Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prophets and Plasmas

“It is the thunderbolt that steers the universe,” wrote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Today’s scholars and scientists dismiss such statements as simpleminded nonsense, based in ignorance.

But, as we have seen, electricity probably plays a far greater role in the universe than modern science recognizes. 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, let’s look at a glaring example from history.

Zeus throwing a thunderbolt

Notice the object Greek sculptors put in Zeus’ hand.

No, it’s not a football or a stalk of corn. The Greek sources tell us this was the appearance of those fabled thunderbolts Zeus was said to have launched from Olympus, the sacred mountain on which he resided. Clearly, it looks nothing like anything we would call a thunderbolt. Yet the Greeks were unwavering. These, they insisted, were thunderbolts. There were many variations, but none of them look like a bolt of lightning to our eyes.

More thunderbolts

The most elementary form was that of a simple missile with a corkscrew configuration.

Numerous illustrations of the weapon show it sending forth leaf-like sepals, then “flowering” into a lotus form. The petals of the lotus/thunderbolt are also elaborated in tradition as horns or wings, a fact that appears absurd today, until we perceive the underlying structure.

Though they differ somewhat, these patterns are, in fact, surprisingly consistent. And that consistency is a vital key to understanding what we see in these sculptures.

So, 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. We must also consider the nature of something called plasma and its electrical properties.

Plasma and electricity

Plasma permeates space. Our entire Milky Way galaxy consists mainly of plasma. It is the fourth state of matter. We are all familiar with the first three, most common states of matter: gas, liquid and solid. We experience them every day. Yet, we are also surrounded with plasmas, though we don’t recognize them for what they are. 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 most familiar examples of electrical plasmas on Earth are the neon sign, lightning, and the electric arc welding machine. The ionosphere of Earth is an example of a plasma that does not emit visible light. Fire is a plasma. The cloud of particles that constitutes the solar “wind” is a plasma.


During the late 1800’s, a Norwegian physicist, Kristian Birkeland, explained that the reason we could see Earth’s polar auroras was that they were plasmas. Birkeland also discovered the twisted corkscrew-shaped paths taken by electric currents in plasmas.

Plasma behavior continues to astonish the specialists who study it, and it is radically different from the familiar behavior of solids, liquids, and gasses. It is self-organizing, paring into filaments that intertwine or ‘braid’ into pairs that attract each other at long distances and repel each other at short distances.

Sometimes those twisted shapes are visible and sometimes not — that depends on the strength and the current density being carried by the plasma. Today these braided streams of ions and electrons are called “Birkeland currents” after their discoverer. The mysterious “sprites”, “elves”, and “blue jets” associated with electrical storms on Earth are examples of Birkeland currents in the plasma of our upper atmosphere.

In a plasma, these filaments evolve into braided ropes that can act as electrical transmission lines, much as braided, twisted cable is used to carry electrical power to our homes. As a practical matter, we’ve learned that wound or braded cable carries electricity more efficiently. The apparent reason is that this is the natural configuration for electrical current, as discovered by Birkeland.

Birkland currents form braided filaments

On a cosmic scale, that means they can carry electric power across galactic and intergalactic space, while organizing and driving secondary systems, including stars and planets. Electric current in space, passing through plasma, will take on the corkscrew (spiral) shape discovered by Birkeland (see above).

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. The plasma does not glow. It is essentially invisible. We would not know plasma was there at all unless we measured its electrical activity with sensitive instruments. The present day magnetospheres of the planets are examples of plasmas operating in the dark current mode, as are the giant, but quite indiscernible, Birkland currents that carry the prodigious power throughout the galaxy to light our sun and all the stars.

Normal Glow Mode - The strength of the electrical current (flow of charged particles) is significant. The entire plasma glows. The brightness of the glow depends on the intensity of the current in the plasma. Examples are any neon sign, emission nebulae and the Sun’s corona.

Arc Mode - The strength of the electrical current in the plasma is very high. The plasma radiates brilliantly over a wide spectrum. Current tends to form twisting filaments. Examples of this mode of operation are an electric arc welding machine, lightning or the Sun’s photosphere.

Such filaments have already been discovered in our own solar system. For example, 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. A similar glowing vortex, astronomers dubbed a “flux tube,” was found by planetary explorer spacecraft to connect the planet Jupiter with its closest satellite, Io.


In the early 20th century, Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir studied electric plasmas in his laboratory at General Electric. He further developed the body of knowledge Birkeland had pioneered and was the first to use the name ‘plasma’ to describe the almost lifelike, self-organizing behavior of these ionized gas clouds in the presence of electrical currents and magnetic fields.

Langmuir identified a plasma phenomenon called a “double layer,” a boundary that forms around charged objects immersed in plasma. This boundary, now called a “Langmuir sheath,” surrounds our planet. Invisible to the naked eye, it electrically isolates our world from the Sun’s plasma, called the solar wind, and interacts with it in ways we have yet to fully understand.

Laboratory experiments and simulations on supercomputers reveal that plasma discharge formations, under the influence of electric currents, are remarkably similar to formations observed in remote space. The patterns of plasma behavior are said to be scalable. That is, a high energy electric discharge in plasma will produce the same formations irrespective of the size of the event. The same basic patterns will be seen at laboratory, planetary, stellar, and galactic levels.

Duration is proportional to size as well. A spark that lasts for milliseconds in the laboratory may persist for years at planetary or stellar scales, or for thousands of years at galactic or intergalactic scales.

Because Birkeland currents most often occur in pairs, they tend to compress between them any material (ionized or not) in the plasma. This is called the “z-pinch” effect. Thus, when we look at nebulas in space such as the one pictured above, we are looking at glowing plasma — a celestial thunderbolt of prodigious size — showing the z-pinch effect on a galactic scale.

The most striking feature of the central part of this nebula is its polar symmetry, looking much like those Greek “thunderbolts” pictured on the first page. The central ‘neck’ is where the galactic electrical currents, “pinch” down to create the hourglass figure.

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.

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.

That is, microcosmic or macrocosmic, they always take on the same appearance. They exhibit the same forms and characteristics whether the discharge occurs over a fraction of a millimeter in a laboratory, over thousands of kilometers in Earth’s heavens or across many light-years in the galaxy. In fact, 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.

A revised view of the past heavens

In the electric model, the actual history of our solar system does not resemble the currently accepted theories of the sciences. Abbreviated “first glimpses” of these discoveries may provoke incredulity, shock, and irritation. Therefore, the reader must be asked to suspend all prior beliefs on the subject, including matters thought to have been settled decades, or even centuries ago in order to give this evidence a proper hearing.

The implications of these new discoveries for aiding in our understanding the scriptures are profound.

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that the catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah was caused by a thunderbolt — the plain was “consumed by lightning.” And he added, “Personally I am quite prepared to grant that once-famous cities may have been burnt by fire from heaven.” Also Josephus asserted that the cities had been “consumed by thunderbolts.” Philo wrote that “lightnings poured out of heaven,” destroying the cities.

Such observations dovetail with the Greek traditions of thunderbolts. Accounts in scripture of what might otherwise be considered ‘miraculous’ become understandable phenomena, without detracting from the gospel message they also convey.

In the later years of his life, Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfven, the founder of plasma science, reached a startling conclusion about the nature of the universe. He said that today’s gravitational systems are the “ashes” of prior electrical systems. 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, however unnerving. It raises the possibility that the ancient heavens looked nothing like the skies we see now, and accounts of events from that time must be re-read with this new perspective to more fully appreciate the message they contain.

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. 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, a medium that can easily overwhelm gravity. Orbits changed, and catastrophic electrical encounters altered the terrain, the climates, and the atmospheres of planets, including our Earth.

Though the duration of instability is unknown, the final episodes of catastrophe occurred in the time of our early ancestors, who witnessed celestial wonders beyond anything imagined today. Charged planets and moons were held in a close array by electrical forces and were seen as huge spheres in the sky. In periods of instability, plasma discharges passed between planets, capturing the obsessive attention of human witnesses. Ancient sky worshippers observed the resulting plasma configurations as these discharges mutated from one unstable phase to another, seemingly alive, intelligent and habitually combative. It was such events, often earthshaking, earsplitting and terrifying, that supplied the raw content of world mythology and inspired the great religious and symbolic traditions of antiquity.

Claims for such a scenario can be substantiated by comparing the forms taken by plasmas in the laboratory and the symbolic religious art of antiquity — etched on tomb and temple walls, carved on rock, illustrated on religious icons and even painstakingly embedded in vast landforms.

Plasma forms in sacred art worldwide

Plasma physicist Anthony Peratt, 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, much as we have identified the thunderbolts of the Greek gods as plasma. That is, Peratt insists that what looks to our eyes as though they were myth-inspired icons, nonsensical doodling or just plain gibberish are actually accurate representations — facsimiles in stone, if you will — of what the ancients saw in their skies. He points out that he has seen all these same forms in plasmas generated in his lab experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratories.

What follows is only a minute sampling of Peratt’s published work, comparing ancient rock art with laboratory experiments and simulations on supercomputers of plasma discharge formations under the influence of electric currents. You will agree that the similarities are stunning.

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.”

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, a connection not previously made by anthropologists.

These images suggest two other possibilities for interpretive use beyond the more common squatting figure. The many arms of the Hindu god, Shiva and the spider, found on the plain of Nazca in Peru
are likely derivatives of the same plasma image.

Most of the symbols and petroglyphs found the world over are probably illustrations of things seen in Earth’s heavens anciently, further demonstrating the universality of these images, 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.

Called a “Peratt Instability,” this plasma configuration takes the shape of a stack of donuts. These graphic and computer generated illustrations of experimentally created plasmas look remarkably like the mythic “backbone of god.”

A multitude of petroglyphs appear to depict Peratt’s stacked toruses. These are only a few among thousands of such examples. So all those squiggly drawings on rocks were based in rock-solid reality.

The stacked toruses, seen from an oblique angle, also took on the appearance of the mythical “chain of arrows.” These can be seen in similar illustrations from sacred art of widely separated cultures.

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, something they considered to be sacred imagery.

Without the insight these plasma configurations offer, anthropologists are at a loss to explain the origin or the motivation for such bizarre images. They frankly admit that the meaning of such glyphs is a mystery, such as the Egyptian illustration below.

Yet, when seen in light of cutting edge plasma science, the explanation is quite simple, though unexpected. These were things seen overhead in Earth’s ancient heavens. Those that saw them felt compelled to record what they saw in order to preserve what they considered to be sacred. These petroglyph sites were subsequently considered sacred as well, a place to recall the images of the gods and perform rituals.

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.

Compare it to a reproduction of an Arizona petroglyph (right).
The correlation is stunning, and it leaves no doubt about the original subject for this Native American petroglyph.

The computer simulation (left) shows where the increase in current strength begins to “warp at the edges.” The petroglyph (right), precisely reflects those same details. Like the “squatter man” seen above, this is clearly an illustration in stone of a plasma configuration seen in the heavens.

Peratt identifies the parts of the stone glyph that correspond to those elements of a Peratt Instability (below).

Taking a closer view at the torus seen at the base of the Peratt Instability, we see an entirely new figure.

This plasma image (left) figures prominently in the mythology of the past, where it was call the “sky mask,” giving rise to the universal practice of wearing masks in conjunction with religious ceremonies and stacked divinity icons in “totems.” 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.

Coming full circle

Having only briefly explored the nascent field of plasma science and its relationship to ancient iconography, there is only one more comparison to make in order to complete our journey.

Like the thunderbolt wielding Greek god, Zeus, the Sumerian god Ninurta is said to have thrown thunderbolts across heaven as he battled the celestial monster, Anzu. A side-by-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.

A cross-cultural comparison of celestial thunderbolts, as in the Hindu vajra (top) and the Greek thunderbolt (bottom) reveals a whole new perspective of the religious iconography of the past and its unexpected, but exciting, 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.

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, then this same imagery must have found its way into scriptural accounts recorded by the prophets of God and into the iconography of temples, ancient and modern.

This is the test. And Joseph Smith and the gospel he restored pass it with flying colors.

© Anthony E. Larson, 2005


cynthia korzekwa said...

very interesting...

Sandy Skinner said...

Wow!! I don't know what else to say - this is so fantastic, yet how can you not see that this makes so much sense. My eyes have been opened.

Anthony E. Larson said...

I'm happy that this is meaningful for you, Sandy. Thanks for your kind comment.

Russell Coleman said...

I have been studying the plasma cosmology subject for sometime. There is no mistaking it's ability to explain and predict many cosmological events past,present and future. I am glad to see someone combining these revelations with the Bible to further explain God's word. Check out the Thunderbolts Project on YouTube for great insight from people like Tony Peratt, Wal Thornhill and David Talbott

Bonnie said...

Thank you, Anthony, for pulling all of this together! It's a very welcome confirmation of findings in my own cosmic Sherlock Holmes investigation :)

If you haven't seen the following sources, they further bolster your research:

For what the Ancients experienced in the skies, and the resultant disruptions on the planet, see Immanuel Velikovsky: Worlds in Collision.

His scholarship in aggregating the world's myths is broad-ranging, well-documented and a true tour-de-force. The astrophysics of his conclusions may not be fully supported by what we now know, but he was definitely thinking in the right direction.


For more on the scalar, spiral properties of plasma, see astrophysicist Nikolai Kozyrev, who also had some very interesting ideas about the true nature of time and the sun:


And for the historical human usages of the phurbas or vajras - their association with the ancient Mongol shamanic tradition, ancient Greek philosophers, and more recently of course, the Tibetan Buddhists - all of whom apparently used the phurbas to harness cosmic energies to their aims, see Peter Kingsley's A Story Waiting to Pierce You.


Exciting times :D

Best to you,