Consider the Kali Yuga ~ John Anthony West

March 18, 2008    

John Anthony West, who needs no introduction here, is without a doubt the world’s most eminent and controversial alternative Egyptologist. His work on the antiquity and geological weathering of the Sphinx, and his unique perspective on the mysteries and prehistory of ancient Egyptian civilization, have made possible an entirely new and more radical approach to the study of the past.


Academics abhor a mystery the way nature abhors a vacuum, but in nature there are no vacuums, while in academia there are many mysteries. In no field of science or scholarship are there more (or more glaring) mysteries than in Egyptology. Yet, at the same time, there is no field in which mysteries are more systematically denied.

Pick up a book, any book, written by a credentialed Egyptologist and you will find nothing but agreement – about everything but the most insignificant details. In his gloriously mis-titled volume THE COMPLETE PYRAMIDS, Egyptologist Mark Lehner does not bother to even mention the controversies that have swirled (and continue to swirl) about these extraordinary structures for two centuries. Nothing; not a word. It’s all been solved by the experts: the pyramids were built as tombs by powerful but deluded pharaohs desperately trying to ensure their own immortality (wink, wink, nod, nod). No matter that there is no evidence, not a shred, that these pyramids -of Giza and Dahshur- were used as tombs originally…and much cogent argument strongly suggesting they were not. The huge stones were hauled up ramps by gangs of laborers and just wafted into place with lapidary precision. No matter that engineers, quarrymen and masons, people accustomed to moving large blocks of stone around, insist it could not be done in this fashion, while toolmakers and machinists study the precision and cannot fathom how it could possibly have been achieved with hand tools. The acknowledged mathematical properties exhibited by the Great Pyramid are mere accidents of design, etc., etc, etc…

No zephyr of doubt ruffles the calm, smooth, viscous surface of Lake Consensus, that bottomless pool where Church of Progress (un)faithful go for solace, baptism, and to pledge undying allegiance to the Great God Status Quo (this act of ritual intellectual servitude is called, in the quaint terminology peculiar to their cult, ‘Critical Thinking’ and sometimes even ‘Reason’.)

Nevertheless, despite the near-total control exercised by the Church of Progress over the educational systems of the world (especially the Western World) heresy abounds. A vast public simply refuses to acknowledge the infallibility of ‘experts’ and, indeed, exults in their discomfiture when unwelcome facts breach the walls of their fortified ivory towers.

The Churchmen fume about ‘ignorance and superstition’, they try to get laws passed outlawing what they don’t approve of (e.g. astrology, homeopathy), organized debunkers pressure the media to display to the public only that which carries a Church imprimatur upon it. To no avail. While the mainstream press remains largely obedient to C. of P. directives, television and Hollywood are less docile. They are interested in dollars, not dogma, and in their corporate amorality they will not hesitate to present heretical material. They don’t even care if it is both good and true. In other words, as long as it brings in dollars and ratings, academic directives go unheeded.

The merely intellectual inquisition mounted by this Church lacks the effective dissuasive powers of the Church that preceded it – since it is no longer considered politically correct to subject heretics to physical torture. And it’s now illegal – sort of. Churches are not what they used to be.

The moral: people are less stupid than our arrogant academics assume. However, people are also undiscriminating. Wildly speculative, even loony work gets accepted as readily, indeed, much more readily, than anything based upon rigorous scholarship. Erich von Daniken is far more popular than R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (which is probably unavoidable except in some ideal world going through its Golden Age) and of course, given the goals of Hollywood and TV, it is always the ratings-and-dollar producing mysteries/heresies/alternatives that get the bulk of screen and air time.

Re: Egypt, most of the heretical attention is focused on the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx – which is legitimate enough since the establishment answers to virtually every question raised about these structures are so manifestly inadequate that the fires of controversy never run short of fuel. But the Giza Plateau has no monopoly on Egyptian mysteries and some of these, unrecognized for what they are, have serious implications, not only for a better understanding of the ancient world, but also for contemplating and understanding the huge, slow processes of history and our own present position within that process.

The founding, establishment and breathtaking rise of Dynastic Egypt (beginning around 3200 BC) is one such mystery. In the space of just a few centuries, Egypt (apparently) went from primitive Neolithic beginnings to a complex, utterly assured command of a spectrum of disciplines. In little more than a blink of the historical eye Egypt somehow developed a sophisticated hieroglyphic system, a complex theology and cosmology, astronomy and mathematics, advanced medicine and a total mastery of architectural construction and artistic form.

Egyptologists sometimes find this mildly remarkable, but by insisting that despite appearances to the contrary (and the careful work of a dozen scholars categorically proving the contrary) Egypt was ‘really’ still a ‘primitive’ society, devoid of ‘real’ science and ‘real’ philosophy, (and therefore ‘real’ civilization). The world would have to wait for Greece for ‘real’ civilization to begin. And therefore, however remarkable, the flowering of Egypt presents them with no mysteries and few problems. Though this is an evasion of great magnitude, it will not be my focus here.

If Egypt attained such unacknowledged heights so early, what then accounts for the long decline? Egyptologists have no problem responding to this question, and the conventional explanation, while not illogical, is unsatisfactory once you stop to question it.

Plotted on a graph, Egypt’s history does not show a long, steady, gradual descent (from the glories of the Pyramid Age to Ptolemaic moral and artistic decadence and ultimately to the dissolution of Egypt as a coherent entity under Roman domination).

Rather the graph shows a series of waves, with troughs more or less equal, and each peak generally lower than the preceding peak – like waves on a beach after a storm. But it is unarguably at its height very nearly at its beginning (a bit like starting off automobile technology with the first horselss carriage, proceeding in a couple of years to the 2008 Ferrari and then gradually working backward to the Model T Ford).

The descent is ascribed to a combination of factors: years of famine and failed Nile floods may have brought on the end of the Old Kingdom ca. 2300 BC (an interesting alternative theory: it was a asteroid or comet strike…some sort of major but localized event that destroyed not just Egypt but much of the Middle East along with it.) Then, Egypt’s early military superiority was eventually challenged and then defeated by the more warlike (read ‘progressive and advanced’) civilizations of Anatolia (modern Turkey) then later Mesopotamia to the east and still later Greece to the north.

Concurrently, her internal centralized political, artistic, moral and religious authority was eroding from within. One complementary (and attractive) theory claims that the use and abuse of black magic played a significant role. There can be no doubt that magic was rife in ancient Egypt (and actually still is!).

Civilizations come and go; we know that. Roman, Holy Roman (about as holy as Lehner’s COMPLETE PYRAMIDS is complete), Mongol, Mogul, Dutch, French, British … all have established themselves, invariably by force, held sway briefly (by ancient Egyptian standards), weakened and ultimately fallen. So where is the alleged mystery?

It lies in recognizing the fallacy of the standard scholarly assessment of Egyptian sophistication – which is actually a deliberate exercise in academic malpractice. As long as Egypt is seen as a kind of magnificent (but primitive) dry run for Greece, leading eventually (by discrete but identifiable stages) to our current state of technological expertise, there is no problem and no mystery. But as soon as that assessment corresponds to reality then the problems arise and the mystery surfaces.
Through the work of Schwaller de Lubicz, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend (HAMLET’S MILL) and many other careful scholars over the past fifty years or so, it is now clear that not just ancient Egypt, but ancient civilizations worldwide, were far more sophisticated than the societies that followed them. In other words, for a few thousand years at least, what is called progress is actually regress. Indeed, it is only the major advances in our current cosmological and scientific understanding that have allowed these scholars to recognize that the ancients had this knowledge as well; and that it is written into their mythology and symbolism, their understanding of mathematics, their astronomy/astrology and their religion.

Since Egypt’s Old Kingdom, up until very recently (and then it gets very interesting indeed … as we shall see) civilization has been going down, not up; simple as that. We can follow that degenerative process physically in Egypt; it is written into the stones and it is unmistakable. The same tale is told in the mythologies and legends of virtually all other societies and civilizations the world over.

This is the ultimate heresy to our Church of Progress. Progress does not go in a straight line from primitive ancestors to smart old Us with our bobblehead dolls and weapons of mass destruction; our traffic jams and our polluted seas, skies and lands. There is another, and far more realistic way to view history. Plato talked about a cycle of Ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron (or Dark) Age; a cycle, a wave form – not a straight line. A similar understanding is reflected by virtually all other ancient accounts.

The best known and by far the most elaborately developed of these systems is the Hindu, with its Yuga Cycle, which corresponds to the Platonic idea of four definable Ages (the Hindu Kali Yuga -our current Age- corresponding to Plato’s Iron, or Dark Age.) The problem with the Hindu version, however, is the time frame traditionally applied to the separate ages: hundreds of thousands, even millions of years.

No matter how wrong archeologists may be in their chronologies as well as in their interpretations of the ancients, it is hard to imagine they can be that wrong! But not long ago, a little known work on the Yuga Cycle came my way that fits the four stage cycle within the more managable 20-odd thousand year cycle of the Precession of the Equinoxes. There can be no doubt that the ancients were fully aware of the phenomenon of Precession, and that they regarded it as a matter of commanding importance. But it is difficult to see why. I now believe that integrating the Yuga cycle to Precession may hold the key to understanding why the ancients considered it so important, and also, just possibly, to figuring out with some accuracy just where we stand within that cycle.

Of Myth and Meaning

Microsoft Word’s in-pc thesaurus lists two meanings or synonyms for ‘myth’: 1) Legend and 2) Falsehood. Interestingly, the synonyms for ‘legend’ do not include ‘falsehood’, while the synonyms for ‘falsehood’ do not include ‘legend’. Nevertheless, in common usage, both definitions are used, often indiscriminately, and in some cases both actually apply. Utterances made by George W. Bush, for example, achieve legendary status instantly, and in most cases, they are also falsehoods. But in dealing with the myths of the ancients, it is wise to exercise caution before summarily equating a legend with a falsehood, no matter that it generally does not correspond to our modern manner of communicating fact. The ancients, obviously, did not think of their legends as falsehoods. That negative meaning is a contemporary judgment, promulgated by Victorian proto-anthropologists of the 19th Century and turned into dogma by Church of Progress devotees in the 20th. (James Frazier’s exhaustive, contemptuous GOLDEN BOUGH was probably the most influential single work of the genre.)

Though still prevalent, especially in academia, that Victorian assessment has been under attack almost since its beginning. It is now becoming clear that these strange, seemingly haphazard and irrational ancient tales contain within them forgotten history and profound psychology, but also, amazingly, astronomy, cosmology, physics, genetics and an understanding of the workings of the universe so advanced and comprehensive that it is only the most recent advances in our own sciences that allow us to begin to understand what knowledge was available in the very distant past — at a time when, according to our ‘experts’, there was no civilization to speak of at all.

In short, it is time for a total re-evaluation of the knowledge of the ancients. Not only did they know more than we thought they knew; it is also very possible they had knowledge we do not yet have, and that might be extremely useful, even crucial for us to acquire.