[Originally published in the April 1948 Theosophical Forum.]
May 11, 1948, closes the seventh year of the cycle which began with the memorable evening of May 11, 1941, when Uranus, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and the Sun were in conjunction, or close to it, in the sign Taurus; the Moon being in opposition and Mars square. On the evening of the conjunction G. de Purucker spoke as follows:
Today is May 11th, a day gravid with destiny. Many persons have misunderstood what I have said about this day. Many others have had a real intellectual curiosity as to what it would be like to live at the end of one great age and see a new one begin. We are at that point now, where the old one dies tonight, at midnight or thereabouts, and the new age is born. As they say in France and England: the King is dead; long live the King.
The preparation for this took place in February 1898, at the end of the first 5,000 years of Kali Yuga. . . . This one will affect the whole world, but particularly the Occidental portion and will bring in its turn, if I see aright, a renaissance of Oriental culture. Coming events cast their shadows before, and I pray to the Gods that in the centuries to come the man of the west will govern himself with justice, and with honor. If not, his time is run; if he do he will collaborate with the cycle that is opening tonight.
How my heart is wrung with man's folly. So beautiful and blessed are the pathways of right; so painful are the ways of wrong. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit all.
A similar conjunction occurred in 3102 BC in which Venus played the same role that Mars did in the conjunction of 1941. The year of 3102 BC, as we know, marked the opening of Kali Yuga, at which time the death of Krishna occurred. Science has discovered that for several thousands of years previous to this date a "climatic optimum" existed during which the world climate was much warmer than at present; the arctic seas were free of ice and mountain glaciers had dwindled to a few icy remnants on the highest peaks. Soon after the coming of Kali Yuga, all this was changed, and some 4,000 years ago, roughly speaking, the arctic seas began to refreeze, mountain glaciers reborn once more descended into fertile valleys, and peoples isolated by the cold soon lost knowledge of their neighbors. Since then this cooling trend has advanced and retreated in minor cycles, each accompanied by the wars and migrations of peoples which we know as history.
There are many who believe the "climatic optimum," lasting for several thousand years, was a time in which the whole world was known. Professor A. W. Brogger lecturing at Oslo in 1936 spoke of this period as a golden age of deep sea navigation which may have been at its peak about 3000 BC. Stefansson says the theory that "man of the Old World discovered the Americas from Brazil to Greenland, during Brogger's golden age of navigation five thousand years ago, and perhaps earlier, rests merely on possibilities and probabilities. As yet we cannot prove it certainly, though we can prove it likely."
H. P. Blavatsky in her Theosophical Glossary places the visit of Arjuna to America (Patala) at 5,000 years ago. Curiously, the writings of ancient India speak of aircraft of several types as in use during this same period. With the onset of Kali Yuga, 3102 BC, it was as though a curtain had been dropped before the stage of history. The changing conditions sharply defined the life zones of the earth, and mankind entered upon a new act, slowly relearning forgotten knowledge, slowly rediscovering the continents of the earth.
Global mean temperatures 18,000 years ago to present. [Source: J.A.Eddy, OIES, and R. S. Bradley, University of Massachusets, Earthquest, Spring 1991]
Once more the world is entering a cycle fully as critical as that of 5,050 years ago; indeed much more so, for it affects not one section of the world but the entire globe, and all the peoples upon it. Many theosophists, expecting something startling and dramatic to follow immediately after May 11, 1941, soon forgot Dr. de Purucker's words, or on the other hand supposed the disasters which have since fallen upon mankind to be the sole effect; but unknown to most, events in nature have been fully as portentous as those overtaking the nations of the earth.
It is something like this: a child coming into life enters through a certain doorway or combination of planetary aspects which are in harmony with and indicate the general trend of the coming life. His hour of birth thus points out something of the problems he will have to meet; but the events indicated do not fall upon the infant all at once. Like a handful of various seeds thrown into the soil, they germinate each at its appropriate time and season. Similarly the aspects at the beginning of a great cycle such as we are now entering might be looked upon as indicating the general trend of events throughout the thousands of years the cycle lasts.
The importance of the present time can scarcely be overestimated. It is not only the accidental slip of an earthquake of which we read in the headlines, or even the frequent volcanic eruptions, but the steady, continuous movements, global in extent, which foreshadow the future; and which if continued will change the face of the world. Or if the western nations crazed by fear rush into another war, outraged nature may rise and shake the pests off her back.
Among the significant trends now becoming apparent are the following: Around 1900 glaciers all over the world ceased advancing and began to retreat, slowly at first, then more and more rapidly. As a typical example, Muir Glacier in Alaska, which was discovered in 1880 and surveyed in 1886, has since lost 35% of its mass or some 175 square miles. Its terminus has retreated thirteen miles and the ice mass has broken up into twelve separate parts. In the meantime snowline in the surrounding country has risen to above 3,000 feet. Another example from Nisqually Glacier, Mount Rainier, shows a loss of ice between 1910 and 1931 of 500 acre feet per year. Between 1931 and 1936 the annual loss averaged 750 acre feet per year. Between 1936 and 1940 the annual loss had sharply increased to 3,400 acre feet per year (an acre foot of ice is equal to an acre of ground covered to a depth of one foot).
With the rapidly accelerated melting of the great ice fields there comes an increase in the volume of water in the oceans; and as the land is released from the pressure of great ice masses it slowly rises, regaining its original position. All this is bringing about a gradual emergence of the northern lands and a submergence of the continental areas surrounding the middle belt of the earth. Dr. Hans Ahlman, the distinguished Geographer of Sweden, tells of startling climatic changes in the polar regions which he believes will affect the whole world. Speaking before the Geographical Institute of the University of California in Los Angeles, Dr. Ahlman said: "Northern oceanic waters are distinctly warmer than they were in 1900; waters in the critical Spitzbergen area have shown a 3-5 degrees F rise, arctic air temperatures have soared 10 degrees F in that period" — an increase of temperature described by Dr. Ahlman as enormous. In the meantime the increase in the annual melting of the northern ice fields is causing an average rise in sea level of 1-11/2 mm each year. The professor points out that should the Greenland icecap, which is some 10,000 feet in depth, completely melt, large areas of coastal lowlands would be submerged, including many of the world's large seaports. Strangely enough, one result of the arctic conditions is found in the tropics, where a marked decrease in rainfall has been noted.
Worldwide studies in changes in sea level and postglacial uplift by Dr. Beno Gutenberg show portions of Alaska and Canada undergoing an uplift of two and even three meters per century. On the other hand, those lands lying below the latitude of the Canadian Boundary Line are with few exceptions slowly submerging; the rise in sea level being for Seattle 6 cm per century, for San Francisco 12 cm, for Los Angeles 14 cm, for San Diego 17 cm. On the Atlantic coast the rate is considerably higher: for New York 23 cm per century, for Baltimore 25 cm, and for Atlantic City 34 cm. Galveston, Texas, shows a rise in sea level of 48 cm per century, which may foreshadow a future invasion of the interior. These figures selected from Dr. Gutenberg's studies roughly correspond to records from corresponding latitudes in Europe and elsewhere.
Given the general pattern of the rapidly changing series of events, there is scarcely a week which does not add to the accumulating mass of evidence. An unsigned article in HPB's Theosophist, November 1883, has the following significant warning: "We are at the end of a cycle — geological and other — and at the beginning of another. Cataclysm is to follow cataclysm. The pent-up forces are bursting out in many quarters; and not only will men be swallowed up or slain by thousands, 'new' land appear and 'old' subside, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves appall; but secrets of an unsuspected Past will be uncovered to the dismay of Western theorists, and the humiliation of an imperious science."
It seems obvious that a new cycle, one is tempted to say a new world, is at our very doors. Amid the world-shaking confusion, a new humanity and a new civilization are seeking birth.
(From Sunrise magazine, August/September 2001)
Today, as a people, we are by our thoughts and actions affecting to no small degree the record of the next century. We are adding one more link to the chain of events on both the lower and the higher planes of evolution. It is high time that we eliminate from our minds unfaith and egotism, cynicism and selfishness, and prepare ourselves to be a part of the great movement of spiritual life which is now close at hand. —Katherine Tingley