This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
THINGS AS THEY ARE, WERE ARE TO COME
Prophets and Plasmas
ANTHONY E. LARSON
as we have seen. they insisted. These. Zeus throwing a thunderbolt Notice the object Greek sculptors put in Zeus’ hand. the sacred mountain on which he resided. But. Clearly.” wrote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Today’s scholars and scientists dismiss such statements as simpleminded nonsense. Larson Mythology from ancient cultures describe the gods hurling huge thunderbolts across the heavens and down to earth. . The Greek sources tell us this was the appearance of those fabled thunderbolts Zeus was said to have launched from Olympus. but none of them look like a bolt of lightning to our eyes. There were many variations. were thunderbolts. based in ignorance. electricity probably plays a far greater role in the universe than modern science recognizes. it looks nothing like anything we would call a thunderbolt. let’s look at a glaring example from history. Recent discoveries in plasma science present a startling proposition: the myth of the cosmic thunderbolt is rooted in planetary plasma displays that can be reproduced in the lab. No. WERE AND ARE TO COME Prophets and Plasmas Copyright © 2005 Anthony E. Yet the Greeks were unwavering. it’s not a football or a stalk of corn.THINGS AS THEY ARE. What if Heraclitus actually knew much more than we do about the nature of the power that organizes and drives the universe? To illustrate this notion. “ I t is the thunderbolt that steers the universe.
We are all familiar with the first three. surprisingly consistent. . In fact 99% of the entire universe is plasma! An electrical plasma is a cloud of ions (positively charged particles) and electrons (negatively charged particles) that can sometimes light up and behave in some unusual ways when ‘excited’ or activated by applying electrical and magnetic fields. The ionosphere of Earth is an example of a plasma that does not emit visible light. Though they differ somewhat. Yet. what are these thunderbolts of the gods? To answer that question. we must look to a surprising source: the most recent images of similar features in distant galaxies and stars. Fire is a plasma. We must also consider the nature of something called plasma and its electrical properties. The cloud of particles that constitutes the solar “wind” is a plasma. these patterns are. until we perceive the underlying structure. most common states of matter: gas. we are also surrounded with plasmas. The most familiar examples of electrical plasmas on Earth are the neon sign. We experience them every day. The petals of the lotus/ thunderbolt are also elaborated in tradition as horns or wings. and the electric arc welding machine. And that consistency is a vital key to understanding what we see in these sculptures. then “flowering” into a lotus form. Numerous illustrations of the weapon show it sending forth leaflike sepals. It is the fourth state of matter. a fact that appears absurd today. in fact. So. though we don’t recognize them for what they are. Plasma and electricity Plasma permeates space. lightning. Our entire Milky Way galaxy consists mainly of plasma. liquid and solid.3 More thunderbolts The most elementary form was that of a simple missile with a corkscrew configuration.
It is self-organizing. Birkeland also discovered the twisted corkscrewshaped paths taken by electric currents in plasmas. will take on the corkscrew (spiral) shape discovered by Birkeland (see above). twisted cable is used to carry electrical power to our homes.4 Birkeland During the late 1800’s. Birkland currents form braided filaments On a cosmic scale. . “elves”. these filaments evolve into braided ropes that can act as electrical transmission lines. Sometimes those twisted shapes are visible and sometimes not — that depends on the strength and the current density being carried by the plasma. much as braided. paring into filaments that intertwine or ‘braid’ into pairs that attract each other at long distances and repel each other at short distances. In a plasma. we’ve learned that wound or braided cable carries electricity more efficiently. while organizing and driving secondary systems. as discovered by Birkeland. The mysterious “sprites”. including stars and planets. passing through plasma. liquids. Today these braided streams of ions and electrons are called “Birkeland currents” after their discoverer. and “blue jets” associated with electrical storms on Earth are examples of Birkeland currents in the plasma of our upper atmosphere. Kristian Birkeland. a Norwegian physicist. that means they can carry electric power across galactic and intergalactic space. explained that the reason we could see Earth’s polar auroras was that they were plasmas. and it is radically different from the familiar behavior of solids. Electric current in space. and gasses. As a practical matter. Plasma behavior continues to astonish the specialists who study it. The apparent reason is that this is the natural configuration for electrical current.
astronomers dubbed a “flux tube. Arc Mode—The strength of the electrical current in the plasma is very high. as are the giant. For example. Io. but quite indiscernible. Birkland currents that carry the prodigious power throughout the galaxy to light our sun and all the stars. We would not know plasma was there at all unless we measured its electrical activity with sensitive instruments. it is known that million ampere currents flowing down the Earth’s magnetic field lines at the northern and southern poles cause the Earth’s aurora to glow. The present day magnetospheres of the planets are examples of plasmas operating in the dark current mode.” was found by planetary explorer spacecraft to connect the planet Jupiter with its closest satellite. selforganizing behavior of these ionized gas clouds in the presence of electrical currents and magnetic fields. Langmuir In the early 20th century. The entire plasma glows. Such filaments have already been discovered in our own solar system. The plasma does not glow. Normal Glow Mode—The strength of the electrical current (flow of charged particles) is significant. Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir studied electric plasmas in his laboratory at General Electric. Current tends to form twisting filaments. . lightning or the Sun’s photosphere. The plasma radiates brilliantly over a wide spectrum. He further developed the body of knowledge Birkeland had pioneered and was the first to use the name ‘plasma’ to describe the almost lifelike. A similar glowing vortex. Examples of this mode of operation are an electric arc welding machine. emission nebulae and the Sun’s corona. The brightness of the glow depends on the intensity of the current in the plasma. It is essentially invisible.5 There are three distinctly different steady state modes in which plasma can operate: Dark Current Mode—The strength of the electrical current (flow of charged particles) within the plasma is very low. Examples are any neon sign.
. That is. now called a “Langmuir sheath. and galactic levels. The same basic patterns will be seen at laboratory. “pinch” down to create the hourglass figure. we are looking at glowing plasma — a celestial thunderbolt of prodigious size — showing the zpinch effect on a galactic scale. This is called the “z-pinch” effect. A spark that lasts for milliseconds in the laboratory may persist for years at planetary or stellar scales. planetary. or for thousands of years at galactic or intergalactic scales. The central ‘neck’ is where the galactic electrical currents. Laboratory experiments and simulations on supercomputers reveal that plasma discharge formations. Because Birkeland currents most often occur in pairs.” surrounds our planet. are remarkably similar to formations observed in remote space. a high energy electric discharge in plasma will produce the same formations irrespective of the size of the event. and interacts with it in ways we have yet to fully understand. stellar. This boundary. looking much like those Greek “thunderbolts” pictured on the first page. The most striking feature of the central part of this nebula is its polar symmetry. Thus. Invisible to the naked eye. under the influence of electric currents. The patterns of plasma behavior are said to be scalable.6 Langmuir identified a plasma phenomenon called a “double layer. they tend to compress between them any material (ionized or not) in the plasma. when we look at nebulas in space such as the one pictured above. called the solar wind. it electrically isolates our world from the Sun’s plasma.” a boundary that forms around charged objects immersed in plasma. Duration is proportional to size as well.
they always take on the same appearance.” destroying the cities. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that the catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah was caused by a thunderbolt — the plain was “consumed by lightning. In fact. the reader must be asked to suspend all prior beliefs on the subject. and irritation. over thousands of kilometers in Earth’s heavens or across many lightyears in the galaxy. shock. computerized simulations of high-energy electrical discharges in the laboratory indicate that the same patterns can be scaled up yet another 100 million times to galactic size. Therefore. microcosmic or macrocosmic.” And he added. or even centuries ago in order to give this evidence a proper hearing.” Philo wrote that “lightnings poured out of heaven. including matters thought to have been settled decades. They exhibit the same forms and characteristics whether the discharge occurs over a fraction of a millimeter in a laboratory. the actual history of our solar system does not resemble the currently accepted theories of the sciences. These shapes are uncannily similar to those of Zeus’ thunderbolts drawn by ancient astronomers because such electric phenomena are scalable through several orders of magnitude.” Also Josephus asserted that the cities had been “consumed by thunderbolts. Abbreviated “first glimpses” of these discoveries may provoke incredulity. The implications of these new discoveries for aiding in our understanding the scriptures are profound. “Personally I am quite prepared to grant that once-famous cities may have been burnt by fire from heaven.7 Once again in the photo above. we see the similarities between galactic plasma structures and the lotus-like illustrations from ancient art of the gods’ thunderbolt weapons. A revised view of the past heavens In the electric model. . That is.
Though the duration of instability is unknown. and accounts of events from that time must be re-read with this new perspective to more fully appreciate the message they contain. seemingly alive. including our Earth. capturing the obsessive attention of human witnesses. the climates. reached a startling conclusion about the nature of the universe. who witnessed celestial wonders beyond anything imagined today. however unnerving. the final episodes of catastrophe occurred in the time of our early ancestors. This remarkable idea and the revelations we’ve seen about plasmas in a near Earth environment requires that we read our scriptures from an entirely new perspective. These can only be fully understood when read with the following in mind: As recently as several thousand years ago. planets moved under the influence of electrified plasma. Orbits changed. that supplied the raw content of world mythology and inspired the great religious and symbolic traditions of antiquity. Accounts in scripture of what might otherwise be considered ‘miraculous’ become understandable phenomena. a medium that can easily overwhelm gravity. He said that today’s gravitational systems are the “ashes” of prior electrical systems. Claims for such a scenario can be substantiated by comparing the forms taken by plasmas in the laboratory and the symbolic religious . plasma discharges passed between planets. It was such events. and the atmospheres of planets. intelligent and habitually combative. the founder of plasma science.8 Such observations dovetail with the Greek traditions of thunderbolts. Ancient sky worshippers observed the resulting plasma configurations as these discharges mutated from one unstable phase to another. In the later years of his life. This is the new perspective Latter-day Saints should keep in mind while re-reading their scriptures — not only prophetic passages but historic accounts such as Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. Charged planets and moons were held in a close array by electrical forces and were seen as huge spheres in the sky. earsplitting and terrifying. and catastrophic electrical encounters altered the terrain. It raises the possibility that the ancient heavens looked nothing like the skies we see now. In periods of instability. Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfven. without detracting from the gospel message they also convey. often earthshaking.
carved on rock. What follows is only a minute sampling of Peratt’s published work. the foremost authority in the world on the forms exhibited by laboratory plasmas under the influence of electrical forces. recognized this ancient form of iconography as illustrations of plasmas in space. if you will — of what the ancients saw in their skies. much as we have identified the thunderbolts of the Greek gods as plasma. nonsensical doodling or just plain gibberish are actually accurate representations — facsimiles in stone. . These are graphic representations of one plasma configuration produced in Peratt’s laboratory that he affirms gave rise the examples of rock art from around the world seen below that he calls “squatter man. Plasma forms in sacred art worldwide Plasma physicist Anthony Peratt. You will agree that the similarities are stunning. illustrated on religious icons and even painstakingly embedded in vast landforms. comparing ancient rock art with laboratory experiments and simulations on supercomputers of plasma discharge formations under the influence of electric currents. He points out that he has seen all these same forms in plasmas generated in his lab experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratories. That is.9 art of antiquity — etched on tomb and temple walls. a connection not previously made by anthropologists.” Note that the squatting position illustrated above is strongly reminiscent of the posture or stance taken by Polynesians in their sacred ritual dances and by Hindu ritual dancers. Peratt insists that what looks to our eyes as though they were myth-inspired icons.
10 These images suggest two other possibilities for interpretive use beyond the more common squatting figure. Most of the symbols and petroglyphs found the world over are probably illustrations of things seen in Earth’s heavens anciently. as in this Chinese glyph. This worldwide commonality argues convincingly that there is only one place all ancient cultures could have seen these images: in Earth’s ancient skies. Another plasma arrangement discovered in the laboratory by Peratt is here illustrated (below left. Shiva and the spider.” this plasma configuration takes the shape of a stack of donuts. further demonstrating the universality of these images.” .) Called a “Peratt Instability. found on the plain of Nazca in Peru are likely derivatives of the same plasma image. The many arms of the Hindu god. These graphic and computer generated illustrations of experimentally created plasmas look remarkably like the mythic “backbone of god.
Those that .11 A multitude of petroglyphs appear to depict Peratt’s stacked toruses. Heretofore inexplicable rock art that was generally thought to have no basis in the physical world can now be seen as a heroic attempt by ancient cultures to record the plasma phenomenon they saw in the heavens. anthropologists are at a loss to explain the origin or the motivation for such bizarre images. These are only a few among thousands of such examples. something they considered to be sacred imagery. also took on the appearance of the mythical “chain of arrows. such as the Egyptian illustration (left. though unexpected. the explanation is quite simple. seen from an oblique angle. They frankly admit that the meaning of such glyphs is a mystery. So all those squiggly drawings on rocks were based in rock-solid reality. Without the insight these plasma configurations offer.) Yet. when seen in light of cutting edge plasma science. These were things seen overhead in Earth’s ancient heavens.” These can be seen in similar illustrations from sacred art of widely separated cultures. The stacked toruses.
Like the “squatter man” seen above. Taking a closer view at the torus seen at the base of the Peratt Instability.” The petroglyph (above right). and it leaves no doubt about the original subject for this Native American petroglyph. precisely reflects those same details. this is clearly an illustration in stone of a plasma configuration seen in the heavens. Compare it to a reproduction of an Arizona petroglyph (right). Peratt identifies the parts of the stone glyph that correspond to those elements of a Peratt Instability (below). a place to recall the images of the gods and perform rituals. we see an entirely new figure. The correlation is stunning. . These petroglyph sites were subsequently considered sacred as well. The computer simulation (above left) shows where the increase in current strength begins to “warp at the edges. A more complete and elaborate version of the Peratt Instability is seen here (left) in a computer simulation of an actual plasma experiment in the laboratory.12 saw them felt compelled to record what they saw in order to preserve what they considered to be sacred.
13 This plasma image (above left) figures prominently in the mythology of the past.” The obvious relationship of these plasma images to sacred imagery leads to only one conclusion: Earth’s ancient inhabitants recorded by every means possible what they could see in the skies above them during an epoch of intense electrical plasma activity in the heavens. there is only one more comparison to make in order to complete our journey. Like the thunderbolt wielding Greek god. Anzu. the Sumerian god Ninurta is said to have thrown thunderbolts across heaven as he battled the celestial monster. A sideby-side comparison of the Sumerians’ illustration of their god’s weapon (far left) with one of Peratt’s electrical “hourglass” formations in plasma (near left) puts a lock on the thesis of this paper.” giving rise to the universal practice of wearing masks in conjunction with religious ceremonies and stacked divinity icons in “totems. A cross-cultural comparison of celestial thunderbolts. as in the Hindu vajra (left top) and the Greek thunderbolt (left bottom) reveals a whole new perspective of the religious iconography of the past . where it was call the “sky mask. Zeus. Coming full circle Having only briefly explored the nascent field of plasma science and its relationship to ancient iconography.
com . then this same imagery must have found its way into scriptural accounts recorded by the prophets of God and into the iconography of temples.com/ For online classes. The astounding relevance of plasma phenomenon in space to the iconography of the ancients forces Latter-day Saints to consider the likelihood that if these manifestations were so impressive as to motivate cultures worldwide to record what they saw by any method available to them. This is the test. And Joseph Smith and the gospel he restored pass it with flying colors. For more essays from this series: http://mormonprophecy.com/ Your questions or comments are welcome: anthonyelarson@gmail. videos. newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: http://www. connection to plasma physics. And a comparison of a variety of Greek thunderbolt images (nine images below) to some primary plasma constructs seen in computer simulations of laboratory plasma (five images below) leaves little doubt what the ancient Greeks saw.mormonprophecy. but exciting.14 and its unexpected.blogspot. ancient and modern.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.