by Eric Larrabee
A Study in Anger in
The Name of Science and Pride
In 2003 a
book was released entitled "Immanuel
Velikovsky The Truth Behind the Torment",
by his daughter Ruth. The book documents the hate
and prejudice against him and hints at the pain of
rejection that he went through. Putting aside the
brilliance of this one man momentarily, the event of the
rise against him by accepted mainline scientists is
worthy of serious attention and study. If for no other
reason, but yet perhaps the most important reason, to
see the mistakes of man when faced with a challenge to
his/her pride. It strikes deeper than nearly any other
instrument of emotion. This is clearly shown in the
aforementioned book and in the few articles we will be
posting on this page in the coming weeks and months.
recommend that you purchase the book, so that you can
see the treachery for yourself as you read the articles
that we post. The articles that we will post are some
that have been previously published in magazines and
periodicals mentioned in the book. These are not found
on any other site on the web that we know of, but appear
crucial to the understanding of the event. The impact on
us in our day is evident. When we look to NASA
for answers concerning the Moon, Mars, or any other
subject relative to our search for truth, you will see
who you can trust and who you cannot trust.
In the first installment we look at the initial
Harper’s Magazine article that really got the fire
going. It was written by Eric Larrabee, a
Harper’s editor at the time (January 1950). It was a
prelude to the release of Velikovsky’s first published
book, Worlds In Collision. It’s a supportive
article and puts a "best foot" forward for Velikovsky.
But the article created a firestorm that hasn’t stopped
The Old Testament describes an event over Palestine, when the Hebrew
tribes were led into the battle of Beth-Horon by Joshua.
said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and
thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and
the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their
enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood
still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a
The sun over Gibeon was in the forenoon sky. It would have been
night or very early morning in the Western hemisphere.
There is a Mexican tradition, recorded in the Nahua-Indian in the
Annals of Cuauhtitlan, that once in the remote past the night did
not end for a long time. Friar Bernardino de Sahagun, a Spanish
scholar who came to the New World a generation after Columbus, wrote
that the American aborigines told of a great catastrophe, in which
the sun had risen only a little way above the horizon, and then
stood still. These are but two of the many traditions from all parts
of the world which refer to a disturbance in the earth’s orderly
It is conceivable that a large celestial body approaching the earth
could exert an attraction sufficiently powerful to slow down its
turning and make the sun appear to stop in the sky. The heads of
comets are assumed to be composed of clusters of meteorites. If a
comet were to come close to the earth, it would accompanied by
meteors falling in a torent. The Old Testament, two verses above the
description in the Book of Joshua of the sun standing still,
contains the following passage:
"As they fled from before Israel,
and were going down to Beth-Horan... the Lord cast down great stones
upon them in Azekah, and they died..."
In a book to be published in a few weeks called
Worlds in Collision,
Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky will present a great body of evidence to
show that about 1500 B.C. a comet, a new member of the solar system,
did pass close to the earth. This he places at the time of the
Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Fifty-two years later, at the
time of Joshua, the same comet returned. At both of these two
meetings with the comet, in Dr. Velikovsky’s words,
the memory of mankind, the earth refused to play the chronometer by
undisturbed rotation on its axis."
Worlds in Collision is the first
of four or more volumes in which the same author will maintain that
not only on these two occasions but many times has the earth
undergone vast and disastrous cataclysms in which its rotation was
This article is an attempt, necessarily condensed and incomplete, to
offer a preview of Dr. Velikovsky’s findings. It is impossible to
give here any idea of the extent of the material he has assembled to
substantiate his argument. In the descriptions which follow, for
every piece of evidence mentioned, Worlds in Collision, the first
volume alone, contains scores more; and every statement in the book
is supplied with numerous references.
Dr. Velikovsky’s work crosses so many of the jurisdictional
boundaries of learning that few experts could check it against their
own competence. The main body of evidence in Worlds in Collision is
historical, and the details are drawn from - among other sources -
the Old Testament
the Egyptian papyri
legends of Rome, Greece, Babylonia,
Arabia, Persia, India, Tibet, Finland, Iceland, West Africa,
Siberia, China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, and Peru
Dr. Velikovsky describes the area of his investigations as "anthropology
in the broadest sense," concerning itself with "the nature of the
cosmos and its history."
This universal student was born in Vitebsk, Russia in 1895. He
studied natural sciences at Edinburgh, and law, economics, and
history in Russia. He studied medicine at the Moscow Imperial
University and medical law at the University of Charcow. Later he
received his M.D. in Moscow.
During the early twenties he studied biology in Berlin. He founded
and edited the Scripta Universitatis, a joint work of Jewish
scholars out of which grew the University of Jerusalem.
Weizmann asked Dr. Velikovsky to direct the inception of that
University, but he declined and in 1923 went to Palestine, where he
practiced as a physician. Beginning in 1928 he studied
psychoanalysis and the function of the brain in Zurich and Vienna,
with Eugen Bleuler, Wilhelm Stekel, Alfred Adler, and other pioneers
in the field. In 1937 he delivered an address to the International
Psychological Congress, "On Psychological Roots of Hatred Among the
Nations," and in 1939, five weeks before war broke out, he came to
Dr. Velikovsky brought with him to America an unfinished book on
Freud and His Heroes. In the study of Moses and Ikhnaton in
preparation for this work, he came upon the idea that great physical
catastrophes might be used to synchronize the the records of the
ancient peoples of the Near East, and before the end of 1940 the
main outlines of his work were clear. It is so far composed of
Worlds in Collision, a natural history of the world catastrophes,
and of two further volumes called Ages in Chaos.
(completed first though they will be published second) contain the
elaborately documented rewriting of ancient history assumed in
Worlds in Collision.
"I ask a credence of the reader," says Dr. Velikovsky, "that he allow me to use this chronology until Ages in
Chaos is published."
He has been working on both books concurrently
for the past nine years.
Professor Horace M. Kallen, former dean of the New School For Social
Research, was among the first to read the manuscript of Worlds in
"Even if I thought that Velikovsky’s theories were
entirely ungrounded," writes Professor Kallen of Velikovsky’s
historical and archaeological work, "I would treat them as an
extraordinary achievement of the scientific and historical
imagination.... But it is my belief that Velikovsky has supported his
thesis with substantial evidence and made an effective and
Gordon A. Atwater, curator of the
Planetarium, wrote to the Macmillan Company that,
presented by Dr. Velikovsky are unique and should be presented to
the world of science in order that the underpinning of modern
science can be re-examined.... I believe the author has done an
outstanding job. In fact, he has gone beyond what normally be
expected of a single individual."
The comet, at the first of the two meetings reconstructed in
in Collision, touched the earth with its gaseous tail, and one of
the first signs of the encounter was a rain of fine, rusty pigment.
The world turned red.
“All the waters that were in the river,” reads
the Book of Exodus, “were turned to blood.”
The Manuscript Quiche’
of the Mayas tells of the rivers turning to blood, and so does the
Papyrus Ipuwer of the Egyptians. Then, as the story continues in the
Visuddhi-Magga of the Buddhists, the fine dust turned to coarse
“and then fine sand, and then coarse sand, and then grit,
stones, up to boulders as large... as mighty trees on the hilltops.”
And with the shower of meteorites the earth stopped turning.
It came to rest so faced to the sun that a long night, darkened by
the cosmic refuse sweeping in from interplanetary space, fell on
Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the valleys of the Euphrates and
the Indus. The Babylonians, the tribes of the Sudan, the Finns, the
Greeks, the Peruvians, and the American Indians all have traditions
of a long night accompanying a catastrophe which the earth did not
survive. Further east, the Iranians saw the sun suspended several
days in the sky. In china, it is said that in the reign of the Emperor Yahou the sun did not set for a number of days and all the
We suppose that if the earth stopped turning it would destroy
itself, as H.G. Wells imagined it would when his “man who could work
miracles” commanded the same act. Our idea of momentum - and the Law
of Gravitation, about which Dr. Velikovsky has much to say - leads
us to assume that the earth’s surface would fly onward in the
direction of its rotation and be torn apart. A great global
catastrophe, with seas and continents changing their places, is in
fact described in the traditions of mankind. The world gave every
sign to its inhabitants of being on the brink of destruction.
Approached by the body of the comet, the earth was forced out of its
regular motion; a major shock convulsed its entire surface.
major shift in the atmosphere caused by the approach of the comet
and the stasis of the planet, itself produced hurricanes of enormous
velocity and force.
“The face of the earth changed,” writes
Dr. Velikovsky, summarizing the Mayan account from
the Manuscript Troano,
“mountains collapsed, other mountains grew and rose over the
onrushing cataract of water driven from the oceanic spaces,
numberless rivers lost their beds, and a wild tornado moved through
the debris descending from the sky.”
The human population was decimated and many species of animals
The surface of the earth burst. Three Mexican
manuscripts tell how everywhere in the Western hemisphere new
mountains came into being. New volcanoes opened and fissures in the
flat land threw forth fire and smoke and liquid basalt. The rivers
steamed and the sea boiled. The Zendi-Avesta of the Persians says
that a star made the sea boil. The Polynesians say that a star
caused new islands to appear.
It was the tenth plague of Egypt, the night of Passover, when the
Lord passed over the huts of the Israelites and struck the mansions
of the Egyptians (the light rush houses would survive and earthquake
more easily than heavy stone ones).
“There was not a house where
there was not one dead,” says the Book of Exodus, and St. Jerome
wrote that “in the night in which Exodus took place, all the temples
of Egypt were destroyed either by an earth shock or by the
The head of the comet came close to the earth, breaking
through the darkness of the dust cloud, and the Hebrew tradition
tells that the last night of the Jews in Egypt was as bright as the
noon of the summer solstice.
The blow fell at midnight. Dr. Velikovsky observes in passing that
as the Israelites counted the days from sunset it was for them the
14th Aviv; and, ever since, the Passover
has been celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month of
spring. The Egyptians counted from sunrise, as we do, and for them
it was the 13th Thout, a day
forever after unlucky. As for the thirteenth of any month, said the
Egyptians, “thou shalt not do anything on this day.” The Aztecs also
counted the day from sunrise, and in their calendar it was noted
that on the 13th Olin, a month called “earthquake,” a new world age
had come into being.
When a comet encounters a planet, it may become entangled and drawn
from its path, then forced into a new orbit, and finally liberated.
This is what happened to Lexell’s comet, which was captured by
Jupiter and its moons in 1767 and did not free itself until 1779.
Some form of balance between attraction and inertia was maintained
for twelve years; Jupiter and the comet did not crash together.
Neither, according to Dr. Velikovsky’s thesis, did the earth and the
comet that came near it in 1500 BC. They
exchanged discharges of
The action of the sun and the moon on the earth produces the ocean
tides. If the earth were to slow down, the seas would first recede
toward the poles; but the attraction of a large comet close to the
earth would draw them back toward itself and heap them high in the
air. The story of the seas divided and then rising to break over the
land is widespread.
The Choctaw Indians say that when the land was
in darkness a bright light appeared in the north, “but it was
mountain-high waves, coming nearer”; the Peruvians say that the
ocean left the shore and inundated the continent; the Chinese annals
say that in the reign of the Emperor Yahou a great tidal wave broke
over the mountains into the Chinese Empire and flooded the land for
The tides carried huge rocks along them. For instance, the Madison
Boulder, near Conway, New Hampshire, is a ten-thousand-ton piece of
granite quite different from the bedrock beneath it. An early
nineteenth century explanation of this and other “erratic” boulders
was that great tidal waves, originating in the north, must have
swept the rocks and geologic till (clay, mud and gravel) across the
According to the calculations based on the amount erosion
under them, the boulders were deposited in their places less than
six thousand years ago. It has been assumed that the stones were
drawn along by the glacial ice sheet, but the disquieting fact is
that accumulations of rock were moved from lower latitudes to higher
latitudes - and even uphill toward the Himalaya, through the
existing glaciers push stones down, not up, the slopes.
At the Sea of the Passage the Israelite tribes saw the water drawn
aside and heaped up in a double tide; and, after they crossed, the
waters of the Mediterranean fell and broke into the Red Sea in a
“It was an unusual event,” writes Dr. Velikovsky, “and
because it was unusual it became the most impressive recollection in
the long history of this people. All peoples and nations were
blasted by the same fire and shattered in the same fury.
of Israel on the shore of a sea found in this annihilation their
salvation from bondage. They escaped destruction but their
oppressors perished before their eyes. They extolled their Creator,
took upon themselves the burden of moral rules, and considered
themselves chosen for a great destiny.”
Here is what Dr. Velikovsky’s description of the pageant that took
place in the sky:
When the tidal waves reached
their highest point, and the seas were torn apart,
a tremendous spark flew between the earth and the globe of
the comet, which
instantly pushed down the miles-high billows. Meanwhile, the
tail of the comet and
its head, having become entangled with each other by their
close contact with the
earth, exchanged violent discharges of electricity. It
looked like a battle between
the brilliant globe and the dark column of smoke.
exchange of electrical
potentials, the tail and the head were attracted one to the
other and repelled one
from the other. From the serpent like tail extensions grew,
and it lost the form of a
column. It now looked like a furious animal with legs and
many heads. The discharges
tore the column to pieces, a process that was accompanied by
the brilliant globe
buried in the sea, or wherever the meteorites fell. The
gases of the tail subsequently
enveloped the earth.
To the peoples of the earth below who
witnessed this spectacle, the head of the comet and its tail seemed
to be two separate bodies. The bright globe fought the “crooked
serpent” and destroyed it, thus saving the world from further harm.
It would be difficult, Dr. Velikovsky writes,
“to find a people or a
tribe on earth that does not have the same motif at the very focus
of its religious beliefs.”
The great spark that flew between the
comet and Earth is remembered as the bolt of lightning, placed in
the hand of a god who threw this thunderbolt at a world overwhelmed
by water and fire:
The pattern of conflict between
the comet and its tail takes almost identical form in the battles of
Zeus with Typhon, Isis with Seth, Vishnu with the Serpent, Indra
with Rahu, marduk with Tiamat, Ormuzd with Ahriman.
comet was seen by the people of Ethiopia and Egypt,” wrote Pliny in
his Natural History, “to which Typhon, the king of that period gave
his name; it had a fiery appearance and was twisted like a coil, and
it was very grim to behold; it was not really a star so much as what
might be called a ball of fire.”
The earth was wrapped for decades in the gases of the comet and the
dust of exploding volcanoes. No green thing could grow. The
called this time the Valley of Obscurity and the Somber Residence;
the Nordics called it the Twilight of the Gods. According to the
Annals of Cuauhtitlan there was darkness in Mexico for twenty-five
years. The American Indians say that it was not until the fifteenth
year that plants would bloom. And for the Hebrew tribes, who had
been led out of bondage by the pillar of smoke by day and of fire by
night, this was the Shadow of Death.
How did mankind live when nothing grew? The tail of a comet is
composed of carbon and hydrogen gases, and these elements were in
suspension in the earth’s atmosphere after the comet departed. The
Hindu Vedas, the Egyptian papyri, and the Hebrew legends say that
the wind smelled sweet, and eventually the carbohydrates combining
in the air precipitated. mankind fed on morning dew, say the
Icelandic traditions, and the Vedas tell of the honey-lash falling -
as the Greeks say ambrosia all fell - from the clouds. Where the
honey-frost fell on the waters, it turned them milky and sweet.
Ovid, the Vedas, and the Egyptians say the rivers flowed with milk
The precipitate also fell among the Israelites, they
called it Manna.
The astronomical records of the ancient past raise perplexing
issues. A scholar who examined the computations of the longest and
shortest shadows observed at noontime in China about 1100 B.C.
remarked that “they do not really represent the true lengths.” The
Hindu astronomical tables compiled by the Brahmans show a uniform
error of 21 degrees 46’.
The astronomical tablets of of Babylon of
the eighth century B.C. present three different schedules of
planetary motion. The Venus Tables of Babylon, excavated by
Sir Henry Layard from the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal at
Nineveh, show an irregular behavior of the planet Venus that differs
from modern observations not by minutes but by weeks and months. The
water clock of the Amon Temple of Karnak is consistently inaccurate
for day and night, at any season, in the latitudes of Egypt.
shadow clock found at Fayum, Egypt, originating in the eight century
B.C., will not show time correctly at Fayum or anywhere else in
Egypt. And in the tomb of Senmut, the architect of Queen Hatshepsut
of Egypt, there is an astronomical panel in the ceiling which refers
to an earlier period; it is completely reversed and shows Orion
Sirius group proceeding in the wrong direction.
Dr. Velikovsky presents historical evidence that these ancient
records were not incorrect at the time when they were made.
Astronomers will find this particular suggestion difficult to take,
as the calculations of contemporary astronomy are precise and the
play of mechanical forces on which they are based has been well
understood for over two hundred years.
Celestial mechanics, in fact,
is one of the few sciences that has not been rudely disturbed by the
discoveries of the past century, for the behavior of the solar
system can be predicted so accurately on mechanical principles that
no one has been able to replace them by another. Even with the tiny
discrepancies which need the modification of the Theory of
Relativity, the planets follow the immutable Law of Gravitation.
They roll on and on, but only because the primevil inertia implanted
Dr. Velikovsky willingly conceded that the behavior of the earth and
the comet in his description is not in accord with the celestial
mechanics of Newton. Indeed, it invites skepticism as to the
infallibility of the law of Gravitation, a law heretofore so firmly
established that it has never been successfully combined into one
system with the laws of electromagnetics. It is Dr. Velikovsky’s
contention that over three thousand years ago Nature performed a
great experiment, in which it was demonstrated that the electromagnetic laws are as supreme in the heavens as they are
inside the atom.
Niels Bohr was one of the first to compare the atom with the sun and
the planets. The nucleus is like the sun, and the electrons are like
the planets - but in applying the quantum theory to the atom it was
found that things happen inside it that are not supposed to happen
in the solar system.
John J. O’Neill, science editor of the
Herald Tribune, has written this description of the atom’s
In the atom, electrons revolve
around the nucleus of the atom in a quiet, orderly, orbital, rotation, just like the earth moving
around the sun, and may go through billions of rotations, or atomic years, without
any major changes taking place. Suddenly the atom emits a quantum of energy,
and [an] electron drops to an orbit nearer the nucleus, where its “year” is
shorter, or the reverse may happen: a quantum of energy is absorbed by the atom, and
[an] electron jumps to a higher, or outer orbit, where its year is longer.
In the same article from which this
quotation is taken, Mr. O’Neill discussed the probable impact of
Dr. Velikovsky’s research on the comfortable assumption that the planets
and the jumping electron have nothing gin common.
finds evidence for new planets appearing in the sky,” wrote Mr.
O’Neill, “and for the earth being struck by and passing through
tails of comets.... [His work] presents a stupendous panorama of
terrestrial and human history which will stand as a challenge to
scientists to frame a realistic picture of the cosmos."
A charged body which rotates creates a magnetic field. The sun is a
charged body, and it rotates, and charged particles arrive from it
in a continuous stream. The earth is a charged body, and it rotates,
and it possesses a magnetic field. If the magnetic field of the sun
were to govern the earth’s motion, then after an encounter with a
comet the earth could resume its rotation, though on a changed
If it is true that the comet and the earth exchanged
electrical discharges, as Dr. Velikovsky maintains that they did,
then there may be even reason to suppose that the earth’s “inertia”
is electrical in character. How do we know that the earth and the
planets are so different from the electrons inside the atom.
answer has been phrased thus:
“We do not read in the morning paper
that Saturn and Mars have changed their places.”
But we do read in
the ancient records, says Dr. Velikovsky, that Venus,
Earth have changed theirs.
Venus is the Morning and the Evening Star. It is the most
conspicuous of the planets. Early astronomers observed its motion
with great care, and the Mexicans computed the day when they thought
the world would end by a cycle of fifty-two years based on Venus. So
bright is Venus in the sky, in fact, that it is most remarkable to
fin no record of its existence prior to the second millennium B.C.
Early Babylonian astronomy counted four planets and four only -
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury. In the Hindu table of the
planets attributed to 3012 B.C., Venus alone is missing, and it is
said that the Brahmans “never mentioned five planets.” Later Venus
is called “the great star that joins the other great stars” by the
Babylonians. In all traditions the Morning Star is described as having a special birth, an event of great significance to the
Tahitians, the Eskimos, and the Buriats, the Kirghiz, and the Yakuts
of Siberia, as well as to more sophisticated peoples. Hesiod said
the Phaeton, whose name means blazing star, drove the chariot of the
sun too close to the earth, disturbing its rotation and was later
changed into the Morning Star.
The Chinese tell of a “brilliant
Star” that appeared in the region of Yahou, and a Samaritan
chronicle says that during the invasion of palestine by Joshua “a
star arose out of the east against which all magic is in vain.” At
the time of great catastrophes, Quetzalcoatl, the Venus of the
Mayans, appeared in the sky for the first time. And the Chaldeans
and the Chinese are in agreement that Venus “rivaled the sun in
Dr. Velikovsky brings strong evidence to bear that the comet which
so terrorized the earth was in fact the planet Venus - newly born,
by eruption from a larger planet. While is was still a comet, Venus
wandered erratically, which is why its course was so closely
watched, why the Venus Tablets of Nineveh do not seem to make sense,
and why the appearance of a comet has always aroused premonitions of
disaster everywhere in the world.
The dreaded comet Venus that was
later to become a planet had many names -- Tistrya, Ishtar, Astarte,
Isis, Baal, Beelzebub, Lucifer. Often it was confused with Jupiter
(Isis in Egypt and Ishtar in Babylon were first names for Venus),
for Jupiter was the planet from which Venus erupted as a planet.
Student of Greek and Roman mythology may object that according to
legend it was Pallas Athene, or Minerva, who “sprang full grown from
the brow of Jupiter.” The classical scholar may wonder, however, why
Greek mythology contains no deity for the planet Venus and no planet
for the deity Pallas Athene. The Greek equivalent of the Roman
“Venus” was Aphrodite, who was identified with the Moon.
once known but long forgotten, is that Pallas Athene was the Greek
name for the planet Venus. (Plutarch said that Minerva of the Romans
and Athene of the Greeks were the same as Isis of the Egyptians;
Pliny said that Isis was the planet Venus.) The birth of Pallas
Athene was “a day of wrath in all the calendars of ancient Chaldea.”
During the birth of Athene, described in a Homeric hymn, the earth
reeled and the sun stopped for a “long while”.
For many centuries the inhabitants of the earth were in such fear of
Venus that human sacrifice was practiced in both hemispheres in the
hope of placating its wrath. The Mexicans were so profoundly
affected by the fifty-two year interval between Venus’ two
encounters with the earth the they adopted the period in their
calendar and made bloody sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl - the feathered
serpent” who was identified with the Morning Star - when fifty-two
years passed without harm.
The years of terror lasted until the
seventh century B.C. Venus, as the result of an encounter with
another body, took up its present orbit and changed from a wild
comet to a tame planet. Venus’ flirtation with another planet - that
is, with Mars -- is a common theme in mythology.
This meeting, a
battle of Athene with the God of War, is described in the lliad, a
conflict in the heavens which took place at the same time as the
siege of Troy,
“It is the conjunction of venus and Mars,” wrote
Kucien, “that created the poetry of Homer."
The encounter between Venus and
Mars disturbed Mars’ orbit, and at
intervals of fifteen years Mars also passed close to the earth. On
two days in particular - February 26, 747 B.C. and March 23, 687
B.C. - Mars caused a repetition of the earlier catastrophes on a
smaller scale. In the year 747 B.C. a new calendar was introduced in
the Middle East. It began on the 26th of February, and in the
calendar of Mexico the 26th of February was also counted as New
It is during this period that the worship of Mars came
into prominence among peoples whose institutions were not fully
formed. The Romans had a vigorous cult of mars and regarded Mars as
their national god, the founder of their state, and father of
Romulus. The chief celebration of the Roams mars cult was on the
23rd of March.
On the night of the 23rd of March, 687 B.C., the army
of Sennacherib, the Assyrian king who invaded Palestine, was
destroyed by a blast of fire from the sky.
“On the 23rd of March,
687 B.C.,” wrote Edouard Biot in his catalogue of the meteors which
were observed in ancient China, the fixed stars were not visible
but, “in the middle of the night stars fell like rain.”
The battle between Venus and Mars ended with Venus, shorn of its
power to disturb humankind, rotating on the the serene orbit it now
Venus seemed to have fallen from its earlier eminence.
This was the period of the Hebrew Prophets, men of astronomical
skill who from watchtowers built in Judea, as elsewhere in the East
(“Watchman, what of the night?”) recorded and predicted Mars’
fifteen-year approach to the earth and warned the people and their
kings of coming catastrophes.
After an upheaval that took place in
the eighth century B.C., “Isaiah, Joel, Hosea, and Micah insisted
unanimously and with great emphasis on the inevitability of another
encounter of the earth with some cosmic body.” Their prophecies were
fulfilled on the days when Mars came close to the earth and moved it
from its place.
Finally they observed that a hated enemy - Beelzebub, the Morning
Star, who had provoked pagan worship - was no longer powerful.
Venus, which had “weakened the nations” and had tried to ascend on
high, was cut down to the ground.
“How art thou fallen from heaven,”
wrote Isaiah, “Oh Lucifer, son of the morning.”
The history of the calendar is often used to exhibit the conquest of
ignorance. Gradually the errors seem to have been removed from its
first primitive efforts to codify time, until now we pride ourselves
on a system that closely approximates the actual movements of the
earth and its moon.
Yet it is curious that the ancients should have
used such hopelessly inaccurate calendars when their measurements of
celestial motion were so carefully made. The Mexicans knew that the synodical moon period consists of 29.5209 days, a computation more
exact than that of the Gregorian calendar, which was not introduced
into Europe until long after America was discovered.
The introduction of a new calendar in 747 B.C. indicates to Dr. Velikovsky that the orbit of the earth - the length of the year, the
months, and the seasons - had actually changed. Previous to this
time the Chinese, the Hindus, the Persians, the Assyrians, the
Babylonians, the Israelites, the Egyptians, the Romans, and the
Mayans all used a calendar of twelve lunations of thirty days each,
a year of 360 days.
During the period of Mars’ meetings with the
earth, the length of the seasons changed repeatedly, but at some
time during the seventh century B.C. all these nations add five days
to their calendars. The Persians called the five days Gatha days,
the Egyptians’ called them “the days which are above the year”, and
the Mayans called them the “days without a name”. If the earlier
calendars were merely mistakes, then in a man’s lifetime and error
would have accumulated of an entire year, a dislocation in harvest
cycles which could not have been ignored even in the most primitive
of agricultural societies.
But more than the development of the calendar hangs on the
assumption we make today: that the earth has rotated through
millions of uninterrupted years, each consisting of 365 days, 5
hours and 48 minutes. Philosophy, science, religion - there is
scarcely an area of knowledge or conviction invulnerable to Dr. Velikovsky’s detailed and documented denial that the earth’s history
has been one of peaceful evolution.
The long erosions of wind and
rain, the slow buckling and folding of sedimented rock, and the
infinitely graduated series of the developing species have hitherto
provided a background of certainty.
Now these orderly images have
been challenged, and in their place a scholar has offered a basis of
evidence for the astonishing pattern of catastrophe implicit in the
“If Velikovsky’s thesis should withstand the test
of time and become generally accepted,” Clifton Fadiman writes,
“revolutionary consequences ensue; and prevailing views in a dozen
fields - including evolution, mythology, gravitation, and
particularly classical and Biblical history - will have to be
“Collective amnesia” is the phrase Dr. Velikovsky uses to describe
“psychological phenomenon ...[in which] the most terrifying
events of the past may be forgotten or displaced into the
subconscious mind,” obscuring the real meaning of many
archaeological discoveries and historical texts.
psychoanalysis as well as in history, he is aware of the parallel
between the reconstruction of buried events from the past of an
individual and his own effort to bring to light the shattering
experiences that affected all mankind.
In view of the cosmic upheavals of the past, our own time of trouble
There is also a hidden purpose in Dr. Velikovsky’s book,
a warning to the world that threatens to explode with hatred among
the nations: the cosmic catastrophes may repeat themselves.
world will be destroyed;” reads a passage from the Visuddhi-Magga
which serves as motto for his final chapter, “also the mighty ocean
will dry up; and this broad earth will be burned up. Therefore,
sirs, cultivate friendliness; cultivate compassion.”
Bringing to this perspective all the apparatus of learning - from
astronomy and physics to folklore, religion, geology, paleontology,
biology and psychology - Dr. Velikovsky has undertaken the awesome
task of making an “inquiry in the architectonics of the world and
its history” and of applying the techniques of scholarship and
psychoanalysis to the entire human race.