“From a careful consideration of Plato’s description of Atlantis it is evident that the story should not be regarded as wholly historical but rather as both allegorical and historical. … Plato’s Atlantis symbolizes the threefold nature of both the universe and the human body. The ten kings of Atlantis are the tetractys , or numbers, which are born as five pairs of opposites. The numbers 1 to ten rule every creature, and the numbers, in turn, are under control of the Monad.
“With the trident scepter of Poseidon these kings held sway over the inhabitants of the seven small and three great islands comprising Atlantis. Philosophically, the ten islands symbolize the triune powers of the Superior Deity and the seven regents who bow before His eternal throne. If Atlantis be considered as the archetypal sphere, then its immersion signifies the descent of rational, organized consciousness into the illusionary, impermanent realm of irrational, mortal ignorance. Both the sinking of Atlantis and the Biblical story of the “fall of man” signify spiritual involution—a prerequisite to conscious evolution. …
“This does not mean to imply that Atlantis is purely mythological, but it overcomes the most serious obstacle to acceptance of the Atlantis theory.” ~Manly P. Hall
The description Plato gave of Atlantis thousands of years ago remains a topic of much discussion and disagreement today. Every few years someone has a new theory of where Atlantis actually was and offers some limited proof to back up the theory. There are two problems with nearly all of these theories. First, they nearly all assume that Plato’s description is physically accurate, yet he may have been wrong about the location. Second, they ignore the allegory of the tale, just as so many ignore the allegorical tales in the Bible and the Upanishads. People need to start waking up to the fact that tales told by spiritual people are almost always allegorical in nature. Even if essentially true on a physical level, the allegorical interpretation is the important one. So the exact physical location of Atlantis is irrelevant. And maybe the reason it can’t be found is that they fail to see that its “sinking” was allegorical, not literal. So instead of searching for an island that sank, they should be searching for indications of a great civilization that fell apart.
The threefold nature of man is physical, mental (or psychic), and spiritual. We have a type of body on all three of those levels. We have faculties and senses on all three. But most of us ignore the spiritual and only superficially deal with the mental-psychic level. Worse yet, some think that the spirit and soul are just parts of the brain-mind. But regardless of what anyone believes, we do have the three bodies, three natures. It behooves us to develop all three.
It is reasonable to think of the universe as having a threefold nature also. We all know it has a physical nature. Those of us who believe in the spiritual also think everything has a spirit so the universe must have a spiritual nature. If it has those two, it must have the intermediate mental and psychic level as well.
How this relates to Plato’s Atlantis is not so clear. I think what Hall is saying is that the people of Atlantis were supposed to be well developed physically, mentally, and spiritually. This complete development made them very powerful people.
Plato’s Atlantis was said to have ten islands. Whether or not that was physically true is unknown. It is more significant in its allegorical meaning. As Hall notes, the ten islands, like the ten kings, represent the Divine Triad of God, plus the seven regents. That the trident of Poseidon was the symbol of Atlantis shows that they put God and the divine above all else.
Sinking of Atlantis
As was already mentioned, the sinking of Atlantis may not have been literal. It may have meant the degeneration of a great civilization into materialism or barbarism. What might have caused that is unknown. A disease could have wiped out most of them. A severe drought is another possibility. And they may have been attacked by warriors from a more barbaric society. Whatever it was, it destroyed their social structure but didn’t literally cause the islands to sink. So if you really want to find the former Atlantis, look for a place where great and unexplained ruins are found. Those are the places where man most likely developed his threefold nature. And since Plato located Atlantis somewhere east of the Mediterranean, the most likely place to find it is in or around the Americas.