(First Draft – posted on: April 30, 2013 by David McMillin)
The use of visual storytelling to convey the content of Edgar Cayce's readings on Atlantis does pose some interesting challenges with regard to clothing. Although general conceptions about stone-age attire focus on animal hides and fur as the standard (witness countless TV shows and movies), academic research suggests that some paleolithic humans were probably a good bit more sophisticated than that stereotype.
The first clothes, worn at least 70,000 years ago and perhaps much earlier, were probably made of animal skins and helped protect early humans from the ice ages. Then at some point people learned to weave plant fibers into textiles. But when? The answer is not certain, because cloth is rarely preserved at archaeological sites. Now discoveries at a cave in the Republic of Georgia … suggest that this skill was acquired more than 30,000 years ago. (Balter, 2009, p. 1329)
These remarkable research findings were made by an international team of archaeologists who identified the 30,000 year old flax fibers. Some of the fibers were colored and the authors noted that a wide range of pigments were available to the cave occupants. Roots and other plants parts could have yielded brightly colored linen fabrics in yellow, red, blue, violet, black, brown, green and khaki. (Kvavadze et al, 2009)
Artistic representations from Cro-Magnon art (Upper Paleolithic: 50,000 – 10,000 years ago) depict individuals in a realistic style with males short-haired, clean-shaven, wearing shoes, pants with legs, coats, and even hats (Hadingham, 1979). In other words, these were not necessarily shaggy-haired savages covered in animal skins.
Numerous Venus figurines (carved from soft stone, bone or ivory, or formed from clay and fired) are found throughout Eurasia and date back as far as 25,000 years ago. Research suggests that the females who modeled or made these artifacts had access to plant-based fabric for clothing. (Soffer, Adovasio & Hyland, 2000).
Archaeologists have discovered what the well-dressed Ice Age woman wore on ritual occasions. Her outfit, however, including accessories, doesn’t resemble anything Wilma Flintstone ever wore, or, for that matter, any of our carved-in-stone conceptions of “paleofashion.” Instead, the threads of at least some Ice Age women included caps or snoods, belts and skirts, bandeaux (banding over the breasts) and bracelets and necklaces – all constructed of plant fibers in a great variety of cloth, from twined and basket wear to plain weaves. While styling varied across Eurasia, the finest weaves are “comparable to not only Neolithic but even later Bronze and Iron Age products, or, in fact, to thin cotton and linenwear worn today” … (Lynn, 2000, p.1)
Some of the delicate needles (with tiny eyes) that have been found dating back more than 25,000 years could never have pierced animal hides. Rather they must have sewn much finer materials. (Wong, 2000) A large variety of weaving techniques have been documented, some of which would require a loom. Paleolithic people knew how to create fine fabrics that closely resembled linen. (Soffer, 2004)
Obviously, the above citations from the mainstream anthropological literature do not directly address the question of Atlantean clothing. From a mainstream perspective, Atlantis is not in any way real in the context of Plato’s writings or metaphysical sources such as the Cayce readings. For our current consideration of the Cayce perspective on Atlantis, let’s take a look at some excerpts from the readings themselves that discuss Atlantean attire.
The Cayce Perspective
The Cayce readings acknowledge that early humans, including Atlanteans, wore animal skins for clothing. The readings insist that it was not only as protection and warmth, but as a matter of privacy and modesty:
As for the dress, those in the beginning were … of the skins of the animals. These covered the parts of their person that had become, then, as those portions of their physiognomy that had brought much of the desires that made for destructive forces in their own experience … (ECR: 364-11)
So as with most things Atlantean, the readings portray Atlantean cultural development as proceeding through the same stages as other human groups on the planet, only at an accelerated pace (ECR: 364-3). So with regard to clothing, the use of animal skins would have been an early stage, giving way to more sophisticated attire relatively early compared to other cultures.
Golden Headdress and Purple Apron
In the Cayce readings, aura charts were graphical depictions of individual soul patterns based on past lives (reincarnation). The following excerpt from an aura chart reading contains some evocative imagery pertaining to Atlantean dress and general appearance.
The figure would be in the Atlantean costume; a headdress as of a band of gold, the characters upon same being V's with a dash between them. The hair would be golden; the dress an apron as of skins – though NOT skins, but folds – in purple. (ECR: 307-20)
Interestingly, the life reading for this individual (307) does not mention any past lives in Atlantis. Keep in mind that life readings do not attempt to describe all past lives, only those most relevant and useful when the reading is given.
In historical times, a golden headdress and purple garments signify royalty. Although it is not known what the associations were for Atlanteans, it is reasonable to assume high social status. To put this information into use in the current project, I have portrayed an individual named Mele (a princess among the Law of One) with "golden" hair, golden headdress (with the double V), and purple clothing with folds.
As an aside, the comment about golden hair is curious. One might tend to equate a red-skinned race with dark hair as is predominant amongst Native Americans. The only other reading that describes hair color for an Atlantean gives "golden" for a high caste Atlantean named Hept-supht (ECR: 275-38). His skin color was likewise given as golden.
Trousers and Coats
The following description of Atlantean clothing comes from a reading that discusses Egyptian culture at the time of Atlantean migrations prior to the final destruction of Atlantis:
The men and women [in Egypt] were not much different in the manner of dress, save as in the Atlanteans who wore trousers when they came and coats, though much shorter or longer according to their class or distinction of their class. (ECR: 275-38)
Take note that this quote does not distinguish between males and females. Did Atlantean women also wears pants, much as we find in modern western culture? One can only wonder.
The embedded image of Iltar completing work on his temple in the Yucatan portrays several pieces of Atlantean clothing as discussed in this section. Iltar and Oron are wearing pants (rather tight fitting to be sure). Iltar has a cape or cloak of significant length signifying his high standing within Atlantean society. Oron, of slightly less status, has a rather modest over-tunic, which also befits his unassuming nature (he tended to remain in the background). The stone carver wears decorative animal skins while the temple attendants carrying the box of records are attired in purple skirts (e.g., aprons).
Key Points To Remember
- Evolution of Clothing: Although early humans wore animal skin clothing, recent anthropological research suggests that finer, plant-based fabrics were probably employed much earlier than previously thought. The Cayce readings are consistent with current thinking amongst anthropologists; namely, that animal skin clothing evolved into finer, plant-based fabrics several tens of thousands of years ago, particularly in warmer climates (i.e., Atlantis).
- Clothing That Parallels Modern Attire: The Cayce readings insist that Atlanteans developed more swiftly than other human cultures. Along with their relatively advanced technologies, clothing and personal attire would have also been relatively sophisticated during the latter periods, perhaps in many ways on the same level of sophistication and styling as modern attire. This is the approach used in portraying Atlantis via visual storytelling in this project.
Balter, M. (2009). Clothes make the (Hu) Man. Science, 325: 1329.
Hadingham, E. (1979). Secrets of the Ice Age. New York: Walker and Company.
Kvavadze, E. , Bar-Yosef, O., Belfer-Cohen, A., Boaretto, E., Jakeli, N., Matskevich, Z., Meshveliani, T. (2009). 30,000 years old wild flax fibers – testimony
for fabricating prehistoric linen. Science, 325(5946):1359.
Kuhn, et al. (2001). Ornaments of the earliest Upper Paleolithic: New insights from the
Levant. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, 98(13):
Lynn, A. (2000). Ice Age clothing more advanced than previously thought. Inside Illinois, 19(13): 1-2.
Soffer, O., Adovasio, J.M. & Hyland D.C. (2000). The “Venus” Figurines: Textiles, Basketry, Gender, and Status in the Upper Paleolithic. Current Anthropology, 41(4): 511-537.
Soffer, O. (2004). Recovering Perishable Technologies through Use Wear on Tools: Preliminary Evidence for Upper Paleolithic Weaving and Net Making. Current Anthropology, 45(3): 407-413.
Wong, K. (2000). The caveman’s new clothes. Scientific American, November: 33-34.