancient myth merely the work of
ignorant, superstitious savages, or do our ancestors have something far more profound
to tell us?
Could it be that our ancestors viewed skies very different
from what we see today, and that they witnessed spectacular
discharge and catastrophic events in recent millennia?
(The Thunderbolts of the Gods.) Phenomena that make today's auroras and natural disasters
look trivial by comparison!
"...A 'derivation' of the sword from a 'root' or archetype in lightning is universal and world wide."
So many bizarre mythological details
don't make any sense in the real world, such as flying and fire-breathing dragons,
differing planetary orbits and configurations, and countless others. It is easy to dismiss them as the product of creative imagination,
but this attitude runs up against an insuperable difficulty - these seemingly
impossible motifs can be found the world over. It is very difficult to understand
how creative imagination could explain such consistent and recurring motifs, as
a number of leading anthropologists, historians, and mythologists have acknowledged. It is therefore important to recognise the patterns and key points of agreement across cultures.
"...The extreme preoccupation of most early societies with celestial imagery...appears to be part of a world wide phenomenon."
Mark Bailey, astronomer, Armagh Observatory
A beautiful and fascinating video from David Talbott and the Thunderbolts Project:
"Are all these legends a confused account of great events on a planetary scale which were beheld in terror simultaneously by men scattered everywhere over the world?" Anonymous Editor, Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology
Saturn appears to play perhaps the most important
role in ancient mythology, that of the central luminary of the sky. This begs
the following questions:
Why did the early astronomers
celebrate the planet Saturn as the first Supreme God? Why did the ancients sacrifice
their children to Saturn? Why was the original Sabbath, the most sacred day of
the week, named after Saturn? Why did ancient nations invoke Saturn as the primeval
Sun? Why did early astronomers declare that Saturn ruled from the celestial pole?
Why do so many modern religions carry remnants of Saturn worship?
Cardona's book series, beginning with God
Star, is a comprehensive and fascinating look at Saturn mythology.
"What has Saturn, the far-out planet, to do with the Pole? Such figures of speech were an essential part of the technical idiom of archaic astrology." Giorlgio de Santilla, Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill
How do we begin to explain the Saturnian ring symbolism that pervades our cultures? For example:
The Halo of the saints
The Royal Crowns
The ring on the finger given in marriage
Circled crosses. Both the Celtic cross and Egyptian ankh, for example
The Eye of Ra
The astronomically baffling star inside the crescent.
All of the above have been identified as Saturnian symbols, and
these ancient symbols still haunt our modern world.
"When Saturn ruled the skies alone
(That golden age, to gold unknown,)
This earthly globe to thee assign'd
Receiv'd the gifts of all mankind." Johnathan Swift, A Panegyric on the Dean
The black square is also identified as a Saturnian symbol. The Kaaba at Mecca, Islam's holiest site, is a large black cube. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing the Islamic prayer, Salah.
In Judaism, Tefillin or phylacteries are a set of small black boxes which contain scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. In Rabbinic Judasim, the predominant form of Judaism today, tefillin are worn by adult Jews during weekday morning prayers. In orthodox communities they are worn only by men.
In academic circles, students will often sport a square black head-dress during graduation.
The isotopic ratios of water on Saturn and Earth turn out to be almost identical! This is a big surprise. Was planet Earth once a satellite of Saturn? Interestingly, the Altlantic Ocean was originally known as the sea of Kronos.
"By developing a new method for measuring isotopic ratios of water and carbon dioxide remotely, scientists have found that the water in Saturn's rings and satellites is unexpectedly like water on the Earth.
"The results, found in the Icarus paper 'Isotopic Ratios of Saturn's Rings and Satellites: Implications for the Origin of Water and Phoebe' by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Roger N. Clark, also mean we need to change models of the formation of the Solar System because the new results are in conflict with existing models."
“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.” JRR Tolkien
Was Tolkien's famous book The Lord of the Rings a reference to Saturn?
A Different Sun?
Ancient Babylonians were careful to distinguish Shamash, their ancient Sun god, from our current Sun, identifying it with the distant planet Saturn. This led Velikovsky to consider the possibility that Saturn once loomed much larger in the sky ... perhaps as a sunlike body over satellite Earth!
The Popol Vuh, considered the 'Mayan Bible', also attests to this:
"Like a man was the sun when it showed itself … It showed itself when it was born and remained fixed in the sky like a mirror. Certainly it was not the same sun which we see, it is said in their old tales."
D Goetz & S. Morley, Popul Vuh
Sol, Helios, and Kronos were actually names for the first or old Sun. Many cultures were careful to differentiate it as the Best Sun, Superior Sun, or Exemplary Sun, which ruled from the axis of the sky around which the heavens turned.
"Helios and Kronos were one and the same God." Franz Boll, Classicist
As bizarre as the above may sound to the uninitiated, the Saturn theory actually suffers from an embarrassment of riches. Early descriptions of the 'Sun' and various planets from Mesopotamia and elsewhere describe them as occupying positions not possible within current astronomical thinking.
For the Egyptians, Atum was was the primeval sun, who ruled from the center and summit of the sky.
"The great god lives, fixed in the middle of the sky." Egyptian Coffin texts.
As part of the evolution of what is known as the Polar Configuration, Venus assumed a radiant appearance. Streams of luminous plasma formed a flower like pattern across the face of the ancient sun-god. Artists impressions, above right and top right. With the white background, the Mespotamian Shamash from Wikipedia, is pictured right. The 'cosmic wheel' and many other identical symbols are common across numerous ancient cultures. The cosmic wheel is occasionally dismissed as a crude representation of our current sun, although this approach fails to account for the bodies depicted in front of it, among numerous other anomalies.
The planet Venus also plays an important role in ancient
mythology. Converging ancient images include the Babylonian 'torch' and 'bearded
star', the Mexican 'smoking star', the Peruvian 'long-haired' star, the Egyptian
Great Star 'scattering its flame in fire', and further widespread imagery from
around the globe - that of Venus as a flaming serpent or dragon in the sky.
Venus very often has a dual aspect - both beautiful and destructive. In Greek mythology, for example, both Aphrodite (with flowing golden hair) and Medusa (with hair of serpents), are associated with the planet Venus.
Venus has also been called both the Morning and Evening Star, and Lucifer, the Bringer of Light or Shining One, from the Latin lux 'light' and ferre 'to bear or bring'. If Venus arrived in our solar system as a comet, or if it fell out of alignment with some previous planetary configuration, perhaps this might begin to explain the fallen angel legends. Originally thought to be a twin of the Earth, of course, Venus turns out to have a very hot and gaseous atmosphere rich in hyrdocarbons, as Immanuel Velikovsky successfully predicted. This is not the first controversy to fall in his favour.
"How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!" Isaiah 14:12, Old Testament
"Quomodo cecidisti de caelo, Lucifer, fili aurorae?
Deiectus es in terram,
qui deiciebas gentes." From the latin Vulgate
Venus is also the only planet to rotate counter-clockwise in our solar system. Because the Sun played an important role in older religions, it was considered bad luck to go against its clockwise motion, and anti-clockwise rotations were sometimes referred to as widdershins from the old German weddersinnes, literally 'against the way'.
The comet theory also has it that Venus took some time to settle into its current planetary orbit. In a number of old traditions anti-clockwise rotations are not unusual. Eastern Orthodox Christians generally circle a church in this direction, and in Judaism a bride may circle her groom seven times counter-clockwise before marriage. There are similar traditions in a number of Eastern religions. Could these be vestiges of Venus adoration?
In Hindu mythology, similarities between Kali and Venus jump out. Kali also displays a dual nature, both beautiful and destructive, sexual and violent, motherly but malevolent, much like Aphrodite and Medusa in Greek mythology.
In Mesoamerica, Quetzacoatl, the feathered serpent deity, was identified as Venus, and typically depicted as green in colour. The Quetzal bird of South America enjoys beautiful green plumage.
"He set himself on fire ... and when the ashes were extinguished, then arose his heart, the quetzal bird itself: they saw it. And so he knew they had entered the sky...The old ones used to say that he was transformed into the dawn star."
Anales de Cuauhtitlan 11
The planet Mars, of course,
is associated with war, and the month of March is named after it. He was the fearless
warrior who wielded thunderbolts, and he is venerated by many differing cultures
across the globe, where the themes vary little.
Consider the following
'Scarface' was the name of a legendary Blackfoot Indian warrior,
also called 'Star Boy'. The Pawnee warrior, Morning Star, can also be identified
as the planet Mars. Greek mythology describes various heroes and rogues being
struck down by a thunderbolt. For example, when Ares, the planet Mars, was wounded
in battle, he roared with the din of a thousand warriors and rushed to Zeus to
show off his scars. Hindu myths also speak of a deep scar on the head of the warrior
Indra, their god of the cosmic thunderbolt.
Pictured right is the Aztec
god Xipe, sporting a scarred face.
"The space between two planets lights up and is set aflame by both planets and produces a train of fire." Seneca, Roman naturalist
Just a cursory glance at modern religious festivals
reveals many underlying similarities that clearly have their origin in astronomical
For example, Horus of Egypt was born of the virgin
Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave with the birth being announced by a star
in the East and attended by three wise men. Mithra, Sungod of Persia, was born
of a virgin on December 25th, and was considered a great travelling teacher and
master. Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki (The Divine One), his father was
a carpenter, his birth attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was
presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Prometheus of Greece descended from
heaven as God incarnate, to save mankind. Prometheus was crucified, suffered,
and rose from the dead. The list goes on.
It should be noted
that The Sun 'dies' for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when
it stops in its movement south, and is 'born again' or 'resurrected' on December
25th, when it resumes its movement north. In some areas, the calendar originally
began in the constellation of Virgo, and the sun would therefore be 'born of a
Virgin'. The sun is the 'Light of the World', and its rising in the morning is
the 'Saviour of mankind'. The sun's 'followers' or 'disciples' appear to be the
12 months or the 12 signs of the zodiac (constellations), through which the sun
It is difficult to ignore the role of the heavens
in mythology and its close relative, religious symbology.
Saturn's Dragon storm - a living mythtorm
Pictured right is a thunderstorm
on Saturn that has remained fixed since 2004, much to the further puzzlement of
the scientific community. Meteorologists do not fully understand terrestial lightning,
let alone the 'surprise' of lightning on other planets, and Saturn produces stupendous
The spiraling shape of dragons and serpents in mythology are strikingly
similar to plasma instabilities in the laboratory and in space, a fact which reminds
us of the metamorphosing and life-like qualities of plasma phenomena. It should
be little surprise, then, that we see similar configurations of electrified plasma
in megalightning on Saturn today.
So much ancient rock art from around the globe shows
striking similarities to plasma phenomena, and much of it remains inexplicable
otherwise. What are the ancients, with their strained voices echoing across the
centuries, trying to tell us?
From around 50,000 BC rock art focussed on
hunting, animal, and fertility symbols, as might be expected, but this suddenly
changed. Between roughly 12,000 BC and 2000 BC it found a more abstract form which
is uncannily reminiscent of reproducible plasma phenomena. Dragons, serpents,
and spirals et al are recurring motifs throughout this period.
The following PDF is an excellent technical paper on
the relationship between petroglyphs and plasma phenomena, by the leading plasma physicist, Anthony Peratt, a fellow of the IEEE, and student of the famous Hannes Alfvén.
recurring petroglyph patterns are reproductions of plasma phenomena in space."
Anthony Peratt, 2003
An artist's impressions of the Polar Configuration viewed in ancient skies, above.
One view of Venus within the Polar Configuration, above.
"...modern astronomical evidence does not support the common supposition that the night sky has been unchanging for 5000 years." William Napier, astronomer, Armagh Observatory
The Thunderbolts of the Gods
Varying Greek representations of the Thunderbolts of the Gods.
Electrical discharges (plasma thunderbolts) in the laboratory, stylized for clarity. Is any further explanation required in view of the striking visual similarities? Some mental gymnastics are required in order to dismiss these as merely coincidental.
The mythic Assyrian warrior, Ninurta, brandishing a thunderbolt, left, and a Greek coin, right.
Sprites in the upper atmosphere of Earth.
Odin's Thunderbolt in Norse mythology.
Thunderbolt imagery is widespread the world over, but few scholars and scientists ever pause to wonder about this ancient fascination. After all, most contemporary researcher’s routinely assume the ancient sky was essentially identical to what we see now. As today, so before, is their default.
However, if the planets shifted on their orbits within human memory, perhaps huge sparks jumped between them in order to establish electrical equilibium. Were any such electrical interactions the thunderbolts witnessed by the ancients, and handed down via 'myth and legend'? Again, this notion is anathema to the gradualist paradigm.
The Days of the Week
It is easily forgotten that the days of the week are named after the planets in many languages, and especially the older languages of Latin derivation. Some are obvious, such as Monday, short for Moon day, Sunday, short for Sun Day, of course, and Saturday short for Saturn day, the original Sabbath day. Consider the following.
“I conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while.” Charles Fort
Hindu astrology also uses the concept of days under the regency of a planet. The days of the week being called āditya-vāsara, soma-vāsara, mangala-vāsara, budha-vāsara, guru-vāsara, śukra-vāsara, and śani-vāsara. śukrá is a name of Venus (regarded as a son of Bhrgu); guru is here a title of Brhaspati, and hence of Jupiter; Budha 'Mercury' is regarded as a son of Soma, ie., the Moon. Knowledge of Greek astrology existed from around the 2nd century BC.
The Wikipedia page goes into some detail on the many associations in different languages and cultures. It begins by saying something like the names are derived from classical planets in Hellenistic astrology, which were in turn named after contemporary deities, a system introduced by the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity.
Is it not possible that the names of the gods were derived from the planets, and not the planets from the the gods? Were the planets the gods, in other words, if they occupied different orbits much closer to the earth in past ages? This euhemeristic approach would begin to explain the commonalities across languages and cultures. There is no doubting that the ancients had a fascination with the heavens. Furthermore, there are so many key points of agreement when it comes to the personalities ascribed to the planets of our solar system, as described above. Again, can over-wrought imagination alone account for these
Please note that it is not the purpose of this web site to promote nor denigrate any views in respect of an intelligence behind the universe. That's a separate philosophical debate, and one beyond the scope of this subject matter which falls under the broad heading of comparative mythology.
"The peoples of ancient Mesoamerica keenly observed the sky and used the calendar to predict solar and lunar eclipses, the cylce of the planet venus, the apparent movements of the constellations and other celestial events. To them, these occurences were not the mechanical movements of innate celestial bodies but constituted the activities of gods, the actual recapitulation of mythical events from the time of creation." Kaule Taube,
Aztec and Maya myths, P14.
"With one voice, every culture declared that great gods once
ruled the world, before they
departed for remote regions. Let the world's first astronomers point the way for us. They knew
that what the myths called Gods
were planets, and aspects of planets. Planets appeared close to the
earth in heaven spanning
configuration. Memories of
that celestial splendour still surround us, even if humanity
later forgot much more than
it remembered." David Talbott, comparative mythologist
"And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence." Bertrand Russell
An early philosophical view
The early Greek philosophers can be said to provide
a bridge between the old world of 'superstition' and
the new world of 'rationalism'. Both Plato and
Aristotle acknowledged that the gods were originally
astronomical bodies, and Aristotle was
proud to state it as known.
"A tradition has been handed down by the ancient thinkers of very early times ... to the effect that these heavenly bodies are Gods ... the rest of the tradition has been added later in a mythological form to influence the vulgar..."
Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)
Plato (427 - 347 B.C.) also taught that the myth of Phaeton describes real events in nature: [it] "really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth."
“It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth.” John Locke
Conspiracy theories abound in respect of many of the archetypal symbols mentioned above, and it is often claimed that certain groups secretly worship Saturn or Lucifer (Venus). Societies like Freemasonry and the Jesuits are normally in the firing line of such speculations. Caution is obviously recommended as many of the symbols under discussion are ingrained in our culture and subconscious. While they are frequently acknowledged, their origins are rarely understood in academic and religious circles. At best, when touched upon they are generally considered an artifact of the human mind.
"Contents of an archetypal character are manifestations of processes in the collective unconcious. In the last analysis, therefore, it is impossible to say what they refer to." Carl Jung
The warrior or hero figure slaying or banishing the dragon or serpent symbol is a universal archetypal. England has St George and the Dragon, who they share with Georgia, and Catalonia in Spain, amongst others; while Ireland has St Patrick who rids the country of snakes; and in Norse and Scandinavian mythology, Fáfnir (the mythical dragon) was slain by Sigurd. The theme is widespread. See also Ninurta chasing Anzű with his thunderbolts, pictured above.
The famous conspiracy theorist, David Icke, has taken a strong interest in Reptilian symbology, and has even gone so far as to claim that the world is secretly ruled by reptilian hybrids. I would again suggest, however, that the surprising popularity of this idea owes more to the power of the archetype than the veracity of his theory.
Advocates of the alien hypothesis generally claim that the gods were aliens with advanced technology that was somehow misrepresented and misunderstood by elemental peoples. This view has become something of a free variable, and claims that the ancient aliens built everything from Stonehenge to the pyramids are not uncommon.
"The ultimate origin of neary all folktales and myths must remain a mystery." Stith Thompson
Many mysteries remain from the mythmaking epoch, but these begin to unravel when we accept the likelihood of differing planetary configurations within human memory. Prior to this epoch, there was no mention of time or planets. The Gods were the planets, and this was the lost age of innocence - the Garden of Eden. Many cultures talk of this golden age. After it fell apart, surivivors developed an obsession with the planets, and watched their every move with meticulous accuracy as if warning us of potential future catastrophes. Vast temples emerged as part of this obsession. We have forgotten more than we can remember, but the themes and symbols remain and are consistent. Modern doomsday anxieties, of which there have been many, attest to these deep rooted fears.
"Heavenly fire is spit forth from by the planet as crackling charcoal flies from a burning log." Pliny, Roman naturlist
“The inertia of the human mind and its resistance to innovation are most clearly demonstrated not, as one might expect, by the ignorant mass--which is easily swayed once its imagination is caught--but by professionals with a vested interest in tradition and in the monopoly of learning. Innovation is a twofold threat to academic mediocrities: it endangers their oracular authority, and it evokes the deeper fear that their whole, laboriously constructed intellectual edifice might collapse. The academic backwoodsmen have been the curse of genius from Aristarchus to Darwin and Freud; they stretch, a solid and hostile phalanx of pedantic mediocrities, across the centuries.” Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers [New York, 1959], p. 427.