05 Apr Do secret societies have hidden knowledge about the Lost Continents ?
Do secret societies have hidden knowledge about lost continents? Everyone can depict Atlantis or imagine in one degree or another how it really was, right? Well, the Atlantis legend has roots reaching back to the fourth century BCE, but the belief in several lost continents in the earth’s past is a much more recent phenomenon. During the century from 1875 to 1975, lost continents of varying names and locations became omnipresent in the teachings of occult secret societies of the period, and still retain a large role in today’s New Age thought. This is almost wholly the result of one person, the occult philosopher and founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–91).
In two immense books, Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888), Blavatsky launched an all-out assault on the Christian orthodoxy and scientific materialism of her time. In her first book, one of Blavatsky’s basic strategies for this assault was to argue that various pieces of rejected knowledge made as much sense as the dictums of contemporary science. By the second book, her strategy had changed to the presentation of a comprehensive vision of the origin, development, and destiny of the universe and humanity, as an alternative to Darwin’s scientific mythology of progress from primeval slime to Victorian civilization. Lost continents played a large role in her vision of the past, forming the homelands of the various root races into which ancient humanity was divided.
The first root race of humans on earth, according to Blavatsky, dwelt on a lost continent called the Imperishable Sacred Land, located above the North Pole; etheric rather than physical, like its inhabitants, this land still exists but modern human beings are not spiritually advanced enough to perceive it. The next root race emerged in Hyperborea, located in what is now the Arctic; the third originated in Lemuria, in what is now the Indian Ocean, and the fourth in Atlantis. Except for the first, which ended with the final descent into physical matter, each root race saw its time on earth end with a vast geological catastrophe that overwhelmed its homeland, leaving a handful of scattered survivors to repopulate the world.
The influence of the Theosophical Society and of Blavatsky’s ideas was so widespread during the early twentieth century that nearly every occult secret society during that period found room for lost continents in their secret teachings. Additional lost continents such as Thule, Pan, Mu, and Isuria found their way into occult writings during those years. From the occult scene, lost continents found their way into popular culture, and in the New Age movement belief in Atlantis and Lemuria, at least, was an article of faith from the movement’s earliest days.
Ironically, at the same time that the belief in lost continents emerged as a major theme in popular culture, occult secret societies and the occult community generally lost interest in them. The most recent chapter in the development of the lost continent theme is also the most unexpected. While all these changes were under way, a slow revolution in the geological sciences brought unexpected support to the idea that large areas once above water are now at the bottom of the sea. Research into the last Ice Age has shown that at its end, around 11,000 years ago, sea levels rose some 90 meters, drowning hundreds of thousands of square miles of land beneath the rising waters. While the whole process took centuries, the filling and draining of vast glacial lakes in the northern hemisphere caused sea levels to rise irregularly, with some periods of rapid outflow causing sea levels to surge upwards 3 meters or more in as little as a few months. Behind the image of lost continents, in other words, may well lie dim memories of the catastrophic flooding of fertile lowlands as the glaciers melted and the seas rose, just a few thousand years before the birth of the first known cities …