As part of the L – week of the Pagan Blog Project, my choice is Lemuria, as I know nothing about it, other than lots of people like talking about it. Particularly in my experience, Lucy Cavendish, who is also fair game as her name begins with an L.
Sadly Lemuria is not an island of Lemurs, one of my all-time favourite animals. But happily, Madagascar is. Hooray!
Lemuria is a supposed submerged continent in the Indian ocean, connecting Madagascar and India, providing an explanation for why wildlife and geology in Madagascar was more similar to India than Africa, it’s nearest neighbour.
This was in the days before the awesome and super-cool theory of plate tectonics, which explains how areas of similar geological features around the world may have once been joined together and moved apart, accounting for common animal ancestors and rock formations.
Which means India and Madagascar may have been joined once upon a time (read that as 600 million years ago), however primate history (that’s us) has only been traced for a speculative 65 million years. So no humans kicking around then.
The infamous victorean occultist Helena Blavatsky introduced Lemuria to spirituality and the occult, having claimed to have seen a pre-Atlantean book talking about it. In the New Age, Lemuria is thought of as a sunken continent of technologically advanced amphibious humans or pre-humans or aliens, who kicked our ass in the spiritual and technological stakes and ultimately destroyed themselves with their own cleverness.
Lucy Cavendish digs the concept of Lemuria. She describes the Lemurians as almost-telepathic shapeshifters who were intensely spiritual and spent a lot of their lives in the sea – being the original mermaids. They were the ancestors of the human race, and when they destroyed themselves, some of them ended up on Atlantis. She reckons indigenous cultural beliefs of having ancestors of whales and mermaids actually points to Lemurian ancestors.
Lemuria seems pretty far-fetched to me. It’s a nice idea, humans being all spiritual and harmonious and mermaidenly and stuff, but that’s about it. As if we are trying to prove something about humanity. I am deeply suspicious and I don’t dig it.
Don’t worry – I found some awesome real sunken continents to check out. Get this – the continent of Zealandia, submerged some 25 million years ago, the Kerguelan Plateau, and Sundaland, the sunken bits around Oceania that made it less islandy and more continently during the Ice Ages, though Lucy Cavendish reckons it was a Lemurian refugee land.
I’m taking part (very erratically, mind you) in the Pagan Blog Project. L is for Lemuria!