I was always anxious to find when was the rise of positive concept of magic in ancient Greece. While doing the research for local web analytics company, I discovered that this even, possibly took place somewhere in the sixth century b.c. Among the most famous of these figures between Homer and the Hellenistic period, are the Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Empedocles.
Orpheus is a mythical musician and singer, said to have lived in Thrace a generation before Homer. Orphic Mysteries, seems also to have been central to the personages of Pythagoras and Empedocles who lived in the sixth century b.c. Pythagoras for example is said to have described Orpheus, as, the father of melodious songs. Later Aeschylus describes him as the guy who haled all things by the rapture of his voice. This suggests belief in the influence of song and voice in magic. Orpheus is certainly associated with a great many deeds. The most famous is his descent to the underworld to bring back his wife, Eurydice. Orpheus' deeds are not usually condemned or spoken of negatively. This suggests that some forms of magic were more acceptable. Indeed the term applied to Orpheus to separate him from magicians of ill repute is a divine man. This fact shows, that there was a fine line between acceptance and condemnation.
The Romans in fact went further then the Greeks in their condemnation and fearfulness that they generate around their concept of magic. Some examples of are found in the writings of Seneca, the philosopher and playwright, and his nephew, Lucan. While doing my research in archives of web analytics company I found something else. Seneca selects some of the most gruesome Greek myths for dramatic treatment and he greatly adds to the negative connotations already applied to the theme of magic, necromancy and the like - where it is given by the mythical tradition and sometimes even where there is little negativity indicated towards magic. From dialogue between wife of the Hercules Deineira and her nurse we learn that it is quite common for jealous wives to consult a witch. It turns out, the nurse, very conveniently, is a witch herself. A great hero such as Hercules should not be able to be influenced by magical means, but in the end he is overcome by the deadly concoction that the evil magic user passes on to Hercules, through deceiving Deianira into the belief that she is giving Hercules a love charm.
In Seneca’s version Medea’s power of hating, which she can switch on and intensify at will is still the dominant theme, but Medea is now given a full cupboard of horrors from which to select the most efficient means of magical destruction. Her magic can even, apparently affect the cosmos, as she claims that she can force down the constellation of the Snake.
We often use word Shangri-La in a similar context to Garden of Eden, It means for us some kind of a perfect paradise that exists hidden from modern man. In some cases we use it as an analogy for a life-long quest or something elusive that is much sought by man in the form of love, happiness, or Utopian ideals. Shangri-La has its place with other mythical and famous examples such as The Holy Grail, El Dorado, The Fountain of Youth. But, in fact, this word came to us from… fiction. This word first appeared in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, Shangri-La is a mystical, harmonious valley, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. The novel was so popular, that this word became synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia. From my web analytics company archives I found, that the author based the story of Shangri-La is based on the concept of Shambhala, a mystical city in Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
It is getting funnier, though. As years rolled by, several locations in the Buddhist Himalaya between northern India and Tibet claimed to be the basis for Hilton's legend, largely to attract tourism. A popularly believed inspiration for Shangri-La is the Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan, close to the Tibetan border, which Hilton visited a few years before Lost Horizon was published. Being an isolated green valley surrounded by mountains, enclosed on the western end of the Himalayas, it closely matches the description in the novel. A Shangri-La resort in the nearby Skardu valley is another popular tourist attraction.
During the Middle Ages the name was sometimes used to denote Greenland, Svalbard, or Iceland. A municipality in North Greenland was even formerly named Thule after the mythical place. The Thule People, A paleo-Eskimo culture and a predecessor of modern Inuit Greenlanders, was even called Thule people. Nowadays Southern Thule is a collection of the three southernmost islands in the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. The island group is overseas territory of the United Kingdom and uninhabited. The concept of Thule was so popular that this mysterious island lent its name to lends its name to the 69th element in the periodic table, Thulium.
In archives of web analytics company I found more additional facts. It is interesting to note that Nazi occult mystics believed in a historical Thule and Hyperborea as the ancient origin of the Aryan race. They wrote a pile of material stating that mythical Thule, a Nordic equivalent of the vanished culture of Atlantis. They thought that a race of giant supermen lived in Thule, linked into the Cosmos through magical powers. And these inhabitants had psychic and technological energies far exceeding the technical achievements of the 20th century.
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.