Lemuria and Atlantis
Lemuria and Atlantis are the most popular missing island in history and they serve as reminders of either a utopian society or as the original origin of humankind and civilization. Myths of lost continents like Lemuria and Atlantis remain popular because there is a lack of mystery in the modern world. Everything is explained by science and rational thinking that leaves little room for spirituality and creativity.
Lemuria and Atlantis are famous for being “lost” in time and “lost” in a geographical sense. Being lost implies that some thing is unable to be found temporarily – For Atlantis and Lemuria, they existed in the past, remains in the memories of the present and will once again be uncovered at an unknown time and place in the future. Read an article by the BBC about how some of these sunken continent myths are true.
The word, lost also suggests destruction, death and a yearning to discover a singular ancestor to which all humankind is united. The passage of time has not diminished interest in mythical places like Atlantis and Lemuria, which maintain popularity in light of their lack of archaeological and geological evidence. For those that ascribe to the literal myths, if Atlantis and Lemuria cannot be found physically, their location is moved to the astral plane or to subterranean locations. Those who look to Atlantis and Lemuria as the beginning of our present civilization beg the question: Where did those ancient civilizations emerge?
The Glory and Demise of Atlantis and Lemuria
Myths of Atlantis and Lemuria can be nostalgically repeated in modern mythologies because they convey two meanings: glory and demise. With high levels of modernity, people desire a nostalgic past and lost continents represent a lost time and a lost place. As a result, Atlantis and Lemuria are completely unknowable for people in the modern world. All archaeological ruins, real or imagined, can be inscribed in time and place because ruins are a reminder of death and transition.
Modernity looks only to the future, not to the past, where people seek history and belonging in their daily lives. History is the reconstruction of a narrative, which is usually incomplete. This is especially true in the reconstruction of human history and human evolution. To fill in missing gaps of information, occultists use a variety of sources. To support historical claims that Lemuria and Atlantis existed occultists use historical, sometimes ancient information, which is considered more “authentic” and more “correct” than modern scientific claims.
Those who ascribe to the theory of Atlantis and Lemuria assume that their similar cultures have evolved from a common ancestor, rather than a process of diffusion.
The Role of the Occult in Atlantis and Lemuria
Paleo-scientists study lost places, times and species. Similarly, lost, hidden knowledge and places are important to occultists. By the nineteenth century, little territory on earth was left unexplored however, to the occultist submerged, subterranean, extraterrestrial and astral planes were still available for exploration. Unlike archaeologists and historians, who have a limited archive of historical material to recreate human history, occult groups rely on clairvoyance, channeling, and psychic readings. By accessing psychic abilities, occult groups can draw on unlimited historical resources to complete the record of human history. For those people involved in occult history, the history of humankind is spiritual, not biological, and goes back to creation; for scientists, creation begins with fossils in the Quaternary period, about two-million years ago.
It is obvious occultists try to provide a full record of human history, not part of it. Madame Blavatsky argued that civilizations are similar because they are the descendants of a single ancient one. For example, it is not a coincidence that there is an outward similarity of the pyramids in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India and Mesoamerica. Blavatsky believed all pyramids were the result of a prior civilization. The Lemurians, and their Atlantean ancestors, are responsible for the evolution and achievements of humans.
Off Modern Theories
Modern narratives of lost continents are considered “off-modern” because they are eschewed to the margins of society and are not part of a mainstream narrative. Off-modern belief systems makes us explore sideshows and back alleys rather than the straight road of progress. People, who construct their worldview in opposition to western rational models of thinking, often look to the past nostalgically as a survival strategy. For off-modernists, there is a fascination with new ideas and yet a longing for tradition. People have actively produced a mythical history of ancestors and places that does not rely on dominant western modes of scientific thought, especially Darwinian evolution. Those people who support off-modern topics consider themselves geniuses for “discovering” the truth of the situation.
Lemuria and Atlantis are the perfect areas for off-modernists to explore because no one is alive to remember it, and there are no authoritative documents. No person today will be offended by their improper portrayal, though there are standard assumptions about the submerged islands based on the writings of Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Lemurian Fellowship, I AM Movement and other New Age groups. These narratives are a form of reflective nostalgia, where people focus on myth making of another time and place.
In the post-World War I era, Lemuria became a Golden Age or Garden of Eden where civilization flourished. Those people who see the past as a Golden Age reject the mundane and ordinary present. Then, around the 1940s, Lemuria and Atlantis emerge as a subterranean world because there were no undiscovered places in the world; the world’s oceans and landmasses were well documented. Also, developments in archaeology provided a more comprehensive record of history. However, Lemuria and Atlantis as a Golden Age and simultaneously existing inside the earth remain popular myths of nostalgia.
Atlantis and Lemuria’s Role in Mythology
There are three assumptions regarding Atlantis and Lemuria that must be believed in order to validate their mythical framework. The first is that the myths of Atlantis and Lemuria are very ancient, existing in an unrecorded past and before any surviving history. Natural history, geology and zoogeography, which came into their own as paleo-disciplines over the course of the nineteenth century, lend credence to these lost continents. The second is that Lemuria and Atlantis are lost, in every sense of the word, but their cultures are not. Lemuria and Atlantis are paleo-mythic worlds, they will never be known in our present world and their existence can only be speculated. Lastly, the spatial history of Atlantis and Lemuria is contested and lost; there was a catastrophe, where they sank violently to the bottom of the ocean but the locations are contested. Therefore, these lost places exist only as long as people believe they exist.
Edens, utopias and Golden Ages are often placed in the distant past, future, underground or on other planets. The Golden Age is always nostalgic, because if it were placed in the present, the occultists’ idealized place would loose legitimacy. Mythical memory disregards the present time in favor of the past, which is then reconstructed in the present.
Other Idyllic “Lost” Continents
There are numerous examples of an idyllic nostalgic past and Atlantis and Lemuria are just two examples. Another example is in the Book of Genesis when God created the Garden of Eden, an oasis with abundant food and a river. It may have been enclosed as noted in the Song of Solomon 4:12. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, explorers sought the Garden of Eden in the New World; Eden has also been identified in Mesopotamia by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, in Syria, or in Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified.
Another mythical place that transcends time and place is Avalon, the place where King Arthur was taken to be healed of his wounds after his last Battle of Camlann. Camelot was the capital of the realm of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table; it is a timeless land of forests, castles and magic. Another example is the Sumerian Dilmun, where no illness, grieving or old age existed. Greek poets, including Homer, described Elysium, also known as the Elysian Fields, located at the end of the world. Hesiod in his poem Works and Days (1979) also describes a Golden Age where people did not grow old or work.
Myths act as a framework for people to construct their identity. By employing myths of lost continents like Atlantis and Lemuria, people are able to displace themselves in a nostalgic past. When western science confronts these views, the occult information is moved to less accessible forms of information, such as below ground or on the astral plane. Therefore, those who are not ready for the information spiritually will not gain access and cannot refute claims of its existence.