Plato’s Vision for the Philosophic Empire (4 of 6)
Part 4: Atlantis and the Archetype of Empire
Note: The material in this article expands on the content of my 2021 publication “Atlantis and the Origins of Civilization”. There is a lot of information in that publication that I do not touch on in this chapter. For students of Atlantis (and esoteric philosophy in general), I highly recommend checking it out. You can find copies for sale at my e-store: thewisdomtradition.bigcartel.com. See also my website for a link: www.alexsachon.com
As an initiate of several mystery schools, Plato was forbidden from directly or transparently revealing certain esoteric teachings in his public lectures and writings. As a work around, Plato deliberately crafted his teachings so that they would simultaneously “reveal and conceal” the occulted knowledge that was protected and preserved by the priesthood of these schools. Thus, as Manly Hall explains, we find “throughout Plato’s writings hints of secret knowledge and allusions to mysteries concealed from the profane.”
In our previous series on Pythagorean philosophy (Part 5 to be exact) we offered a case study on this, noting how Plato’s writings deliberately both “reveal and conceal” the esoteric significance of the Golden Ratio.
In this article we will cover another example, exploring how Plato’s teachings on Atlantis embed important esoteric teachings about the spiritual origins of mankind. As we will see, Plato’s account embeds both historical and symbolical information about Atlantis, with the historical part referencing a lost age of human civilization and the symbolic part referencing the story of Man’s collective fall from a spiritual to material state of existence.
23. The Historical Atlantis
The descent of the Atlantis myth comes down to us predominately from the writings of Plato, though references to a lost antediluvian civilization can be found in the ancient mythologies of cultures around the world.
The backstory to Plato’s teachings on Atlantis begin about over a hundred years before his birth, with a journey that the Greek statesman Solon made to Egypt around 600 BC. Solon was a famous Greek statesman who had, among his accomplishments, successfully brokered a debt crisis in Athens by outlawing usury and installing the rudiments of democratic institutions in Athenian society, thereby keeping the greed of the aristocracy (somewhat) in check.
As Many Hall describes, in the later years of his life, Solon visited Egypt and was “nobly received by the priests of Sais. At his request, the Egyptians recited for him the ancient history of the Greek states. Their narration included an account of an expedition against the (prehistoric Greeks) attempted by the princes of Atlantis.”
The Egyptians’ account of Atlantis and their war against the prehistoric Greek states passed down from Solon to his son Critias, who later accounted it to his grandson. This grandson later became a disciple of Socrates, through whom he met Plato and shared Solon’s account. Plato then incorporated the saga into two of his most famous works, Critias and Timaeus.
The Timaeus contains the following summary of the account given by the Egyptians to Solon concerning Atlantis:
“… In this Atlantic island a combination of kings was formed, who with mighty and wonderful power subdued the whole island, together with many other islands and part of the continent; and besides this subjected to their domination all of Libya as far as Egypt; and Europe as far as the Tyrrhenian Sea. And when they were collected in a powerful league, they endeavored to enslave all our regions and yours, and besides this all those places situated within the mouth of the Atlantic Sea. … But in succeeding time prodigious earthquakes and deluges took place, and they brought with them desolation. In the space of one day and night, all the warlike race of the Atlanteans was at once submerged under the earth; and the Atlantic island itself was absorbed in the sea, becoming entirely disappeared.” (via MPH)
A fuller account of Atlantis appears in the Critias, with the origin story and description of the Atlantean empire described in fuller detail.
Here, Plato tells us that, under the inspiration of the Orphic deity Poseidon, the island-continent of Atlantis developed into a great empire, one that “surpassed all empires in dignity and glory. The economic basis of this empire was maritime trade, and outposts were established in every corner of the Earth.”
Manly Hall summarizes Plato’s description of the Atlantean state: “the citizens of Atlantis were assigned to communities according to their estates and positions. Each community had its leader and all were under the government of the ten kings who were absolute monarchs. The kings in turn obeyed the laws of Poseidon.”
In his account, Plato goes on to describe the conditions that lead to Atlantis’s fall into corruption and decay - an occurrence which set the stage for its eventual demise. Hall again summarizes, noting how the story of Atlantis begins with a golden age before falling gradually into collapse:
“For many generations the Atlanteans dwelt together, practicing gentleness and wisdom and despising everything but virtue. They were neither intoxicated by luxury nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control. They saw clearly that their wealth increased as a result of friendship with one another.”
“So the Atlantean colony flourished for many ages until at last the divine portion within the people began to fade away. Their souls became diluted with a mortal admixture and human nature gained ascendancy. They became unseemly and lost the fairest of their precious gifts. It was thus that the spirit of conquest came to them. They resolved to increase their lands by violence and by force. Avarice increased and they no longer had eyes to see that true happiness” lies in adherence to the laws of the gods.
"Zeus (equating to “Manas”, the form-creating principle within the World Soul) rules with law and is able to perceive all things from his central throne. Beholding this once honorable race in a most wretched state, he resolved to chastise it. … He hurled his thunderbolts against their continent, shaking it with earthquakes and destroying it with horrible combustion.”
Hall notes finally that “because the catastrophe was so great and so large a part of the civilized earth was destroyed, no records remained except tradition.”
As for the timing of this event, Plato gives the date of approximately 9500 BC for the final sinking of the Atlantean island-continent. Modern geologists like Randall Carlson have confirmed this date as the point in which a global deluge took place across much of the Earth.
It is of interest to note that, thousands of years ago, the Mayans came to the same conclusion about the dating of Atlantis’s demise. Hall informs us that “recent discoveries in the department of Aztec and Mayan chronology now substantiate the approximate date of the Atlantean destruction as preserved by Plato. The time of the submergence of the last remnants of the old Atlantean continent would thus be found at approximately 9500 BC.”
Several old North American Indian tribes also preserved records of this collapse in their legends. Hall informs us that these tribes perpetuate an account that their ancestors “had originally inhabited the lowlands, but had fled to the mountains to escape the terrible tidal waves caused by the Atlantean disaster, which, temporarily at least, inundated great areas of the Earth.”
In sum, modern scientists and historians are rediscovering the truth that a historical Atlantis did in fact exist. This, of course, is an idea that has always been accepted within the field of esoteric philosophy.
Not only has esoteric philosophy long confirmed the Atlantean hypothesis as factual, its teachings also progress its discussion of Atlantis beyond the mere material records of this civilization and instead delve into the sociological and psychological characteristics of this ancient peoples - something that modern scientists have not yet begun consider.
As we will see below, the details of Atlantis promise to not only rewrite our understanding of human history, but also our understanding of the way human evolution works and how the cyclical motions of time interface with the long-term development of the human race.
24. The Atlantean Root Race
In the thinking of esoteric philosophers like Plato and Many P. Hall, Atlantis represents not just a lost civilization destroyed by a deluge, but a previous cycle of human evolution, one that mankind once collectively went through but now has evolved itself one stage beyond.
In the teachings of esoteric philosophy, human evolution progresses through seven total stages or “root races”, which unfold sequentially like seven petals of one great lotus flower.
Atlantis represents a previous evolutionary stage or “root race” of the human form, one that mankind today has collectively evolved itself out of. More specifically, Atlantis was said to be the fourth “root race” and humans today are said to be the fifth.
Physically, the Atlantean was of a much larger height and stature than the human of today. Psychologically, the Atlanteans possessed a natural psychic or mediumistic power, one that allowed them to perceive and more readily become receptive to various metaphysical dimensions behind physical reality, ones associated with the domain that psychologist Carl Jung termed the “collective unconscious”.
In terms of social psychology, the natural mediumistic tendencies of the Atlanteans linked their psyches together to form something like a “hive mind”. This hive mind was ruled and directed by a small caste of Atlantean priest-magicians, who, as the master psychics of their race, possessed god-like power and knowledge over the metaphysical domains of the collective psyche.
These high priests governed their world empire through a globally interconnected network of state-temple complexes that were politically and economically linked through a global trade empire based out of the Atlantean capital city, located on a now-sunken island continent situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The global empire run from this capital city was economically and politically linked together through a complex trade-based economy, with different world centers connected by globally interconnected maritime trade routes.
In the golden era of this civilization, the Atlantean priests worked to civilize primitive tribes on their periphery. These tribes remained in a nomadic tribal lifestyle that was a remnant from a yet earlier and more primitive age of man’s evolutionary development (Lemuria; see my 2021 publication on Atlantis for more).
The records of primitive peoples’ encounters with the priests of Atlantis were recorded in many of the ancient mythologies that have come down to us through time. Indeed, it is clearly stated in the ancient myths of numerous ancient civilizations from around the world that, in the earliest times, civilization emerged as a consequence of the vision and leadership of an elite caste of spiritual masters or gurus who came from a foreign land to become the Promethean civilizers of their peoples.
Ancient myths come down to us from the perspective of the primitive tribes being colonized: the “golden age” mourned in the mythologies of all ancient cultures revere a time when a benevolent caste of spiritual teachers ruled over the infant souls of developing mankind as the “shepherds of men”.
This is the age when the “gods walked with men”, implying that society was ruled by advanced Atlantean initiates with godlike power and wisdom. These enlightened sages first brought civilization to primitive man and established initiatic cults termed Mystery Schools in each of the civilization zones they worked in.
Atlantis was characterized by a paternalistic pattern of rulership, as there was a great gap in spiritual maturity and mental advancement between the Atlantean priest-magicians and the more primitive body of humanity evolving upward on Earth at that time.
Atlantis’s elite caste of priests, possessing godlike knowledge of how to manipulate the metaphysical dynamics of thought and energy, ruled over the general population as parents do little children.
Because of their advanced knowledge of how to control and manipulate the inner, psychic dimensions of life, and because the populace in general possessed a natural mediumistic receptivity toward their psychic influence, the Atlantean priest-magicians possessed a high degree of power and influence over the minds of the collective.
The ancient mythological accounts that inform us of this "golden age” also tell us that, in time, these Atlantean heroes departed from the primitive colonies they helped establish, leaving the onus of leadership to an elite body of religious and state leaders drawn from the most advanced initiates of these early primitive tribes.
Despite the best efforts of these appointed leaders, these early states each experienced a gradual demise before eventually collapsing for lack of strength, maturity, and experience. No longer inspired by the guidance of the spiritual giants who were their first teachers, these primitive peoples were not yet able to maintain civilization by themselves.
In the meantime, Atlantean civilization fell and consequently its priestly ambassadors failed to return to the colonies and early states they helped found. Primitive man was left to fend for itself and await the day a new cohort of teachers would come - this time, ones associated with the coming of a new age and world cycle: the Arya.
25. The Demon-King Thevetat and the Collective Shadow
Two intertwined factors - the naturally mediumistic psychological tendency of the Atlanteans and their collective psychological integration as a “hive mind” asymmetrically ruled by an elite caste of highly advanced priest-magicians - came together to bring about the eventual decline and fall of the Atlantean empire.
When the Atlanteans kept to the “Laws of Poseidon” they lived in a golden age. But gradually the “hive-mind” of the Atlanteans fell under the influence of an evil psychological influence, one which caused them to collectively depart from the ways of the gods and fall into corrupt behaviors and policies.
In myth, the fall of Atlantis is associated with corruption setting in within the Atlantean population at large. The priest-magicians of Atlantis, being the political and psychological center of this ancient order of civilization, are seen as being particularly culpable in instigating the events that lead to this fall.
In the writings of Manly P. Hall and Helena Blavatsky, the evil influence that came to plague Atlantean psychology is named “the demon-king Thevetat”.
As Manly Hall describes, “Atlantis was ruled by the great King Thevetat, the mysterious spirit who ruled Atlantis from the air, unseen at any time, and whose agents upon the earth were the serpent-kings, who carried his feathered scepter as a symbol of their regency.”
These “serpent-kings” represent the Atlantean priesthood. This priesthood was comprised of individuals who were born as “natural psychics” or “natural mystics”. This implies that they were not raised as initiates but rather born with their psychic powers already intact as a natural inheritance.
Manly Hall describes these Atlantean priest-magicians as “natural psychics. They could see the invisible worlds and possessed, in part, the secret of functioning in them.”
In “Isis Unveiled”, Helena Blavatsky further describes this dynamic. She tells us that the Atlantean priest-magicians “were born with a sight which embraced all hidden things and was independent of both distance and material obstacle. In short, they were the fourth race of men mentioned in the Popol-Vuh, whose sight was unlimited and who knew all things at once. They were, perhaps, what we would now term ‘natural-born mediums,’ who neither struggled nor suffered to obtain their knowledge, nor did they acquire it at the price of any sacrifice.”
Unlike the initiates and adepts of the current root-race (the Arya), who “acquire their knowledge by degrees, learning at the same time to discern the evil from the good,” these “natural-born mediums” of Atlantis "blindly followed the insinuations of the great and invisible ‘Dragon,’ the King Thevetat. … Thus, under the evil insinuations of their demon, Thevetat, the Atlantis-race became a nation of wicked magicians.”
In his small but important booklet “Atlantis: an Interpretation”, Manly P. Hall offers the key to understanding the underlying psychological dynamics by means of which the Atlanteans came to be possessed by the “demon-king” Thevetat.
Hall informs us that “the great King Thevetat, the invisible dragon, is what Eliphas Levi called the ‘astral light’.” This “astral light” references a metaphysical dimension of the World Soul, one closely associated with both the human imagination and its associated elements of thought and emotion.
Hall explains the relationship between the physical world and this astral dimension: “Every created thing has two bodies, one visible and substantial, the other invisible and transcendent. The latter consists of an ethereal counterpart of the physical form; it constitutes the vehicles of the astral light, and may be called the vital body. This etheric shadow is not dissipated by death, but remains until the physical form is entirely disintegrated.”
This astral dimension is associated with the fifth element Ether in alchemy, which permeates through and unites the lower four elements. Describing this dimension, Hall explains that “there is one vital substance in Nature upon which all things subsist. It is called the archaeus or vital life force and is synonymous with the astral light or spiritual air of the ancients.” He further notes that “this vital energy has its origin in the spiritual body of the Earth.”
The Atlantean priesthood’s ability to exert control over the “astral light” is what gave them their power. They interacted with it and drew from it using a method called “ceremonial magic”.
As Manly Hall explains: “The practice of magic - either white or black - depends upon the ability of the adept to control the universal life force - the astral light.”
He continues: “Ceremonial magic is the ancient art of invoking and controlling spirits by a scientific application of certain formulae. A magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could, by power vested in certain words and symbols, control invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world. While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery or black magic.”
The decline of Atlantis into corruption and decay is associated with the gradual fall of the Atlantean priesthood into the misuse of ceremonial magic.
Manly Hall explains that this fall into corruption happened somewhat unconsciously: since the Atlantean magician-priests were “natural-born mediums”, they “did not possess supernatural powers - they were possessed by them. They were moved by the astral light like a planchette.”
Their priest-magicians conceived, by the power of imagination, phantoms and demonic thought forms, which they “projected into the subtle, fluidic essence of the astral light”. But “the Atlanteans did not possess the power to control the imagery they projected into the astral light by human thought and emotion.”
Blavatsky points out that the basis of this fall into evil came from the fact that these Atlantean magicians were not philosophers or initiates: they did not have to earn their access to esoteric knowledge and therefore did not appreciate the need for self-discipline when using their magical powers. She states that it was the “lack of restraining power of proper spiritual enlightenment” and the “weakness of physical and mental organizations” that lead these magician-priests to “unintentionally pervert their gifts to evil purposes."
From a philosophical standpoint, Thevetat represents the “karma body” or “psychological shadow” of the Atlanteans.
The fact that the Atlantean peoples were natural mediums but did not possess the wisdom or discipline of philosophy lead them to misunderstand and misuse the psychic elements they were manipulating in the astral plane. In this manner, the fall of Atlantis became directly connected with the karmic consequences of its priesthoods' perversion of ceremonial magic.
As Hall explained earlier, the Atlantean priesthood “were possessed by” the images they projected into this astral sphere; they did not control them and in time became destroyed by them. In his writings on the topic, he tells us that the power of Thevetat took control over the Atlantean mindstate much in the same way that Carl Jung describes how “shadow complexes” form and exert their influence within the subconscious realm of the psyche. Hall writes that “the demon king Thevetat did not always control Atlantis. Rather, he gradually gained dominion over it as an evil habit gradually gains control of human life, until he finally obsessed the land.”
Philosophically, Thevetat symbolizes the negative “karma body” of the Atlanteans. Once created as a consequence of their own ill-informed actions, it fed back upon them, destroying their empire. Hall explains that, “as the sphere of the astral king was one of excess and fury, he poured forth his qualities through the Atlanteans (who, as mediums, were naturally receptive to his influences), until the whole civilization collapsed in a common ruin.”
Zooming out and considering these psychological dynamics as a whole, we find that there appears to be a karmic inevitability to the Atlantean saga:
The Atlanteans’ fall into “black magic” was not necessarily a conscious one. Rather, the innate mediumistic psychology of the Atlanteans, combined with their inherent ignorance concerning the scientific laws behind the psychological powers they possessed, lead these peoples to eventually misuse their powers, without realizing that that’s what they were doing.
Unconsciously, the unnatural astral forms their priest-magicians projected using ceremonial magic came back around and began possessing their creators, driving them toward self-destructive behaviors and obsessions.
In the language of depth psychology, this is a dynamic we still find today with regards to “shadow complexes” (see my publication “Psychology: The Science of the Soul” for more on this). Shadow complexes are negative psychic influences that we create and fuel within ourselves by allowing undisciplined patterns of thinking and feeling to perpetuate within our psyches.
Like Thevetat, these unnatural psychic patterns that we create within ourselves feed back and haunt us, eventually, bringing about our own demise - unless we first conquer them by facing them, bringing them to light, and overcoming the shortcoming in ourselves that lead to their perpetuation.
26. The Symbolical Atlantis
When we think back to the idea that there are seven world ages and seven “root-races”, it makes sense that the age of Atlantis - representing the fourth age in this pattern - would eventually come to an end and be replaced by a subsequent new root race.
There is clearly indicated a pattern of destiny behind the Fall of Atlantis: just as the number four must eventually be followed by the number five, the Atlantean race eventually had to bow out of world history in order that a subsequent stage of human evolution may take its place.
We are today living out that subsequent stage. Consequently, the story of Atlantis is the story of our past: it informs us where we came from, where we’re going, and why history has played out in the way it has.
This pattern of thinking brings us to a second level of interpretation for Plato’s teachings on Atlantis, one that moves beyond a literal, historical level of interpretation in order to contemplate an esoteric, metaphysical angle on the topic. In this second level of analysis, Plato uses the Atlantis story as an allegory that teaches, in a concealed fashion, esoteric philosophy’s viewpoint regarding mankind’s spiritual origins and destiny here on Earth.
As Manly Hall explains, in Plato’s writings “there is a twofold Atlantis. There is the historical continent which sank in the Atlantic Ocean, and the philosophical continent, an ingenious device by means of which Plato revealed and yet concealed the most profound arcana of the Eleusinian Mysteries.”
For example, using a deliberately cryptic approach, in the Critias Plato repurposes aspects of the Atlantis myth in order to embed important esoteric teachings regarding the spiritual origins of man. In particular, his account of the fall of Atlantis contains certain elements that reproduce the esoteric teachings of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Here we find Plato’s Atlantis account revealing not only the truth of a lost stage of human civilization, but also important aspects of the creation myth taught in esoteric philosophy, particularly as it pertains to the metaphysical origin and destiny of mankind.
In the Eleusinian Mysteries, it was revealed to initiates the story of “the descent of the human soul into mortal embodiment.” This is the story that Plato, an initiate of the Eleusinian rites, cleverly conceals in his account of Atlantis’s fall.
Manly Hall offers us a description of the esoteric symbolism of the Eleusinian rites. He explains that the core revelation concealed within these Mysteries concerns the idea “this material existence to which most cling is actually the realm of the dead. As Plato affirmed, we do not go to Hades when we die but when we are born into the physical condition of earthly existence.“
Describing the soul’s incarnation into this “material hell”, the Eleusinian Mysteries taught that “after drinking the waters of Lethe (symbolizing materiality), the soul forgot its divine origin and the celestial regions from which it had descended. Imprisoned in flesh, the spiritual part of the human being dwelt in darkness, beset with a variety of miseries.”
The Orphic sect behind this Mystery School further taught that, in coming to physical incarnation, human souls “fall like seeds into the matrix of generation” from “out of the mystery of the Milky Way.” Hall elaborates: “Arriving within the seminal humidity (i.e. the realm of Poseidon, representing the element of water) of the sub-lunary sphere (i.e. the World Soul of the Earth), human souls become intoxicated with the effluvium of Matter and take upon themselves bodies, by which process they die out of their spiritual estate in order to be born as physical beings.” It is at this point that they enter the realm of Hades, which is this mortal world of life, death, and physical embodiment.
Once ensnared in the matrix of matter, the soul cannot easily extract itself back out. As Hall explains, “even physical death cannot release the soul from the waters of Lethe (the illusion of materiality). After physical death, those who have not released their minds by application to essential learning, wander about in a shadow world of their own conceits, asleep in an unbroken slumber, until the current (of Lethe), sweeping through the dark corridors of Hades, picks them up and carries them back again to birth.”
In psychological terms, the watery kingdom of Poseidon represents the metaphysical psychic body of the World Soul - and, by implication, of the Human Soul as well. By contrast, Hades represents the material world and the physical body of man.
Hall informs us that the Hades is actually “the physical body of the sun in the solar system, and the physical body of the planet in the planetary system. It likewise represents the physical part of all embodied life.”
He continues: “The descent of (human) consciousness or intelligence into the material form is declared to be a descent into Hades. The physical life itself is the purgatorial sphere where spirits wander, exiled in the dark caverns of form which represent all the laws and bodies of physical nature. … Birth guards the entrance and death the exit. All of nature must depart by the appointed gates.”
“Thus, birth is truly death; and each man is locked within the sarcophagus of his own body. Here he must remain until he is liberated by the philosophic disciplines.”
In this esoteric method of interpretation, Atlantis takes on a whole new meaning. Here, we find Atlantis not only referencing a lost stage of human evolution but also a more abstract, spiritual process in which the human soul as a collective descends from an initial subjective state (Poseidon) into a subsequent material one (Hades).
This pattern of descent is followed by a corresponding pattern of re-ascent, in which the soul gradually liberates itself from the bonds that bind it to material existence. In so doing, the soul returns itself to its natural spiritual condition: a return journey that evolution is gradually bringing us toward.
In total, these two stages, down and up, or involution and evolution, form the twin aspects of one cumulative cycle of existence. Atlantis represents the halfway point of this cycle - where involution culminates and evolution begins.
27. The Philosophical Atlantis
Elaborating on the esoteric viewpoint overviewed above, Manly Hall informs us that “Atlantis signifies a superior universe or higher world, possibly the one which descended into matter when the physical universe was created. This was the fabled Eden, or that antediluvian sphere referred to in scriptures.”
“Here was the pre-Adamic world - not prehistorical but pre-physical. This was the race of the shadows, an intangible creation abiding in the humid essences of the middle region” - this being the domain of Poseidon, the god of the Water element, signifying the realm of the collective unconscious.
In Jungian psychology, the collective unconscious is defined as a psychological realm ruled over by collective patterns termed “archetypes”. Atlantis originates in this subconscious realm (i.e. Poseidon’s kingdom) as an archetype or divine idea pattern.
This idea for Atlantis, initially conceived as an archetype, is then projected out into matter. Symbolically, this represents Atlantis’s descent from the watery realm of Poseidon into the dense material creation of Hades.
Atlantis is therefore simultaneously a historical civilization and also an archetype projected into Matter to become “the material creation we now know.”
Manly Hall informs us that the Atlantis of Plato references “the archetype, the pattern which was to manifest” within material creation.
By implication, the Atlantean saga initially played out as a subjective idea within the collective unconscious. It was here that the archetype of the Atlantean empire and its fall into materiality was first established. In this initial, archetypal state, the fall of Atlantis represents the descent of human consciousness from the subjective plane of Mind to the objective plane of material form.
This archetype of the “fall” was then recreated within the material world (“Hades”) as the rise and fall of the prehistorical civilization and root race that we now call “Atlantis”.
From the standpoint of esoteric symbolism, Plato’s account of the fall of Atlantis becomes something like Biblical story of the fall of man from Eden as a consequence of it succumbing to the temptation of an “evil serpent” (i.e. Thevetat).
The fall of Atlantis can also be compared to another Biblical allegory, that involving Lucifer. Manly Hall explains: “As the human soul descends into the physical body for the sake of experience and enters upon the tribulations of the flesh, so it was written that in ancient times a part of the angels rebelled, and growing proud, were cast from the heavenly light. The rebellion of the angels is the story of the lost Atlantis.”
Elaborating further, Hall writes: “When the Atlanteans, the seminal souls, descended into bodies in their war with matter, they lost the memory of their own celestial origin. This story describes the submergence of the Atlantic islands: the whole ethereal empire fell together into a material state and vanished in the abyss of matter.”
In sum, the story of Atlantis “is the story of the origin of man himself. The whole physical human race is the fallen Atlanteans. Atlantis was the homeland from which we have come to our present estate.”
By implication, we were all once Atlanteans. As souls, we have graduated to our present estate (the fifth root-race) only because we have already passed through the previous evolutionary stage of Atlantis. More specifically, Manly Hall informs us that “the Atlantean civilization describes the descent of living souls individualized under the constellation of Pisces from their previous ethereal state into material form at the beginning of human evolution upon the planet.”
A re-incarnation concept is directly implied: Atlantis died and has been continuously reborn as the past 12,000 years of human history. Today, this rebirth process is still taking place, with the unredeemed karma of Atlantis still hanging over us; the demon-king Thevetat still plaguing us from within our own unconscious.
In this way, as Hall teaches us, “the old Atlantis is not truly gone. It is now emerging through man. The civilization we are building today is the resurrection of Atlantis. The souls that descended into matter are now struggling to extricate themselves and are emerging gradually into the light of reason.”
What is implied here is that the karma of Atlantis remains us with us today. As we learn about the evils that unconsciously possessed the Atlanteans, we simultaneously learn about the nature of the evils that still unconsciously possess us today.
This esoteric angle informs us as to why Atlantis inevitably succumbed to its own ignorance and how our current age is intended to “right the wrongs” of the past.
When we learn that the Atlanteans fell because of a lack of philosophical discipline and understanding, we too are reminded that the evils that plague us today arise from the same causes - a lack of understanding and too much ignorance, superstition and fear. And though philosophy is available us today as a resource to help us overcome these plights, we do not use it. Consequently, we succumb to the same pattern of failure that the Atlanteans once succumbed to. In order to break this cycle, the answer should be clear what we need to do.
28. Atlantis and the Archetype of Empire
As discussed previously, the fall of Atlantis indicates the end of one phase of human evolution and the onset of another. Developments in that age precede those of our current one and its legacy is stamped all over our history.
According to Plato’s account, one which modern geologists are now corroborating, when the Atlantean island-continent sank, a catastrophic flood event or deluge resulted. It swept across the globe and threw a globally interconnected system of civilization into chaos and ruin.
When the Atlantean civilization pattern fell, it was the home capital that was destroyed, not the entire empire. After the deluge, several peripheral Atlantean colonies and vassal states remained. In time, these would recover to become the seeds from which subsequent civilizations would emerge, such as those in north Africa, ancient America, China, Mesopotamia, and Europe.
Through these offshoot civilizations, key institutions from Atlantis would be carried forth into the postdiluvian era. Through them, the old karma from Atlantis was also ported over, where it would play itself out again and again in successive waves of cycles. (For an example, see the section on ancient Egypt from my 2021 publication “Atlantis and the Origins of Civilization”).
As human history descends down from the time of the deluge, we find all over the world the physical, social, and psychological legacy of Atlantis stamped all over. Consequently, it is impossible to rectify the patterns and mysteries of human history without reference to Atlantis, the archetype of empires.
For example, the early civilizations of Egypt and Central America arose as direct descendants of Atlantis. They were founded by Atlantean survivors of the deluge, who recreated within these offshoot civilizations the core institutions of their lost homeland.
Each of these successor states rose to a glorious height, only for a familiar pattern to emerge in which the sacerdotal elite responsible for governing the empire falls into corruption, black magic, and imperialism, with the empire as a whole eventually decaying into collapse.
Having fallen without rectifying the pattern, these early states passed down the karma of Atlantis to their later descendants in the Axial Age. Empires in this later era also repeated the pattern of rise and fall, and they also met their ultimate demise without transcending the Shadow that had plagued them. Consequently, this Shadow was left to perpetuate itself in more recent version of empires. It remains until it is overcome.
Again and again, we find familiar themes involved with Atlantis’s demise resurfacing across the face of human history.
Overall, the fall of Atlantis established an archetypal pattern for the growth, maturation, and decline of empire.
All subsequent empires that have ever emerged since Atlantis have done so as reproductions of its initial archetype, with Atlantis’s themes of rise and fall dictating the destinies of countless states and empires over the course of over ten millennia of human history.
For example, in the first wave of postdiluvian empires that we have consistent records of - the River Valley civilizations of ~4000 BC (covered in Part 1 of this chapter) - Atlantean elements and themes can readily be found.
Given their close connection to Atlantis’s legacy, it may not be surprising that in the rise and fall of these early postdiluvian states we find certain themes playing out that can be directly associated with Atlantis’s historical arc.
First, each of these early Atlantean successor states imitated its “mother civilization’s” core pattern of governmental, religious, and economic institutions, with a theocracy ruling over a large state bureaucracy who oversaw a trade-based economy that united the core of the empire with its periphery. Here, the temple and priesthood supervised the administrative and bureaucratic functions of the state, while also serving as the advisory council to the monarch, who was intimately integrated into the state religion as one of its initiates.
Second, each civilization resurrected, within its state religion, the core model of Atlantean religious institutions. Like the Atlanteans, these civilizations built massive monolithic temple complexes in which to host their religious rites and ceremonies. The priesthood who governed these complexes also oversaw the State Mysteries, by means of which they gradually initiated new disciples into the sacred arcana of esoteric knowledge which they were in exclusive possession of.
Third, each of these successor states experienced a similar version of the Atlantean Fall, with corruption taking root first in its priesthood before then moving in to infect the state and aristocratic castes of society. Ultimately, the loss of connection with God’s laws is what causes each civilization’s collapse: when civilization departs from the way of the Law, gradually it begins to atrophy and decay, like a limb whose circulation has been cut off from the heart. The culmination of this decay comes when the empire moves into an extractive phase, where it seeks to enslave others in order to fend off the consequences of its own misdirected policies and behaviors. Empires at this stage inevitably meet the same fate that Atlantis met when it waged its ill-fated war against the prehistoric Grecian states.
In the oligarchical Axial Age empires that followed the comparatively simple agrarian states of the earlier River Valley civilizations, we find the same Atlantean themes playing out in new, more dynamic forms of expression. Here, the model moves from monarchy to oligarchy, but the same basic themes are present.
Thevetat, representing the “collective shadow” of Atlantis, was not destroyed when Atlantis fell, for his kingdom is the astral light, not the physical world. This “karma body”, residing the Astral realm, was ported over into our age, where it continues to plague those human souls who still make themselves receptive to it and allow themselves to be possessed by it.
In the Axial Age empires, the legacy of this Shadow entity restates its presence. As we explored in Part 1 of this series, these empires were dominated by an oligarchy rooted out of the horrific “military-coinage-slavery complex”. Empowered by mercenary armies, arms manufacturing, and mining operations manned by slaves, the oligarchs of this age attempted to expand the reach of their financial kingdoms outwards by coercing states to wage continuous war on their neighbors, ever seeking new tributes and riches to extract for the perpetuation of a never-ending war machine.
For a time, the extraction model works, but inevitably it atrophies society from within, much like how Atlantean society collapsed after its rulership moved into an extractive imperial phase.
Regarding Atlantis’s initial model of extractive empire, Manly Hall explains that “about ten or twelve thousand years before the Christian era, the great cultural order of Atlantis was in the last stages of collapse. The kings of Atlantis had begun the process of conquering and ruling the world by force. As this was contrary to the will of the gods, a series of cataclysms began which destroyed the entire civilization.”
Subsequent empires, going up to today, inevitably meet these same ends: when the leaders of civilization fall under the influence of the “shadow” (Thevetat), they always meet a similar fate. In each case, the same basic pattern is repeated: a civilization would emerge, mature, and attain great cultural achievements. Then, inevitably, “Thevetat” takes control, inspiring the culture to fall into decadence, perversion, corruption, and imperialism, before finally succumbing to collapse.
Just as with Atlantis, these societies end up collapsing due to a decline in wisdom and virtue among the ruling elite, a loss of wisdom and connection to Law among the priesthood, a rise in personal ambition and self-centered behavior among the populace, and a shift away from ethics and moral principles within the aristocracy and lower classes.
Overall, a mood of materiality sets in within the culture at large. This sets the stage for other evils to take root and prosper.
This was the trend in Atlantean psychology that brought about its destruction: it fell ultimately because the material aspect in human nature came to overwhelm its spiritual aspect.
Repeatedly, up to today, we find the same pattern reproducing itself in the human mindstate, with similar negative social consequences rearing their heads as a result.
The Shadow remains, turning mankind against both nature and itself. This will remain the case, no matter how advanced the complexity of the outer material circumstances of human civilization become. Until we learn to control and discipline the unredeemed thoughts, emotions, desires, and habits that plague our inner life, we can expect the karma of Atlantis to continue to haunt us.
29. Thevetat: The Dweller on the Threshold
Taking an outer or “exoteric” interpretation of the Atlantis myth, the demon-king Thevetat appears as a villain - an inherently evil entity, a spiritual antagonist whose mission it is to corrupt and mislead man, guiding him to his own self-destruction.
But when we move beyond a literal interpretation of this symbolic figure and begin looking at the Atlantis myth using an esoteric approach, as Plato did, we find that the spiritual nature of this "evil antagonist” is not as it initially appears to be.
According to the thinking of Plato and the Esoteric Schools more generally, what we consider “evil” is not a permanent or natural part of the Universe. Rather, “evil” is a man-made creation: a temporary and relative aspect of experience that mankind manifests for itself as a result of its ignorance of the Law.
In relation to the Law, Man’s purpose in nature is to go from an initial state of “not-knowing” to a culminating state “knowing”, which it attains through Self-realization.
In the beginning, existing in a primitive state of “not-knowing”, mankind is forced to learn the Law from experience and trial and error. The errors we make during this process accumulate in the World Soul as a “karma body” and react back upon us, not punitively but rather as instructive devices so that we may learn from our mistakes and course-correct our patterns of thinking and behavior so that they align with the Law.
In this way, what we consider “evil” is the counter-reaction of our own mistakes reacting back upon us. These mistakes are built up within ourselves both individually and collectively through time, becoming the “evil demons" that plague and destroy us. These shadow demons are given life so long as we continue to feed them with our energy and allow them to grow unchecked.
This idea of the “Shadow” is a topic that we covered previously in our chapter on Mandalas. Here, we discussed it in regards to the Buddhist deity “Fudo-Myo”, who, like Thevetat, personifies the idea of a “collective shadow".
In Buddhist philosophy, the ferocious deities portrayed in their mandalas are not actually evil beings but rather represent negative “psychic projections in ourselves fashioned from past karma which have descended as an inheritance from a previous life.”
This negative karma manifests as asymmetrical thought patterns and unbalanced emotional tendencies. These we perpetuate within ourselves by giving them our energy and belief. As Manly Hall explains, “when an idea takes form, it may be radiant or fearful in appearance. If an idea is destructive, its form must be asymmetrical.”
In Buddhist symbolism, these unredeemed, asymmetric thoughts and emotions are personified as Fudo-Myo. This “evil” entity confronts the initiate as part of their quest to liberate the spirit from the body.
Initiates encounter it as an experiential adversary that they must confront and move beyond. It appears to them from within their own subconscious, for the reason that this deity personifies the false acceptances and attachments that one maintains within themselves and which bind them to the cycle of mortal existence.
The only way the initiate can liberate their souls from the prison of matter is by first confronting and transcending the patterns of ignorance, fear, and superstition which keep them bound to the wheel of Samsara. It is only in this manner that one graduates past the initiation of Fudo-Myo, who personifies the negative karma of their own past.
Regarding Plato’s thinking on this topic, Manly Hall explains that:
“Plato acknowledges no principle of evil. What appears to be evil is only a form of truth that we cannot understand - a single circumstance which we have not been able to fit into the general plan because of the inadequacy of our own understanding.”
Here we discover that “evil” actually arises from our own lack of understanding of the Laws governing our own existence in this material world. We create karma when we act against the Laws of creation. To create this karma, we don’t even have to realize we are doing it: inevitably, that which goes against Law creates negative karma, no matter what one’s intention is.
Our own karma, reacting back upon us, creates for us the experience of “evil”. This is symbolically represented by the hells of Buddhism and the infernal regions of other religions. As Manly Hall informs us, these “are not places but states of the Inner Self. Plato was evidently aware of this fact, for he posited that men do not go to hell (Hades) when they die out of this world but when they are born into it. This is the inferno of Dante populated by ghosts trying to satisfy insatiable appetites of one kind or another.”
In short, we suffer because we continually set up false barriers between ourselves and the state of Self-realization we one day hope to attain. These barriers are built by the evil trinity of ignorance, superstition and fear: as long as we continue to be possessed by these negative behavioral attributes, we will continue to be confronted by Fudo-Myo, the personification of our own unredeemed karma.
It is our own unnatural patterns of thinking and living that bind us to this world of illusion, in which we prioritize the individual and material over the universal and spiritual. As Manly Hall explains, “Life is forever wishing to reveal its unity, but man prevents this by setting up false standards of estimation and directing his own attempts to false ends.” These false ends are what Fudo-Myo personifies; his “monstrous form is ever a reminder of the consequences of perversity.”
To move beyond false acceptances is to accept the idea that there is a Law or archetype guiding the operations of the universe. To align one’s thinking and actions with the motions of this archetype is to move beyond confusion and come into clarity. In so doing, one moves past the Shadow of Fudo-Myo, where they then discover the clear light of Buddha consciousness that lies beyond.
In the thinking of Plato and others from the esoteric tradition, the existence of the “Shadow” within ourselves is a necessary consequence of our own capacity for free-will.
Contrary to modern beliefs, our free-will is not granted for us to do as we please - to exert our will over God’s. Rather, our “free will” is confined to the choice of whether to obey or not-obey the Law of our own existence.
The archetype for each human soul is already established in the heaven sphere. It is our task as evolving earthly beings to discover and manifest the archetype of that higher, spiritual Self within us. In so doing, we ascend the levels that go from “not knowing” to “knowing” and from ignorance to self-realization.
The road to self-realization is one of gradually learning and discovering the Law. Each must walk this road themselves, moving up each degree according their own insights, accomplishments, and dedications.
It is the role of Esoteric Schools to facilitate this process - to guide God’s great meditation to its ultimate completion, which it does by incrementally steering humanity toward the day of its eventual collective enlightenment.
As Manly Hall explains, mankind is required to evolve itself from darkness to light; it is not the task of the Spiritual Hierarchy to command this evolution for him, but rather to inspire and help provoke it. “As a parent must allow its children to grow up and assume their proper place in society, so the creations fashioned by the will of God must come in their own way to maturity. And this cannot be accomplished unless each becomes a free agent and has a will of their own. All those wills exist in the Divine Will in which they share and from which they derive their energy and power.”
Hall then elaborates: “Every living thing must ultimately fight its armageddon in which the Divine Will conquers self-will. … To free creation, therefore, there must be experiences of the states of ignorance and knowledge, of desire and control, and of action and peace.” These are necessary stimulations that help strengthen the soul so that it may attain its ultimate liberation from the shackles of materiality.
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