Was there a race of giants that once inhabited the Americas?
Did ancient Egypt and ancient China have heretofore undiscovered ties?
Lost Secrets of the Gods delves into these ancient mysteries and many more in articles by some of the world's most intrepid and knowledgeable researchers. The old paradigms of history are being radically transformed as we discover more evidence of little-known cultures and what they achieved.
Many ancient cultures spoke and wrote of visitors that gave them knowledge and helped shape their societies. Who were they, and where did they come from?
We now know that many ancient cultures had advanced knowledge of science, agriculture, and astronomy, only some of which has been rediscovered in the last 100 years.
Were The Iliad and The Odyssey really about an epic struggle in pre-Celtic Europe? What happened to the Persian army that completely disappeared from Egypt 2,500 years ago? Did the ancients know how to create psychic guard dogs to protect sacred sites?
There is much more to history than what has officially been recorded.
Lost Secrets of the Gods reveals startling truths and asks fascinating questions traditional historians have long ignored.
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About the Author
Michael Pye has acquired hundreds of books as acquisitions editor for New Page Books since 2003. He developed a healthy appetite for the unexplained by watching far too many episodes of In Search Of hosted by Leonard Nimoy, which turned him into a reader of books on the strange and unexplained. He earned a BA in English from Southern Connecticut State University.
Kirsten Dalley graduated with honors from Columbia University in 1999 with a BA in comparative literature. Coauthor of The Nightmare Encyclopedia, she has been with Career Press/New Page Books since 2004. Together Michael and Kirsten have edited the anthology series Exposed, Uncovered, and Declassified, which includes separate volumes covering UFOs, Ghosts, and Lost Civilizations.
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Secret Societies Circa 10,000 BCE
By Robert M. Schoch, PhD
In our modern age many people are highly skeptical of, or simply dismiss, the notion of secret societies as anything more than rather childish fraternities and sororities. Furthermore, many modern so-called secret societies are not secret at all, for we know all about them. A few famous examples: Ordo Templi Orientis, the Illuminati (used loosely, with many divisions and branches), the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Skull and Bones, the Knights of Columbus, various groups of Masons and Freemasons, Rosicrucian groups, and the Bilderberg Group. Indeed, this brings up the issue of what, exactly, constitutes a secret society. To be a true secret society, should the very existence of the society be unknown to outsiders? Or might the existence, and possibly even the membership (perhaps only to a limited degree) be known, but the activities, rituals, and agenda be unknown to non-members? (Traditionally not all members will be privy to the innermost secrets and activities of the society, only those at the highest levels of initiation.) We should also make the distinction between secret societies that are conspiracy-based, where secrecy is important for political, military, and commercial scheming, and secret societies that are knowledge-based, where the knowledge, usually of an esoteric and occult nature, often includes spiritual insights and revelations deemed not fit to be revealed to the general populace. Of course these two raisons d'être behind forming and maintaining secret societies are not mutually exclusive. It is not uncommon for a secret society to be founded initially to guard "sacred" knowledge, but ultimately take the form of a secret conspiracy that aggrandizes through power, wealth, and status the members (or at least the top hierarchy) of the society. In this piece, my focus will be on knowledge-based secret societies.
Nowadays, it seems, the primary purpose of a so-called secret society is often not to actually pass on secret knowledge that has any profound practical value or non-trivial spiritual potency, but rather to form strong bonds between the members of the society, often stroking their egos and self-esteem. This is accomplished through rather meaningless and vapid rituals, secret signs, and the like, although modern rituals and signs may be traced back to symbols encoding deeper knowledge. Arguably, this is a recent development — that is, if it is indeed true (which may not be the case for the genuinely hush-hush secret societies, even today). In past centuries and millennia there were genuine secrets and valuable knowledge passed on to limited numbers of individuals who in some cases had to undergo strenuous mental and physical ordeals (which, if not conquered successfully, could result in death) before being admitted to either the society or to its inner circles. These were the initiates of secret societies (sometimes, but not always, known to the public or rumored to exist) and the recipients of secret knowledge of non-secret groups, such as classes of priests and hierophants, members of guilds, or adherents to religious or military orders, including, for instance, the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller.
Many discussions of secret societies and secret knowledge (or lost knowledge, as it is sometimes called) take us back only to late ancient times, perhaps starting with the Hermetic traditions and the Gnostics of the first few centuries CE, and often focus on medieval and modern secret and pseudo-secret societies. In this contribution I want to reach back further, much further, and suggest that secret societies date back to before the end of the last Ice Age, before circa 10,000 BCE. Furthermore, there may be some common threads, some continuity, from these early (more than 12,000 years old) secret societies and those of medieval and modern times. Before we move so far back in time, however, let us consider the dynastic Egyptians.
During the time period of about 4,700 to 3,000 years ago (roughly the time of the Old through the New Kingdoms), the ancient Egyptians accomplished amazing feats of architecture, produced incredible works of art, and possessed an intimate understanding of the natural world, as is expressed in what has come down to us of their belief systems, precise calendars (which had an astronomical basis), medical and mummification procedures, and various aspects of their daily life. In sum, the ancient Egyptians were the guardians of a prodigious knowledge. By their own admission, the dynastic Egyptians had inherited much of it from those whom they considered ancient. Yet, in a tradition that I believe stemmed from much earlier predecessors, the dynastic Egyptians kept their knowledge secret. My old friend and colleague John Anthony West — the man who convinced me to take my first trip to Egypt back in 1990, specifically to study the Great Sphinx — has discussed this at some length.
In every field of Egyptian knowledge, the underlying principles were kept secret, but made manifest in works. If this knowledge was ever written in books — and there is mention of sacred libraries whose contents have never been found — then these books were intended only for those who had earned the right to consult them.
Beyond a certain level, in every one of the arts and sciences of Egypt, knowledge was secret. The rules, axioms, theorems and formulae — the very stuff of modern science and scholarship — were never made public, and may never have been written down.
To the modern mind such secrecy may not even make sense. Yes, today there are some secrets, such as state or military or commercially valuable secrets, but why would a civilization keep virtually all "higher" knowledge secret? This is a supremely important question, and in some respects gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to the rationale behind secret societies in ancient times. To quote John Anthony West once again,
But the question of secrecy is today thoroughly misunderstood. It is generally agreed among scholars that most ancient societies (and many modern primitive ones) reserved certain types of knowledge for select initiates. At best this practice is considered absurd and undemocratic, at worst it is considered a form of intellectual tyranny, by which a class of priestly con-men kept the masses in a state of quiescent awe. But the ancient mind was rather subtler than our own. There were (and are) good reasons for keeping certain types of knowledge secret, including numbers and geometry; a Pythagorean practice that particularly arouses the ire of modern mathematicians.
Among the good reasons cited by West to keep certain knowledge secret was that it could be put to ill effect if it fell into the wrong hands. In particular, West focuses on the example of harmony and proportion, which can be used to manipulate the emotions and psyches of the recipients:
[I]n ancient civilisations, a class of initiates had precise knowledge of harmonic laws. They knew how to manipulate them to create the precise effect they wanted. And they wrote this knowledge into architecture, art, music, paintings, rituals and incenses, producing Gothic cathedrals, vast Hindu temples, all the marvels of Egypt and many other sacred ancient works that even today, in ruins, produce a powerful effect upon us.
In my assessment, the knowledge of harmonic laws was not used simply to elicit desired emotional or psychological responses, but to probe much more deeply. I believe this secret knowledge was used to engender and strengthen various types of psychical or paranormal experiences, including forms of telepathy, clairvoyance, out-of-body events, and the like. Conventional modern scholars and scientists might scoff, relegating such ideas to the category of nonsense. Indeed I was once one of those scoffers, but after seriously delving into parapsychology and psychical studies, I concluded that such an attitude is a mistake. I have little doubt that the ancient ancients — probably going back thousands or tens of thousands of years prior to dynastic Egypt — understood how to manipulate psychic forces and phenomena. This may have been one of the primary driving factors behind keeping certain forms of knowledge secret, and thus the establishment of secret societies with elaborate ordeals, rituals, and initiation rites for postulants.
Concerning the potential deep antiquity and precedents of ancient Egypt, dynastic Egyptians regarded their civilization as a legacy of an earlier epoch, and their chronological tables recorded a long period when Egypt was ruled by the Neters (so-called gods) followed by a period when it was ruled by the Shemsu Hor ("companions of Horus" or "followers of the sun"), also spelled Shemasu Hor, all before the beginning of dynastic Egypt, circa 3000 BCE. Trying to work out a chronology of this "mythological period," based on the regal years recorded in the texts, various estimates have placed the founding of Egypt between circa 30,000 BCE and 23,000 BCE. The Greek historian Herodotus (fifth century BCE) was told by his Egyptian guide that Egyptian history went back so far that "the sun had twice risen where it now set, and twice set where it now rises." If, as suggested by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, this is referring to the rising of the sun in a particular zodiacal constellation on the vernal equinox and the setting of the Sun in an opposite (180° away) zodiacal constellation on the autumnal equinox, and thus the shifting of these positions over time (precession) such that the position of the vernal equinox among the zodiacal constellations is where the autumnal equinox formerly was and vice versa, then this is an indication of precession. The full precessional cycle is approximately 26,000 years, so the guide's comment can be interpreted as referring to one and a half precessional cycles, or about 39,000 years, placing the founding of Egypt around 40,000 BCE!
Of course there is more literary evidence coming out of Egypt bearing on the deep antiquity of civilization and the knowledge these early civilizations possessed. Plato's story of Atlantis was reputedly told to Solon of Athens (circa 638–558 BCE) by an Egyptian priest, and Atlantis dated back to 10,000 BCE and earlier, being destroyed circa 9600 BCE (which is quite close to the modern estimate of circa 9700 BCE for the end of the last Ice Age). The dynastic Egyptians also spoke of Zep Tepi, the "first time," the time of creation, the beginning of civilization, a time when the gods and men walked hand-in-hand. In modern terms, Zep Tepi apparently dates back to an era before circa 10,000 BCE.
The evidence for the deep antiquity of ancient Egyptian civilization and their knowledge noted in the last two paragraphs is purely "literary" and thus does not carry much weight in many circles. In 1990, however, John Anthony West and I first developed the physical evidence, based on proven geological techniques, that the Great Sphinx of Giza — along with the pyramids, icons of dynastic Egypt — actually has its origins thousands of years prior to circa 3000 BCE (The head of the Sphinx is not original, but a dynastic re-carving.) Initially I "conservatively" dated the proto-Sphinx (and Sphinx temple, which sits just east of the statue) to the period of circa 7000 BCE to 5000 BCE, but now, based on my continuing research over the last two and a half decades, I am comfortable with suggesting that the proto-Sphinx may even date back to the very end of the last Ice Age, circa 10,000 BCE.
For a number of years the Great Sphinx, for all practical purposes, stood in isolation in terms of good evidence that civilization and sophisticated knowledge goes back to a time well prior to the period of 4000 BCE to 3000 BCE, as conventional archaeologists and prehistorians generally believed. This was troubling, and my critics certainly took advantage of the situation, taunting me to produce other evidence of extremely early yet sophisticated civilization. Only uncovered after my original work on the Great Sphinx was published, we now have the magnificent site of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey, currently being excavated by Dr. Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute. At Göbekli Tepe, immense, finely carved T-shaped limestone pillars — many in the range of 2 to 5 1/2 meters tall and weighing up to an estimated 10 tons or more — form Stonehenge-like circles. But unlike the rough-hewn megaliths of Stonehenge and many other European stone circles, the pillars of Göbekli Tepe are beautifully carved, with finely finished surfaces which in many cases are decorated with bas-reliefs of animals including foxes, boars, snakes, aurochs (wild cattle), birds, arthropods (scorpions, ants, and spiders), and enigmatic symbols, among the most common of which resemble the letter H or an H turned 90 degrees on its side. Some of the pillars are anthropomorphic (resembling the human form), with arms, hands, belts, and loincloths. Sculptures in the round have also been found at Göbekli Tepe, including various animals, small statues of humans, and something that resembles a totem pole carved in stone. The level of sophistication seen at Göbekli Tepe, in my opinion, indicates that a true civilization existed here.
The real importance of Göbekli Tepe is its age. I have made the case that the circle of megalithic stones at Göbekli Tepe known as Enclosure D dates back to at least circa 10,000 BCE (that is, before the end of the last Ice Age, circa 9700 BCE). Dr. Klaus Schmidt, the lead archaeologist at Göbekli Tepe, has stated he believes portions of Göbekli Tepe, as yet not fully excavated, may date back 14,000 years — circa 12,000 BCE, some 2,000 years before the end of the last Ice Age.
So, civilization goes back to before the end of the last Ice Age. What does this have to do with secret societies?
During the summer of 2013 I came across a scholarly article on feasting activities and the origins of domestication among ancient peoples by Brian Hayden, professor in the archaeology department at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. In it he speculates that Göbekli Tepe may have been the ritual center and headquarters of an ancient secret society of wealthy and elite individuals. The headquarters of a secret society circa 10,000 BCE? Although I had been studying Göbekli Tepe for a number of years and knew that many researchers had referred to it as a temple, I had not thought of Göbekli Tepe specifically in the context of ancient secret societies. Professor Hayden's suggestion immediately sparked my interest, striking me as a distinct possibility. Were there really secret societies, passing down ancient knowledge, prior to the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 and more years ago? Do we have the physical evidence of such a secret society at Göbekli Tepe? What happened to the Göbekli Tepe secret society, and other secret societies, when disaster struck with the cataclysmic end of the Ice Age circa 9700 BCE? Were all of their knowledge and wisdom lost? Or were fragments preserved and passed on to subsequent generations, perhaps even to the present day?
A few days after reading Hayden's paper I found myself pondering that remarkable philosopher, teacher, mystic, and seeker G.I. Gurdjieff (circa 1866–1949; there is disagreement as to the year of his birth). I was already familiar with Gurdjieff through his writings and especially through the book by his one-time disciple P.D. Ouspensky (1878–1947) with the tantalizing title In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching. But the occasion that brought my thoughts back to Gurdjieff was a conference held at the Center for Symbolic Studies in Tillson, New York, over the weekend of July 27–28, 2013, in honor of none other than John Anthony West. JAW (many affectionately refer to him by his initials) had not only introduced me to the Great Sphinx back in 1990, as mentioned previously, which initiated my serious studies of ancient cultures, but being a "Gurdjieffian," JAW also introduced me to the ideas of this profound thinker. While I gave a presentation focused on the Great Sphinx and Göbekli Tepe, one of the other speakers, Jason Stern, a facilitator of Gurdjieff study groups, focused on Gurdjieff and his teachings. This got me thinking about various things Gurdjieff had written, which I had long taken as simply myth or fiction, perhaps created by Gurdjieff himself for literary and teaching purposes. Over the next couple of weeks I re-read and re-explored various aspects of Gurdjieff's assertions, wondering if maybe they did truly represent fragments of an ancient and unknown (or, at best, only partially known) teaching. Is it possible that Gurdjieff, as he himself claimed, had recovered portions of an ancient wisdom that went back thousands and thousands of years, perhaps even back to a secret society during the time of Göbekli Tepe?(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Lost Secrets of the Gods"
Copyright © 2014 Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Let's Keep Exploring 9
Secret Societies Circa 10,000 BCE Robert M. Schoch 11
Monsters of the Stones Nick Redfern 41
Plato's Atlantis: Fact or Fiction? Frank Joseph 59
Ancient Cosmologies: The Symbolic Keys to Our True Origins? Laird Scranton 73
To the West, the Largest: Giants in Native American Myth and Folklore Micah Hanks 87
We are the Aliens Paul Von Ward 101
A Tale of Three Continents: Homer's Epics and the Real War on Troy Steve Sora 117
A Starry Drama: Astroceremonial Architecture and Humanity's Path to the Heavens Thomas Brophy 139
The Ancient Astronaut Theory: An Indigenous Perspective Ardy Sixkiller Clarke 157
The Lost Armies of Cambyses John Richard Ward Scott Alan Roberts 191
Unholy Alliance: Ancient Astronauts and the New Financial World Order Jim Marks 211
About the Contributors 241