Atlantis is having a boom in film and literature. But despite all the exaggerated legends, the most important aspect is mostly forgotten – namely, what lesson we should learn from Atlantis. For decadence, pomposity, and the misguided belief that Man doesn’t need God triumph today once again, as they did in that sunken empire.
In some green island of the sea, Where now the shadowy coral grows. In pride and pomp and empery the courts of old Atlantis rose.John Masefield
Let’s take a journey back through time. We need at least a couple of million years to come to the beginnings of ancient Atlantis. We find an even older, thriving continent – let’s call it Lemuria – as the spiritual directors of humanity set about sowing the seeds of a new civilisation in the area of today’s Atlantic Ocean. A civilisation that would achieve technological heights that have only gradually been reclaimed by our current generation; but also a civilisation that would fall into such corruptness that it would have to be consigned to the ocean’s floods, to be cleansed by its salty waters over several aeons.
It is hard to draw a picture of Atlantis. There are many legends about the sunken continent floating around, but most of them cannot be taken seriously, the product of channelling and other psychic practices that may contain partial truths, but which are also mixed up with a lot of nonsense. So it might be that our idea of Atlantis is less brilliant and impressive than others. But if you insist on using only reliable sources, you have to admit that much remains shrouded in mystery and that we can only make out the rough contours of their life – which is nevertheless enough of a picture for us to learn from. For it was on Atlantis that Man invented war; it was on Atlantis that he lapsed into a life replete with luxury and gluttony; it was on Atlantis that he chose black magic instead of white – so that his will would be done, and not God’s. So let us look back on the millions of years of life in Atlantis!
If we were to meet a person from Atlantis’ early history, we would probably run away screaming. A giant would stand before us, four to seven metres tall, with extra-long arms and a receding forehead, from which grows black, shiny hair. His ears are much further back on his head, and his small, narrow, blinking eyes would not really see us, since his perception is directed inward, rather than outward. While we are asking ourselves if this is some kind of cave-dweller or a highly unusual mythological creature (since external appearance counts more for us today), this strange giant would have instinctively identified the nature of our soul and would have known instantaneously what sort of a person we are.
This early Atlantean is much older than the cave men we know of, since this myth-enshrouded continent dates back to the Miocene. (The Miocene is 5-24 million years before our time!) The Secret Doctrine informs us that the first peoples of Atlantis had the name Rmoahals. They had almost no memory and the little bit that was there was predominantly dedicated to sensory perception. They could remember colours and sounds, which helped them to develop the first fragments of feelings. Everything that seems so natural to us humans today – the ability to sense, to see, to hear, to speak, to feel, and to think – required millions of years of evolution, an evolutionary process that naturally isn’t finished yet. We will appear to the people who will live another million years after us just as antiquated as the cavemen seem today.
As already indicated, the earliest people from Atlantis didn’t know any form of verbal communication. Whereas their precursors, the late inhabitants of Lemuria, were only capable of making animal-like sounds, the Rmoahals began to give things names. Max Heindel wrote in his book The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception: “They were yet a spiritual race and, their soul-powers being like the forces of nature, they not only named the objects around them, but in their words was power over the things they named. Like the last of the Lemurians, their Feelings as spirits inspired them.” Being the highest immediate expression of the spirit, language was holy to them.
They would never have abused this holiness through gossip or small talk.
The second Atlantean ‘race’ had the name Tlavatli. They were the first to sense their value as individual human beings. Thus, the individuality so highly valued today was first awakened in humanity at this time – and as a result, the Tlavatlis were enslaved by the negative value of ambition. When you experience yourself as separate, you begin to compete with your neighbours and desire to be better than them. Heroism became a means to distinguish yourself from others – and ensure your place in the memories of posterity. Once the powers of memory had been roused in the Rmoahals, memory and commemoration became powerful aspects of community life. The people began to appoint the most heroic individuals as their leaders. The first seeds for later monarchy were planted and commemoration was so celebrated as a new achievement that people also began to honour the memory of the deceased. Among the inhabitants of Lemuria (see pg. 20) there was practically no ability to remember – which also meant that the people of that time were completely free of fear. Ancestor worship began to increase dramatically and still continues among certain Asian peoples. Just think of the Japanese, who still practice ancestor worship today. Incidentally, the Cro-Magnon remains found in France share the same physiognomy as the second Atlantean sub-race, the Tlavatlis.
The Toltecs (not to be confused with the much later appearing Maya Culture in Central America, which shares the same name) were the third Atlantean race. They continued to develop the ideas of their ancestors and founded monarchies as well as the tradition of hereditary succession. The Toltecs honoured the son for the deeds his father and grandfather accomplished – with good reason, writes Heindel: “for because of the peculiar training at that time, the father had the power to bestow his qualities upon his son in a way impossible to mankind at the present time.” Education consisted of calling up before the soul of the child pictures of the different phases of life. The consciousness of the early Atlantean was, as yet, principally an internal picture-consciousness; they did not yet have the ability to learn verbally. The power of the educator to call up these ideal images before the child’s soul was the determining factor for the soul qualities that would be possessed by the grown man. So they worked with instinct and not with reason (which was as yet practically non-existent). Through this educational method, the son inherited most of his father’s good qualities and they ‘cultivated’, in a certain sense, heroes and royal houses that would in all likelihood be equal to their great responsibilities, unlike the hereditary monarchies of the last centuries, where all too often the crown princes were not at all worthy of inheriting their father’s legacy.
Among the Toltecs, experience came to be highly valued. The man who had gained the most varied experience was the most honoured and his advice was sought after. We find this still today among the Native American nations of North and South America where the eldest and the shaman are the wisest and most respected tribal advisors. These peoples are, in fact, descended from the Atlantean race of the Toltecs.
If memory first embryonically arose among the Rmoahals and then strongly developed as a new achievement by the Tlavatlis, the memory performance of the Toltecs was of an immense capacity in comparison with our own. If they didn’t know what to do in a particular situation, they would not use analytical thought or consider all options as we would today (for abstract thought was entirely unknown to the people of this time), but they would seek out an experienced Toltec who, because of his prodigious memory could probably recall a similar situation and thus offer pertinent advice. After all, life expectancy for these people was several hundred years! If they couldn’t find anyone who could recall a similar experience, they were forced to experiment to find the best solution. They did not yet posses the powers of thought that would have allowed them to play out the various scenarios and their possible consequences in their minds.
In the middle third of the Atlantean era, we see the beginning of distinct nations. Groups of people who shared similar customs and propensities joined together, abandoned their old dwelling places and founded new colonies. In order to meet their own particular ideas and necessities, they formed new customs – a further step toward increased individuality.
At that time, members of this planet’s spiritual hierarchy incarnated as priest-kings among humans. The masses honoured these kings with all of the veneration that was due them as true ‘Kings by God’s Grace’. Of course, this was a great blessing for the childlike humans. Their radiant example helped people of good will to develop the divine within, while those who were already drawn to the material at that early stage began to give themselves over to the ‘left hand path’.
Plato wrote about these divine dynasties, as did other initiates such as Thot-Hermes, Oannes-Dagon and Idris-Enoch. We can read in Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine that Uranus was the first ‘God-King’ of the Atlanteans. Plato observed, in the fourth book of the Laws, that long before the first cities were constructed, Saturn had established some sort of government on the earth under which mankind had been very happy. He recognized that man cannot rule over man without filling the universe immediately with injustice through his moods and vanity. That is why he didn’t want to allow any mortal to gain power over his fellow creatures. Helena Blavatsky commented on this in The Secret Doctrine: “To do this, the god used the same means we use ourselves with regard to our flocks. We do not place a bullock or a ram over our bullocks and rams, but give them a leader, a shepherd, i.e., a being of a species quite different from their own and of a superior nature. It is just what Saturn did. He loved mankind and placed to rule over it no mortal King or prince but – ‘Spirits and genii [daimones] of a divine nature more excellent than that of man.’”
Ignatius Donnelly, in Atlantis – The Antediluvian World, which appeared at the end of the 19th century to great interest (according to polls, the only thing that interested people at that time more than the myth-enshrouded Atlantis was the Second Coming of Christ), went so far as to attribute the Greek gods to the Atlantean God-Kings. According to his analysis, the entire Greek mythology was simply a degenerate race’s retelling of a vast, powerful, and highly civilised empire, which at one time in the distant past had covered the greater part of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Moreover, the ancient myths recounted that the Greek gods had lived on an island in the Atlantic, that this land was destroyed by a flood, was ruled over by Poseidon and Atlas and that it controlled an empire that stretched to Egypt and Italy and the beaches of Africa. Whatever the case might be, the two accounts are not necessarily mutually contradictory, for when Atlantis was ruled at its zenith by incarnated members of the Spiritual Hierarchy (whom we can call the ‘Gods’ of Earth), then they must have been identical with the gods of the Ancient Greeks, who were the initiated people on earth at that time.
Those God-Kings, whom Blavatsky also calls “Lords of Wisdom”, brought mankind fruit and grains, which had been unknown on earth until that time – wheat, for example, which is no earthly product. And they gifted mankind with various inventions and guided it to construct large and beautiful cities and erect powerful structures, whose remains can still be found today.
“This was done under the expert guidance of the initiates and adepts who employed their knowledge of the nature of matter and energy to produce much that today man is gropingly endeavouring to discover and make possible,” wrote Alice Bailey in The Externalization of the Hierarchy. “All that the modern processes of civilisation have made possible, and much more than that which today comes under the name of scientific discovery were known in old Atlantis, but they were not developed by men themselves but given to them as a free gift, much as people today give to a child beautiful and wonderful things which the child uses and enjoys but which he does not understand in any way.”
“Great and beautiful cities, full of temples and great buildings (of which the Chaldean and Babylonian remains are the degenerate remnants, and the modern skyscraper the child) were everywhere to be found,” writes Bailey, whose writings were inspired by the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul, “Most of our modern scientific knowledge was possessed by these priest-kings and constituted in the eyes of the masses a form of wonderful magic. Sanitation, hygiene, means of transportation and air machines were developed and of a very high order; these were not the result however of man’s achievement but gifts from the Hierarchy, developed or constructed under a wise guidance.”
“There was command of air and water because the guides of the race knew how to control and master the forces of nature and of the elements, but none of it was the result of human understanding, knowledge or effort. The minds of men were undeveloped and not adequate to such a task, any more than is the mind of a little child.”