According to ancient myth, the name of the vast island-continent, and the many civilisations which flourished on it, before being destroyed in a cataclysm.
There are numerous legends regarding Atlanteans and how their ad-vanced civilisation was destroyed by their misuse of power. Over forty locations for the site have been identified around the globe, but no real evidence of its existence has been discovered.
The first account of Atlantis was given by Plato in various dialogues around 350 BC. Plato recounts the story of Egyptian priests who 200 years earlier had reportedly described Atlantis as a powerful island empire seeking to dominate the Mediterranean world more than 9,000 years before Plato's time. The island was supposedly larger than Libya and Asia Minor combined and had been located in the Atlantic Ocean, west of the Pillars of Hercules.
Plato described the Atlanteans as a wealthy, successful, politically advanced and militarily powerful society. Their army was defeated by Athens and shortly afterwards an earthquake caused Atlantis to sink beneath the ocean.
In the Middle Ages few doubted that Atlantis had existed.
Many theories suggesting the exact location of the lost island have been advanced, and the nature of its utopian political system has been discussed extensively. In the late 19th and twentieth centuries various occult theories emerged regarding the lost island race.
Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, co-founder of Theosophy, believed that the Atlanteans were descendants from another legendary lost continent, Lemuria, and were the Fourth Root Race of all humans. She claimed that the information had come from the Book of Dyzan, an allegedly Atlantean work that had survived and was now in Tibet.
The philosopher and occultist Rudolf Steiner claimed to be able to access the Akashic Records, which also described the Atlanteans as descendants of Lemurians.
Some writers have speculated that the present-day American Indians migrated from the Old World to the New by way of Atlantis.
Although traditional accounts of Atlantis have been proved false, some archaeologists speculate that the Atlantis legend may have originated with the volcanic eruption that destroyed a highly civilised Minoan town on the island of Thera in the Aegean Sea about 1450 BC.
see also: LEMURIA
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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