Sep 28, 2004


One of the most profound archetypes of the early cultures is also among the most enigmatic. Every culture recalled the ancient combat between a great warrior and a monster whose attack threatened to destroy the world. Pictured above is the lion-headed beast Anzu remembered by the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians - a fierce monster defeated (in various tales) by the Sumerian Ningirsu or the Babylonian Ninurta or Nergal. The warrior confronting Anzu in the above picture is the god Ninurta, wielding in each hand a weapon identified as a "thunderbolt".

As for explanations, historians can only offer contradictory guesses. How did the story of a heaven-altering contest find its way into so many cultures? In the ritual of the Babylonian Akitu Festival, the enemy is the dragon Tiamat, subdued by the god Marduk. For the Egyptians it was the dragon Apep, defeated by Ra or his agent Horus. For the Greeks it was the fiery serpents Typhon or Python, vanquished respectively by Zeus and Apollo. Hindu accounts similarly recalled the attack of the sky-darkening serpent Vritra, felled by Indra. But these are only a few of hundreds of such accounts preserved around the world.

The story typically begins with the monster's arrival, an event signifying universal catastrophe. A legendary warrior sets out to engage the monster in direct combat. The battle rages amid earthquake, fire, wind, and falling stone, and it appears that all will be lost. Then the hero's magical weapon, fashioned by gods or divine assistants, flies between the combatants, turning the tide of battle and vanquishing the monster.

From this primeval encounter, the warrior earned his title as "hero". He defeated chaos and saved the world from catastrophe. But how did the divine weapon accomplish this feat? The storytellers' own words and symbols, when traced to root meanings, make clear that the hero's weapon was no ordinary sword, arrow, or club. It was a thunderbolt - and not the familiar lightning of a regional storm, but a bolt of cosmic dimensions. Though this original identity may not be apparent in many of the later versions of the story, it can be established reliably through cross-cultural comparison, with close attention to the memory's more archaic forms. When the great civilizations of the ancient world arose, the monster, the hero, and the cosmic thunderbolt already dominated human consciousness.

For the proponents of the Electric Universe, the role of the thunderbolt in the more ancient accounts is a vital clue, one to which we shall return frequently in these pages. Why does the divine thunderbolt not look like the lightning known to us today? As we intend to show, the unusual forms of this weapon can serve as a bridge between plasma science and historical inquiry. The forms of the divine thunderbolt were not accidental. To an astonishing extent they mimic the configurations taken by intense electric discharge in the plasma laboratory. And now, thanks to modern telescopes, we see similar forms in remote space, a fact that can only reinforce the power of the ancient message.