I know that when they wake up each morning, most of my readers ask themselves, “What is Guy Crittenden thinking today?” or “What is he reading or watching on YouTube?”
You do ask yourselves that, don’t you?
Well, maybe not. (*sigh*) But in case you do ever wonder what goes on inside the cranium of another person — in this case, mine — I thought I’d offer readers a preview of some of the interests that keep my mind occupied when I’m not hard at work putting together environmental magazines.
Those of you who know me well are aware that I have a great interest in offbeat topics, including what I sometimes call alternative science and archeology.
Before you dismiss me as a New Age Shirley MacLaine, I caution that I take a very skeptical approach and am not easily convinced of anything. My strategy is to look into writings on topics that mainstream scientists and academics might dismiss out of hand, and see what passes the acid test of my skeptical attitude. While much of what I read or encounter doesn’t pass muster, some things do — and those discoveries are among the things I hold most precious in this life.
These interests of mine cover a wide range, but a major theme is the possibility that civilization began much earlier than has been previously supposed. This still includes the search for Atlantis, even though I believe that mystery has been solved with the recent excavations at Akrotiri.
Akrotiri is a Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini (Thera). The settlement was destroyed in the Theran eruption about 1500 BC and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of fresco paintings and many objects and artworks. Turns out that Santorini and nearby islands are the circular outcroppings of an immense underwater volcano, upon the “caldera” of which the ancient Minoans (a.k.a. Atlantans) built an immense city with advanced technology and architecture (e.g., indoor plumbing, etc.) just as Plato describes in his account. The immense excavated Minoan palace complex on Crete was really just a satellite town to the larger city on this volcano (think the Hamptons versus Manhattan) that survived after the mothership went Boom! when the volcano finally erupted. (This must qualify as the worst choice in the history of mankind for locating a civilization!)
I’m interested in investigations of ancient temple complexes and sacred monolithic structures oriented to the sun’s solstices and equinoxes, and venerated items around the world, especially those in Mexico, Cambodia and Egypt.
A good place to start your own readings is the recent dispute over the dating of the Great Sphinx at Giza (and a temple complex beside it) which geological evidence suggests is thousands of years older than the pyramids beside it. The best source for this kind of rethinking is John Anthony West (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anthony_West) who figures in the excellent documentary Mystery of the Sphinx that you can watch on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ-xh3kedW4 (Warning: You need to look past the fact that the narrator is Charlton Heston — this film is really great!) West’s ideas are supported by Robert M. Schoch, a geologist and associate professor of natural science at the College of General Studies at Boston University. Their work has turned the realm of conventional Egyptology upside down!
My favourite recent reading in this realm is the book The Cygnus Mystery by Andrew Collins. You can read the book online for free here: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_cygnus.htm This is the most interesting work I’ve come across in ages. In recent decades some alternative thinkers have shown that the three great pyramids at Giza mirror the three stars of Orion’s Belt (in the Orion constellation, which represented Osiris, the god of the afterlife, to the Egyptians). Intriguing as that idea was, Collins was bothered by the fact that the three stars were not a perfect match (this, in a series of structures that are perfect in every other regard, as sacred architecture with mathematical exactitude on display at every turn). Collins played around with star maps and discovered that the constellation Cygnus is a much better match not only with the three pyramids but also all the other structures and major points of interest at Giza. In other words, the Giza complex is a land-based mirror of Cygnus, not Orion (although I think the ancient Egyptians may have felt they were incorporating Orion/Osiris’s belt imperfectly at the same time).
Cygnus was an incredibly important constellation to not only the Egyptians but other ancient cultures, and Collins pretty much proves also to our Neolithic (and possibly our Palaeolithic) ancestors. The phenomenon of “precession” denotes an astronomical phenomenon via which the wobble of the earth’s rotation changes which constellations (i.e., the Zodiac) correspond with things like true north and the sun’s solstices and equinoxes over time. (A complete cycle takes about 29,000 years; we are said to be entering the Age of Aquarius due to that constellation shifting into the prime position.) Because of precession, Cygnus no longer occupies the important position it once did near true north. In other words, around the time of the last Ice Age (around 12,000 years ago), a person standing anywhere in North Africa or Europe looking north would have seen the constellation Cygnus rotating more or less around its own access. Cygnus was traditionally imagined as a bird and also as a cross. (Associations with vultures that eat the dead, and swans, which migrate north to breed, were common.) It can be argued that the Christian cross and its association with resurrection date back to the veneration of cross-shaped Cygnus in deeply prehistoric times when that constellation occupied pole position. The position of Cygnus corresponded with the Great Rift region of the Milky Way, to which the ancients believed the souls of the departed flew to the afterlife. (It’s interesting that this region is dark because of interstellar dust coughed up by its being near the centre of our galaxy where stars are actually born — so the ancients maybe knew more than we realize.)
New discoveries are being made all the time that push the date of the earliest civilizations back. It was recently thought that villages in the Indus Valley from around 8,000 years ago were the oldest. But a temple complex has been unearthed (actually, just five per cent of it) at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which predates Stone Henge by 6,000 years. (You can read about it here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html)
John Anthony West and Andrew Collins are my favourite sources for alternative science and archeology. I’m also deeply interested in the work of Rupert Sheldrake (http://www.sheldrake.org/homepage.html) and his work on telepathy and “morphic resonance” and Terence McKenna, perhaps the leading voice (until his untimely death at age 52) on psychedelic experience. I’m currently devouring an autobiography by his brother Dennis (an ethnobotanist) about their lives together and trips to eat magic mushrooms and drink ayahuasca brew in South America entitled, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, which I highly recommend.
Perhaps the most popular writer on these topics is the wonderful and esoteric Graham Hancock, a UK writer and investigator whose books include some of my all-time faves: Fingerprints of the Gods, Heaven’s Mirror, Underworld and Supernatural (among others). His official website (http://www.grahamhancock.com) will point you in the right direction for ordering his books, including his most recent book War God (a fictional account of the Spanish defeat of Montezuma), but I recommend searching YouTube with his name, where you’ll discover any number of great documentaries and interviews, mostly about his quest for a lost civilization. I particularly recommend a recent interview he did with Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, available here: