I would like to pass on some ideas, some of which are my own and some I have learnt from others. I am not an academic so please try to not expect me to debate like one. My efforts are not perfect, my knowledge is scant and I do not have all the answers. My ideas are not all backed up by reliable sources because some of them are novel and some of them are not yet widely accepted. Please see the links at the bottom for the best sources or back-up information I can provide. If you need 100% reliable academic published sources then stop reading now. I do, however, believe these ideas deserve closer inspection by the expert community and hope some of you at least will look into them. Two things are needed in order to solve mysteries: fresh eyes and knowledge. I have the former, you have the latter.
The reason why I am writing on here and on another forum today is because of the re-emergence of the snake oil salesman Erich Von Daniken, the author of 'Chariots of the Gods: was God an astronaut?' His ideas, that the ancient gods were visiting aliens or astronauts, are ones I have wanted to challenge for a long time. When I saw how popular his ideas were on Twitter I decided I had to say something. When I realised his ideas are approved by the Theosophical Society and therefore also Freemasonry I realised just how widespread his misinformation was and how important it was to challenge it.
The 'chariots of the gods' were, I believe, natural phenomena the ancients mistook for the vehicles of gods. If you imagine a charging chariot, what do you see? A trail of dust cloud. How else, other than by watching chariots charging, would the ancients have seen a trail of dust or something that looked like a trail of dust...or looked like a chariot charging? By witnessing a volcanic eruption. Volcanoes have lines of billowing ash coming out of them, ash racing down mountain slopes and fire blazing along in rivers. To the ancients, in their very natural environments, these lines of ash, smoke and fire would have reminded them of the lines created by charging chariots. Here are some verses and exerts that show how widespread the god vehicle idea was...
Isaiah 66:15-6 says "The Lord will come with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the Lord will execute judgment on all men, and many will be those slain by the Lord."
'They believe that when it expels hot lava, Merapi is really sending golden carriages to the South Sea, the kingdom of Nyai Ratu Kidul (Queen of the South Sea), for the feast.'
'However, he (Agni) is feared by nature. When he gets angry he can burn trees with his fire and burns the grass with his chariot’s wheels while raging thru the forest.'
'Pele is a skilled rider of the holua, a wooden sled that slides down steep stone ramps. Papalauahi and and other chiefs challenged Pele to see who was the best holua rider. Papalauahi proved by far to be the most skilled. Pele lost her temper. She produced a great flood of lava which overran many of the other chiefs and onlookers.'
'MOUNT Cameroon, also called Mount Fako, also called Buea Mountain but most fondly called “The chariot of the gods” is the only mountain in Cameroon which has also been recorded as a volcanic mountain.'
Plus there are examples in Hinduism and Buddhism but these I have yet to study. I am sure there will be many more and when I have the time I will find them.
There are more Biblical verses and fuller explanations in the links below.
The thing all the above had in common was, I believe, a misunderstanding of volcanoes. It was only in recent history that we in the modern world learnt what volcanoes were. Even today, indigenous people are throwing chickens into volcanoes falsely believing a god resides within who needs to be placated. Yahweh, for example, required animal sacrifice at the foot of Mount Sinai (which I believe was one of the volcanoes in Saudi...the Bible says Arabia), threw out fire and brimstone (which is volcanic sulfur), had 'rivers of fire' coming out of him (just like Pele), was said to have hair as white as wool (smoke), had a tongue of 'consuming fire', had eyes of fire, showed his anger in fire, destroyed whole villages and lived on a 'holy hill'.
The ancients believed the fiery top of the volcanoes was a sign a god was in-residence or that gods were fighting or arguing, or that there was a battle between good and evil. Pele would be said to have fights with her sister, the Klamath Indians believed Skell and Llao fought between each other on the top of fiery hills throwing fire and stones at each other, the Maasai people believed when their volcano erupted it was because their god was angry, a Filipino legend has it that the moon god angered the sun god on the volcano Mt Pinatubo....many more examples in the links.
Pyramids, I and others believe, were built in part to represent volcanoes. There are pyramids all over the world but they are often found near to volcanoes in volcanic regions. The exception is Egypt but even there there is the Black Desert with volcanic cones, one called Pyramid Mountain and said by some to have been the inspiration for the pyramids of Egypt. If not that volcano then maybe the volcanoes the people of Punt will have seen in eastern-central Africa. In the link below you can see a map of the volcanoes of Africa and see the concentration of them in this region. Did the Egyptians migrate from Punt to Egypt? If they did they will have taken their god with them; taken their misguided faith with them. Along with their faith they will have taken their inherent need for a 'high place' just like Yahweh's 'high place'; a temple, a mound, a resting place for the gods...for the 'Most High'. Could it be that they believed building a 'high place' could somehow attract down their god? They believed volcanoes were just ordinary mountains that a god or gods had chosen to live on or fight on. Any old mountain, man-made mound, pyramid, temple, steeple, ziggurat would do. Fire seems to be central to these holy places yet no-one ever questions why? What did the ben-ben stone represent if not the blown off part of a volcano? Or the pinnacle where god was? Yahweh was said to be the 'Light of Israel' and there are many 'Mountains of Light' in ancient history.
Volcanoes have always been the most dramatic and catastrophic things on earth. The Santorini eruption was forty times more powerful than an atomic bomb. This eruption is said by some to be the cause of the ten plagues of Egypt and subsequent Exodus of the Hebrews. Volcanoes were interpreted in different ways throughout the world depending on the geology of the people and the location of the eruption. For example, a submerged volcano would have been seen by the ancient Hebrews as a monster...the Leviathan. But submerged volcanoes can and do 'create' new land and would also have been seen as the 'world mountain', the primordial land surrounded by primordial waters. The ancient Hebrews had their holy mountain, described as 'the Light of Israel' on his 'fiery hill' so a submerged volcanic eruption, barely recognisable, would have been seen as the adversary.
Volcanoes tend to be located where continents are pulling apart, which explains why the Red Sea Rift Zone is home to submerged volcanoes (a recent island was 'created') and volcanoes along the north-west coast of Saudi Arabia. It is likely the volcano line carries on up the rift into the Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River (the home of the Leviathan) but this I have not been able to prove. Maybe one day nature will prove that for me. Volcanoes were the creators and destroyers of life....new land could be created just as it could be taken away, new plants could grow on revitalising ash deposits just as plants could be burnt to a crisp, new animals and humans could benefit from the lush volcanic land just as they could be killed by the 'Most High', who had the added benefit of throwing out lots of gold and gemstones!
Going back to the beginning....the 'chariots of the gods'. I believe the ancients thought the gods arrived from other planets and stars. To them, brightness only came from fire they produced, the moon, the sun, the stars and fire made by something from 'the heavens', the latter just being the sky. So when they saw fire on the top of the mountain they assumed it had been made by a man, but not just any old man....a very powerful man. This man just landed on the top of the mountain and decided to live there, just as Yahweh was said to live on Mount Sinai. But where did these god-men come from originally? From up above. Yahweh was said to look like 'glowing heat' on the top of Mount Sinai just like the Ben-ben stone must have looked radiant in the sunlight. That glowing heat...the 'glory of god'...looked like the sun. So, perhaps, the ancient people, with a fascination for the sky (no TV, no games console, no radio...only sky) would have put two and two together to come up with the idea the gods' original homes were the sun, the moon, the stars. This could explain why pyramids contained dead Pharaohs with vents directed at the stars.....the souls could ascend up to the place where their gods also ascended up to...from a vessel much like the one their gods' used. Throughout the world there are accounts of bodies being buried inside caves on mountain slopes. I believe the same belief is behind this practice and originates from volcano misunderstandings.
The ancients imagined their gods must have travelled around the sky and created in their own minds the vehicles they must have used having witnessed or been told via the oral tradition about the chariots of fire and ash from volcanoes. Their fertile imaginations were not boxed in by modern media but were fueled by ignorance of the natural world around them. It is no wonder then that the holiest ancient regions of the world are also the most volcanic, or have connections to volcanic regions. Unfortunately I have seen a huge amount of explanations for Yahweh, the pyramids, the chariots of the gods that do not involve the natural environment of the ancient people but lots of modern thinking, for example nuclear bombs, alien invasions, etc.
What I feel is necessary to understand the ancients is to be like them....to step into their shoes and picture the scene using your imagination....the very thing that (I believe) created all of these mysteries. We need to empathise with them in order to understand them. Then and only then will we finally realise the true purpose of mythology: to warn of impending doom envisioned by our ancestors who had witnessed devastation and lived to tell the tale. Maybe then we can put mythology to good use and save lives with it rather than childishly play with it, as we have done for too long.
Pyramids and volcanoes....http://ohmyvolcano.blogspot.com/2012/09/pyramids-volcanoes.html
Volcanoes in Egypt....http://ohmyvolcano.blogspot.com/2012/03/volcanoes-in-egypt.html
Volcano gods and there correlations...http://ohmyvolcano.blogspot.com/2013/01/volcano-gods.html
The Biblical Leviathan....http://ohmyvolcano.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-is-leviathan.html
A God of Volcanoes: Did Yahwism Take Root in Volcanic Ashes? Jacob E.Dunn (JSOT) http://jot.sagepub.com/content/38/4/387