Excerpt From Cities of Dreams

by Stan Gooch


SOME TWENTY YEARS AGO a leading and respected psychologist, the late M.L. Kellmer Pringle — we were currently writing a book together — confided in me that in her view in only a few years' time we would know everything there was to know about human psychology and human society. This comment, which left me completely stunned for several days, was among the reasons why I felt I had to leave the psychological establishment.

It was, however, by no means the first such comment I had heard, either before or since, not just from psychologists, but from leading
biologists, anthropologists, doctors, historians — the pillars of the academic establishment — the view that, really, we were well on the way to knowing everything about mankind. In all fields relating to human evolution, to the human psyche, it was pretty much a question only of tying up the loose ends, of a few details here, a few details there. And that would be that.

My own position was a very different one. Not only did I find myself each day learning more and more about less and less, as Murray Butler put it — but in considering the currently accepted theories in the fields of study relating to mankind, I saw only more and more
inadequacy in, more and more objections to, the confident explanations on offer. Obviously I was suffering from some terminal deficiency that was going to (and indeed did) shunt me out of my then career and into the arms of the other heretics.

So to the topic of the present book. The question it puts is simply this. Is the story of the origins and development of modern mankind, that is, of ourselves, really that which we find in our present-day school books and encyclopedias? Or is it the case that these accepted accounts are in fact quite hopelessly biased and inadequate?

There is the two-part question. By the end of the book I hope the reader will feel able to give an emphatic no to the first part, and an
emphatic yes to the second.

1. Suppose

LONG BEFORE THE ARRIVAL of the first European in the New World, the resident North American Indians there had evolved an in many ways advanced culture and civilisation. They had, after all, been in residence for some 20,000 years. Already by 10,000 BC the anthropologists record large-scale, continuous communities.

Prior to 2000 BC, these varied peoples of North America knew weaving, tent and weapon making, medicine, music and many other skills of civilisation — though, as it happens, not the art of pottery. They also had by then a complex political life, alongside rich cultural and
religious traditions, and great bodies of ancient folklore reaching back to the time when their distant ancestors came first across the
`stepping stones' to the virgin continent. Some of the tribes spent much of each day, every day, in complex religious ritual, not unlike
orthodox Jews and Moslems of our present time. Others, of course, were equally dedicated to hunting or warfare. Yet, we must emphasise, these same complex Indians had no written language: nor did they build any permanent dwellings.

Consider now the following hypothetical situation. Suppose this long-lasting and widespread North American civilisation had never been
contacted by any other human group. And suppose, further, that some sudden catastrophe overtook this family of nations — an unstoppable disease perhaps, or decades of severe drought, followed then by disease, we have enough such scenarios in our world today — so that all perished. And suppose then that 25,000 years pass, or even 50,000. What trace would any later explorer then find of those myriad peoples and their complex cultural life? Why, none. Effectively, none. Just a few stone or bone weapons and implements. No tents, no dancing, no stories. Only a few, silent skulls — one here in a dry, desert gully, another trampled in fragments along some former river, and look, three skulls together even in this icy northern cave. Nothing more.

Or consider, now, a slightly different scenario. In this case the Indians are overrun by an invading and very different ethnic type.
Still more, even, than the Europeans who, in historical reality, actually did overrun the Indian peoples, this hypothetical invader
hates and despises all that the Indian stands for — hates even their physical appearance, their very existence. At the hands of this invader the Indians are therefore relentlessly hunted down, butchered, and erased en masse, along with all their culture and beliefs. (This very scenario of course actually took place when the Europeans arrived in Tasmania — we do not even need to make an effort of imagination here.) During the relatively short period of the overrunning, however, there occurs widespread rape of the Indian women, some few of whom then live to escape back to their own people. In addition, some natives are kept alive deliberately by the conquerors for general amusement, both as slaves and concubines. (Precisely these events, once again, actually occurred in Tasmania.) From these various circumstances there arises, over time, a small half-breed population, a group having very confused and uneasy social status. (One simply doesn't know quite what to do with them, or about them.) Yet some of these half-breeds do nevertheless find some sort of social acceptance, and are absorbed into the invading stock. Others, perhaps, band together, and take off on their own account.

Now, however, in our hypothetical scenario (but how hypothetical is it really, so far?) disaster overtakes the invaders themselves. Abruptly there onsets one of the frequent ice ages that have so much characterised our planet in recent geological time. In the course of only a few decades the glaciers slide massively and relentlessly down from the north. The climate is suddenly no longer temperate, but arctic and sub-arctic. Even as far down as the centre of the continent, the covering ice is literally miles high — as it was in fact in central Britain and northern Europe just a few thousand years ago. The escape route south for our invaders is ultimately barred. The far southlands, perhaps, are already occupied by other vigorous peoples.

So now in the following millennia only a rump of the once proud conquerors ekes out a subsistence existence in a bleak, inhospitable
landscape. Under these conditions 5,000 years pass. Or perhaps 10,000. And then the ice cap once again suddenly, and inexplicably, withdraws back to its permanent home within the true arctic circle. The descendants of the original invaders now flourish and multiply. In only a few millennia they have swarmed out again over the whole continent. They make rapid cultural, technical and, finally,
scientific progress. They have very much `arrived'.

Yet let us consider what kind of cultural, and biological, position prevails among them.

In these peoples' verbal traditions — and they are of course by now a family of nations rather than any single nation — we find, obviously, much reference to `recent' history. They are rather full of themselves these last few thousand years, these very successful and dynamic years. Yet in among all the obviously fairly recent material — recent, that is, as history counts these things — we find fragments which clearly refer to some time still more distant, to a time or times of very great antiquity indeed. In some cases the people themselves claim that these fragments are very, very old. Sometimes, as well, their age can be deduced from their content — references to dateable geological events, for example, or to animals which have long ceased to exist. Nevertheless, as far as the main content of these fragments is concerned, this is so garbled, nonsensical, so altogether unlikely, that it is clearly out of the question that it can be taken in any sense literally or seriously. These `accounts' are obviously just fantasies, fairy stories dreamed up long, long ago in primitive times of enormous ignorance.

Sometimes however, and sometimes again connected with these old fairy-tales, we find also strange, meaningless and quite often secret rituals, or arcane `religious' statements, which are altogether at odds with the thrust of public religion and culture — even allowing for the fact that there is nowadays quite a deal of variation in the public religions and cultural practices coast-to-coast. Further again, there are one or two words in the present language family which are quite clearly from some other quite different language family. (The philologists are quite happy about this particular aspect. `Oh, yes,' they say. `These are indeed very old words that our language picked up somewhere long ago, no doubt from peoples that went before us — obviously, we don't know what the words mean and, in the circumstances, never will.' The words, however, often crop up in the context of the old legends, or in connection with the secret rituals.)

Lastly, but importantly, among the fairly wide range of physical types in the present-day population, there occurs, very occasionally, the birth of an individual with an obviously very different physical ancestry. None the less, it occurs to virtually no one to imagine that all these strange and in any case unimportant odds and ends might somehow belong together, somehow relate to each other. Still less does it occur to anyone to connect this rag-bag of oddities with the very old skulls and tools which the wind and rain, or actual excavation, occasionally unearth.

During the course of our second `suppose' we have, as I now suggest, been moving steadily away from our North American Indians and their hypothetical destroyers and towards a wholly real, actual situation. We have not in any fantasy sense been hypothesising at all. We have been describing the actual supplanting and destruction of Neanderthal man in Europe and the Near East, some 30,000 years ago, by an invading and completely different physical and cultural type, Cro-Magnon man N1 Yet, one might still ask, even if these — what are they? — Cro-Magnons did violently supplant Neanderthal man in the general manner suggested — well, so what? One type of early man is supplanted by another — surely this is a matter of direct concern only to the specialist in such matters; and to the rest of us, if at all, in some popularised form for reading by the fire in the evenings?

The contentions of the present book, however, could not be more opposite. Involved are two major aspects.

The first is that the totally fortuitous biological mixing of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon genes (for, as already proposed above, it
seems that the mix occurred solely in the context of rape and slavery) produced virtually overnight the vigorous and gifted hybrid that is ourselves, modern man. This specifically biological claim will be discussed in more detail later in the book, but is not, however, its
chief concern.

The second aspect, the second claim, is that, at the time of his, for him, unfortunate encounter with Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal had evolved a culture of the mind (a) not only of a very high order indeed (for as I often say, whereas we build cities of stone, Neanderthal built cities of dreams) but also (b) of a strangeness that is very hard for us to imagine or, even having imagined, to come to terms with (since we have, after all, experience of only one kind of human mind — our own).

At the purely psychological/cultural level, I suggest that Neanderthal dealt Cro-Magnon a culture-shock of such magnitude that its
consequences are still with us today. Though it left little physical trace, there is in fact, as will be shown, not one aspect of our
present lives, our attitudes and our institutions which does not today bear that ancient culture's stamp.

The assumptions that follow in the next few briefly descriptive paragraphs will be defended throughout the book. Let us take these on
trust for the moment. We may picture Cro-Magnon as a young, confident individual: a very tall, skilled hunter and fighter, and extremely talented with it — the range of exquisite flint tools Cro-Magnon produced, much superior to the merely adequate tools of Neanderthal, is already strong evidence for that claim — probably already having developed the kind of warrior ethos described, say, in the Arthurian legends. In all further probability he was a sun-worshipper, in any case a creature of the daylight, the open plains (hence his tallness, of course), and the summer: probably again believing himself to be the only type of man in existence. But now, entering Europe, he encounters a to him physically and wholly repulsive type of man, short, barrel-bodied, ugly — a type culminating in Classic Neanderthal, a truly monstrous adaptation of the general Neanderthal type to extreme ice-age conditions — who lives mainly by night, who worships the moon (who in homage to it drinks human blood, but that's the least of it, even menstrual blood isn't the worst of it), in short, a type of man whose very innate, biological instincts, let alone his culture, are the utter opposite of those of Cro-Magnon. (Why, even when submitting in combat, instead of bowing the head, or kneeling, they present the naked buttocks, as
indeed they do to the very altar when at prayer.)

And then, as if coping with the Neanderthal problem were not enough, the climate itself abruptly turned on Cro-Magnon. By 20,000 BC Europe was again in the grip of a full-scale ice-age. Well, these are some of the further `supposes' we will be involved with throughout the book. Yet how and where shall we find our supportive evidence? What form will it take? What underpinning can we give it? For, after all, as we said, the skulls themselves are both empty and silent. (Yet we can, for instance, take a plaster cast of the brain those skulls once housed.)

In paleo-archaeology, all that this type of archaeologist finds, as a rule, are a few of the merest slivers of bone. These days too,
however, he or she can also analyse soil samples, and from their present chemical composition show that these and these materials (and sometimes quite different materials) must once have been here. But always the smallest traces are examined, from which, nevertheless, skill allows the inference of a great deal else: how many people lived here, for how long they lived here, what they ate, what they wore. The process of inference, hopefully of legitimate inference, is one that we shall employ also.

We have too the geologist, who looks at what to us is a hopelessly jumbled scree. After a while of careful study he is able to announce: these vertical rocks here were once horizontal; these rocks on top here are actually far older than the ones below them; those rocks over there are actually upside down; and these ones here don't belong at all — they've been brought several thousand miles by glaciers and rivers. A very similar task as that which faces the geologist faces us when we look at the jumbled scree of legendary material. But hopefully again we shall be able to sort it into categories and ages that others will consider reasonable.

Lastly, there is the astrophysicist. He considers the faintest tendrils and echoes of radioactivity among the stars at one edge of
the galaxy, and says, oh yes, these are the traces of a supernova long, long ago, which occurred at the other edge of the galaxy. And behind even such whispers he hears too the faint, unbelievably distant echoes of the original Big Bang.

A biological supernova occurred when Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man met. We can, if we will listen, still clearly hear the echoes of that explosion and observe its after-effects — and because we can we (like the astrophysicist) know that the explosion did indeed once occur. But behind these echoes and tendrils we can also then detect the still fainter traces of Neanderthal civilisation itself, and hear the still fainter echoes of falling cities of dreams.

2. Red Ochre

INVESTIGATIONS OF PALEOLITHIC, mesolithic and neolithic tombs throughout the world, in every climate and continent, reveal striking
similarities in the funerary habits of man. Of all their affinities none are more commonly encountered than the custom of including red
pigments with the body. This took the form of lumps of red stone scattered about the grave or the liberal coating of the deceased with the ground powder of some red mineral substance. In some cases the dead were completely submerged in a mass of red ochre. So numerous are the references to these ochre interments that pages could be filled merely by quoting their provenance… Many prehistorians have refrained from attaching any interpretation to this employment of red ochre.

The above are the words of Adrian Boshier and Peter Beaumont B15 — but the emphasis is mine — writing in the journal Optima in 1972. Already this brief quotation, apart from the actual mysteries it begins to reveal, at once brings out points which we shall be emphasising again and again in the present book. First, we have the observation that certain, clearly identifiable practices are found world-wide among all forms of early man (`in every climate and continent') — practices which are not just vaguely similar but `strikingly similar'. Second, we have the observation that academics and researchers are clearly reluctant to discuss this circumstance and its implications. (We noted already a similar reluctance on the part of those concerned to discuss the disappearance of Cro-Magnon man.)

What, however, is the precise context in which Boshier and Beaumont are writing? The context is that of numerous large-scale prehistoric mines and quarries recently discovered in various parts of southern Africa. The most ancient of these mines so far found is 100,000 years old. Several others are dated variously 45,000, 40,000 and 35,000 BP (Before Present — see Chapter 3).

Yet mines? Large-scale mines? One hundred thousand years old? Surely we are speaking here of hollows or depressions in the earth's surface, which are possibly even accidental? No, we are very much not. One of the largest sites evidenced the removal of a million kilos of ore. At another site half a million stone-digging tools were found, all showing considerable wear. All of the sites in fact produced thousands of tools and involved the removal of large quantities of ore; and while some were open quarries, others had true mining tunnels. In all cases, however, these excavations had been painstakingly refilled when the site was abandoned. (Boshier later discovered why, for the modern Swazi today still work such mines, usually in secret. The in-fill, the Swazi say, is required to placate the Earth spirits, especially the great plumed serpent — to whom in any case daily offerings of meal, tobacco and water must be made.)

Is it any wonder that science and orthodoxy shun these findings, so clearly threatening, as they do, the complete destruction of currently held orthodox views of man and his evolution? For the orthodox view is that the release of manpower for community tasks other than those of basic food-gathering and survival occurred for the first time only a few thousand years ago, in south-east Europe, in the context of the first developments of agriculture and animal husbandry. Mining, specifically, is considered to have begun around 5000 BC.

Yet here in Africa, between 40-100,000 years ago, we find no less than a massive investment of manpower resources in a continuous operation (through thousands of generations of mankind) to obtain a substance of zero food value, of no discernible economic value (since the ore was not smelted into iron) and, in fact of no practical use whatsoever. We must not overlook, incidentally, the mining skills involved here; and the fact that while in some cases the red ochre lay exposed on the surface, in other cases it lay underground. How were the ancient miners aware of its existence? On this particular mystery we may be able to throw light.

Back, however, to the use of red ochre in funeral rites.

H.B.S. Cooke and his associates report on the oldest known human burial so far, from the Lebombo Mountains of South Africa. B37 This is perhaps as much as 80,000 years old, but certainly not less than 46,000 years. The burial is that of a small boy, interred with a
sea-shell pendant — and in red ochre. These same archaeologists, incidentally, report the finding of notched bones from levels at least
35,000 years old (at Border Cave in Natal) which offer clear evidence that these early men knew how to count.

Far away from Africa, at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in southern France, a man was buried 45,000 years ago, also packed in red ochre. In Wales, from a site dated 35-25,000 years BP, we have `the Red Lady of Paviland'. `The bones [of this interment] were embedded in ruddle, a red micaceous iron ore, which has coloured the surrounding earth for half a yard around. The body must have been enveloped and completely buried up in this material, and the bones and the associated objects… are still encrusted with it.' B15

P.L. Kirk reports on a large number of prehistoric Australian aboriginal burials at lakeland sites: `At Lake Mungo… the complete skeleton of an adult male… Careful stratigraphic studies suggest that this skeleton, Mungo III, was laid in its shallow grave 28-30,000 years ago: pink staining of the soil around the skeleton indicates also that red ochre had been sprinkled over the body.' B104 The Aborigines of the Torres Straits islands, who formerly practised the actual mummification of corpses, likewise employed red ochre in their burials.

From Czechoslovakia comes the `Fox Lady' of Doini Vestonice, a burial dated 23,000 BP:

She had been given an elaborate burial inside one of the huts, laid in a prepared hollow on the left side in a contracted position… Body and head were covered with red ochre and protected by two shoulder-blades of mammoth, one of which had a network of irregular lines incised on its surface. With the woman were placed her stone tools, and close to her left hand the paws and tail of an arctic fox,
with the teeth in her other hand. B161

Breuil and Lantier describe a Bavarian burial, 20,000 years old. `The skeleton of a thirty-year-old man was laid in a burial site… entirely
surrounded by a pile of mammoth tusks and the whole body nearly submerged in a mass of red ochre.' B17

The Red Indians who came to meet their first European visitors were painted red with ochre not (probably) so much for combat purposes, as in honour of these gods who had come among them: so, of course, we refer to these brown peoples as `Red'. These same Indians placed their dead on platforms high up in the trees, after the corpses had been liberally covered with red ochre. This was obviously a very ancient practice, though equally clearly one which left no fossil traces for later discovery.

On a different tack now, from the Dordogne in France comes a flat bone on which are carved what appear to be the phases of the moon over a time period (Marshack B123). The pattern of the markings on the bone possibly also shows the path of the moon in the sky relative to the position of the observer (see Figure 1). This artefact is dated 27,000 BP. Marshack also considered a host of other somewhat younger incised and notched bones from Europe (and one from Egypt). These, he proposes, again log aspects of the moon's intervals, and possibly also menstruation and pregnancy records. (Similar notched bone and wooden artefacts, incidentally, this time definitely connected with numerical aspects of lunar intervals, were in use in modern times among North American Indians, Australian Aborigines and on the Nicobar Islands off Thailand.) In some cases the bones had been rubbed with red ochre, so that the notches retain the substance. Here, then, is clear evidence of the religious or holy nature of these artefacts — and a first link too between the moon and red ochre. It should be noted here that the deliberate notching or scratching of bone in Europe, together with the consecrational and perhaps also fixing use of red ochre, does in fact date back some 30-40,000 years. B104

A remarkable and important feature of the total story of red ochre is that its influence has never slackened throughout the whole period under discussion — from its beginnings with Neanderthal man 100,000 years ago (or earlier) right up to the present day; and in both primitive and advanced societies, as we see shortly. Raymond Dart comments:

Red ochre has a fantastic cultural evolutionary history beginning with Mousterian burial ritual and extending through its manifold late
paleolithic artistic, religious, trading and bartering applications. By means of its dominating agency in the diffusion of the myths, rites
and mysteries of ancient metallurgy and alchemy, it has played parts of such continuity and expanding diversity as to have rendered it
unique amongst all minerals in moulding mankind's existence then and today. B14

John Greenway writes: `Why did this material in almost every religion since Neanderthal man invented that institution, become the most spiritually rich and magical of all substances… There is no end to the myriad uses of ochre.' Greenway also has the following dramatic report concerning the influence of red ochre among Australian Aborigines today:

The most terrifying physical inquisitors in aboriginal Australia are the little known Red Ochre Men… It is astonishing how little is known by outsiders of the Red Ochre Men. Many whites who have learned about everything else of aboriginal life have not even heard of them, so well enforced is the omerta among even those of the aborigines who wish the whole organisation ended… The cult is nearly universal in aboriginal Australia… In the deserts the Red Ochre cult moves right across the land in the course of a year, carrying its own ceremonies and myths, touching all tribes in its path, and working as a kind of ecclesiastical circuit court embodying all processes of the religious judiciary. The function of the court is to punish law-breakers — not so much the perpetrators of everyday misdemeanours like spear fights and wife-beating, but those felons who blaspheme the laws incorporated in the myths. If, for example, the young man on trial in Meekatharra had really shown the tjurunga [the law sticks] to women, his only chance to escape the Red Ochre Men would have been to flee from his tribal jurisdiction and live in a city or large well-policed town among other fugitives from their honour and their heritage.

The punishments involved do include the death penalty — but that is not the worst. Far worse is when the Red Ochre Men destroy the
offender's soul, so that it is of little consequence if he goes on living physically. Sometimes death is readily accepted by the offender
as the price for leaving his or her soul intact. B80

Aside from such highly secret matters, red ochre is, in any case, the most important decorative substance in use among Aborigines today in all tribal ceremony, whether that be directly religious or of the more entertaining variety. In the initial private ceremony of a boy's initiation into manhood and the religious mysteries, for example — ceremony that in all lasts almost continuously from age 14-25 — the youngster is painted all over with red ochre. He must stay away from camp and sleep by himself till the ochre wears off, and meanwhile only come to drink at the waterhole at night. New mothers also are decorated with ochre and must live in the special women's camp, as must also menstruating women and new widows. Some weeks after the birth the new father is similarly painted with ochre.

On these various occasions actual blood is also used in parallel with ochre, as it likewise is in Africa, and we know, in fact, from a
variety of sources that red ochre represents blood (but whose?). One of the sources of actual blood is from circumcision of males, and from the ghastly sub-incision of the penis, which is slit open underneath from base to tip. The symbolic significance of this sub-incision is important for our general argument, and along with allied matters will concern us again later.

The influence of red ochre in historical times is not just confined to tribespeople. For example, the funeral chambers of the Chinese Shang Emperors and other aristocrats, around 1500 BC, were painted red — as were the burial tombs of Japanese, Etruscan, Greek and Roman rulers. (Here, we note, is a practice spanning two entire continents, Orient and Occident.) Homeric classical Greece, therefore, also bears the imprint of Neanderthal. Not just that, but the Pope himself is buried in a red shroud to this day. Not bad achievements for allegedly shambling and even allegedly speechless (!) Neanderthal man. Greenway, himself a Catholic, considers that the Easter ashes of Catholicism, the dab of ash on the forehead, also represent red ochre, and I agree with him. But there is far more to it all than that.

A word in passing here about alchemy. Among the various notions pursued by alchemists was that of a red powder which could turn base and leaden metals into gold. It seems clear that what we have here is a distorted and misunderstood memory of the powers of red ochre. Much else in alchemy, Gnosticism, Catharism, Freemasonry and so forth also bears examination in this and related contexts. We must realise, however, that we are seldom if ever dealing with direct memories: but rather with memories of memories of memories. Their true source and origin has been totally forgotten, and their form, like that of tortured rocks, is much distorted. Lastly here, we can note that in ancient Greece, as among African tribes today (who call it `the essence of life'), red ochre was/is considered to have genuine medicinal properties. It is said to stop bleeding and haemorrhaging, clear blood-shot and pus-ridden eyes, cure snake bite, and correct urinary and other internal troubles. Whether such is the case or not, the belief in the powers of red ochre is clear.

So what, then, does red ochre really represent?

Everyone, both heretic and orthodox, and including the present-day users of ochre themselves, agree that it represents blood. A very
common interpretation, and one that we can readily accept here, is that just as a new baby comes into the world covered with blood, so the corpse must also be covered with blood to facilitate, or perhaps cause, the re-birth of the deceased in the spirit world beyond. Birth blood is therefore one very probable meaning. A further significance (borne out also by much other evidence) is given by the Unthippa aboriginal women. They say that their own female ancestors once caused large quantities of blood to flow from their vulvas, which then formed the deposits of red ochre found throughout the world. So we can say that red ochre also represents menstrual blood: in both cases therefore female blood connected with the birth process. (We shall later be able to be even more precise and say that ochre is the menstrual blood of the Moon Mother; or more properly, the placental blood which covered the Earth when She gave birth to it.)

Yet still and all, even supposing the foregoing does indeed represent the thoughts and views of original Neanderthal in this connection,
what actual events might have drawn him to red ochre in the first place? Do we not want, in fact demand, some very powerful reasons indeed — and indeed again, hard, objective reasons, not just fantasies or ideas — as to how and why red ochre could become a bedrock of a religion that not only totally galvanised the energies of early man for something like 100,000 years, but that then went on to fundamentally shape our own modern world — a score on which we have not yet fired even our opening salvos? Why, in short, did these ideas take hold with such ferocity? We turn now to some of the hard evidence.

Haematite, a Greek word meaning bloodstone, the official name for red ochre or red oxide of iron, is chemically Fe203. This chemical
substance is frequently produced by the weathering of magnetite, Fe304. That is to say, when magnetite is exposed to the atmosphere at the earth's surface, it turns into haematite. Digging down through the haematite one comes upon magnetite, and it is clear that the one substance turns into the other. In his excavating of red ochre Neanderthal could not have failed to notice this phenomenon.

As it happens, however, magnetite is highly magnetic. It is what is called in historical times the lodestone (i.e. the `leading stone').
If a small sliver of magnetite is floated on the surface tension of water, the sliver swings round until it points to magnetic north.
Might it not well be that Neanderthal, accidentally or otherwise, discovered this magical property of magnetite?

There is good circumstantial evidence to suggest that indeed he did — this will later involve us in a detailed consideration of
Neanderthal's view of the North. Let us imagine just in passing something Neanderthal might have imagined — that the North was the
home of a Great Spirit. The Spirit often stirred, sending mankind little icy reminders of its powers; and then sometimes also, in real
anger, its huge frozen hands to grip and squeeze the whole world. In those times the Sun grew weak and pale, and was sick unto death — while the Moon, however, rode on unchanged. For it was She who summoned the cold, her own elemental force, She who drew the ice back and forth across the land as easily as She drew back and forth the great waters. Suppose now that, in addition to that possible mental scenario, Neanderthal also happened upon the lodestone which (floating on water) always pointed North no matter how far you travelled into the pitiless, inhospitable arctic, where no human being could in fact live. We would begin to have some very powerful lines of reasoning here — one might almost say, lines of force.

But instead of simply speculating, let us rather look here at some recent archaeological discoveries in Central America. B184-5 Thanks to these, we now know that the Olmec Indians of Central America were using compasses — a sliver or small bar of magnetite on a piece of cork or wood, floating in a bowl of water — around 3000 years ago; and therefore at least 1000 years before their reported use by the Chinese, who are usually considered to have invented the compass. This is not at all to say, of course, that the Olmecs (or the Chinese, for that matter) only discovered the magnetite compass 3000 years ago — they could have had it far longer — only that we know they had the use of it at that point. One of the reasons we know this is because Olmec ceremonial centres were laid out to point a few degrees west of true north i.e. precisely to magnetic north. The specifically religious context here is, of course, of great interest to us. N2

The purely factual aspects of this particular line of enquiry do not necessarily stop there. Recent investigations of many directionally-navigating and homing creatures, ranging from sea-bacteria to the homing pigeon, have shown that these various animals possess tiny clusters of magnetite in the head, by which agency they both sense, and use for directional purposes, the Earth's magnetic field. Experimentally, a homing pigeon with a tiny bar magnet strapped to its head ceases to be able to navigate successfully. In nature, the home pigeon flying across a deposit of magnetite, haematite or other iron oxide veers about in sudden confusion, until it escapes the ore's local magnetic field. B197

Is it perhaps possible that Neanderthal man also possessed magnetite clusters within the brain, while Cro-Magnon — like all — or like most of ourselves — did not? A nomadic species, such as Neanderthal apparently was, would certainly have found that endowment useful. Might such an endowment, if present, then also have enabled him to sense slight local magnetic fields — and hence locate not just underground deposits of magnetite/haematite, but also for instance running underground water, which likewise creates a tell-tale magnetic field at the surface? What we are discussing here, of course, is the ability to dowse, one which a few rare individuals do possess today. However, those inclined to be sceptical of such matters may nevertheless be impressed by a large Olmec carving in basalt of a turtle head — one of the animals known to possess the magnetite clusters. The basalt is itself rich in naturally magnetic iron, and the carving is made in such a way that the lines of magnetic force in it run to a point at the snout.

The suggestion that this ancestor of ours — and, incidentally, as of very recently, orthodoxy does accept the probability of interbreeding between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon B207 — possessed an ability to sense at least some types of local magnetic-field disturbance would also offer one possible explanation of the nature of the underground `plumed serpent' feared in Swazi folklore. But whether it is the explanation or not, the plumed serpent will prove to be another world-wide article of belief, found from Africa to China, to South America, to Australia, to Europe.

Here is a convenient moment to make a major emphasis. This is that the ideas and events discussed in this chapter are (a) a world-wide phenomenon and (b) have, therefore, persisted as ideas though vast periods of time. This second point requires further elucidation, and brings us on to more precise considerations of chronology and geography, the subject of the next chapter. The two points together, however, also beg another question. For there is an assumption here that similar ideas found in different parts of the world can only have arrived there through some process of dissemination. But are there any alternatives to dissemination as an explanation?

One possible explanation for similar ideas arising independently in geographically widely-separated parts of the globe is the notion of
parallel evolution. It can well be argued that all human communities will and do tend to pass through similar stages in the process of
evolving a complex society — and, in any case, do possess a common biology, and so common biological imperatives. Sometimes, therefore, similar ideas can arise merely coincidentally.

Certainly, one could make some such attempt at explanation in respect of, say, a world-wide preoccupation with menstruation. All peoples could and in fact would quite independently observe, for example, that pregnant women do not menstruate; that young girls do not become mothers until such time as menstruation begins; a connection between the moon's phases and both menstruation and the duration of pregnancy (subjects we shall discuss in detail later), and so on: and then from all these, to them, obviously important matters, involving of course the very existence and continuation of the tribe, spin out some roughly parallel programmes of religious explanation and observance.

Nevertheless, this initially promising and possible line of argument becomes increasingly difficult to defend as we turn to ever finer and
more specific cultural detail, and as the mass of such detail relentlessly grows. Quite soon in fact the sheer weight of `coincidence' breaks the back of any argument of parallel evolution. We are then left with the only other explanation possible: that one single, central and totally authoritative source produced the widely dispersed practices and knowledge involved.

3. Chronology and Geography

TO JUDGE THE FULL impact of the material presented from here on we must be quite clear on the time and space scales involved.

First, notation. In respect of long periods of time, archaeologists and paleontologists employ the abbreviation BP, meaning Before
Present. In the context of hundreds of thousands, and still more of millions of years, the 2000 years or so of the Christian era are a
somewhat trivial irrelevance. Nevertheless, we do still need the notation BC (Before Christ) when referring to the development of the
modern world (say, the last 10,000 years), if only to give us the sense of our own time, and a meaningful framework for the events of
our own history as opposed to pre-history.

Turning to the actual people fixed in this amber of time, until 30,000 BP Neanderthal (homo sapiens neanderthalensis) is the only modern man on Earth, the first and to that point only so far discovered member of our own species. No other modern forms of man prior to this date have yet been found — aside from one or two skulls, such as that of Swanscombe man in Britain, which hint, but only hint, at a more gracile type. Before Neanderthal, and ancestral to him at around 500,000 BP, is homo erectus, who lived communally, knew fire and cooked his food. He is not, however, classed as homo sapiens. The definable Neanderthal type is in existence by perhaps 200,000 BP. Certainly by 100,000 BP he is found in considerable numbers throughout the whole of Europe, western Asia and Africa, where he is in sole charge — but not in North or South America, Australia or the Pacific, which remain empty of mankind. He is the only form of man found on Earth at this time. `Found', we have to note, is a cautionary term. We cannot say what other finds may yet one day be made — and there does remain of course, and very much so, the problem of the physical and geographical origins of Cro-Magnon.

For Cro-Magnon (homo sapiens sapiens) appears abruptly, effectively from nowhere, 30,000 years ago in southern Europe. No trace of his original home site has yet been found. Partly for this reason, some authorities have tried to argue for a rapid evolution of Cro-Magnon out of a Neanderthal stock. The rapidity that would be required is, however, far too great for credibility. Ralph Solecki (see Chapter 8) states simply: `This hypothesis has been abandoned.' N3

By 25,000 BP Cro-Magnon is said to be solely dominant in Europe. This last statement, supported this time by the whole of the orthodox establishment and with no dissenting voices, is nevertheless totally incorrect. Not only are subsequent fossils found with mixed Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon characteristics (e.g. `a man of rather primitive physical type: robust with unusually heavy brow ridges' B161), a general circumstance very supportive for the position of this book — but far more importantly, actual living groups of pure Neanderthals survive right up until recent historical times, in fact even up to our own present day. The ancient Greeks, for example, report attacks on their towns by `wild men' and, most fortunately for us, preserve portraits of the attackers on vases (see Figure lie. Chapter 15). A captive wild man was brought before the Roman general Sulla in 86 BC. A thirteenth-century church in France has a fine sculpture of one (see again Chapter 15). A German anthropologist described another captured individual in 1784. Major General Topilsky of the Russian army shot and examined yet another in 1925. A group were seen in the Gobi desert in 1927, and described in detail; and Boris Porshnev, Director of modern History, Moscow Academy, reports many further eye-witness accounts between 1930 and 1950.

This continued survival of Neanderthal after 25,000 BP is important to us for several reasons. First, this circumstance allows considerably more time and opportunity for interbreeding between Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal to have occurred. Second, it equally enables eye-witnesses much more time and opportunity to have viewed and described Neanderthal ceremony and magical practice, right up to and including historical time. Third, the continued existence and occasional sighting of Neanderthal very much encouraged the true-life stories of Cro-Magnon's encounter with Neanderthal to be told and re-told, in stories which might otherwise, in the course of very long periods of time, have faded from the story-teller's repertoire.

Nevertheless, we must emphasise that these surviving Neanderthals live on only at the fringes of the main thrust of further human
development, in fact actually in the most inaccessible areas available. All the peoples whose evolution we trace and discuss from
25,000 BP onwards are men and women essentially like ourselves — that is to say, are predominantly Cro-Magnonoid in origin and general characteristics, with, however, in different cases, varying but nonetheless always only slight admixtures of Neanderthal genes.

Turning now to our `modern' peoples, those individuals who were subsequently to become the North and South American Indians reached the New World from what is now northern Russia by way of a land bridge, which existed from 26,000 BP (until 8000 BP). The consensus opinion is that the main migration occurred around 20,000 BP or earlier. All the migrants involved came originally not from the Russian area (they merely passed through it) but from Asia; and resemble the Mongoloids of Indonesia, Tibet and West Central Asia more than they do the peoples of Mongolia, China and Japan. This is an important circumstance.

The ancestors of the Australian Aborigines, on the other hand, probably reached their new homeland in Australia somewhat earlier,
around 25,000 BP (though the oldest archaeological finds actually date from 35,000 BP). Their starting point had almost certainly been
southern India. No authority in any case disputes that the Aborigines are the same physical stock as the present-day Dravidians and Veddahs of southern India. Opinion also seems to be growing that the Aboriginal language itself is related to Dravidian. (Certainly place
names in Sri Lanka such as Trincomalee and Polonarua do sound remarkably Australian, and the Dravidians actually used boomerangs.)
For the purposes of the present book, India is a very acceptable starting point for the Aborigines.

However, the main point to emphasise at this stage is that both the American Indian and the Australian Aborigine had each been completely encapsulated and isolated in their respective current homelands (the New World and Australia) for upwards of 20,000 years, until a few hundred years ago. They had, meantime, been without any contact with any other culture or type of man. It is clear therefore that any cultural or religious practices shown by these peoples, locked within their space-time capsules, must either have been brought with them when they first arrived; or have been independently evolved by them in the meantime.

There is another, rather briefer time-scale, in a somewhat smaller arena, which we nevertheless also very much need. This involves the languages of Europe, Russia and south-east Asia. Of these, at first sight very different languages, the large majority are in fact all
members of one language family, and all descended from one common parent. This family includes Russian, Hittite, Persian, Hindi, Greek, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, English and many others. The common parent from which all these tongues descend is usually referred to as Indo-European. It is impossible to state with certainty when exactly (or where exactly) this parent language originally existed, and there was never any written form of it. Most expert guesstimates however propose Indo-European existing as one entity about 6000 years ago (that is, 4000 BC); and place its homeland somewhere north of the Black Sea. This statement however is in no way to suggest that Indo-European itself began as a language at that point in time. On the contrary, this was already a sophisticated and enormously complex language, with a very long history. N4

Very probably related to Indo-European and in existence alongside it 6000 years ago (also perhaps geographically, though that is not
certain) is Uralic. The Uralic family is today represented by Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian and a few other languages. A common ancestral tongue to Uralic and Indo-European would probably have existed some time between 7000-10,000 BP.

There exists also a further possible connection between Uralic/Indo-European and the Semitic-Hamitic language family, although
the linguistic evidence here is admittedly only slight. However, envisaging one common ancestor for all three of these language
families would take us back well beyond 10,000 BP. It is impossible to say, again, how far back. My own view (as a linguist) is however that the language of Cro-Magnon is the probable ultimate ancestor of all the languages so far mentioned in this connection, at a point some 25,000-30,000 BP.

The matters of the foregoing paragraphs are important to us for the following reason: that any parallel legends or folk-tales or
fairy-tales that we find commonly distributed among European languages today must, therefore, have an age of at least 6000 years, as far as their original form is concerned; and any legends and other verbal materials and traditions we find commonly held across European and (say) Semitic languages must then of course, in origin, be a great deal older still.

We have, then, learned something very significant in this chapter, namely that there is more than one way of reaching back into our
distant past. We are, after all, not totally dependent on the skill, and the luck, of the archaeologist.

In conclusion, it should be emphasised that the languages of the North and South American Indians bear no relationship whatsoever to any of the Indo-European, Uralic or Semitic-Hamitic groups; and that the Aboriginal and Dravidian languages likewise have no relationship to them at all. Linguistically speaking, these macro-units are all watertight compartments.

How, then, shall orthodoxy account for the complex cultural and social heritage which these and indeed all other peoples of the world prove to have in common?

4. Three Ms: (1) The Hunted Maidens

THE MATERIAL OF the next three chapters has been deliberately selected out of the mass of data on offer (hence the suggestion in the titles that the chapters are linked) because it does so self-evidently bear out the position taken up in this book, requiring little if any interpretation. It is, in short, instant and dramatic evidence of a world-wide and very ancient human legacy. It is, if you will, the
Neanderthal inheritance — the document, as in a romance, discovered hidden in a forgotten book, or an old box, that suddenly visits total confusion and defeat on the false claimants to the estate. Much other evidence of the position presented in later chapters is equally compelling, equally dramatic — but some aspects of this require a structure of inference. It is material that could at first glance bear evaluation in a number of lights or several senses; though ultimately, in my opinion, only in one. So, then, on to the drama itself. We are gathered in the study.

The ancient Greeks have left us a wealth of legendary material concerned with the mythical origins of star constellations and
individual stars. There are, for example, two stories (each with significant similarities) concerning the constellation called the
Pleiades, a group of seven stars, of which six are readily visible, with a fainter seventh. One of the stories is as follows.

Orion the hunter came upon six sisters and their mother in a wood. Overcome with passion, he pursued the fleeing group through the forest for five years. At that point Zeus took pity on the seven women, and changed both pursued and pursuer into stars. So in the sky now we see the seven Pleiades eternally pursued by Orion the hunter.

Here, then, is the story of the origin of the Pleiades as told by the Australian Aborigines. Wurrunna the hunter was out in search of game in a strange district. Here he came upon a camp, in which however he found only seven young girls. The girls said they had come from a far country, out of curiosity, and were alone. Wurrunna decided this was a good chance to get himself a wife. By a ruse he detached two of the girls from the others and seized them about the waist, telling them they must go with him as his wives. He then told the girls to cut him some bark for the fire. As the two girls each struck a separate tree, the trees suddenly grew rapidly till their tops reached the sky. The other five sisters, who were already in the sky, now called out. At this the kidnapped pair quickly climbed the trees, and were drawn up into the heavens by their sisters, to live with them there for ever. B46

This, now, is the story of the Pleiades as told by the Wyoming Indians of North America. There in a particular spot is a massive rock
formation of volcanic origin, a natural tower of rock 865 feet high, with a flat top. The Indian legend tells how seven young girls were
being pursued by a bear. They tried to save themselves by climbing up on a flat rock. But the bear could easily climb this too. So in order to save the girls the gods caused the rock to rise up far beyond the reach of the bear, pushing the girls into the sky, where they can still be seen as the seven stars of the Pleiades. (Just to cap matters here, Peter Lancaster Brown reports that the Florida Indians down in the south east — the Wyoming Indians are in the north west — have a story of the Pleiades, which they call `the company of maidens', that is `virtually a carbon copy' of the Greek Orion legend.)'"

Here, then, is a most formidable mystery for orthodoxy, even if matters went no further (although they do). How can it be that three
totally different ethnic groups — the ancient Greeks, the Australian Aborigines and the American Indians — living in distant, self-contained geographical areas, and separated from each other also in time by some 20,000 years (not that they were together in any conventional sense before that) nevertheless share what is basically the same legend? What are the chances of these groups having evolved the same story independently? Answer, none. Incidentally, in respect of the Greek and Australian stories, I am myself convinced that Orion and Wurrunna are the self-same name. This, in my further view, is an actual Neanderthal word.

There is, of course, nothing in the Pleiades themselves to suggest that they are females, let alone hunted females. They are just a tiny group of seven undistinguished, fourth-magnitude stars — so not even first, second or third magnitude.

The three given accounts of the origin of the Pleiades are remarkable in the following ways. We shall find this to be the hallmark of most of the material examined throughout this book.

(1) The marked similarities between the accounts are too great to involve any possibility of coincidence or independent generation. They must, in all reasonableness, have a common point of origin.

(2) The also marked differences between the accounts are `evidence of a long interval of separation from that common point of origin.

Under (1) we have the fact that the seven are always seven females, who are always hunted. They always escape their pursuer through divine or magical intervention, whereby they are raised up and placed out of reach permanently in the sky. Here they form a star cluster which, in each case, is the Pleiades. It should be emphasised again here that if this material were the only piece of solid evidence which the present book possessed, it would by itself still be enough for orthodoxy to choke to death on.

Under (2) we have the fact that in two cases the pursuers are men, in one case a bear — however, both the hunters are mythical heroes, while the bear in North America is a cult object. And in two cases the pursuit is overtly sexual, while in the third it is not. In only one of the legends, that of Orion — but more of him in a moment — is the hunter also turned into a star group. (But again, Australian legend does have the name of the star group for its hunter.) Yet, as already suggested, we may in the circumstances also take these marked differences as supportive of our general argument: for they demonstrate that the legend has had much time to become totally embedded in the particular folk-weave of the culture in question.

As it happens, however, both the Pleiades and Orion are remarkable on many further counts.

The Pleiades are the only constellation noted and named by every culture on earth, past and present, from the most advanced to the most primitive. Thus Lancaster Brown notes: `They were one of the most observed and discussed groups of stars in the ancient world… Every civilisation had recorded their presence in the sky. B111 J.G. Frazer, devoting a special section of The Golden Bough to an extensive documentation of the role of this star group, writes:

The constellation of the Pleiades plays an important part in the calendar of primitive peoples, both in the northern and southern
hemisphere. Indeed, for reasons which at first sight are not obvious, savages appear to have paid more attention to this constellation than to any other group of stars in the sky. B59

Gleadow and others, moreover, note that the Pleiades, Orion and the Bear are the only constellations that are reliably identified by
mention in the Bible — and so are effectively the only ones mentioned at all. Gleadow tells us:

The most famous reference occurs in the Lord's speech out of the whirlwind in the thirty-eighth chapter of Job: `Canst thou bind the
cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion… or canst thou guide the Bear with her train?' And there is a similar passage in the
ninth chapter, verse nine. where Job says of God: `which maketh the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades and the chambers of the south'. Also the prophet Amos exhorts us (Chapter V:8): `Seek Him that maketh the Pleiades and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night. B60

What an extraordinarily exalted position these biblical extracts do give to this objectively obscure little star group.

The Omagua Indians of Brazil likewise ascribed to the Pleiades a special status in human destiny. There the name of the constellation
means `Mother of those who are thirsty'. The Omagua further say that when the constellation disappears below the horizon, the snakes lose their poison; while its reappearance is held to mark the beginning of spring. (Later in the book we shall be clear that the terms `Mother', `snake' and the — implied — rain are all sure indicators of the influence of the moon.)

The Blackfeet Indians of North America not only know and observe the Pleiades, but celebrate their most important feast in respect of it. This is a national feast which the whole tribe turns out to celebrate. `The women swear by the Pleiades as the men do by the sun or the morning star.' (The reference to women here is, again, important.) For the Pueblo Indians of Arizona the culmination of the Pleiades is a most important event. Reporting on this, J. Walter Fewkes (a naturalist writing in 1895) comments:

`I cannot explain its significance, and why of all stellar objects this minute cluster of stars of low magnitude is more important than
other stellar groups is not clear to me.' B59 In Mexico, as in Brazil, the Indians there date the New Year from the rising of the Pleiades.
With some South American tribes the word for `year' and for `Pleiades' is one and the same.

Before leaving the Americas, mention must be made of the great importance which both the Aztecs and the Incas attached to this
constellation. The most solemn and impressive religious ceremony of the Aztecs was timed to coincide with the moment when the Pleiades were in the middle of the sky precisely at midnight. The ceremony occurred at the end of their so-called `great period' of fifty-two years (we note, in passing, but without , further comment here, that 52 = 4 x 13). The expectation of the Aztecs was that at this point the stars could cease to revolve, and the world come to an end.

When the critical moment approached, the priests watched from the top of a mountain the movement of the stars, and especially of the Pleiades, with the utmost anxiety. When that constellation was seen to cross the meridian, great was the joy; for they knew that the world was respited for another 52 years. Immediately the bravest and handsomest of the captives was thrown down on his back; a board of dry wood was placed on his breast, and one of the priests made fire by twisting a stick between his hands on the board. As soon as the flame burst forth, the breast of the victim was cut open, his heart torn out, and together with the rest of his body was thrown into the fire. Runners carried the new fire at full speed to all parts of the kingdom to rekindle the cold hearths; for every fire throughout the country had been extinguished as a preparation for this solemn rite. B59)

The Incas, however, invoked no such concept of a great period. They worshipped the Pleiades `because of their curious position and the symmetry of their shape'. This is a very odd statement — for there is nothing immediately curious about the position of the Pleiades, nor anything particularly symmetrical. It looks very much here as if the Incas were either inventing reasons for their worship — or remembering reasons which no longer applied. For it is perhaps the case that the Pleiades were once symmetrical a long time ago — since we must appreciate that all the constellations are continuously altering their shape. This particular point recurs with greater force later in the chapter.

Far away from America, the Society Islanders of the South Pacific divide the year into two seasons — Pleiades above the horizon and
Pleiades below. In the Hervey Islands, again South Pacific, the New Year begins with the appearance of the constellation on the eastern horizon. The Maoris of New Zealand likewise reckoned New Year from the Pleiades. But more important than any calendrical function is the fact that the Pleiades are devoutly worshipped throughout the whole of the South Seas.

In Australia the Aborigines (who are not South Sea Islanders or Polynesians) once again mark New Year from the eastern rising of this
star group — at which point they, not at all unlike the Aztecs and the Blackfeet — hold elaborate religious ceremonies, in the belief that these will ensure an increase in food supplies in the coming year. The Aborigines believe not only that the Pleiades bring rain (so here too, as in South America, these are `the mothers/sisters of those who are thirsty') but some even believe that they and not the sun generate the warmth of summer!

Away from the South Seas in Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, the story is the same. On to Africa, where once again the Pleiades signal New Year among the Bushmen, Bantu, Masai, Hottentots and many other tribes. It must be further emphasised that among many of the primitive peoples so far listed (as, interestingly enough, in the Bible itself, as we saw) only three star groups are named: the Pleiades, Orion and the Bear. Others name even fewer, the Masai recognising only the Pleiades, Orion's sword and Orion's belt. The Kikuyu name only the first.

What a truly remarkable story this is so far — and we have not yet even mentioned the Great Pyramid! Worldwide, various aspects of this tiny, faint constellation — its rising, its setting, its culmination — are not merely used as indicators of the New Year, or the start offspring, or the continuation of the world, but the constellation is worshipped as the provider of good things, a major controller of human destiny. It is the only star group, to repeat this once more, which every people knows of and every people respects.

Let us not in any sense pass over the European, Middle Eastern and Asian arenas. Agricultural writers in the classical world such as
Virgil and Hesiod advised, respectively: `Twice men gather the teeming produce; two are the seasons of harvest; either so soon as Taygete the Pleiad has shown her fair face to the earth, and spurned beneath her foot the despised streams of Ocean, or when she flees before the sign of the watery Fish, and descends from heaven — sadder maid — into the wintry waves': and `Begin your harvest when the Pleiads come to rising, and your ploughing when they set.'

Incidentally, we must vigorously discount any suggestion that the observation and worship of the Pleiades came about in the context of agriculture. Their role (as that of all the material in this book) is far older than that: which we understand when we realise that peoples who do not practise agriculture or animal husbandry at all — such as the Australian Aborigines, or the American Indians of Paraguay — nevertheless equally revere the Pleiades. The Paraguayan Indians, for their part, say that the Pleiades are `an image of their ancestor'. We shall eventually see that they are not mistaken.

In ancient Egypt the Great Pyramid was so oriented that in 2170 BC, when the Pleiades were on the meridian at midnight, they could be viewed through the south passageway. So the Great Pyramid itself was built with the Pleiades in mind. In ancient India the Pleiades are named as the first or the chief of the asterisms (constellations) — possibly, it is thought, because three or four thousand years ago the rising of the Pleiades coincided with the vernal equinox (which it no longer does — see below). The Babylonian zodiac of eighteen asterisms also began with the Pleiades. In ancient China this star group was one of the four `marker' constellations which divided the year into four equal sections — again perhaps because of its then connection with the vernal equinox. In China, further, we have good grounds for suspecting that Orion has taken over part of the earlier role of the Pleiades. B60

Here I would like to add a speculation of my own concerning the European arena. In Europe in more recent times (and we have still to
consider the fact that over long periods of time the various constellations gradually move forward in relation to the year) the
Pleiades have been rising in May and setting towards the end of October. The two main witches' sabbaths are on 30 April and 31 October (May Eve and November Eve). Is it possible that the Great Sabbaths of the witches are connected, originally, with the rising and setting of the Pleiades? If so, we would have a definite link between witchcraft and antiquity — as Margaret Murray always argued. B133

There is a further maverick item concerning the Pleiades. As already mentioned, this constellation consists of six readily discernible
stars (although, as stated, only of fourth magnitude) and one considerably fainter. Particularly in Europe and Asia there are many
different legends which `account' for this situation. A typical story tells how one of the sisters lost her virginity, and in her shame hid
her light from her companions. P.E. and G.D. Considine write as follows in this connection: `Of the seven stars one is at present
distinctly fainter than the other six, and there are many myths regarding this so-called lost Pleiad. In fact the myths occur in so
many ancient literatures that there is a well-established theory that at one time all seven of the stars were of approximately the same
brightness.' B35 B. Ernst and T.E. de Vries add: `It is remarkable that so many nations speak of them as seven sisters [n.b.], although
only six stars are clearly visible. All the legends therefore have a postscript to account for the missing seventh.' B54

These are most interesting comments — for if correct they carry recognition of the constellation back beyond 5000 BP, since already
from then on we begin to find the stories of the lost Pleiad. How much further back, on this evidence, we cannot say. But is it the case that other changes in other constellations might give us a clue to their `birthdays' in human affairs? Is it possibly the case that once at least some star groups looked more like the shapes and figures whose names they carry than they do today — did the Great Bear once look more like a bear, or Orion more like a man? This possibility is considered again in a later chapter.

Giorgio de Santillana provides us with a rich vein of further evidence. B162 He begins with Samson of biblical legend, who as everyone knows slew a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15). The Babylonian creator-hero Marduk, who was the Babylonian chief deity, performed his heroic deeds with the jaw-bone of a bull, which he used as a kind of boomerang. But that jaw-bone is in heaven — it is in fact the jaw of Taurus the Bull, specifically that part of Taurus the Greeks call the Hyades, a small, faint constellation. Hyades in Greek means `watery' — and in the Bible we further read that `God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw and there came water thereout, and when Samson had drunk his spirit came again and he revived' (Judges 15:19). Santillana in fact goes on to suggest that Samson, Marduk, Nimrod (`a mighty hunter before the Lord' — which might mean `before Yahweh existed'), Gilgamesh (in Mesopotamia) and Orion are all one and the same figure. In the sky, Taurus is immediately adjacent and to the north of Orion, and a glance at the star map at once suggests that these two are confronting each other — and presumably in combat, that is, as hunter and hunted. (We note, incidentally, that the Pleiades, like the Hyades, are a further part of Taurus.) Many other commentators also suggest links between Marduk/Nimrod, Gilgamesh and Orion, but not with all the specifics which Santillana offers.

The `heavenly jaw', Santillana tells us, is also identified by the Dyaks of Borneo, but he gives us no further information on that. But
he does tell us that in South America `the jaw of the tapir' is an aspect of Hunracán, the God of the Hurricane, and of course a great
destroyer. In China, Orion is the War Lord Tsan, who is Master of the Autumn Hunt — once again a hunter. (We have to appreciate,
incidentally, that the dawn rising of Orion, just like the dawn rising of the Pleiades, also heralds the spring; while the evening rising of
Orion, just like the evening rising of the Pleiades, also signals the advent of autumn/winter.) However, the War Lord Tsan, as a hunter,
uses a net. How interesting, then, that in Polynesia the constellation Orion is considered to be a huge snare for birds, while in Cambodia Orion is a trap for tigers. In Borneo it is a trap for pigs. But back to Polynesia for their fuller story. The Polynesians say that Orion is the snare which the creator-hero Maui used to hunt the sun-bird. And having caught the bird — with what did Maui beat it? Why, with the jawbone of Muri Ranga Vhenua `his own respected grandmother'.

What a remarkable weave of `coincidence' we see here. In every part of the world, including Africa, and including also Australia, if we are willing to agree that Wurrunna is Orion, the constellation Orion is seen either as a hunter (a hunter-warrior) or that with which you hunt. Is there any way, however, that we might consider these various legendary accounts to have been generated independently? Let us attempt such an explanation. First, the `horns' of Taurus really do, for once, look like the horns of a bull — or the ears of an ass, or of a tapir. And if Taurus is an animal, then one might fairly readily consider a constellation which confronts it to be that of a hunter. In partial objection to this proposal we might however point out that the Australian Aborigines do not actually identify Wurrunna with Orion, nor have any concept of such a constellation, nor of Taurus, nor of any animal. The Aborigines merely identify the Pleiades as a group of girls, who are chased by a hunter. Then again, does Taurus look like a tiger (Cambodia), or a pig (Borneo) or a sun-bird (Polynesia)?

What of the idea, however, that Orion's evening rising signifies autumn, traditionally the time for hunting? Any aspect of hunting will
therefore do to symbolise Orion, and any animal at all will do to symbolise his prey. Hence, perhaps, such stories arise independently
around the world. Well, one must agree that there certainly are some possible grains of explanation along those lines. Of course, as it
happens, most peoples do not reportedly use Orion to signify the onset of autumn — if they use anything at all, it is the Pleiades — but still.

Yet the deciding points for myself are these. (1) First, the recurring image of the jaw-bone, and its use as a weapon. I cannot personally accept that this motif could arise coincidentally or independently in so many parts of the world as an integral part of this material. (2)

There is the original material with which we opened this chapter — the Pleiades as a group of hunted women. Here we see no objective way at all in which different peoples could independently produce such a fanciful story. In the light of hard evidence such as this (and there is much more of the same hard evidence to come in the remainder of the book) we are, I think, justified in ruling less emphatic evidence also in our favour.

In short, then, I find myself in absolute agreement with Santillana's general conclusion — though we have much more evidence to come — namely: `Someone before history must have blocked the constellations out for reasons known to himself, and with such an authority that they were repeated without question substantially the same from Mexico to Africa and Polynesia — and have remained with us to this day.'

Santillana himself, incidentally, is a convinced diffusionist. He considers that some kind of migration carried these ideas around the
world — but his earliest date for this event seems to be 8000 BP, which will not do at all. The idea that from some small area in the
Middle East (the favourite starting point for most diffusionist theories) mankind set out into every nook and corner of the world,
where they persuaded every single human group to accept their ideas — but without leaving any trace of this startling journey and events anywhere in legend, and without bequeathing any foreign loan-words anywhere at all (except, perhaps, Wurrunna — although as it happens Santillana does not seem to know that story) along with the alleged loan-ideas, really doesn't stand up. All traditional dissemination theories break down under such detailed reflection.

The sheer degree of veneration of the Pleiades world-wide, as well as the at least implied veneration of Orion, if not in religious ceremony as such, then in terms of enshrinement as hunter-hero-warrior, must also seriously influence us. To labour the point somewhat, it is not just the fact that all peoples world-wide have chosen the Pleiades as the constellation which matters above all others; it is also the absolute fervour with which they have done so.

For there are, after all, any number of celestial mechanisms which primitive peoples could have elected to use as the marker of the New Year. They could have done what we do (well, almost do!), that is take the day after the shortest day as New Year's day. (In actual fact we take the eleventh day after the shortest day, which happens to be 21 December.) The shortest day is easily determined, especially in countries with clear skies, by studying the length of shadow cast by any fixed object. Or if a spring start were wanted, the vernal equinox could have been selected. The cyclic behaviour of any number of stars and constellations would do also, and ones that are far brighter than the Pleiades — these are actually very difficult to see at all when low on the horizon. (But of course the whole business of using primarily the stars is itself a little suspect among peoples who were allegedly first and foremost sun worshippers — like the Aztecs, the Incas and the ancient Egyptians. Actually, as we shall see, the sun-worshipping card has been dramatically, and one has to say deliberately, over-played by modern historians.) But then — the second point above — having all allegedly independently selected this quite unlikely candidate, the Pleiades, everyone goes completely overboard about it. They say, variously, it is the image of our ancestors, that it has a marvellous symmetry, they use the same word for `year' and `Pleiades' (what word were they using for `year' before?), they say it is responsible for the summer heat and the rain, they use it as a metaphor for the power of Almighty God, it signals whether the world is to end or not, the Great Pyramid is aligned in deference to it, and so on.

However, the mystery here is even deeper than it looks at first sight. For unknown to the peoples of historical times — otherwise, for
instance, the Great Pyramid and many other major temples and monuments of that period would not have been aligned with star groups — and due to a phenomenon know as the precession of the equinoxes, the activity of the constellations over long periods of time gradually moves forward through the earth's year. The constellations move forward approximately one month every 2000 years. Thus the first morning rising of the Pleiades currently occurs in May. Two thousand years ago that same rising occurred in April. Two thousand years before that it occurred in March. In fact, about 4000 years back that rising more or less coincided with the vernal equinox — and this particular coincidence, it is often suggested, is why the Babylonians and the ancient Indians chose it as the first or chief asterism. But go back another two thousand years still, and the Pleiades rises in February — and so is no indicator of anything particular at all.

Therefore, we are necessarily expected to suppose that no more than 4000 years ago, all over the world and simultaneously, mankind noticed that the morning rising of the Pleiades coincided with the vernal equinox, or less precisely with the more-or-less beginning of spring. And this realisation excited everyone so much that they all, without exception, set up elaborate religious rituals in respect of it, and also wove stories around this star group and the constellations immediately adjacent to it. By an amazing coincidence these stories often involved describing the Pleiades as a group of maidens — but we've been through all that. And remember, these events must (on the basis of normal explanation, that is) have happened simultaneously all around the world not more than 4000 years ago — because prior to that the risings and settings of the Pleiades and of Orion signified nothing in particular.

I myself find the above account unacceptable, even supposing there were not all the other evidence of the present book. Instead I now propose the following possible explanation of events. While, certainly, a critic might point out that this is at best only a hypothesis — nevertheless no one can deny that it is extremely neat, uite remarkably neat. An amazing `coincidence' perhaps.

The point has already been made that the constellations in terms of our obervations of their habits move gradually forward through the
year. But after a considerable time — about 26,000 years — they in fact arrive back at their point of departure, that is, back in the
month they were observed in all that time ago. If we track back 26,000 years from our present date, we find the Pleiades and Orion rising in the spring months — just as they do at the moment. Or go back instead from the time when Babylon and India made the Pleiades chief of the asterisms, and where its morning rising coincided with the vernal equinox, why then we have (-4000 years) + (-26,000 years) = -30,000 years. And as it just so happens, 30,000 years ago was the point when Cro-Magnon overran and destroyed Neanderthal. At that precise time Neanderthal — as I believe, expert in all the phenomena of the heavens — would have been logging and worshipping the Pleiades and Orion as the heralds of spring.

I will go further into the details of this possible situation in later chapters — but I think, in short, that Cro-Magnon took over all the
`magic' and ritual of Neanderthal for his own. But he took it over without any real understanding of most of it, and also with certain
appropriate changes to suit his own world view, his own existing social structure, his own biological imperatives. He took over
essentially empty forms, while losing the priceless content. So he at least saw the Pleiades (and Orion) only as gods/goddesses who made the spring, who made the world go on.

As further time subsequently passed, of course, the two constellations in question moved forward into summer, and no longer marked the spring. And meanwhile too Cro-Magnon (or rather the mixed Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal population) was now coping with the renewed onset of ice-age conditions in all of Europe, Asia and North America — and so with not too much time for philosophical analysis or scientific innovation. Nevertheless, through all those dark millennia, those many thousands of years, mankind did not lose the imagery and the stories and (in that sense) the knowledge the encounter with Neanderthal had bequeathed. Certainly all of this became gradually altered, gradually more garbled, losing further of even such meaning as it had once had. But survive, and still recognisably, it did everywhere.

Yet could that happen? Could a word-of-mouth tradition, unsupported by writing or any other form of hard record, persist recognisably over tens of thousands of years? Well, on that particular point, thanks to Robert Temple and others, we have some very hard evidence indeed (see notably Chapter 7). Quite conclusive evidence, in fact.

Then, around 10,000 years ago, with the final withdrawal of the ice caps, modern history effectively begins. Mankind recovers, fairly rapidly in fact, from the millennia of climatic oppression. In the northern hemisphere by 5000 BP we have the beginnings of ancient
Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, Crete. From this point on the old legends do now also everywhere become overlaid and intermingled with more modern and more sophisticated ideas. But once again, they survive. Still enough of the old core material is retained, and some of it remains recognisable — just.

And now we really do have a genuine coincidence. Purely coincidentally, around 4000 BP, by when astronomy is becoming a
flourishing science in many parts of the world, the star groups resume the same positions they last occupied at the fall of Neanderthal man (although they are not necessarily the same shape — that is a different point). And suddenly the astronomers `understand' the hints, the `real' meaning of the old legends and rituals! (Yet still and all, they have no idea how old these are, nor do they understand such matters as the precession of the equinox.) In this renaissance — and I think that is a fair word — these new seekers and thinkers now re-discover something of what ancient legend had always taught. Such realisation is then, of course, a tremendous spur to astronomy, astrology, religion, magical practice and much else of a desirable or undesirable nature.

One of the proofs of the position argued here is that different civilisations stick different bits of the old accounts in different places in their new philosophies. Nevertheless, the correspondences between the various new philosophies in respect of their loading of old material remain greater than can be accounted for by chance, as we have already begun to see. In Chapter 14 we shall, for example, be making some detailed comparisons between European, Babylonian, Chinese and Central American cosmologies and astronomies, even submitting some of these to straightforward statistical comparison and evaluation.

Meanwhile, back to the other `Ms'.

5. Three Ms: (2) The Dancing Maze

IN 1922 W.H. MATTHEWS published his book Mazes and Labyrinths. Like Robert Briffault's Mothers and J.G. Frazer's Golden Bough, Matthews' work is important not least because it is in touch, as a then still living concern, with a wealth of books and accounts written in the nineteenth century and earlier — prior to what we might call the `final solution' of the twentieth century, the imposition of the current tidy, orthodox view of human development on our schools and universities.

Apart from its general wealth of information, which we draw on, Mazes and Labyrinths gives us one particular and very salutary lesson.
Discussion of this particular item leads us into the central topic of the present chapter.

On the wall of an old Indian building in Arizona was said to have been ound the drawing of what is usually called a Cretan labyrinth, due to this figure's supposed origin in Minoan Crete. In 1761 a Spaniard had questioned the Pina Indians about this labyrinth — did they have any information on it? In response one Indian drew a labyrinth for him in the sand (see Figure 2), saying that this was the ground plan or design for a `building' which had once existed. The Spaniard, fortunately, preserved a copy of the sand drawing in his notes.

At the beginning of the present century, J.W. Fewkes, Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, attempted to investigate this matter. He showed an old Pina Indian the Spaniard's drawing from 1761, and asked if such a building had ever to his knowledge existed. The Indian replied no, but the design was one commonly employed in a children's game called Tcuhiki, or the House of Tcuhu, involving the movement of pebbles along a series of holes in the sand (presumably following the curves of the whorl). Tcuhu is a mythical hero, who is supposed to have made the spiral hole through which the Pina Indians came up from the underworld.

This is an absolutely thrilling account — in the light of the further material of this chapter — and one which, fortunately, we can accept totally at face value. Fewkes, Matthews, and those others involved, necessarily had to settle for the explanation that the labyrinth design had been introduced to the Indians by the early Spanish invaders — who themselves knew it very well from the floors of their own Catholic churches and cathedrals where, indeed, it served not only for penitential purposes, but as the basis for a children's game; both during the tedious church services (and often to the annoyance of the adults present) but also more legitimately in the fields, where such mazes were cut in turf or marked out with rocks or stones. Matthews, whose instinctive feelings about mazes are very strong, adds wistfully:

If it could be shown that these Indian childrens' games were associated with the labyrinth figure in those regions before the date
of the Spanish invasion of Mexico we should be forced to conclude either that, by an extraordinary coincidence, the figure became
evolved independently in the Old World and the New, or that in both it had a common origin of astounding antiquity. (emphasis added)

What a thousand pities that Matthews never knew that the same Cretan labyrinth was a sacred symbol of Mother Earth among the Hopi Indians, and that the Indians of Peru had laid out two giant versions of it on the Nasca plain more than 1500 years earlier.

Figure 2 shows, variously, the sand design recorded by the inquiring Spaniard in 1761, the sacred symbol of the Hopi Indians, one of two specifically labyrinth designs on the Nasca plain (there are in all five spiral designs,) the Cretan labyrinth (usually, though
incorrectly, held to be the original model of which all others are copies), a stone labyrinth in Gothland, a rock carving from Cornwall,
England, a design from Rajasthan, India, a stone circle from Finland, a reproduction on an Etruscan vase of the `Troy Game', and a Welsh Caerdroia. How easily the Pina Indian evidence could have been dismissed by orthodoxy, had it been our only evidence for American labyrinths: we have been very fortunate in the truth here.

There exists, further, a paleolithic carving of a spiral maze on a mammoth bone, from Siberia. B155 This is not of the same standardised or advanced design as the labyrinths shown in Figure 2. It is a simple, but nevertheless seven-fold spiral leading into a central point. Importantly also (see below) the entrance to this spiral is by means of an initial left-hand turn.

It is, then, absolutely clear that the `Cretan' labyrinth design (and leaving aside the mammoth bone) is at least 20,000 years old, (Since otherwise we could not find it extant both in the pre-Columbian Americas and in Crete. How disgraceful it is, first, that academic orthodoxy has as usual made no move whatsoever to come to terms with the implications of this evidence. How sad too that so many otherwise progressive writers also show a complete loss of nerve when faced with these implications. So, unlike Matthews, but like many others, Francis Hitching writes by way of `explanation': `… since it is possible to find an identical maze pattern emerging in places as far separated in time and distance as, say, a rock in Tintagel, Cornwall, a coin design in Crete, and a symbol for the Earth Mother among the Hopi Indians of Arizona, some powerful unconscious drive must be at work'. Much use is also made by writers of the term `archetype' in attempts to avoid the obvious truth — that we are dealing with a dissemination from some common ancient source.

It had better be said here and now that the idea of such detailed, parallel designs occurring throughout the world as a result of
unconscious drive is absolute balderdash. The various writers concerned appear also, in particular, not to have the slightest idea
what an archetype is and can actually achieve. In a later chapter we shall attempt to define the concept and discuss what is and what is not possible in archetypal terms.

But let us take a moment here to be quite clear about the objection. One is not at all saying that the experience of being lost in some
naturally occurring maze-like terrain, or in an actual man-made maze of some kind, does not powerfully remind us of the purely mental
experience we have all had of trying to find our way out of some emotional problem or relationship, or of grappling with some complex
reality-task (at work, say) where repeated failure overwhelms us with weariness or panic. It very much does — of course it does. In turn, these mental feelings of twisting, turning, repeatedly losing one's way, or of winding up back where one started from, may be given concrete form in the deliberate drawing, or building, of a physical maze — such concretisation of inner experience is almost a commonplace of artistic expression. But we are speaking here not just of maze-like structures in general, but of a very, very precise and detailed design. We only have to glance at the various items of Figure 2 to realise that we are dealing with one, specific model. Think of it this way — if we asked ten architects to design a swimming pool, would we get ten identical models? Of course not. So to say this again — the degree of agreement in our maze designs absolutely could not be achieved through the medium of common unconscious impulse. Any more than stars can look like hunted maidens!

Further proof regarding the common origin of these mazes comes from consideration of other surrounding evidence. But before moving to that, perhaps we should first define more precisely the artefact under discussion.

As regards the terminology used in respect of the phenomenon, there are two words in common use, maze and labyrinth. These are used interchangeably. It would be very convenient if the two terms applied specifically to what are in fact two different sub-categories, but they do not. The two categories are (1) the maze which requires to be solved, which sets out to trick, so that one easily loses one's way in it: indeed, once lost therein, the chances of finding the way out again either by chance or strategy are remote. The second category is (2) the maze which does not set out to trick or trap at all! One cannot in fact get lost in it. There is a (usually) long, winding path to the centre, where one turns into, or reverses into, a similar, or the same long, winding path that leads out again.

This second category of maze, perhaps surprisingly, irritates and upsets some commentators; or perhaps on reflection, not so
surprisingly, for its unobvious mystery is actually far more threatening, both psychologically and historically, than the deliberate challenge of the first. Thus, referring to Welsh examples of the second type of maze, one researcher, P. Roberts, expressed
dissatisfaction on these grounds — `because there are no means of losing the way into the citadel, the supposed way continuing regularly through all its winding, unbroken, which could scarcely have been the design of the inventor' (emphasis added). B128

No, such inevitability was precisely the intention and design of the original inventors. It is in fact the other kind of maze, the puzzle
maze, which is the `wrong', intrusive, Johnny-come-lately, meddlesome form (and representing intellect as opposed to intuition, method as opposed to ritual, conscious as opposed to unconscious N5). As suggested earlier, it would be extremely useful if the term maze were reserved exclusively for this puzzle form, and labyrinth for the ritual artefact. But unfortunately that is not the case. However, what is very much the case is that our concern in the present book, and this chapter specifically, is only and solely with the ritual maze, to which both terms, maze and labyrinth, must be understood henceforth to refer.

Regarding the structure of our ritual labyrinth, Francis Hitching tells us that it very often consists of a spiral of seven turns — `a
twin seven-coil spiral'. This claim can be instantly checked from the designs on offer in Figure 2. Starting at the top of each figure,
count the number of coils or tunnels to the centre. Most have seven, including the Cretan, Cornish, Rajasthan, Hopi Indian and Finnish
designs, the Welsh Caerdroia, and the Etruscan Troy Game. (Seven, incidentally, as we shall see, is always a moon number.) The fact that there are seven coils more frequently than there are any other number is of course further strong evidence for a common-point origin of this widespread design. The significance and distribution of the number seven is nevertheless also a separate phenomenon in its own right.

The Pina Indians spoke of the maze as the basis of a children's game. As so often, such apparently unimportant and incidental comments are full of instruction. Pliny (in his Natural History) makes a similar throw-away comment, that we should not compare the Egyptian and other labyrinths `with what we see traced in our mosaic pavements or to the mazes formed in the fields for the entertainment of children' (italics added). Then we have the hundreds of stone labyrinths found throughout Scandinavia (as a rule near the sea or on islands), the building units ranging in size from small pebbles, to stones about the size of a head, through to large blocks requiring the combined strength of several men to lift. In Finland these mazes are said to have been used for children's games — `where a girl stood at the centre, while the boys raced for her along the winding paths'. The possible implication of some orgiastic or sexual initiation rite is not at all misplaced here. For in Britain, at Hillbury labyrinth, the `youths and maidens' of the town used to congregate there on Good Friday and indulge in boisterous celebrations the origins of which are unknown'. Here again, in all probability, are the faint traces of a once orgiastic spring rite; and if this claim seems extravagant now, like many others it will not do so by the end of the book. Still on the subject of young people, shepherd lads in Wales, up to the nineteenth century, would cut a labyrinth in the turf (a Caerdroia) to play a ritualised game called `the walls of Troy', which involved the idea that the city of Troy was defended by seven walls. (It was the `pointlessness' of this maze game to which Roberts objected.) Then, as already mentioned, the labyrinths in churches throughout Europe, as well as those found in the surrounding fields, are said specifically to have engaged the play of children.

Apart from these links with children and young people, there are strong connections too with ancient sacred mysteries. Let us by no
means overlook, for a start, that the labyrinth of the Hopi is for them a very important sacred symbol; nor the strong religious/ritualistic background of the Nasca images; and that for the ina Indians the spiral maze is the path leading from the underworld. In Britain, then, a spiral maze formerly existed at Asenby in Yorkshire, in a hollow at the top of a hillock called the Fairies'
Hill. Local people would tread this maze, and then kneel at the centre `to hear the fairies singing'. There will be a good deal more to say about fairies, but for the moment we might just recall the common belief that the fairy folk danced in circles in the moonlight, and
that the penalty for being caught watching them do so was death. A general point, which all observers admit, is that these European mazes are as a rule not in places where they are likely to be stumbled on casually, and are `liable to escape the notice of all but the
intentional seeker' — a slight further hint, therefore, of a mystery aspect.

More impressive at this stage of our argument however will be Glastonbury Tor, an extremely significant mystical site. As Mary
Williams writes: `No part of the British Isles is so important and therefore so deserving of preservation as the Glastonbury area the
meeting place to an extraordinary degree of Christian and pre-Christian legend.' B205 Very recent research has revealed `a large
and massively cut maze surrounding the steep summit' of the Tor itself. It is to Glastonbury that Joseph of Arimathea is said to have
brought the Holy Grail (usually held to be the cup which Christ used at the Last Supper). We have then, whatever else, a firm link here
with King Arthur and his knights. It is also widely believed that at Glastonbury Joseph of Arimathea founded the first church in Britain,
and perhaps in all Christendom. It would of course be a commonplace political step, repeated often enough throughout history, to found a new order on the most important site of the old.

This is the correct point to discuss Spiral Castle. First, revolving islands (we recall here that many of the Scandinavian mazes were
located on islands) and castles with revolving wheels at the entrance are common in Celtic legend — one of them is the Welsh Caer Sidi (or Caer Sidin), which means literally the castle of the wheel. Prince Elfin (or his bard, who is probably himself), as we are told in the riddle of Gwion, was imprisoned in Caer Sidi, with the Thirteen Prison Locks. B78 (These thirteen locks are without doubt the 13 X 28 months of the moon year, making 364 days, and Elfin was released on the 365th day, making up the full year, i.e., the `year and a day' of legend and fairy story.) Caer Sidi is also the Castle of Arianrhod, the Lady of the Silver Wheel (see Chapter 6). When Celtic warriors said `our king has gone to Spiral Castle' they meant that the king was dead — and here we connect directly with our present theme. For Spiral Castle was also the name applied to the great New Grange burial mound in Ireland (also further called the Fortress of Magic or Fairydom). New Grange is a flat-topped, round barrow about a quarter of a mile in circumference, and 50 ft high. It is constructed from without of some 50,000 tons of heaped stones, although the total stonework used is some 180,000 tons. Originally the finished mound was entirely covered with white quartz pebbles (the chief colour of the moon or White Goddess). It was also originally surrounded by twelve great stones at the south end, weighing between 8 and 10 tons apiece. (These twelve stones plus the barrow itself would of course make up the traditional Druidic coven of thirteen.) The ground plan of the inner barrow is in the shape of a Celtic cross. In front of the doorway is a broad slab covered with spirals. `These spirals are double ones: follow the lines with your finger from outside to inside and when you reach the centre, there is the head of another spiral coiled in the reverse direction to
take you out again.'N6 B78

So there we are — once more squarely, or rather roundly — back with the Cretan labyrinth.

One further very significant feature of New Grange, however, is that on only one day a year, that of the winter solstice, are the sun's
rays low enough to penetrate the interior at midday (a remarkable piece of engineering). So Spiral Castle is not only the place of the
dead king. It is the place of the dead Sun. The point is extremely important, and one on which Graves also is in no doubt: `The sacred
king, then, is a Sun-King and returns at death to the Universal Mother, the White Moon Goddess.' B78 The King goes, that is to say, to
Spiral Castle.

Here it is appropriate to turn to an examination of the Cretan labyrinth itself, and its own very strong mystical connections, for
though in no sense the starting point of the story of the labyrinth (as is incorrectly believed) it and the legends which surround it are
nevertheless an important focal point. This particular story begins around 8000 BP, when settlers first colonised the island of Crete. From then on, on the site of the city of Cnossos, are found neolithic deposits `of great thickness' that lead in an unbroken sequence into the so-called palace era of around 4000 BP. The culminating era of the great structures associated with King Minos, the Cretan labyrinth, the Minotaur and Theseus begins around 3500 BP. In the earlier neolithic period, however, are found many terra-cotta images of a goddess `with exuberant thighs and breasts'. B179 These are cousin to the older `stone Venuses' found in many areas (see Chapter 10) and are considered, like them, to be images of Mother Earth — but the Mother Earth card, like the Sun card, has once again been greatly overplayed by historians, as we shall see. In the palaces of later Cnossos, as in all the legendary tales
associated with them, we find reference only to the moon. On those grounds alone we would argue that the earlier figures are also hers.

The story of Cnossos and its Minoan civilisation was brought to a sudden end by violent earthquake. There is therefore no direct
historical record of its objective nature, but only the legends concerning it which circulated in later Greece. Recent archaeology of
the present century has however revealed its architectural magnificence.

The ruler of Minoan Crete was King Minos, though the name almost certainly refers to an hereditary office and many different
individuals, as with `Pharaoh'. Minos is said to be the son of Europa, a moon goddess, and Zeus — he having seduced Europa in the guise of a three-coloured bull. The three colours are those of the lunar deity, but bulls in any case always represent the moon: these are all matters for a chapter specifically concerning the moon. Minos in any case is married to the moon goddess Pasiphae, and their daughter Ariadne is also a moon goddess (and moreover, as Graves tells us, identical with the Celtic Arianrhod). Already we see that from all points of view Cnossos is the Court of the Moon, but there is much more evidence still.

At Cnossos was allegedly located the famous Cretan labyrinth, the image of which appears so prolifically on Cretan coins of the period,
as do also, however, swastikas and the heads of bulls. `Allegedly' because excavation has revealed no trace whatsoever of such a
structure, only a meandering, swastika-like red (n.b.) motif on a white (n.b.) background on the walls of the palace. I myself think the
reason for the non-discovery of the labyrinth is because this was no permanent structure in stone, much less underground as many assume, but one built of bushes or trees, and quite deliberately left open to the (night) sky. Even rings of large, free-standing boulders would of course vanish without trace in violent earthquake.

The story goes that the labyrinth was built, at the suggestion of the oracle, to form the prison of an offspring born to Pasiphae following her perverted love affair with a bull (perhaps a father-in-law fixation!). This offspring was the Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Anyone entering the labyrinth was killed by the Minotaur. Meantime, a son of Minos had been unlawfully slain in Attica, and as a penance Minos demanded of the Athenians that they send him a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens every nine years (seven and nine, we note, both being moon numbers). These young people were then thrust into the labyrinth, taken by the Minotaur and killed. On the occasion of the third tribute, Theseus offered himself voluntarily as one of the party.N7

As is well known, prior to his entry into the labyrinth, Theseus was provided with a ball of thread by Ariadne (and a sword) so that he
could find his way out again after killing the Minotaur, which he duly did. The legend as it comes down to us is however, I suggest,
seriously misleading in one respect. For the Cretan labyrinth was emphatically not a puzzle maze, as is altogether clearly shown in the
numerous coin designs of Crete, and all the versions of this maze throughout subsequent classical Greece and Rome. Theseus therefore needed no `clue' (the word means, literally, a thread) to escape from the labyrinth — all he needed was to be told by Ariadne that the `maze' consisted of one path in and one path out. No, the clue, in both senses of the term, is telling us something quite different — namely that the maze dancers laid down a cord as they went in, and gathered it up again as they danced out. The cord laying and gathering was a symbolic and ritual act, the evidence for which, and whose explanation, must largely wait for the next chapter. However, the original rope dance may have been replaced later by one in which the dancers held hands, before and behind, so forming a linked procession and a symbolic rope. This arrangement can be seen, for example, in the farandole of Provence, which, interestingly enough, involves dancing `a great variety of spirals'. (None the less, from evidence we shall look at in later chapters, there is little doubt that the original method of killing the human sacrificial victims involved strangulation with a cord.)

That dancing was quite certainly involved in the maze ritual we know from more than one source. For example. Homer wrote: `Daedalus in Cnossos once contrived/A dancing floor for fair-haired Ariadne', a reference, as scholars agree, to the labyrinth dance. More directly still, legend states that the subsequently fleeing Theseus and Ariadne, on the island of Delos, founded and performed the Geranos or crane dance, which was still performed (in actuality that is, not in legend) up till recent times. This ballet enacted the threading of the labyrinth and the associated rituals. The precise details of the dance are not known today, but Graves, quoting Plutarch, tells us that `it was performed around a horned altar, and represented the circles that coiled and uncoiled in the labyrinth'. The horned altar, of course, represents the Minotaur — or rather that which the Minotaur also symbolised — and quite certainly actual human sacrifice was involved. We can be sure that on Minoan Crete, at least originally, seven young males and seven young females were sacrificed at an important rite every nine years in honour of the Moon Goddess, most probably on the altar at the heart of the labyrinth.

The historical thread of the maze dance is one we ourselves do well to follow. This dance certainly flourished in the city of Troy — not, I am sure, as a borrowing from Crete, but having there its own local genesis.N8 We have already seen the name `Troy' inscribed on thelabyrinth on the Etruscan vase (figure 2). Matthews comments on `the frequency with which the name Troy is associated with the idea of the labyrinth'. He continues: `We find this association, for instance, in the case of the "Troy towns" of Somerton and Hillbury, the "Walls of Troy" of the Cumberland marshes and Appleby in Lincolnshire and the "Caerdroia" of the Welsh shepherds. In northern Europe we find it as "Troja" or in such combinations as "Trojeborg" or "Troborg". B128

The Caerdroia of the Welsh shepherd may mean `the walls of Troy' (caer
meaning variously wall, fort, castle, citadel); or it may be a
contraction of caer y troian, meaning `the city of wanderings or
turnings' (or of course the castle of wanderings or turnings, and so
again Spiral Castle). The second case gives us a purely Welsh
derivation for Caerdroia, one which is disputed however, and probably
precisely for the reason suggested earlier, that the idea of greater
and indigenous antiquity always constitutes the greater threat to
orthodox, reductionist views. One would turn the whole argument on the
objectors here, and far from agreeing that Caerdroia arises from the
name of the city of Troy, propose rather that Troy derives it own name
from the Indo-European word for `to turn' (as in Welsh troi, modern
German drehen, and our own word `turn' itself). In other words, then,
Troy itself would effectively mean the city `of the labyrinth' or `the
turning dance'.

In at least indirect support of this view, the `Troy Game' or the
`Troy Dance' was, according to Graves, `a labyrinthine dance of Asia
Minor' and was also performed in Rome by young noblemen (the `young'
may be significant here, see above) `in honour of their Trojan
origin'. Ceremonial parades called Troi or Troi-Aldei are also written
of in thirteenth-century Germany, and the songs which accompanied them
were called Troyerlais. Some one-time folk-dances of Serbia were
called Trojanka and Trojanac. Unfortunately no details are recorded of
how these dances were performed. In Britain, Graves further tells us,
the Troy labyrinth dance survives as the Easter Maze dances of country
villages — so we would have then a further link between the turf and
stone mazes and spring/fertility rites — and he further himself
connects the dances with the tradition of Spiral Castle, all of which
is very satisfactory.

Many churches and cathedrals throughout Europe (particularly in
France, Britain and Italy) have large Cretan mazes inlaid on their
floors. Why should that be the case? The answer is a tribute to the
great importance attaching to the maze among the general population
well into historical times.N9 Many churches and cathedrals were
actually built on the sites of former major labyrinths, for possibly
purely political reasons — i.e., to make the churches more acceptable
to the people. Even then, the mazes were too important simply to
obliterate — they had to be actually incorporated into the physical
fabric of the church. And not only that — they had to be used. Walking
the maze on the church floor was a recognised act of penance, with
suitable prayers and votaries offered at points en route by the
penitent. Treading the maze thus was often known as taking `a trip to
Jerusalem' — for very wealthy penitents would sometimes make a real
trip to the real Holy Land to atone for some major sin. The mazes in
the churches were not danced, at least not by adults. That would have
been too great and too dangerous a concession. On the contrary, the
church with good reason frowned on dancing in general, and especially
dancing on the Sabbath. We do in fact readily come to understand much
of the nature of the Old Religion simply by reversing the edicts of
the church — clearly dancing on the Sabbath was exactly what you did
in the Old Religion, that is indeed why witches did it: bearing in
mind also that the (Christian) Sabbath is in origin not a weekly but a
monthly event, a festival held to celebrate the menstruation of the
Moon Goddess (see Chapters 9 and 10).

There are a number of further points to make concerning the labyrinth.

The idea of giving Theseus a ball of thread was suggested to Ariadne
by Daedalus, the engineer who built the labyrinth. After the departure
of Theseus and Ariadne, Daedalus himself was thrown into the maze —
but escaped by making himself a pair of wings out of old feathers.
(The fact that he could fly out of the labyrinth does suggest that
this was open to the sky.) So then Daedalus went into hiding, pursued
by King Minos. Minos went everywhere asking a riddle — namely, how
could one pass a thread through an empty snail shell without breaking
the shell? — knowing Daedalus would be unable to resist tackling the
problem. Sure enough, Daedalus gave away his whereabouts by providing
an adequate solution, which was to tie the thread to an ant, and let
the ant enter the shell. The true significance of his ant-and-thread
answer must wait for the next chapter. Here we can point out not
simply that the snail and its shell, like all wet and watery
creatures, belongs to the moon — but that in ancient Mexico the moon
god, Tecciztecatl, is shown enclosed in a snail shell. The shell
itself, of course, is a spiral labyrinth. If we needed it then, here
is one further identification of the Cretan labyrinth with the moon —
or for that matter, of all labyrinths with the moon.

The Minotaur at the heart of the labyrinth in Crete has special
significances for which we need other contexts. In particular, James
Vogh has given us a remarkable insight into this creature (see Chapter
10). Not for a moment, however, need we doubt the grim realities of
the Minotaur cult: `At Cnossos a deposit of children's bones with
clear knife marks has been unearthed pointing, as it seems, to the
cannibalistic feast of some minotaur.' B19

The word `labyrinth' itself is commonly said to derive from the word
`labrys', meaning a two-headed axe. The symbol of the two-headed axe
is certainly found everywhere in Crete, and on altars where it is
combined with bull horns (which themselves are found on all sides,
both in naturalistic and highly stylised forms). On the Mycenaean
mainland also, the archaeologist Schliemann discovered in a grave an
ox-head in gold plate, with a double axe between the upright horns.
There are, however, problems with the words labyrinth and labrys which
many, though not all, philologists are inclined to gloss over. First,
the suffix -inthos (labyrinthos) is invariably applied only to words
of pre-Greek origin. Second, the word labrys reverses the `yr' of
labyrinth into `ry', which is not a particularly easy change to accept
philologically. I am inclined myself to think that labyrinth is
actually another surviving Neanderthal word (the name for what was, as
we have already begun to demonstrate, their central religious
structure) and labrys a later barbaric corruption of it. However, be
that as it may, my own view again is that the two-headed axe is
certainly a stylised female vagina(!), as is then also the derivative
two-headed god, Janus, who looks both ways, back I into the old year
and forward into the new. The moon, divided into two halves of light
and dark, the likewise so divided yin-yang symbol of ancient China,
and so forth, I take to be further variations of the same basic
symbology. Interesting, and I think relevant reports come from two
mediaeval Spanish writers, B29 and from Margaret Murray. B134 These
tell us that witches danced in couples joined back to back with
interlocking hands or arms. In this position they spun around shaking
and tossing their heads in frenzy. In general terms, in this whole
context, we probably also have a further oblique reference to the
labyrinth with its two paths, one leading in and one leading out, so
to speak, `back to back'.

Early and mediaeval alchemists were also preoccupied with the
labyrinth — which they usually called the Labyrinth of Solomon — and
we shall want to look at their views. It is in fact most curious how,
all over Europe, similar such names were given locally to mazes and
labyrinths — the Ruins of Jerusalem, the City of Nineveh, the Walls of
Jericho, the Walls of Troy. Suddenly the image springs to mind of
Joshua with seven priests marching seven times around the walls of the
city of Jericho. Or perhaps they danced. It seems, as the Arabs say,
koolshi wahed, it is all one.

It would be excellent if it were the case that entry into the
labyrinth always involved an initial turn to the left. It does, for
instance, in the Pina Indian, Rajasthan, Cretan and Cornwall designs
(Figure 2), and the mammoth bone carving. I would say that of all the
instances I have examined about fifty per cent involve an entry turn
to the left — which is, however, still remarkable, given that turning
left is the instinctive move of the left-hander, while nevertheless
only some ten per cent of Europeans are in fact left-handed. (That
turning movements are indeed instinctive we see from the following
experiment. If a left-handed person is blindfolded and asked to walk
across a field in a straight line, he veers to the left. A
right-handed person in the same situation veers to the right.) My own
view is that entry into the labyrinth was, originally, always a
left-hand turn — partly because I consider that Neanderthal man was
left-handed — but also, very importantly, for the reasons given at the
end of the next , chapter. Finally, do we have any evidence of mazes
in Africa? The short answer is no — but we have some `evidence' from
W.H. Matthews which, like his intuitive grasp of the importance of the
Pina Indian sand drawing, one is inclined to take very seriously.
Matthews came across an old review of a book titled Some Zulu Customs
and Folklore, by L.H. Samuelson, published in 1912. According to the
review, the book contained a description of mazes made on the ground
by Zulus. Matthews' efforts to obtain a copy of the book were in vain
— the British Museum had no copy, nor the Folk Lore Society or any
other library. A strange set of circumstances. We are left with the
tantalising possibility that African tribespeople in recent times also
possessed a faint memory of the labyrinth. Here we were too late —
but, fortunately, enough of the story of our real history survives.


Stan Gooch was born in London in 1932. He took his first degree, in
Modern Languages, at King's College. After a brief period as a
and head teacher, he obtained a psychology degree at Birbeck College,
and was appointed Senior Research Psychologist at the National
Children's Bureau. During this time he authored two textbooks,
both of
which became required reading in psychology courses, and published
numerous papers and articles.

After resigning his post to pursue a full-time writing career, Stan
wrote and co-wrote 13 books and numerous articles on the subjects of
psychology, child health and development, parapsychology, and other
subjects. Titles include Total Man, Cities of Dreams., The Neanderthal
Question, The Secret Life of Humans, The Paranormal, and Personality
and Evolution.


Colin Wilson talks about the achievements of author Stan Gooch

It has seemed to me for many years that Stan Gooch is one of the most
underrated writers of our time.
The reasons are complex, but obviously connected with the fact that he
began life as a respectable academic, a research psychologist whose
first work was a textbook on child psychology.

Under normal circumstances, he would have continued to write textbooks
and become a member of the British academic establishment. But in
1958, when he was 26, he had an experience that was to change the
direction of his life. A schoolteacher in Coventry at the time, he was
invited to a 'seance' in the home of a friend. He went out of
curiosity. But as he sat in an ordinary hardback chair, facing the
'medium' he experienced a sense of light-headedness, then a rushing
sensation, as if the room was full of a great wind, and he heard a
noise like roaring waters. He felt as if a barrier had collapsed and
became unconscious. When he came to, he was told that he had entered a
trance state, and that several 'entities' had spoken through his
mouth, including a cousin who had died in the war.

At one of these seances, everyone became aware of an ape-like creature
crouched in the corner of the room, a 'cave man', which soon faded
away. Gooch later came to suspect that he had seen a 'Neanderthal.'

In spite of these bizarre spare-time activities, he proceeded with his
academic career, became a senior research psychologist at the National
Children's Bureau in 1964, and wrote his textbook. But he also wrote a
novel and short stories, and a chance meeting with a director of
Penguin Books led to a commission for Total Man (1972).

This was a remarkable work. On the surface it was a fascinating
combination of literary criticism and 'depth psychology'. Arguing from
works like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he suggested that man is a dual
being, consisting of a rational ego, and a darker more instinctive
being, which he calls the 'Self'. So far this sounds like fairly
orthodox Freudian (or Jungian) psychology - Gooch had first been
excited by the mysteries of psychology as a result of reading Karen
Horney in his teens. But it is soon obvious that his involvement with
his ideas is on a deeper, more personal level, than with most
psychologists. He regards the 'Self', which inhabits the 'old brain',
as the source of legends about vampires, troglodytes, demons and other
creatures from the world of the 'occult'. Clearly, his experience of
mediumship has made him aware of the unconscious as a mysterious realm
of strange, dark forces. He argues that the unconscious mind is
located in the part of the brain called the cerebellum.

Total Man was bold and imaginative, but was clearly the work of a
scientist; it seemed to promise that Gooch would become, like RD
Laing, one of the gurus of the 1970s. (Publisher's Weekly compared him
with Jung.) His next book, Personality and Evolution, subtitled The
Biology of the Divided Self, reinforced that expectation. It is partly
an attack on Darwinism and the notion of evolution by survival of the
fittest. But Gooch points out that ice ages may occur so abruptly that
there would be no time for natural selection.

He goes on to look at the work of Tinbergen on 'releasers' - stimuli
that release certain instincts, like a mother's reaction to a baby, or
a man's to a girl taking her clothes off. Tinbergen discovered that
some creatures prefer 'bigger than normal releasers' that seem oddly
illogical but which suggest inner-freedom to develop responses to
situations that have not yet arisen. Gooch is suggesting that there is
an element of choice that must have sounded to orthodox Darwinians
dangerously like the Lamarckian heresy. But then, Arthur Koestler and
many others were also attacking orthodox Darwinism at the time, and
Gooch might have been a maverick, but he was part of a non-orthodox
mainstream, and there was every reason to expect him to achieve his
own kind of respectability.

What happened was that his next book, The Neanderthal Question (1977)
appeared to make a disconcerting sideways leap into another field. In
fact the book was a logical development of his interest in man's 'two
selves'. He had come to believe that Neanderthal man was not
exterminated by Cro-Magnon about forty thousand years ago, but that he
was 'bred' out of separate existence by interbreeding with Cro-Magnon.
We are the result of this combination, with Cro-Magnon characteristics
predominating. Critics found the arguments of The Neanderthal Question
a little too bold and strange, although I, as an admirer of Gooch's
work, regarded it as an exciting new departure that was firmly based
on his past preoccupations. I was even more excited by his next book
The Paranormal (1978) in which he begins by describing in detail his
experiences as a medium and he goes on to produce a classic study of
the whole realm of paranormal experience. This is the book of his to
which I most refer. Yet I am also able to see that, to many critics,
it must have seemed that Gooch had abandoned the scientific and
academic approach of Total Man and Personality and Evolution, and
plunged into what Freud called 'the black tide of occultism'.

The title of his next book, Guardians of the Ancient Wisdom (1979)
must have confirmed their worst fears. In fact the book is an
important backward-look over his past work and an attempt to advance
cautiously into the realm of the 'lunar' being, the 'Self'.

In his next book The Double Helix of the Mind (1980) he takes up the
cudgel against the split-brain theorists - those who believe that the
difference between the left and right cerebral hemispheres is also the
difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind. I can see
why he felt it so necessary to write it, for it must have seemed to
him that all the publicity given to Sperry and spilt brain physiology
in the 1970s appeared to undermine his own basic theory, in which the
source of the unconscious is the cerebellum, not the right brain. I
felt so myself when I first read Robert Ornstein on the split brain.
Now I see that, in fact, it makes no difference whatsoever to the
arguments of Total Man and its successors. The right and left
distinction is convenient, but it is certainly not the whole truth. At
the time I felt that The Double Helix of the Mind was a rearguard
action against Sperry, Ornstein and the rest; re-reading it years
later, I was struck by how far an advance it is on his previous work
in discussing the 'dark realm' of the Self, and how powerfully he
carries forward his argument.

I found his next two books, The Secret Life of Humans (1981) and
Creatures from Inner Space (1984) his most fascinating since The
Paranormal. The first covering a broad spectrum of oddities, from UFOs
and astrology to reincarnation; the second dealing more fully than in
any of his previous works, with the realm of the unconscious and with
problems such as 'demonic possession' and multiple personality. These
two books made clear what was already very obvious to admirers like
myself - that his work formed one enormous oeuvre, and that his
attempts to probe the secrets of the mind were creating a total
picture that was as exciting as - and in many ways more convincing -
than the work of Freud and Jung. This was truly creative thinking on
an awesome scale. I myself was disappointed that his explanation of
phenomena such as possession leans so heavily towards scepticism; my
own research into poltergeists had convinced me - reluctantly - that
there are such things as spirits.

When he sent me a proof of Cities of Dreams, he told me that he was
crossing his fingers this would finally make the impact he always
hoped for. As I read the book, it seemed to me that this was highly
likely - that this brilliant demonstration that Neanderthal man
possessed as rich and complex a culture as Cro-Magnon, who replaced
him, would excite widespread interest and controversy. In the event,
he once more encountered the old problem: that his work was too
original and wide-ranging for the academics, and too closely argued
and serious for the general public. Yet that struck me as outrageously
unfair since the book was so obviously a culmination of his work since
Total Man.

I could see instantly that it had all started with that crouching
figure in the corner of the seance room and that everything that Gooch
had written since then was an exploration of the implications of what
had happened to him at the age of 26.

When I wrote this article in 1995, six years after the first
publication of Cities of Dreams, the intellectual climate was more
receptive than ever before to his ideas. During the 1980s, John
Anthony West, an expert on ancient Egypt, had become convinced that
the Sphinx had been eroded by water, not by wind-driven sand, and in
1992, a Boston geologist, Dr Robert Schoch, supported his opinion,
arguing that the Sphinx was probably built five thousand years earlier
than modern scholars believed. Subsequent evidence arising from the
explorations into the astronomical alignments of the Great Pyramid
complex by Robert Bauval have led West to put back the date to 10,500
BC (the widely accepted dating is 2,500 BC). In his bestseller
Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock has argued that there is
evidence for ancient civilisations dating back thousands of years
before the accepted 'origin of civilisation' in the Middle East around
6,000 BC. Charles Hapgood's Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings had long ago
pointed out that mediaeval maps, called Portolans, must be based on
far more ancient maps, and that one of these shows the continent of
Antarctica as it was before it was covered in ice. Through radar
soundings the bays shown in this map have since been discovered -
under a mile of ice. Yet Antarctica has not been ice-free since at
least 4,000 BC, and probably much earlier than that.

If there were civilisations that pre-dated Sumer and Egypt by more
than ten thousand years, then Gooch's argument that Neanderthal man
was a far more sophisticated creature than anyone has recognised also
becomes far more plausible. In fact, the whole field has opened up, to
an extent that even Stan Gooch could not have guessed in the mid
1980s. His work has never been more relevant and I must admit that I
have drawn heavily upon The Neanderthal Question and Cities of Dreams
for my book From Atlantis to the Sphinx (1996) which concerns this
whole riddle of ancient civilisations and the mind of primitive man.

I am inclined to believe that Stan Gooch will only begin to be
properly recognised when all his books from Total Man onward are
available in a uniform cheap paperback edition. Then it will be
clearly seen that his work represents one of the most impressive and
exciting intellectual structures of the second half of the twentieth
century. With luck, the updated version of Cities of Dreams (1995)
will mark the beginning of that process.

Colin Wilson

©Aulis Publishers 1995