THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 1, November, 1933
(Pages 12-20; Size: 26K)
(Number 49 of a 103-part series)


XLVI is absolutely false, and but an additional demonstration of the great conceit of our age, to assert ... that all the great geological changes and terrible convulsions have been produced by ordinary and known physical forces. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 640).
MEN of science have long known not only what structures will resist earth movements, but where such movements must occur. Until latter years, the Theosophical student delving amid the seemingly confused and enigmatic revelations of the Secret Doctrine regarding continental changes, polar shifts, and the like, has found himself in as much of a network of mystery -- relieved by an occasional lightning flash of half-intuition, half-discovery -- as the old-time geologist whose fading theories still clog the pages of many text-books. Yet the light is growing and withal becoming steadier; it is transfusing even the cold earth-glow of science and the combined rays bid fair in time to penetrate the closed lids of materialism itself.

The San Francisco earthquake was due to the location of the city almost upon the San Andreas fault, a nearly straight crack in the bedrock which runs the length of California. It runs east of Los Angeles, through Imperial Valley, into Mexico, and on in directions guessed only, and to distances suspected by science to be immense. The whole California Coast Range is part of the huge earth-fold of which the fault is a more or less central axis; it is this fault and its grinding, grating adjustments and readjustments which cause nearly all the California earthquakes. Of late years shocks of earth action and readjustments have flickered up and down the coast; Imperial Valley on the Mexican border, Santa Barbara north of Los Angeles, Puente east of Los Angeles, San Jacinto east of Los Angeles, Eureka north of San Francisco, and latterly, almost in the city of Los Angeles. The true nature and reach of this giant folding is yet unsuspected by science; yet upon following certain clues given by the mysterious and mystic traditions quoted in the Secret Doctrine, and setting seriously to work with a globe before one, the major truth leaps to the eye.

A Great Circle is a circumferential line about the middle of the earth; the Equator is a Great Circle whose plane is perpendicular to the polar axis.

The Coast Range of California, the San Andreas Fault, are parts of a Great Circle of folding and faulting, whose course must be marked around the globe by combinations of ridges and troughs. This folded area coincides with the Mexican Sierra Madre or mountain backbone; with the trough of the Gulf of California, and roughly with the Isthmus of Central America; with the Northern Andes, and with the troughs of the Pilcomayo, Bermejo, and Salado Rivers. Thence it plunges into the South Atlantic, following about the Cape of Good Hope the submarine mountains whose tops are marked by Gough and Tristan Da Cunha, Prince Edward and Crozet, New Amsterdam and Cocos Islands, through the Indian Ocean to Sumatra. Thence it follows the trough of the China Sea, the Philippines, Japan, the Aleutian Island chain to Alaska, and back to California.

Two out of the three great belts of earthquake and volcanic action thus lie right along this circle, upon opposite sides of the world; and almost throughout its entire course are exhibited the coastal trends, the troughs, the mountain ridges, to be expected of a belt of folding!

Being thus well set upon the trail of mystery, let us look elsewhere for another Great Circle of folding and of earthquake and volcanic activity. Almost at once we find it in the tragic zone which reaches from the Straits of Gibraltar through the Mediterranean, the Balkans, along the Black Sea, the Elburz, Caucasus Atlas, Hindu Kush, Himalaya mountains; the Siamese peninsula, the Malay Archipelago, Papua, the Northeast Coast of Australia parallel to the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Dividing Range, to New Zealand; thence it sweeps across the Pacific just below Easter Island, crossing the Andes at Arequipa, following down the great trough of the Amazon, and so on to Gibraltar. This circle includes all the major earthquake and volcanic areas of the earth not lying on the other great circle!

This is the "Midgard Serpent" of Norse mythology, which encircles the earth and shakes it with its convulsions; and it is the famous Chinese Dragon which lies beneath the surface and causes earthquakes, according to Celestial tradition!

For convenience let us call this the Mediterranean Belt, and the former the San Andreas Belt. The points of intersection are most significant. The region of the China Sea where they cross is one of the most violently volcanized on earth, and shows amazingly broken topography. Their junction in the Andes on the other side of the earth is marked by almost equally violent action, and by one of the highest mountain masses in South America. Taken altogether, these two solve great problems in structural geology set before us by the Secret Doctrine.

H. P. Blavatsky describes the Southern portion of Lemuria as reaching from the Himalayas through the Indian Ocean, around South Africa, embracing Ceylon, Sumatra, Madagascar, Australia and Tasmania, to within a few degrees of the Arctic circle. A continental belt following the San Andreas Circle as center would have just that description! She then goes on to say that from Australia, an inland region on the continent, it stretched through the Pacific to beyond Easter Island, which was part of it. Need we remark that this branch of the continent is a description of a land-belt based upon the Mediterranean Circle as a center.

But this is not all.

".... Science also refuses to sanction the wild hypothesis that there was a time when the Indian peninsula at one end of the line, and South America at the other, were connected by a belt of islands and continents. The India of the pre-historic ages .... was doubly connected with the two Americas... A pedestrian from the north might then have reached -- hardly wetting his feet -- the Alaskan peninsula, through Manchooria, across the future Gulf of Tartary, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands; while another traveller, furnished with a canoe, and starting from the South, could have walked over from Siam, crossed the Polynesian Islands and trudged into any part of the continent of South America..." (S.D. II, 327).
She is exactly describing the trans-Pacific course of the San Andreas, at the North, and the Mediterranean, at the South! Here also we find elucidated the mystery of why "a large bit of California" belonged to it; it was a V-shaped coastal trend due to the crossing of the Belts, just like that which occurred with Australia as the point of the V, but reversed in direction. When other Belts than these two are traced out, the whole world-structure is found to be replete with corners, promontories points, indentations, due to such crossings. Those Belts still actively folding are, in order of violence, the Mediterranean, the San Andreas, the Caribbean, the Rocky Mountain, and the Appalachian. We may assume that their ages are in reverse order, in general, which has a definite bearing not only on Theosophical history but upon Theosophic prophecy. Bearing this in mind, certain assumptions can be made and tested. The belts break up the world into irregular checker-board areas. Seismological considerations would indicate that such areas would in general be "fault-blocks" or regions rising or falling more or less homogeneously. This is verified; the continental areas have all that appearance; and Eastern Lemuria, for instance, has just the indication of a submerged fault-block. It would be expected that large areas uncrossed by these belts would be relatively level and free from earthquakes and volcanoes. This is true; and particularly noticeable in the cases of Northern Asia, Greenland, Canada, and Africa. It has long been a mystery why the great majority of the earth's population should be found in Eastern and Central Asia rather than in Europe contiguous to their submerged continent. But it is evident that upheavals and submergences undulate in a more or less orderly course along the great belts; while one section sinks, the next rises. It is no coincidence that the Secret Doctrine descriptions of the great racial migrations show them as proceeding along these Belts, though H.P.B. does not mention the latter in modern geological terms. The Mediterranean Belt runs right through the most populated part of Old Atlantis. At the time of the original great submersion -- which did not include all of the continent -- the neighboring lands were actually the just-rising highlands of Central Asia and the Himalayas, and parts of the Americas. Of Africa, only the southern portion was then above water, and Europe a fragmentary archipelago in process of continental birth. Northern Asia was in existence, the oldest land in the world; but it was divided into the Himalayan belt by the inland sea of the Gobi. The natural refuge of the fleeing people was then the rising Himalayan Ridge, the Cro-Magnon "stone-age" remnant of the degenerating portions of Atlantis taking refuge at a later date in the European lands as they arose.

Dr. Helmut de Terra, of the Yale North India expedition, states that "We have proof that prehistoric man in Northern India must have witnessed the last great mountain-making event, which resulted in the present great height of the Himalayas and neighboring great ranges." The rise of the Himalayas, he says, "must have continued into historical times; paleolithic implements and mammoth relics were found in formations which had been folded since the remains were deposited."(1)

What says the Secret Doctrine to this?

As shown by Eckstein (Revue Archéologique, 8th year, 1885), "the Vendidad seems to point out a great change in the atmosphere of central Asia; strong volcanic eruptions and the collapse of a whole range of mountains in the neighbourhood of the Kara-Korum chain." (S.D. II, 356).
The only original point of disagreement -- that this cataclysm was witnessed by man -- is thus now settled in favor of Theosophy.

In course of time the descendants of the Asian refugees, now become full-fledged Fifth Race people (Aryans) took their westward way, reversing their original course along the Belt, met the last of the Atlanteans in Mediterranean regions, warred with and conquered them, and gave rise to the hybrid cultures of prehistoric Greece and Rome. Others descended to India, and the original yellow Atlanteans stayed for the most part in Mongolia, China, etc. It seems highly probable that the "Brahmans of Upper India," in their descent from the Hindu Kush, met the dark Dravidians in the lowlands of India, and that the latter were in reality hybrids with, or evolutions from, Lemurian stock, who had gained an Asiatic foothold as their own land, which had formerly reached the foot of the Himalayas, vanished. A similar phenomenon seems to have taken place in Africa, shown by the marked contrast between the Bantu tribes and the lower types who were originally found more in force in the South of the Continent. As South Africa bordered on or was actually part of Lemuria, this is also natural.

Pacific Lemuria had long since vanished except for the Pacific Islands; the Malay Archipelago has always been the scene of a curious mixture of Mongolian and Indian influences -- the influences of "the two races who took refuge in the highlands of Central Asia in the days of the agony of Atlantis." And there is the problem of the mysterious drifts of white migration across the Pacific, and of what is being more and more considered the white blood of the Kanaka. Some also consider the Maoris of New Zealand to be of white extraction. The explanation is now clear. Portions of the new white race drifted on from Asia into the remaining lands of the Pacific, always following the Belt, which by now had probably lifted again portions of Lemuria to form the Malay Archipelago. For all one knows, Manco Ccapac, the "White God" of Peru, may have been one who made the entire journey -- accompanied by his wife, Mama Occollo.

But for the most part it is to be assumed that the Pacific drifters fell under the tragic spell of the lost land, as yet unredeemed, unpurified by submersion; sank into aimless ease and sensuality, and became the dying remnants we now know -- the "lotus eaters" in truth. Taking the opposite direction, and returning to the new, vigorous, and virgin lands of rising Europe, another branch of the whites ultimately became the "fighting and trading West." Only those who remained in the sphere of the Sacred Land, of the sanctuaries of Ancient Wisdom doubtless established in the Asian Highlands long before the Submersion, retained the spiritual light. The very situation hints at strange diversities and divisions, strange schisms. Both eastward and westward drifted the rebels. A Master speaks of the Western races as being neglected stepchildren of the East for long ages. Nor was any great attempt made to carry the light to the West until the fourteenth Century of our era, and that at the time of Tsong-Kha-Pa, who "reformed both esoteric and exoteric Buddhism."

In the American Hemisphere we now find explanation of much that was hitherto dark. The similarity of Central American culture with that of Egypt, and also with much of that of Asia, has long been a moot point in science. The culture of the Mayas is now regarded by many serious scientists as evidence of the existence of Atlantis. But these cultures could have come from refugees following the Belt westward to the mouth of the Amazon -- inscriptions there have been translated as the thanksgivings of arrived refugees -- or they may have originated from easterly drifters coming clear across the Pacific, quite likely both. A bend of the Challenger Ridge, the sunken backbone of Atlantis, lies just off the Amazon. And here again we have a striking correlation. Says H.P.B.:

... No more striking confirmation of our position could be given, than the fact that the ELEVATED RIDGE in the Atlantic basin, 9,000 feet in height, which runs for some two or three thousand miles southwards from a point near the British Islands, first slopes towards South America, then shifts almost at right angles to proceed in a SOUTH-EASTERLY line toward the African coast, whence it runs on southward to Tristan d'Acunha. This ridge is a remnant of an Atlantic continent, and, could it be traced further, would establish the reality of a submarine horse-shoe junction with a former continent in the Indian Ocean....

The Atlantic portion of Lemuria was the geological basis of what is generally known as Atlantis. The latter, indeed, must be regarded rather as a development of the Atlantic prolongation of Lemuria, than as an entirely new mass of land upheaved to meet the special requirements of the Fourth Root-Race. Just as in the case of Race-evolution, so in that of the shifting and re-shifting of continental masses, no hard and fast line can be drawn where a new order ends and another begins. Continuity in natural processes is never broken. Thus the Fourth Race Atlanteans were developed from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian Third Race Men, centered, roughly speaking, toward a point of land in what is now the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Their continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were upheaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the true home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans.... (S.D. II, 333-4).

It is exactly at Tristan Da Cunha that the great Indian Ocean sweep of the San Andreas Circle meets the Challenger Ridge, and the two together form just that "horse-shoe junction!"

Here again we have another correlation. Ireland is at the north end of the Challenger Ridge. The Brazilian Belt lies through and along the trough which divides the Ridge from Africa and Europe. Was it the submersion of the Belt in its Atlantean section which produced an upheaval off the Irish Coast and brought England and Western Europe to birth? There can be no doubt that the sunken "Land of Lyonesse" of tradition, and which the ancient bards pointed out as lying south and west of Britain, coincides with the Challenger Ridge. The Middle Atlantic section of the Caribbean Belt lies through and along the trough which divides the Challenger Ridge from the North Coast of South America, in like manner. Was it the submersion of this portion of it which upheaved the West Indies?

The Sixth Race, says the Secret Doctrine, is nascent in American regions, and inevitably new lands, which H.P.B. hints will be available when new and truer social ideals are practised, will rise to fill its needs. Europe, although its races have a "reprieve" of 16,000 years yet, will by that time be already "autopsized," with special reference to France and England. The definite meaning of the graphic term "autopsized" stands out upon an examination of the European contours with a view to the effects of a partial submersion. It would reduce them to an archipelago very much as parts of the Mediterranean regions have been. It is not by chance that Greek and Roman towns are found beneath the waters, nor that formerly prosperous British ports are now offshore ruins. The whole of France and Germany are undergoing a block-tilting, slow, but sure.

The great Belts are fracture-lines, weak joints in the sub-crust of the earth. The whole world is undergoing constant stress, the forces being relieved along these lines by subsidence, upheaval, folding, or slippage longitudinally. The breaking up of lands thus must follow the fault-lines, new lands being bounded by them, as the present lands are demonstrably bounded. Such faults may be "live" or "dead." Few of them are wholly dead, and all of them are subject to coming alive under the influence of others which neighbor them or cross them. Prognosticating the fate of Europe, therefore, we find in the Mediterranean region, all within the Belt -- which future science may name the "Midgard" -- one of the most violent volcanic areas known. The contours of the Mediterranean definitely show settlement and autosization for a long time past. The old Greek and Roman maps show much simpler contours -- not due to simplicity of mind and delineation as hitherto supposed. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in this region in convulsions since the middle of the 18th century. Atlantoid submersion is no myth or tradition here; it is a contemporary fact.

What are these mysterious Belts?

Stockwell and Croll enumerate some half dozen Glacial Periods and subsequent Deluges -- the earliest of all being dated by them 850,000, and the last about 100,000 years ago. But which was our Deluge? Assuredly the former, the one which to this date remains recorded in the traditions of all the peoples, from the remotest antiquity; the one that finally swept away the last peninsulas of Atlantis, beginning with Ruta and Daitya and ending with the (comparatively) small island mentioned by Plato. (S.D. II, 141).

Science confesses its ignorance of the cause producing climatic vicissitudes and such changes in the axial direction, which are always followed by these vicissitudes; nor does it seem so sure of the axial changes. And being unable to account for them, it is prepared rather to deny the axial phenomena altogether, than admit the intelligent Karmic hand and law which alone could reasonably explain such sudden changes and their results. (S.D. II, 329-30).

We are here given a certain correlation between continental submersions, glacial periods, and polar shifts. In fact under the laws of continuity and of cause and effect it could hardly be otherwise. Science itself is having more and more recourse to the idea of polar shifts in order to explain the ice ages. These Great Circles, then, are in all probability ancient positions of the equator. Even from the most materialistic point of view, a shift of poles would place immense crushing and folding stresses upon the earth's crust all along the former equator. How ancient some of them are no one may know; some of them, such as the Madagascan and Appalachian, are deep buried along parts of their length under the effects of newer belts. But that the San Andreas is primarily Lemurian-Atlantean, and the Midgard Atlanto-Aryan, is beyond doubt. It is therefore quite in the order of things that the San Andreas in a new incarnation should be Aryan and Sixth Race.

The positions of the Belts indicate the directions and magnitude of polar shifts. The Midgard, the Appalachian, Brazilian, indicate shifts in one general direction; the San Andreas, Rocky Mountain, Caribbean, and Madagascar indicate shifts in the opposite. It is significant that the two most recent and most active belts show shifts in exactly opposite directions and of similar magnitude, from the present Poles. Is there then a pendulum swing of the axis from one extreme to the other between every two Root Races? It would seem so; and if so, accounts for the violence of submersions.

There is correlation between all the forces of violence, be they human, meteorological, or seismological. It is no coincidence that the two most violent seismological areas in the world, the East and West Indies, are also the worst hurricane and typhoon areas. There is coincidence in the identity of location of these zones of violent geological action with those of violent human history. Four Belts cross in the Caribbean region, forming a seismic plexus. These areas have been the location of unending human misery, blood, torture and oppression. Further south in the Andes and still also under the geological influence of the Caribbean Plexus, at the exact crossing of the Midgard and the San Andreas, have taken place the most sanguinary struggles in the history of the Western Hemisphere, in proportion to numbers involved.

In the Atlantic occurs another plexus, that of the Midgard, Atlantic, Caribbean, and Brazilian Belts. It is the scene of the terrible sins and struggles of latter-day Atlantis. The major part of the history of Europe was in early days directly along the Midgard in the Mediterranean. The World War was fought entirely in the triangle between these three. A plexus of the Midgard, the Madagascan, and the Brazilian surrounds Afghanistan, numbers of whose people live for murder and whose history has been one long war. The Chinese wars, the Russo-Japanese War, the various Chino-Japanese struggles, have taken place in a rhomboid formed by the Midgard, the San Andreas, the Rocky Mountain, and the Brazilian. The human equation in the whole of the Malay Peninsula hardly needs dilating upon: and this is the crossing of the Midgard and San Andreas. New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, populated by some of the most savage tribes on earth, are on another plexus. Where Nature is most violent, there man is or has been also.

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(1) Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1933.
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