As I continue my story about mythical lands, continents and cities, I can't pass by the legend of Thule. In Classical sources Thule is a place, usually an island located either in the far north, often northern Great Britain, possibly the Orkneys or Shetland Islands, or Scandinavia. In the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance the location of Thule was thought to be in the west and north, often Iceland or Greenland. My coworkers from web analytics company suggest that the name also denotes any distant place located beyond the borders of the known world.
The Greek explorer Pytheas was the first who wrote of Thule after his travels between 330 BC and 320 BC. Strabo in his Geography written in 30 of our era, mentions that Thule is a six days' sail north of Britain, and is near the frozen sea. Half a century later in 77, Pliny the Elder mentions Thule again and even describes it as a place in which there be no nights at all. Other late classical writers and post-classical writers keep on mentioning Thule over and over again. Some of them state that Thule is a large island in the north inhabited by twenty-five tribes.
I found an interesting story about another lost land while doing my web analytics research. This legend surfaced in Canada during French colonization in the the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. French colonists in North America learned from Algonquin Indians that somewhere in the north, there was a mythical kingdom which is inhabited by blond men rich with gold and furs. Algonquin Indians even had a name for this land - Kingdom of Saguenay. One of the Indian Chiefs named Donnacona also told a lot of stories about this kingdom while being imprisoned in France in the 30s of the sixteenth century. Donnaconna claimed that blond inhabitants of the kingdom also have in their posession great mines of silver and gold.
French colonists tried hard to find kingdom of Saguenay, but all their attempts ended in vain. Up until now, specialists speculate about the source of this legend. Some even say that it was an ancient pre-Colombian settlement of Europeans. They believe that Indian oral tradition refered to Viking settlements in America, although this has not been definitely proven.
Nevertheless the name Saguenay exists in many modern canadian placenames. One of the regions in Quebec even refers to itself as Kingdom of Saguenay trying to attract tourists and for other marketing purposes.
Various cultures place Shambhala in central Asai, north or west of Tibet. Some texts identify it with the Sutlej Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Mongolians name the location of Shambala at certain valleys of southern Siberia. But they all see Shambhala kingdom as enlightened society that people of all faiths can aspire to and actually realize. The path to this is provocatively described as the practice of warriorship — meeting fear and transcending aggression, and of secular sacredness — joining the wisdom of the past and one’s own culture with the present. Shambhala teachings inspired numerous educational, artistic, and spiritual institutions, including Naropa University, Shambhala Training, Shambhala Sun, the Shambhala School, Shambhala Institute, and many others.
Tibet was largely closed to outsiders until very recently, and so what information was available about the tradition of Shambhala was haphazard at best. That is all what I found about it during my web research. The first information that reached western civilization about Shambhala came from the Portuguese Catholic missionaries João Cabral and Estêvão Cacella who had heard about Shambala and thought it was another name for China. In 1627 they headed to Tashilhunpo, the seat of the Panchen Lama and, discovering their mistake, returned to India. Later esoteric writers further emphasized and elaborated on the concept of a hidden land inhabited by a hidden mystic brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity. There were numerous Tibetan expeditions to discover Shambhala, but all in vain.
Somewhere, beyond the snowpeaks of the Himalayas lies a mythical kingdom Shambhala. The kingdom is a society, where all the inhabitants are enlightened. Its capital city is Kalapa. Shambhala is ruled by a line of king known as Kaliki kings. When the world declines into war and greed, and all is lost, the twenty-fifth Kalki king will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish “Dark Forces” and usher in a worldwide Golden Age. It will happen somewhere in 2424 AD. This is what I found from Kalachakra tantra, while researching myths and legends for my web analytics company .
This beautiful story came to us from Tibetan Buddhist tradition. According to this legend, Buddha taught the Kalachakra tantra in Shambhala upon the request of King Suchandra. So, part of Buddha’s teachings is still preserved in the kingdom.Word Shambhala itself is derived from Sanscrit which means place of tranquility and happiness. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, including Kalachakra tantra and the ancient text of the Zhang Zhung culture that even predated Tibetan Buddhism. As with many concepts in the Kalachakra Tantra, the idea of Shambhala has alternative” meanings. Shambhala is not an ordinary country. It exists as a physical place, although only individuals with the appropriate karma can reach it and experience it as such. One can not actually arrive there, unless he has the merit and the actual karmic association.