On one of the world’s oldest surviving globes, the Hunt-Lenox Globe (ca. 1510), near the edge of the known world, are the words “HC SVNT DRACONES”. In Latin, hic sunt dracones is translated as “here be dragons”. Although this is the only surviving map or globe bearing this specific phrase, there are several more cases where cartographers implied fantastic dangers existed beyond the boundaries of their knowledge, with pictures of beasts or phrases such as hic abundant leones (“here lions abound”). Even Ptolemy’s atlas in Geographia warns of elephants, hippos and cannibals lingering in unknown lands.
Applied philosophically, these maps and practices are indicative of a fear, or perhaps a recognition, that there are dangers outside the realm of human understanding. Beyond the familiar lies the uncharted; that abyss Nietzsche warned us about; the void made conscious, as it stares back at you.
And what exactly is it that exists, and has always existed, beyond the safe boundaries of widespread understanding? Abstractions of time, the practice of magic(k), inter-dimensional theories, the Akashic Field of perennial philosophy, transcendental philosophy and its practices, and so much more. Terra ingognita, or “unknown land”, where travelers are required to have an even approach to an uneven reality; the ability to witness and implement clarity and order in the midst of chaos.
Here Be Dragons, or so it’s been said.