Graham Hancock is an English author and journalist, well known for books such as "Fingerprints Of The Gods" & "Entangled" and also a new fiction book called "War God"
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MA: Your man Michael Andreula with Graham Hancock, I can’t thank you enough, I know this is something that it really must feel like it’s taking a lot away from you.
MA: Not maybe the interviews but you give so much energy.
GH: You know in the process of giving energy one receives energy back.
MA: Okay so I’m going to try to give you some of my energy…
MA: because you have been hitting it, the event couldn’t have gone any better last night.
GH: Yeah a big event in the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park here in New York last night, that was the second time I’ve spoken there. It’s a great space and we had a big audience, very curious, intelligent, open minded people it was fun.
MA: And we have in three days, on the 12th we have another talk.
GH: Yeah, I’m speaking at the Horizon’s Conference which is at a number of venues around New York and it’s focused on psychedelics and particularly focused on research into psychedelics. I’m giving a more broad based talk but a lot of the people who are speaking there are medical doctors who are exploring from a research point of the view the incredible therapeutic benefits of psychedelics and they’re right at the cutting edge of that research so I feel very honored to have been asked to speak there and give a more general presentation in my case about psychedelics and civilization.
You know we have been taught wrongly to believe that psychedelics are these terrible things and we have this ‘war on drugs’ so called, a wicked and criminal enterprise called ‘the war on drugs’ which seeks to persuade us that we should never even consider exploring psychedelics and such things but actually if you look back into history and pre-history you find that psychedelics played a huge role in human civilization.
They were agents of healing and that they were agents of inspiration which really helped to advance and move human society forward so I think we’re making an enormous mistake by demonizing psychedelics and I think we need to change that.
MA: We have probably some viewers that are going to be shocked by you even saying that.
MA: But if they really, they’re not researching the history as you did and a lot of these religions probably popped up using psychedelics as a tool.
GH: Yeah, they definitely did. A psychedelic experience I believe is at the heart of all the mainstream religions including the big monotheistic faiths.
GH: Christianity, Judaism and Islam this is of course the untold story of the mainstream religions but let us consider Moses at the burning bush, what is going on there when a bush flickers with flame and speaks to a human being?
Now we’re told in the bible that’s a simple matter of God speaking to Moses but research has been done by Professor Benny Shanon at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Benny is a professor of psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He’s also a big expert on Ayahuasca, the sacred brew of the Amazon.
Now what he’s shown is that there are two plants that grow in the Middle East, in the Sinai in fact which contain exactly the same ingredients as the Ayahuasca brew in the Amazon and he suggested very strongly that Moses was under the influence of a powerful psychedelic when he had the burning bush experience which of course is a fundamental moment in the story of all three of the monotheistic faiths and it’s not limited to Moses and Christianity. You have St Paul on the Damascus road you know, who has this blinding moment of inspiration. That’s very much also like a psychedelic experience, if he wasn’t taking a psychedelic he was certainly entering a deeply altered state of consciousness and likewise with the Prophet Mohammad in his cave starving hungry, suffering from sensory deprivation from extreme physical privation goes into an altered state of consciousness and encounters an entity that he construes to be the Angel Gabriel who gives him the text for the Koran.
All of these are actually visionary experiences that are at the root of the mainstream religions, you scratch those religions you get in Shamanism very, very fast but then of course the money men and the bureaucrats come in and these religions become vast corporations that instead of being in the business of spiritual liberation are in the business of control and domination and unfortunately the subsequent history of the three mainstream religions has been very negative from the world in my view.
MA: So at some point the Shamans become, that could even happen in say Brazil…
MA: Say if the Shamans become incredibly popular and they start accumulating wealth and then create rules and then things start, you can see how quickly it’s turned into a big religion.
GH: See this is where there’s always a danger, a Shaman should be a conduit, the Shaman should not be the guru, he should not or she should not be the teacher. There should be no personality cult, the Shaman is simply a conduit for the teachings that come from plants and the moment the Shaman start developing personality cults we’re entering an area of problem. It’s not about the Shaman, it’s not about the individual it’s about what nature has to teach us through the medium of the sacred plants and in the Amazon those plants are the ingredients of the Ayahuasca brew, of course there are other psychedelic plants in the Amazon as well.
MA: How do you get up the nerve to try it, even the first time you go to the Amazon because, I don’t think this is letting the cat out the bag, you’ve tried Ayahuasca?
GH: I’ve drunk Ayahuasca close to sixty times.
MA: Sixty times?
GH: And it’s a regular spiritual practice for me, it’s something that I try to do every year. I think it’s really, really important, for me personally to work with Ayahuasca and I won’t share the details but I drank Ayahuasca in Los Angles quite recently. It’s now spreading around all over the world and that was actually one of the very best ceremonies that I’ve ever had.
I first encountered Ayahuasca back in 2003 and at that time I was researching a book which was published in 2005 and that book is called Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind…
MA: Amazing book.
GH: Thank you. I’ve always believed as a researcher that I should put myself into my subject, I can’t sit in armchair and simply pronounce about things if I haven’t experienced myself particularly when the subject I’m talking about has to do with experience and that’s what we have with the psychedelics, they’re about personal experience.
So in my book Supernatural I was looking at a transformatory moment in the human story when a light seems to have gone on in the human brain all around the world and we started producing art, really extraordinary art in rock shelters and in caves. They’re here in the United States, they’re in Europe, they’re as far away as Indonesia, they’re all over the world and this art is almost always very much the same. There are incredible similarities that the subjects covered and what we now know is that this art is the product of altered states of consciousness, that the artists were Shamans entering the trance state, encountering what they construe as supernatural entities, supernatural beings in supernatural realms, the spirit world and then coming back and depicting what they had seen on the walls of rock shelters and caves. There’s no doubt whatsoever that in the case of this art psychedelic plants were involved in bringing those Shamans into that altered state of consciousness, the art is quite definitive about that and went into that in great length in my book Supernatural.
So I felt if I’m going to write about this I have to have this experience and there are Shamans today in the Amazon drinking Ayahuasca who afterwards, returning to a normal state of consciousness paint their visions exactly as they did in the Stone Age so it was a no-brainer. I had to go down to the Amazon, I had to drink Ayahuasca and that’s when I had my first eleven experiences with Ayahuasca in the Amazon in the beginning of 2004 as a matter of fact, I had one experience before that just to try it out in Belgium in Europe and then went off to the Amazon and dived in at the deep end and had extraordinary experiences which initially were research and I think at least allowed me to come to the table and talk about that subject with some authority.
But then I found that the changes Ayahuasca worked on me, the lessons that I learnt from it, the way that caused me to reflect upon my own life and my relationships with others and made me want to be a better person. It’s not easy to become a better person, Ayahuasca is not you know a magic potion you have to do the work, you have to integrate those lessons into your life but I found myself on the…taking the first steps on a road of personal change which I believe was valuable for me and I’m still on that road. I still have a lifetime of bad habits to overcome and I’m working on myself and Ayahuasca has helped me a lot with that process and that’s why I try to drink Ayahuasca every year and usually I go down to Brazil.
MA: So it’s not a fun, oh let’s go party and drink some Ayahuasca?
GH: Not at all, Ayahuasca is not recreational experience, far from it. It’s really an ordeal and I have to brace myself for Ayahuasca every time I drink it, it’s a tough thing. I mean it makes you physically ill, usually gives you vomiting, gives you diarrhea none of that is particularly pleasant. It can make you quite dizzy, make you break out in a sweat and then perhaps that’s the first lesson really is that this work on your body that Ayahuasca does is a necessary part of what comes next. It’s a cleansing, it’s a healing and then you enter, if you’re lucky because it doesn’t happen every time with every session, you enter these visionary realms, these seamlessly convincing parallel worlds where intelligent entities approach you and communicate with you. Amongst them most notably the entity that we call Mother Ayahuasca and this is why I have, I got into trouble with TED for example when I gave my TED talk a year or so ago and why they took it off the air because how dare I suggest that there might actually be a goddess behind this.
Well I don’t know if she’s real or not, all I can say is at the level experience she’s real and I’m not the only person who has experienced these encounters. People all over the world who’ve drunk Ayahuasca who haven’t compared notes have met this powerful, loving, intelligent entity who sometimes appears as a woman, sometimes appears as a jaguar, sometimes appears as a great serpent who seeks to bring out the best in us. To teach us lessons about ourselves and make us work on ourselves and sometimes it’s tough love.
It can be very grueling to show the negative impact, to be shown the negative impact that you’ve had on other people through the course of your life and the pain that you’ve caused and you’re shown that in absolute clarity, there’s a kind of a life review as part of the Ayahuasca experience. You’re shown that in absolute clarity and you’re given the opportunity to learn from it because you’ve never realized it before. You’ve hidden yourself behind a wall of illusion, you’ve persuaded yourself that you’re this really nice person who never did nasty things and you suddenly get the truth and the truth sometimes hurts but it’s essential to see that because then you can begin to learn and you can begin make changes. You can’t go back and change mistakes you made in the past but you don’t have to repeat them in the future and that’s an important part of the teaching that Ayahuasca brings.
So it isn’t fun, it can be sometimes, you can have blissful experiences and I’ve had them but often it’s physically and psychically quite an ordeal. It last typically for about 4 hours, the afterglow goes on for a few more hours after that.
It’s very heart opening, we usually drink Ayahuasca with others, I would not recommend anybody to go and drink Ayahuasca on their own there are severe dangers associated with doing that. It’s properly taking in a social context with people you know and trust and love and administered by an experienced facilitator who should have had Shamanic training, who should have spent time in South America and worked with Shamans there. And above all else who should not be somebody who is presenting himself as a guru, the best facilitator of an Ayahuasca ceremony is a humble, experienced person who doesn’t want you to worship him, or her, who simply understands that he or she is a conduit for the teachings that come from the plants. Beware of any Shaman who is demonstrating a big ego that is not a person to work with that is a person to avoid like the plague and beware of buying the ingredients for Ayahuasca on the internet and drinking them in your own home. I would urge anybody who’s considering that, don’t do it under any circumstances.
Ayahuasca can put you into a deep trance state and it’s possible to make mistakes and errors that you would afterwards regret. You might hurt yourself, you might fall asleep in an awkward position and cut off the blood supply to your legs for example, you need to have people with you who love you and you need to have an experienced Shaman with you.
There fortunately are quite a number of good hearted, humble, experienced Shamans now in the West. People who have done their training in the Amazon who’ve come back and are offering ceremony here in the West and I won’t give any details or any recommendations it’s up to each individual to find their way to the brew and to do thorough research and ask around and listen to word of mouth and work with people who are good.
Because it’s not only that this is a very serious business physically but it’s also a very serious business psychically. When you enter those realms, when you go through the veil, and I personally am convinced that these are freestanding parallel realities, I can’t prove that they may all be projections of our own minds but when you enter these realms you encounter negative as well as positive spiritual entities.
Just as in this world you are confronted with choices between the darkness and the light, between good and evil you are confronted with these choices in those other realms as well. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and you feel a great sense of danger and fear and this can be shocking and traumatizing and that’s where an experienced Shaman can help you. By singing the traditional songs, the Icaros, by laying hands on you, by working with you they can bring you out of that traumatic state and back into a peaceful state where you can advance through your journey.
So I say do it in social context, do it with an experience Shaman, do you homework first, don’t rush into this, there’s plenty of time. Ayahuasca is a very, very serious matter.
The social side of it is important because as I said it does open the heart, you do the next day typically after Ayahuasca ceremonies you share your experiences with others you have drunk with during the night and that sharing of experience is an incredible bonding moment. It’s as though you’ve been in the trenches together, you know, you’ve been through an ordeal together and afterwards you share it and you have a sense of unity and oneness with those you’ve drunk Ayahuasca with. That stays in the memory and you feel connected to those people for the rest of your life.
The one piece of advice I’d give however is never do a business within two weeks of an Ayahuasca session because you’re just going to give everything away.
MA: You should put that on Twitter, just giving a little advice. Well Salut to the strength of a cup of Ayahuasca. It is fascinating…
GH: … and has this warm, loving, very powerful personality and that you feel that when I speak of Mother Ayahuasca, and I’m not alone in this feeling, you feel that you’re confronted by the Mother Goddess of our planet, that her business is the planet, her business is the great rainforests and the great rivers that flow through them that are generators of life, that are generators of all the biodiversity and indeed of the air breath. That is her fundamental preoccupation and that’s why many people who drink Ayahuasca emerge with a new feeling for the rainforests that they may never have had before. Even if they didn’t drink Ayahuasca in the middle of a rainforest, even if they drank it in the middle of New York City the rainforest will come to you. Ayahuasca in that sense is the consciousness of the rainforest who is speaking to us, the old grow of trees, this is the heart of it.
But then she, and again I understand that your listeners, your viewers may have a very different view of this and may think that when I speak ‘she’ I speak of an actual personality behind the Ayahuasca brew, that I’ve lost contact with my senses, you know that I’ve gone nuts or something like that. Well no, I accept the possibility that there may be no reality to this but my experience of it is real and the experience of many others who’ve drunk the brew is that we are dealing with a real entity who exists in a realm of reality beyond everyday experience. In other words when we’re in the normal alert problem solving state of consciousness that we need for everyday life and it is valuable and it has its place, we are not going to have these experiences and we’re not going to connect with Mother Ayahuasca. You have to alter your state of consciousness profoundly in order to make that connection. The active ingredient of Ayahuasca is DMT, dimethyltryptamine and a very serious research project was done at the University of New Mexico in 1990’s by Dr Rick Strassman giving pure DMT in the form of an intravenous infusion to human volunteers. An amazing number of those volunteers who weren’t comparing notes reported encounters with entities that were identical to one another and in fact several of them were told by the entities, we’re so glad that you’ve discovered this technology now we can communicate with you more easily. Rick Strassman is a very grounded medical doctor, at the end of his research project he had to consider the possibility that by what we’re doing with DMT is altering the receiver wavelength of the brain and gaining access to real, freestanding realities. He said, just as likely that these worlds are simply created in our brains is the possibility that they are real veridical freestanding realities which we are not normally aware of but which we become aware of in deeply altered states of consciousness.
This is why there’s really no doubt that visionary experiences do underlay all the religions of the world because it ceases to be a matter of something you read in a book, it ceases to be a matter of something you learn by study and it becomes a matter of personal experience and that personal experience is powerful and transforming.
MA: Did you ever have your doubts in spirituality, of an Atheist perhaps?
GH: I had huge doubts in spirituality. I was bought up in a Christian family and naturally like most children I rebelled against the ethics of my family and regarded myself proudly as an Atheist in my teens and into my twenties and even into my thirties.
I first started to question this position when in my research into lost civilizations I began to study in depth the ancient Egyptian texts, the Pyramid texts, the Books of the Dead, the Book and so on which are amazing works by the way. The ancient Egyptians put their best minds to work for three thousand years on the mystery of life and death and the results of their enquiries are contained in those texts. The Hermetic text, the Gnostic text when I was required by my research to investigate, explore and thoroughly read these texts and that’s when I began to question my atheism.
Let’s be clear about Atheism first of all, atheism means not believing in God and that furious bearded entity, the God of Abraham from the Gnostic point of view he was not a god at all, he was a demon who had disguised himself as God and mislead mankind into the worship of him and what the Gnostic said is, don’t listen to what he says look at what he makes people do. When you look at what the mainstream religions have done down the ages, yeah they talk the talk of peace and love but the walk they walk is a walk of hatred and fear and suspicion that has divided us from one another and all of the big conflicts in the world today, the seething mess of the Middle East is all built around basically those who follow one or other of the Abrahamic religions.
So I think we have to consider that the Gnostics may have had a point when they said yes there is a supernatural entity who pretends he is God but he isn’t God. It’s like the movie The Usual Suspects when they said, the greatest trick the devil ever played was to persuade the world that he did not exist. The Gnostics take it one step further and say, the greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince the world that he is God.
This is a dynamite teaching and I understand that many who adhere to the mainstream religions would be horrified by that teaching but I’m simply reporting to you what an ancient body of profound investigations into the nature of reality suggested to us.
So Atheism is a disbelief in God whether that God or any other but a lot of people think to be an Atheist and to disbelieve in God and I think it’s a good idea to withdraw our belief from an entity that has had such negative consequences on the world. To disbelieve in God doesn’t mean you have to disbelieve in spiritual realms, it doesn’t believe that you have to deny all spirituality in your life, it doesn’t mean that you have to like, you know Professor Richard Dawkins, become a total materialist who claims that there is nothing more to reality than the material world. That we are just men you know who accidently have consciousness by the workings of our brains, it doesn’t mean that at all.
You can accept the notion that we are souls, that we are spirits having a temporary material experience incarnating in a physical body, going through life, learning the lessons that life has to teach so that we may perfect and grow and develop ourselves. You can believe that, you can consider that without having to believe in God.
So Atheism and an absence of spirituality are not necessarily the same thing.
MA: I think that’s so powerfully said and if you, at some point I was listening to a lot of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and I respect both of them…
GH: Sure Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are very smart guys.
MA: But it leaves you with this empty feeling of what’s it all about?
GH: Both Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris will say that those who do believe in an afterlife, who do believe that consciousness survives death and we go on that they have that belief because it’s comforting to them. They suggest, I’ve heard them say this, that this is a fantasy belief that we have to comfort ourselves when confronted by the reality of our own deaths.
I would say go read the ancient texts more closely, there is nothing comforting about the idea of consciousness surviving death. Actually it’s much more comforting to imagine that you get out of this game free of charge, that when it ends it ends it’s over and there are no consequences. If you study the ancient texts you’ll find that every thought, every word, every deed, every second of your life, everything counted and you will be called to account for what you did with this precious gift of life that was given to you by the universe. You will be called to account for everything and that is a terrifying thought, that is not a comforting thought at all and it requires you to consider what you’re doing with your life in a way that disbelief in any transcendental consequences lets you off the hook very, very easily so I don’t think it’s comforting I think it’s worrying.
The ancient Egyptians have a place, it’s a symbolic system but they called it the Judgment Hall of Osiris where your soul is weighed in the scales against the feather of truth and justice and cosmic harmony and you do not want your soul to be heavy in those scales. The ancient Egyptians they had a forgiving view of human nature, they understood we make mistakes. Actually that’s what we’re here to do, we’re here to make mistakes and learn from them, the question is did you learn from your mistakes? If you did hurt somebody else did you subsequently regret it and try never to do that again, did you learn. They look upon their lives, on the course of life like a sculpture might look on a work of art or a work of sculpture that he or she has worked on all the way through their lives. Sometimes they mess up and they make errors and they get it wrong but then they work around the problem and they improve and refine so that at the end you should be able to stand back and look back on your life as a work of art and say, yes I made mistakes but overall by and large I did good and that’s the objective. Not only I did good but I also got it, I got what it’s about to be here, this mystery of being alive, this mystery of experiences, mystery of fine choices between good and evil, between dark and light that confront us every minute of every day. I understood what it was about and it was about emerging from this physical experience, grown in some way not shrunk, not diminished but learning, growing, developing through the experience that’s why we’re given this opportunity to live a physical life.
MA: I just want to break out in applause that was absolutely amazing and have you thought about this a little bit?
GH: A lot.
MA: It makes me want to even do better than what I currently am doing and not to derail the topic but I do want to talk about War God.
GH: Thank you yes I appreciate that.
MA: It was very fuzzy, maybe the education system in America, we haven’t even really discussed what happened with Cortés I don’t believe. They were like, yeah Columbus landed whatever, there were a couple of people here and then you know he’s awesome but really that’s not the case and this was a furious battle.
GH: It was a tremendous battle, now we’re shifting years indeed and we’re talking about my work as a novelist because I write two kinds of books. I write non-fiction books like Fingerprints of the Gods, Evidence for Earths Lost Civilization and the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods that I’m working on now which will be published in 2015.
MA: When that comes out I’m just going to be so excited.
GH: Well I’m bringing a whole lot of new evidence to the table about the lost civilization and the cataclysm that destroyed it but I have a parallel line of work and that is as a novelist and actually that’s because of Ayahuasca. I had a series of Ayahuasca experiences in 2006 which gave me a very powerful impulsion to explore my talents such as they are as a writer in the field of fiction as well as in the field of non-fiction. I was led to understand that there are certain stories, certain extraordinary ideas that you can only really properly explore in fiction. Why? Because in fiction you have to get inside the heads of your characters, you really have to be in their place and you don’t do that in non-fiction. Non-fiction is about footnotes and references and detailed intellectual processes. This is about emotional, imaginatively identifying with the characters you’re writing about.
And my theme, I was shown this very strongly in those Ayahuasca visions would be about the battle of good against evil which I maintain is a battle that all of us fight every day in our lives, from the smallest detail to the largest detail.
And the first novel I wrote published in 2010 was called Entangled and its, a quick summary, that is two young women one living twenty four thousand years ago in the past, one living in modern Los Angles who are brought together by a benign, positive supernatural being, in fact Mother Ayahuasca, to do battle with the demon who travels through time. And they must step outside of time and encounter one another and work together to overthrow this demonic entity and prevent his misleading of the human race.
I then went on to write what is now the first two of a series of three novels about the Spanish conquest of Mexico and that’s a series of novels called War God. The first volume War God: Nights of the Witch was published in 2013 and the second volume War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent is published actually just yesterday, it was published on 9th October and it’s available now. And these novels indeed tell the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, it’s a giant story that’s why there is three novels in the series each of them four or five hundred page novels and what I’m trying very hard to do is to make each novel a self-contained story where the characters have a journey in front of them and come to the end and reach resolution on that journey but then the next stage opens up in their story and that becomes the next volume and as I say there’s two volumes now.
Yes you’re right, I mean in our schools we’re never really taught what happened and what happened, that moment it was between 1519 and 1521 when the Spanish arrived on the coast of Mexico that changed the whole world and put us on that terrible dark track that we still live on today.
It’s impossible to look at the events of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, despite the brutality without feeling some respect for men like Cortés, these were men of steel. He arrived in Mexico with 490 men in eleven ships, they’d sailed from Cuba and initially he couldn’t of course speak any of the local languages and he was confronting gigantic forces in the first big battle that he faced which was actually against the Maya not against the Aztecs. He had his 490 men, they confronted an army of 40,000 men and they defeated them.
Now they defeated them for a number of reasons, one was that the Spanish had cavalry and the horse had been extinct in the Americas for 12,000 years. The Maya and later the Aztecs simply couldn’t grasp at first what cavalry was, it seemed like supernatural beings to them, the creature they describe it part deer part man and the men and the horses they sit upon are armored in steel. You know you have to envisage what it feels like to have never faced a cavalry charge and to see this group of heavy horse thundering towards you so that the ground is shaking beneath your feet, so that the earth is pounded up into dust and they’re coming at you at thirty miles an hour, bearing down on you and you have no tactics whatsoever to deal with this because you’ve never faced a cavalry charge before.
Secondly the Spanish, they were incredibly brutal the Spanish there are no hero’s in this story, there are heroes in my stories but they’re neither the Spanish nor the Aztecs they’re individuals whose lives play out throughout the story. The Spanish used dogs of war, they used wolf hounds and mastiffs which were trained to relish human flesh and they armored them in steel and set them lose upon the enemy.
MA: Can I just say all they had before that they had Chihuahuas.
GH: They had Chihuahuas that was it, they did have dogs but they were Chihuahuas. So these things, these monstrous creatures they thought they were dragons, they couldn’t understand what they were that come leaping at them and tearing huge holes in their ranks into which the Spanish pike men and swords men then enter and create further havoc.
Also the Spanish had guns, they had canons, they had muskets so all of these despite their small numbers did give them an advantage undoubtedly.
And secondly and another thing that’s an important part of my story is Cortés was a Machiavellian player, he understood psychology, he knew he was up against something gigantic. The Maya were a substantial force in their own right, he routed them at the Battle of Potonchan in 1519 but really his target was the Aztecs because the Aztecs had the gold.
And the Aztecs were an enormous force and they were a military and organized military power, they had 200,000 men that they could put under arms and when the Aztecs caught you, because that was their objective on the battle field was to catch you not to kill you. When they caught you you became their prisoner, you were fattened in a special holding pen and then you were sacrificed, you were marched up the pyramid and your heart was cut out. They were absolutely terrifying murderous civilization, I don’t whitewash the Aztecs at all and I refuse to go into this historical revisionism that tries to see them as good guys. They were awful, they did terrible, terrible things and that’s one of the reasons they lost against Cortés despite their overwhelming numbers because the Aztecs preyed upon their neighbors, they preyed upon the Totonacs, they preyed upon the Tlaxcalans and used them as farms for human sacrifice by using their overwhelming military power to just take young men and young women from those societies and kill them in the most ghastly way.
Naturally when the Totonacs and Tlaxcalans saw Cortés coming it presented an interesting situation for them. The Totonacs immediately joined Cortés, one of the interesting features of the story I tell is what happened with the Tlaxcalans. They were the heredity enemies of the Aztecs, they had been preyed upon by the Aztecs for 200 years but Xicotencatl their battle kings was a man of enormous principles and when he saw Cortés, of course the elders of his society said you must join with Cortés immediately and overthrow our enemies the Aztecs. Xicotencatl said, no I’m not going to do that.
What he saw, he was very far sighted and he saw that Cortés represented the doom of all the civilizations of the Americas and that he had a responsibility to fight him even though it was in his interests not to. He did fight Cortés and he fought him tooth and nail and I tell this story in Volume Two of the War God series, The Return of the Plumed Serpent which is published now. He fought him tooth and nail until Cortés by practicing terrorism, by destroying whole villages, by burning people at the stake, throwing people into pits of sharpened stakes that he so terrified the elders of Tlaxcala that they forced Xicotencatl to make peace with him and then Xicotencatl joined Cortés and carried on in the conflict against the Aztecs.
If the Aztecs had been generous, loving, positive people Cortés would have had no local allies and Cortés would have been crushed before he even left the beach but because the Aztecs were so cruel to their neighbors they reaped the Karma that comes from that and that was that Cortés with his 490 men soon found himself with hundreds of thousands of local auxiliaries who were fighting on his side.
The other thing about Cortés that I need to tell you concerns a woman and her name is Malinal and she’s a historical figure and she’s a key character in my story, in fact two women are key in my War God story. One of them is a young witch called Tozi who has supernatural powers, she’s just growing into those powers the beginning of the story but she becomes more powerful as the story goes on and another is a genuine historical figure. There were many witches in that society and it’s interesting, I’ve studied the accounts of them and put that to work in my story but Malinal is a genuine historical figure, renowned historical figure as a matter of fact.
She was given to Cortés as a prisoner when he defeated the Maya at the Battle of Potonchan amongst the gifts that they gave him as a sign of their surrender was twenty women and amongst those twenty women was Malinal. Now up until that point Cortés had been able to talk to the Maya because there was a Spaniard who’d been shipwrecked in the Yucatán, been there for eleven years and Cortés grabbed him and used him as a translator to speak to the Maya but he had no way of speaking to the Aztecs. After he moved on from the Tabasco River and had his first encounters with the Aztecs he suddenly found he couldn’t communicate with them and he used the power of words very, very effectively. He played upon the superstitions and the fears of those he confronted and he was nonplussed at being unable to speak to the Aztecs. His Spaniard who spoke Maya couldn’t speak a word of Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and that’s when Malinal thrust herself forward.
She appears on the stage of history and she lets Cortés know in no mistakable terms she speaks both Nahuatl and Maya, she can work with Aguilar that shipwrecked Spaniard. If he would put Cortés’s words into the Maya language she will then put them into the Nahuatl language and thus they will communicate with the Aztec ambassadors and so on in the reverse. Pretty soon she’s dispensed with Aguilar, she’s learnt the Spanish language, she learns it in weeks she’s an incredibly brilliant woman and she stands by Cortés’s side.
And what intrigued me about her and what I’m able to do in fiction is to give her a motive for that because Cortés admitted that aside from God himself it was Malinal who gave me this conquest of Mexico. She gave him the psychology of Moctezuma and it was clear to me that she had a huge grudge against Moctezuma and that right from the beginning without any doubt whatsoever she was determined to use Cortés as her instrument to overthrow the Aztecs and that’s also the story that I tell in War God of this remarkable woman.
Who is you know a woman that has a bad name in Mexico today because she’s seen as somebody who handed over the land to the conquerors. I see her very differently, I see that she saw the wickedness and evil of Moctezuma and had confronted it face to face and was determined to bring him down. Initially she did not fully realize what the consequences of that would be, the Spanish conquest of Mexico was a disastrous event for the Americas. It set in train the next conquest, the conquest of Peru and following on from that the whole slaughter of Native Americans in North America as well. All of this was built on the events of the Spanish conquest.
MA: Are these, well any time I speak to my friends I start mentioning these names they’re like, how do you know that? It’s Graham Hancock books and especially they see Malinal in a different way.
GH: She’s often called La Malinche, that’s the name that’s she’s frequently known by but her actual name was Malinal and she is a really fascinating, absolutely fascinating character and it’s been really interesting for me to explore her as a character and as a person and to see the dilemmas that she goes through and the role and the part that she plays and her courage. This was a woman of enormous courage, she was often in the midst of gigantic battles at risk of her life every minute of the day as these battles proceeded and never flinched and never backed down, that’s something amazing that she did.
In Aztec society it was death to look Moctezuma in the eye, you had to lower your eyes when you talked to him. When the first encounter takes place between Cortés and Moctezuma it takes place on one of the causeways leading into Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs which is Mexico City today. It was then in the middle of a lake. The accounts that the Aztecs give of it are stunned at the way Malinal behaves because she looks Cortés straight in the eye, she will not lower her eyes…
GH: Sorry, she looks Moctezuma straight in the eye, Cortés is at her side, she gives the word of Cortés and she doesn’t cast her eyes down. She stares Moctezuma down so that he casts his eyes down and that’s when I knew this woman had a motive. There was something that happened to her, something in the background that the history doesn’t tell us about her and Moctezuma and I’m able to explore that in a novel in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do in a non-fiction book.
MA: And we’re learning, I mean these are facts.
GH: Many facts.
MA: But you wrap it into a story which makes it even more entertaining.
GH: Thank you.
MA: It makes me, and in Latin America a lot of times they wrap up facts into stories and that’s how you learn.
GH: It’s really important. You know I’ve been writing for my living for thirty plus years. It’s very different writing a novel from writing non-fiction. In a novel what is crucial is the characters and the people. If you lose, if the reader doesn’t identify and take an interest in the characters and the people you’ve lost it right there as a novelist. You can’t just relay endless facts it’s not good, go write a non-fiction book if you want to do that.
Novels are about people, they’re about the interactions of characters, they’re about plot as well. All of that is central and my objective has been to write fast moving, engaging stories with characters that the reader can identify with but at the same time to draw on my knowledge of the region and the research that I’ve done.
I’ve travelled the whole route of Cortés in Mexico in order to bring the story to life with a realistic local context.
So Volume One was published in 2013 it’s available now, Volume Two is also available now, they’re available on Amazon and I’ll extend to you your viewers the same offer that I extended on Joe Rogan and to others but it does involve taking this offer up by about the 17th or 18th October. That is if you buy War God One or Two or both of them on Amazon, go to my website grahamhancock.com, go to the War God page you can’t miss it the War God cover is on the front page of the site and you’ll see a whole series, first of all of chapters to read free online. I’m not asking to buy this site unseen you can decide whether this is something for you or not and secondly links to the book on Amazon UK, Amazon in the UK, Amazon in Canada and so on and so forth both in the Kindle edition and in the print editions.
Write to me at the email address I give at the bottom of that page, give me proof of purchase, give me your postal address and I will send you what is called a book plate, a signed dedicated bookplate. Obviously I can’t sign the books themselves because they’re coming to you direct from Amazon but once I get back to England in November I will sit down for a couple of weeks and sign and dedicate these book plates and send them out by airmail at my expense to those who have bought the book so they can place them inside. A book plate is just a fancy name for a label really but signed and dedicated personally by me and what I won’t be able to do unfortunately, I did do this with Volume One but I’m under such pressure at work now I have a huge non-fiction book to finish, I won’t be able to get into personal correspondence but I will fulfill this promise. The book plate will come to you through the post if you write to me and crucially give me your postal address.
MA: War God, it’s the minute we could get it because Fingerprints of the Gods 2 is going to be a tremendous, tremendous amount of work for you.
GH: Huge amount of work.
MA: Are you ready for that?
GH: I’m ready for it.
MA: What did you do? We discussed before, who were you with ten days ago? What were you doing?
GH: Well I was travelling across the United States, across the northern latitudes of the United States with a great unsung genius whose name is Randall Carlson.
Randall Carlson is a self-trained geologist and he knows more about geology than any multiple PhD at any major university in the United States. He has been living and breathing geological mystery for the last four or five decades and he’s deeply into the mystery of the cataclysmic events that occurred in the northern latitudes of North America at the end of the last Ice Age.
It’s understood now broadly by geologists there’s no doubt about this that there was cataclysmic flooding at the end of the Ice Age and this flooding, here’s the conventional theory. That the icecap, these icecaps that covered North America were two miles deep you know, mountains of ice…
MA: Right where we’re sitting.
GH: Right where we’re sitting and a little further south and right across the whole of the US Canada border and north of there, these gigantic icecaps. The conventional theory is that glacial lakes formed in the icecap, there was melt water and that huge lakes formed. They did form there’s no doubt about that, one of them was called Glacial Lake Missoula and the argument is that after a certain buildup of water the ice dam that held that water in place broke and Glacial Lake Missoula spilled out its contents over the surrounding land causing the unmistakable evidence of gigantic floods that we see there. And the conventional view is that Glacial Lake Missoula refilled with water and emptied out maybe as many as forty times over thousands of years.
Randall Carlson has for a long time been suggesting another possibility. That a comet hit the North American icecap around 13,000 years ago and instantly liquidized all of the water bound up in those icecaps releasing a vast amount of it in floods that poured down across the North American continent and a vast amount of it going up into the upper atmosphere as vapor which then fell as rain. And this is not just any old rain, this is a black Bituminous rain filled with particles and mud and ash and dust, it’s a horrendous rain that falls because a comet unleashes enormous amounts of heat you see and further more when you take the weight of those two mile deep mountain of ice off the land the land is destabilized.
We live in an earthquake zone in the United States, particularly in the west and the northwest and what you get is seismic activity as the burden shifts off the land the land starts to rebound under it and the plates start to separate and you get huge amount of volcanic activity. So volcanos are spewing ash, I mean it would make the last eruption of Mount St Helens look like a drop in the bucket, giant amounts of ash are going up into the upper atmosphere. It’s a truly cataclysmic scenario that Randall envisages.
He was alone in envisaging that scenario, nobody believed there was a comet until from 2007 onwards the scientific evidence began to come in bit by bit that he was absolutely right and that a comet did hit the North American icecap and we can say exactly when, within give or take five years. It was 12,980 years ago.
It was fragments, this was a comet that broke into fragments and some of those fragments might have been as much as a kilometer in diameter. Four or five of them hit the North American icecap, it flew on on a diagonal course through the earth’s atmosphere and impacted with the European icecap as well and that’s why simultaneously in Europe and North American there was dramatic meltdowns of the icecap.
So what Randall has been saying and what the new scientific evidence is proving is that it wasn’t multiple emptying’s of glacial lakes it was a single cataclysmic event on a gigantic scale which changed the whole world that we live in.
North American was as the epicenter of the cataclysm but it was a global cataclysm. That dust that was thrown up into the upper atmosphere shut out the sun’s rays for more than 1000 years, the earth plunged into a period of darkness and extreme cold, which geologists have known about for a long time, they call it the Younger Dryas but they didn’t know why it happened. Why did the climate change so radically at that moment just when the earth was coming out of the Ice Age suddenly it goes back into an extreme cold which colder than the deepest phase of the Ice Age and we lost all the megafauna, the mammoths, the mastodons, the wooly rhinos they all go extinct at that time.
Obviously something happened now we know what it was, it was a comet impact, Randall Carlson was right all along. The new scientific evidence, it’s called the Younger Dryas Boundary Field, they’re finding nanodiamonds, they’re finding layers of platinum in the Greenland ice cores. Leaves no doubt whatsoever, there’s been a debate about it but the debate is over, we were hit by a huge comet 12,980 years ago. It wiped out the megafauna and I believe it’s also the smoking gun that lost us a whole advanced civilization of pre-history that is remembered in myth and legend and tradition all around the world.
This is why I’ve made this journey with Randall, he’s been showing me the features on the landscape, anybody who can get to Washington State in particular it’s really intriguing.
I must emphasize that this event occurred across the whole of the northern parts of North America but it was, it’s particularly evident in Washington State. Over here on the east coast you can see it in the Scablands of New Jersey, the Finger Lakes of New York State, these are all caused by that same flooding.
On the west side in Washington State there are again gigantic areas of Scablands, why called Scablands? Because they look scabby, the ground, the basalt basis of the ground has been plucked and picked and bits of it stand up and bits of it are hollowed out and it just looks a mess. That was all done by flooding, no doubt about it whatsoever.
Features like Grand Coulee in Washington State, upper and lower Grand Coulee like somebody of a gigantic size, you know miles tall has taken a huge chisel and just chiseled out the earth creating a corridor fifty miles long and two miles wide which goes down hundreds of feet into the earth. This was all caused by that flooding, it’s not just water that’s coming out these floods they’re ripping out whole forests by the roots, they’re taking icebergs with them. The icebergs contain in many cases huge boulders, there’s one at which weighs close to 18,000 tons which is perched 500 feet above the floor, why? Because it was in an iceberg and that iceberg grounded against the site of what was then a hillside and stuck there and gradually afterwards the ice melted away leaving the boulder in place. So you’ve got a flood that’s jostling with gigantic heavy icebergs, that’s filled with ripped up forest, that’s filled with huge amounts of silt and sediment. It’s a churning massive, solid flood and it causes these really dramatic erosion events on the landscape between upper and lower Grand Coulee is a place called Dry Falls. I would anybody who has the chance, go see Dry Falls because there we have a huge dry waterfall. It was a living waterfall during the flood, today it’s all dry. It’s five times wider and three times higher than Niagara Falls.
GH: Niagara Falls is the result of thousands of years of erosion that have created those falls. Dry Falls was created in two weeks, it was created in two weeks by this horrendous flooding unleashed by the comet impact and it’s just stunning to observe it and to imagine what went on there.
So I’ve had the privilege of doing this journey with Randall, seeing the landscape through his eyes and really getting it, really understanding that we were here in North America at the epicenter of a global cataclysm that changed the world and changed the story of human civilization.
MA: That’s just incredibly fascinating, not even just fascinating but leaving the boulders out and how else did that possibly get there.
GH: Yeah, there’s…
MA: There’s no other explanation.
GH: These are glacier, they’re called Glacial Erratic’s, that’s the only way they get there. The rock that’s dumped on those valley sides came from hundreds of miles away.
MA: It must have been pretty fast?
GH: Yes these floods were moving at colossal speed and they were a thousand feet deep it was a truly, truly terrible event.
So we have the smoking gun that I believe lost us a whole civilization and at the same time there’s huge amount of new archaeological evidence coming out. These are the reasons why I’m writing a sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, it’s a wholly new book it’s not an update of Fingerprints. It’s going to be called Magicians of the Gods.
We have Gunung Padang in Indonesia where I’ve now made three research visits. A pyramid that is currently in the midst of excavation at the moment and the evidence that’s coming up from the carbon dating is this place is more than 20,000 years old. Nobody is supposed to have been building large scale three hundred feet high pyramids 20,000 years ago. Our ancestors are supposed to have just been primitive hunter gatherers and likewise at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey the German archaeological shoot over the last decade has unearthed an incredible site of Stonehenge sized stone circles that was deliberately buried by whoever made it 10,000 years ago like a kind of time capsule but the work started 2000 years before that. That site is 12,000 years old and again that’s the Upper Paleolithic, our ancestors are not supposed to be have in been in position to create large scale architecture 12,000 years ago and it calls into question the dating of many other megalithic sites around the world.
Göbekli Tepe is special because it is a time capsule it was deliberately buried, there’s no doubt about the carbon dating. Other sites like Mnajdra in Malta or Stonehenge itself they’ve been tramped over by many later cultures and it confuses the carbon dating record. I think we’re going to have to look again at our whole picture of history, I think we’re poised on the edge of a revolution in our understanding of the past.
MA: If we think about the twin towers, if they’re knocked down and rebuilt so what ancient people do on ancient sites? Rebuild.
GH: They rebuild, they rebuild again and again. Many sacred sites that we’re looking at for example Angkor in Cambodia, what we’re looking at is simply the latest incarnation of a lineage of temples that had been built on that site going back thousands and thousands of years and we’d be wrong if we thought that the latest incarnation defined the actual date of origin of that site. It’s much older than that.
MA: Graham, this is just mind blowing, you are a master with words. I don’t know if that was a, it’s taken awhile to get to get to this point.
GH: I’ve been working with words most of my adult life.
MA: Your ability to write, talk, research you’re Indiana Jones.
GH: Thank you, thank you. I love a line from the Indian Jones movie and I am 64 now and there’s a moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy is looking really wreaked and you know he’s sitting there in some cabin in a ship with his lady and she comments on his appearance and he says, it’s not the years it’s the mileage.
MA: I would say it’s one of the better quotes, better movies and that’s what I think about I’m like, Graham Hancock is even doing more ridiculous things than Indiana Jones, putting him to shame.
GH: Well thank you for saying that, I put in some mileage over the years.
MA: You have, that’s for sure. Well this has been a fascinating interview we’re going to be pushing War God and is there anything else you wanted to tell them?
GH: No, I think we’ve covered the ground and I hugely enjoyed this conversation. It’s great to talk to you and I look forward to meeting again.
MA: Thanks so much I really appreciate this.
GH: My pleasure.
-LIBERATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT, GET NAKED, FIND A MOUNTAIN TOP, HIT PLAY, SQUEEGEE YOUR THIRD EYE AND PREPARE TO BLAST OFF INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN WOMB OF THE UNIVERSE AND ENJOY!
For the past 17 years I've made my career out of designing and teaching group fitness kickboxing classes. Many of my classes consist of up to 100 people, who range in fitness levels from beginner to advanced-- all in the same class. Obviously this exposed some challenges and hurdles that I needed to overcome in order to keep my classes at the highest quality possible.