Cascadia: A Vast, Dark Green Land of Mystery – Part II
The twenty-first century is turning out to be a bad time for people who want certainty about our past human origins and history. All of the solid information we thought we possessed concerning human civilization and antiquity has dissolved into uncertainties, and we are entering into an era of informed imagination and speculation as old paradigms have been broken, and new ones have not yet been fully examined enough to supplant them.
In the past, legends and myths were maligned by some critics as poor sources for historical research, and often wrongly judged to have no scholarly value. But in light of today's ongoing re-evaluation of human history, I believe ancient legends and myths do contain accurate reminisces of historical events from the past, and can steer us in the right direction.
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Ancient cultures expressed nearly everything in the language of their own mythology. The trick is trying to guess or interpret what they might have been saying without straying into fantasy and delusion, or simply dismissing it out of hand.
“Crater Lake Reflections, 2011.” (Image copyright © Loree Johnson http://loree-johnson.pixels.com/featured/crater-lake-reflections-loree-johnson.html)
The Legend of Crater Lake
Cascadia’s legends typically incorporate some element of historical and cultural information. Native American traditions delegated the tribe’s history to the storyteller, which was a very important role. Descriptions of the landscape and abstract mythological beings often call up references to actual geological features, and historical events which were witnessed during prehistoric times—such as Mount Mazama’s eruption being mythologized into a Klamath Indian tale about an explosive battle between Skell and Llao, that formed Crater Lake and altered the features of the landscape.
“Sunrise on Crater Lake, Oregon 2014.” (Image credit copyright © Loree Johnson. http://loree-johnson.pixels.com/featured/good-morning-crater-lake-loree-johnson.html)
When [the Chief of the Below World] came up from his lodge below [the mountain], his tall form towered above the snow-capped peaks.
Red-hot rocks as large as the hills hurtled through the skies. Burning ashes fell like rain...Like an ocean of flame it devoured the forests on the mountains and in the valleys...until it reached the home of the people. Fleeing in terror before it, the people found refuge in the waters of Klamath Lake.
Once more the mountain shook...the Chief of the Below World was driven into his home, and the top of the mountain fell upon him...the high mountain was gone.
For many years rain fell in torrents and filled the great hole that was made when the mountain fell upon the Chief of the Below World.
The descriptive details of the cosmological battle between Skell and Llao remarkably parallel geologists account of the eruption of Mount Mazama. The legend of Crater Lake must have been first told well over 7,000 years ago by those who witnessed it, and the legend stands out as evidence that oral traditions can be accurately preserved and passed down for thousands of years, without becoming so distorted that they lose their original meaning.
An image of Mount Mazama before it erupted and collapsed forming Crater Lake. (Image credit Paul Rockwood courtesy National Park Service.)
“Klamath Indian legends about Crater Lake accurately describe the processes of its creation more than 7,000 years ago. '…For many years rain fell in torrents and filled the great hole that was made when the mountain fell upon the Chief of the Below World…” (Image credit Paul Rockwood courtesy National Park Service).
Many legends are believed to transmit some kind of objective historical meaning, and contain truths, which the legend preserves, through a kind of story-telling code as they’re passed down to future generations.
The Fall of Cascadia
The Flood myths described in part one of this article are referenced from a number of different indigenous oral traditions, originating from the Cascadia region. They suggest that ancient people here witnessed and survived some kind of devastating, cataclysmic event in prehistory whose impact radically altered the environment, and was also recorded by other cultures all over the world.
Some scientists today believe that they’ve discovered evidence of a prehistoric cataclysm, possibly caused by either a comet impact, or a massive solar outburst. The cosmic impact scenario closely resembles details preserved in legends found throughout many different cultures, including countless flood myths from the Cascadia region.
(Image copyright © Dustin Naef). Mount Shasta's Forgotten History & Legends, 2016. “This is a map based on a group of scientists who are studying what they believe to be the traces of comet impacts found around the world. These impact sites only represent what has been found to date, and do not reflect the full extent of the boundary of the comet's trajectory.”
The above graphic illustrates where impact traces of fragments from a giant comet have been found around the world. Some of these fragments were estimated to be nearly two miles in diameter when they bombarded the Earth around 12,800 years ago. This cosmic impact scenario is believed to have altered the planet’s climate, bringing an end to the last Ice Age; and also causing a mass-extinction of human and animal life throughout the Cascadia region, on a scale unheard of since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs tens-of-millions of years ago.
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In the past, Native American oral traditions were unfairly judged to be imaginary stories which had no historical value, simply told to entertain people. However, it’s becoming clear today that these legends and myths do accurately preserve information about historical events which were recorded during prehistoric times.
There are many interesting legends written about Atlantis and Lemuria which reference the Cascadia region, and Mount Shasta in particular. But these legends were largely made up over the past hundred years by mystics and occultists; they were created by people who were never here. Their ancestors were never here either, and left no discernible trace of themselves in the archeological or historical record.
The true legacy and story of Mount Shasta—and to a greater extent, Cascadia—has never yet been fully told in modern times.
Top Image: Tsunami. Image copyright © Dustin Naef. Mount Shasta's Legends & Forgotten History, 2016.
By Dustin Naef
Dustin Naef. Mount Shasta's Forgotten History & Legends, 2016.
E.E. Clark, Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest (Berkely: University of California Press, 1953)
University of South Carolina. (2012, September 18). Comet may have exploded over Canada 12,900 years ago after all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918111320.htm