Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Out Proctor" with George Hunt Williamson: a Marginally Serious Exploration Searching for Shamballa, part two.

Stop #2 on the Shamballa express with GHW: Central Africa. It is in the Mountains of the headwaters of the Nile [naturally]. Rwenzari, or the older way Ruwenzori.

Explorers have always wanted to know about the mysterious headwaters of the Nile, and they have been located in strange high mountains from the beginnings of maps. These mountains acquired the appropriate name of the Mountains of the Moon [and the icon of the Moon is alleged in some of the traveler tales to relate to the priesthood of Shangri-la]. [We'll see an example of such an alleged amulet much later in our Out Proctor tale.]

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, exploration in this area of the world took on political as well as romantic interests. The newly formed Germany was exercising its muscles in an attempt to carve out a few leftover pieces from the English, French, and Spanish-dominated "colonial" world. One such opportunity was in East Africa. And at the western side of that area was Mt. Kilimanjaro and the fabled Mountains of the Moon. Both German and British explorers penetrated the region for adventure and nationalistic "gold".

The historical "stars" of the show were Stanley and Livingstone [Dr. Livingstone is shown on the left]. Brown Landone says this: "Dr. Livingstone had passed near it [The Shamballa Temple lands] in 1866 in exploring the Rovuma Valley". He says that two men reached it in 1869 [without naming who they were]. And "then in 1891 Dr. Stuhlmann, exploring 18900 foot heights near Ruwenzori, probably discovered it."

Probably discovered it?? Landone explains that Stuhlmann, when he reported on his expedition to German science societies refused to account for 19 days of the trip. He told a friend that he had discovered something so incredible that if he told of it, he would be the laughing stock of geographical societies worldwide.

One of the unnamed men of 1869 however spoke of beautiful palaces inhabited by men with golden-white hair, living for two hundred years in "God's Valley of Peace".

So, to GHW's taste, entered into the story the novelist H.Rider Haggard.

Haggard was a early example of fantasy writing which was framed in Earthly settings. Most people if they know of him at all, know him from "SHE" and "AYESHA", but he wrote many more such fiction pieces which could be seen as reflecting somehow a knowledge of mysterious hidden societies.

Landone said that this theme was not accidental in Haggard's fiction. He said that "Mystics" also knew of the existence of this African Shangri-la, by their own psychic means, and that one of them told Haggard about it, whereupon he immediately penned SHE and AYESHA. Landone said that Haggard had strongly fictionalized that Shangri-la because he had promised his source that he would not reveal the secrets of the place to the world. But to the insightful, one could still detect the outlines of this society separated from mainstream civilization for thousands of years.

GHW bought most of this but put a small twist on it. He said that H. Rider Haggard had met with exalted Masters in Egypt ["80 sit alone in some great temple"] and received some information from them. "On the other hand, HRH did not visit Ruwenzori". Instead, Haggard is supposed to have gleaned specific information about the Ruwenzori Shangri-la from Dr. Stuhlmann himself when on a British speaking tour in London. As far as I can tell GHW had no reason whatever, other than he liked the thought of it, to assume that Dr. Stuhlmann was even in London let alone that Haggard spoke with him. But at least there was a German explorer named "Dr. Franz Stuhlmann" at the time, so there is a shred of something for us to hold onto. And I like the fact that the area has always been felt to be mysterious and special. Just look at how it was represented in the map to the left.

So, saddle up!! And get cracking!! Turn off the TV and pack up for East-Central Africa. You know you don't really have anything better to do. [Just look at how pretty the place is.]

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