Across the ancient world we find mysterious stone ruins that are so sophisticated and advanced that they look like structures from the distant future, rather than the primitive past. Scholars ignore these ruins because academia in general upholds the “evolutionary” paradigm, which sees man as rising and evolving. They believe our modern society marks the pinnacle of human progress. Yet our ancient ancestors believed the opposite—man is falling, declining. More accurately, man has fallen from a sophisticated “Golden Age” civilization that flourished globally in the remote past. If this ancient and once-universal belief is correct, then is it possible that relics from this Golden Age are still visible in some of the most advanced archaeological monuments we find scattered worldwide?
“The further back in time we look, the more advanced our forefathers seem to have been. Egypt´s Great Pyramid, England´s Stonehenge, Lebanon´s Baalbek, and Spain´s Segovia Aqueduct are just a few of many examples worldwide.” – Richard Cassaro
Throughout our lives, we´ve been told that man is rising, growing, evolving. We´re taught in school that we have evolved from “primitive cavemen” to “professional space travelers” in a mere few thousand years. Most educated people fully subscribe to this “evolutionary” paradigm of history.
Many scholars say our High Technology is a blessing. High Technology, they tell us, will soon push us to live longer, help us find cures for the world´s diseases, slow the course of aging, and maybe one day even “cure” death itself.
Strangely, even as our technology advances at lightning speed, we seem somehow to have lost the way. There´s a growing turmoil everywhere that is palpable—and it´s making us feel as though we´re living in a world that is alien to our true nature.
“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.”
Could it be that technology is only a kind of mirage, and that instead of rising, our civilization is falling and declining? Could it be that the scientific paradigm of “social evolution” is incorrect, and that in fact the reverse is true? Is our High Technology masking the fact that we have been declining for thousands of years? Falling further into a dark age?
“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
As a knee-jerk reaction, some critics might think this is a “New Age” and “Pseudoscience” idea. But they would be wrong. The idea that man has been declining for thousands of years is ancient; it´s a narrative rooted in various traditions around the world. Perhaps the most well-known of these traditions comes to us from India. The Hindus have always believed that civilization cycles between repeating Dark Ages and Golden Ages. For Hindus, the Golden Age has long since passed into history and we have now fallen into the Dark Age, which they call the Kali Yuga or Age of Vice.
“Kali Yuga…or “age of vice” is the last of the four stages the world goes through as…described in the Sanskrit scriptures…Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age…
Hinduism…represents morality as an Indian bull. In…the first stage of development, the bull has four legs, but in each age morality is reduced by one quarter. By the age of Kali, morality is reduced to only a quarter of that of the Golden Age, so that the bull…has only one leg…”
Many Hindus believed we are currently living in the Kali Yuga or Dark Age, which is the lowest and worst of all the ages. Like the Hindus in India, many ancient European cultures also did not believe time is “linear,” moving from Point A to Point B. They believed instead that time and human consciousness are “cyclical,” moving around and around in one great giant cycle or circle.
For example, the Greeks and Romans believed that we have fallen from a high Golden Age that once existed in the remote past. The Greco-Roman idea of the so-called “Four Ages of Man,” which was explained by the authors Hesiod and Ovid, are as follows:
– Golden Age (first)
– Silver Age (second)
– Bronze Age (third)
– Iron Age (fourth)
The progression from one age to the next is indicated symbolically with metals of successively decreasing value. (NOTE: The Bronze Age and Iron Age bear no relation to the mainstream historical Bronze and Iron ages.) These ages progress from an original, long-gone Golden Age when humans enjoyed a nearly divine existence to the current Iron Age, in which humans are beset by innumerable pains and evils. Remarkably, ancient Europe´s “Four Ages of Man” concept corresponds to the cyclical periods of ancient Hindu Yugas:
ANCIENT HINDU “YUGAS”
(1) Satya Yuga (Golden Age)
(2) Treta Yuga (Silver Age)
(3) Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age)
(4) Kali Yuga (Iron Age)
ANCIENT EUROPEAN “AGES OF MAN”
(1) Golden Age (Hinduism´s Satya Yuga)
(2) Silver Age (Hinduism´s Treta Yuga)
(3) Bronze Age (Hinduism´s Dvapara Yuga)
(4) Iron Age (Hinduism´s Kali Yuga)
The Hindu Yuga Cycles and the European Doctrine of the Four Ages fundamentally supports the idea that humanity is currently in decline, and this is in complete harmony with the beliefs of many traditional cultures worldwide.
“Interpretation of history as repeating cycles of Dark and Golden Ages was a common belief among ancient cultures.”
– Daniel W. Rossides, Social Theory
One could even argue that this is the esoteric meaning behind the famous biblical story of the Fall of Man, described in the Book of Genesis. This “fall” is a metaphor for man´s degeneration from his true spiritual nature down into his material / physical / animal nature. There is ample evidence that this idea was well-known—and even revived, to some extent—during the European Renaissance. The following painting titled The Golden Age by Pietro da Cortona (1596 – 1669) hangs in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.
Painting titled “The Golden Age” by Pietro da Cortona (1596 – 1669) hangs in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible today to discuss ancient cultures in these terms because such ideas have been tainted by association with an evil moment in history.
Between 1935 and 1945, the Nazi government of Germany pursued an unprecedented and bizarre pseudo-scientific quest to regain some of the fabled lost wisdom of the ancient Indo-European peoples, which many Nazi ideologues and anti-Semitic popular writers believed were descendants of the Golden Age. At the direction of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, a special task force, the Ahnenerbe (essentially a cultural and scientific division of the SS), was established for this purpose.
“One thing which became clear to the Ahnenerbe, early on, was that all pre-Christian Indo-European cultures seemed to conceive of history as being cyclical rather than linear. In other words, all ancient “pagan” Indo-European cultures believed in an organic rhythmical order to both Time and Space. This conception of cyclical history – first expounded upon in modern times by Nikolai Danilevsky (1822-1885) and then Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) – stands in stark contrast to the Semitic-derived, “Abrahamic” belief in a purely linear or teleological conception of Time.”
Few present-day historians take Himmler’s Quixotic quest as anything other than a waste of resources. Nonetheless, the Ahnenerbe expeditions are the subject of considerable scholarly and popular interest.
Because of Hitler’s unexampled cruelty, nearly anything associated with his name is considered suspect and discredited. Most people naturally stay as far away as possible from any discussion of Aryan mysticism not framed in terms of utter condemnation. One must acknowledge all of these problems frankly; but throwing out the baby with the bath water is also not a correct approach. I believe that we should study the religious ideas of ancient peoples without much of the historical and cultural/religious baggage that have done so much to distort our view of our distant ancestors. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. By the same token, even Himmler’s racist explorers occasionally turned a spade and found something useful.
As mentioned, the Hindus have always believed that civilization cycles between repeating Dark and Golden Ages. They saw this cycle or circle as being divided equally into twin opposite yet complementary halves—a Light half vs. a Dark half.
For example, we daily pass through a “Day” pattern filled with “Light” during which time we are “Awake.” This is followed by a “Night” pattern filled with “Darkness” during which time we are “Asleep.” Similarly, we annually pass through a “Day” pattern filled with “Light” during which all Nature is “Awake” (Summer), followed by a “Night” pattern filled with “Darkness” during which all Nature is “Asleep” (Winter).
The ancients saw this “Day/Light/Awake/Summer” vs. “Night/Dark/Asleep/Winter” pattern as an eternal principle permeating every aspect of human existence, and they believed it applies on an even grander scale—a cosmic scale. The ancients believed that just as our Daily cycle and Annual cycle are ruled by a “Day/Light/Awake/Summer” vs. “Night/Dark/Asleep/Winter” pattern, so they told us of an even greater cycle to which we´re subjected—one whose circuit takes thousands of years to complete.
The famous Greek philosopher Plato called it the “Great Year;” and in modern times this cycle has been identified with an astronomical event that astronomers call the “Precession of the Equinoxes,” the observable phenomena of the rotation of the 12 constellations of the zodiac in a complete circle around the heavens, which takes c. 26,000 years.
During the “Precession of the Equinoxes” (c. 26,000 years), the 12 constellations
of the zodiac appear to slowly rotate in one complete circuit around the earth.
- A single “Day” (24 hours) has a LIGHT HALF (Sun, Daytime) and DARK HALF (Moon, Nighttime)
- A single “Year” (12 months) has a LIGHT HALF (Summer) and DARK HALF (Winter)
- A single “Great Year” (26,000 years) or “Precession Cycle” has both a LIGHT HALF (Golden Age) and DARK HALF (Dark Age)
The ancients linked this Great Year cycle to man´s spirituality. It was believed that during the 13,000-year “Day/Light/Awake/Summer” half of this cycle, man becomes fully conscious of his spirituality—he instinctively recognizes that he is an eternal divine being having a human experience. This is the Golden Age, when civilization reaches its peak.
But during the “Night/Dark/Asleep/Winter” half of this 13,000-year cycle, man´s consciousness and spirituality are at their lowest point—man develops amnesia of his eternity and divinity. This is the Dark Age, when civilization falls to the depths.
You might perhaps think of it like traveling around a giant Taijitu (Yin/Yang) circle:
Ancient China´s Taijitu depicts Yin and Yang, twin opposing yet complementary halves that together form a whole. The symbol teaches that duality is prevalent across all Nature.
Robert Frost’s wonderful poem Nothing Gold Can Stay succinctly captures this idea, which Frost identifies with a doctrine of the occult that may be said to be a kind of “Law of Nature,” perfectly expressed in the poem´s title:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Nothing Gold Can Stay reveals the eternal truth that Nature´s cycles are born at the extreme height—Gold. But soon after birth, the Gold slowly falls ultimately into decay and then death.
Think of how “nothing gold can stay” plays out in Nature:
MORNING FALLS TO NIGHT
1 – Morning (dawn until noon)
2 – Day (noon until 7 pm)
3 – Evening (7 pm until bedtime)
4 – Night (bedtime until next morning)
SPRING FALLS TO WINTER
1 – Spring
2 – Summer
3 – Fall
4 – Winter
YOUTH FALLS TO OLD AGE
1 – Infancy
2 – Childhood
3 – Adulthood
4 – Old Age
For hundreds of years, this view was known and accepted by scholars, archaeologists, historians, and occultist worldwide. Mystics like Helena Blavatsky have brought this teaching into modern times, pointing out that civilization itself reflects these “ebbs” and “flows” of the cycle:
“Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of human progress. The great kingdoms and empires of the world, after reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended…”
—Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (1877)
One can argue that the last Golden Age is still recognizable in our most ancient history, its ruins visible in scattered glimpses around the world. It was described as being followed by a slow decline into barbarism, with man increasingly beset by pains and evils, symbolized by metals of decreasing value.
Is it possible that some of the most advanced ancient architecture that we see across the world has been improperly dated by archaeologists, and instead of belonging to cultures visible in our history they in fact belong to the Golden Age (or perhaps Silver Age)?
With this knowledge in mind, we look up at ancient monuments that have come down to us from the distant past. Many of them seem futuristic in their design and nearly flawless in their execution—a strange combination for monuments set in the distant past. We marvel in amazement at the skill and perfection of these monuments and we wonder at what kind of human beings the builders must have been to have performed such feats of amazement.
Could it be possible that “Nature´s First Green Is Gold” applies to humanity? Could it be that when we stand in awe of ancient monuments we are coming in contact with a higher “form” of humanity?
As an author and field investigator, I´ve traveled to many different archaeological sites around the world. I´ve seen advanced ancient stonemasonry that is bizarre with perfection, resplendent with geometric stone designs, and strangely perfect in its style of construction. I sometimes wonder if a handful or more of the world´s most ancient and advanced monuments were built during this Golden Age (or perhaps the Silver Age), and they have been misattributed by scholars.
For more than twenty years, the English author Graham Hancock has been proffering evidence that a “lost civilization” existed in prehistory. In his 1995 best-seller, Fingerprints of the Gods: “Hancock discovers compelling evidence of a…advanced civilization that was destroyed and obliterated from human memory.” In another of Hancock´s books, Magicians of the Gods, we read:
“The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors…They settled at key locations – Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru…Everywhere they went these ‘Magicians of the Gods’ brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price.”
—Graham Hancock, Magicians of the Gods
As a fan of Hancock, I feel strongly that he is onto something. There are many monuments I suspect may come from the Golden Age (c. 10,000 BC), or at least from an age much closer to the Golden Age than scholars are currently willing to consider.
CYCLOPEAN MASONRY IN ITALY
For example, it´s difficult to believe that the Cyclopean ruins in Italy are Roman ruins, as mainstream archaeologists claim (based on very little evidence). The Cyclopean ruins seem to have been built thousands of years before the Romans. However, since scholars are unwilling to say they “don´t know who built them” these ruins are simply attributed to the Romans. The ruins even seem to predate the extremely advanced Etruscans, who scholars claim preceded the Romans by a millennium. In my opinion, these ruins are thousands of years older than scholars realize; and I have found unpublished evidence (which I will explain in due time) that leads me to believe they may have been left by a higher “form” of man, a profoundly more “spiritual” man—even a more “godlike” man—just like the ancient historians tell us:
Photo of the author (Richard Cassaro) at the Cyclopean ruins in Norba, Italy in 2016.
“Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework…built with massive…boulders, roughly fitted together with minimal clearance between adjacent stones and no use of mortar…The term comes from the belief of classical Greeks that only the mythical Cyclopes had the strength to move the enormous boulders…”
(For more info on these Cyclopean ruins, read my 2011 book, Written in Stone, and my 2013 article: Hidden Italy: The Forbidden Cyclopean Ruins (Of Giants From Atlantis?)
Similar “godlike” creations are not confined to Europe; all around the world we find ancient monuments that follow the same theme. We find it in the pyramids of Egypt, the Segovia Aqueduct, the ancient stone circles of Great Britain, and the polygonal stone walls of Peru.
PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT
The ancient pyramids of Egypt are among the most baffling and advanced stuctures in the world.
POLYGONAL WALLS OF PERU
At right, photo of the author (Richard Cassaro) at the polygonal ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Peru, 2002.
MEGALITHIC STONE CIRCLES OF BRITAIN
The megalithic ruins of Stonehenge. The stones are aligned to the sun, moon, and stars in a way (and for purposes) not yet fully understood.
Does the Golden Age model of history explain these monuments? Are some of the world´s most advanced ancient ruins—those ruins that look like “structures from the distant future, rather than the primitive past”—remnants of the Golden Age? Or perhaps the Silver Age? Or even an age closer to ours? Have these ruins been misunderstood by archaeologists, whose views are biased by their belief in the evolutionary paradigm of history?
I´ve been asking this question for many years. Readers often ask me: “If there was a Golden Age in the remote past does this mean we´re now living in the Dark Age?” My response is usually to say that if indeed there is a kernel of truth to the idea of the cycling of the ages, and if indeed there was a Golden Age in the past, then we are indeed most probably living in the Dark Age (or an age close to it). In all ages and cycles there is a downfall. As mentioned, many Hindus believe we are now living in that downfall period, the Kali Yuga Age:
“When society reaches a stage where property confers rank, where wealth becomes the only source of virtue, passion the sole bond between man and wife, falsehood the source of success in life, sex the only means of enjoyment, and when outer trappings are confused with inner religion…then we are in the Kali Yuga – the Dark Age.”
—Veda Vyasa, The Vishnu Purana
Does our modern society seem to be moving closer and closer to this degenerate age as described in this quote by Veda Vyasa? (Vyasa was a key revered figure in most Hindu traditions, and he is generally considered the author of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.) Agreeing with ancient Hindu sources, most mystics and sages of the past few centuries believe that the age we´re currently living in is the Kali Yuga, the darkest of all the ages. Helena Blavatsky wrote:
“The cycle is moving down, and, as it descends, the physical and bestial nature of man develops more and more at the expense of the Spiritual Self.”
20th century Italian philosopher Julius Evola also believed we are living in a Dark Age:
“…this book describes a model of history in which the modern world is at the very end of a dark age, the Kali Yuga. He offers the hope, though not the assurance, that an elect might come through the final collapse. They might even achieve god-like illumination…”
—John Reilly, Review of Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World
In his 16-minute long, specially-videotaped address to the Sacred Web Conference at the University of Alberta, in Canada, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, clearly confirmed his suspicion that we have entered the dark age:
“Often, I find myself convinced of the warnings given…by sages and mystics of all faiths and of all time; warnings of the coming of a Dark Age, an age in which our ignorance and arrogance – a dangerous combination, surely – will lead us, indeed may already have led us, towards catastrophe. The present examples of pestilence, flood, famine, storm and climatic disruption are surely evidence enough. At the very least, they seem to foretell of conditions of chronic imbalance and disharmony – no doubt as much a part of our inner as our outer condition.”
—Prince Charles, Sacred Web Conference (2006)
“The traditionalist perspective is that we are living at the end of an historical cycle. At the beginning of this cycle all and every possibility is latent. However, as the cycle evolves or unfolds, these possibilities begin to manifest themselves in the world of time and space, beginning with the highest and gradually moving towards the lower. At the end of the cycle, the very lowest possibilities manifest themselves. The traditionalists tell us that at the cosmic level this process cannot be withheld or interrupted. It must take place. The cycle, they say, must exhaust itself before a new one can replace it.”
—Prince Charles, Sacred Web Conference (2006)
(For more info, please read my 2016 article: “Prince Charles Publicly Reveals “The Secret Doctrine of the Occult”)
It should be noted that some writers of the esoteric tradition hold that Plato even named the Golden Age culture—“Atlantis.” Plato explains in deep detail how Atlantis was incredibly advanced, but slowly declined as a civilization. He seems to have suggested that a memory of Atlantis is preserved in the fantastic abilities attributed to the “gods” of Greek and Roman mythology; they were mortals, but they were endowed with amplified perceptions by being in touch with the higher Self. Think of a civilization of Christs and Buddhas, or something akin to it.
In time, however, the Atlantean kingdom grew weak due to their materializing tendencies, weak enough that they began to lose touch with the inner divinity that granted them such power. Plato wrote:
“For many generations…they obeyed the laws and loved the divine to which they were akin. …they reckoned that qualities of character were far more important than their present prosperity. So they bore the burden of their wealth and possessions lightly, and did not let their high standard of living intoxicate them or make them lose their self-control…But when the divine element in them became weakened…and their human traits became predominant, they ceased to be able to carry their prosperity with moderation.”
—Plato (Note: Emphasis added by me)
Plato goes on to explain that the end of Atlantis came some several thousand years ago, when a series of natural disasters sank their continent into the sea. As the story goes, a handful of survivors escaped the devastation, spreading to different parts of the world and taking their sophisticated religion with them.
For the past two decades, I´ve pointed to the archaeological research and discoveries made by 19th and 20th century scholars showing cultural parallels worldwide; I explain how this may be evidence of the remnants of the Golden Age religion. If this theory is correct, then the remnants of this religion seems to have consisted of many common features, like pyramid-building, mummification and the building of corbeled arches:
Photo of the author (Richard Cassaro) lecturing in 2014 in New York City. Are the parallels shared by ancient unrelated civilizations evidence of a Golden Age in the prehistoric past?
If the world´s “first known cultures” shared the same Universal Religion, then this may have been the religion of the Golden Age—or, rather, a remnant of the Golden Age religion that is still visible in the world´s ancient traditions, architecture, symbolism, philosophies, and cosmologies. Victorian scholars, like the archaeologist Zelia Nuttall, saw clear evidence linking ancient civilizations of the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
“It will seem that the outcome of my researches corroborates the opinions differently expressed by a long line of eminent investigators, who have been constantly discovering and pointing out undeniable similarities and identities between the civilization of both hemispheres.”
—Zelia Nuttall, American Archaeologist & Anthropologist (1857 – 1933)
Seeing the utter sophistication of ancient monuments and contrasting this sophistication with the sad state of current world affairs shows us evidence that there may be a kernel of truth in the Golden Age vs. Dark Age beliefs of many of our ancient ancestors. And that many ancient ruins around the world that show signs of remarkable sophistication have been improperly dated by archaeologists. Instead of belonging to civilizations we can “see” in our history, they may in fact belong to an era or Age thousands of years earlier.
I´m often told that the idea that we´re living in a Dark Age is a “negative” outlook, and that it conveys a sense of hopelessness. But Prince Charles offers us some hope:
“I know that this might seem to suggest that we are entirely the passive victims of this cosmic unfolding. However, as I understand it, the traditionalists would go on to say that if this were the only reality then all attempts to pursue and align ourselves with spiritual realities and experience would be in vain. And that cannot possibly be. Indeed, it is precisely on the individual plane and through our understanding of and attachment to traditional norms of metaphysical doctrine and spiritual practice that we can, in a measure, transcend the baleful influence of the descent that is the eventual exhaustion and end of our cycle of history and prepare ourselves and the world for the beginning of the next. It is in this way, and perhaps only in this way, that we can overcome the mind-numbing despair of Modernism – not by false optimism, but by an understanding of and an attachment to the truly Real.”
—Prince Charles, Sacred Web Conference (2006)
This article has been excerpted and adapted from my upcoming book, Mayan Masonry (due to be released on September 23, 2018). Some advance copies are available right now. Click the link below to learn more.
Also be sure to have a look at our MEXICO TOUR to see the ruins of the ancient Maya this coming November 2018.
Richard Cassaro is a Madrid-based author, lecturer, documentary filmmaker, and tour guide from New York City. His published books Written in Stone (2011), The Missing Link (2016), and Mayan Masonry (2018) offer rare insights into ancient megaliths, spirituality, mythology, magic, symbolism, secret societies, comparative religion and occult archaeology. Cassaro has discussed his work on the History Channel, and in documentary films. His articles have appeared in print journals and web media around the globe; and he has delivered well-received lectures about his findings in the UK, Italy, Peru, Egypt, Spain, Mexico and the U.S. In his capacity as a field investigator, he hosts travel adventures to archaeological sites worldwide.
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