The school district provided exhausted parents with an extended weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring, post daylight saving time. They did not allot us an afternoon to foresee the Ides of March. My freshman year at Wayne, we read Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar.’ A prophet warns the Roman ruler of his impending assassination. It seems even with foresight Caesar could not help marching to his fate. In contrast, as the plotters proceed to defend the Republic, Cassius informs his coconspirator, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” After the dagger, death only spread Caesar’s name, made him the god the Senators feared he would become, smeared to such places as the Russian monarchy centuries later, where Caesar transformed into the word ‘Czar.’
I wonder as spring comes early to Iowa whether the gentians are blooming in the Alps, that great ark where glaciers still erode rock faces: “Reach me a gentian, give me a torch / let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower / down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness.” D.H. Lawrence was called a prophetic writer. A stone hitting water in one of his novels was like a meteor that could wipe out all life.
In the ark of the Himalayas, as the Indian subcontinent slides beneath Asia, stoic microbial life exists in streams beneath tundra ice. They meditate thousands of miles above sea while language, agriculture and religion flow through the foothills. The word ‘cult’ is a root of ‘cultivation’ and ‘culture.’
Changes have come to the earth before. While beginning Geoffrey Ashe’s book ‘Atlantis: Lost Lands, Ancient Wisdom,’ I noted the importance in mythology, across oceans, of 12,000 years ago, or 10,000 B.C., which is roughly equivalent to the end of the Ice Age. From two different sources, Ashe mentions that specific date twice in the first 40 pages. Throughout cultures from East to West, myths revolve around an antediluvian civilization either Edenic or more advanced than we previously suspected. Flood myths and Atlantian tales permeate our view of prehistory. I do not believe it is a coincidence or circumstance they are so widespread. During the Ice Age, sea level would have been much lower, and land bridges or at least smaller gaps between the continents would have aided seafaring. Looking backward in time, islands and lower-lying areas would seem to rise above the ocean’s swell, and since all civilizations tend to center around the need for water, both as a life source and as a means of trade, travel, and exploration, the most advanced people would have called these regions home. It would only be mystics, saints and prophets who wandered high into the mountains to see what merchants could not.
Thinkers such as Plato brought myths forward, transforming them without assuming Atlantis was fixed in history. According to Ashe, “When he wrote of it Plato was, primarily, creating a myth. That can be said without prejudice to any enquiry into his sources or the factual background. He believed that small well-organized states were better than empires. Empires decayed, city-republics such as Athens had superior moral force, and, though they could also decay, they had a power of regeneration.” Like the Jewish tribes and the Babylonians, Greeks also possessed the legend of a great Flood. The question is, from where did this source material arise? Some see one universe or world, one beginning and one end, depending on the height of their perspective. Others understand better the cyclical nature of time, in contrast to the unchanging nature of what lies outside of time.
South of Japan, there are rocks carved deep under the sea, on what would have been dry land 12,000 years ago. Only divers can now touch the past. We see this across the world. Climatology backs up the premise of stages, that Atlantis was washed away long ago in more than one area of Earth by the tide of melting glaciers at the end of the Ice Age, separating what was once unified. If we grovel at the coastline now, we cannot see the unitive nature of language, even if the words mean the same thing regardless of culture.
As Plato believed, not all perspectives are equal. This is not an issue of civilization. The cultural bigots, isolated by the waters back into their cults, cannot see the difference between Republic and Empire, but there is also the possibility of climbing out of the confusion of the masses, or submersion into the subconscious, which are both means to rebirth.