Discover more from Ancient Origins UNLEASHED
Quest For Mu: 200,000-Year Old Sunken Pacific Continent
In the 19th century a Hindu priest introduced British army Colonel James Churchward to ancient tablets, revealing the existence of a primordial lost civilization, which led to Churchward’s lifetime quest, spanning several continents and islands, to unravel the mysteries of Mu, a Pacific continent, which was destroyed in a cataclysmic shift of the earth’s poles. He discovered remnants and relics of this 200,000-year old civilization, and considered the great civilizations of Atlantis and the old Oriental empires, India, Egypt and Babylonia, as the ‘offspring’ or dying embers of Mu.
Colonel James Churchward (Public Domain)
James Churchward Meets The Rishi
Colonel James Churchward was born in Devonshire (southern England) in 1851. The Churchwards were an old Devonshire family with a strong Masonic background. He told friends that he had been educated at Oxford and the military academy at Sandhurst. In 1868, at only 18 years of age, he was sent to India as a young military officer. As part of the British military in occupied India, Churchward eventually rose to the rank of Colonel. His first assignment brought him to Central India to assist in famine relief, and it was here that he made a contact that would change his life. A high-ranking Hindu priest, known as a rishi from a temple school monastery befriended him, and a 12-year association began. As the friendship deepened, the rishi gave Churchward access to some very rare and mystical ancient tablets which had purportedly been hidden in the temple vaults for thousands of years. The tablets were carved with arcane symbols, and the rishi began teaching Churchward how to interpret some of the simpler signs. Churchward proved an avid student, and the lessons continued until eventually Churchward had mastered the language—supposed to be the original language of mankind!
19th- Century Marichi, a Rishi and son of Brahma. (Public Domain)
The tablets revealed facts about the origin of civilization, and the tales they told of an advanced worldwide culture that disappeared after cataclysmic earth changes in the far distant past would “fire the dullest imagination.” After 12 years of studying Mu (as this mother civilization was known) with the rishi, Churchward felt it was time to leave India. His knowledge of the primordial civilization described on the tablets of the temple, combined with a scholar-adventurer’s curiosity and wanderlust, spurred him to search for further evidence of this civilization.
Following the Trail From Asia To Egypt
About 1880, the Colonel retired from the British military and left India for the South Seas (specifically, Tonga and the Caroline Islands). Here, Churchward found evidence for the existence of Mu in the form of rock carvings, which he deciphered using the language of Mu. These carvings, which he believed were being read correctly for the first time since the fall of Mu, prompted him to continue his search in Tibet and parts of Central Asia. One would imagine that Churchward used his status and contacts as a retired Colonel to travel relatively cheaply with military convoys, sleeping in army barracks and such. His letters of introduction from other British officers would no doubt serve him well. Travel in the late 1800s and early 1900s was expensive and slow, especially in Central Asia and the vast Pacific; even today many Pacific Islands are difficult and expensive to reach. Churchward became an extremely well-traveled man for the time period, by any standard.
From Tibet, Central Asia and India, Churchward journeyed to Egypt where he explored the pyramids and visited the Bulaq Museum in the ancient city of Cairo (now the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Egypt’s main museum). Churchward examined Egyptian hieroglyphs and papyrii in light of the symbol-language of Mu and attempted to translate some of the documents in terms of that arcane language taught to him by the rishi.
Evidence Of The Pole Shift
About 1885, Churchward found his way to Siberia and the valley of the Lena River. He was now looking for evidence of ancient cataclysms, which, if it could be found, would lend credence to the idea that an ancient, advanced civilization such as Mu could disappear. Churchward wanted to see the piles of mammoth bones and tusks washed up in tidal waves on the Lackoff Islands (The Islands of Bones) just beyond the mouth of the Lena. He was convinced by these giant piles of ivory and bones that a ‘pole shift’ phenomenon had occurred in the past, where the earth’s crust slipped several degrees toward the equator causing massive tidal waves to wash over portions of the earth and ultimately cause the sinking of entire continents such as Mu.
The Pole’s lurch (Author provided with permission © Children of Mu)
From Siberia he made his way toward the Ural Mountains and what he called “the end of the Drift Line.” Here his trail in search of the cataclysms of the past ended, and Churchward felt he had the geological and historical proof that he needed to establish the existence of ancient civilizations. Churchward had been told by the rishi that an ancient civilization contemporaneous with Mu had existed in the Gobi Desert, and found evidence in the region to make him believe this was true. The local tradition of the land of Shambala (or Agartha) told that it was the remnant of an advanced ancient civilization that was also destroyed in the cataclysmic pole shift, with its attendant earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic activity.
Map Pacific Islands Region (Public Domain)
Australasia And The South Pacific Islands
Churchward then went to Australia where he worked for some years. Urged by relatives to visit New Zealand, Churchward there gathered some information from local Maoris that again sent him traveling for further evidence of Mu. He journeyed as a passenger on assorted tramp steamers going to various Polynesian Islands in the South Pacific. For over two years he explored numerous islands and island groups, including Samoa, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Tonga, the Gilbert Islands, the Cook Islands, Easter Island, Hawaii and others. Churchward believed the megalithic remains he found throughout the region, coupled with island legends of sunken continents, were the final evidence he needed to write his book on the ancient, sunken continent of Mu. He believed that he had at last substantiated the stories he had learned through his studies with the rishi.
Says Churchward: “That story is the story of Mu and her vast civilization which spread over the whole world 20,000 to 200,000 years ago, inclusive. It is the story, not only of how that civilization grew, but of how it was destroyed and lapsed into the savagery out of which our own modern culture has developed.”
William Niven (1850-1937), mineralogist and archaeologist (circa 1895) (Public Domain).
Niven’s Tablets Of Mexico
So, James Churchward, with his extensive documentation, including photographs, personal paintings and proofs, came to America, where he settled in New York by 1888. He soon met Percy Tate Griffith, who was to become his best friend in his later years. Churchward lived in New York until his death in 1936, with the exception of two years when he joined his friend William Niven in Mexico and Central America. Niven’s discoveries of ancient buried cities in the valley of Mexico were exciting to Churchward and he joined Niven in Mexico City and traveled to the Yucatan and other areas of Central America to compare the records discovered there with those he had found the world over.
Niven’s Collection of Mesoamerican stone tablets (Author provided with permission © Children of Mu)
Back in New York, Percy Tate Griffith would sit in the evenings with Churchward, and they were often joined by Augustus and Alice LePlongeon. Augustus LePlongeon was a dedicated French Mason and had done much of the early excavations at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. His book Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx was published in 1900 in London and was popular among archaeologists and mystics of the time. Churchward, Griffith and the LePlongeons would sit in Churchward’s or Griffith’s study for hours talking about Atlantis, Mexico, Tiahuanaco and Churchward’s belief in his sunken continent of Mu.
The Lost Continent Of Mu
By the early 1920s and Churchward in his old age began to tell his friends of the Golden Age that had existed thousands of years ago on the sunken continent of Mu. This culminated in the self-publishing in 1926 of The Lost Continent of Mu. Churchward’s book made quite a splash at the time. It received wide attention from reviewers and became the subject of much discussion. Indeed, such groups as the Rosicrucians (AMORC) and the Lemurian Fellowship took Churchward’s books to heart and sought to elaborate on his works, with which they were largely in agreement.
Churchward's map showing how he thought Mu refugees spread out after the cataclysm through South America, along the shores of Atlantis, and into Africa (Public Domain)
Churchward was a very good artist and filled his books with his own maps and paintings, as well as photographs he had collected in his travels. He had sketched the megalithic arch in Tonga back in 1876, probably before he ever thought he would write a book. He cut a publishing deal with the New York City publisher Ives Washburn (now defunct) for the republishing of his book, plus the publishing of his follow-up books. The Children of Mu and The Sacred Symbols of Mu came in quick succession. Said the cover blurb for The Children of Mu, a book largely about the colonization of Atlantis and the rest of the world: “When Mu, the now-lost Pacific continent, became overcrowded, colonization began... and America was one of Mu’s first colonies. From America to Atlantis to Europe and Africa the movement of colonization continued, until cataclysms destroyed Mu and Atlantis.”
The cover copy for The Sacred Symbols of Mu reads: “James Churchward continues his occult and historical explorations of the world’s most fabled lost civilization—Mu, the motherland of mankind. Stressing the common origin of all contemporary religions, Churchward’s highly unorthodox, startling theories about the ‘Sacred Inspired Writings of Mu’ suggest that this ancient text was the basis of Christianity itself! No student of the occult, comparative religion or anthropology can afford to miss the excitement.”
James Churchward’s Books (Adventures Unlimited Press)
Churchward was a popular media figure for a few short years, and in 1934 and 1935 his final books were published. The cover copy on The Cosmic Forces of Mu, Volume One reads: “The Cosmic Forces of Mu were understood perfectly as recently as 15,000 years ago. Their application brought this lost civilization to extraordinary peaks of technology—accomplishments we are only now beginning to understand and achieve. Working from ancient tablets, James Churchward has recreated this astounding science. Everyone fascinated by prehistoric times and the occult will be gripped by The Cosmic Forces of Mu.”
The cover copy on The Cosmic Forces of Mu, Volume Two reads: “In this fifth book in his amazing Mu series, James Churchward challenges many of the theories and ‘knowledge’ of modern science with a startling new interpretation of the birth of earth based on the ancient wisdom of the lost civilization of Mu. That there was no such period as the Ice Age—and he tells what happened and why. That the center of the earth is not molten lava but gas. That Man in his present form lived through all the cataclysmic changes of the earth—and he gives archaeological proof of it.”
Colonel James Churchward died approximately one year after the publication of his final book. He died satisfied that the lessons of the rishi had filled the void that had come in his life after leaving India, and the world had now heard the rishi’s message.
Moʻai facing inland at Ahu Tongariki, on Easter Island restored by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino in the 1990s (CC BY-SA 2.5)
Excerpt From: The Children Of Mu – The Origin of Man
The Land of Mu was a large continent situated in the Pacific Ocean between America and Asia, its center lying somewhat south of the equator. Basing its area on the remains which are still above water, it would have been about 6,000 miles from east to west, and about 3,000 from north to south. All the rocky islands, individually and in groups, scattered over the Pacific Ocean were once part of the continent of Mu. About 12,000 years ago cataclysmic earthquakes rent Mu asunder. She became a fiery vortex, and the waters of the Pacific rushed in, making a watery grave for a vast civilization and 60-million people. Easter Island, Tahiti, Samoas, Cook, Tongas, Marshall, Gilbert, Caroline, Marianas, Hawaii and the Marquesas are the pathetic fingers of that great land, standing today as sentinels to a silent grave.
Map of the location of Mu (Author provided with permission © Children of Mu)
The existence of this great continent is confirmed by: Naacal tablets, books, writings, inscriptions and legends found in India, China, Burma, Tibet and Cambodia; ancient Maya books, inscriptions, symbols and legends found in Yucatan and Central America; remains, inscriptions, symbols and legends found among the Pacific Islands; stone tablets found in Mexico near Mexico City; cliff dwellers’ writings and inscriptions found in Western North America; books of old Greek philosophers; books and writings of the ancient Egyptians and legends throughout the world.
Niven’s Mexican tablets (Author provided with permission ©Children of Mu)
These confirmations are all given in The Lost Continent of Mu. They show that there was once a large continent of land in the Pacific Ocean called the Land of Mu. On this great continent man made his advent on earth about 200,000 years ago. The Land of Mu and the Biblical Garden of Eden were one and the same land. Both the Naacal and the Mexican tablets show clearly that man is a special creation. They also show in what way he differs from all other creations. An account of the creation is given in both sets of tablets which is very similar to the Biblical account. At the time of Mu’s destruction her people were in an exceedingly high state of civilization; as regards science she was far ahead of the present time. No wonder! She was at the end of 200,000 years of experience and development.
The great civilizations of the old Oriental empires — India, Egypt, Babylonia, etc. — were only the dying embers of Mu’s great civilization. They were her children, who withered and died without her care. All tablets, inscriptions and writings which I used in The Lost Continent of Mu are accompanied by keys for reading them. Every assertion made is accompanied by reasonable proof. The facts are there. The theories will have to take care of themselves. I wish it understood that what is revealed of the past in my writings must not be considered discoveries by me. I am simply stating what I find in writings that run from 12,000 to 70,000 years ago if the mode of keeping time was correct.
Confucius meets Lao-tzu and Buddhist Arhat (Ming Dynasty) Palace Museum, Beijing. (Public Domain)
What is disclosed in these writings is startling, yet archaeology and geological phenomena corroborate the facts without calling to our aid legends which also confirm them. Lao Tsu, the Chinese sage of 600 BC, speaks of the great learning and advancement of his prehistoric forefathers. The ancients were wise and thoughtful for those who were to come after them. They left indestructible records written on clay and stone. This wisdom is spoken of by Souchis priests of Sais to Solon the Greek, as recorded in Plutarch. These writings have been broken up and many of them lost. As they were universal among the ancients, scraps and fragments of them are found in all quarters of the earth. When put together they supplement one another to a great extent, so that by combining them we can make a beginning towards unraveling the wonders of the earth’s First Great Civilization. For over 50 years I have been hunting these scraps and putting them together so as to form the beginning of an intelligent tale of the Creation and Man. It rests with those who come after me to complete the tale.
Sculpture of Mu as the mistress of the whole earth. (Author provided with permission © Children of Mu)
Ancient relics, that can be traced back as coming directly from Mu, the Motherland, are extremely rare. During the past few years, I have been singularly fortunate in finding two that are at least intimately connected with Mu. Both are symbolic figures in bronze. They were either made in the Motherland or in one of the ancient Uighur cities before the eastern half of that great empire was destroyed by the north running wave of the last magnetic cataclysm which was the ‘Biblical Flood’. This wave destroyed all the country over which it ran, the people were drowned and the cities washed away or buried under the drift. The Uighur capital city today lies under 50 feet of boulders, gravel and sand. It is situated in the Gobi Desert, which today has large areas of rock only, the soil and everything with it having been washed away by the ‘Flood’. I am using one of these relics as the frontispiece of this book. It is, without question, one of the two oldest bronzes in existence. If Uighur, it is about 18,000 or 20,000 years old. If from Mu, the age cannot be estimated. This figure is a symbol of Mu as the great ruler. The fineness of the workmanship is not to be found surpassed, and very seldom equaled in any of the prominent jewelry stores in our big cities today. Both symbols have been in America for about 150 years. I know their history, but the less said about it the better since, in the Oriental home from which they were taken, they were without question sacred relics. The British Museum has three scepters which undoubtedly were manufactured in Mu before she went down.
The Deluge by Francis Danby (1840) (Public Domain)
In Mu, the Motherland, there were ten distinct tribes. Although they were physically easily differentiated, there were few variations in language, and these only of a minor character. A greater change is seen in their glyphs or writings. In the Motherland each of her people occupied its own territory; and, when various tribes took part in the colonization of a new country, they did not settle down indiscriminately, but each tribe took its own land and built its own cities as their fathers did in Mu. They settled down adjoining each other and formed a homogeneous whole. Every letter in every word in the ancient language of Mu is pronounced. Mu is pronounced Moo; A is pronounced ah; U is pronounced oo as in moon; Ta is pronounced tah; Tau is pronounced ta-oo. This original form of isolation grew with time so that the tribes eventually became separate peoples, and finally nations. And as the isolation became greater, changes in language crept in.
Adieu Professional Traveler
James Churchward was a fascinating man, and truly a man for all seasons. He was a military man and administrator, a mystic and student of ancient languages, an artist and mapmaker, as well as a calligrapher. He was also a salesman, an inventor and author. For many years he was that rarest of breed, ‘the professional traveler’.
Top Image: Gibel Atlantidy by N.Roerich (1929) (Public Domain)