Philip Jamieson and Marianne Schmidt
As the search for the origins of the viral pandemic continues, one theory that resonates strongly with us is that put forward by Professor Chandra Wickramsignhe who (in a recent joint publication) concluded that it “was probably linked to the arrival of a pure culture of the virus contained in cometary debris”; interestingly an event that he had foreshadowed in 2019. This is a reflection of his broader thesis that life is distributed through the Universe by cosmic visitors such as comets and meteorites (‘Panspermia’). In New Dawn last year he commented that “[t]he evidence is stunningly clear that the first life on Earth in the form of bacteria came with impacting comets”. As Wickramsignhe and his colleagues noted last year, nor is this potential impact limited merely to the initial origins of life on Earth, but embraces equally its ongoing evolution.
Tunguska impact event
By ru:Евгений Леонидович Кринов, member of the expedition to the Tunguska event in 1929. –  (original, black and white version of photo) / Vokrug Sveta, 1931 (current, color version of photo), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=200531
The 1908 Tunguska impact event may provide evidence supportive of this evolutionary impact. Jacques Van Impe has recently suggested that genetic mutations resulting from the 1908 event provide the most likely explanation for the subsequent extinction of a particular species of goose. Van Impe’s theory draws upon the work of Zurab Silagadze who drew attention to genetic anomalies that had been reported in plants, insects – and people – in the Tunguska region after the event. Silgadze also noted that an increased rate of biological mutation was found not only within the epicentre of the impact event, but also along the trajectory of the cosmic body responsible. Even in its flight it appears to have been accompanied by “some unknown agent” capable not only of inducing remote ecological change but perhaps even genetic changes. Silgadze postulates that agent may be electromagnetic radiation – powerful ELF/VLF electromagnetic radiation from the cosmic body and ionizing radiation due to lightning accompanying the explosion. Certainly, this may well be part of the explanation, but is there perhaps some even wider agency also at work?
The energies of cosmic debris: cultural change?
In We are NOT Alone, we suggested that cometary and meteoritic debris may contain energies capable of interacting with the terrestrial environment. We also believe that these energies may influence cultures and community behaviours as much as biology. We pointed by way of example to the possible impact on Aboriginal culture of meteoritic debris (‘Darwin glass’) around Darwin Crater in southwest Tasmania. We recently suggested in Footprint of Comet Encke? that such energies may even have influenced the advent of the Neolithic (First Agricultural) Revolution, which from some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago saw a wide–scale transition from hunting/gathering lifestyles to agrarian settlements.
The Younger Dryas (YD) impact hypothesis postulates that around 12,800 years ago fragments from a large comet or asteroid resulted in multiple airbursts/impacts on at least four continents – the Americas, Europe and western Asia. A study published in Scientific Reports in 2020 posits that around this time a cosmic event destroyed the prehistoric village of Abu Hureyra in Syria. A theory noted in the study is that the YD impacts triggered climate change which in turn “caused the prehistoric villagers at Abu Hureyra to transition from hunting/gathering to cultivation”.
While climate change may have spurred the need for human adaptation, is it possible that the form it took – this enormous cultural transformation – was also facilitated by something associated with the cosmic debris itself?
In support of their thesis that a cosmic event occurred near Abu Hureyra the authors of the study point to the fact that meltglass at the site appears to have been formed as a result of an intense and sudden high‐temperature cosmic impact. Impact meltglass (tektites) is known to have been being used to make weapons in Syria some 7000 years ago, but the archaeological record also shows its much earlier use by humans in activities such as tool making and for ornaments and decorative objects. In at least some cases tektites were revered, viewed as magical, and used from Paleolithic times in rituals and ceremony. Widely valued and utilised in these various ways, and found in a 2012 study to be in high concentration at the site, the villagers of Abu Hureya can be expected to have come into close and regular contact with the glass.
Did this meltglass have a similar effect on the local population to that we postulate for Darwin glass in Tasmania? It is certainly interesting that the authors of the 2020 paper note an earlier study suggesting that the transition by the ancient inhabitants of Abu Hureyra from hunting/gathering to cultivation is indicative of the earliest agriculture.
The evidence of the archaeological record
We suggest that there may be evidence in the archaeological record that ancient cultures themselves believed there was a link between meteorites and the advent of the Neolithic Revolution – and, more particularly, that such a link existed between the meteoritic debris itself and that cultural transformation.
In Greek mythology, meteorites were termed ‘baetylia’. While their meteoritic origin is notably referred to by Pliny the Elder, Eusebius of Caesarea records that Philo of Byblus attributed the use of the term a far earlier provenance in his translation of the lost works of the Phoenician Sanchuniathon who is thought to have lived before the Trojan war and, Salim George Khalaf suggests, perhaps as early as 2,000 BC.
Given that Sanchuniathon lived in Berytus, what is present day Beirut in Lebanon, it is not surprising to learn from George Moore that baetylia were particularly common in that region. Not far from Beirut are the ancient ruins of Baalbek. The stones of the original Phoenecian temple to Baal now form the foundations of the Roman Temple of Jupiter. Supreme amongst the Roman Gods and associated with the sky, thunder and lightning, Jupiter is commonly represented with a thunderbolt. Bernard Cook relates Macrobius’ 5th CE description of Jupiter’s representation in Baalbek as “a golden statue of beardless aspect, standing like a charioteer with a whip in its raised right hand, a thunderbolt and corn-ears in its left”. As Oliver Farrington has observed, the belief that meteorites are the solid substance of thunderbolts is also not uncommon. Could this be a possible association of agriculture and meteorites, an allusion moreover to the belief that meteorites were connected with the advent of the Neolithic agricultural revolution (or, at the very least, to the concept of fertility)?
Beneath the Temple of Jupiter the massive stones of the original Phoenecian temple erected to Baal remain. Like Jupiter, with whom Baal is commonly equated, he is depicted holding a thunderbolt in the stele below.
Baal thunderbolt Louvre AO15775, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=931147
Is it possible that this representation also involves some allusion to meteorites? Baal is certainly strongly linked with baetylia. Shawn O’Bryhim notes for example the baetyl, a black meteorite, that stood in the temple of Baal at Emesa depicted on Roman imperial coinage, its conical shape clearly evident on the reverse of the coin below.
The temple at Emesa, containing the holy stone, on the reverse of this bronze coin by Roman usurper Uranius (as described at https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Elagabalus_(deity)) – Image by Panairjdde ? – English Wikipedia, original upload by Panairjdde., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=380137
Sanchuniathon also speaks of Baal’s father, Dagon, whom he describes as “Siton” – in ancient Greek, a word for grain. Is it also significant that according to Sanchuniathon, Dagon (while a fish god in some interpretations) discovered fundamental aspects of agriculture: corn and the plough – or perhaps more correctly, ‘shared’ those discoveries in his role as a fertility god related to grain and agriculture? We believe that the representation of him below may suggest that it is.
Engraving of the fish–god Dagon, from the entrance of a temple at Nimrud by Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) – Nineveh and Babylon p.177, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25832143
As described by Sabine Baring–Gould, Dagon is depicted “in his left hand holding a richly decorated bag, and his right hand upraised, as if in the act of presenting the mystic Assyrian fir–cone”. While in the representation the object does not clearly appear as a fir–cone, similar depictions of a being holding a ‘cone’ in one hand and a ‘handbag’ in the other are found in a number of ancient cultures around the world. While in some examples the ‘handbag’ stands alone, in others it is held in the hand of some sort of superior being and on occasion, as in the depiction of Dagon above, a ‘cone’ is held in the other hand. A clearer image of the ‘cone’ appears in the representation below of a winged ‘spirit’ from a 9th BCE Assyrian relief.
On this relief from Nimrud, a winged benevolent spirit blesses either the king or palace with a pine–cone by Anonymous (Assyrian Empire) – Walters Art Museum: Home page Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18794765
While there are various theories about the nature of this ‘cone’, we believe the most likely is that which suggests it is a representation of a pine cone. The main purpose of a pine cone is to protect the seeds until they can germinate. It is not surprising that it has been suggested the image links to pollination, but more particularly, Bev Betkowski reports Professor of the Hebrew Bible Shawn Flynn suggesting “agricultural metaphors, likely reflecting Mesopotamia’s leading role in creating irrigation and growing crops”.
Is it possible that in the images above the ‘cone’ is a metaphor for the cultural transformation to agriculture, in particular in the Ancient Near East? If so, does the ‘handbag’ and ‘cone’ imagery also have a connection to meteorites, and indeed to the role they may have played in the advent of the Neolithic agricultural revolution? We believe so, and we also believe that it is a link to the meteoritic debris itself. Isidore Kozminsky records that indigenous Australians are known in some cases to carry sacred stones in a bag hung around their neck. Could this be the role of the ‘handbag’ – a repository for the sacred, meteoritic debris believed to have shaped the cultural transformation alluded to in the associated ‘cone’?
Not only do meteorites and other cosmic debris appear in the folklore of cultures around the world, in many cases they are sacred objects of worship. Indeed, Farrington has commented that “[f]ew natural objects have more generally been worshipped by the human race than meteorites”. He provides numerous examples from around the world, both ancient and modern. Perhaps the most famous example is the Black Stone in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, believed by many to be a meteorite.
There is a widely made observation that the baetylia were not only sacred stones of cosmic origin but, more particularly, were believed to be endowed with life. Sanchuniathon is recorded as having described that the god Uranus “devised the Baetylia, having contrived to put life into stones”. There is perhaps an interesting parallel in the tradition we recounted in We are NOT Alone of a Central Australian Aboriginal community singing and rubbing cometary debris in order to create or boost the production of bush foods. We noted there that Billy Griffith recently brought to mind a similar process in relating the Australian anthropologist Charles Mountford’s observations of Aboriginal elders rubbing rocks “to release their life essence in the course of ceremonies to maintain and increase natural resources”.
George Moore recognises that the term used may also be translated by some as “stones with souls” (as, for example, appears in A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology). In a consistent theme, Darlington has suggested that the term “baetyl” is “probably derived” from the Egyptian ba, ‘soul’ and ‘iron’ (iron meteorites), linked with the Bantu word ‘tilo’ meaning ‘heaven’ or ‘sky’. Certainly, in some cultures cosmic debris has been associated with souls or spirits. While there are diverse views about meteors among Australian indigenous communities, astronomer Duane Hamacher has commented that a frequent interpretation is that meteors are the spirits of the recently deceased. Similar beliefs found in some native American traditions are described in Meteors: Native American Folklore.
In another common translation, the baetylia are described as “animated stones”. Moore notes that not only therefore were these stones believed to be “fallen from heaven, that is, to be small aerolites” (meteorites), they also had the distinctive characteristic of the “power of self–motion” – “animated” stones.
These interpretations are ultimately variations on an underlying common theme – “animate”, after all, comes from the Latin anima encompassing life, soul or spirit. In our view that common theme is that there is some “animating” energy in the stone. Sanchuniathon tells us that Uranus, having had a son named Baetylus (brother of Dagon), went on to invent baetylia. This has been seen as personifying the god Baetylus in such stones. In effect, his divine energies have been invested in, and so given ‘life’ to, the meteorite. This also appears from the oft–noted correspondence of “bait–yl” with the Hebrew “beth–el”, literally translated as “house of god” or, Moore suggests, more correctly rendered as housing a “supernatural power”.
So, what is this supernatural power that is invested in these cosmic stones? We have suggested that cosmic debris may embody “some unknown agent” capable not only of inducing ecological and biological change but also of impacting cultural and community behaviours. We have postulated that energies in the cosmic debris of the YD event may have had a role in facilitating the advent of the Neolithic Revolution. So how would this debris have effected such change?
Cosmic debris and the seeds of consciousness?
We believe that a tradition amongst the New Zealand Maori may be instructive, invoking similar imagery to that of the ‘handbag’ and ‘cone’. Drawing from Chellie Spiller’s description of the myth, Tane journeys to the heavens to retrieve the knowledge to guide human existence on Earth. He receives three baskets of knowledge, along with two sacred stones that will allow the assimilation of that knowledge by ensuring that what is selected from the baskets is both “helpful and used wisely”. The stones encourage the conscious assimilation of the knowledge to ensure that the recipient can “achieve authentic wisdom”.
It is not the knowledge itself that lies at the heart of this tradition, but its assimilation to achieve wisdom. A relatively recent tradition amongst the Inuit (recorded by Knud Rasmussen) tells of a glowing ball of fire in the sky (thought to be a meteorite) having entered a woman who in consequence became a great shaman.
Deriving from the Greek komētēs meaning “long–haired (star)”, comets may provide similar allusion given that in some traditions long hair embodies wisdom. In Buddhism, wisdom is one of the five “spiritual powers” and it is interesting that in the story of Samson and Delilah, Samson’s long hair is representative not merely of physical strength but more broadly of “charismatic holiness” – so spiritual power.
Spirals: the energy of creation
We believe that energetically meteorites provide a potential pathway towards greater wisdom, through facilitating access to new understanding. The key to this process may well be the spiraling energy contained within the meteorite. Many ancient cultures saw the spiral as the energy of creation. In three dimensions spirals are conical in shape, and given that perhaps one quarter of meteorites are conical, in such cases the ‘cone’ would have provided a perfect symbolism for the spiraling energies within. We believe that our ancestors understood the energetic nature of the ‘cone’ as reflected in the conical shape of the pine cone. Indeed, pine cone imagery is found widely amongst ancient cultures. It is the same shape as our “pine-al” gland – a pea-sized gland shaped like a pine cone and located in the center of our brain. Spiritually, the pineal gland is considered our biological Third Eye – the bridge between ourselves and the divine, and the seat of our intuitive guidance system.
In ancient Hinduism Kundalini energy, when activated, is believed to spiral up from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, providing Third Eye illumination or intuitive insight. In effect, the spiraling energy serves as an activating force which germinates the ‘seeds’ of insight contained within. Do a meteorite’s spiraling energies exert an influence in a similar manner on our intuitive insight? Did these spiraling energies facilitate an enhanced ‘vision’ – a transformation in human consciousness which in turn gave rise to the development of new agricultural practices aimed at responding to the climatic challenges wrought by the impact of the meteor?
And what of the meltglass at Abu Hureyra, terrestrial rock transformed by the super-heated temperatures of the meteor’s impact? The authors of a 2012 study proposed that Abu Hureyra was one of three or more major YD impact/airburst epicenters around the world. In comparison with two of those other sites (both in North America) examined in the study, Abu Hureyra showed by far the highest concentration of meltglass, with the consequence that “the effects on that settlement and its inhabitants would have been severe”. Is this equally true of the strength of the energetic impacts that this glass would have exerted on the local population? Is this why, of all the impact sites, it was at Abu Hureyra that we find the development of the earliest farming?
Moreover, while much of the meltglass was found broken at the site, even today some of these fragments are still roughly spherical and others rounded – mirroring the concept of new ‘eyes’ – ‘eyes’ which metaphorically represented an ‘extra-terrestrial lens’ (METEOR is an anagram of ‘More ET’) through which to see the material world from a new perspective.
Symbolically, the events at Abu Hureyre can be seen as an outward manifestation of the events occurring within the consciousness of the human occupants at the site. The spiraling energy of the cosmic invaders triggered new intuitive insight which in turn led to innovation in agricultural practices. “As above so below; as within so without”.
To our minds this is the role of meteorites – like Mercury in Greek mythology, they are the messengers of the ‘gods’ (cosmic energies in mundane terms), bringing biological matter and/or energy (ie. ‘seeds of consciousness’) to the planet. NASA tells us that every day about 100 tons of meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere –meaning our planet is in a constant state of cultural, genetic and energetic evolution. These effects are most apparent when the trigger is of greater magnitude, such as the meteoritic impact which preceded the Neolithic agricultural revolution. Like the meltglass that itself transformed humanity’s vision at the time of the agricultural revolution, such events give us the ability to see that which is otherwise hidden from plain view.
Of the two sacred stones Tane received on his journey, one was white (representing intelligence) and the other red (representing intuition). Only when both intellect and intuition act together can authentic wisdom be gained. We have drawn parallels from Tane’s journey in our analysis of the advent of the Neolithic Revolution. But we have told only part of that story in this paper, and the relevance to the Revolution of the symbolism of the two sacred stones remains to be shared in our next.
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