GOLDEN AGE AND DOOMSDAY: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE "SATURN THEORY"
Certain themes of myth occur on every continent. One universal tradition concerns a former Golden Age, a period of cosmic harmony subsequently lost. In the general tradition, the Golden Age means a timeless epoch before the arrival of discord and war, before the linkage of heaven and earth was broken. Many traditions recall the absence of seasons or any time-keeping references, while the land produced abundantly without any need for human labor.
This is a distinctive myth, with crucial connections to other themes. Why did all of the early cultures connect the Golden Age with the rule of a "king of the world" -- a prototype of kings ruling in the sky before a king ever ruled on earth? And why the early astronomical link of this figure to the remote planet Saturn?
Another tradition recalls a "world-ending" disaster, when the Golden Age collapsed and the heavens fell out of control. The specific forms of the catastrophe vary. A rain of fire and gravel, as in the cataclysms of Ragnarok. A great deluge. The death or displacement of a primeval sun. A cloud of chaos demons enshrouding the world in darkness. Or the spiraling serpent or dragon, whose attack throws the heavens into chaos.
But where are the events in our familiar world that can illuminate the repeated stories? A comparative approach will establish that the subject is not a local disaster. Specifically, this archetypal catastrophe -- an event whose re-occurrence ancient races feared above all else -- was that which brought the Golden Age to its violent conclusion.
The origins of ancient mythology; the birth of the first civilizations; a violent history of the solar system -- these are the primary themes of the "Saturn theory," a new way of viewing the myth-making epoch as a whole, based on cross-cultural analysis. Astronomers and astrophysicists, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and students of ancient myth and religion should reconsider the most common assumptions about ancient history.
The underlying principles of the theory are:
1. Major changes in the planetary order, some involving Earth-threatening
catastrophes, have occurred within human memory.
2. Through myth, ritual and symbol around the world, our ancestors preserved a global record of these tumultuous events.
3. The first civilizations arose from ritual practices honoring, imitating, and re-living extraordinary natural occurrences.
4. The dominant powers of the ancient rites were planets moving close to the earth.
The planetary model we offer carries one advantage which other
theories based on ancient testimony lack. It is specific enough
to be falsified on its own ground (ancient testimony). We will propose
some simple groundrules permitting researchers to test the hypothesis
and draw reliable conclusions.