Manly P. Hall
When the terms masculine and feminine were used in philosophic symbolism the ancients gave a certain supremacy to the masculine principle for two reasons: (1) as the male was endowed with greater physical endurance, among primitive peoples physical strength was considered the most necessary attribute of Divinity; (2) as the tribal or state government was a patriarchate, it necessarily followed that God as the Supreme Ruler became dignified as a masculine entity. Those races, however, which elevated woman to a high social status were more prone to endow Deity with distinctive feminine characteristics than were those peoples where woman was regarded as little better than a slave. As time went on man thus became the personification of the positive principle and woman of the negative. This viewpoint, however, will not bear close philosophic scrutiny. The so-called inferiority of the female is simply a symbolic figure, having no reference whatever to either the political or ecclesiastical status of woman. It is surprising, however, the extent to which the stigma of this little-understood symbolism has influenced both the racial and individual life of woman. It is still not uncommon to meet people who, while they can give no definite explanation for their feelings, are convinced that the feminine organism lacks some peculiar psychical or soul quality which has been reserved exclusively for masculine expression. The popular misconception (presumably promulgated by the Moslems) that heaven was a place accessible to woman as the result of special intercession on the part of her husband, while not publicly taught in Christendom, is nevertheless painfully evident to those able to analyze accurately the mental and emotional reactions of the average man. Woman’s responsibilities as the mother of humanity afford ample evidence to the profound thinker that she is far from being a “negative” creature. The maternal principle was elevated by the Greeks to first place, and the Mater Deorum (Mother of the Gods) was esteemed worthy of universal veneration.
The English language lacks a proper term with which to designate deity. The word God is comparatively meaningless, as it gives no hint of the gender or dignity of Divinity other than merely signifying “good.” Since either a masculine or a feminine term is inappropriate and obviously incomplete, and a neuter term entirely too negative, a word is needed which will express the undivided potencies of both positive and negative in equilibrium.
The custom of depicting God either as male or female is the outgrowth of man’s oldest form of worship: phallicism. Masculine and feminine properties are presumed to be positive and negative respectively. Hence God, being an active or positive agent, was conceived to be masculine; nature, being a passive or negative body, was regarded as feminine in that it received into itself and nurtured to maturity the germinal essences of Divine Life. The proponents of a masculine God declare that in the beginning was activity, the positive cause of existence. On the other hand, the proponents of the pre-eminence of the feminine principle declare that activity first issued from a universal matrix; consequently that which comes forth from the matrix is subordinate to its own origin. To a certain degree the Madonna expresses this concept, for the man child is creation born out of the womb of SPACE – the Holy Mother of Ages.
Among many ancient peoples God was considered as being androgynous, and referred to as the Great Father-Mother. When the Creator was represented by an image, various subtle devices were employed to indicate its hermaphroditic nature. The Iswara of the Hindus is depicted with one side of his body male and the other female. In Greek and Roman statuary frequent examples are found of a masculine divinity wearing female garments and vice versa, or a heavily-bearded god may have his hair arranged in a distinctly feminine coiffure. Again, the structure of the face of such deities as Bacchus and Dionysus often shows a sensitive, feminine countenance disguised by a beard or some article of masculine adornment. In other cases the feminine counterpart of the deity is considered as a separate individuality. For this reason each of the gods was declared to have had his consort or feminine aspect of his own being. Thus Mithras, the Persian Light-Savior, is considered to be masculine, but a certain portion of himself divided from the rest becomes Mithra, a feminine and maternal potency. As previously noted, in India each god has his shakti, or feminine part.
In spite of the repeated emphasis upon our age of enlightenment, the majority of people still continue the age-honored practice of molding God into a likeness of themselves. The reason for this probably lies in the fact that man, possessing a spark of Divinity within himself, feels his kinship with God and believes himself privileged to rush in where angels fear to tread, and give definition to the undefinable. God being, as Ingersoll so well expressed it, “the noblest work of man,” we find in the attributes of the God people worship, a definite key to their own ethical and philosophic status. It is noticeable that people with puerile intelligences and petty concerns conceive God to be localized as a neighborhood sprite who spends most of his time eavesdropping, and who can afford to ignore universal concerns while he heaps maledictions upon some poor, benighted wretch who did not keep his eyes closed during grace! On the other hand, those who have learned to know something of the greater verities of life worship a growing God. This does not presuppose that God is necessarily increasing, but rather that man’ increasing capacity to comprehend ever reveals more of the stupendous nature of Divinity. As a person approaches a physical object, the object apparently increases in size. The same is true of the mind as it approaches the subject of its consideration. Hence, to the philosopher God extends through the infinitude of time, distance, and thought, and to him it is inconceivable that even for a second Deity should descend into a state less dignified than the all-inclusiveness of its intrinsic nature.
The modern religious thinker is no longer inclined to venerate a deity who is simply a highly glorified King George III. In that now vanishing picturesque period of absolute monarchies when fretful and senile princes, arrayed in ridiculous periwigs, ruled by “divine right,” God was invested with all the propensities of the “blood royal,” and the celestial hierarchies were metamorphosed into landed gentry.
God is best defined as the first manifestation of Infinite Existence, the limitation of Limitlessness.
The subject of philosophic polytheism deserves further attention. Polytheism must not be considered synonymous with the blind adoration of an infinitude of imaginary superhuman beings, but rather as the recognition of a concatenated progression of evolving creatures, each influencing and to a certain degree controlling those inferior to itself, and in turn controlled by those superior to itself. The gods should not be considered as personally directing the destiny of individuals. Rather they are vast centers of radiant force consciously or unconsciously influencing anything that exists or subsists upon their sphere of manifestation. For example, a city does not willfully mold the character of its inhabitants; nevertheless it is an active factor in determining the character of each individual unit of its population. This simile, while possibly not apparent at first thought, is particularly apt, for as cells exist in the human body, so man is but a cell in a larger organism which he pleases to term a god. The cells of the human body may feel a similar veneration for man, who in the light of cell intelligence must be a boundless and infinitely powerful deity.
To attempt an analysis of the fabric of even the groundwork of SPACE far exceeds the capacity of any human intellect. Never in the history of philosophy has there been evolved a mind capable of grasping all the multitudinous elements of Being. The world is filled with people who foolishly try to teach or seek to be taught the length, breadth, and thickness of ultimates, when but a moment’s true thinking would demonstrate the fallacy and futility of such effort. Since the groundwork of SPACE – the ultimate abstraction – transcends every faculty and every dimension, it can never be comprehended by a reasoning organism that must necessarily arrive at its conclusions on the basis of faculty and dimension. For the human mind to understand that which is greater than itself is as impossible as for a mere man to swallow the ocean. The effort of the human mind to circumscribe the entirety of manifestation is comparable to a mollusk trying to enclose the sea within its shell. Realizing, therefore, how apropos is the ancient statement that to define Deity is to defile it, we are forced to accept the inevitable conclusion of the ages: namely, that the ultimates of beginning and end are alike unknowable. These conclusions are in harmony with the deductions of both Socrates and Buddha.
When considering the nature of primordial substance, the average school of philosophy postulates an active first Cause; otherwise it is wholly at a loss to explain how creation can be the product of a passive power. Activity is accordingly postulated as a fundamental attribute of Being. To me, however it is inconceivable that the first Cause (or more correctly the Causeless Cause) should be either positive or negative. Rather it seems more fitting to posit a permanent condition which is neither positive in an “active” sense nor negative in a “passive” sense, but which is power in absolute suspension. For lack of a better defining term we might conceive of Eternal Being as an enduring neitherness, partaking of neither the presence nor the absence of any tangible force or condition. The condition of the Absolute can only be suggested by a suspended neitherness of both activity and inertia.
Freemasonry is a fraternity within a fraternity - an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect...It is necessary to establish the existence of these two separate yet independent orders, the one visible and the other invisible. The visible society is a splendid camaraderie of free and accepted men enjoined to devote themselves to ethical, educational, fraternal, patriotic, and humanitarian concerns. The invisible society is a secret and most august fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of the mysterious arcanum acandrum (a secret or mystery). In each generation, only a few are accepted into the inner sanctuary of the Work
The fall of man is the descent of the ladder from the dot to the circumference; the resurrection or redemption of man is his return from the circumference to the dot.
All this gives a clue to the statement in the New Testament, "Whoso hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father; for the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son." In other words, whoso hath seen the line, hath seen the dot; for the dot is in the line and the line is in the dot.
While on the subject of the dot, the line, and the circle, there is one very simple application of the principle which we insert in order to emphasize the analogies existing through the entire structure of human thought. Take a simple problem in grammar. The noun, which is the subject of the sentence, is analogous to the dot; the verb, which is the action of the subject, is analogous to the line; and the object, which is the thing acted upon, is analogous to the circle. These analogies may also be traced through music and color and through the progression of chemical elements. Always the trinity of the dot, the line, and the circle has some correspondent, for it is the basis upon which the entire structure of existence and function--both universal and individual--has been raised. Consider this fundamental symbolism, philosophize upon it, dream about it, for an understanding of these symbols is the beginning of wisdom. There is no problem whether involved with the simple mechanism of an earthworm or the inconceivably complex mechanism of a universe that has not been constructed upon the triangular foundation of the dot, the line, and the circle. These are the proper symbols of the creative, preservative, and disintegrative agencies which manifest the incomprehensible Absolute before temporary creation.
The lowest division of the Jupiterian sphere is under the dominion of Pluto, the regent of death. Pluto is the personification of the mass physical attitude of all things towards objective life. Pluto may be termed the principle of the mortal code, in accordance with which Nature lives and moves and has her being. Pluto may also be likened to an intangible atmosphere, permeated with definite terrestrial instincts. Unconsciously inhaling this atmosphere, men are enthused by it and accept it as the basis of living. Those creatures who are controlled by the Plutonic miasma contract a peculiar mental and spiritual malaria which destroys all transcendental instinct and spiritual initiative, leaving the individual a psychical invalid already two-thirds a victim of the Plutonic plague. As Plato so admirably says, "The body is the sepulcher of the soul," and whereas Neptune is symbolic of the astral or elemental soul (which is a mysterious emanation from elementary Nature) Pluto is the god of the underworld, the deity ruling the spheres of the mysterious circle of being and therefore represents the lowest degree of Jupiterian light which is physical matter. Hades, or the land of the dead, is simply an environment resulting from crystallization. Everything that exists in a crystallized state furnishes the environment of Hades for whatever life is evolving through it. Thus the lower universe is ruled over by three apparently heartless gods--birth, growth, and decay.
Neptune is the lord of dreams and all mortal creatures are dreamers; all that mankind has accomplished in the countless ages of its struggle upward towards the light is the result of dreaming. Yet if dreams are not backed up by action and controlled by reason they become a snare and a delusion, and the dreamer drifts onward into oblivion in a mystic ecstasy.
In man the middle sphere between mind and matter is occupied by emotion or feeling. The instability of human emotion is well symbolized by the element of water which is continually in motion and whose peaceful surface can be transformed into a destroying fury by forces moving above its broad expanse. This emotional nature of man is closely associated with the astral light or magical sphere of the ancient and mediæval magicians. In this plane illusion is particularly powerful. As one writer has wisely observed, "It is a land of beauty, a garden of flowers but a serpent is entwined about the stem of each." Among the Oriental mystics this sphere of the astral light is considered particularly dangerous, for those who are aspiring to an understanding of spiritual mysteries are often enmeshed in this garden of Kundry and, believing that they have found the truth, are carried to their destruction by the flow of this astral fluid.
Since intelligence is the highest manifestation of matter, it is logically the lowest manifestation of consciousness, or spirit, and Jupiter (or the personal I) is enshrined in the substances of mortal mind where he controls his world through what man is pleased to term intellect. The Jupiterian intellect, however, is that which sees outward or towards the illusions of manifested existence, whereas the higher, or spiritual, mind (which is latent in most individuals) is that superior faculty which is capable of thinking inward or towards profundities of Self; in other words, is capable of facing towards and gazing upon the substance of Reality. Thus the mind may be likened to the two-faced Roman god Janus. With one face this god gazes outward upon the world and with the other inward towards the sanctuary in which it is enshrined. The two-faced mind is an excellent subject for meditation. The objective, or mortal, mind continually emphasizes to the individual the paramount importance of physical phenomena; the subjective, or immortal, mind if given opportunity for expression combats this material instinct by intensifying the regard for that which transcends the limitations of the physical perceptions.
The highest expression of matter is mind, which occupies the middle distance between activity on the one hand and inertia on the other. The mind of man is hypothetically considered to consist of two parts: the lower mind, which is linked to the demiurgic sphere of Jupiter, and the higher mind, which ascends towards and is akin to the substance of the divine power of Kronos. These two phases of mind are the mortal and immortal minds of Eastern philosophy. Mortal mind is hopelessly involved in the illusions of sense and substance but immortal, or divine, mind, transcending these unrealities, is one with truth and light. Here we have a definite key to several misunderstood concepts as now promulgated through the doctrines of Christian Science.
As the physical universe is the lowest and least permanent part of existence, so the physical body is the lowest and least permanent part of man.
In man Jupiter has his abiding place in the human heart, while Neptune dwells in the brain, and Pluto in the generative system.
A few words at this time concerning the symbolism of Neptune. While Neptune is popularly associated with the sea, he occultly signifies the albuminous part of the great egg of Jupiter. In certain schools of Orphic mysticism, the inferior universe (like the supreme, all-inclosing sphere) is symbolized by an egg. This lesser egg has Jupiter for a yolk, Neptune for the albumen, and Pluto for the shell. It is therefore evident that Neptune is not associated with the physical element of water but rather with the electrical fluids permeating the entire solar system. He is also associated with the astral world, a sphere of fluidic essences and part of the mirror of Maya, the illusion. As the connective between Jupiter and Pluto, Neptune represents a certain phase of material intellect which, like the element of water, is very changeable and inconstant. Like water, Neptune is recognized as a vitalizer and life-giver and in the ancient Mysteries was associated with the germinal agents. The fish, or spermatozoon, previous to its period of germination, was under his dominion.
It is curious that in Egypt the name of the second person of the triad--the manifester--should be Ray or Ra [the line] and his title, "the lord of light."
The physical universe is therefore the body of Jupiter, Jehovah, Osiris, or Shiva.
When Jupiter or Jehovah is called the lord of the sun, it does not necessarily mean the sun which is the ruler of this solar system; it means any one of the millions of universal suns which are functioning upon the plane or level of a solar orb. Jupiter manifests himself as a mystical energy which gives crops, perpetuates life, and bestows all the blessings of physical existence only to ultimately deprive mankind and his world of all these bounties. Jupiter is the sun of illusion, the light which lights the inferior creation but has nothing in common with that great spiritual light which is the life of man and the light of the world.
It is noteworthy that the astronomical symbol of the sun should be the dot in a circle; for as can be deduced from the subject matter of this lecture, the dot, the circle and the hypothetical connecting line give a complete key to the actual nature of the solar orb.
Thus spirit consists of a trinity of spirit, mind, and body in a spiritual state; mind of a spirit, mind, and body in a mental state; and form or body of a spirit, mind, and body in a material state. While Zeus is the God of Form he manifests as a trinity, his spiritual nature bearing the name Zeus. The intellective nature, soul or mediatory nature of Zeus is termed Poseidon and his lowest or objective material manifestation, Hades.
It is now in order to consider the subject of recapitulation. The vision of Ezekiel intimates that creation consists of wheels within wheels, the lesser recapitulating in miniature the activities of the greater. In the diagram under consideration it is evident that by trisecting each of the smaller worlds or circles they are capable of division according to the same principle that holds good in connection with the three major circles. Thus as the first large circle itself is synonymous with the dot, so the upper panel of each of the trisected circles is also symbolic of the dot. Hence the upper panel of each circle is its spiritual part, the center panel its intellective or mediatory part, and the lower panel its material or inferior part.
In India, Shiva is often shown with his body a peculiar bluish white color. This is the result of smearing his person with ashes and soot, ashes being the symbol of death. Shiva is not only a destroyer in that he breaks up old forms and orders, but he is a creator in that, having dissolved an organism, he rearranges its parts and thus forms a new creature.
The first trinity (the upper circle) consists of God the Father and the nature of his triple profundity; the second trinity (the middle circle), God the Son in his triple sphere of intellection; the third trinity (the lower circle), God the Holy Spirit, the Formator with his formative triad which is the foundation of the world. God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Christian triad, is synonymous with Jehovah, the racial god of the Jews; Shiva, the destroyer-creator of the Hindus; and Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld.
Spirit, so-called, is only one-fifth as active in the physical world as it is in its own plane of unobstructed expression. Therefore the physical plane is simply a sphere in Nature wherein are blended four-fifths of inertia and one-fifth of activity. This does not mean that the inhabitants of this sphere are composed four-fifths of material substances but rather that the greater part of their spiritual natures can find no medium of expression, and consequently are latent. Thus the spiritual nature signified by the dot is enclosed or imprisoned within matter signified by the circle, the result being the various ensouled forms evolving through the material sphere.
Thus hell may be defined as the place where the light fails, or in which divine intelligence is so diluted by matter as to be incapable of controlling the manifestations of force.
Heaven is the plane of the spiritual nature of God, earth the plane of the material nature of God, and hell that part of existence in which the nature of God (or good) is least powerful; the outer circumference of Deity.
In the primordial symbols of the dot, the line, and the circle, are also set forth the mysteries of the three worlds. The dot is symbolic of heaven, the line of earth, and the circle of hell – the three spheres of Christian theology.
The language of the initiates is called the Senzar, and consists of certain magical hieroglyphical figures by which the wise men of all lands communicated with each other.
Like the very illusional world whose phenomena they catalog, words are slayers of the Real, and the more words used the less of the nature of Reality remains.
As has already been suggested, the line is the radius of an imaginary circle, and when this circle is traced upon the paper we have the proper symbol of science. Science occupies the circumference of the sphere of self. The savant gropes in that twilight where life is lost in form. He is therefore unfitted to cope with any phase of life or knowledge which transcends the plane of material things. The scientist has no comprehension of an activity independent of and dissociated from matter; hence his sphere of usefulness is limited to the lower world and its phenomena. The physical body of what man calls knowledge is science; the emotional body, theology; and the mental and supermental bodies, natural and mystical philosophy respectively. The human mind ascends sequentially from science through theology to philosophy, as in ancient days it descended from divine philosophy through spiritual theology to the condition of material science which it now occupies.
Like the dot, philosophy is an immovable body. Its essential nature never changes. When the element of change is introduced into philosophy it descends to the level of theology, or rather, it is involved and distorted by the disciplines of theology. Theology is a motion, a mystical gesture as it were; it is not a fixed element like philosophy; it is a mutable element subject to numberless vicissitudes. Theology is emotional, changeable, violent, and at periodic intervals bursts forth in many forms of irrational excess. Theology occupies a middle ground between materiality and true illumined spirituality which, transcending theology, becomes a comprehension, in part at least, of divine concerns.
Philosophy per se is the least confusing method of approaching Reality. When less accurate systems are employed, a cobweb of contending and confusing complexities is spread over the entire surface of the blank paper, hopelessly entangling the thinker in the maze of illusion.
In its application to the divisions of human learning, the dot is the proper symbol of philosophy in that philosophy is the least degree of intellectual illusion. It is not to be inferred that philosophy is absolute truth but rather that it is the least degree of mental error, since all other forms of learning contain a greater percentage of fallacy. Nothing that is sufficiently tangible to be susceptible of accurate definition is true in the absolute sense, but philosophy, transcending the limitations of the form world, achieves more in its investigation of the nature of Being than does any other man-conceived discipline.
All forms are but geometric patterns, being the reactions set up in matter by mysterious forces working in the causal spheres. Conscious activity, working upon or brooding over matter, creates form. Matter is not form, because matter (like SPACE, of which it is the negative expression) is universally disseminated but, as stated in the ancient doctrine, the activity of life upon and through its substances curdles (organizes) matter so that it assumes certain definite forms or bodies. These organisms thus caused by bringing the elements of matter into intelligent and definite relationships are held together by the conscious agent manipulating them. The moment this agent is withdrawn the process of disintegration sets in.
The keys to all knowledge are contained in the dot, the line, and the circle. The dot is universal consciousness, the line is universal intelligence, and the circle is universal force – the threefold, unknowable Cause of all knowable existence (the three hypostases of Atma). In man the spirit is represented by the dot and conscious activity or intelligence by the line. Conscious activity is the key to intelligence, because consciousness belongs to the sphere of the dot and activity to the sphere of the circle. The center and the circumference are thus blended in the connecting line – conscious activity or intelligence. The circle is the symbol of body and body is the limit of the radius of the activity of mind power pouring out of the substance of consciousness.
The illusions of diversity – form, place, and time – are classed by the Orientals under the general term Maya. The word Maya signifies the great sea of shadows – the sphere of things as they seem to be as distinguished from the blank piece of paper which represents the one and only THING as it eternally is. The mothers of the various World Saviors generally bear names derived from the word Maya, as for example, Mary, for the reason that the various redeeming deities signify realization born out of illusion, or wisdom rising triumphant from the tomb of ignorance. Philosophic realization must be born out of the realization of illusion. Consequently the Savior-Gods are born out of Maya and rise through many tribulations into the light of eternity.
While through lack of adequate terminology it is necessary to approach a definition of the Absolute from a negative point of view, the blank sheet of paper signifies not emptiness but an utter and incomprehensible fullness when an attempt is made to define the indefinable.
Hypothetically, every sun has a periphery where its rays end, every human life a periphery where its influence ceases, every human mind a periphery beyond which it cannot function, and every human heart a periphery beyond which it cannot feel. Somewhere there is a limit to the scope of awareness. The circle is the symbol of this limit. It is the symbol of the vanishing point of central energy. The dot symbolizes the cause; the line, the means; and the circle, the end.
The dot, moving away from self, projects the line; the line becomes the radius of an imaginary circle, and this circle is the circumference of the powers of the central dot.
Motion away from self brings a decrease in consciousness and power; motion toward self brings a corresponding increase in consciousness and power. The farther the light ray travels from its source the weaker the ray.
The dot, the line, and the circle are the supreme and primary symbols. The dot is spirit and its symbol in the Chaldaic Hebrew – the Yod – is actually a seed or spermatozoon, a little comma with a twisting tail representing the germ of the not-self. In its first manifestation the dot elongates to form the line. The line is a string of dots made up of germ lives – the monadic lives of Leibnitz. From the seed growing in the earth comes the sprig – the line. The line, therefore, is the symbol of the dot in growth or motion. The sun is a great dot, a monad of life, and each of its rays a line – its own active principle in manifestation. The key thought is: The line is the motion of the dot.
The dot, or Sacred Island, is the beginning of existence, whether that of a universe or a man. The dot is the germ raised upon the surface of infinite duration. The potentialities signified by the blank paper are manifested as active potencies through the dot. Thus the limitless Absolute is manifested in a limited way.
The dot, being most proximate to perfection, is the simplest, and therefore the least imperfect of all symbols.
After the dot is placed on the paper it can be rubbed out and the white paper restored to its virgin state. Thus the white paper represents eternity, and the dot, time; and when the dot is erased time is dissolved back into eternity, for time is dependent upon eternity. Therefore in ancient philosophy there are two symbols: the NOTHING and the ONE – the white paper and the dot. Creation traces its origin from the dot – the Primitive Sea, the Egg laid by the White Swan in the field of SPACE.
The dot is the first illusion of the Self, the first limitation of SPACE, even as Spirit is the first limitation of Self. The dot is life localized as a center of power; the blank paper is life unlimited. According to philosophy, the dot must sometime be erased, because nothing but the blank paper is eternal.
The most primitive and fundamental of all symbols is the dot.
Spirit is the positive manifestation of SPACE; Matter is the negative manifestation of SPACE. Spirit and Matter exist together in SPACE. SPACE, Spirit and Matter are the first Trinity, with SPACE the Father, Spirit the Son, and Matter the Holy Ghost.
We have paid a frightful price for our boasted success, for our strength has taught us to hate, our power to kill, and our thought to reason away our souls.
It is not enough that our codes be true; they must also be beautiful. If learning does not teach us to love, we learn without understanding.
The discussion of reincarnation in this book should remove all reasonable doubt concerning the benevolence of Providence. Rebirth does not go on forever as in a tedium of crime and punishment. It is a constant opportunity to grow through the improvement of character and the gentle service to those in need of our sympathy and insight.
There is no religion or philosophy that does not emphasize the improvement of personal conduct.
The serpent is the symbol and prototype of the Universal Savior, who redeems the worlds by giving creation the knowledge of itself and the realization of good and evil.
The adoration of the sun was one of the earliest and most natural forms of religious expression. Complex modern theologies are merely involvements and amplifications of this simple aboriginal belief.
We are the gods of the atoms that make up ourselves but we are also the atoms of the gods that make up the universe.
We can only escape from the world by outgrowing the world. Death may take man out of the world but only wisdom can take the world out of the man. As long as the human being is obsessed by worldliness, he will suffer from the Karmic consequences of false allegiances. When however, worldliness is transmuted into Spiritual Integrity he is free, even though he still dwells physically among worldly things.
The criers of the Mysteries speak again, bidding all men welcome to the House of Light. The great institution of materiality has failed. The false civilization built by man has turned, and like the monster of Frankenstein, is destroying its creator. Religion wanders aimlessly in the maze of theological speculation. Science batters itself impotently against the barriers of the unknown. Only transcendental philosophy knows the path. Only the illumined reason can carry the understanding part of man upward to the light. Only philosophy can teach man to be born well, to live well, to die well, and in perfect measure be born again. Into this band of the elect--those who have chosen the life of knowledge, of virtue, and of utility--the philosophers of the ages invite YOU.
Swinging open the doors of this antechamber, the illumined pass into the greater and more perfect existence. The ignorant dwell in a world bounded by time and space.
Philosophers are nor born nor do they die; for once having achieved the realization of immortality, they are immortal. [...] The fool lives but for today; the philosopher lives forever.
If the Infinite had not desired man to become wise, He would not have bestowed upon him the faculty of knowing. If He had not intended man to become virtuous, He would not have sown within the human heart the seeds of virtue. If He had predestined man to be limited to his narrow physical life, He would not have equipped him with perceptions and sensibilities capable of grasping, in part at least, the immensity of the outer universe. The criers of philosophy call all men to a comradeship of the spirit: to a fraternity of thought: to a convocation of Selves. Philosophy invites man out of the vainness of selfishness; out of the sorrow of ignorance and the despair of worldliness; out of the travesty of ambition and the cruel clutches of greed; out of the red hell of hate and the cold tomb of dead idealism.
Ignorance of ignorance, then, is that self-satisfied state of unawareness in which man, knowing nothing outside the limited area of his physical senses, bumptiously declares there is nothing more to know! He who knows no life save the physical is merely ignorant; but he who declares physical life to be all-important and elevates it to the position of supreme reality--such a one is ignorant of his own ignorance.
Humanity has forgotten how infinitesimal, how impermanent and how ignorant it actually is.
Even in man's present state of imperfection it is dawning upon his realization that he can never be truly happy until he is perfect, and that of all the faculties contributing to his self-perfection none is equal in importance to the rational intellect.
No part of creation is complete; hence each part is imperfect to the extent that it falls short of entirety. Where incompleteness is, it also follows that ignorance must be coexistent; for every part, while capable of knowing its own Self, cannot become aware of the Self in the other parts.
During the World War, when so-called civilization hurled one half of itself against the other in a frenzy of hate, men ruthlessly destroyed something more precious even than human life: they obliterated those records of human thought by which life can be intelligently directionalized. Truly did Mohammed declare the ink of philosophers to be more precious than the blood of martyrs.
The establishment of the philosophic rhythm in the nature of an individual ordinarily requires from fifteen to twenty years.
The wise have therefore declared that none can attain to the highest in the science of knowing until first he has attained to the highest in the science of living. Philosophic power is the natural outgrowth of the philosophic life.
The power to think true is the savior of humanity. The mythological and historical Redeemers of every age were all personifications of that power. He who has a little more rationality than his neighbor is a little better than his neighbor. He who functions on a higher plane of rationality than the rest of the world is termed the greatest thinker. He who functions on a lower plane is regarded as a barbarian. Thus comparative rational development is the true gauge of the individual's evolutionary status.
Briefly stated, the true purpose of ancient philosophy was to discover a method whereby development of the rational nature could be accelerated instead of awaiting the slower processes of Nature.
Men must learn that happiness crowns the soul's quest for understanding.
In the ranks of the so-called learned there is rising up a new order of thinkers, which may best be termed the School of the Worldly Wise Men. After arriving at the astounding conclusion that they are the intellectual salt of the earth, these gentlemen of letters have appointed themselves the final judges of all knowledge, both human and divine. This group affirms that all mystics must have been epileptic and most of the saints neurotic! It declares God to be a fabrication of primitive superstition; the universe to be intended for no particular purpose; immortality to be a figment of the imagination; and an outstanding individuality to be but a fortuitous combination of cells! Pythagoras is asserted to have suffered from a "bean complex"; Socrates was a notorious inebriate; St. Paul was subject to fits; Paracelsus was an infamous quack, the Comte di Cagliostro a mountebank, and the Comte de St.-Germain the outstanding crook of history!
Ignorant of the cause of life, ignorant of the purpose of life, ignorant of what lies beyond the mystery of death, yet possessing within himself the answer to it all, man is willing to sacrifice the beautiful, the true, and the good within and without upon the blood-stained altar of worldly ambition.
Philosophy bestows life in that it reveals the dignity and purpose of living. Materiality bestows death in that it benumbs or clouds those faculties of the human soul which should be responsive to the enlivening impulses of creative thought and ennobling virtue. How inferior to these standards of remote days are the laws by which men live in the twentieth century! Today man, a sublime creature with infinite capacity for self-improvement, in an effort to be true to false standards, turns from his birthright of understanding--without realizing the consequences--and plunges into the maelstrom of material illusion. The precious span of his earthly years he devotes to the pathetically futile effort to establish himself as an enduring power in a realm of unenduring things.
Therefore, when through innate perverseness a member either voluntarily withdrew or was forcibly ejected from the philosophic fraternity, a headstone was set up for him in the community graveyard; for he who had forsaken intellectual and ethical pursuits to reenter the material sphere with its illusions of sense and false ambition was regarded as one dead to the sphere of Reality.
Thus it is demonstrated that to capture a man it is not sufficient to enslave his body--it is necessary to enlist his reason; that to free a man it is not enough to strike the shackles from his limbs--his mind must be liberated from bondage to his own ignorance. Physical conquest must ever fail, for, generating hatred and dissension, it spurs the mind to the avenging of an outraged body; but all men are bound whether willingly or unwillingly to obey that intellect in which they recognize qualities and virtues superior to their own.
It was during the evening of July 4, 1776, that the second of these mysterious episodes occurred. In the old State House in Philadelphia a group of men were gathered for the momentous task of severing the last tie between the old country and the new. It was a grave moment and not a few of those present feared that their lives would be the forfeit for their audacity. In the midst of the debate a fierce voice rang out. The debaters stopped and turned to look upon the stranger. Who was this man who had suddenly appeared in their midst and transfixed them with his oratory? They had never seen him before, none knew when he had entered, but his tall form and pale face filled them with awe. His voice ringing with a holy zeal, the stranger stirred them to their very souls. His closing words rang through the building: "God has given America to be free!" As the stranger sank into a chair exhausted, a wild enthusiasm burst forth. Name after name was placed upon the parchment: the Declaration of Independence was signed. But where was the man who had precipitated the accomplishment of this immortal task--who had lifted for a moment the veil from the eyes of the assemblage and revealed to them a part at least of the great purpose for which the new nation was conceived? He had disappeared, nor was he ever seen again or his identity established. This episode parallels others of a similar kind recorded by ancient historians attendant upon the founding of every new nation. Are they coincidences, or do they demonstrate that the divine wisdom of the ancient Mysteries still is present in the world, serving mankind as it did of old?
He [the Professor] submitted a pattern which he considered symbolically appropriate for the new flag, and this was unhesitatingly accepted by the other six members of the committee, who voted that the arrangement suggested by the Professor be forthwith adopted. After the episode of the flag the Professor quietly vanished, and nothing further is known concerning him.
At various times he admitted that he was obeying the orders of a power higher and greater than himself. What he did not say was that this superior power was the Mystery school which had sent him into the world to accomplish a definite mission. The Comte de St.-Germain and Sir Francis Bacon are the two greatest emissaries sent into the world by the Secret Brotherhood in the last thousand years.
He had a retreat in the heart of the Himalayas to which he retired periodically from the world.
It will yet be established beyond all doubt that the Comte de St.-Germain was both a Mason and a Templar; in fact the memoirs of Cagliostro contain a direct statement of his initiation into the order of the Knights Templars at the hands of St.-Germain. Many of the illustrious personages with whom the Comte de St.-Germain associated were high Masons, and sufficient memoranda have been preserved concerning the discussions which they held to prove that he was a master of Freemasonic lore. It is also reasonably certain that he was connected with the Rosicrucians--possibly having been the actual head of that order.
In her excellent monograph, The Comte de St.-Germain, the Secret of Kings, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley lists the most important names under which this amazing person masqueraded between the years 1710 and 1822. "During this time," she writes, "we have M. de St.-Germain as the Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre or Aymar at Venice, Chevalier Schoening at Pisa, Chevalier Weldon at Milan and Leipzig, Comte Soltikoff at Genoa and Leghorn, Graf Tzarogy at Schwalbach and Triesdorf, Prinz Ragoczy at Dresden, and Comte de St.-Germain at Paris, The Hague, London, and St. Petersburg." It is evident that M. de St.-Germain adopted these various names in the interests of the political secret service work which historians have presumed to be the major mission of his life.
He played several musical instruments with great skill and among his numerous compositions was a short opera. [...] He spoke German, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French with a Piedmontese accent, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Arabic, and Chinese with such fluency that in every land he visited he was accepted as a native. He was ambidextrous to such a degree that: he could write the same article with both hands simultaneously. When the two pieces of paper were afterwards placed together with a light behind them, the writing on one sheet exactly covered, letter for letter, the writing on the other. [...] His knowledge of chemistry was so profound that he could remove flaws from diamonds and other precious stones--a feat which he actually performed at the request of Louis XV in 1757. [...] The Comte is generally depicted as a man in middle life, entirely devoid of wrinkles and free from any physical infirmity. He ate no meat and drank no wine, in fact seldom dined in the presence of any second person.
With a curious arrangement of the letters of the alphabet, Cagliostro foretold in detail the horrors of the coming revolution and the fall of the monarchy, describing minutely the fate of the various members of the royal family. He also prophesied the advent of Napoleon and the rise of the First Empire. All this he did to demonstrate that which can be accomplished by superior knowledge.
The trial of Cagliostro has been called the prologue of the French Revolution. [...] The basic charge against Cagliostro was that he had attempted to found a Masonic lodge in Rome--nothing more.
While it is true that the best minds of the Christianity of that period may readily be absolved from the charge of participes criminis, the implacable hatred of Cyril unquestionably communicated itself to the more fanatical members of his faith, particularly to a group of monks from the Nitrian desert. Led by Peter the Reader, a savage and illiterate man, they attacked Hypatia on the open street as she was passing from the academy to her home. Dragging the defenseless woman from her chariot, they took her to the Cæsarean Church. Tearing away her garments, they pounded her to death with clubs, after which they scraped the flesh from her bones with oyster shells and carried the mutilated remains to a place called Cindron, where they burned them to ashes.
At this time Cyril--later to be renowned as the founder of the doctrine of the Christian Trinity and canonized for his zeal--was Bishop of Alexandria. Seeing in Hypatia a continual menace to the promulgation of the Christian faith, Cyril--indirectly at least--was the cause of her tragic end. Despite every later effort to exonerate him from the stigma of her murder, the incontrovertible fact remains that he made no effort to avert the foul and brutal crime.
Hypatia not only proved conclusively the pagan origin of the Christian faith but also exposed the purported miracles then advanced by the Christians as tokens of divine preference by demonstrating the natural laws controlling the phenomena.
Those who represent an ideal beyond the comprehension of the masses must face the persecution of the unthinking multitude who are without that divine idealism which inspires progress and those rational faculties which unerringly sift truth from falsehood. The lot of the Initiate-Teacher is therefore almost invariably an unhappy one. Pythagoras, crucified and his university burned; Hypatia, torn from her chariot and rended limb from limb; Jacques de Molay, whose memory survives the consuming flame; Savonarola, burned in the square of Florence; Galileo, forced to recant upon bended knee; Giordano Bruno, burned by the Inquisition; Roger Bacon, compelled to carry on his experiments in the secrecy of his cell and leave his knowledge hidden under cipher; Dante Alighieri, dying in exile from his beloved city; Francis Bacon, patient. under the burden of persecution; Cagliostro, the most vilified man of modern times--all this illustrious line bear unending witness of man's inhumanity to man. The world has ever been prone to heap plaudits upon its fools and calumny upon its thinkers.
The preeminence of any philosophical system can be determined only by the excellence of its products. The Mysteries have demonstrated the superiority of their culture by giving to the world minds of such overwhelming greatness, souls of such beatific vision, and lives of such outstanding impeccability that even after the lapse of ages the teachings of these individuals constitute the present spiritual, intellectual, and ethical standards of the race. The initiates of the various Mystery schools of past ages form a veritable golden chain of supermen and superwomen connecting heaven and earth. They are the links of that Homeric "golden chain" with which Zeus boasted he could bind the several parts of the universe to the pinnacle of Olympus. The sons and daughters of Isis are indeed an illustrious line--founders of sciences and philosophies, patrons of arts and crafts, supporting by the transcendency of their divinely given power the structures of world religions erected to do them homage. Founders of doctrines which have molded the lives of uncounted generations, these Initiate-Teachers bear witness to that spiritual culture which has always existed--and always will exist--as a divine institution in the world of men.
If this inner doctrine were always concealed from the masses, for whom a simpler code had been devised, is it not highly probable that the exponents of every aspect of modern civilization--philosophic, ethical, religious, and scientific-are ignorant of the true meaning of the very theories and tenets on which their beliefs are founded? Do the arts and sciences that the race has inherited from older nations conceal beneath their fair exterior a mystery so great that only the most illumined intellect can grasp its import? Such is undoubtedly the case.
According to the secret tradition, it was during the later Atlantean epoch that black magic and sorcery dominated the esoteric schools, resulting in the bloody sacrificial rites and gruesome idolatry which ultimately overthrew the Atlantean empire and even penetrated the Aryan religious world.
These Children of the Sun adore the Plumèd Serpent, who is the messenger of the Sun. He was the God Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, Gucumatz in Quiché; and in Peru he was called Amaru. From the latter name comes our word America. Amaruca is, literally translated, 'Land of the Plumèd Serpent.'
The theory of Group, or Elder, Souls having supervision over the animal species is also shared by them [Indians].
The American Indians recognize the difference between the ghost and the actual soul of a dead person, a knowledge restricted to initiates of the Mysteries.
The belief in reincarnation is also prevalent among the Eskimos. Aged Eskimos not infrequently kill themselves in order to reincarnate in the family of some newly married loved one.
In Indian symbolism the serpent--especially the Great Serpent--corroborates other evidence pointing to the presence of the Mysteries on the North American Continent. The flying serpent is the Atlantean token of the initiate; the seven-headed snake represents the seven great Atlantean islands (the cities of Chibola?) and also the seven great prehistoric schools of esoteric philosophy.
The Indian does not worship the sun; he rather regards this shining orb as an appropriate symbol of the Great and Good Spirit who forever radiates life to his red children.
The legendary narratives of the strange adventures of intrepid heroes who while in the physical body penetrated the realms of the dead prove beyond question the presence of Mystery cults among the North American red men.
There are legends of entire tribes of Indians who lived in lake bottoms; of races who were never seen in the daytime but who, coming forth from their hidden caves, roamed the earth at night and waylaid unwary travelers; also of Bat Indians, with human bodies and batlike wings, who lived in gloomy forests and inaccessible cliffs and who slept hanging head downward from great branches and outcroppings of rock.
What means the subtle mystery of the phœnix reborn every six hundred years? Faintly from within the sanctuary of the World Mysteries is whispered the answer. Six hundred years before Christ the phœnix of wisdom (Pythagoras?) spread its wings and died upon the altar of humanity, consumed by the sacrificial fire. In Nazareth the bird was again reborn from its own ashes, only to die upon the tree which had its roots in Adam's skull. In A.D. 600 appeared Ahmed (Mohammed).
To ignore the heritage of culture received from Islam would be an unpardonable oversight, for when the crescent triumphed over the cross in Southern Europe it was the harbinger of a civilization which had no equal in its day. In Studies in a Mosque, Stanley Lane-Poole writes:
"For nearly eight centuries under her Mohammedan rulers Spain set to all Europe a shining example of a civilized and enlightened state. * * * Art, literature and science prospered as they then prospered nowhere else in Europe. Students flocked from France and Germany and England to drink from the fountains of learning which flowed only in the cities of the Moors. The surgeons and doctors of Andalusia were in the van of science; women were encouraged to devote themselves to serious study, and a lady doctor was not unknown among the people of Cordova. Mathematics, astronomy and botany, history, philosophy and jurisprudence, were to he mastered in Spain and in Spain alone."
The feminine principle is repeatedly emphasized in Islamic symbolism. For example, Friday, which is sacred to the planer Venus, is the Moslem's holy day; green is the color of the Prophet and, being symbolic of verdure, is inevitably associated with the World Mother; and both the Islamic crescent and the scimitar may be interpreted to signify the crescent shape of either the moon or Venus.
To the discerning few it is evident that Mohammed had a knowledge of that secret doctrine which must needs constitute the core of every great philosophical, religious, or ethical institution. Through one of four possible avenues Mohammed may have contacted the ancient Mystery teachings: (1) through direct contact with the Great School in the invisible world; (2) through the Nestorian Christian monks; (3) through the mysterious holy man who appeared and disappeared at frequent intervals during the period in which the suras of the Koran were revealed; (4) through a decadent school already existing in Arabia, which school in spite of its lapse into idolatry still retained the secrets of the Ancient Wisdom cult. The arcana of Islam may yet be demonstrated to have been directly founded upon the ancient pagan Mysteries performed at the Caaba centuries before the birth of the Prophet; in fact it is generally admitted that many of the ceremonials now embodied in the Islamic Mysteries are survivals of pagan Arabia.
Everything to the contrary notwithstanding, Mohammed is not responsible for the contradictions and inconsistencies in the Koran, for the volume was not compiled and did not assume its present form until over twenty years after his death.
The most frequent, and apparently the most damaging, accusation brought against Mohammed is that of polygamy. Those who sincerely believe the harem to be irreconcilable with spirituality should with consistency move for the expurgation of the Psalms of David and the Proverbs of Solomon from the list of inspired writings, for the harem of Islam's Prophet was insignificant compared with that maintained by Israel's wisest king and the reputed favorite of the Most High!
His time he divided into three parts, namely: the first he gave to God, the second to his family, and the third to himself. The latter portion, however, he later sacrificed to the service of his people.
He also accepted the invitations of slaves and sat at meals with servants, declaring himself to be a servant. [...] Before his death he freed all his slaves.
Among the first to accept the faith of Islam was Abu Bekr, who became Mohammed's closest and most faithful friend, in fact his alter ego. Abu Bekr, a man of brilliant attainments, contributed materially to the success of the Prophet's enterprise, and in accord with the express wish of the Prophet became the leader of the faithful after Mohammed's death. A’isha, the daughter of Abu Bekr, later became the wife of Mohammed, thus still further cementing the bond of fraternity between the two men.
Thus reassured, the Prophet awaited further visitations from Gabriel. When these did not come, however, such a despair filled his soul that he attempted self-destruction, only to be stopped in the very act of casting himself over a cliff by the sudden reappearance of Gabriel, who again assured the Prophet that the revelations needed by his people would be given to him as necessity arose.
At last one night in his fortieth year as he lay upon the floor of the cavern, enveloped in his cloak, a great light burst upon him. Overcome with a sense of perfect peace and understanding in the blessedness of the celestial presence, he lost consciousness. When he came to himself again the Angel Gabriel stood before him, exhibiting a silken shawl with mysterious characters traced upon it. From these characters Mohammed gained the basic doctrines later embodied in the Koran. Then Gabriel spoke in a clear and wonderful voice, declaring Mohammed to be the Prophet of the living God.
While the Prophet was still but a toddling babe, the Angel Gabriel with seventy wings came to him, and cutting open the child, withdrew the heart. This Gabriel cleansed of the black drop of original sin which is in every human heart because of the perfidy of Adam and then returned the organ to its proper place in the Prophet's body. (See footnote in E. H. Palmer's translation of the Qur'an.)
The sea of fire into which those are cast who fail in the ordeal of initiation signifies the fiery sphere of the animal world.
The judgment signifies the weighing of the soul and was borrowed from the Mysteries of Osiris.
The number of the beast (666) is an interesting example of the use of Qabbalism in the New Testament and among early Christian mystics. In the following table Kircher shows that the names of Antichrist as given by Iranæus all have 666 as their numerical equivalent. [...] James Morgan Pryse also notes that according to this method of figuring, the Greek term ἡ φρην, which signifies the lower mind, has 666 as its numerical equivalent. It is also well known to Qabbalists that Ἰησους, Jesus, has for its numerical value another sacred and secret number--888. Adding the digits of the number 666 and again adding the digits of the sum gives the sacred number--9 the symbol of man in his unregenerate state and also the path of his resurrection.
By adding the digits together according to the Pythagorean system of numerical philosophy, the number 144,000 is reduced to 9, the mystic symbol of man and also the number of initiation, for he who passes through the nine degrees of the Mysteries receives the sign of the cross as emblematic of his regeneration and liberation from the bondage of his own infernal, or inferior, nature.
The four horsemen of the Apocalypse may be interpreted to signify the four main divisions of human life.
In this allegory the Lamb signifies the purified candidate, its seven horns representing the divisions of illuminated reason and its seven eyes the chakras, or perfected sense-perceptions.
As shrewdly noted by one writer on the subject, the use of a lamb is indicative of the Persian origin of Christianity, for the Persians were the only people to symbolize the first sign of the zodiac by a lamb.
Dr. Steiner discovers a relationship between the seven churches and the divisions of the Aryan race.
The intrinsic value of the book lies in its magnificent epitome of the Universal Mystery--an observation which led St. Jerome to declare that it is susceptible of seven entirely different interpretations.
The Apocalypse shows clearly the resultant fusion of pagan and Christian symbolism and thus bears irrefutable evidence of the activities of these initiated minds operating through early Christianity.
First, upon the weight of evidence furnished by its own contents the Book of Revelation may well be pronounced a pagan writing--one of the sacred books of the Eleusinian or Phrygian Mysteries. As a corollary, the real author of a work setting forth the profundities of Egyptian and Greek mysticism must have been an initiate himself and consequently obligated to write only in the symbolic language of the Mysteries.
Though Justin Martyr declared the Book of Revelation to have been written by "John, one of Christ's apostles," its authorship was disputed as early as the second century after Christ.
One of the most interesting interpretations of the crucifixion allegory is that which identifies the man Jesus with the personal consciousness of the individual. It is this personal consciousness that conceives of and dwells in the sense of separateness, and before the aspiring soul can be reunited with the ever-present and all-pervading Father this personality must be sacrificed that the Universal Consciousness may be liberated.
In his notes on the theology of Jakob Böhme, Dr. Franz Hartmann thus sums up the mystic symbolism of the crucifixion: "The cross represents terrestrial life, and the crown of thorns the sufferings of the soul within the elementary body, but also the victory of the spirit over the elements of darkness. The body is naked, to indicate that the candidate for immortality must divest himself of all desires for terrestrial things. The figure is nailed to the cross, which symbolizes the death and surrender of the self-will, and that it should not attempt to accomplish anything by its own power, but merely serve as an instrument wherein the Divine will is executed. Above the head are inscribed the letters: I. N. R. J. whose most important meaning is: In Nobis Regnat Jesus (Within ourselves reigns Jesus). But this signification of this inscription can be practically known only to those who have actually died relatively to the world of desires, and risen above the temptation for personal existence; or, to express it in other words, those who have become alive in Christ, and in whom thus the kingdom of Jesus (the holy love-will issuing from the heart of God) has been established."
In his Ancient Freemasonry, Frank C. Higgins reproduces the Masonic apron of a colossal stone figure at Quirigua, Guatemala. The central ornament of the apron is the three Passion nails, arranged exactly like the British broad arrow. That three nails should be used to crucify the Christ, three murderers to kill CHiram Abiff, and three wounds to slay Prince Coh, the Mexican Indian Osiris, is significant.
The cross of Quetzalcoatl became a sacred symbol among the Mayas, and according to available records the Maya Indian angels had crosses of various pigments painted on their foreheads. Similar crosses were placed over the eyes of those initiated into their Mysteries. When Cortez arrived in Mexico, he brought with him the cross. Recognizing this, the natives believed that he was Quetzalcoatl returned, for the latter had promised to come back in the infinite future and redeem his people.
One of the most remarkable of the crucified World Saviors is the Central American god of the winds, or the Sun, Quetzalcoatl, concerning whose activities great secrecy was maintained by the Indian priests of Mexico and Central America. This strange immortal, whose name means feathered snake, appears to have come out of the sea, bringing with him a mysterious cross. On his garments were embellished clouds and red crosses. In his honor, great serpents carved from stone were placed in different parts of Mexico.
The modern world has been misled in its attitude towards the so-called pagan deities, and has come to view them in a light entirely different from their true characters and meanings. The ridicule and slander heaped by Christendom upon Christna and Bacchus are excellent examples of the persecution of immortal principles by those who have utterly failed to sense the secret meaning of the allegories. Who was the crucified man of Greece, concerning whom vague rumors have been afloat? Higgins thinks it was Pythagoras, the true story of whose death was suppressed by early Christian authors because it conflicted with their teachings. Was it true also that the Roman legionaries carried on the field of battle standards upon which were crosses bearing the crucified Sun Man?
The East Indian equivalent of Christ is the immortal Christna, who, sitting in the forest playing his flute, charmed the birds and beasts by his music. It is supposed that this divinely inspired Savior of humanity was crucified upon a tree by his enemies, but great care has been taken to destroy any evidence pointing in that direction. Louis Jacolliot, in his book The Bible in India, thus describes the death of Christna: "Christna understood that the hour had come for him to quit the earth, and return to the bosom of him who had sent him. Forbidding his disciples to follow him, he went, one day, to make his ablutions on the banks of the Ganges * * *. Arriving at the sacred river, he plunged himself three times therein, then, kneeling, and looking to heaven, he prayed, expecting death. In this position he was pierced with arrows by one of those whose crimes he had unveiled, and who, hearing of his journey to the Ganges, had, with generation. a strong troop, followed with the design of assassinating him * * *. The body of the God-man was suspended to the branches of a tree by his murderer, that it might become the prey of vultures. News of the death having spread, the people came in a crowd conducted by Ardjouna, the dearest of the disciples of Christna, to recover his sacred remains. But the mortal frame of the redeemer had disappeared--no doubt it had regained the celestial abodes * * * and the tree to which it had been attached had become suddenly covered with great red flowers and diffused around it the sweetest perfume." Other accounts of the death of Christna declare that he was tied to a cross-shaped tree before the arrows were aimed at him.
Concerning the crucifixion of the Persian Mithras, J. P. Lundy has written: "Dupuis tells us that Mithra was put to death by crucifixion, and rose again on the 25th of March. In the Persian Mysteries the body of a young man, apparently dead, was exhibited, which was feigned to be restored to life. By his sufferings he was believed to have worked their salvation, and on this account he was called their Savior. His priests watched his tomb to the midnight of the vigil of the 25th of March, with loud cries, and in darkness; when all at once the light burst forth from all parts, the priest cried, Rejoice, O sacred initiated, your God is risen. His death, his pains, and sufferings, have worked your salvation." (See Monumental Christianity.)
The list of the deathless mortals who suffered for man that he might receive the boon of eternal life is an imposing one. Among those connected historically or allegorically with a crucifixion are Prometheus, Adonis, Apollo, Arys, Bacchus, Buddha, Christna, Horus, Indra, Ixion, Mithras, Osiris, Pythagoras, Quetzalcoatl, Semiramis, and Jupiter. According to the fragmentary accounts extant, all these heroes gave their lives to the service of humanity and, with one or two exceptions, died as martyrs for the cause of human progress. In many mysterious ways the manner of their death has been designedly concealed, but it is possible that most of them were crucified upon a cross or tree. The first friend of man, the immortal Prometheus, was crucified on the pinnacle of Mount Caucasus, and a vulture was placed over his liver to torment him throughout eternity by clawing and rending his flesh with its talons. Prometheus disobeyed the edict of Zeus by bringing fire and immortality to man, so for man he suffered until the coming of Hercules released him from his ages of torment.
Saviors unnumbered have died for the sins of man and by the hands of man, and through their deaths have interceded in heaven for the souls of their executioners. The martyrdom of the God-Man and the redemption of the world through His blood has been an essential tenet of many great religions. Nearly all these stories can be traced to sun worship, for the glorious orb of day is the Savior who dies annually for every creature within his universe, but year after year rises again victorious from the tomb of winter. Without doubt the doctrine of the crucifixion is based upon the secret traditions of the Ancient Wisdom; it is a constant reminder that the divine nature of man is perpetually crucified upon the animal organism. Certain of the pagan Mysteries included in the ceremony of initiation the crucifixion of the candidate upon a cross, or the laying of his body upon a cruciform altar. It has been claimed that Apollonius of Tyana (the Antichrist) was initiated into the Arcanum of Egypt in the Great Pyramid, where he hung upon a cross until unconscious and was then laid in the tomb (the coffer) for three days. While his body was unconscious, his soul was thought to pass into the realms of the immortals (the place of death) After it had vanquished death (by recognizing that life is eternal) it returned again to the body, which then rose from the coffer, after which he was hailed as a brother by the priests, who believed that he had returned from the land of the dead. This concept was, in substance, the teaching of the Mysteries.
The fact that among many nations it was customary to spread the arms in prayer has influenced the symbolism of the cross, which, because of its shape, has come to be regarded as emblematic of the human body.
There are four basic elements (according to both ancient philosophy and modern science), and the ancients represented them by the four arms of the cross, placing at the end of each arm a mysterious Qabbalistic creature to symbolize the power of one of these elements. Thus, they symbolized the element of earth by a bull; water by a scorpion, a serpent, or an eagle; fire by a lion; and air by a human head surrounded by wings. It is significant that the four letters inscribed upon parchment (some say wood) and fastened to the top of the cross at the time of the crucifixion should be the first letters of four Hebrew words which stand for the four elements: "Iammin, the sea or water; Nour, fire; Rouach, the air; and Iebeschah, the dry earth." (See Morals and Dogma, by Albeit Pike.)
There are three distinct forms of the cross. The first is called the TAU (more correctly the TAV). It closely resembles the modern letter T, consisting of a horizontal bar resting on a vertical column, the two arms being of equal length. An oak tree cut off some feet above the ground and its upper part laid across the lower in this form was the symbol of the Druid god Hu. It is suspected that this symbol originated among the Egyptians from the spread of the horns of a bull or ram (Taurus or Aries) and the vertical line of its face. This is sometimes designated as the hammer cross, because if held by its vertical base it is not unlike a mallet or gavel. In one of the Qabbalistic Masonic legends, CHiram Abiff is given a hammer in the form of a TAU by his ancestor, Tubal-cain. The TAU cross is preserved to modern Masonry under the symbol of the T square. This appears to be the oldest form of the cross extant.
To the Rosicrucians, Alchemists, and Illuminati, the cross was the symbol of light, because each of the three letters L V X is derived from some part of the cross.
The cross is also highly revered by the Japanese and Chinese. To the Pythagoreans the most sacred of all numbers was the 10, the symbol of which is an X, or cross. In both the Japanese and Chinese languages the character of the number 10 is a cross. The Buddhist wheel of life is composed of two crosses superimposed, and its eight points are still preserved to Christendom in the peculiarly formed cross of the Knights Templars, which is essentially Buddhistic. India has preserved the cross, not only in its carvings and paintings, but also in its architectonics; a great number of its temples--like the churches and cathedrals of Christendom--are raised from cruciform foundations.
In his article on the Cross and Crucifixion in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Thomas Macall Fallow casts much light on the antiquity of this ideograph. "The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times, and among non-Christian peoples, may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship."
Prior to the Christian Era seven hundred thousand of the most valuable books, written upon parchment, papyrus, vellum, and wax, and also tablets of stone, terra cotta, and wood, were gathered from all parts of the ancient world and housed in Alexandria, in buildings specially prepared for the purpose. This magnificent repository of knowledge was destroyed by a series of three fires. The parts that escaped the conflagration lighted by Cæsar to destroy the fleet in the harbor were destroyed about A.D. 389 by the Christians in obedience to the edict of Theodosius, who had ordered the destruction of the Serapeum, a building sacred to Serapis in which the volumes were kept. This conflagration is supposed to have destroyed the library that Marcus Antonius had presented to Cleopatra to compensate in part for that burned in the fire of the year 51.
The prevalent idea that the reverence for the cross is limited to the Christian world is disproved by even the most superficial investigation of its place in religious symbolism. The early Christians used every means possible to conceal the pagan origin of their symbols, doctrines, and rituals. They either destroyed the sacred books of other peoples among whom they settled, or made them inaccessible to students of comparative philosophy, apparently believing that in this way they could stamp out all record of the pre-Christian origin of their doctrines. In some cases the writings of various ancient authors were tampered with, passages of a compromising nature being removed or foreign material interpolated. The supposedly spurious passage in Josephus concerning Jesus is an example adduced to illustrate this proclivity.
In the personality of Arthur is to be found a new form of the ever-recurrent cosmic myth. The prince of Britain is the sun, his knights are the zodiac, and his flashing sword may be the sun's ray with which he fights and vanquishes the dragons of darkness or it may represent the earth's axis. Arthur's Round Table is the universe; the Siege Perilous the throne of the perfect man. In its terrestrial sense, Arthur was the Grand Master of a secret Christian-Masonic brotherhood of philosophic mystics who termed themselves Knights. Arthur received the exalted position of Grand Master of these Knights because he had faithfully accomplished the withdrawal of the sword (spirit) from the anvil of the base metals (his lower nature). As invariably happens, the historical Arthur soon was confused with the allegories and myths of his order until now the two are inseparable.
In the Arthurian Cycle appears a strange and mysterious figure--Merlin, the magician. In one of the legends concerning him it is declared that when Jesus was sent to liberate the world from the bondage of evil, the Adversary determined to send an Antichrist to undo His labors. The Devil therefore in the form of a horrible dragon overshadowed a young woman who had taken refuge in sanctuary to escape the evil which had dcstroyed her family. When Merlin, her child, was born he partook of the characteristics of his human mother and demon father. Merlin, however, did not serve the powers of darkness but, being converted to the true light, retained only two of the supernatural powers inherited from his father: prophecy and miracle working. The story of Merlin's infernal father must really be considered as an allegorical allusion to the fact that he was a "philosophical son" of the serpent or dragon, a title applied to all initiates of the Mysteries, who thus acknowledge Nature as their mortal mother and wisdom in the form of the serpent or dragon as their immortal Father. Confusion of the dragon and serpent with the powers of evil has resulted as an inevitable consequence from misinterpretation of the early chapters of Genesis.
Arthur while an infant was given into the keeping of Merlin, the Mage, and in his youth instructed by him in the secret doctrine and probably initiated into the deepest secrets of natural magic. With Merlin's assistance, Arthur became the leading general of Britain, a degree of dignity which has been confused with kingship. After Arthur had drawn the sword of Branstock from the anvil and thus established his divine right to leadership, Merlin further assisted him to secure from the Lady of the Lake the sacred sword Excalibur. After the establishment of the Round Table, having fulfilled his duty, Merlin disappeared, according to one account vanishing into the air, where he still exists as a shadow communicating at will with mortals; according to another, retiring of his own accord into a great stone vault which he sealed from within.
Jesus disclosed to His disciples that the lower world is under the control of a great spiritual being which had fashioned it according to the will of the Eternal Father. The mind of this great angel was both the mind of the world and also the worldly mind. So that men should not die of worldliness the Eternal Father sent unto creation the eldest and most exalted of His powers--the Divine Mind. This Divine Mind offered Itself as a living sacrifice and was broken up and eaten by the world. Having given Its spirit and Its body at a secret and sacred supper to the twelve manners of rational creatures, this Divine Mind became a part of every living thing. Man was thereby enabled to use this power as a bridge across which he might pass and attain immortality. He who lifted up his soul to this Divine Mind and served It was righteous and, having attained righteousness, liberated this Divine Mind, which thereupon returned again in glory to Its own divine source. And because He had brought to them this knowledge, the disciples said one to another: "Lo, He is Himself this Mind personified!"
Voltaire said that Plato should have been canonized by the Christian Church, for, being the first propounder of the Christos mystery, he contributed more to its fundamental doctrines than any other single individual.
Jesus was reared and educated by the Essenes and later initiated into the most profound of their Mysteries. Like all great initiates, He must travel in an easterly direction, and the silent years of His life no doubt were spent in familiarizing Himself with that secret teaching later to be communicated by Him to the world. Having consummated the ascetic practices of His order, He attained to the Christening. Having thus reunited Himself with His own spiritual source, He then went forth in the name of the One who has been crucified since before the worlds were and, gathering about Him disciples and apostles, He instructed them in that secret teaching which had been lost--in part, at least--from the doctrines of Israel. His fate is unknown, but in all probability He suffered that persecution which is the lot of those who seek to reconstruct the ethical, philosophical, or religious systems of their day.
Thus of an immaculate conception Jesus was born. By immaculate is meant clean, rather than supernatural.
While popular tradition often contains certain basic elements of truth, these elements are usually distorted out of all proportion. Thus, while the generalities of the story may be fundamentally true, the details are hopelessly erroneous. Of truth as of beauty it may be said that it is most adorned when unadorned.
This Apocryphal work, calculated to inspire its readers with fear and trembling, was popular during the Middle Ages because it was in full accord with the cruel and persecuting spirit of mediæval Christianity. Like many other early sacred books, the book of Thomas was fabricated for two closely allied purposes: first, to outshine the pagans in miracle working; second, to inspire all unbelievers with the "fear of the Lord." Apocryphal writings of this sort have no possible basis in fact. At one time an asset, the "miracles" of Christianity have become its greatest liability.
It would thus follow that the Essenes were Qabbalists and, like several other contemporary sects flourishing in Syria, were awaiting the advent of the Messiah promised in the early Biblical writings. Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, are believed to have been members of the Essene Order. Joseph was many years the senior of Mary. According to The Protevangelium, he was a widower with grown sons, and in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew he refers to Mary as a little child less in age than his own grandchildren. In her infancy Mary was dedicated to the Lord, and the Apocryphal writings contain many accounts of miracles associated with her early childhood.
The Essenes never became merchants or entered into the commercial life of cities, but maintained themselves by agriculture and the raising of sheep for wool; also by such crafts as pottery and carpentry. In the Gospels and Apocrypha, Joseph, the father of Jesus, is referred to as both a carpenter and a potter. In the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and also that of Pseudo-Matthew, the child Jesus is described as making sparrows out of clay which came to life and flew away when he clapped his hands. The Essenes were regarded as among the better educated class of Jews and there are accounts of their having been chosen as tutors for the children of Roman officers stationed in Syria. The fact that so many artificers were listed among their number is responsible for the order's being considered as a progenitor of modern Freemasonry. The symbols of the Essenes include a number of builders' tools, and they were secretly engaged in the erection of a spiritual and philosophical temple to serve as a dwelling place for the living God.
In an effort to make a single person out of Jesus and His Christos, Christian writers have patched together a doctrine which must be resolved back into its original constituents if the true meaning of Christianity is to be rediscovered.
It is by no means improbable that Jesus Himself originally propounded as allegories the cosmic activities which were later con fused with His own life. That the Χριστός, Christos, represents the solar power reverenced by every nation of antiquity cannot be controverted. If Jesus revealed the nature and purpose of this solar power under the name and personality of Christos, thereby giving to this abstract power the attributes of a god-man, He but followed a precedent set by all previous World-Teachers. This god-man, thus endowed with all the qualities of Deity, signifies the latent divinity in every man. Mortal man achieves deification only through at-one-ment with this divine Self. Union with the immortal Self constitutes immortality, and he who finds his true Self is therefore "saved." This Christos, or divine man in man, is man's real hope of salvation--the living Mediator between abstract Deity and mortal humankind. As Atys, Adonis, Bacchus, and Orpheus in all likelihood were originally illumined men who later were confused with the symbolic personages whom they created as personifications of this divine power, so Jesus has been confused with the Christos, or god-man, whose wonders He preached. Since the Christos was the god-man imprisoned in every creature, it was the first duty of the initiate to liberate, or "resurrect, " this Eternal One within himself. He who attained reunion with his Christos was consequently termed a Christian, or Christened, man.
The monogram IHS, now interpreted to mean Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus Savior of Men), is another direct link between the Christian and the Bacchic rites. IHS is derived from the Greek ΥΗΣ, which, as its numerical value (608) signifies, is emblematic of the sun and constituted the sacred and concealed name of Bacchus.
Godfrey Higgins has discovered two references, one in the Midrashjoholeth and the other in the Abodazara (early Jewish commentaries on the Scriptures), to the effect that the surname of Joseph's family was Panther, for in both of these works it is stated that a man was healed "in the name of Jesus ben Panther." The name Panther establishes a direct connection between Jesus and Bacchus--who was nursed by panthers and is sometimes depicted riding either on one of these animals or in a chariot drawn by them. The skin of the panther was also sacred in certain of the Egyptian initiatory ceremonials.
If Jesus was God incarnate, as the solemn councils of the church discovered, why is He referred to in the New Testament as "called of God an high prim after the order of Melchizedek"? The words "after the order" make Jesus one of a line or order of which there must have been others of equal or even superior dignity. If the "Melchizedeks" were the divine or priestly rulers of the nations of the earth before the inauguration of the system of temporal rulers, then the statements attributed to St. Paul would indicate that Jesus either was one of these "philosophic elect" or was attempting to reestablish their system of government. It will be remembered that Melchizedek also performed the same ceremony of the drinking of wine and the breaking of bread as did Jesus at the Last Supper.
Although early Christianity shows every evidence of Oriental influence, this is a subject the modern church declines to discuss.
In an effort to solve some of the problems arising from any attempt to chronicle accurately the life of Jesus, it has been suggested that there may have lived in Syria at that time two or more religious teachers bearing the name Jesus, Jehoshua or Joshua, and that the lives of these men may have been confused in the Gospel stories.
In his Apology, Justin [Martyr] addresses the pagans thus:
"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, Our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. * * * And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God. But if any one objects that He was crucified, in this also He is on a par with those reputed sons of Jupiter of yours, who suffered as we have now enumerated."
From this it is evident that the first missionaries of the Christian Church were far more willing to admit the similarities between their faith and the faiths of the pagans than were their successors in later centuries.
Were the incidents in the life of Jesus purposely altered so that His actions would fit more closely into the pattern established by the numerous Savior-Gods who preceded Him? That these analogies were recognized and used as a leverage in converting the Greeks and Romans is evident from a perusal of the writings of Justin Martyr, another second-century authority.
For how could He have had His disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master?
In this work [Against Heresies] Irenæus declared upon the authority of the Apostles themselves that Jesus lived to old age.
THE true story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth has never been unfolded to the world, either in the accepted Gospels or in the Apocrypha, although a few stray hints may be found in some of the commentaries written by the ante-Nicene Fathers. The facts concerning His identity and mission are among the priceless mysteries preserved to this day in the secret vaults beneath the "Houses of the Brethren." To a few of the Knights Templars, who were initiated into the arcana of the Druses, Nazarenes, Essenes, Johannites, and other sects still inhabiting the remote and inaccessible fastnesses of the Holy Land, part of the strange story was told. The knowledge of the Templars concerning the early history of Christianity was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for their persecution and final annihilation. The discrepancies in the writings of the early Church Fathers not only are irreconcilable, but demonstrate beyond question that even during the first five centuries after Christ these learned men had for the basis of their writings little more substantial than folklore and hearsay. To the easy believer everything is possible and there are no problems. The unemotional person in search of facts, however, is confronted by a host of problems with uncertain factors [...]
Freemasonry is more ancient than any of the world's living religions.
Dr. Bacstrom writes that the Universal Spirit (CHiram) assisted King Solomon to build his temple, because Solomon being wise in the wisdom of alchemy knew how to control this incorporeal essence and, setting it to work for him, caused the invisible universe to supply him with vast amounts of gold and silver which most people believed were mined by natural methods.
According to the Talmudic legends, Solomon understood the mysteries of the Qabbalah. He was also an alchemist and a necromancer, being able to control the dæmons, and from them and other inhabitants of the invisible worlds he secured much of his wisdom.
Masonry came to Northern Africa and Asia Minor from the lost continent of Atlantis, not under its present name but rather under the general designation Sun and Fire Worship. The ancient Mysteries did not cease to exist when Christianity became the world's most powerful religion. Great Pan did not die! Freemasonry is the proof of his survival. The pre-Christian Mysteries simply assumed the symbolism of the new faith, perpetuating through its emblems and allegories the same truths which had been the property of the wise since the beginning of the world. There is no true explanation, therefore, for Christian symbols save that which is concealed within pagan philosophy. Without the mysterious keys carried by the hierophants of the Egyptian, Brahmin, and Persian cults the gates of Wisdom cannot be opened. Consider with reverent spirit, therefore, the sublime allegory of the Temple and its Builders, realizing that beneath its literal interpretation lies hidden a Royal Secret.
According to the ancient Rabbins, Solomon was an initiate of the Mystery schools and the temple which he built was actually a house of initiation containing amass of pagan philosophic and phallic emblems. The pomegranates, the palm-headed columns, the Pillars before the door, the Babylonian cherubim, and the arrangement of the chambers and draperies all indicate the temple to have been patterned after the sanctuaries of Egypt and Atlantis.
Solomon, the Spirit of Universal Illumination--mental, spiritual, moral, and physical--is personified in the king of an earthly nation. While a great ruler by that name may have built a temple, he who considers the story solely from its historical angle will never clear away the rubbish that covers the secret vaults. The rubbish is interpolated matter in the form of superficial symbols, allegories, and degrees which have no legitimate part in the original Freemasonic Mysteries.
The best-informed Masonic writers have realized that Solomon's Temple is a representation in miniature of the Universal Temple. Concerning this point, A. E. Waite, in A New Encyclopædia of Freemasonry, writes: "It is macrocosmic in character, so that the Temple is a symbol of the universe, a type of manifestation itself."
The name Solomon may be divided into three syllables, SOL-OM-ON, symbolizing light, glory, and truth collectively and respectively. The Temple of Solomon is, therefore, first of all "the House of Everlasting Light," its earthly symbol being the temple of stone on the brow of Mount Moriah. According to the Mystery teachings, there are three Temples of Solomon--as there are three Grand Masters, three Witnesses, and three Tabernacles of the Transfiguration. The first temple is the Grand House of the Universe, in the midst of which sits the sun (SOL) upon his golden throne. The twelve signs of the zodiac as Fellow-Craftsmen gather around their shining lord. Three lights--the stellar, the solar, and the lunar--illuminate this Cosmic Temple. Accompanied by his retinue of planets, moons, and asteroids, this Divine King (SOLomon), whose glory no earthly monarch shall ever equal, passes in stately pomp down the avenues of space. Whereas CHiram represents the active physical light of the sun, SOLomon signifies its invisible but all-powerful, spiritual and intellectual effulgency.
At one time the Dionysians referred to themselves as Sons of Solomon, and one of the most important of their symbols was the Seal of Solomon--two interlaced triangles. This motif is frequently seen in conspicuous parts of Mohammedan mosques. The Knights Templars--who were suspected of anything and everything--are believed to have contacted these Dionysiac artificers and to have introduced many of their symbols and doctrines into mediæval Europe. But Freemasonry most of all owes to the Dionysiac cult the great mass of its symbols and rituals which are related to the science of architecture.
The checkerboard floor upon which the modern Freemasonic lodge stands is the old tracing board of the Dionysiac Architects [...]
The most stately and enduring buildings in Constantinople, Rhodes, Athens, and Rome were erected by these inspired craftsmen.
The most celebrated of the ancient fraternities of artisans was that of the Dionysiac Architects. This organization was composed exclusively of initiates of the Bacchus-Dionysos cult and was peculiarly consecrated to the science of building and the art of decoration. Acclaimed as being the custodians of a secret and sacred knowledge of architectonics, its members were entrusted with the design and erection of public buildings and monuments. The superlative excellence of their handiwork elevated the members of the guild to a position of surpassing dignity; they were regarded as the master craftsmen of the earth. Because of the first dances held in honor of Dionysos, he was considered the founder and patron of the theater, and the Dionysians specialized in the construction of buildings adapted for the presentation of dramatic performances. In the circular or semicircular orchestra they invariably erected an altar to Æschylus, the famous Greek poet, that while appearing in one of his own plays he was suspected by a mob of angry spectators of revealing one of the profound secrets of the Mysteries and was forced to seek refuge at the altar of Dionysos.
According to Freemasonic symbolism, Enoch, fearing that all knowledge of the sacred Mysteries would be lost at the time of the Deluge, erected the two columns mentioned in the quotation. Upon the metal column in appropriate allegorical symbols he engraved the secret reaching and upon the marble column placed an inscription stating that a short distance away a priceless treasure would be discovered in a subterranean vault. After having thus faithfully completed his labors, Enoch was translated from the brow Of Mount Moriah. In time the location of the secret vaults was lost, but after the lapse of ages there came another builder--an initiate after the order of Enoch--and he, while laying the foundations for another temple to the Great Architect of the Universe, discovered the long-lost vaults and the secrets contained within.
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes that Adam had forewarned his descendants that sinful humanity would be destroyed by a deluge. In order to preserve their science and philosophy, the children of Seth there fore raised two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which were inscribed the keys to their knowledge. The Patriarch Enoch--whose name means the Initiator--is evidently a personification of the sun, since he lived 365 years. He also constructed an underground temple consisting of nine vaults, one beneath the other, placing in the deepest vault a triangular tablet of gold bearing upon it the absolute and ineffable Name of Deity. According to some accounts, Enoch made two golden deltas. The larger he placed upon the white cubical altar in the lowest vault and the smaller he gave into the keeping of his son, Methuseleh, who did the actual construction work of the brick chambers according to the pattern revealed to his father by the Most High. In the form and arrangement of these vaults Enoch epitomized the nine spheres of the ancient Mysteries and the nine sacred strata of the earth through which the initiate must pass to reach the flaming Spirit dwelling in its central core.
IN several early Masonic manuscripts--for example, the Harleian, Sloane, Lansdowne, and Edinburgh-Kilwinning--it is stated that the craft of initiated builders existed before the Deluge, and that its members were employed in the building of the Tower of Babel. A Masonic Constitution dated 1701 gives the following naive account of the origin of the sciences, arts, and crafts from which the major part of Masonic symbolism is derived:
"How this worthy Science was first begunne, I shall tell. Before Noah's Flood, there was a man called Lameck as it is written in the 4 Chap. of Gen.: and this Lameck had two Wives. The one was called Adah, and the other Zillah; by the first wife Adah he gott two Sons, the one called Jaball, and the other Juball, and by the other wife Zillah he got a Son and Daughter, and the four children found the beginning of all Crafts in the world. This Jaball was the elder Son, and he found the Craft of Geometric, and he parted flocks, as of Sheep and Lambs in the fields, and first wrought Houses of Stone and Tree, as it is noted in the Chap, aforesaid, and his Brother Juball found the crafte of Musick, of Songs, Organs and Harp. The Third Brother [Tubal-cain] found out Smith's craft to work Iron and steel, and their sister Naamah found out the art of Weaving. These children did know thatt God would take Vengeance for Sinne, either by fire or water, wherefor they wrote these Sciences which they had found in Two Pillars of stone, thatt they might be found after the Flood. The one stone was called Marbell--cannott burn with Fire, and the other was called Laturus [brass?], thatt cannott drown in the Water." The author of this Constitution there upon declares that one of these pillars was later discovered by Hermes, who communicated to mankind the secrets thereon inscribed.
The acroamatic cipher is the most subtle of all, for the parable or allegory is susceptible of several interpretations. Bible students for centuries have been confronted by this difficultly. They are satisfied with the moral interpretation of the parable and forget that each parable and allegory is capable of seven interpretations, of which the seventh--the highest--is complete and all-inclusive, whereas the other six (and lesser) interpretations are fragmentary, revealing but part of the mystery. The creation myths of the world are acroamatic cryptograms, and the deities of the various pantheons are only cryptic characters which, if properly understood, become the constituents of a divine alphabet. The initiated few comprehend the true nature of this alphabet, but the uninitiated many worship the letters of it as gods.
Only recently an intricate cipher of Roger Bacon's has been unraveled, revealing the fact that this early scientist was well versed in the cellular theory. [...] Had Roger Bacon failed to conceal this discovery under a complicated cipher, he would have been persecuted as a heretic and would probably have met the fate of other early liberal thinkers.
The temples of the ancient Mysteries evolved their own sacred languages, known only to their initiates and never spoken save in the sanctuary. The illumined priests considered it sacrilege to discuss the sacred truths of the higher worlds or the divine verities of eternal Nature in the same tongue as that used by the vulgar for wrangling and dissension. A sacred science must needs be couched in a sacred language. Secret alphabets also were invented, and whenever the secrets of the wise were committed to writing, characters meaningless to the uninformed were employed. Such forms of writing were called sacred or Hermetic alphabets. Some--such as the famous angelic writing--are still retained in the higher degrees of Masonry.
The arcana of the ancient Mysteries were never revealed to the profane except through the media of symbols. Symbolism fulfilled the dual office of concealing the sacred truths from the uninitiated and revealing them to those qualified to understand the symbols.
NO treatise which deals with symbolism would be complete without a section devoted to the consideration of cryptograms. The use of ciphers has long been recognized as indispensable in military and diplomatic circles, but the modern world has overlooked the important rôle played by cryptography in literature and philosophy. If the art of deciphering cryptograms could be made popular, it would result in the discovery of much hitherto unsuspected wisdom possessed by both ancient and mediæval philosophers. It would prove that many apparently verbose and rambling authors were wordy for the sake of concealing words. Ciphers are hidden in the most subtle manner: they may be concealed in the watermark of the paper upon which a book is printed; they may be bound into the covers of ancient books; they may be hidden under imperfect pagination; they may be extracted from the first letters of words or the first words of sentences; they may be artfully concealed in mathematical equations or in apparently unintelligible characters; they may be extracted from the jargon of clowns or revealed by heat as having been written in sympathetic ink; they may be word ciphers, letter ciphers, or apparently ambiguous statements whose meaning could be understood only by repeated careful readings; they may he discovered in the elaborately illuminated initial letters of early books or they may be revealed by a process of counting words or letters. If those interested in Freemasonic research would give serious consideration to this subject, they might find in books and manuscripts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the information necessary to bridge the gap in Masonic history that now exists between the Mysteries of the ancient world and the Craft Masonry of the last three centuries.
In his curious work, Das Bild des Speershüttlers die Lösung des Shakespeare-Rätsels, Alfred Freund attempts to explain the Baconian symbolism in the Philostrates. Bacon he reveals as the philosophical Hercules, whom time will establish as the true "Spear-Shaker" (Shakespeare).
According to material available, the supreme council of the Fraternity of R.C. was composed of a certain number of individuals who had died what is known as the "philosophic death." When the time came for an initiate to enter upon his labors for the Order, he conveniently "died" under somewhat mysterious circumstances. In reality he changed his name and place of residence, and a box of rocks or a body secured for the purpose was buried in his stead. It is believed that this happened in the case of Sir Francis Bacon who, like all servants of the Mysteries, renounced all personal credit and permitted others to be considered as the authors of the documents which he wrote or inspired.
Sir Francis Bacon was one of those who had been entrusted with the perpetuation and dissemination of s the arcana of the superphysical originally in the possession of the pagan hierophants, and to attain that end either formulated the Fraternity of R.C. or was admitted into an organization already existing under that name and became one of its principal representatives.
Freemasonry is the bright and glorious son of a mysterious and hidden father. It cannot trace its parentage because that origin is obscured by the veil of the superphysical and the mystical.
Lord Bacon was born in 1561 and history records his death in 1626. There are records in existence, however, which would indicate the probability that his funeral was a mock funeral and that, leaving England, he lived for many years under another name in Germany, there faithfully serving the secret society to the promulgation of whose doctrines he had consecrate his life. Little doubt seems to exist in the minds of impartial investigators that Lord Bacon was the legitimate son of Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester.
[...] there is no record of William Shakspere's ever having traveled outside of England.
It was in recognition of Bacon's intellectual accomplishments that King James turned over to him the translators' manuscripts of what is now known as the King James Bible for the presumable purpose of checking, editing, and revising them. The documents remained in his hands for nearly a year, but no information is to be had concerning what occurred in that time. Regarding this work, William T. Smedley writes: " It will eventually be proved that the whole scheme of the Authorised Version of the Bible was Francis Bacon's." (See The Mystery of Francis Bacon.) The first edition of the King James Bible contains a cryptic Baconian headpiece. Did Bacon cryptographically conceal in the Authorized Bible that which he dared not literally reveal in the text--the secret Rosicrucian key to mystic and Masonic Christianity?
Father of modern science, remodeler of modern law, editor of the modem Bible, patron of modern democracy, and one of the founders of modern Freemasonry, Sir Francis Bacon was a man of many aims and purposes. He was a Rosicrucian, some have intimated the Rosicrucian. If not actually the Illustrious Father C.R.C. referred to in the Rosicrucian manifestoes, he was certainly a high initiate of the Rosicrucian Order, and it is his activities in connection with this secret body that are of prime importance to students of symbolism, philosophy, and literature.
Yet who but a Platonist, a Qabbalist, or a Pythagorean could have written The Tempest, Macbeth, Hamlet, or The Tragedy of Cymbeline? Who but one deeply versed in Paracelsian lore could have conceived, A Midsummer Night's Dream?
In short, there is nothing known in the life of Shakspere that would justify the literary excellence imputed to him.
A well-stocked library would be an essential part of the equipment of an author whose literary productions demonstrate him to be familiar with the literature of all ages, yet there is no record that Shakspere ever possessed a library, nor does he make any mention of books in his will. Commenting on the known illiteracy of Shakspere's daughter Judith, who at twenty-seven could only make her mark, Ignatius Donnelly declares it to be unbelievable that William Shakspere if he wrote the plays bearing his name would have permitted his own daughter to reach womanhood and marry without being able to read one line of the writings that made her father wealthy and locally famous.
It is quite evident that William Shakspere could not, unaided, have produced the immortal writings bearing his name. He did not possess the necessary literary culture, for the town of Stratford where he was reared contained no school capable of imparting the higher forms of learning reflected in the writings ascribed to him. His parents were illiterate, and in his early life he evinced a total disregard for study. There are in existence but six known examples of Shakspere's handwriting. All are signatures, and three of them are in his will. The scrawling, uncertain method of their execution stamps Shakspere as unfamiliar with the use of a pen, and it is obvious either that he copied a signature prepared for him or that his hand was guided while he wrote. No autograph manuscripts of the "Shakespearian" plays or sonnets have been discovered, nor is there even a tradition concerning them other than the fantastic and impossible statement appearing in the foreword of the Great Folio.
From an ethical standpoint, the young King and Queen resurrected at the summit of the tower and ensouled by Divine Life represent the forces of Intelligence and Love which must ultimately guide society. Intelligence and Love are the two great ethical luminaries of the world and correspond to enlightened spirit and regenerated body.
Society, they [Knights of the Golden Stone] maintained, was a threefold structure and had its analogy in the triune constitution of man, for as man consists of spirit, mind, and body, so society is made up of the church, the state, and the populace. The bigotry of the church, the tyranny of the state, and the fury of the mob are the three murderous agencies of society which seek to destroy Truth as recounted in the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff.
The newly created Knights of the Golden Stone were obliged to subscribe to five articles drawn up by His Royal Highness: (1) That they would ascribe their Order only to God and His handmaid, Nature. (2) That they should abominate all uncleanness and vice. (3) That they should always be ready to assist the worthy and needy. (4) That they should not use their knowledge and power for the attainment of worldly dignity. (5) That they should not desire to live longer than God had decreed. They were then duly installed as Knights, which ceremony was ratified in a little chapel where C. R. C. hung up his Golden Fleece and his hat for an eternal memorial, and here he inscribed the following: Summa Scientia nihil Scire, Fr. Christianus Rosencreutz. Eques aurei Lapidis. Anno 1459.
The reader must bear in mind at all times that the formulæ and emblems of alchemy are to be taken primarily as allegorical symbols; for until their esoteric significance has been comprehended, their literal interpretation is valueless. Nearly every alchemical formula has one element purposely omitted, it being decided by the mediæval philosophers that those who could not with their own intelligence discover that missing substance or process were not qualified to be entrusted with secrets which could give them control over great masses of humanity and likewise subject to their will the elemental forces of Nature.
It is further asserted that they [Masters] are still to be found by those who have qualified themselves to contact them. The philosophers taught that like attracts like, and that when the disciple has developed a virtue and integrity acceptable to the adepts they will appear to him and reveal those parts of the secret processes which cannot be discovered without such help.
As the years passed, one who had discovered the secret--or, more properly, one to whom it had been revealed--sought for some younger man worthy to be entrusted with the formulæ. To this one, and to this one only, as a rule, the philosopher was permitted to disclose the arcanum. The younger man then became the "philosophical son" of the old sage, and to him the latter bequeathed his secrets. Occasionally, however, an adept, on finding a sincere and earnest seeker, would instruct him in the fundamental principles of the art, and if the disciple persisted, he was quietly initiated into the august fraternity of the Brethren. In such manner the alchemical processes were preserved, but the number of those who knew them did not increase rapidly.
When a disciple of the alchemical arts had learned the supreme secret, he guarded it jealously, revealing to no man his priceless treasure. He was not permitted to disclose it even to the members of his immediate family.
The most powerful of the alchemical organizations were the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, and certain Arabian and Syrian sects.
Apparently but few of the mediæval alchemists discovered the Great Arcanum without aid, some authors declaring that none of them attained the desired end without the assistance of a Master or Teacher.
If two persons, one an initiate and the other unilluminated in the supreme art, were to set to work, side by side, using the same vessels, the same substances, and exactly the same modus operandi, the initiate would produce his "gold" and the uninitiated would not. Unless the greater alchemy has first taken place within the soul of man, he cannot perform the lesser alchemy in the retort.
As one of the great alchemists fittingly observed, man's quest for gold is often his undoing, for he mistakes the alchemical processes, believing them to be purely material. He does not realize that the Philosopher's Gold, the Philosopher's Stone, and the Philosopher's Medicine exist in each of the four worlds and that the consummation of the experiment cannot be realized until it is successfully carried on in four worlds simultaneously according to one formula. Furthermore, one of the constituents of the alchemical formula exists only within the nature of man himself, without which his chemicals will not combine, and though he spend his life and fortune in chemical experimentation, he will not produce the desired end. The paramount reason why the material scientist is incapable of duplicating the achievements of the mediæval alchemists--although he follow every step carefully and accurately--is that the subtle element which comes out of the nature of the illuminated and regenerated alchemical philosopher is missing in his experimentation.
A tiny particle of the Philosopher's Stone, if cast upon the surface of water, will, according to an appendix to the work on the universal salt by Herr von Welling, immediately begin a process of recapitulating in miniature the history of the universe, for instantly the tincture--like the Spirits of Elohim--moves upon the face of the waters. A miniature universe is formed which the philosophers have affirmed actually rises out of the water and floats in the air, where it passes through all the stages of cosmic unfoldment and finally disintegrates into dust again.
There is an important connection between the twenty-two emblems of Trismosin, the twenty-two major cards of the Tarot, and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. These mysterious Tarot cards are themselves an alchemical formula, if properly interpreted. As if to substantiate the claims of mediæval philosophers that King Solomon was a master of alchemy, Dr. Franz Hartmann has noted that the much-abused and misunderstood Song of Solomon is in reality an alchemical formula.
In alchemy is found again the perpetuation of the Universal Mystery; for as surely as Jesus died upon the cross, Hiram (CHiram) at the west gate of the Temple, Orpheus on the banks of the river Hebros, Christna on the banks of the Ganges, and Osiris in the coffin prepared by Typhon, so in alchemy, unless the elements first die, the Great Work cannot be achieved. The stages of the alchemical processes can be traced in the lives and activities of nearly all the world Saviors and teachers, and also among the mythologies of several nations. It is said in the Bible that "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." In alchemy it is declared that without putrefaction the Great Work cannot be accomplished. What is it that dies on the cross, is buried in the tomb of the Mysteries, and that dies also in the retort and becomes black with putrefaction? Also, what is it that does this same thing in the nature of man, that he may rise again, phœnix-like, from his own ashes (caput mortuum)?
[...] the alchemical philosophers used the symbols of salt, sulphur, and mercury to represent not only chemicals but the spiritual and invisible principles of God, man, and the universe.
According to the Scriptures, spirit is indestructible, but soul is destructible. Obviously, then, they are not synonymous. It is clearly stated that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die," but "the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
The fact that the Scriptures reveal a hidden knowledge, if considered allegorically, is clearly demonstrated by a parable describing King Solomon, his wives, concubines, and virgins, which parable occurs in Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer, published in Ultona in 1785. Dr. Hartmann, who translated part of this work into English, declared that the wives of Solomon represented the arts, the concubines the sciences, and the virgins the still unrevealed secrets of Nature. By order of the King the virgins were forced to remove their veils, thus signifying that by means of wisdom (Solomon) the mystic arts were forced to disclose their hidden parts to the philosopher, while to the uninitiated world only the outside garments were visible. (Such is the mystery of the veil of Isis.)
In alchemy there are three symbolic substances: mercury, sulphur, and salt. To these was added a fourth mysterious life principle called Azoth. Concerning the first three, Herr von Welling has written: "There are three basic chemical substances which are called by the philosophers salt, sulphur, and mercury, but which are not to be confounded in any way with the crude salt, sulphur, and mercury taken from the earth or secured from the apothecary. Salt, sulphur, and mercury each has a triune nature, for each of these substances contains, in reality, also the other two substances, according to the secret arcanum of the wise. The body of salt is, therefore, threefold, namely salt, sulphur, and mercury; but in the body of salt one of the three (salt) predominates. Mercury is likewise composed of salt, sulphur, and mercury with the latter element predominating. Sulphur, similarly, is actually salt, sulphur, and mercury, with sulphur predominating. These nine divisions--3 times 3, plus Azoth (the mysterious universal life force), equals 10, the sacred decad of Pythagoras. Concerning the nature of Azoth there is much controversy. Some view it as the invisible, eternal fire; others as electricity; still others as magnetism. Transcendentalism refer to it as the astral light.
"The universe is surrounded by the sphere of the stars. Beyond that sphere is the sphere of Schamayim, which is the Divine fiery water, the first outflow of the Word of God, the flaming river pouring from the presence of the Eternal. Schamayim, the fiery androgynous water, divides. The fire becomes the solar fire and the water becomes the lunar water. Schamayim is the universal mercury--sometimes called Azoth--the measureless spirit of life. The spiritual fiery original water--Schamayim--comes through Eden (in Hebrew, vapor) and pours itself into four main rivers [the elements]. This is the river of living water--Azoth [the fiery mercurial essence] that flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb. In this Eden [vaporous essence or mist] is the spiritual earth [incomprehensible and intangible], or the dust Aphar, out of which God formed Adam min Haadamah, the spiritual body of man, which body must sometime become revealed."
In another part of his writings von Welling also says that there was no material universe until Lucifer, attempting to perform the cosmic alchemy, misused the Schamayim, or the Divine Fire. In order to reestablish the Schamayim which Lucifer had perverted, this universe was formed as a means of liberating it from the dark cloud within which it was locked by the failure of Lucifer's attempt to control it.
But as the seed is within all these things, a diamond may be grown out of any other substance in the universe. In some substances, however, it is easier to perform this miracle because in them these germs have already been long fertilized and are thus more nearly prepared for the vivifying process of the art. Likewise, to teach some men wisdom is easier than to teach others, for some already have a foundation upon which to work, while in others the thinking faculties are entirely dormant.
There are two methods whereby growth may be accomplished. The first is by Nature, for Nature is an alchemist forever achieving the apparently impossible. The second is by art, and through art is produced in a comparatively short time that which requires Nature almost endless periods to duplicate.
One of the great axioms is, "Within everything is the seed of everything," although by the simple processes of Nature it may remain latent for many centuries, or its growth may be exceedingly slow. Therefore, every grain of sand contains not only the seed of the precious metals as well as the seed of the priceless gems, but also the seeds of sun, moon, and stars. As within the nature of man is reflected the entire universe in miniature, so in each grain of sand, each drop of water, each tiny particle of cosmic dust, are concealed all the parts and elements of cosmos in the form of tiny seed germs so minute that even the most powerful microscope cannot detect them. Trillions of times smaller than the ion or electron, these seeds--unrecognizable and incomprehensible--await the time assigned them for growth and expression. (Consider the monads of Leibnitz.)
If any would grow metals, he must first learn the secrets of the metals: he must realize that all metals--like all stones, plants, animals, and universes--grow from seeds, and that these seeds are already in the body of Substance (the womb of the World Virgin); for the seed of man is in the universe before he is born (or grows), and as the seed of the plant exists for all time though the plant live but a part of that time, so the seeds of spiritual gold and material gold are ever present in all things. The metals grow throughout the ages, because life is imparted to them from the sun. They grow imperceptibly, in form like tiny shrubs, for everything grows in some way. Only the methods of growth differ, according to kind and magnitude.
That which is true in the superior is true in the inferior. If alchemy be a great spiritual fact, then it is also a great material fact. If it can take place in the universe, it can take place in man; if it can take place in man, it can take place in the plants and minerals. If one thing in the universe grows, then everything in the universe grows.
Through art (the process of learning) the whole mass of base metals (the mental body of ignorance) was transmuted into pure gold (wisdom), for it was tinctured with understanding.
Wisdom cannot be imparted to an idiot because the seed of wisdom is not within him, but wisdom may be imparted to an ignorant person, however ignorant he may be, because the seed of wisdom exists in him and can be developed by art and culture. Hence a philosopher is only an ignorant man within whose nature a projection has taken place.
Alchemy is the science of multiplication and is based upon the natural phenomenon of growth. "Nothing from nothing comes," is an extremely ancient adage. Alchemy is not the process of making something from nothing; it is the process of increasing and improving that which already exists. If a philosopher were to state that a living man could be made from a stone, the unenlightened would probably exclaim, "Impossible!" Thus would they reveal their ignorance, for to the wise it is known that in every stone is the seed of man. A philosopher might declare that a universe could be made out of a man, but the foolish would regard this as an impossibility, not realizing that a man is a seed from which a universe may be brought forth.
During the Middle Ages, alchemy was not only a philosophy and a science but also a religion. Those who rebelled against the religious limitations of their day concealed their philosophic teachings under the allegory of gold-making. In this way they preserved their personal liberty and were ridiculed rather than persecuted. Alchemy is a threefold art, its mystery well symbolized by a triangle. Its symbol is 3 times 3--three elements or processes in three worlds or spheres. The 3 times 3 is part of the mystery of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, for 33 is 3 times 3, which is 9, the number of esoteric man and the number of emanations from the root of the Divine Tree. It is the number of worlds nourished by the four rivers that pour out of the Divine Mouth as the verbum fiat. Beneath the so-called symbolism of alchemy is concealed a magnificent concept, for this ridiculed and despised craft still preserves intact the triple key to the gates of eternal life. Realizing, therefore, that alchemy is a mystery in three worlds--the divine, the human, and the elemental--it can easily be appreciated why the sages and philosophers created and evolved an intricate allegory to conceal their wisdom.
The difficulty in deciding the origin of alchemy is directly due to ignoring the lost continent of Atlantis. The Great Arcanum was the most prized of the secrets of the Atlantean priestcraft. When the land of Atlas sank, hierophants of the Fire Mystery brought the formula to Egypt, where it remained for centuries in the possession of the sages and philosophers. It gradually moved into Europe, where its secrets are still preserved intact.
In all probability, the so-called talking trees were merely strips of wood with tables of letters upon them, by means of which oracles were evoked. At one time books written upon wood were called "talking trees."
Khem was an ancient name for the land of Egypt; and both the words alchemy and chemistry are a perpetual reminder of the priority of Egypt's scientific knowledge.
Astrology has crystallized into astronomy, whose votaries ridicule the dreams of ancient seers and sages, deriding their symbols as meaningless products of superstition.
ALCHEMY, the secret art of the land of Khem, is one of the two oldest sciences known to the world. The other is astrology. The beginnings of both extend back into the obscurity of prehistoric times. According to the earliest records extant, alchemy and astrology were considered as divinely revealed to man so that by their aid he might regain his lost estate.
[Count] Bernard [of Treviso] declared the process of dissolution, accomplished not with fire but with mercury, to be the supreme secret of alchemy.
He [Paracelsus] was the first man to write scientific books in the language of the common people so that all could read them.
The manner in which Paracelsus met his death is uncertain, but: the most credible account is that he died as the indirect result of a scuffle with a number of assassins who had been hired by some of his professional enemies to make away with the one who had exposed their chicanery.
He [Paracelsus] flayed the apothecaries, asserting that they did not use the proper ingredients in their prescriptions and did not consider the needs of their patients, desiring only to collect exorbitant fees for their concoctions.
When twenty years old he [Paracelsus] began a series of travels which continued for about twelve years. He visited many European countries, including Russia. It is possible that he penetrated into Asia. It was in Constantinople that the great secret of the Hermetic arts was bestowed upon him by Arabian adepts. His knowledge of the Nature spirits and the inhabitants of the invisible worlds he probably secured from the Brahmins of India with whom he came in contact either directly or through their disciples. He became an army physician, and his understanding and skill brought him great success.
IS the transmutation of base metals into gold possible? Is the idea one at which the learned of the modern world can afford to scoff? Alchemy was more than a speculative art: it was also an operative art. Since the time of the immortal Hermes, alchemists have asserted (and not without substantiating evidence) that they could manufacture gold from tin, silver, lead, and mercury. That the galaxy of brilliant philosophic and scientific minds who, over a period of two thousand years, affirmed the actuality of metallic transmutation and multiplication, could be completely sane and rational on all other problems of philosophy and science, yet hopelessly mistaken on this one point, is untenable. Nor is it reasonable that the hundreds declaring to have seen and performed transmutations of metals could all have been dupes, imbeciles, or liars.
William and Mary jointly ascended the throne of England in 1689, at which time alchemists must have abounded in the kingdom, for during the first year of their reign they repealed an Act made by King Henry IV in which that sovereign declared the multiplying of metals to be a crime against the crown.
Lucifer is represented by the number 741.
The fundamental symbols of the Rosicrucians were the rose and the cross; the rose female and the cross male, both universal phallic emblems. [...] Because of the phallic significance of their symbols, both the Rosicrucians and the Templars have been falsely accused of practicing obscene rites in their secret ceremonials. While it is quite true that the alchemical retort symbolizes the womb, it also has a far more significant meaning concealed under the allegory of the second birth. As generation is the key to material existence, it is natural that the Fraternity of R.C. should adopt as its characteristic symbols those exemplifying the reproductive processes. As regeneration is the key to spiritual existence, they therefore founded their symbolism upon the rose and the cross, which typify the redemption of man through the union of his lower temporal nature with his higher eternal nature. The rosy cross is also a hieroglyphic figure representing the formula of the Universal Medicine.
Ignorance is the worst form of disease, and that: which heals ignorance is therefore the most potent of all medicines.
Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes), another champion of the Order, corroborates the statement of John Heydon concerning the ability of the Rosicrucian initiates to make themselves invisible at will: "The Fraternity of R.C. can move in this white mist. 'Whosoever would communicate with us must be able to see in this light, or us he will never see unless by our own will.'"
Those professing this theory [of Rosicrucian beginnings] regard the Comte de St.-Germain as their highest adept and assert that he and Christian Rosencreutz were one and the same individual.
In mysticism the eagle is a symbol of initiation (the spinal Spirit Fire)
The apparent incongruities of the Rosicrucian controversy have also been accounted for by a purely transcendental explanation. There is evidence that early writers were acquainted with such a supposition--which, however, was popularized only after it had been espoused by Theosophy. This theory asserts that the Rosicrucians actually possessed all the supernatural powers with which they were credited; that they were in reality citizens of two worlds: that, while they had physical bodies for expression on the material plane, they were also capable, through the instructions they received from the Brotherhood, of functioning in a mysterious ethereal body not subject to the limitations of time or distance. By means of this "astral form" they were able to function in the invisible realm of Nature, and in this realm, beyond reach of the profane, their temple was located.
Although the existence of these mediæval Rosicrucians is difficult to prove, sufficient evidence is at hand to make it extremely probable that there existed in Germany, and afterwards in France, Italy, England, and other European countries, a secret society of illuminated savants who made contributions of great import to the sum of human knowledge, while maintaining absolute secrecy concerning their personalities and their organization.
There is a popular supposition to the effect that the Rosicrucians were at least partial instigators of the French Revolution.
In an anonymous unpublished manuscript of the eighteenth century bearing the earmarks of Rosicrucian Qabbalism appears this statement: "Yet will I now give the over-wise world a paradox to be solved, namely, that some illuminated men have undertaken to found Schools of Wisdom in Europe and these for some peculiar reason have called themselves Fratres Rosa: Crucis. But soon afterwards came false schools into existence and corrupted the good intentions of these wise men. Therefore, the Order no longer exists as most people would understand existence, and as this Fraternity of the Seculo Fili call themselves Brothers of the Rosie Cross, so also will they in the Seculo Spiritus Sancti call themselves Brothers of the Lily Cross and the Knights of the White Lion. Then will the Schools of Wisdom begin again to blossom, but why the first one chose their name and why the others shall also choose theirs, only those can solve who have understanding grounded in Nature."
One theory concerning the two Orders is to the effect that Freemasonry was an outgrowth of Rosicrucianism; in other words, that the "Unknown Philosophers" became known through an organization which they created to serve them in the material world. The story goes on to relate that the Rosicrucian adepts became dissatisfied with their progeny and silently withdrew from the Masonic hierarchy, leaving behind their symbolism and allegories, but carrying away the keys by which the locked symbols could be made to give tip their secret meanings. Speculators have gone so far as to state that, in their opinion, modern Freemasonry has completely absorbed Rosicrucianism and succeeded it as the world's greatest secret society. Other minds of equal learning declare that the Rosicrucian Brotherhood still exists, preserving its individuality as the result of having withdrawn from the Masonic Order.
Efforts to join the Order were apparently futile, for the Rosicrucians always chose their disciples. Having agreed on one who they believed would do honor to their illustrious fraternity, they communicated with him in one of many mysterious ways. He might receive a letter, either anonymous or with a peculiar seal, usually bearing the letters "C.R.C. "or "R.C. "upon it. He would be instructed to go to a certain place at an appointed time. What was disclosed to him he never revealed, although in many cases his later writings showed that a new influence had come into his life, deepening his understanding and broadening his intellect. A few have written allegorically concerning what they beheld when in the august presence of the "Brethren of the Rose Cross."
Such, in brief, is the story of the Fama Fraternitatis. Those who accept it literally regard Father C.R.C. as the actual founder of the Brotherhood, which he is believed to have organized about 1400. The fact that historical corroboration of the important points of the Fama has never been discovered is held against this theory. There is no proof that Father C.R.C. ever approached the learned men of Spain. The mysterious city of Damcar cannot be found, and there is no record that anywhere in Germany there existed a place where great numbers of the halt and sick came and were mysteriously healed.
They [C.R.C. and his three brethren] then decided to separate and visit the other countries of the earth, not only that their wisdom might be given to others who deserved it but also that they might check and correct any mistakes existing in their own system. Before separating, the Brethren prepared six rules, or by-laws, and each bound himself to obey them. The first rule was that they should take to themselves no other dignity or credit than that they were willing to heal the sick without charge. The second was that from that time on forever they should wear no special robe or garment, but should dress according to the custom of the country wherein they dwelt. The third stated that every year upon a certain day they should meet in the "House of the Holy Spirit," or, if unable to do so, should be represented by an epistle. The fourth decreed that each member should search for a worthy person to succeed him at his own demise. The fifth stated that the letters "R.C." should be their seal, mark, and character from that time onward. The sixth specified that the Fraternity should remain unknown to the world for a period of one hundred years.
While he could have made himself famous had he cared to commercialize his knowledge, he preferred the companionship of God to the esteem of men.
After two years in Fez, C.R.C. sailed for Spain, carrying with him many treasures, among them rare plants and animals accumulated during his wanderings. He fondly hoped that the learned men of Europe would receive with gratitude the rare intellectual and material treasures which he had brought for their consideration. Instead he encountered only ridicule, for the so-called wise were afraid to admit their previous ignorance lest their prestige be impaired.
In order to assist in bringing about the reformation, a mysterious person called "The Highly Illuminated Father C.R.C.," a German by birth, descended of a noble family, but himself a poor man, instituted the "Secret Society of the Rose Cross."
Though robes and ornaments augmented the respect and veneration of the Israelites for their High Priest, such trappings meant nothing to Jehovah. Therefore, before entering the Holy of Holies, the High Priest removed his earthly finery and entered into the presence of the Lord God of Israel unclothed. There he could be robed only in his own virtues, and his spirituality must adorn him as a garment.
The ancients believed that the spiritual nature escaping from the body passed upward through the crown of the head; therefore, the flowerlike calyx, or cup, symbolized also the spiritual consciousness.
In the reverse side of the Essen, or breastplate, was a pocket containing mysterious objects--the Urim and Thummim. Aside from the fact that they were used in divination, little is now known about these objects. Some writers contend that they were small stones (resembling the fetishes still revered by certain aboriginal peoples) which the Israelites had brought with them out of Egypt because of their belief that they possessed divine power. Others believe that the Urim and Thummim were in the form of dice, used for deciding events by being cast upon the ground. A few have maintained that they were merely sacred names, written on plates of gold and carried as talismans. "According to some, the Urim and the Thummim signify 'lights and perfections,' or 'light and truth' which last present a striking analogy to the. two figures of Re (Ra) and Themi in the breastplate worn by the Egyptians." (Gardner's The Faiths of the World.)
The number twelve frequently occurs among ancient peoples, who in nearly every case had a pantheon consisting of twelve demigods and goddesses presided over by The Invincible One, who was Himself subject to the Incomprehensible All-Father. This use of the number twelve is especially noted in the Jewish and Christian writings. The twelve prophets, the twelve patriarchs, the twelve tribes, and the twelve Apostles--each group has a certain occult significance, for each refers to the Divine Duodecimo, or Twelvefold Deity, whose emanations are manifested in the tangible created Universe through twelve individualized channels.
The bull, being symbolic of earthiness, represented his own gross constitution which must be burned up by the fire of his Divinity. (The sacrificing of beasts, and in some cases human beings, upon the altars of the pagans was the result of their ignorance concerning the fundamental principle underlying sacrifice. They did not realize that their offerings must come from within their own natures in order to be acceptable.)
There is no doubt that the Tabernacle, its furnishings and ceremonials, when considered esoterically, are analogous to the structure, organs, and functions of the human body.
The Tabernacle was always laid out with the long sides facing north and south and the short sides facing east and west, with the entrance to the east, thus showing the influence of primitive sun worship.
The Ark of the Covenant itself was an adaptation of the Egyptian Ark, even to the kneeling figures upon its lid. Bas-reliefs on the Temple of Philæ show Egyptian priests carrying their Ark--which closely resembled the Ark of the Jews--upon their shoulders by means of staves like those described in Exodus.
As the rooster was sacred to the gods and the sacrifice of this bird accompanied a candidate's introduction into the Mysteries, Socrates implied that he was about to take his great initiation.
Socrates subtly reminded his disciples that Death was, in reality, the great initiation, for his last words were: "Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?" (As the rooster was sacred to the gods and the sacrifice of this bird accompanied a candidate's introduction into the Mysteries, Socrates implied that he was about to take his great initiation.)
The modern world seems to have forgotten the existence of those unwritten teachings which explained satisfactorily the apparent contradictions of the written Scriptures, nor does it remember that the pagans appointed their two-faced Janus as custodian of the key to the Temple of Wisdom. Janus has been metamorphosed into St. Peter, so often symbolized as holding in his hand the key to the gate of heaven. The gold and silver keys of "God's Vicar on Earth," the Pope, symbolizes this "secret doctrine" which, when properly understood, unlocks the treasure chest of the Christian and Jewish Qabbalah.
While the greatest, minds of the Jewish and Christian worlds have realized that the Bible is a book of allegories, few seem to have taken the trouble to investigate its symbols and parables. When Moses instituted his Mysteries, he is said to have given to a chosen few initiates certain oral teachings which could never be written but were to be preserved from one generation to the next by word-of-mouth transmission. Those instructions were in the form of philosophical keys, by means of which the allegories were made to reveal their hidden significance. These mystic keys to their sacred writings were called by the Jews the Qabbalah (Cabala, Kaballah).
It is not strange that the erudite Moses, initiated in Egypt, should teach the Jews a philosophy containing the more important principles of Egyptian esotericism. The religions of Egypt at the time of the Israelitic captivity were far older than even the Egyptians themselves realized. Histories were difficult to compile in those days, and the Egyptians were satisfied to trace their race back to a mythological period when the gods themselves walked the earth and with their own power established the Double Empire of the Nile. The Egyptians did not dream that these divine progenitors were the Atlanteans, who, forced to abandon their seven islands because of volcanic cataclysms, had immigrated into Egypt--then an Atlantean colony--where they established a great philosophic and literary center of civilization which was later to influence profoundly the religions and science of unnumbered races and peoples. Today Egypt is forgotten, but things Egyptian will always be remembered and revered. Egypt is dead--yet it lives immortal in its philosophy, and architectonics.
While this noted scholar [Thomas Inman] undoubtedly had much evidence to support his belief, it seems that this statement is somewhat too sweeping in character. It is apparently based upon the fact that Thomas Inman doubted the historical existence of Moses. This doubt was based upon the etymological resemblance of the word Moses to an ancient name for the sun. As the result of these deductions, Inman sought to prove that the Lawgiver of Israel was merely another form of the omnipresent solar myth. While Inman demonstrated that by transposing two of the ancient letters the word Moses (משה) became Shemmah (שמה), an appellation of the celestial globe, he seems to have overlooked the fact that in the ancient Mysteries the initiates were often given names synonymous with the sun, to symbolize the fact that the redemption and regeneration of the solar power had been achieved within their own natures. It is far more probable that the man whom we know as Moses was an accredited representative of the secret schools, laboring--as many other emissaries have labored--to instruct primitive races in the mysteries of their immortal souls.
THERE is no doubt that much of the material recorded in the first five books of the Old Testament is derived from the initiatory rituals of the Egyptian Mysteries. The priests of Isis were deeply versed in occult lore, and the Israelites during their captivity in Egypt learned from them many things concerning the significance of Divinity and the manner of worshiping It. The authorship of the first five books of the Old Testament is generally attributed to Moses, but whether or not he was the actual writer of them is a matter of controversy. There is considerable evidence to substantiate the hypothesis that the Pentateuch was compiled at a much later date, from oral traditions. Concerning the authorship of these books, Thomas Inman makes a rather startling statement: "It is true that we have books which purport to be the books of Moses; so there are, or have been, books purporting to be written by Homer, Orpheus, Enoch, Mormon, and Junius; yet the existence of the writings, and the belief that they were written by those whose name they bear, are no real evidences of the men or the genuineness of the works called by their names. It is true also that Moses is spoken of occasionally in the time of the early Kings of Jerusalem; but it is clear that these passages are written by a late hand, and have been introduced into the places where they are found, with the definite intention of making it appear that the lawgiver was known to David and Solomon." (See Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names.)
In its symbolism chess is the most significant of all games. It has been called "the royal game"--the pastime of kings. Like the Tarot cards, the chessmen represent the elements of life and philosophy. The game was played in India and China long before its introduction into Europe. East Indian princes were wont to sit on the balconies of their palaces and play chess with living men standing upon a checkerboard pavement of black and white marble in the courtyard below. It is popularly believed that the Egyptian Pharaohs played chess, but an examination of their sculpture and illuminations has led to the conclusion that the Egyptian game was a form of draughts. In China, chessmen are often carved to represent warring dynasties, as the Manchu and the Ming. The chessboard consists of 64 squares alternately black and white and symbolizes the floor of the House of the Mysteries. Upon this field of existence or thought move a number of strangely carved figures, each according to fixed law. The white king is Ormuzd; the black king, Ahriman; and upon the plains of Cosmos the great war between Light and Darkness is fought through all the ages. Of the philosophical constitution of man, the kings represent the spirit; the queens the mind; the bishops the emotions; the knights the vitality; the castles, or rooks, the physical body. The pieces upon the kings' side are positive; those upon the queens' side, negative. The pawns are the sensory impulses and perceptive faculties--the eight parts of the soul. The white king and his suite symbolize the Self and its vehicles; the black king and his retinue, the not-self--the false Ego and its legion. The game of chess thus sets forth the eternal struggle of each part of man's compound nature against the shadow of itself. The nature of each of the chessmen is revealed by the way in which it moves; geometry is the key to their interpretation. For example: The castle (the body) moves on the square; the bishop (the emotions) moves on the slant; the king, being the spirit, cannot be captured, but loses the battle when so surrounded that it cannot escape.
The court cards contain a number of important Masonic symbols. Nine are full face and three are profile. Here is the broken "Wheel of the Law," signifying the nine months of the prenatal epoch and the three degrees of spiritual unfoldment necessary to produce the perfect man. The four armed kings are the Egyptian Ammonian Architects who gouged out the universe with knives. They are also the cardinal signs of the zodiac. The four queens, carrying eight-petaled flowers symbolic of the Christ, are the fixed signs of the zodiac. The four jacks, two of whom bear acacia sprigs--the jack of hearts in his hand, the jack of clubs in his hat-are the four common signs of the zodiac. It should be noted also that the court cards of the spade suit will not look upon the pip in the corner of the card but face away from it as though fearing this emblem of death. The Grand Master of the Order of the Cards is the king of clubs, who carries the orb as emblematic of his dignity.
Modern playing cards are the minor trumps of the Tarot, from each suit of which the page, or valet, has been eliminated, leaving 13 cards. Even in its abridged form, however, the modern deck is of profound symbolic importance, for its arrangement is apparently in accord with the divisions of the year. The two colors, red and black, represent the two grand divisions of the year--that during which the sun is north of the equator and that during which it is south of the equator. The four suits represent the seasons, the ages of the ancient Greeks, and the Yugas of the Hindus. The twelve court cards are the signs of the zodiac arranged in triads of a Father, a Power, and a Mind according to the upper section of the Bembine Table. The ten pip cards of each suit represent the Sephirothic trees existing in each of the four worlds (the suits). The 13 cards of each suit are the 13 lunar months in each year, and the 52 cards of the deck are the 52 weeks in the year. Counting the number of pips and reckoning the jacks, queens, and kings as 11, 12, and 13 respectively, the sum for the 52 cards is 364. If the joker be considered as one point, the result is 365, or the number of days in the year. Milton Pottenger believed that the United States of America was laid out according to the conventional deck of playing cards, and that the government will ultimately consist of 52 States administered by a 53rd undenominated division, the District of Columbia.
The four suits of the minor trumps represent also the major divisions of society: cups are the priesthood, swords the military, coins the tradesmen, and rods the farming class.
The Tarot cards were entrusted by the illumined hierophants of the Mysteries into the keeping of the foolish and the ignorant, thus becoming playthings--in many instances even instruments of vice. Man's evil habits therefore actually became the unconscious perpetuators of his philosophical precepts. "We must admire the wisdom of the Initiates," writes Papus, "who utilized vice and made it produce more beneficial results than virtue." Does not this act of the ancient priests itself afford proof that the entire mystery of the Tarot is wrapped up in the symbolism of its zero card? If knowledge was thus entrusted to fools, should it not be sought for in this card?
The Tarot cards must be considered (1) as separate and complete hieroglyphs, each representing a distinct principle, law, power, or element in Nature; (2) in relation to each other as the effect of one agent operating upon another; and (3) as vowels and consonants of a philosophic alphabet. The laws governing all phenomena are represented by the symbols upon the Tarot cards, whose numerical values are equal to the numerical equivalents of the phenomena. As every structure consists of certain elemental parts, so the Tarot cards represent the components of the structure of philosophy. Irrespective of the science or philosophy with which the student is working, the Tarot cards can be identified with the essential constituents of his subject, each card thus being related to a specific part according to mathematical and philosophical laws. "An imprisoned person," writes Eliphas Levi, "with no other book than the Tarot, if he knew how to use it, could in a few years acquire universal knowledge, and would be able to speak on all subjects with unequalled learning and inexhaustible eloquence. " (See Transcendental Magic.)
Through the Gypsies the Tarot cards may be traced back to the religious symbolism of the ancient Egyptians. In his remarkable work, The Gypsies, Samuel Roberts presents ample proof of their Egyptian origin. In one place he writes: "When Gypsies originally arrived in England is very uncertain. They are first noticed in our laws, by several statutes against them in the reign of Henry VIII.; in which they are described as 'an outlandish people, calling themselves Egyptians,--who do not profess any craft or trade, but go about in great numbers, * * *.'"
For some inexplicable reason, however, religion has ever regarded intellectualism--in fact every form of knowledge--as fatal to man's spiritual growth.
The Christian Church is fundamentally opposed to the theory of marriage, claiming that the highest degree of spirituality is achievable only by those preserving the virginal state. This concept seemingly originated among certain sects of the early Gnostic Christians, who taught that to propagate the human species was to increase and perpetuate the power of the Demiurgus; for the lower world was looked upon as an evil fabrication created to ensnare the souls of all born into it--hence it was a crime to assist in bringing souls to earth. When, therefore, the unfortunate father or mother shall stand before the Final Tribunal, all their offspring will also appear and accuse them of being the cause of those miseries attendant upon physical existence. This view is strengthened by the allegory of Adam and Eve, whose sin through which humanity has been brought low is universally admitted to have been concerned with the mystery of generation. Mankind, owing to Father Adam its physical existence, regards its progenitor as the primary cause of its misery; and in the judgment Day, rising up as a mighty progeny, will accuse its common paternal ancestor.
Exactly what is to be inferred by the division of the sexes as symbolically described in Genesis is a much-debated question. That man was primarily androgynous is quite universally conceded and it is a reasonable presumption that he will ultimately regain this bisexual state. As to the manner in which this will be accomplished two opinions are advanced. One school of thought affirms that the human soul was actually divided into two parts (male and female) and that man remains an unperfected creature until these parts are reunited through the emotion which man calls love. From this concept has grown the much-abused doctrine of "soul mates" who must quest through the ages until the complementary part of each severed soul is discovered. The modern concept of marriage is to a certain degree founded upon this ideal.
According to the other school, the so-called division of the sexes resulted from suppression of one pole of the androgynous being in order that the vital energies manifesting through it might be diverted to development of the rational faculties. From this point of view man is still actually androgynous and spiritually complete, but in the material world the feminine part of man's nature and the masculine part of woman's nature are quiescent. Through spiritual unfoldment and knowledge imparted by the Mysteries, however, the latent element in each nature is gradually brought into activity and ultimately the human being thus regains sexual equilibrium. By this theory woman is elevated from the position of being man's errant part to one of complete equality. From this point of view, marriage is regarded as a companionship in which two complete individualities manifesting opposite polarities are brought into association that each may thereby awaken the qualities latent in the other and thus assist in the attainment of individual completeness. The first theory may be said to regard marriage as an end; the second as a means to an end. The deeper schools of philosophy have leaned toward the latter as more adequately acknowledging the infinite potentialities of divine completeness in both aspects of creation.
The red dirt from which the Adamic man was fashioned may signify fire, particularly since Adam is related to the Yod, or fire flame, which is the first letter of the sacred name Jehovah.
The word ADM signifies a species or race and only for lack of proper understanding has Adam been considered as an individual. As the Macrocosm, Adam is the gigantic Androgyne, even the Demiurgus; as the Microcosm, he is the chief production of the Demiurgus and within the nature of the Microcosm the Demiurgus established all the qualities and powers which He Himself possessed. The Demiurgus, however, did not possess immortality and, therefore, could not bestow it upon Adam. According to legend, the Demiurgus strove to keep man from learning the incompleteness of his Maker. The Adamic man consequently partook of the qualities and characteristics of the angels who were the ministers of the Demiurgus. It was affirmed by the Gnostic Christians that the redemption of humanity was assured through the descent of Nous (Universal Mind), who was a great spiritual being superior to the Demiurgus and who, entering into the constitution of man, conferred conscious immortality upon the Demiurgic fabrications.
Philosophically, Adam may be regarded as representative of the full spiritual nature of man--androgynous and nor subject to decay. Of this fuller nature the mortal man has little comprehension. Just as spirit contains matter within itself and is both the source and ultimate of the state denominated matter, so Eve represents the lower, or mortal, portion that is taken out of, or has temporal existence in the greater and fuller spiritual creation. Being representative of the inferior part of the individual, Eve is the temptress who, conspiring with the serpent of mortal knowledge, caused Adam to sink into a trancelike condition in which he was unconscious of his own higher Self. When Adam seemingly awoke, he actually sank into sleep, for he no longer was in the spirit but in the body; division having taken place within him, the true Adam rested in Paradise while his lesser part incarnated in a material organism (Eve) and wandered in the darkness of mortal existence.
According to the Isarim, the secret doctrine of Israel taught the existence of four Adams, each dwelling in one of the four Qabbalistic worlds. The first, or heavenly, Adam dwelt alone in the Atziluthic sphere and within his nature existed all spiritual and material potentialities. The second Adam resided in the sphere of Briah. Like the first Adam, this being was androgynous and the tenth division of its body (its heel, Malchuth) corresponded to the church of Israel that shall bruise the serpent's head. The third Adam--likewise androgynous--was clothed in a body of light and abode in the sphere of Yetzirah. The fourth Adam was merely the third Adam after the fall into the sphere of Assiah, at which time the spiritual man took upon himself the animal shell or coat of skins. The fourth Adam was still considered as a single individual, though division had taken place within his nature and two shells or physical bodies existed, in one of which was incarnated the masculine and in the other the feminine potency. (For further details consult Isaac Myer.)
Various schools of philosophy, both Jewish and Gentile, have offered explanations erudite and otherwise of the identity of Adam. In this primordial man the Neo-Platonists recognized the Platonic Idea of humanity--the archetype or pattern of the genus homo. Philo Judæus considered Adam to represent the human mind, which could understand (and hence give names to) the creatures about it, but could not comprehend (and hence left nameless) the mystery of its own nature. Adam was also likened to the Pythagorean monad which by virtue of its state of perfect unity could dwell in the Edenic sphere. When through a process akin to fission the monad became the duad--the proper symbol of discord and delusion--the creature thus formed was exiled from its celestial home. Thus the twofold man was driven from the Paradise belonging to the undivided creation and cherubim and a flaming sword were placed on guard at the gates of the Causal World. Consequently, only after the reestablishment of unity within himself can man regain his primal spiritual state.
Consider in thoughtful silence the startling use of pronouns in the above extract from "the most perfect example of English literature." When the plural and androgynous Hebrew word Elohim was translated into the singular and sexless word God, the opening chapters of Genesis were rendered comparatively meaningless. It may have been feared that had the word been correctly translated as "the male and female creative agencies," the Christians would have been justly accused of worshiping a plurality of gods in the face of their repeated claims to monotheism! The plural form of the pronouns us and our reveals unmistakably, however, the pantheistic nature of Divinity. Further, the androgynous constitution of the Elohim (God) is disclosed in the next verse, where he (referring to God) is said to have created man in his own image, male and female; or, more properly, as the division of the sexes had not yet taken place, male-female. This is a deathblow to the time-honored concept that God is a masculine potency as portrayed by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Elohim then order these androgynous beings to be fruitful. Note that neither the masculine nor the feminine principle as yet existed in a separate state! And, lastly, note the word "replenish." The prefix re denotes "back to an original or former state or position," or "repetition or restoration." (See Webster's International Dictionary, 1926.) This definite reference to a humanity existing prior to the "creation of man" described in Genesis must be evident to the most casual reader of Scripture.
Among theological scholars there is a growing conviction that the hitherto accepted translations of the Scriptural writings do not adequately express the spirit of the original documents.
"After the first copy of the Book of God," writes H. P. Blavatsky, "has been edited and launched on the world by Hilkiah, this copy disappears, and Ezra has to make a new Bible, which Judas Maccabeus finishes; * * * when it was copied from the horned letters into square letters, it was corrupted beyond recognition; * * * the Masorah completed the work of destruction; finally, we have a text, not 900 years old, abounding with omissions, interpolations, and premeditated perversions." (See Isis Unveiled.)
Prof. Crawford Howell Toy of Harvard notes: "Manuscripts were copied and recopied by scribes who not only sometimes made errors in letters and words, but permitted themselves to introduce new material into the text, or to combine in one manuscript, without mark of division, writings composed by different men; instances of these sorts of procedure are found especially in Micah and Jeremiah, and the groups of prophecies which go under the names of Isaiah and Zachariah." (See Judaism and Christianity.)
The books of the New Testament--particularly those attributed to St. John--contain many examples of its use. Nicephorus Callistus declared the Gospel according to St. John to have been discovered in a cavern under the Temple at Jerusalem, the volume having been secreted "long anterior to the Christian æra." The existence of interpolated material in the fourth Gospel substantiates the belief that the work was originally written without any specific reference to the man Jesus, the statements therein accredited to Him being originally mystical discourses delivered by the personification of the Universal Mind. The remaining Johannine writings--the Epistles and the Apocalypse--are enshrouded by a similar veil of mystery.
The hopeless confusion of divine principles with the allegorical figures created to represent them to the limited faculties of the uninitiated has resulted in the most atrocious misconceptions of spiritual truths.
It is also extremely significant that by inserting the letter ש, Shin, in the middle of the name Jehovah, the word Jehoshua, or Jesus, is formed thus: יהשוה
The true import of the central pillar [of the Sephiroth Tree] is equilibrium. It demonstrates how the Deity always manifests by emanating poles of expression from the midst of Itself but remaining free from the illusion of polarity. If the numbers of the four Sephiroth connected by this column be added together (1 +6 +9 + 10), the sum is 26, the number of Jehovah.
The six powers of Microprosophus flow from and are contained in their own source, which is Binah, the Mother of the Lesser Adam. These constitute the spheres of the sacred planets; their name is Elohim, and they move upon the face of the deep.
From this eternal and ancient androgyne--Kether--come forth Chochmah, the great Father, and Binah, the great Mother. These two are usually referred to as Abba and Aima respectively--the first male and the first female, the prototypes of sex. These correspond to the first two letters of the sacred name, Jehovah, יהוה, IHVH. The Father is the י, or I, and the Mother is the ה, or H.
Microprosophus, or the Lesser Face, is composed of the six Sephiroth--Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netsah, Hod, and Jesod. The Microprosophus is commonly called the Lesser Adam, or Zauir Anpin, whereas the Macroprosophus, or Superior Adam, is Arikh Anpin. The Lesser Face is properly symbolized by the six-pointed star or interlaced triangles of Zion and also by the six faces of the cube. It represents the directions north, east, south, west, up, and down, and also the first six days of Creation. In his list of the parts of the Microprosophus, MacGregor-Mathers includes Binah as the first and superior part of the Lesser Adam, thus making his constitution septenary. If Microprosophus be considered as sexpartite, then his globes (Sephiroth) are analogous to the six days of Creation, and the tenth globe, Malchuth, to the Sabbath of rest.
Eliphas Levi declared that by arranging the Tarot cards according to a definite order man could discover all that is knowable concerning his God, his universe, and himself. When the ten numbers which pertain to the globes (Sephiroth) are combined with the 22 letters relating to the channels, the resultant sum is 32--the number peculiar to the Qabbalistic Paths of Wisdom. These Paths, occasionally referred to as the 32 teeth in the mouth of the Vast Countenance or as the 32 nerves that branch out from the Divine Brain, are analogous to the first 32 degrees of Freemasonry, which elevate the candidate to the dignity of a Prince of the Royal Secret. Qabbalists also consider it extremely significant that in the original Hebrew Scriptures the name of God should occur 32 times in the first chapter of Genesis. (In the English translations of the Bible the name appears 33 times.) In the mystic analysis of the human body, according to the Rabbins, 32 spinal segments lead upward to the Temple of Wisdom--the skull.
The Sephirothic Tree consists of ten globes of luminous splendor arranged in three vertical columns and connected by 22 channels or paths. The ten globes are called the Sephiroth and to them are assigned the numbers i to 10. The three columns are called Mercy (on the right), Severity (on the left), and, between them, Mildness, as the reconciling power. The columns may also be said to represent Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, which form the triune support of the universe, for it is written that the foundation of all things is the Three. The 22 channels are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and to them are assigned the major trumps of the Tarot deck of symbolic cards.
The Qabbalah is the priceless heritage of Israel, but each year those who comprehend its true principles become fewer in number. The Jew of today, if he lacks a realization of the profundity of his people's doctrines, is usually permeated with that most dangerous form of ignorance, modernism, and is prone to regard the Qabbalah either as an evil to be shunned like the plague or as a ridiculous superstition which has survived the black magic of the Dark Ages. Yet without the key which the Qabbalah supplies, the spiritual mysteries of both the Old and the New Testament must remain unsolved by Jew and Gentile alike.
THE Tree of the Sephiroth may be considered an invaluable compendium of the secret philosophy which originally was the spirit and soul of Chasidism.
The fifty gates [of Ain Soph] reveal a certain evolutionary process and it was declared by the Rabbins that he who would attain to the highest degree of understanding must pass sequentially through all of these orders of life, each of which constituted a gate in that the spirit, passing from the lower to the higher, found in each more responsive organism new avenues of self-expression.
By placing man himself at the point D 10, his true constitution is revealed. He exists upon four worlds, only one of which is visible. It is then made evident that his parts and members upon the material plane are, by analogy, hierarchies and intelligences in the higher worlds. Here, again, the law of interpenetration is evidenced. Although within man is the entire universe (the 43 spheres interpenetrating D 10), he is ignorant of its existence because he cannot exercise control over that which is superior to or greater than himself. Nevertheless, all these higher spheres exercise control over him, as his functions and activities demonstrate. If they did not, he would be an inert mass of substance. Death is merely the result of deflecting the life impulses of the higher rings away from the lower body.
The control of the transubstantial rings over their own material reflection is called life, and the spirit of man is, in reality, a name given to this great host of intelligences, which are focused upon substance through a point called the ego, established in the midst of themselves. X 1 is the outside boundary of the human Auric Egg, and the entire diagram becomes a cross section of the constitution of man, or a cross section of the Kosmic constitution, if correlated with the universe. By the secret culture of the Qabbalistic School, man is taught how to climb the rings (unfold his consciousness) until at last he returns to AIN SOPH. The process by which this is accomplished is called the Fifty Gates of Light. Kircher, the Jesuit Qabbalist, declares that Moses passed through forty-nine of the gates, but that Christ alone passed the fiftieth gate.
Pascal said that God is a circle, of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere. But how is one to imagine a circle apart from its circumference? The Zohar adopts the antithesis of this paradoxical image and in respect of the circle of Pascal would say rather that the circumference is everywhere, while that which is nowhere is the center.
The continual motion of AIN SOPH towards the center of Itself resulted in the establishment of the dot in the circle. The dot was called God, as being the supreme individualization of the Universal Essence.
As the universes in Nature are formed from powers latent in the Kosmic Egg, so everything used by man in all his incarnations throughout the kingdoms of Nature is drawn from the latent powers within his Auric Egg. Man never passes from this egg; it remains even after death. His births, deaths, and rebirths all take place within it, and it cannot be broken until the lesser day "Be With Us," when mankind--like the universe--is liberated from the Wheel of Necessity.
THE Qabbalists conceive of the Supreme Deity as an Incomprehensible Principle to be discovered only through the process of eliminating, in order, all its cognizable attributes. That which remains--when every knowable thing has been removed--is AIN SOPH, the eternal state of Being. Although indefinable, the Absolute permeates all space. Abstract to the degree of inconceivability, AIN SOPH is the unconditioned state of all things. Substances, essences, and intelligences are manifested out of the inscrutability of AIN SOPH, but the Absolute itself is without substance, essence, or intelligence. AIN SOPH may be likened to a great field of rich earth out of which rises a myriad of plants, each different in color, formation, and fragrance, yet each with its roots in the same dark loam--which, however, is unlike any of the forms nurtured by it. The "plants" are universes, gods, and man, all nourished by AIN SOPH and all with their source in one definitionless essence; all with their spirits, souls, and bodies fashioned from this essence, and doomed, like the plant, to return to the black ground--AIN SOPH, the only Immortal--whence they came.
The Qabbalists divided the uses of their sacred science into five sections. The Natural Qabbalah was used solely to assist the investigator in his study of Nature's mysteries. The Analogical Qabbalah was formulated to exhibit the relationship which exists between all things in Nature, and it revealed to the wise that all creatures and substances were one in essence, and that man--the Little Universe--was a replica in miniature of God--the Great Universe. The Contemplative Qabbalah was evolved for the purpose of revealing through the higher intellectual faculties the mysteries of the celestial spheres. By its aid the abstract reasoning faculties cognized the measureless planes of infinity and learned to know the creatures existing within them. The Astrological Qabbalah instructed those who studied its lore in the power, magnitude, and actual substance of the sidereal bodies, and also revealed the mystical constitution of the planet itself. The fifth, or Magical Qabbalah, was studied by such as desired to gain control over the demons and subhuman intelligences of the invisible worlds. It was also highly valued as a method of healing the sick by talismans, amulets, charms, and invocations.
The words Qabbalism and Hermeticism are now considered as synonymous terms covering all the arcana and esotericism of antiquity.
Few realize the influence exerted by Qabbalism over mediæval thought, both Christian and Jewish. It taught that there existed within the sacred writings a hidden doctrine which was the key to those writings. This is symbolized by the crossed keys upon the papal crest. Scores of learned minds began to search for those arcane truths by which the race should be redeemed; and that their labor was not without its reward, their subsequent writings have demonstrated.
The origin of Qabbalism is a legitimate subject for controversy. Early initiates of the Qabbalistic Mysteries believed that its principles were first taught by God to a school of His angels before the fall of man. The angels later communicated the secrets to Adam, so that through the knowledge gained from an understanding of its principles fallen humanity might regain its lost a estate. The Angel Raziel was dispatched from heaven to instruct Adam in the mysteries of the Qabbalah. Different angels were employed to initiate the succeeding patriarchs in this difficult science. Tophiel was the teacher of Shem, Raphael of Isaac, Metatron of Moses, and Michael of David. (See Faiths of the World.)
According to certain Jewish mystics, Moses ascended Mount Sinai three times, remaining in the presence of God forty days each time. During the first forty days the tables of the written law were delivered to the prophet; during the second forty days he received the soul of the law; and during the last forty days God instructed him in the mysteries of the Qabbalah, the soul of the soul of the law. Moses concealed in the first four books of the Pentateuch the secret instructions that God had given him, and for centuries students of Qabbalism. have sought therein the secret doctrine of Israel. As the spiritual nature of man is concealed in his physical body, so the unwritten law--the Mishna and the Qabbalah--is concealed within the written teachings of the Mosaic code. Qabbalah means the secret or hidden tradition, the unwritten law, and according to an early Rabbi, it was delivered to man in order that through the aid of its abstruse principles he might learn to understand the mystery of both the universe about him and the universe within him.
Hebrew theology was divided into three distinct parts. The first was the law, the second was the soul of the law, and the third was the soul of the soul of the law. The law was taught to all the children of Israel; the Mishna, or the soul of the law, was revealed to the Rabbins and teachers; but the Qabbalah, the soul of the soul of the law, was cunningly concealed, and only the highest initiates among the Jews were instructed in its secret principles.
The so-called "new discoveries" of modern science are often only rediscoveries of secrets well known to the priests and philosophers of ancient pagandom. Man's inhumanity to man has resulted in the loss of records and formula: which, had they been preserved, would have solved many of the greatest problems of this civilization. With sword and firebrand, races obliterate the records of their predecessors, and then inevitably meet with an untimely fate for need of the very wisdom they have destroyed.
The sect of the Assassins, or the Yezidees as they are more generally known, demonstrated a rather interesting aspect of the drug problem. In the eleventh century this order, by capturing the fortress of Mount Alamont, established itself at Irak. Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the order, known as the "Old Man of the Mountain, " is suspected of having controlled his followers by the use of narcotics. Hassan made his followers believe that they were in Paradise, where they would be forever if they implicitly obeyed him while they were alive. De Quincey, in his Confessions of an Opium Eater, describes the peculiar psychological effects produced by this product of the poppy, and the use of a similar drug may have given rise to the idea of Paradise which filled the minds of the Yezidees.
When the standards of the pagans became corrupted, a division took place in the Mysteries. The band of truly enlightened ones separated themselves from the rest and, preserving the most important of their secrets, vanished without leaving a trace. The rest slowly drifted, like rudderless ships, on the rocks of degeneracy and disintegration. Some of the less important of the secret formulæ fell into the hands of the profane, who perverted them--as in the case of the Bacchanalia, during which drugs were mixed with wine and became the real cause of the orgies.
The Mysteries taught that during the higher degrees of initiation the gods themselves took part in the instruction of candidates or at least were present, which was in itself a benediction. As the deities dwelt in the invisible worlds and came only in their spiritual bodies, it was impossible for the neophyte to cognize them without the assistance of drugs which stimulated the clairvoyant center of his consciousness (probably the pineal gland). Many initiates in the ancient Mysteries stated emphatically that they had conversed with the immortals, and had beheld the gods.
According to the Hermetists, disease could be prevented or successfully combated in seven ways. First, by spells and invocations, in which the physician ordered the evil spirit causing the disease to depart from the patient. This procedure was probably based on the Biblical account of the man possessed of devils whom Jesus healed by commanding the devils to leave the man and enter into a herd of swine. Sometimes the evil spirits entered a patient at the bidding of someone desiring to injure him. In these cases the physician commanded the spirits to return to the one who sent them. It is recorded that in some instances the evil spirits departed through the mouth in the form of clouds of smoke; sometimes from the nostrils as flames. It is even averred that the spirits might depart in the form of birds and insects.
The second method of healing was by vibration. The inharmonies of the bodies were neutralized by chanting spells and intoning the sacred names or by playing upon musical instruments and singing. Sometimes articles of various colors were exposed to the sight of the sick, for the ancients recognized, at least in part, the principle of color therapeutics, now in the process of rediscovery.
The third method was with the aid of talismans, charms, and amulets. The ancients believed that the planets controlled the functions of the human body and that by making charms out of different metals they could combat the malignant influences of the various stars. Thus, a person who is anæmic lacks iron. Iron was believed to be under the control of Mars. Therefore, in order to bring the influence of Mars to the sufferer, around his neck was hung a talisman made of iron and bearing upon it certain secret instructions reputed to have the power of invoking the spirit of Mars. If there was too much iron in the system, the patient was subjected to the influence of a talisman composed of the metal corresponding to some planet having an antipathy to Mars. This influence would then offset the Mars energy and thus aid in restoring normality.
The fourth method was by the aid of herbs and simples. While they used metal talismans, the majority of the ancient physicians did not approve of mineral medicine in any form for internal use. Herbs were their favorite remedies. Like the metals, each herb was assigned to one of the planets. Having diagnosed by the stars the sickness and its cause, the doctors then administered the herbal antidote.
The fifth method of healing disease was by prayer. All ancient peoples believed in the compassionate intercession of the Deity for the alleviation of human suffering. Paracelsus said that faith would cure all disease. Few persons, however, possess a sufficient degree of faith.
The sixth method--which was prevention rather than cure--was regulation of the diet and daily habits of life. The individual, by avoiding the things which caused illness, remained well. The ancients believed that health was the normal state of man; disease was the result of man's disregard of the dictates of Nature.
The seventh method was "practical medicine," consisting chiefly of bleeding, purging, and similar lines of treatment. These procedures, while useful in moderation, were dangerous in excess. Many a useful citizen has died twenty-five or fifty years before his time as the result of drastic purging or of having all the blood drained out of his body.
Paracelsus used all seven methods of treatment, and even his worst enemies admitted that he accomplished results almost miraculous in character. Near his old estate in Hohenheim, the dew falls very heavily at certain seasons of the year, and Paracelsus discovered that by gathering the dew under certain configurations of the planets he obtained a water possessing marvelous medicinal virtue, for it had absorbed the properties of the heavenly bodies.
According to the Hermetic philosophers, there were seven primary causes of disease. The first was evil spirits. These were regarded as creatures born of degenerate actions, subsisting on the vital energies of those to whom they attached themselves. The second cause was a derangement of the spiritual nature and the material nature: these two, failing to coordinate, produced mental and physical subnormality. The third was an unhealthy or abnormal mental attitude. Melancholia, morbid emotions, excess of feeling, such as passions, lusts, greeds, and hates, affected the mumia, from which they reacted into the physical body, where they resulted in ulcers, tumors, cancers, fevers, and tuberculosis. The ancients viewed the disease germ as a unit of mumia which had been impregnated with the emanations from evil influences which it had contacted. In other words, germs were minute creatures born out of man's evil thoughts and actions.
The fourth cause of disease was what the Orientals called Karma, that is, the Law of Compensation, which demanded that the individual pay in full for the indiscretions and delinquencies of the past. A physician had to be very careful how he interfered with the workings of this law, lest he thwart the plan of Eternal justice. The fifth cause was the motion and aspects of the heavenly bodies. The stars did not compel the sickness but rather impelled it. The Hermetists taught that a strong and wise man ruled his stars, but that a negative, weak person was ruled by them. These five causes of disease are all superphysical in nature. They must be estimated by inductive and deductive reasoning and a careful consideration of the life and temperament of the patient.
The sixth cause of disease was a misuse of faculty, organ, or function, such as overstraining a member or overtaxing the nerves. The seventh cause was the presence in the system of foreign substances, impurities, or obstructions. Under this heading must be considered diet, air, sunlight, and the presence of foreign bodies. This list does not include accidental injuries; such do not belong under the heading of disease. Frequently they are methods by which the Law of Karma expresses itself.
According to Paracelsus, in the same way that plants purify the atmosphere by accepting into their constitutions the carbon dioxid exhaled by animals and humans, so may plants and animals accept disease elements transferred to them by human beings. These lower forms of life, having organisms and needs different from man, are often able to assimilate these substances without ill effect. At other times, the plant or animal dies, sacrificed in order that the more intelligent, and consequently more useful, creature may survive. Paracelsus discovered that in either case the patient was gradually relieved of his malady. When the lower life had either completely assimilated the foreign mumia from the patient, or had itself died and disintegrated as the result of its inability to do so, complete recovery resulted. Many years of investigation were necessary to determine which herb or animal most readily accepted the mumia of each of various diseases.
The control of universal energy is virtually impossible, save through one of its vehicles (the mumia). A good example of this is food. Man does not secure nourishment from dead animal or plant organisms, but when he incorporates their structures into his own body he first gains control over the mumia, or etheric double, of the animal or plant. Having obtained this control, the human organism then diverts the flow of the archæus to its own uses. Paracelsus says: "That which constitutes life is contained in the Mumia, and by imparting the Mumia we impart life." This is the secret of the remedial properties of talismans and amulets, for the mumia of the substances of which they are composed serves as a channel to connect the person wearing them with certain manifestations of the universal vital life force.
This vital energy has its origin in the spiritual body of the earth. Every created thing has two bodies, one visible and substantial, the other invisible and transcendent. The latter consists of an ethereal counterpart of the physical form; it constitutes the vehicle of archæus, and may be called a vital body. This etheric shadow sheath is not dissipated by death, but remains until the physical form is entirely disintegrated. These "etheric doubles, "seen around graveyards, have given rise to a belief in ghosts. Being much finer in its substances than the earthly body, the etheric double is far more susceptible to impulses and inharmonies. It is derangements of this astral light body that cause much disease. Paracelsus taught that a person with a morbid mental attitude could poison his own etheric nature, and this infection, diverting the natural flow of vital life force, would later appear as a physical ailment. All plants and minerals have an invisible nature composed of this "archæus," but each manifests it in a different way.
Paracelsus was a great observationalist, and those who knew him best have called him "The Second Hermes" and "The Trismegistus of Switzerland." He traveled Europe from end to end, and may have penetrated Eastern lands while running down superstitions and ferreting out supposedly lost doctrines. From the gypsies he learned much concerning the uses of simples, and apparently from the Arabians concerning the making of talismans and the influences of the heavenly bodies. Paracelsus felt that the healing of the sick was of far greater importance than the maintaining of an orthodox medical standing, so he sacrificed what might otherwise have been a dignified medical career and at the cost of lifelong persecution bitterly attacked the therapeutic systems of his day.
Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, during the fifth century before Christ, dissociated the healing art from the other sciences of the temple and thereby established a precedent for separateness. One of the consequences is the present widespread crass scientific materialism. The ancients realized the interdependence of the sciences. The moderns do not; and as a result, incomplete systems of learning are attempting to maintain isolated individualism. The obstacles which confront present-day scientific research are largely the result of prejudicial limitations imposed by those who are unwilling to accept that which transcends the concrete perceptions of the five primary human senses.
Candidates aspiring to membership in the religious orders underwent severe tests to prove their worthiness. These ordeals were called initiations. Those who passed them successfully were welcomed as brothers by the priests and were instructed in the secret teachings. Among the ancients, philosophy, science, and religion were never considered as separate units: each was regarded as an integral part of the whole. Philosophy was scientific and religious; science was philosophic and religious; religion was philosophic and scientific. Perfect wisdom was considered unattainable save as the result of harmonizing all three of these expressions of mental and moral activity.
In his De Ente Spirituali Paracelsus writes thus of these malignant beings: "A healthy and pure person cannot become obsessed by them, because such Larvæ can only act upon men if the later make room for them in their minds. A healthy mind is a castle that cannot be invaded without the will of its master; but if they are allowed to enter, they excite the passions of men and women, they create cravings in them, they produce bad thoughts which act injuriously upon the brain; they sharpen the animal intellect and suffocate the moral sense. Evil spirits obsess only those human beings in whom the animal nature is predominating. Minds that are illuminated by the spirit of truth cannot be possessed; only those who are habitually guided by their own lower impulses may become subjected to their influences." (See Paracelsus, by Franz Hartmann.)
Differing widely from the elementals and also the incubus and succubus is the vampire, which is defined by Paracelsus as the astral body of a person either living or dead (usually the latter state). The vampire seeks to prolong existence upon the physical plane by robbing the living of their vital energies and misappropriating such energies to its own ends.
The terms incubus and succubus have been applied indiscriminately by the Church Fathers to elementals. The incubus and succubus, however, are evil and unnatural creations, whereas elementals is a collective term for all the inhabitants of the four elemental essences. According to Paracelsus, the incubus and succubus (which are male and female respectively) are parasitical creatures subsisting upon the evil thoughts and emotions of the astral body. These terms are also applied to the superphysical organisms of sorcerers and black magicians. While these larvæ are in no sense imaginary beings, they are, nevertheless, the offspring of the imagination. By the ancient sages they were recognized as the invisible cause of vice because they hover in the ethers surrounding the morally weak and continually incite them to excesses of a degrading nature. For this reason they frequent the atmosphere of the dope den, the dive, and the brothel, where they attach themselves to those unfortunates who have given themselves up to iniquity. By permitting his senses to become deadened through indulgence in habit-forming drugs or alcoholic stimulants, the individual becomes temporarily en rapport with these denizens of the astral plane. The houris seen by the hasheesh or opium addict and the lurid monsters which torment the victim of delirium tremens are examples of submundane beings, visible only to those whose evil practices are the magnet for their attraction.
As already stated, the Nature spirits are without hope of immortality, although some philosophers have maintained that in isolated cases immortality was conferred upon them by adepts and initiates who understood certain subtle principles of the invisible world. As disintegration takes place in the physical world, so it takes place in the ethereal counterpart of physical substance. Under normal conditions at death, a Nature spirit is merely resolved back into the transparent primary essence from which it was originally individualized. Whatever evolutionary growth is made is recorded solely in the consciousness of that primary essence, or element, and not in the temporarily individualized entity of the elemental. Being without man's compound organism and lacking his spiritual and intellectual vehicles, the Nature spirits are subhuman in their rational intelligence, but from their functions--limited to one element--has resulted a specialized type of intelligence far ahead of man in those lines of research peculiar to the element in which they exist.
The Christian Church gathered all the elemental entities together under the title of demon. This is a misnomer with far-reaching consequences, for to the average mind the word demon means an evil thing, and the Nature spirits are essentially no more malevolent than are the minerals, plants, and animals. Many of the early Church Fathers asserted that they had met and debated with the elementals.
The four fixed signs of the zodiac were assigned to the four kingdoms of elementals. The gnomes were said to be of the nature of Taurus; the undines, of the nature of Scorpio; the salamanders exemplified the constitution of Leo; while the sylphs manipulated the emanations of Aquarius.
One most important subdivision of the salamanders was the Acthnici. These creatures appeared only as indistinct globes. They were supposed to float over water at night and occasionally to appear as forks of flame on the masts and rigging of ships (St. Elmo's fire). The salamanders were the strongest and most powerful of the elementals, and had as their ruler a magnificent flaming spirit called Djin, terrible and awe-inspiring in appearance. The salamanders were dangerous and the sages were warned to keep away from them, as the benefits derived from studying them were often not commensurate with the price paid. As the ancients associated heat with the South, this corner of creation was assigned to the salamanders as their drone, and they exerted special influence over all beings of fiery or tempestuous temperament. In both animals and men, the salamanders work through the emotional nature by means of the body heat, the liver, and the blood stream. Without their assistance there would be no warmth.
Mediæval investigators of the Nature spirits were of the opinion that the most common form of salamander was lizard-like in shape, a foot or more in length, and visible as a glowing Urodela, twisting and crawling in the midst of the fire. Another group was described as huge flaming giants in flowing robes, protected with sheets of fiery armor. Certain mediæval authorities, among them the Abbé de Villars, held that Zarathustra (Zoroaster) was the son of Vesta (believed to have been the wife of Noah) and the great salamander Oromasis. Hence, from that time onward, undying fires have been maintained upon the Persian altars in honor of Zarathustra's flaming father.
There are many groups of undines. Some inhabit waterfalls, where they can be seen in the spray; others are indigenous to swiftly moving rivers; some have their habitat in dripping, oozing fens or marshes; while other groups dwell in clear mountain lakes. According to the philosophers of antiquity, every fountain had its nymph; every ocean wave its oceanid. The water spirits were known under such names as oreades, nereides, limoniades, naiades, water sprites, sea maids, mermaids, and potamides. Often the water nymphs derived their names from the streams, lakes, or seas in which they dwelt.
As the gnomes were limited in their function to the elements of the earth, so the undines (a name given to the family of water elementals) function in the invisible, spiritual essence called humid (or liquid) ether. In its vibratory rate this is close to the element water, and so the undines are able to control, to a great degree, the course and function of this fluid in Nature. Beauty seems to be the keynote of the water spirits. Wherever we find them pictured in art or sculpture, they abound in symmetry and grace. Controlling the water element--which has always been a feminine symbol--it is natural that the water spirits should most often be symbolized as female.
The gnomes are of various sizes--most of them much smaller than human beings, though some of them have the power of changing their stature at will. This is the result of the extreme mobility of the element in which they function. Concerning them the Abbé de Villars wrote: "The earth is filled well nigh to its center with Gnomes, people of slight stature, who are the guardians of treasures, minerals and precious stones. They are ingenious, friends of man, and easy to govern."
Just as there are many types of human beings evolving through the objective physical elements of Nature, so there are many types of gnomes evolving through the subjective ethereal body of Nature. These earth spirits work in an element so close in vibratory rate to the material earth that they have immense power over its rocks and flora, and also over the mineral elements in the animal and human kingdoms. Some, like the pygmies, work with the stones, gems, and metals, and are supposed to be the guardians of hidden treasures. They live in caves, far down in what the Scandinavians called the Land of the Nibelungen. In Wagner's wonderful opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelungen, Alberich makes himself King of the Pygmies and forces these little creatures to gather for him the treasures concealed beneath the surface of the earth.
The Nature spirits cannot be destroyed by the grosser elements, such as material fire, earth, air, or water, for they function in a rate of vibration higher than that of earthy substances. Being composed of only one element or principle (the ether in which they function), they have no immortal spirit and at death merely disintegrate back into the element from which they were originally individualized. No individual consciousness is preserved after death, for there is no superior vehicle present to contain it. Being made of but one substance, there is no friction between vehicles: thus there is little wear or tear incurred by their bodily functions, and they therefore live to great age. Those composed of earth ether are the shortest lived; those composed of air ether, the longest. The average length of life is between three hundred and a thousand years. Paracelsus maintained that they live in conditions similar to our earth environments, and are somewhat subject to disease. These creatures are thought to be incapable of spiritual development, but most of them are of a high moral character.
Paracelsus, when describing the substances which constitute the bodies of the elementals, divided flesh into two kinds, the first being that which we have all inherited through Adam. This is the visible, corporeal flesh. The second was that flesh which had not descended from Adam and, being more attenuated, was not subject to the limitations of the former. The bodies of the elementals were composed of this transubstantial flesh. Paracelsus stated that there is as much difference between the bodies of men and the bodies of the Nature spirits as there is between matter and spirit.
"Yet," he adds, "the Elementals are not spirits, because they have flesh, blood and bones; they live and propagate offspring; they cat and talk, act and sleep, &c., and consequently they cannot be properly called 'spirits.' They are beings occupying a place between men and spirits, resembling men and spirits, resembling men and women in their organization and form, and resembling spirits in the rapidity of their locomotion." (Philosophia Occulta, translated by Franz Hartmann.) Later the same author calls these creatures composita, inasmuch as the substance out of which they are composed seems to be a composite of spirit and matter. He uses color to explain the idea. Thus, the mixture of blue and red gives purple, a new color, resembling neither of the others yet composed of both. Such is the case with the Nature spirits; they resemble neither spiritual creatures nor material beings, yet are composed of the substance which we may call spiritual matter, or ether.
Paracelsus further adds that whereas man is composed of several natures (spirit, soul, mind, and body) combined in one unit, the elemental has but one principle, the ether out of which it is composed and in which it lives. The reader must remember that by ether is meant the spiritual essence of one of the four elements. There areas many ethers as there are elements and as many distinct families of Nature spirits as there are ethers. These families are completely isolated in their own ether and have no intercourse with the denizens of the other ethers; but, as man has within his own nature centers of consciousness sensitive to the impulses of all the four ethers, it is possible for any of the elemental kingdoms to communicate with him under proper conditions.
A number of authorities are of the opinion that many of the gods worshiped by the pagans were elementals, for some of these invisibles were believed to be of commanding stature and magnificent deportment.
Henry Drummond, in Natural Law in the Spiritual World, describes this process as follows: "If we analyse this material point at which all life starts, we shall find it to consist of a clear structureless, jelly-like substance resembling albumen or white of egg. It is made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Its name is protoplasm. And it is not only the structural unit with which all living bodies start in life, but with which they are subsequently built up. 'Protoplasm,' says Huxley, 'simple or nucleated, is the formal basis of all life. It is the clay of the Potter.'"
The pentagram is used extensively in black magic, but when so used its form always differs in one of three ways: The star may be broken at one point by not permitting the converging lines to touch; it may be inverted by having one point down and two up; or it may be distorted by having the points of varying lengths. When used in black magic, the pentagram is called the "sign of the cloven hoof," or the footprint of the Devil. The star with two points upward is also called the "Goat of Mendes," because the inverted star is the same shape as a goat's head. When the upright star turns and the upper point falls to the bottom, it signifies the fall of the Morning Star.
A good instance of this practice [inversion of symbols] is found in the pentagram, or five-pointed star, made of five connected lines. This figure is the time-honored symbol of the magical arts, and signifies the five properties of the Great Magical Agent, the five senses of man, the five elements of nature, the five extremities of the human body. By means of the pentagram within his own soul, man not only may master and govern all creatures inferior to himself, but may demand consideration at the hands of those superior to himself.
The black magician cannot use the symbols of white magic without bringing down upon himself the forces of white magic, which would be fatal to his schemes. He must therefore distort the hierograms so that they typify the occult fact that he himself is distorting the principles for which the symbols stand. Black magic is not a fundamental art; it is the misuse of an art. Therefore it has no symbols of its own. It merely takes the emblematic figures of white magic, and by inverting and reversing them signifies that it is left-handed.
In symbolism, an inverted figure always signifies a perverted power.
The agreement set forth above is purely ceremonial magic. In the case of black magic, it is the magician and not the demon who must sign the pact. When the black magician binds an elemental to his service, a battle of wits ensues, which the demon eventually wins. With his own blood the magician signs the pact between himself and the demon, for in the arcanum of magic it is declared that "he controls the soul who controls the blood of another." As long as the magician does not fail, the elemental will fulfil to the letter his obligation under the pact, but the demon will try in every possible way to prevent the magician from carrying out his part of the contract. When the conjurer, ensconced within his circle, has evoked the spirit he desires to control and has made known his intention, the spirit will answer somewhat as follows: "I cannot accede to your request nor fulfil it, unless after fifty years you give yourself to me, body and soul, to do with as I may please."
If the magician refuses, other terms will be discussed. The spirit may say: "I will remain in your service as long as on every Friday morning you will go forth upon the public street giving alms in the name of Lucifer. The first time you fail in this you belong to me."
If the magician still refuses, realizing that the demon will make it impossible for him to fulfil his contract, other terms will be discussed, until at last a pact is agreed upon. It may read as follows: "I hereby promise the Great Spirit Lucifuge, Prince of Demons, that each year I will bring unto him a human soul to do with as it may please him, and in return Lucifuge promises to bestow upon me the treasures of the earth and fulfil my every desire for the length of my natural life. If I fail to bring him each year the offering specified above, then my own soul shall be forfeit to him. Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . " [Invocant signs pact with his own blood.]
While the black magician at the time of signing his pact with the elemental demon maybe fully convinced that he is strong enough to control indefinitely the powers placed at his disposal, he is speedily undeceived. Before many years elapse he must turn all his energies to the problem of self-preservation. A world of horrors to which he has attuned himself by his own covetousness looms nearer every day, until he exists upon the edge of a seething maelstrom, expecting momentarily to be sucked down into its turbid depths. Afraid to die--because he will become the servant of his own demon--the magician commits crime after crime to prolong his wretched earthly existence. Realizing that life is maintained by the aid of a mysterious universal life force which is the common property of all creatures, the black magician often becomes an occult vampire, stealing this energy from others. According to mediæval superstition, black magicians turned themselves into werewolves and roamed the earth at night, attacking defenseless victims for the life force contained in their blood.
Some understanding of the intricate theory and practice of ceremonial magic may be derived from a brief consideration of its underlying premises.
First. The visible universe has an invisible counterpart, the higher planes of which are peopled by good and beautiful spirits; the lower planes, dark and foreboding, are the habitation of evil spirits and demons under the leadership of the Fallen Angel and his ten Princes.
Second. By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but the evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy.
Third. It is possible to make contracts with spirits whereby the magician becomes for a stipulated time the master of an elemental being.
Fourth. True black magic is performed with the aid of a demoniacal spirit, who serves the sorcerer for the length of his earthly life, with the understanding that after death the magician shall become the servant of his own demon. For this reason a black magician will go to inconceivable ends to prolong his physical life, since there is nothing for him beyond the grave.
These sorcerers [in Egypt] then began the systematic destruction of all keys to the ancient wisdom, so that none might have access to the knowledge necessary to reach adeptship without first becoming one of their order. They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. The masses, deprived of their birthright of understanding and groveling in ignorance, eventually became the abject slaves of the spiritual impostors. Superstition universally prevailed and the black magicians completely dominated national affairs, with the result that humanity still suffers from the sophistries of the priestcrafts of Atlantis and Egypt.
Egypt, a great center of learning and the birthplace of many arts and sciences, furnished an ideal environment for transcendental experimentation. Here the black magicians of Atlantis continued to exercise their superhuman powers until they had completely undermined and corrupted the morals of the primitive Mysteries. By establishing a sacerdotal caste they usurped the position formerly occupied by the initiates, and seized the reins of spiritual government. Thus black magic dictated the state religion and paralyzed the intellectual and spiritual activities of the individual by demanding his complete and unhesitating acquiescence in the dogma formulated by the priestcraft. The Pharaoh became a puppet in the hands of the Scarlet Council--a committee of arch-sorcerers elevated to power by the priesthood.
Both the magic mirror and the crystal ball are symbols little understood. Woe to that benighted mortal who accepts literally the stories circulated concerning them! He will discover--often at the cost of sanity and health--that sorcery and philosophy, while often confused, have nothing in common. The Persian Magi carried mirrors as an emblem of the material sphere which reflects Divinity from its every part. The crystal ball, long misused as a medium for the cultivation of psychical powers, is a threefold symbol: (1) it signifies the crystalline Universal Egg in whose transparent depths creation exists; (2) it is a proper figure of Deity previous to Its immersion in matter; (3) it signifies the ætheric sphere of the world in whose translucent essences is impressed and preserved the perfect image of all terrestrial activity.
To the zodiac the same authorities assigned the following gems and stones: To Aries the sardonyx, bloodstone, amethyst, and diamond; to Taurus the carnelian, turquoise, hyacinth, sapphire, moss agate, and emerald; to Gemini the topaz, agate, chrysoprase, crystal, and aquamarine; to Cancer the topaz, chalcedony, black onyx, moonstone, pearl, cat's-eye, crystal, and sometimes the emerald; to Leo the jasper, sardonyx, beryl, ruby, chrysolite, amber, tourmaline, sometimes the diamond; to Virgo the emerald, camelian, jade, chrysolite, and sometimes the pink jasper and hyacinth; to Libra the beryl, sardius, coral, lapis lazuli, opal, and sometimes the diamond; to Scorpio the amethyst, beryl, sardonyx, aquamarine, carbuncle, lodestone, topaz, and malachite; to Sagittarius die hyacinth, topaz, chrysolite, emerald, carbuncle, and turquoise; to Capricorn the chrysoprase, ruby, malachite, black onyx, white onyx, jet, and moonstone; to Aquarius the crystal, sapphire, garnet, zircon, and opal; to Pisces the sapphire, jasper, chrysolite, moonstone, and amethyst.
Paracelsus, Agrippa, Kircher, Lilly, and numerous other magicians and astrologers have tabulated the gems and stones corresponding to the various planets and zodiacal signs. The following list has been compiled from their writings. To the sun is assigned the carbuncle, ruby, garnet---especially the pyrope--and other fiery stones, sometimes the diamond; to the moon, the pearl, selenite, and other forms of crystal; to Saturn, the onyx, jasper, topaz, and sometimes the lapis lazuli; to Jupiter, the sapphire, emerald, and marble; to Mars, the amethyst, hyacinth, lodestone, sometimes the diamond; to Venus, the turquoise, beryl, emerald, and sometimes the pearl, alabaster, coral, and carnelian; to Mercury, the chrysolite, agate, and variegated marble.
In describing the regalia of a magician, Eliphas Levi declares that on Sunday (the day of the sun) he should carry in his right hand a golden wand, set with a ruby or chrysolite; on Monday (the day of the moon) he should wear a collar of three strands consisting of pearls, crystals, and selenites; on Tuesday (the day of Mars) he should carry a wand of magnetized steel and a ring of the same metal set with an amethyst, on Wednesday (the day of Mercury) he should wear a necklace of pearls or glass beads containing mercury, and a ring set with an agate; on Thursday (the day of Jupiter) he should carry a wand of glass or resin and wear a ring set with an emerald or a sapphire; on Friday (the day of Venus) he should carry a wand of polished copper and wear a ring set with a turquoise and a crown or diadem decorated with lapis lazuli and beryl; and on Saturday (the day of Saturn) he should carry a wand ornamented with onyx stone and wear a ring set with onyx and a chain about the neck formed of lead. (See The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum.)
The ring has long been regarded as the symbol of attainment, perfection, and immortality-the last because the circlet of precious metal had neither beginning nor end. In the Mysteries, rings chased to resemble a serpent with its tail in its mouth were worn by the initiates as material evidence of the position reached by them in the order. Signet rings, engraved with certain secret emblems, were worn by the hierophants, and it was not uncommon for a messenger to prove that he was the official representative of a prince or other dignitary by bringing with his message either an impression from his master's ring or the signet itself. The wedding ring originally was intended to imply that in the nature of the one who wore it the state of equilibrium and completion had been attained. This plain band of gold therefore bore witness of the union of the Higher Self (God) with the lower self (Nature) and the ceremony consummating this indissoluble blending of Divinity and humanity in the one nature of the initiated mystic constituted the hermetic marriage of the Mysteries.
Mythology abounds with accounts of magical rings and talismanic jewels. In the second book of his Republic, Plato describes a ring which, when the collet was turned in ward, rendered its wearer invisible. With this Gyges, the shepherd, secured for himself the throne of Lydia. Josephus also describes magical rings designed by Moses and King Solomon, and Aristotle mentions one which brought love and honor to its possessor. In his chapter dealing with the subject, Henry Cornelius Agrippa not only mentions the same rings, but states, upon the authority of Philostratus Jarchus, that Apollonius of Tyana extended his life to over 20 years with the aid of seven magical rings presented to him by an East Indian prince. Each of these seven rings was set with a gem partaking of the nature of one of the seven ruling planets of the week, and by daily changing the rings Apollonius protected himself against sickness and death by the intervention of the planetary influences. The philosopher also instructed his disciples in the virtues of these talismanic jewels, considering such information to be indispensable to the theurgist. Agrippa describes the preparation of magical rings as follows: "When any Star [planet] ascends fortunately, with the fortunate aspect or conjunction of the Moon, we must take a stone and herb that is under that Star, and make a ring of the metal that is suitable to this Star, and in it fasten the stone, putting the herb or root under it-not omitting the inscriptions of images, names, and characters, as also the proper suffumigations." (See Three Books of Occult Philosophy.)
The four Ages of the Greek mystics--the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age--are metaphoric expressions referring to the four major periods in the life of all things. In the divisions of the day they signify dawn, midday, sunset, and midnight; in the duration of gods, men, and universes, they denote the periods of birth, growth, maturity, and decay. The Greek Ages also bear a close correspondence to the four Yugas of the Hindus: Krita-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, and Kali-Yuga. Their method of calculation is described by Ullamudeian as follows: "In each of the 12 signs there are 1800 minutes; multiply this number by 12 you have 21600; e.g. 1800 X 12=21600. Multiply this 21600 by 80 and it will give 1,728,000, which is the duration of the first age, called Krita-Yuga. If the same number be multiplied by 60, it will give 1,296,000, the years of the second age, Treta-Yuga. The same number multiplied by 40 gives 864,000, the length of the third age, Dvapara-Yuga. The same multiplied by 20 gives 432,000, the fourth age, Kali-Yuga." (It will be noted that these multipliers decrease in inverse ratio to the Pythagorean tetractys: 1, 2, 3, and 4.)
According to the teachings of the Mysteries, the rays of the celestial bodies, striking the crystallizing influences of the lower world, become the various elements. Partaking of the astral virtues of their source, these elements neutralize certain unbalanced forms of celestial activity and, when properly combined, contribute much to the well-being of man. Little is known today concerning these magical properties, but the modern world may yet find it profitable to consider the findings of the early philosophers who determined these relationships by extensive experimentation. Out of such research arose the practice of identifying the metals with the bones of the various deities. For example, the Egyptians, according to Manetho, considered iron to be the bone of Mars and the lodestone the bone of Horus. By analogy, lead would be the physical skeleton of Saturn, copper of Venus, quicksilver of Mercury, gold of the sun, silver of the moon, and antimony of the earth. It is possible that uranium will prove to be the metal of Uranus and radium to be the metal of Neptune.
The Holy Grail is a symbol both of the lower (or irrational) world and of the bodily nature of man, because both are receptacles for the living essences of the superior worlds. Such is the mystery of the redeeming blood which, descending into the condition of death, overcomes the last enemy by ensouling all substance with its own immortality. To the Christian, whose mystic faith especially emphasizes the love element, the Holy Grail typifies the heart in which continually swirls the living water of eternal life. Moreover, to the Christian, the search for the Holy Grail is the search for the real Self which, when found, is the consummation of the magnum opus.
No adequate interpretation has ever been given to the Grail Mysteries. Some believe the Knights of the Holy Grail to have been a powerful organization of Christian mystics perpetuating the Ancient Wisdom under the rituals and sacraments of the oracular Cup. The quest for the Holy Grail is the eternal search for truth, and Albert G. Mackey sees in it a variation of the Masonic legend of the Lost Word so long sought by the brethren of the Craft. There is also evidence to support the claim that the story of the Grail is an elaboration of an early pagan Nature myth which has been preserved by reason of the subtle manner in which it was engrafted upon the cult of Christianity. From this particular viewpoint, the Holy Grail is undoubtedly a type of the ark or vessel in which the life of the world is preserved and therefore is significant of the body of the Great Mother--Nature. Its green color relates it to Venus and to the mystery of generation; also to the Islamic faith, whose sacred color is green and whose Sabbath is Friday, the day of Venus.
Though some controversy exists as to whether the Grail was a cup or a platter, it is generally depicted in art as a chalice of considerable size and unusual beauty. According to the legend, Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail Cup to the place of the crucifixion and in it caught the blood pouring from the wounds of the dying Nazarene. Later Joseph, who had become custodian of the sacred relics--the Sangreal and the Spear of Longinus--carried them into a distant country. According to one version, his descendants finally placed these relics in Glastonbury Abbey in England; according to another, in a wonderful castle on Mount Salvat, Spain, built by angels in a single night. Under the name of Preston John, Parsifal, the last of the Grail Kings, carried the Holy Cup with him into India, and it disappeared forever from the Western World. Subsequent search for the Sangreal was the motif for much of the knight errantry of the Arthurian legends and the ceremonials of the Round Table. (See the Morte d'Arthur.)
Like the sapphire Schethiyâ, the Lapis Exilis, crown jewel of the Archangel Lucifer, fell from heaven. Michael, archangel of the sun and the Hidden God of Israel, at the head of the angelic hosts swooped down upon Lucifer and his legions of rebellious spirits. During the conflict, Michael with his flaming sword struck the flashing Lapis Exilis from the coronet of his adversary, and the green stone fell through all the celestial rings into the dark and immeasurable Abyss. Out of Lucifer's radiant gem was fashioned the Sangreal, or Holy Grail, from which Christ is said to have drunk at the Last Supper.
Between them [2 pillars Jachin and Boaz] is the door leading into the House of God, and standing thus at the gates of Sanctuary they are a reminder that Jehovah is both an androgynous and an anthropomorphic deity.
As representing the power that fabricated the lower, or Demiurgic, sphere, the tablets of stone were sacred to Jehovah in contradistinction to the tablets of sapphire that signified the potency that established the higher, or celestial, sphere. Without doubt the Mosaic tablets have their prototype in the stone pillars or obelisks placed on either side of the entrance to pagan temples. These columns may pertain to that remote time when men worshiped the Creator through His zodiacal sign of Gemini, the symbol of which is still the phallic pillars of the Celestial Twins. "The Ten Commandments, writes Hargrave Jennings, "are inscribed in two groups of five each, in columnar form. The five to the right (looking from the altar) mean the 'Law'; the five to the left mean the 'Prophets.' The right stone is masculine, the left stone is feminine. They correspond to the two disjoined pillars of stone (or towers) in the front of every cathedral, and of every temple in the heathen times." (See The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries.) The same author states that the Law is masculine because it was delivered direct from the Deity, while the Prophets, or Gospels, were feminine because born through the nature of man.
The two tables signify respectively the superior and the inferior worlds--the paternal and the maternal formative principles. In their undivided state they represent the Cosmic Androgyne. The breaking of the tables signifies obscurely the separation of the superior and the inferior spheres and also the division of the sexes. In the religious processionals of the Greeks and Egyptians an ark or ship was carried which contained stone tablets, cones, and vessels of various shapes emblematic of the procreative processes. The Ark of the Israelites--which was patterned after the sacred chests of the Isiac Mysteries--contained three holy objects, each having an important phallic interpretation: the pot of manna, the rod that budded, and the Tablets of the Law--the first, second, and third Principles of the Creative Triad. The manna, the blossoming staff, and the stone tables are also appropriate images respectively of the Qabbalah, the Mishna, and the written law--the spirit, soul, and body of Judaism. When placed in King Solomon's Everlasting House, the Ark of the Covenant contained only the Tablets of the Law. Does this indicate that even at that early date the secret tradition had been lost and the letter of the revelation alone remained?
One of the two tables of stone delivered by the Lawgiver to his followers stood for the oral, the other for the written traditions upon which the Rabbinical School was founded. Authorities differ widely as to the size and substance of the inferior tables. Some describe them as being so small that they could be held in the hollow of a man's hand; others declare that each table was ten or twelve cubits in length and of enormous weight. A few even deny that the tables were of stone, maintaining that they were of a wood called sedr, which, according to the Mohammedans, grows profusely in Paradise.
Because of the idolatry of the Israelites, Moses deemed the people unworthy to receive the sapphire tables; hence he destroyed them, that the Mysteries of Jehovah should not be violated. For the original set Moses substituted two tablets of rough stone into the surface of which he had cut ten ancient letters. While the former tables--partaking of the divinity of the Tree of Life--blazed forth eternal verities, the latter--partaking of the nature of the Tree of Good and Evil--revealed only temporal truths. Thus the ancient tradition of Israel returned again to heaven, leaving only its shadow with the children of the twelve tribes.
While upon the heights of Mount Sinai, Moses received from Jehovah two tablets bearing the characters of the Decalogue traced by the very finger of Israel's God. These tables were fashioned from the divine sapphire, Schethiyâ, which the Most High, after removing from His own throne, had cast into the Abyss to become the foundation and generator of the worlds. This sacred stone, formed of heavenly dew, was sundered by the breath of God, and upon the two parts were drawn in black fire the figures of the Law. These precious inscriptions, aglow with celestial splendor, were delivered by the Lord on the Sabbath day into the hands of Moses, who was able to read the illumined letters from the reverse side because of the transparency of the great jewel. (See The Secret Doctrine in Israel or The Zohar for details of this legend.)
The philosopher's stone is really the philosophical stone, for philosophy is truly likened to a magic jewel whose touch transmutes base substances into priceless gems like itself. Wisdom is the alchemist's powder of projection which transforms many thousand times its own weight of gross ignorance into the precious substance of enlightenment.
Stones were highly venerated by prehistoric peoples primarily because of their usefulness. Jagged bits of stone were probably man's first weapons; rocky cliffs and crags constituted his first fortifications, and from these vantage points he hurled loose boulders down upon marauders. In caverns or rude huts fashioned from slabs of rock the first humans protected themselves from the rigors of the elements. Stones were set up as markers and monuments to primitive achievement; they were also placed upon the graves of the dead, probably as a precautionary measure to prevent the depredations of wild beasts. During migrations, it was apparently customary for primitive peoples to carry about with them stones taken from their original habitat. As the homeland or birthplace of a race was considered sacred, these stones were emblematic of that universal regard shared by all nations for the place of their geniture. The discovery that fire could be produced by striking together two pieces of stone augmented man's reverence for stones, but ultimately the hitherto unsuspected world of wonders opened by the newly discovered element of fire caused pyrolatry to supplant stone worship. The dark, cold Father--stone--gave birth out of itself to the bright, glowing Son-fire; and the newly born flame, by displacing its parent, became the most impressive and mysterious of all religio-philosophic symbols, widespread and enduring through the ages.
A number of logan stones have been found in Britain, traces of one no longer standing having been discovered in Stonehenge. (See The Celtic Druids.) It is interesting to note that the green stones forming the inner ring of Stonehenge are believed to have been brought from Africa.
The solar system was organized by forces operating inward from the great ring of the Saturnian sphere; and since the beginnings of all things were under the control of Saturn, the most reasonable inference is that the first forms of worship were dedicated to him and his peculiar symbol--the stone. Thus the intrinsic nature of Saturn is synonymous with that spiritual rock which is the enduring foundation of the Solar Temple, and has its antitypc or lower octave in that terrestrial rock--the planet Earth--which sustains upon its jagged surface the diversified genera of mundane life.
After the deluge sent by the gods to destroy mankind at the close of the Iron Age, only Deucalion and Pyrrha were left alive. Entering a ruined sanctuary to pray, they were directed by an oracle to depart from the temple and with heads veiled and garments unbound cast behind them the bones of their mother. Construing the cryptic message of the god to mean that the earth was the Great Mother of all creatures, Deucalion picked up loose rocks and, bidding Pyrrha do likewise, cast them behind him. From these rocks there sprang forth a new and stalwart race of human beings, the rocks thrown by Deucalion becoming men and those thrown by Pyrrha becoming women. In this allegory is epitomized the mystery of human evolution; for spirit, by ensouling matter, becomes that indwelling power which gradually but sequentially raises the mineral to the status of the plant; the plant to the plane of the animal; the animal to the dignity of man; and man to the estate of the gods.
Among some cults the state of intoxication was viewed as a condition somewhat akin to ecstasy, for the individual was believed to be possessed by the Universal Spirit of Life, whose chosen vehicle was the vine. In the Mysteries, the grape was often used to symbolize lust and debauchery because of its demoralizing effect upon the emotional nature. The fact was recognized, however, that fermentation was the certain evidence of the presence of the solar fire, hence the grape was accepted as the proper symbol of the Solar Spirit--the giver of divine enthusiasm. In a somewhat similar manner, Christians have accepted wine as the emblem of the blood of Christ, partaking of it in Holy Communion. Christ, the exoteric emblem of the Solar Spirit, said, "I am the vine." He was therefore worshiped with the wine of ecstasy in the same manner as were his pagan prototypes--Bacchus, Dionysos, Arys, and Adonis.
Strong wine made from the juice of the grape was looked upon as symbolic of the false life and false light of the universe, for it was produced by a false process--artificial fermentation. The rational faculties are clouded by strong drink, and the animal nature, liberated from bondage, controls the individual--facts which necessarily were of the greatest spiritual significance. As the lower nature is the eternal tempter seeking co lead man into excesses which inhibit the spiritual faculties, the grape and its product were used to symbolize the Adversary.
The pomegranate is the mystic fruit of the Eleusinian rites; by eating it, Prosperine bound herself to the realms of Pluto. The fruit here signifies the sensuous life which, once tasted, temporarily deprives man of immortality. Also on account of its vast number of seeds the pomegranate was often employed to represent natural fecundity. For the same reason, Jacob Bryant in his Ancient Mythology notes that the ancients recognized in this fruit an appropriate emblem of the Ark of the Deluge, which contained the seeds of the new human race. Among the ancient Mysteries the pomegranate was also considered to be a divine symbol of such peculiar significance that its true explanation could not be divulged. It was termed by the Cabiri "the forbidden secret." Many Greek gods and goddesses are depicted holding the fruit or flower of the pomegranate in their hands, evidently to signify that they are givers of life and plenty. Pomegranate capitals were placed upon the pillars of Jachin and Boaz standing in front of King Solomon's Temple; and by the order of Jehovah, pomegranate blossoms were embroidered upon the bottom of the High Priest's ephod.
The apricot and quince are familiar yonic symbols, while the bunch of grapes and the fig are phallic.
As the legend of CHiram Abiff is based upon the ancient Egyptian Mystery ritual of the murder and resurrection of Osiris, it is natural that the sprig of acacia should be preserved as symbolic of the resurrection of CHiram. The chest containing the body of Osiris was washed ashore near Byblos and lodged in the roots of a tamarisk, or acacia, which, growing into a mighty tree, enclosed within its trunk the body of the murdered god. This is undoubtedly the origin of the story that a sprig of acacia marks the grave of CHiram. The mystery of the evergreen marking the grave of the dead sun god is also perpetuated in the Christmas tree.
The oak, the pine, the ash, the cypress, and the palm are the five trees of greatest symbolic importance. The Father God of the Mysteries was often worshiped under the form of an oak; the Savior God--frequently the World Martyr--in the form of a pine; the world axis and the divine nature in humanity in the form of an ash; the goddesses, or maternal principle, in the form of a cypress; and the positive pole of generation in the form of the inflorescence of the mate date palm. The pine cone is a phallic symbol of remote antiquity. The thyrsus of Bacchus--a long wand or staff surmounted by a pine cone or cluster of grapes and entwined with ivy or grape-vine leaves, sometimes ribbons--signifies that the wonders of Nature may only be accomplished by the aid of solar virility, as symbolized by the cone or grapes. In the Phrygian Mysteries, Atys--the ever-present sun-savior--dies under the branches of the pine tree (an allusion to the solar globe at the winter solstice) and for this reason the pine tree was sacred to his cult. This tree was also sacred in the Mysteries of Dionysos and Apollo.
Under the appellations of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is concealed the great arcanum of antiquity--the mystery of equilibrium. The Tree of Life represents the spiritual point of balance--the secret of immortality. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as its name implies, represents polarity, or unbalance--the secret of mortality. The Qabbalists reveal this by assigning the central column of their Sephirothic diagram to the Tree of Life and the two side branches to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "Unbalanced forces perish in the void," declares the secret work, and all is made known. The apple represents the knowledge of the procreative processes, by the awakening of which the material universe was established. The allegory of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a cosmic myth, revealing the methods of universal and individual establishment. The literal story, accepted for so many centuries by an unthinking world, is preposterous, but the creative mystery of which it is the symbol is one of Nature's profoundest verities. The Ophites (serpent worshipers) revered the Edenic snake because it was the cause of individual existence. Though humanity is still wandering in a world of good and evil, it will ultimately attain completion and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life growing in the midst of the illusionary garden of worldly things. Thus the Tree of Life is also the appointed symbol of the Mysteries, and by partaking of its fruit man attains immortality.
The early Fathers of the church sometimes used the tree to symbolize Christ. They believed that ultimately Christianity would grow up like a mighty oak and overshadow all other faiths of mankind. Because it annually discards its foliage, the tree was also looked upon as an appropriate emblem of resurrection and reincarnation, for though apparently dying each fall it blossomed forth again with renewed verdure each ensuing spring.
The numerous uses which the ancients made of the tree and its products are factors in its symbolism. Its worship was, to a certain degree, based upon its usefulness. Of this J. P. Lundy writes: "Trees occupy such an important place in the economy of nature by way of attracting and retaining moisture, and shading the water-sources and the soil so as to prevent barrenness and desolation; the), are so useful to man for shade, for fruit, for medicine, for fuel, for building houses and ships, for furniture, for almost every department of life, that it is no wonder that some of the more conspicuous ones, such as the oak, the pine, the palm, and the sycamore, have been made sacred and used for worship." (See Monumental Christianity.)
Man's veneration for trees as symbols of the abstract qualities of wisdom and integrity also led him to designate as trees those individuals who possessed these divine qualities to an apparently superhuman degree. Highly illumined philosophers and priests were therefore often referred to as trees or tree men--for example, the Druids, whose name, according to one interpretation, signifies the men of the oak trees, or the initiates of certain Syrian Mysteries who were called cedars; in fact it is far more credible and probable that the famous cedars of Lebanon, cut down for the building of King Solomon's Temple, were really illumined, initiated sages. The mystic knows that the true supports of God's Glorious House were not the logs subject to decay but the immortal and imperishable intellects of the tree hierophants.
The concept that all life originates from seeds caused grain and various plants to be accepted as emblematic of the human spermatozoon, and the tree was therefore symbolic of organized life unfolding from its primitive germ. The growth of the universe from its primitive seed may be likened to the growth of the mighty oak from the tiny acorn. While the tree is apparently much greater than its own source, nevertheless that source contains potentially every branch, twig, and leaf which will later be objectively unfolded by the processes of growth.
The tree has also been accepted as symbolic of the Microcosm, that is, man. According to the esoteric doctrine, man first exists potentially within the body of the world-tree and later blossoms forth into objective manifestation upon its branches. According to an early Greek Mystery myth, the god Zeus fabricated the third race of men from ash trees. The serpent so often shown wound around the trunk of the tree usually signifies the mind--the power of thought--and is the eternal tempter or urge which leads all rational creatures to the ultimate discovery of reality and thus overthrows the rule of the gods. The serpent hidden in the foliage of the universal tree represents the cosmic mind; and in the human tree, the individualized intellect.
The single source of life and the endless diversity of its expression has a perfect analogy in the structure of the tree. The trunk represents the single origin of all diversity; the roots, deeply imbedded in the dark earth, are symbolic of divine nutriment; and its multiplicity of branches spreading from the central trunk represent the infinity of universal effects dependent upon a single cause.
Several ancient peoples--notably the Hindus and Scandinavians---regarded the Macrocosm, or Grand Universe, as a divine tree growing from a single seed sown in space. The Greeks, Persians, Chaldeans, and Japanese have legends describing the axle tree or reed upon which the earth revolves. Kapila declares the universe to be the eternal tree, Brahma, which springs from an imperceptible and intangible seed--the material monad. The mediæval Qabbalists represented creation as a tree with its roots in the reality of spirit and its branches in the illusion of tangible existence. The Sephirothic tree of the Qabbalah was therefore inverted, with its roots in heaven and its branches upon the earth. Madam Blavatsky notes that the Great Pyramid was considered to be a symbol of this inverted tree, with its root at the apex of the pyramid and its branches diverging in four streams towards the base.
The lotus was also a universal motif in Egyptian art and architecture. The roofs of many temples were upheld by lotus columns, signifying the eternal wisdom; and the lotus-headed scepter--symbolic of self-unfoldment and divine prerogative--was often carried in religious processions. When the flower had nine petals, it was symbolic of man; when twelve, of the universe and the gods; when seven, of the planets and the law; when five, of the senses and the Mysteries; and when three, of the chief deities and the worlds. The heraldic rose of the Middle Ages generally has either five or ten petals thereby showing its relationship to the spiritual mystery of man through the Pythagorean pentad and decad.
The Brahmin and Egyptian initiates, who undoubtedly understood the secret systems of spiritual culture whereby the latent centers of cosmic energy in man may be stimulated, employed the lotus blossoms to represent the spinning vortices of spiritual energy located at various points along the spinal column and called chakras, or whirling wheels, by the Hindus. Seven of these chakras are of prime importance and have their individual correspondences in the nerve ganglia and plexuses. According to the secret schools, the sacral ganglion is called the four-petaled lotus; the prostatic plexus, the six-petaled lotus; the epigastric plexus and navel, the ten-petaled lotus; the cardiac plexus, the twelve-petaled lotus; the pharyngeal plexus, the sixteen-petaled locus; the cavernous plexus, the two-petaled lotus; and the pineal gland or adjacent unknown center, the thousand-petaled locus. The color, size, and number of petals upon the lotus are the keys to its symbolic import. A hint concerning the unfoldment of spiritual understanding according to the secret science of the Mysteries is found in the story of Aaron's rod that budded, and also in Wagner's great opera, Tannhäuser, where the budding staff of the Pope signifies the unfolding blossoms upon the sacred rod of the Mysteries--the spinal column.
The Rosicrucians used a garland of roses to signify the same spiritual vortices, which are referred to in the Bible as the seven lamps of the candlestick and the seven churches of Asia. In the 1642 edition of Sir Francis Bacon's History of Henry the Seventh is a frontispiece showing Lord Bacon with Rosicrucian roses for shoe buckles.
Flowers were chosen as symbols for many reasons. The great variety of flora made it possible to find some plant or flower which would be a suitable figure for nearly any abstract quality or condition. A plant might be chosen because of some myth connected with its origin, as the stories of Daphne and Narcissus; because of the peculiar environment in which it thrived, as the orchid and the fungus; because of its significant shape, as the passion flower and the Easter lily; because of its brilliance or fragrance, as the verbena and the sweet lavender; because it preserved its form indefinitely, as the everlasting flower; because of unusual characteristics as the sunflower and heliotrope, which have long been sacred because of their affinity for the sun.
The prudery of today, however, declares this same mystery to be unfit for the consideration of holy-minded people. Contrary to the dictates of reason, a standard has been established which affirms that innocence bred of ignorance is more to be desired than virtue born of knowledge. Eventually, however, man will learn that he need never be ashamed of truth. Until he does learn this, he is false to his God, to his world, and to himself. In this respect, Christianity has woefully failed in its mission. While declaring man's body to be the living temple of the living God, in the same breath it asserts the substances and functions of this temple to be unclean and their study defiling to the sensitive sentiments of the righteous. By this unwholesome attitude, man's body--the house of God--is degraded and defamed. Yet the cross itself is the oldest of phallic emblems, and the lozenge-shaped windows of cathedrals are proof that yonic symbols have survived the destruction of the pagan Mysteries. The very structure of the church itself is permeated with phallicism. Remove from the Christian Church all emblems of Priapic origin and nothing is left, for even the earth upon which it stands was, because of its fertility, the first yonic symbol. As the presence of these emblems of the generative processes is either unknown or unheeded by the majority, the irony of the situation is not generally appreciated. Only those conversant with the secret language of antiquity are capable of understanding the divine significance of these emblems.
Father, mother, and child constitute the natural trinity. The Mysteries glorified the home as the supreme institution consisting of this trinity functioning as a unit. Pythagoras likened the universe to the family, declaring that as the supreme fire of the universe was in the midst of its heavenly bodies, so, by analogy, the supreme fire of the world was upon its hearthstones. The Pythagorean and other schools of philosophy conceived the one divine nature of God to manifest itself in the threefold aspect of Father, Mother, and Child. These three constituted the Divine Family, whose dwelling place is creation and whose natural and peculiar symbol is the 47th problem of Euclid. God the Father is spirit, God the Mother is matter, and God the Child--the product of the two--represents the sum of living things born out of and constituting Nature. The seed of spirit is sown in the womb of matter, and by an immaculate (pure) conception the progeny is brought into being. Is not this the true mystery of the Madonna holding the Holy Babe in her arms? Who dares to say that such symbolism is improper? The mystery of life is the supreme mystery, revealed in all of its divine dignity and glorified as Nature's per feet achievement by the initiated sages and seers of all ages.
The obscene rites practiced by the later Bacchanalia and Dionysia were no more representative of the standards of purity originally upheld by the Mysteries than the orgies occasionally occurring among the adherents of Christianity till the eighteenth century were representative of primitive Christianity. Sir William Hamilton, British Minister at the Court of Naples, declares that in 1780, Isernia, a community of Christians in Italy, worshiped with phallic ceremonies the pagan god Priapus under the name of St. Cosmo. (See Two Essays on the Worship of Priapus, by Richard Payne Knight.)
THE yoni and phallus were worshiped by nearly all ancient peoples as appropriate symbols of God's creative power. The Garden of Eden, the Ark, the Gate of the Temple, the Veil of the Mysteries, the vesica piscis or oval nimbus, and the Holy Grail are important yonic symbols; the pyramid, the obelisk, the cone, the candle, the tower, the Celtic monolith, the spire, the campanile, the Maypole, and the Sacred Spear are symbolic of the phallus. In treating the subject of Priapic worship, too many modern authors judge pagan standards by their own and wallow in the mire of self-created vulgarity. The Eleusinian Mysteries--the greatest of all the ancient secret societies--established one of the highest known standards of morality and ethics, and those criticizing their use of phallic symbols should ponder the trenchant words of King Edward III, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
As a beast of burden the horse was the symbol of the body of man forced to sustain the weight of his spiritual constitution. Conversely, it also typified the spiritual nature of man forced to maintain the burden of the material personality. Chiron, the centaur, mentor of Achilles, represents the primitive creation which was the progenitor and instructor of mankind, as described by Berossus. The winged horse and the magic carpet both symbolize the secret doctrine and the spiritualized body of man. The wooden horse of Troy, secreting an army for the capture of the city, represents man's body concealing within it those infinite potentialities which will later come forth and conquer his environment. Again, like Noah's Ark, it represents the spiritual nature of man as containing a host of latent potentialities which subsequently become active. The siege of Troy is a symbolic account of the abduction of the human soul (Helena) by the personality (Paris) and its final redemption, through persevering struggle, by the secret doctrine--the Greek army under the command of Agamemnon.
The dog, because of its faithfulness, denotes the relationship which should exist between disciple and master or between the initiate and his God. The shepherd dog was a type of the priestcraft. The dog's ability to sense and follow unseen persons for miles symbolized the transcendental power by which the philosopher follows the thread of truth through the labyrinth of earthly error. The dog is also the symbol of Mercury. The Dog Star, Sirius or Sothis, was sacred to the Egyptians because it presaged the annual inundations of the Nile.
According to the Mysteries, the monkey represents the condition of man before the rational soul entered into his constitution. Therefore it typifies the irrational man. By some the monkey is looked upon as a species not ensouled by the spiritual hierarchies; by others as a fallen state wherein man has been deprived of his divine nature through degeneracy. The ancients, though evolutionists, did not trace man's ascent through the monkey; the monkey they considered as having separated itself from the main stem of progress. The monkey was occasionally employed as a symbol of learning. Cynocephalus, the dog-headed ape, was the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of writing, and was closely associated with Thoth. Cynocephalus is symbolic of the moon and Thoth of the planet Mercury. Because of the ancient belief that the moon followed Mercury about the heavens the dog-ape was described as the faithful companion of Thoth.
Among other symbols of Typhon was the hippopotamus, sacred to the god Mars because Mars was enthroned in the sign of Scorpio, the house of Typhon. The ass was also sacred to this Egyptian demon. Jesus riding into Jerusalem upon the back of an ass has the same significance as Hermes standing upon the prostrate form of Typhon. The early Christians were accused of worshiping the head of an ass. A most curious animal symbol is the hog or sow, sacred to Diana, and frequently employed in the Mysteries as an emblem of the occult art. The wild boar which gored Atys shows the use of this animal in the Mysteries.
The Egyptian devil, Typhon, was often symbolized by the Set monster whose identity is obscure. It has a queer snoutlike nose and pointed ears, and may have been a conventional hyena. The Set monster lived in the sand storms and wandered about the world promulgating evil. The Egyptians related the howling of the desert winds with the moaning cry of the hyena. Thus when in the depths of the night the hyena sent forth its doleful wail it sounded like the last despairing cry of a lost soul in the clutches of Typhon. Among the duties of this evil creature was that of protecting the Egyptian dead against: grave robbers.
While the unicorn is mentioned several times in Scripture, no proof has yet been discovered of its existence. There are a number of drinking horns in various museums presumably fashioned from its spike. It is reasonably certain, however, that these drinking vessels were really made either from the tusks of some large mammal or the horn of a rhinoceros. J. P. Lundy believes that the horn of the unicorn symbolizes the hem of salvation mentioned by St. Luke which, pricking the hearts of men, turns them to a consideration of salvation through Christ. Mediæval Christian mystics employed the unicorn as an emblem of Christ, and this creature must therefore signify the spiritual life in man. The single horn of the unicorn may represent the pineal gland, or third eye, which is the spiritual cognition center in the brain. The unicorn was adopted by the Mysteries as a symbol of the illumined spiritual nature of the initiate, the horn with which it defends itself being the flaming sword of the spiritual doctrine against, which nothing can prevail.
The unicorn, or monoceros, was a most curious creation of the ancient initiates. It is described by Thomas Boreman as "a beast, which though doubted of by many writers, yet is by others thus described: He has but one horn, and that an exceedingly rich one, growing out of the middle of his forehead. His head resembles an hart's, his feet an elephant's, his tail a boar's, and the rest of his body an horse's. The horn is about a foot and half in length. His voice is like the lowing of an ox. His mane and hair are of a yellowish colour. His horn is as hard as iron, and as rough as any file, twisted or curled, like a flaming sword; very straight, sharp, and every where black, excepting the point. Great virtues are attributed to it, in expelling of poison and curing of several diseases. He is not a beast of prey. " (See Redgrove's Bygone Beliefs.)
The wolf is usually associated with the principle of evil, because of the mournful discordance of its howl and the viciousness of its nature. In Scandinavian mythology the Fenris Wolf was one of the sons of Loki, the infernal god of the fires. With the temple of Asgard in flames about them, the gods under the command of Odin fought their last great battle against the chaotic forces of evil. With frothing jowls the Fenris Wolf devoured Odin, the Father of the Gods, and thus destroyed the Odinic universe. Here the Fenris Wolf represents those mindless powers of Nature that overthrew the primitive creation.
Deer were sacred in the Bacchic Mysteries of the Greeks; the Bacchantes were often clothed in fawnskins. Deer were associated with the worship of the moon goddess and the Bacchic orgies were usually conducted at night. The grace and speed of this animal caused it to be accepted as the proper symbol of esthetic abandon. Deer were objects of veneration with many nations. In Japan, herds of them are still maintained in connection with the temples.
The goat is both a phallic symbol and also an emblem of courage or aspiration because of its surefootedness and ability to scale the loftiest peaks. To the alchemists the goat's head was the symbol of sulphur. The practice among the ancient Jews of choosing a scapegoat upon which to heap the sins of mankind is merely an allegorical depiction of the Sun Man who is the scapegoat of the world and upon whom are cast the sins of the twelve houses (tribes) of the celestial universe. Truth is the Divine Lamb worshiped throughout pagandom and slain for the sins of the world, and since the dawn of time the Savior Gods of all religions have been personifications of this Truth. The Golden Fleece sought by Jason and his Argonauts is the Celestial Lamb--the spiritual and intellectual sun. The secret doctrine is also typified by the Golden Fleece--the wool of the Divine Life, the rays of the Sun of Truth. Suidas declares the Golden Fleece to have been in reality a book, written upon skin, which contained the formulæ for the production of gold by means of chemistry. The Mysteries were institutions erected for the transmutation of base ignorance into precious illumination. The dragon of ignorance was the terrible creature set to guard the Golden Fleece, and represents the darkness of the old year which battles with the sun at the time of its equinoctial passage.
The significance of the mystical number 13, which frequently appears upon the Great Seal of the United States, is not limited to the number of the original colonies. The sacred emblem of the ancient initiates, here composed of 13 stars,, also appears above the head of the "eagle." The motto, E Pluribus Unum, contains 13 letters, as does also the inscription, Annuit Cœptis. The "eagle" clutches in its right talon a branch bearing 13 leaves and 13 berries and in its left a sheaf of 13 arrows. The face of the pyramid, exclusive of the panel containing the date, consists of 72 stones arranged in 13 rows.
When the vernal equinox no longer occurred in the sign of Taurus, the Sun God incarnated in the constellation of Aries and the ram then became the vehicle of the solar power. Thus the sun rising in the sign of the Celestial Lamb triumphs over the symbolic serpent of darkness. The lamb is a familiar emblem of purity because of its gentleness and the whiteness of its wool. In many of the pagan Mysteries it signified the Universal Savior, and in Christianity it is the favorite symbol of Christ. Early church paintings show a lamb standing upon a little hill, and from its feet pour four streams of living water signifying the four Gospels. The blood of the lamb is the solar life pouring into the world through the sign of Aries.
As the sign rising over the horizon at the vernal equinox constitutes the starry body for the annual incarnation of the sun, the bull not only was the celestial symbol of the Solar Man but, because the vernal equinox took place in the constellation of Taurus, was called the breaker or opener of the year. For this reason in astronomical symbolism the bull is often shown breaking the annular egg with his horns. The Apis further signifies that the God-Mind is incarnated in the body of a beast and therefore that the physical beast form is the sacred vehicle of divinity. Man's lower personality is the Apis in which Osiris incarnates. The result of the combination is the creation of Sor-Apis (Serapis)-the material soul as ruler of the irrational material body and involved therein. After a certain period (which is determined by the square of five, or twenty-five years), the body of the Apis is destroyed and the soul liberated by the water which drowns the material life. This was indicative of the washing away of the material nature by the baptismal waters of divine light and truth. The drowning of the Apis is the symbol of death; the resurrection of Osiris in the new bull is the symbol of eternal renovation. The white bull was also symbolically sacred as the appointed emblem of the initiates, signifying the spiritualized material bodies of both man and Nature.
The worship of the bull was not confined to Egypt, but was prevalent in many nations of the ancient world. In India, Nandi--the sacred white bull of Siva--is still the object of much veneration; and both the Persians and the Jews accepted the bull as an important religious symbol. The Assyrians, Phœnicians, Chaldeans, and even the Greeks reverenced this animal, and Jupiter turned himself into a white bull to abduct Europa. The bull was a powerful phallic emblem signifying the paternal creative power of the Demiurgus. At his death he was frequently mummified and buried with the pomp and dignity of a god in a specially prepared sarcophagus. Excavations in the Serapeum at Memphis have uncovered the tombs of more than sixty of these sacred animals.
The most important of all symbolic animals was the Apis, or Egyptian bull of Memphis, which was regarded as the sacred vehicle for the transmigration of the soul of the god Osiris. It was declared that the Apis was conceived by a bolt of lightning, and the ceremony attendant upon its selection and consecration was one of the most impressive in Egyptian ritualism. The Apis had to be marked in a certain manner. Herodotus states that the bull must be black with a square white spot on his forehead, the form of an eagle (probably a vulture) on his back, a beetle upon (under) his tongue, and the hair of his tail lying two ways. Other writers declare that the sacred bull was marked with twenty-nine sacred symbols, his body was spotted, and upon his right side was a white mark in the form of a crescent. After its sanctification the Apis was kept in a stable adjacent to the temple and led in processionals through the streets of the city upon certain solemn occasions. It was a popular belief among the Egyptians that any child upon whom the bull breathed would become illustrious. After reaching a certain age (twenty-five years) the Apis was taken either to the river Nile or to a sacred fountain (authorities differ on this point) and drowned, amidst the lamentations of the populace. The mourning and wailing for his death continued until the new Apis was found, when it was declared that Osiris had reincarnated, whereupon rejoicing took the place of grief.
At Bubastis in Egypt was the temple of the famous goddess Bast, the cat deity of the Ptolemies. The Egyptians paid homage to the cat, especially when its fur was of three shades or its eyes of different colors. To the priests the cat was symbolic of the magnetic forces of Nature, and they surrounded themselves with these animals for the sake of the astral fire which emanated from their bodies. The cat was also a symbol of eternity, for when it sleeps it curls up into a ball with its head and tail touching. Among the Greeks and Latins the cat was sacred to the goddess Diana. The Buddhists of India invested the cat with special significance, but for a different reason. The cat was the only animal absent at the death of the great Buddha, because it had stopped on the way to chase a mouse. That the symbol of the lower astral forces should not be present at the liberation of the Buddha is significant.
The lion is the king of the animal family and, like the head of each kingdom, is sacred to the sun, whose rays are symbolized by the lion's shaggy mane. The allegories perpetuated by the Mysteries (such as the one to the effect that the lion opens the secret book) signify that the solar power opens the seed pods, releasing the spiritual life within. There was also a curious belief among the ancients that the lion sleeps with his eyes open, and for this reason the animal was chosen as a symbol of vigilance. The figure of a lion placed on either side of doors and gateways is an emblem of divine guardianship. King Solomon was often symbolized as a lion. For ages the feline family has been regarded with peculiar veneration. In several of the Mysteries--most notably the Egyptian--the priests wore the skins of lions, tigers, panthers, pumas, or leopards. Hercules and Samson (both solar symbols) slew the lion of the constellation of Leo and robed themselves in his skin, thus signifying that they represented the sun itself when at the summit of the celestial arch.
Not only were many of the founders of the United States Government Masons, but they received aid from a secret and august body existing in Europe, which helped them to establish this country for a peculiar and particular purpose known only to the initiated few. The Great Seal is the signature of this exalted body--unseen and for the most part unknown--and the unfinished pyramid upon its reverse side is a trestleboard setting forth symbolically the task to the accomplishment of which the United States Government was dedicated from the day of its inception.
The eagles of Napoleon and Cæsar and the zodiacal eagle of Scorpio are really phœnixes, for the latter bird--not the eagle--is the symbol of spiritual victory and achievement. Masonry will be in a position to solve many of the secrets of its esoteric doctrine when it realizes that both its single- and double-headed eagles are phœnixes, and that to all initiates and philosophers the phœnix is the symbol of the transmutation and regeneration of the creative energy--commonly called the accomplishment of the Great Work. The double-headed phœnix is the prototype of an androgynous man, for according to the secret teachings there will come a time when the human body will have two spinal cords, by means of which vibratory equilibrium will be maintained in the body.
European mysticism was not dead at the time the United States of America was founded. The hand of the Mysteries controlled in the establishment of the new government, for the signature of the Mysteries may still be seen on the Great Seal of the United States of America. Careful analysis of the seal discloses a mass of occult and Masonic symbols, chief among them the so-called American eagle--a bird which Benjamin Franklin declared unworthy to be chosen as the emblem of a great, powerful, and progressive people. Here again only the student of symbolism can see through the subterfuge and realize that the American eagle upon the Great Seal is but a conventionalized phœnix, a fact plainly discernible from an examination of the original seal. In his sketch of The History of the Seal of the United States, Gaillard Hunt unwittingly brings forward much material to substantiate the belief that the original seal carried the Phœnix bird on its obverse surface and the Great Pyramid of Gizeh upon its reverse surface. In a colored sketch submitted as a design for the Great Seal by William Barton in 1782, an actual phœnix appears sitting upon a nest of flames. This itself demonstrates a tendency towards the use of this emblematic bird.
Mediæval Hermetists regarded the phœnix as a symbol of the accomplishment of alchemical transmutation, a process equivalent to human regeneration. The name phœnix was also given to one of the secret alchemical formula. The familiar pelican of the Rose Croix degree, feeding its young from its own breast, is in reality a phœnix, a fact which can be confirmed by an examination of the head of the bird. The ungainly lower part of the pelican's beak is entirely missing, the head of the phœnix being far more like that of an eagle than of a pelican. In the Mysteries it was customary to refer to initiates as phœnixes or men who had been born again, for just as physical birth gives man consciousness in the physical world, so the neophyte, after nine degrees in the womb of the Mysteries, was born into a consciousness of the Spiritual world. This is the mystery of initiation to which Christ referred when he said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John iii. 3). The phœnix is a fitting symbol of this spiritual truth.
The phœnix (which is the mythological Persian roc) is also the name of a Southern constellation, and therefore it has both an astronomical and an astrological significance. In all probability, the phœnix was the swan of the Greeks, the eagle of the Romans, and the peacock of the Far East. To the ancient mystics the phœnix was a most appropriate symbol of the immortality of the human soul, for just as the phœnix was reborn out of its own dead self seven times seven, so again and again the spiritual nature of man rises triumphant from his dead physical body.
The phœnix was regarded as sacred to the sun, and the length of its life (500 to 1000 years) was taken as a standard for measuring the motion of the heavenly bodies and also the cycles of time used in the Mysteries to designate the periods of existence. The diet of the bird was unknown. Some writers declare that it subsisted upon the atmosphere; others that it ate at rare intervals but never in the presence of man. Modern Masons should realize the special Masonic significance of the phœnix, for the bird is described as using sprigs of acacia in the manufacture of its nest.
Both Herodotus and Pliny noted the general resemblance in shape between the phœnix and the eagle, a point which the reader should carefully consider, for it is reasonably certain that the modern Masonic eagle was originally a phœnix. The body of the phœnix is described as having been covered with glossy purple feathers, while its long tail feathers were alternately blue and red. Its head was light in color and about its neck was a circlet of golden plumage. At the back of its head the phœnix had a peculiar tuft of feathers, a fact quite evident, although it has been overlooked by most writers and symbolists.
In Masonry the dove is the symbol of purity and innocence. It is significant that in the pagan Mysteries the dove of Venus was crucified upon the four spokes of a great wheel, thus foreshadowing the mystery of the crucified Lord of Love. Although Mohammed drove the doves from the temple at Mecca, occasionally he is depicted with a dove sitting upon his shoulder as the symbol of divine inspiration. In ancient times the effigies of doves were placed upon the heads of scepters to signify that those bearing them were overshadowed by divine prerogative. In mediæval art, the dove frequently was pictured as an emblem of divine benediction.
The name dove has been given to oracles and to prophets. "The true name of the dove was Ionah or Iönas; it was a very sacred emblem, and atone time almost universally received; it was adopted by the Hebrews; and the mystic Dove was regarded as a symbol from the days of Noah by all those who were of the Church of God. The prophet sent to Ninevah as God's messenger was called Jonah or the Dove; our Lord's forerunner, the Baptist, was called in Greek by the name of Ioannes; and so was the Apostle of Love, the author Of the fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse, named Ioannes." (Bryant's Analysis of Ancient Mythology.)
The dove, accepted by Christianity as the emblem of the Holy Ghost, is an extremely ancient and highly revered pagan yonic emblem. In many of the ancient Mysteries it represented the third person of the Creative Triad, or the Fabricator of the world. As the lower worlds were brought into existence through a generative process, so the dove has been associated with those deities identified with the procreative functions. It is sacred to Astarte, Cybele, Isis, Venus, Juno, Mylitta, and Aphrodite. On account of its gentleness and devotion to its young, the dove was looked upon as the embodiment of the maternal instinct. The dove is also an emblem of wisdom, for it represents the power and order by which the lower worlds are maintained. It has long been accepted as a messenger of the divine will, and signifies the activity of God.
Being scavengers, the vulture, the buzzard, and the condor signified that form of divine power which by disposing of refuse and other matter dangerous to the life and health of humanity cleanses and purifies the lower spheres. These birds were therefore adopted as symbols of the disintegrative processes which accomplish good while apparently destroying, and by some religions have been mistakenly regarded as evil. Birds such as the parrot and raven were accorded veneration because, being able to mimic the human voice, they were looked upon as links between the human and animal kingdoms.
Nocturnal birds were appropriate symbols of both sorcery and the secret divine sciences: sorcery because black magic cannot function in the light of truth (day) and is powerful only when surrounded by ignorance (night); and the divine sciences because those possessing the arcana are able to see through the darkness of ignorance and materiality. Owls and bats were consequently often associated with either witchcraft or wisdom. The goose was an emblem of the first primitive substance or condition from which and within which the worlds were fashioned. In the Mysteries, the universe was likened to an egg which the Cosmic Goose had laid in space. Because of its blackness the crow was the symbol of chaos or the chaotic darkness preceding the light of creation. The grace and purity of the swan were emblematic of the spiritual grace and purity of the initiate. This bird also represented the Mysteries which unfolded these qualities in humanity. This explains the allegories of the gods (the secret wisdom) incarnating in the body of a swan (the initiate).
The Egyptians paid divine honors to the ibis and it was a cardinal crime to kill one, even by accident. It was asserted that the ibis could live only in Egypt and that if transported to a foreign country it would die of grief. The Egyptians declared this bird to be the preserver of crops and especially worthy of veneration because it drove out the winged serpents of Libya which the wind blew into Egypt. The ibis was sacred to Thoth, and when its head and neck were tucked under its wing its body closely resembled a human heart. (See Montfaucon's Antiquities.) The black and white ibis was sacred to the moon; but all forms were revered because they destroyed crocodile eggs, the crocodile being a symbol of the detested Typhon.
Both the peacock and the ibis were objects of veneration because they destroyed the poisonous reptiles which were popularly regarded as the emissaries of the infernal gods. Because of the myriad of eyes in its tail feathers the peacock was accepted as the symbol of wisdom, and on account of its general appearance it was often confused with the fabled phœnix of the Mysteries. There is a curious belief that the flesh of the peacock will not putrefy even though kept for a considerable time. As an outgrowth of this belief the peacock became the emblem of immortality, because the spiritual nature of man--like the flesh of this bird--is incorruptible.
Among certain American Indian tribes the thunderbird is held in peculiar esteem. This divine creature is said to live above the clouds; the flapping of its wings causes the rumbling which accompanies storms, while the flashes from its eyes are the lightning. Birds were used to signify the vital breath; and among the Egyptians, mysterious hawklike birds with human heads, and carrying in their claws the symbols of immortality, are often shown hovering as emblems of the liberated soul over the mummified bodies of the dead. In Egypt the hawk was the sacred symbol of the sun; and Ra, Osiris, and Horns are often depicted with the heads of hawks. The cock, or rooster, was a symbol of Cashmala (Cadmillus) in the Samothracian Mysteries, and is also a phallic symbol sacred to the sun. It was accepted by the Greeks as the emblem of Ares (Mars) and typified watchfulness and defense. When placed in the center of a weather vane it signifies the sun in the midst of the four corners of creation. The Greeks sacrificed a rooster to the gods at the time of entering the Eleusinian Mysteries. Sir Francis Bacon is supposed to have died as the result of stuffing a fowl with snow. May this not signify Bacon's initiation into the pagan Mysteries which still existed in his day?
Among the Greeks and Romans, the eagle was the appointed bird of Jupiter and consequently signified the swiftly moving forces of the Demiurgus; hence it was looked upon as the mundane lord of the birds, in contradistinction to the phœnix, which was symbolic of the celestial ruler. The eagle typified the sun in its material phase and also the immutable Demiurgic law beneath which all mortal creatures must bend. The eagle was also the Hermetic symbol of sulphur, and signified the mysterious fire of Scorpio--the most profoundly significant sign of the zodiac and the Gate of the Great Mystery. Being one of the three symbols of Scorpio, the eagle, like the Goat of Mendes, was an emblem of the theurgic art and the secret processes by which the infernal fire of the scorpion was transmuted into the spiritual light-fire of the gods.
Gravitation, which is a law in the material world, is the impulse toward the center of materiality; levitation, which is a law in the spiritual world, is the impulse toward the center of spirituality. Seeming to be capable of neutralizing the effect of gravity, the bird was said to partake of a nature superior to other terrestrial creation; and its feathers, because of their sustaining power, came to be accepted as symbols of divinity, courage, and accomplishment. A notable example is the dignity attached to eagle feathers by the American Indians, among whom they are insignia of merit. Angels have been invested with wings because, like birds, they were considered to be the intermediaries between the gods and men and to inhabit the air or middle kingdom betwixt heaven and earth. As the dome of the heavens was likened to a skull in the Gothic Mysteries, so the birds which flew across the sky were regarded as thoughts of the Deity. For this reason Odin's two messenger ravens were called Hugin and Munin--thought and memory.
AS appropriate emblems of various human and divine attributes birds were included in religious and philosophic symbolism that of pagans and of Christians alike. Cruelty was signified by the buzzard; courage by the eagle; self-sacrifice by the pelican; and pride by the peacock. The ability of birds to leave the earth and fly aloft toward the source of light has resulted in their being associated with aspiration, purity, and beauty. Wings were therefore often added to various terrene creatures in an effort to suggest transcendency. Because their habitat was among the branches of the sacred trees in the hearts of ancient forests, birds were also regarded as the appointed messengers of the tree spirits and Nature gods dwelling in these consecrated groves, and through their clear notes the gods themselves were said to speak. Many myths have been fabricated to explain the brilliant plumage of birds. A familiar example is the story of Juno's peacock, in whose tail feathers were placed the eyes of Argus. Numerous American Indian legends also deal with birds and the origin of the various colors of feathers. The Navahos declare that when all living things climbed to the stalk of a bamboo to escape the Flood, the wild turkey was on the lowest branch and his tail feathers trailed in the water; hence the color was all washed out.
The Egyptian sphinx, the Greek centaur, and the Assyrian man-bull have much in common. All are composite creatures combining human and animal members; in the Mysteries all signify the composite nature of man and subtly refer to the hierarchies of celestial beings that have charge of the destiny of mankind. These hierarchies are the twelve holy animals now known as constellations--star groups which are merely symbols of impersonal spiritual impulses. Chiron, the centaur, teaching the sons of men, symbolizes the intelligences of the constellation of Sagittarius, who were the custodians of the secret doctrine while (geocentrically) the sun was passing through the sign of Gemini. The five-footed Assyrian man-bull with the wings of an eagle and the head of a man is a reminder that the invisible nature of man has the wings of a god, the head of a man, and the body of a beast. The same concept was expressed through the sphinx--that armed guardian of the Mysteries who, crouching at the gate of the temple, denied entrance to the profane. Thus placed between man and his divine possibilities, the sphinx also represented the secret doctrine itself. Children's fairy stories abound with descriptions of symbolic monsters, for nearly all such tales are based upon the ancient mystic folklore.
To the Chinese the turtle was a symbol of longevity. At a temple in Singapore a number of sacred turtles are kept, their age recorded by carvings on their shells. The American Indians use the ridge down the back of the turtle shell as a symbol of the Great Divide between life and death. The turtle is a symbol of wisdom because it retires into itself and is its own protection. It is also a phallic symbol, as its relation to long life would signify. The Hindus symbolized the universe as being supported on the backs of four great elephants who, in turn, are standing upon an immense turtle which is crawling continually through chaos.
Crocodiles were regarded by the Egyptians both as symbols of Typhon and emblems of the Supreme Deity, of the latter because while under water the crocodile is capable of seeing--Plutarch asserts--though its eyes are covered by a thin membrane. The Egyptians declared that no matter how far away the crocodile laid its eggs, the Nile would reach up to them in its next inundation, this reptile being endowed with a mysterious sense capable of making known the extent of the flood months before it took place. There were two kinds of crocodiles. The larger and more ferocious was hated by the Egyptians, for they likened it to the nature of Typhon, their destroying demon. Typhon waited to devour all who failed to pass the judgment of the Dead, which rite took place in the Hall of Justice between the earth and the Elysian Fields. Anthony Todd Thomson thus describes the good treatment accorded the smaller and tamer crocodiles, which the Egyptians accepted as personifications of good: "They were fed daily and occasionally had mulled wine poured down their throats. Their ears were ornamented with rings of gold and precious stones, and their forefeet adorned with bracelets."
The great rapidity of motion manifested by lizards has caused them to be associated with Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, whose winged feet traveled infinite distances almost instantaneously. A point which must not be overlooked in connection with reptiles in symbolism is clearly brought out by the eminent scholar, Dr. H. E. Santee, in his Anatomy of the Brain and Spinal Cord: "In reptiles there are two pineal bodies, an anterior and a posterior, of which the posterior remains undeveloped but the anterior forms a rudimentary, cyclopean eye. In the Hatteria, a New Zealand lizard, it projects through the parietal foramen and presents an imperfect lens and retina and, in its long stalk, nerve fibers."
Electricity was commonly symbolized by the serpent because of its motion. Electricity passing between the poles of a spark gap is serpentine in its motion. Force projected through atmosphere was called The Great Snake. Being symbolic of universal force, the serpent was emblematic of both good and evil. Force can tear down as rapidly as it can build up. The serpent with its tail in its mouth is the symbol of eternity, for in this position the body of the reptile has neither beginning nor end. The head and tail represent the positive and negative poles of the cosmic life circuit. The initiates of the Mysteries were often referred to as serpents, and their wisdom was considered analogous to the divinely inspired power of the snake. There is no doubt that the title "Winged Serpents" (the Seraphim?) was given to one of the invisible hierarchies that labored with the earth during its early formation.
The seven-headed snake represents the Supreme Deity manifesting through His Elohim, or Seven Spirits, by whose aid He established His universe. The coils of the snake have been used by the pagans to symbolize the motion and also the orbits of the celestial bodies, and it is probable that the symbol of the serpent twisted around the egg--which was common to many of the ancient Mystery schools--represented both the apparent motion of the sun around the earth, and the bands of astral light, or the great magical agent, which move about the planet incessantly.
The accepted theory that the serpent is evil cannot be substantiated. It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, because it annually sheds its skin, reappearing, as it were, in a new body. There is an ancient superstition to the effect that snakes never die except by violence and that, if uninjured, they would live forever. It was also believed that snakes swallowed themselves, and this resulted in their being considered emblematic of the Supreme Creator, who periodically reabsorbed His universe back into Himself.
The serpent is true to the principle of wisdom, for it tempts man to the knowledge of himself. Therefore the knowledge of self resulted from man's disobedience to the Demiurgus, Jehovah. How the serpent came to be in the garden of the Lord after God had declared that all creatures which He had made during the six days of creation were good has not been satisfactorily answered by the interpreters of Scripture. The tree that grows in the midst of the garden is the spinal fire; the knowledge of the use of that spinal fire is the gift of the great serpent. Notwithstanding statements to the contrary, the serpent is the symbol and prototype of the Universal Savior, who redeems the worlds by giving creation the knowledge of itself and the realization of good and evil. If this be not so, why did Moses raise a brazen serpent upon a cross in the wilderness that all who looked upon it might be saved from the sting of the lesser snakes? Was not the brazen serpent a prophecy of the crucified Man to come? If the serpent be only a thing of evil, why did Christ instruct His disciples to be as wise as serpents?
The serpent was chosen as the head of the reptilian family. Serpent worship in some form has permeated nearly all parts of the earth. The serpent mounds of the American Indian; the carved-stone snakes of Central and South America; the hooded cobras of India; Python, the great snake o the Greeks; the sacred serpents of the Druids; the Midgard snake of Scandinavia; the Nagas of Burma, Siam, and Cambodia; the brazen serpent of the Jews; the mystic serpent of Orpheus; the snakes at the oracle; of Delphi twining themselves around the tripod upon which the Pythian priestess sat, the tripod itself being in the form of twisted serpents; the sacred serpents preserved in the Egyptian temples; the Uræus coiled upon the foreheads of the Pharaohs and priests;--all these bear witness to the universal veneration in which the snake was held. In the ancient Mysteries the serpent entwining a staff was the symbol of the physician. The serpent-wound staff of Hermes remains the emblem of the medical profession. Among nearly all these ancient peoples the serpent was accepted as the symbol of wisdom or salvation. The antipathy which Christendom feels towards the snake is based upon the little-understood allegory of the Garden of Eden.
The fly symbolizes the tormentor, because of the annoyance it causes to animals. The Chaldean god Baal was often called Baal-Zebul, or the god of the dwelling place. The word zebub, or zabab, means a fly, and Baal-Zebul became Baalzebub, or Beelzebub, a word which was loosely translated to mean Jupiter's fly. The fly was looked upon as a form of the divine power, because of its ability to destroy decaying substances and thus promote health. The fly may have obtained its name Zebub from its peculiar buzzing or humming. Inman believes that Baalzebub, which the Jews ridiculed as My Lord of Flies, really means My Lord Who Hums or Murmurs.
In India the god Prana--the personification of the universal life force--is sometimes shown surrounded by a circle of bees. Because of its importance in pollenizing flowers, the bee is the accepted symbol of the generative power. At one time the bee was the emblem of the French kings. The rulers of France wore robes embroidered with bees, and the canopies of their thrones were decorated with gigantic figures of these insects.
The beehive is found in Masonry as a reminder that in diligence and labor for a common good true happiness and prosperity are found. The bee is a symbol of wisdom, for as this tiny insect collects pollen from the flowers, so men may extract wisdom from the experiences of daily life. The bee is sacred to the goddess Venus and, according to mystics, it is one of several forms of life which came to the earth from the planet Venus millions of years ago. Wheat and bananas are said to be of similar origin. This is the reason why the origin of these three forms of life cannot be traced. The fact that bees are ruled by queens is one reason why this insect is considered a sacred feminine symbol.
Some ancient schools of wisdom taught that all poisonous insects and reptiles are germinated out of the evil nature of man, and that when intelligent human beings no longer breed hate in their own souls there will be no more ferocious animals, loathsome diseases, or poisonous plants and insects.
Night moths typify the secret wisdom, because they are hard to discover and are concealed by the darkness (ignorance). Some are emblems of death, as Acherontia atropos, the death's-head moth, which has a marking on its body somewhat like a human skull. The death-watch beetle, which was believed to give warning of approaching death by a peculiar ticking sound, is another instance of insects involved in human affairs.
The butterfly (under the name of Psyche, a beautiful maiden with wings of opalescent light) symbolizes the human soul because of the stages it passes through in order to unfold its power of flight. The three divisions through which the butterfly passes in its unfoldment resemble closely the three degrees of the Mystery School, which degrees are regarded as consummating the unfoldment of man by giving him emblematic wings by which he may soar to the skies. Unregenerate man, ignorant and helpless, is symbolized by the stage between ovum and larva; the disciple, seeking truth and dwelling in medication, by the second stage, from larva to pupa, at which time the insect enters its chrysalis (the tomb of the Mysteries); the third stage, from pupa to imago (wherein the perfect butterfly comes forth), typifies the unfolded enlightened soul of the initiate rising from the tomb of his baser nature.
The scorpion was also the symbol of wisdom, for the fire which it controlled was capable of illuminating as well as consuming. Initiation into the Greater Mysteries among the pagans was said to take place only in the sign of the scorpion. In the papyrus of Ani (The Book of the Dead), the deceased likens his soul to a scorpion, saying: "I am a swallow, I am that scorpion, the daughter of Ra!" Elizabeth Goldsmith, in her treatise on Sex Symbolism, states that the scorpions were a "symbol of Selk, the Egyptian goddess of writing, and also [were] revered by the Babylonians and Assyrians as guardians of the gateway of the sun. Seven scorpions were said to have accompanied Isis when she searched for the remains of Osiris scattered by Set" (Typhon).
The scorpion stings with its tail, and for this reason it has been called a backbiter, a false and deceitful thing. Calmet, in his Dictionary of the Bible, declares the scorpion to be a fit emblem of the wicked and the symbol of persecution. The dry winds of Egypt are said to be produced by Typhon, who imparts to the sand the blistering heat of the infernal world and the sting of the scorpion. This insect was also the symbol of the spinal fire which, according to the Egyptian Mysteries, destroyed man when it was permitted to gather at the base of his spine (the tail of the scorpion).The red star Antares in the back of the celestial scorpion was considered the worst light in the heavens. Kalb al Akrab, or the heart of the scorpion, was called by the ancients the lieutenant or deputy of Mars. (See footnote to Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos.) Antares was believed to impair the eyesight, often causing blindness if it rose over the horizon when a child was born. This may refer again to the sand storm, which was capable of blinding unwary travelers.
The scorpion is the symbol of both wisdom and self-destruction. It was called by the Egyptians the creature accursed; the time of year when the sun entered the sign of Scorpio marked the beginning of the rulership of Typhon. When the twelve signs of the zodiac were used to represent the twelve Apostles (although the reverse is true), the scorpion was assigned to Judas Iscariot--the betrayer.
Ra, the god of the sun, had three important aspects. As the Creator of the universe he was symbolized by the head of a scarab and was called Khepera, which signified the resurrection of the soul and a new life at the end of the mortal span. The mummy cases of the Egyptian dead were nearly always ornamented with scarabs. Usually one of these beetles, with outspread wings, was painted on the mummy case directly over the breast of the dead. The finding of such great numbers of small stone scarabs indicates that they were a favorite article of adornment among the Egyptians. Because of its relationship to the sun, the scarab symbolized the divine part of man's nature. The fact that its beautiful wings were concealed under its glossy shell typified the winged soul of man hidden within its earthly sheath. The Egyptian soldiers were given the scarab as their special symbol because the ancients believed that these creatures were all of the male sex and consequently appropriate emblems of virility, strength, and courage.
The habits of the insects were carefully studied. Therefore the ant was looked upon as emblematic of industry and foresight, as it stored up supplies for the winter and also had strength to move objects many times its own weight. The locusts which swept down in clouds, and in some parts of Africa and Asia obscured the sun and destroyed every green thing, were considered fit emblems of passion, disease, hate, and strife; for these emotions destroy all that is good in the soul of man and leave a barren desert behind them. In the folklore of various nations, certain insects are given special significance, but the ones which have received world-wide veneration and consideration ate the scarab, the king of the insect kingdom; the scorpion, the great betrayer; the butterfly, the emblem of metamorphosis; and the bee, the symbol of industry.
The Gnostics divided the nature of the Christian Redeemer into two parts--the one Jesus, a mortal man; the other, Christos, a personification of Nous, the principle of Cosmic Mind. Nous, the greater, was for the period of three years (from baptism to crucifixion) using the fleshly garment of the mortal man (Jesus). In order to illustrate this point and still conceal it from the ignorant, many strange, and often repulsive, creatures were used whose rough exteriors concealed magnificent organisms. Kenealy, in his notes on the Book of Enoch, observes: "Why the caterpillar was a symbol of the Messiah is evident; because, under a lowly, creeping, and wholly terrestrial aspect, he conceals the beautiful butterfly-form, with its radiant wings, emulating in its varied colors the Rainbow, the Serpent, the Salmon, the Scarab, the Peacock, and the dying Dolphin * * *."
It is reasonable to suppose that the mysterious sea serpents, which, according to the Mayan and Toltec legends, brought the gods to Mexico were Viking or Chaldean ships, built in the shape of composite sea monsters or dragons. H. P. Blavatsky advances the theory that the word cetus, the great whale, is derived from keto, a name for the fish god, Dagon, and that Jonah was actually confined in a cell hollowed out in the body of a gigantic statue of Dagon after he had been captured by Phœnician sailors and carried to one of their cities. There is no doubt a great mystery in the gigantic form of cetus, which is still preserved as a constellation.
The story of Jonah is really a legend of initiation into the Mysteries, and the "great fish" represents the darkness of ignorance which engulfs man when he is thrown over the side of the ship (is born) into the sea (life). The custom of building ships in the form of fishes or birds, common in ancient times, could give rise to the story, and mayhap Jonah was merely picked up by another vessel and carried into port, the pattern of the ship causing it to be called a "great fish." ("Veritatis simplex oratio est!") More probably the "whale" of Jonah is based upon the pagan mythological creature, hippocampus, part horse and part dolphin, for the early Christian statues and carvings show the composite creature and not a true whale.
The fish has been used as an emblem of damnation; but among the Chinese it typified contentment and good fortune, and fishes appear on many of their coins. When Typhon, or Set, the Egyptian evil genius, had divided the body of the god Osiris into fourteen parts, he cast one part into the river Nile, where, according to Plutarch, it was devoured by three fishes--the lepidotus (probably the lepidosiren), the phagrus, and the oxyrynchus (a form of pike). For this reason the Egyptians would not eat the flesh of these fishes, believing that to do so would be to devour the body of their god. When used as a symbol of evil, the fish represented the earth (man's lower nature) and the tomb (the sepulcher of the Mysteries). Thus was Jonah three days in the belly of the "great fish," as Christ was three days in the tomb.
There are also legends to the effect that long before the appearance of human beings there existed a race or species of composite creatures which was destroyed by the gods. The temples of antiquity preserved their own historical records and possessed information concerning the prehistoric world that has never been revealed to the uninitiated. According to these records, the human race evolved from a species of creature that partook somewhat of the nature of an amphibian, for at that time primitive man had the gills of a fish and was partly covered with scales. To a limited degree, the human embryo demonstrates the possibility of such a condition. As a result of the theory of man's origin in water, the fish was looked upon as the progenitor of the human family. This gave rise to the ichthyolatry of the Chaldeans, Phœnicians, and Brahmins. The American Indians believe that the waters of lakes, rivers, and oceans are inhabited by a mysterious people, the "Water Indians."
Though regarded by many writers of the Middle Ages as actual living creatures, none of these [unicorns, phoenix, etc]--the pelican excepted--ever existed outside the symbolism of the Mysteries. Possibly they originated in rumors of animals then little known. In the temple, however, they became a reality, for there they signified the manifold characteristics of man's nature. The mantichora had certain points in common with the hyena; the unicorn may have been the single-horned rhinoceros. To the student of the secret wisdom these composite animals. and birds simply represent various forces working in the invisible worlds. This is a point which nearly all writers on the subject of mediæval monsters seem to have overlooked. (See Vlyssis Aldrovandi's Monstrorum Historia, 1642, and Physica Curiosa, by P. Gaspare Schotto, 1697.)
The word nun means both fish and growth, and as Inman says: "The Jews were led to victory by the Son of the Fish whose other names were Joshua and Jesus (the Savior). Nun is still the name of a female devotee" of the Christian faith. Among early Christians three fishes were used to symbolize the Trinity, and the fish is also one of the eight sacred symbols of the great Buddha.
Fishes were sacred to the Greeks and Romans, being connected with the worship of Aphrodite (Venus). An interesting survival of pagan ritualism is found in the custom of eating fish on Friday. Freya, in whose honor the day was named, was the Scandinavian Venus, and this day was sacred among many nations to the goddess of beauty and fecundity. This analogy further links the fish with the procreative mystery. Friday is also sacred to the followers of the Prophet Mohammed.
The early philosophers and scientists, realizing that all life has its origin in water, chose the fish as the symbol of the life germ. The fact that fishes are most prolific makes the simile still more apt. While the early priests may not have possessed the instruments necessary to analyze the spermatozoon, they concluded by deduction that it resembled a fish.
When the colors are related to the twelve signs of the zodiac, they are arranged as the spokes of a wheel. To Aries is assigned pure red; to Taurus, red-orange; to Gemini, pure orange; to Cancer, orange-yellow; to Leo, pure yellow; to Virgo, yellow-green; to Libra, pure green; to Scorpio, green-blue; to Sagittarius, pure blue; to Capricorn, blue-violet; to Aquarius, pure violet; and to Pisces, violet-red.
There are numerous arbitrary arrangements setting forth the mutual relationships of the planets, the colors, and the musical notes. The most satisfactory system is that based upon the law of the octave. The sense of hearing has a much wider scope than that of sight, for whereas the ear can register from nine to eleven octaves of sound the eye is restricted to the cognition of but seven fundamental color tones, or one tone short of the octave. Red, when posited as the lowest color tone in the scale of chromatics, thus corresponds to do, the first note of the musical scale. Continuing the analogy, orange corresponds to re, yellow to mi, green to fa, blue to sol, indigo to la, and violet to si (ti). The eighth color tone necessary to complete the scale should be the higher octave of red, the first color tone. The accuracy of the above arrangement is attested by two striking facts: (1) the three fundamental notes of the musical scale--the first, the third, and the fifth--correspond with the three primary colors--red, yellow, and blue; (2) the seventh, and least perfect, note of the musical scale corresponds with purple, the least perfect tone of the color scale.
In Meno, Plato, speaking through Socrates, describes color as "an effluence of form, commensurate with sight, and sensible." In Theætetus he discourses more at length on the subject thus: "Let us carry out the principle which has just been affirmed, that nothing is self-existent, and then we shall see that every color, white, black, and every other color, arises out of the eye meeting the appropriate motion, and that what we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element, but something which passes between them, and is peculiar to each percipient; are you certain that the several colors appear to every animal--say a dog--as they appear to you?"
Pythagoras conceived the universe to be an immense monochord, with its single string connected at its upper end to absolute spirit and at its lower end to absolute matter--in other words, a cord stretched between heaven and earth. Counting inward from the circumference of the heavens, Pythagoras, according to some authorities, divided the universe into nine parts; according to others, into twelve parts. The twelvefold system was as follows: The first division was called the empyrean, or the sphere of the fixed stars, and was the dwelling place of the immortals. The second to twelfth divisions were (in order) the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus, Mercury, and the moon, and fire, air, water, and earth. This arrangement of the seven planets (the sun and moon being regarded as planets in the old astronomy) is identical with the candlestick symbolism of the Jews--the sun in the center as the main stem with three planets on either side of it.
Having once established music as an exact science, Pythagoras applied his newly found law of harmonic intervals to all the phenomena of Nature, even going so far as to demonstrate the harmonic relationship of the planets, constellations, and elements to each other. A notable example of modern corroboration of ancient philosophical reaching is that of the progression of the elements according to harmonic ratios. While making a list of the elements in the ascending order of their atomic weights, John A. Newlands discovered at every eighth element a distinct repetition of properties. This discovery is known as the law of octaves in modern chemistry.
Since they held that harmony must be determined not by the sense perceptions but by reason and mathematics, the Pythagoreans called themselves Canonics, as distinguished from musicians of the Harmonic School, who asserted taste and instinct to be the true normative principles of harmony. Recognizing, however, the profound effect: of music upon the senses and emotions, Pythagoras did not hesitate to influence the mind and body with what he termed "musical medicine."
The universe is made up of successive gradations of good, these gradations ascending from matter (which is the least degree of good) to spirit (which is the greatest degree of good). In man, his superior nature is the summum bonum. It therefore follows that his highest nature most readily cognizes good because the good external to him in the world is in harmonic ratio with the good present in his soul. What man terms evil is therefore, in common with matter, merely the least degree of its own opposite. The least degree of good presupposes likewise the least degree of harmony and beauty. Thus deformity (evil) is really the least harmonious combination of elements naturally harmonic as individual units. Deformity is unnatural, for, the sum of all things being the Good, it is natural that all things should partake of the Good and be arranged in combinations that are harmonious. Harmony is the manifesting expression of the Will of the eternal Good.
The great university will be divided into grades, admission to which will be through preliminary tests or initiations. Here mankind will be instructed in the most sacred, the most secret, and the most enduring of all Mysteries--Symbolism. Here the initiate will be taught that every visible object, every abstract thought, every emotional reaction is but the symbol of an eternal principle. Here mankind will learn that CHiram (Truth) lies buried in every atom of Kosmos; that every form is a symbol and every symbol the tomb of an eternal verity. Through education--spiritual, mental, moral, and physical--man will learn to release living truths from their lifeless coverings. The perfect government of the earth must be patterned eventually after that divine government by which the universe is ordered. In that day when perfect order is reestablished, with peace universal and good triumphant, men will no longer seek for happiness, for they shall find it welling up within themselves. Dead hopes, dead aspirations, dead virtues shall rise from their graves, and the Spirit of Beauty and Goodness repeatedly slain by ignorant men shall again be the Master of Work. Then shall sages sit upon the seats of the mighty and the gods walk with men.
When the mob governs, man is ruled by ignorance; when the church governs, he is ruled by superstition; and when the state governs, he is ruled by fear. Before men can live together in harmony and understanding, ignorance must be transmuted into wisdom, superstition into an illumined faith, and fear into love. Despite statements to the contrary, Masonry is a religion seeking to unite God and man by elevating its initiates to that level of consciousness whereon they can behold with clarified vision the workings of the Great Architect of the Universe. From age to age the vision of a perfect civilization is preserved as the ideal for mankind. In the midst of that civilization shall stand a mighty university wherein both the sacred and secular sciences concerning the mysteries of life will be freely taught to all who will assume the philosophic life. Here creed and dogma will have no place; the superficial will be removed and only the essential be preserved. The world will be ruled by its most illumined minds, and each will occupy the position for which he is most admirably fitted.
In An Essay on the Beautiful, Plotinus describes the refining effect of beauty upon the unfolding consciousness of man. Commissioned to decorate the Everlasting House, CHiram Abiff is the embodiment of the beautifying principle. Beauty is essential to the natural unfoldment of the human soul. The Mysteries held that man, in part at least, was the product of his environment. Therefore they considered it imperative that every person be surrounded by objects which would evoke the highest and noblest sentiments. They proved that it was possible to produce beauty in life by surrounding life with beauty. They discovered that symmetrical bodies were built by souls continuously in the presence of symmetrical bodies; that noble thoughts were produced by minds surrounded by examples of mental nobility. Conversely, if a man were forced to look upon an ignoble or asymmetrical structure it would arouse within him a sense of ignobility which would provoke him to commit ignoble deeds. If an ill-proportioned building were erected in the midst of a city there would be ill-proportioned children born in that community; and men and women, gazing upon the asymmetrical structure, would live inharmonious lives. Thoughtful men of antiquity realized that their great philosophers were the natural products of the æsthetic ideals of architecture, music, and art established as the standards of the cultural systems of the time.
The substitution of the discord of the fantastic for the harmony of the beautiful constitutes one of the great tragedies of every civilization. Not only were the Savior-Gods of the ancient world beautiful, but each performed a ministry of beauty, seeking to effect man's regeneration by arousing within him the love of the beautiful. A renaissance of the golden age of fable can be made possible only by the elevation of beauty to its rightful dignity as the all-pervading, idealizing quality in the religious, ethical, sociological, scientific, and political departments of life. The Dionysiac Architects were consecrated to the raising of their Master Spirit--Cosmic Beauty--from the sepulcher of material ignorance and selfishness by erecting buildings which were such perfect exemplars of symmetry and majesty that they were actually magical formulæ by which was evoked the spirit of the martyred Beautifier entombed within a materialistic world.
Other authors consider Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius as the three murderers of the sun, inasmuch as Osiris was murdered by Typhon, to whom were assigned the thirty degrees of the constellation of Scorpio. In the Christian Mysteries also Judas signifies the Scorpion, and the thirty pieces of silver for which he betrayed His Lord represent the number of degrees in that sign. Having been struck by Libra (the state), Scorpio (the church), and Sagittarius (the mob), the sun (CHiram) is secretly home through the darkness by the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces and buried over the brow of a hill (the vernal equinox). Capricorn has for its symbol an old man with a scythe in his hand. This is Father Time--a wayfarer--who is symbolized in Masonry as straightening out the ringlets of a young girl's hair. If the Weeping Virgin be considered a symbol of Virgo, and Father Time with his scythe a symbol of Capricorn, then the interval of ninety degrees between these two signs will be found to correspond to that occupied by the three murderers. Esoterically, the urn containing the ashes of CHiram represents the human heart. Saturn, the old man who lives at the north pole, and brings with him to the children of men a sprig of evergreen (the Christmas tree), is familiar to the little folks under the name of Santa Claus, for he brings each winter the gift of a new year.
The martyred sun is discovered by Aries, a Fellow-Craftsman, and at the vernal equinox the process of raising him begins. This is finally accomplished by the Lion of Judah, who in ancient times occupied the position of the keystone of the Royal Arch of Heaven. The precession of the equinoxes causes various signs to play the rôle of the murderers of the sun during the different ages of the world, but the principle involved remains unchanged. Such is the cosmic story of CHiram, the Universal Benefactor, the Fiery Architect: of the Divine House, who carries with him to the grave that Lost Word which, when spoken, raises all life to power and glory. According to Christian mysticism, when the Lost Word is found it is discovered in a stable, surrounded by beasts and marked by a star. "After the sun leaves Leo," writes Robert Hewitt Brown, "the days begin to grow unequivocally shorter as the sun declines toward the autumnal equinox, to be again slain by the three autumnal months, lie dead through the three winter ones, and be raised again by the three vernal ones. Each year the great tragedy is repeated, and the glorious resurrection takes place." (See Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy.)
CHiram is termed dead because in the average individual the cosmic creative forces are limited in their manifestation to purely physical--and correspondingly materialistic--expression. Obsessed by his belief in the reality and permanence of physical existence, man does not correlate the material universe with the blank north wall of the temple. As the solar light symbolically is said to die as it approaches the winter solstice, so the physical world may be termed the winter solstice of the spirit. Reaching the winter solstice, the sun apparently stands still for three days and then, rolling away the stone of winter, begins its triumphal march north towards the summer solstice. The condition of ignorance may be likened to the winter solstice of philosophy; spiritual understanding to the summer solstice. From this point of view, initiation into the Mysteries becomes the vernal equinox of the spirit, at which time the CHiram in man crosses from the realm of mortality into that of eternal life. The autumnal equinox is analogous to the mythological fall of man, at which time the human spirit descended into the realms of Hades by being immersed in the illusion of terrestrial existence.
Sufficient similarity exists between the Masonic CHiram and the Kundalini of Hindu mysticism to warrant the assumption that CHiram may be considered a symbol also of the Spirit Fire moving through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column. The exact science of human regeneration is the Lost Key of Masonry, for when the Spirit Fire is lifted up through the thirty-three degrees, or segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name. Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus. In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man--the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia.
If, as there is ample reason to suspect, the modern Freemasonic Order was profoundly influenced by, if it is not an actual outgrowth of, Francis Bacon's secret society, its symbolism is undoubtedly permeated with Bacon's two great ideals: universal education and universal democracy. The deadly enemies of universal education are ignorance, superstition, and fear, by which the human soul is held in bondage to the lowest part of its own constitution. The arrant enemies of universal democracy have ever been the crown, the tiara, and the torch. Thus CHiram symbolizes that ideal state of spiritual, intellectual, and physical emancipation which has ever been sacrificed upon the altar of human selfishness. CHiram is the Beautifier of the Eternal House. Modern utilitarianism, however, sacrifices the beautiful for the practical, in the same breath declaring the obvious lie that selfishness, hatred, and discord are practical.
Dr. Orville Ward Owen found a considerable part of the first thirty-two degrees of Freemasonic ritualism hidden in the text of the First Shakespeare Folio. Masonic emblems are to be observed also upon the title pages of nearly every book published by Bacon. Sir Francis Bacon considered himself as a living sacrifice upon the altar of human need; he was obviously cut down in the midst of his labors, and no student of his New Atlantis can fail to recognize the Masonic symbolism contained therein. According to the observations of Joseph Fort Newton, the Temple of Solomon described by Bacon in that utopian romance was not a house at all but the name of an ideal state. Is it not true that the Temple of Freemasonry is also emblematic of a condition of society? While, as before stated, the principles of the Hiramic legend are of the greatest antiquity, it is not impossible that its present form may be based upon incidents in the life of Lord Bacon, who passed through the philosophic death and was raised in Germany.
In an old manuscript appears the statement that the Freemasonic Order was formed by alchemists and Hermetic philosophers who had banded themselves together to protect their secrets against the infamous methods used by avaricious persons to wring from them the secret of gold-making. The fact that the Hiramic legend contains an alchemical formula gives credence to this story. Thus the building of Solomon's Temple represents the consummation of the magnum opus, which cannot be realized without the assistance of CHiram, the Universal Agent. The Masonic Mysteries teach the initiate how to prepare within his own soul a miraculous powder of projection by which it is possible for him to transmute the base lump of human ignorance, perversion, and discord into an ingot of spiritual and philosophic gold.
To the mystic Christian Mason, CHiram. represents the Christ who in three days (degrees) raised the temple of His body from its earthly sepulcher. His three murderers were Cæsar's agent (the state), the Sanhedrin (the church), and the incited populace (the mob). Thus considered, CHiram becomes the higher nature of man and the murderers are ignorance, superstition, and fear. The indwelling Christ can give expression to Himself in this world only through man's thoughts, feelings, and actions. Right thinking, right feeling, and right action--these are three gates through which the Christ power passes into the material world, there to labor in the erection of the Temple of Universal Brotherhood. Ignorance, superstition, and fear are three ruffians through whose agencies the Spirit of Good is murdered and a false kingdom, controlled by wrong thinking, wrong feeling, and wrong action, established in its stead. In the material universe evil appears ever victorious.
"In this sense," writes Daniel Sickels, "the myth of the Tyrian is perpetually repeated in the history of human affairs. Orpheus was murdered, and his body thrown into the Hebrus; Socrates was made to drink the hemlock; and, in all ages, we have seen Evil temporarily triumphant, and Virtue and Truth calumniated, persecuted, crucified, and slain. But Eternal justice marches surely and swiftly through the world: the Typhons, the children of darkness, the plotters of crime, all the infinitely varied forms of evil, are swept into oblivion; and Truth and Virtue--for a time laid low--come forth, clothed with diviner majesty, and crowned with everlasting glory!" (See General Ahiman Rezon.)
The efforts made to discover the origin of the Hiramic legend show that, while the legend in its present form is comparatively modem, its underlying principles run back to remotest antiquity. It is generally admitted by modem Masonic scholars that the story of the martyred CHiram is based upon the Egyptian rites of Osiris, whose death and resurrection figuratively portrayed the spiritual death of man and his regeneration through initiation into the Mysteries. CHiram is also identified with Hermes through the inscription on the Emerald Table. From these associations it is evident that CHiram is to be considered as a prototype of humanity; in fact he is Plato's Idea (archetype) of man. As Adam after the Fall symbolizes the Idea of human degeneration, so CHiram through his resurrection symbolizes the Idea of human regeneration.
To interpret the Hiramic legend requires familiarity with both the Pythagorean and Qabbalistic systems of numbers and letters, and also the philosophic and astronomic cycles of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Brahmins. For example, consider the number 33. The first temple of Solomon stood for thirty-three years in its pristine splendor. At the end of that time it was pillaged by the Egyptian King Shishak, and finally (588 B.C.) it was completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people of Jerusalem were led into captivity to Babylon. (See General History of Freemasonry, by Robert Macoy.) Also King David ruled for thirty-three years in Jerusalem; the Masonic Order is divided into thirty-three symbolic degrees; there are thirty-three segments in the human spinal column; and Jesus was crucified in the thirty-third year of His life.
The body of CHiram was buried by the murderers over the brow of Mount Moriah and a sprig of acacia placed upon the grave. The murderers then sought to escape punishment for their crime by embarking for Ethiopia, but the port was closed. All three were finally captured, and after admitting their guilt were duly executed. Parties of three were then sent out by King Solomon, and one of these groups discovered the newly made grave marked by the evergreen sprig. After the Entered Apprentices and the Fellow-Craftsmen had failed to resurrect their Master from the dead he was finally raised by the Master Mason with the "strong grip of a Lion's Paw."
CHiram, as Master of the Builders, divided his workmen into three groups, which were termed Entered Apprentices, Fellow-Craftsmen, and Master Masons. To each division he gave certain passwords and signs by which their respective excellence could be quickly determined. While all were classified according to their merits some were dissatisfied, for they desired a more exalted position than they were capable of filling. At last three Fellow-Craftsmen, more daring than their companions, determined to force CHiram to reveal to them the password of the Master's degree. Knowing that CHiram always went into the unfinished sanctum sanctorum at high noon to pray, these ruffians--whose names were Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum--lay in wait for him, one at each of the main gates of the temple. CHiram, about to leave the temple by the south gate, was suddenly confronted by Jubela armed with a twenty-four-inch gauge. Upon CHiram's refusal to reveal the Master's Word, the ruffian struck him on the throat with the rule, and the wounded Master then hastened to the west gate, where Jubelo, armed with a square, awaited him and made a similar demand. Again CHiram was silent, and the second assassin struck him on the breast with the square. CHiram thereupon staggered to the east gate, only to be met there by Jubelum armed with a maul. When CHiram, refused him the Master's Word, Jubelum struck the Master between the eyes with the mallet and CHiram fell dead.
The Masonic legend of the building of Solomon's Temple does not in every particular parallel the Scriptural version, especially in those portions relating to CHiram Abiff. According to the Biblical account, this Master workman returned to his own country; in the Masonic allegory he is foully murdered.
Solomon made an agreement with Hiram of Tyre promising vast amounts of barley, wheat, corn, wine, and oil as wages for the masons and carpenters from Tyre who were to assist the Jews in the erection of the temple. Hiram also supplied cedars and other fine trees, which were made into rafts and floated down the sea to Joppa, whence they were taken inland by Solomon's workmen to the temple site.
At birth only a third part of the Divine Nature of man temporarily dissociates itself from its own immortality and takes upon itself the dream of physical birth and existence, animating with its own celestial enthusiasm a vehicle composed of material elements, part of and bound to the material sphere. At death this incarnated part awakens from the dream of physical existence and reunites itself once more with its eternal condition. This periodical descent of spirit into matter is termed the wheel of life and death, and the principles involved are treated at length by the philosophers under the subject of metempsychosis. By initiation into the Mysteries and a certain process known as operative theology, this law of birth and death is transcended, and during the course of physical existence that part of the spirit which is asleep in form is awakened without the intervention of death--the inevitable Initiator--and is consciously reunited with the Anthropos, or the overshadowing substance of itself. This is at once the primary purpose and the consummate achievement of the Mysteries: that man shall become aware of and consciously be reunited with the divine source of himself without tasting of physical dissolution.
Every community has an individuality which is the sum of the individual attitudes of its inhabitants. Every religion is an individual whose body is made up of a hierarchy and vast host of individual worshipers. The organization of any religion represents its physical body, and its individual members the cell life making up this organism.
Lest that knowledge be lost, however, it was concealed in allegories and myths which were meaningless to the profane but self-evident to those acquainted with that theory of personal redemption which was the foundation of philosophical theology. Christianity itself may be cited as an example. The entire New Testament is in fact an ingeniously concealed exposition of the secret processes of human regeneration. The characters so long considered as historical men and women are really the personification of certain processes which take place in the human body when man begins the task of consciously liberating himself from the bondage of ignorance and death.
The ancients did not believe that spirituality made men either righteous or rational, but rather that righteousness and rationality made men spiritual. The Mysteries taught that spiritual illumination was attained only by bringing the lower nature up to a certain standard of efficiency and purity. The Mysteries were therefore established for the purpose of unfolding the nature of man according to certain fixed rules which, when faithfully followed, elevated the human consciousness to a point where it was capable of cognizing its own constitution and the true purpose of existence.
By the Word of God the material universe was fabricated, and the seven creative powers, or vowel sounds--which had been brought into existence by the speaking of the Word--became the seven Elohim or Deities by whose power and ministration the lower world was organized.
As the human body in its entirety is the most perfect known product of the earth's evolution, it was employed to represent Divinity--the highest appreciable state or condition.
Some philosophers further declared that there were two methods of writing: one from left to right, which was considered the exoteric method; the other from right to left, which was considered esoteric. The exoteric writing was that which was done out or away from the heart, while the esoteric writing was that which--like the ancient Hebrew--was written toward the heart.
In symbolism the body is divided vertically into halves, the right half being considered as light and the left half as darkness. By those unacquainted with the true meanings of light and darkness the light half was denominated spiritual and the left half material. Light is the symbol of objectivity; darkness of subjectivity. Light is a manifestation of life and is therefore posterior to life. That which is anterior to light is darkness, in which light exists temporarily but darkness permanently. As life precedes light, its only symbol is darkness, and darkness is considered as the veil which must eternally conceal the true nature of abstract and undifferentiated Being.
As man's physical body has five distinct and important extremities--two legs, two arms, and a head, of which the last governs the first four--the number 5 has been accepted as the symbol of man. By its four corners the pyramid symbolizes the arms and legs, and by its apex the head, thus indicating that one rational power controls four irrational corners. The hands and feet are used to represent the four elements, of which the two feet are earth and water, and the two hands fire and air. The brain then symbolizes the sacred fifth element--æther--which controls and unites the other four. If the feet are placed together and the arms outspread, man then symbolizes the cross with the rational intellect as the head or upper limb.
It is difficult for many to realize that they are actual universes; that their physical bodies are a visible nature through the structure of which countless waves of evolving life are unfolding their latent potentialities. Yet through man's physical body not only are a mineral, a plant, and an animal kingdom evolving, but also unknown classifications and divisions of invisible spiritual life. just as cells are infinitesimal units in the structure of man, so man is an infinitesimal unit in the structure of the universe. A theology based upon the knowledge and appreciation of these relationships is as profoundly just as it is profoundly true.
While generally regarded as polytheists, the pagans gained this reputation not because they worshiped more than one God but rather because they personified the attributes of this God, thereby creating a pantheon of posterior deities each manifesting a part of what the One God manifested as a whole. The various pantheons of ancient religions therefore actually represent the catalogued and personified attributes of Deity. In this respect they correspond to the hierarchies of the Hebrew Qabbalists. All the gods and goddesses of antiquity consequently have their analogies in the human body, as have also the elements, planets, and constellations which were assigned as proper vehicles for these celestials. Four body centers are assigned to the elements, the seven vital organs to the planets, the twelve principal parts and members to the zodiac, the invisible parts of man's divine nature to various supermundane deities, while the hidden God was declared to manifest through the marrow in the bones.
Man is essentially a permanent and immortal principle; only his bodies pass through the cycle of birth and death. The immortal is the reality; the mortal is the unreality. During each period of earth life, reality thus dwells in unreality, to be liberated from it temporarily by death and permanently by illumination.
As light bears witness of life-which is its source-so the mind bears witness of the spirit, and activity in a still lower plane bears witness of intelligence. Thus the mind bears witness of the heart, while the generative system, in turn, bears witness of the mind. Accordingly, the spiritual nature is most commonly symbolized by a heart; the intellectual power by an opened eye, symbolizing the pineal gland or Cyclopean eye, which is the two-faced Janus of the pagan Mysteries; and the generative system by a flower, a staff, a cup, or a hand.
Since the superior (or spiritual) center is in the midst of the other two, its analogue in the physical body is the heart--the most spiritual and mysterious organ in the human body. The second center (or the link between the superior and inferior worlds) is elevated to the position of greatest physical dignity--the brain. The third (or lower) center is relegated to the position of least physical dignity but greatest physical importance--the generative system. Thus the heart is symbolically the source of life; the brain the link by which, through rational intelligence, life and form are united; and the generative system--or infernal creator--the source of that power by which physical organisms are produced. The ideals and aspirations of the individual depend largely upon which of these three centers of power predominates in scope and activity of expression. In the materialist the lower center is the strongest, in the intellectualist the higher center; but in the initiate the middle center--by bathing the two extremes in a flood of spiritual effulgence--controls wholesomely both the mind and the body.
The religious world of today is almost totally ignorant of the fact that the science of biology is the fountainhead of its doctrines and tenets.
Recognizing the futility of attempting to cope intellectually with that which transcends the comprehension of the rational faculties, the early philosophers turned their attention from the inconceivable Divinity to man himself, with in the narrow confines of whose nature they found manifested all the mysteries of the external spheres.
THE oldest, the most profound, the most universal of all symbols is the human body. The Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, and Hindus considered a philosophical analysis of man's triune nature to be an indispensable part of ethical and religious training. The Mysteries of every nation taught that the laws, elements, and powers of the universe were epitomized in the human constitution; that everything which existed outside of man had its analogue within man.
The Elohim of the Jews were supposedly seven in number. They were the Spirits of the Dawn, more commonly known as the Archangels controlling the planets. The seven Archangels, with the three spirits controlling the sun in its threefold aspect, constitute the 10, the sacred Pythagorean decad.
Any even number may be divided into two equal parts, which are always either both odd or both even. Thus, 10 by equal division gives 5+5, both odd numbers. The same principle holds true if the 10 be unequally divided. For example, in 6+4, both parts are even; in 7+3, both parts are odd; in 8+2, both parts are again even; and in 9+1, both parts are again odd. Thus, in the even number, however it may be divided, the parts will always be both odd or both even. The Pythagoreans considered the even number-of which the duad was the prototype--to be indefinite and feminine.
There are two orders of number: odd and even. Because unity, or 1, always remains indivisible, the odd number cannot be divided equally. Thus, 9 is 4+1+4, the unity in the center being indivisible. Furthermore, if any odd number be divided into two parts, one part will always be odd and the other even. Thus, 9 may be 5+4, 3+6, 7+2, or 8+1. The Pythagoreans considered the odd number--of which the monad was the prototype--to be definite and masculine. They were not all agreed, however, as to the nature of unity, or 1. Some declared it to be positive, because if added to an even (negative) number, it produces an odd (positive) number. Others demonstrated that if unity be added to an odd number, the latter becomes even, thereby making the masculine to be feminine. Unity, or 1, therefore, was considered an androgynous number, partaking of both the masculine and the feminine attributes; consequently both odd and even. For this reason the Pythagoreans called it evenly-odd. It was customary for the Pythagoreans to offer sacrifices of an uneven number of objects to the superior gods, while to the goddesses and subterranean spirits an even number was offered.
From the study of the mysterious Pythagorean monad, Leibnitz evolved his magnificent theory of the world atoms--a theory in perfect accord with the ancient teachings of the Mysteries, for Leibnitz himself was an initiate of a secret school.
Pythagoras instructed his disciples that the science of mathematics is divided into two major parts. The first is concerned with the multitude, or the constituent parts of a thing, and the second with the magnitude, or the relative size or density of a thing.
Magnitude is divided into two parts--magnitude which is stationary and magnitude which is movable, the stationary pare having priority. Multitude is also divided into two parts, for it is related both to itself and to other things, the first relationship having priority. Pythagoras assigned the science of arithmetic to multitude related to itself, and the art of music to multitude related to other things. Geometry likewise was assigned to stationary magnitude, and spherics (used partly in the sense of astronomy) to movable magnitude. Both multitude and magnitude were circumscribed by the circumference of mind. The atomic theory has proved size to be the result of number, for a mass is made up of minute units though mistaken by the uninformed for a single simple substance.
The Pythagoreans declared arithmetic to be the mother of the mathematical sciences. This is proved by the fact that geometry, music, and astronomy are dependent upon it but it is not dependent upon them. Thus, geometry may be removed but arithmetic will remain; but if arithmetic be removed, geometry is eliminated. In the same manner music depends upon arithmetic, but the elimination of music affects arithmetic only by limiting one of its expressions. The Pythagoreans also demonstrated arithmetic to be prior to astronomy, for the latter is dependent upon both geometry and music. The size, form, and motion of the celestial bodies is determined by the use of geometry; their harmony and rhythm by the use of music. If astronomy be removed, neither geometry nor music is injured; but if geometry and music be eliminated, astronomy is destroyed. The priority of both geometry and music to astronomy is therefore established. Arithmetic, however, is prior to all; it is primary and fundamental.
All higher numbers can be reduced to one of the original ten numerals, and the 10 itself to 1. Therefore, all groups of numbers resulting from the translation of names of deities into their numerical equivalents have a basis in one of the first ten numbers. By this system, in which the digits are added together, 666 becomes 6+6+6 or 18, and this, in turn, becomes 1+8 or 9. According to Revelation, 144,000 are to be saved. This number becomes 1+4+4+0+0+0, which equals 9, thus proving that both the Beast of Babylon and the number of the saved refer to man himself, whose symbol is the number 9. This system can be used successfully with both Greek and Hebrew letter values.
The Demiurgus of the Jews is called in English Jehovah, but when seeking the numerical value of the name Jehovah it is necessary to resolve the name into its Hebrew letters. It becomes יהוה, and is read from right to left. The Hebrew letters are: ה, He; ו, Vau; ה, He; י, Yod; and when reversed into the English order from left to right read: Yod-He-Vau-He. By consulting the foregoing table of letter values, it is found that the four characters of this sacred name have the following numerical significance: Yod equals 10. He equals 5, Vau equals 6, and the second He equals 5. Therefore, 10+5+6+5=26, a synonym of Jehovah. If the English letters were used, the answer obviously would not be correct.
The first step in obtaining the numerical value of a word is to resolve it back into its original tongue. Only words of Greek or Hebrew derivation can be successfully analyzed by this method, and all words must be spelled in their most ancient and complete forms. Old Testament words and names, therefore, must be translated back into the early Hebrew characters and New Testament words into the Greek.
Notwithstanding attempts made to obliterate all records of the teachings of Pythagoras, fragments have survived which give clues to some of the simpler parts of his philosophy. The major secrets were never committed to writing, but were communicated orally to a few chosen disciples. These apparently dated not divulge their secrets to the profane, the result being that when death sealed their lips the arcana died with them.
Platonic astronomy was not concerned with the material constitution or arrangement of the heavenly bodies, but considered the stars and planers primarily as focal points of Divine intelligence. Physical astronomy was regarded as the science of "shadows," philosophical astronomy the science of "realities."
As the sacred number 10 symbolized the sum of all parts and the completeness of all things, it was only natural for Pythagoras to divide the universe into ten spheres, symbolized by ten concentric circles. These circles began at the center with the globe of Divine Fire; then came the seven planers, the earth, and another mysterious planet, called Antichthon, which was never visible.
Opinions differ as to the nature of Antichthon. Clement of Alexandria believed that it represented the mass of the heavens; others held the opinion that it was the moon. More probably it was the mysterious eighth sphere of the ancients, the dark planet which moved in the same orbit as the earth but which was always concealed from the earth by the body of the sun, being in exact opposition to the earth at all times. Is this the mysterious Lilith concerning which astrologers have speculated so long?
After having drunk from a certain spring one day, one of the Masters of Pythagoras announced that the spirit of the water had just predicted that a great earthquake would occur the next day--a prophecy which was fulfilled. It is highly probable that Pythagoras possessed hypnotic power, not only over man but also over animals. He caused a bird to change the course of its flight, a bear to cease its ravages upon a community, and a bull to change its diet, by the exercise of mental influence. He was also gifted with second sight, being able to see things at a distance and accurately describe incidents that had not yet come to pass.
The digits 1 and 2 are not considered numbers by the Pythagoreans, because they typify the two supermundane spheres. The Pythagorean numbers, therefore, begin with 3, the triangle, and 4, the square. These added to the 1 and the 2, produce the 10, the great number of all things, the archetype of the universe. The three worlds were called receptacles. The first was the receptacle of principles, the second was the receptacle of intelligences, and the third, or lowest, was the receptacle of quantities.
Pythagoras taught that everything in nature was divisible into three parts and that no one could become truly wise who did not view every problem as being diagrammatically triangular. He said, "Establish the triangle and the problem is two-thirds solved"; further, "All things consist of three." In conformity with this viewpoint, Pythagoras divided the universe into three parts, which he called the Supreme World, the Superior World, and the Inferior World. The highest, or Supreme World, was a subtle, interpenetrative spiritual essence pervading all things and therefore the true plane of the Supreme Deity itself, the Deity being in every sense omnipresent, omniactive, omnipotent, and omniscient. Both of the lower worlds existed within the nature of this supreme sphere.
It is probable that Pythagoras obtained his concept of the Υ from the Egyptians, who included in certain of their initiatory rituals a scene in which the candidate was confronted by two female figures. One of them, veiled with the white robes of the temple, urged the neophyte to enter into the halls of learning; the other, bedecked with jewels, symbolizing earthly treasures, and bearing in her hands a tray loaded with grapes (emblematic of false light), sought to lure him into the chambers of dissipation. This symbol is still preserved among the Tarot cards, where it is called The Forking of the Ways. The forked stick has been the symbol of life among many nations, and it was placed in the desert to indicate the presence of water.
The famous Pythagorean Υ signified the power of choice and was used in the Mysteries as emblematic of the Forking of the Ways. The central stem separated into two parts, one branching to the right and the other to the left. The branch to the right was called Divine Wisdom and the one to the left Earthly Wisdom. Youth, personified by the candidate, walking the Path of Life, symbolized by the central stem of the Υ, reaches the point where the Path divides. The neophyte must then choose whether he will take the left-hand path and, following the dictates of his lower nature, enter upon a span of folly and thoughtlessness which will inevitably result in his undoing, or whether he will take the right-hand road and through integrity, industry, and sincerity ultimately regain union with the immortals in the superior spheres.
Pythagoras believed that all the sidereal bodies were alive and that the forms of the planets and stars were merely bodies encasing souls, minds, and spirits in the same manner that the visible human form is but the encasing vehicle for an invisible spiritual organism which is, in reality, the conscious individual. Pythagoras regarded the planets as magnificent deities, worthy of the adoration and respect of man. All these deities, however, he considered subservient to the One First Cause within whom they all existed temporarily, as mortality exists in the midst of immortality.
Pythagoras taught that friendship was the truest and nearest perfect of all relationships. He declared that in Nature there was a friendship of all for all; of gods for men; of doctrines one for another; of the soul for the body; of the rational part for the irrational part; of philosophy for its theory; of men for one another; of countrymen for one another; that friendship also existed between strangers, between a man and his wife, his children, and his servants. All bonds without friendship were shackles, and there was no virtue in their maintenance. Pythagoras believed that relationships were essentially mental rather than physical, and that a stranger of sympathetic intellect was closer to him than a blood relation whose viewpoint was at variance with his own. Pythagoras defined knowledge as the fruitage of mental accumulation. He believed that it would be obtained in many ways, but principally through observation. Wisdom was the understanding of the source or cause of all things, and this could be secured only by raising the intellect to a point where it intuitively cognized the invisible manifesting outwardly through the visible, and thus became capable of bringing itself en rapport with the spirit of things rather than with their forms. The ultimate source that wisdom could cognize was the Monad, the mysterious permanent atom of the Pythagoreans.
Pythagoras discovered that music had great therapeutic power and he prepared special harmonies for various diseases.
Pythagoras declared that the eating of meat clouded the reasoning faculties. While he did not condemn its use or totally abstain therefrom himself, he declared that judges should refrain from eating meat before a trial, in order that those who appeared before them might receive the most honest and astute decisions. When Pythagoras decided (as he often did) to retire into the temple of God for an extended period of time to meditate and pray, he took with his supply of specially prepared food and drink. The food consisted of equal parts of the seeds of poppy and sesame, the skin of the sea onion from which the juice had been thoroughly extracted, the flower of daffodil, the leaves of mallows, and a paste of barley and peas. These he compounded together with the addition of wild honey. For a beverage he took the seeds of cucumbers, dried raisins (with seeds removed), the flowers of coriander, the seeds of mallows and purslane, scraped cheese, meal, and cream, mixed together and sweetened with wild honey. Pythagoras claimed that this was the diet of Hercules while wandering in the Libyan desert and was according to the formula given to that hero by the goddess Ceres herself.
The God of Pythagoras was the Monad, or the One that is Everything. He described God as the Supreme Mind distributed throughout all parts of the universe--the Cause of all things, the Intelligence of all things, and the Power within all things. He further declared the motion of God to be circular, the body of God to be composed of the substance of light, and the nature of God to be composed of the substance of truth.
All men know what they want, but few know what they need. Pythagoras warned his disciples that when they prayed they should not pray for themselves; that when they asked things of the gods they should not ask things for themselves, because no man knows what is good for him and it is for this reason undesirable to ask for things which, if obtained, would only prove to be injurious.
Pythagoras was not an extremist. He taught moderation in all things rather than excess in anything, for he believed that an excess of virtue was in itself a vice. One of his favorite statements was: "We must avoid with our utmost endeavor, and amputate with fire and sword, and by all other means, from the body, sickness; from the soul, ignorance; from the belly, luxury; from a city, sedition; from a family, discord; and from all things, excess." Pythagoras also believed that there was no crime equal to that of anarchy.
The study of geometry, music, and astronomy was considered essential to a rational understanding of God, man, or Nature, and no one could accompany Pythagoras as a disciple who was not thoroughly familiar with these sciences. Many came seeking admission to his school. Each applicant was tested on these three subjects, and if found ignorant, was summarily dismissed.
"Pythagoras' teachings are of the most transcendental importance to Masons, inasmuch as they are the necessary fruit of his contact with the leading philosophers of the whole civilized world of his own day, and must represent that in which all were agreed, shorn of all weeds of controversy. Thus, the determined stand made by Pythagoras, in defense of pure monotheism, is sufficient evidence that the tradition to the effect that the unity of God was the supreme secret of all the ancient initiations is substantially correct. The philosophical school of Pythagoras was, in a measure, also a series of initiations, for he caused his pupils to pass through a series of degrees and never permitted them personal contact with himself until they had reached the higher grades. According to his biographers, his degrees were three in number. The first, that of 'Mathematicus,' assuring his pupils proficiency in mathematics and geometry, which was then, as it would be now if Masonry were properly inculcated, the basis upon which all other knowledge was erected. Secondly, the degree of 'Theoreticus,' which dealt with superficial applications of the exact sciences, and, lastly, the degree of 'Electus,' which entitled the candidate to pass forward into the light of the fullest illumination which he was capable of absorbing. The pupils of the Pythagorean school were divided into 'exoterici,' or pupils in the outer grades, and 'esoterici,' after they had passed the third degree of initiation and were entitled to the secret wisdom. Silence, secrecy and unconditional obedience were cardinal principles of this great order." (See Ancient Freemasonry.)
[...] the name Pythagoras was believed to consist of a certain number of specially arranged letters with great sacred significance.
As is so often the case with genius, Pythagoras by his outspokenness incurred both political and personal enmity. Among those who came for initiation was one who, because Pythagoras refused to admit him, determined to destroy both the man and his philosophy. By means of false propaganda, this disgruntled one turned the minds of the common people against the philosopher. Without warning, a band of murderers descended upon the little group of buildings where the great teacher and his disciples dwelt, burned the structures and killed Pythagoras.
He [Pythagoras] gathered around him a small group of sincere disciples whom he instructed in the secret wisdom which had been revealed to him, and also in the fundamentals of occult mathematics, music, and astronomy, which he considered to be the triangular foundation of all the arts and sciences.
Pythagoras was said to have been the first man to call himself a philosopher; in fact, the world is indebted to him for the word philosopher. Before that time the wise men had called themselves sages, which was interpreted to mean those who know. Pythagoras was more modest. He coined the word philosopher, which he defined as one who is attempting to find out.
"After having acquired all which it was possible for him to learn of the Greek philosophers and, presumably, become an initiate in the Eleusinian mysteries, he went to Egypt, and after many rebuffs and refusals, finally succeeded in securing initiation in the Mysteries of Isis, at the hands of the priests of Thebes. Then this intrepid 'joiner' wended his way into Phoenicia and Syria where the Mysteries of Adonis were conferred upon him, and crossing to the valley of the Euphrates he tarried long enough to become versed in, the secret lore of the Chaldeans, who still dwelt in the vicinity of Babylon. Finally, he made his greatest and most historic venture through Media and Persia into Hindustan where he remained several years as a pupil and initiate of the learned Brahmins of Elephanta and Ellora." (See Ancient Freemasonry, by Frank C. Higgins, 32°.) The same author adds that the name of Pythagoras is still preserved in the records of the Brahmins as Yavancharya, the Ionian Teacher.
The teachings of Pythagoras indicate that he was thoroughly conversant with the precepts of Oriental and Occidental esotericism. He traveled among the Jews and was instructed by the Rabbins concerning the secret traditions of Moses, the lawgiver of Israel. Later the School of the Essenes was conducted chiefly for the purpose of interpreting the Pythagorean symbols. Pythagoras was initiated into the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Chaldean Mysteries. Although it is believed by some that he was a disciple of Zoroaster, it is doubtful whether his instructor of that name was the God-man now revered by the Parsees. While accounts of his travels differ, historians agree that he visited many countries and studied at the feet of many masters.
Many strange legends have been preserved concerning the birth of Pythagoras. Some maintained that he was no mortal man: that he was one of the gods who had taken a human body to enable him to come into the world and instruct the human race. Pythagoras was one of the many sages and saviors of antiquity for whom an immaculate conception is asserted. In his Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins writes: "The first striking circumstance in which the history of Pythagoras agrees with the history of Jesus is, that they were natives of nearly the same country; the former being born at Sidon, the latter at Bethlehem, both in Syria. The father of Pythagoras, as well as the father of Jesus, was prophetically informed that his wife should bring forth a son, who should be a benefactor to mankind. They were both born when their mothers were from home on journeys, Joseph and his wife having gone up to Bethlehem to be taxed, and the father of Pythagoras having travelled from Samos, his residence, to Sidon, about his mercantile concerns. Pythais [Pythasis], the mother of Pythagoras, had a connexion with an Apolloniacal spectre, or ghost, of the God Apollo, or God Sol, (of course this must have been a holy ghost, and here we have the Holy Ghost) which afterward appeared to her husband, and told him that he must have no connexion with his wife during her pregnancy--a story evidently the same as that relating to Joseph and Mary. From these peculiar circumstances, Pythagoras was known by the same title as Jesus, namely, the son of God; and was supposed by the multitude to be under the influence of Divine inspiration."
WHILE Mnesarchus, the father of Pythagoras, was in the city of Delphi on matters pertaining to his business as a merchant, he and his wife, Parthenis, decided to consult the oracle of Delphi as to whether the Fates were favorable for their return voyage to Syria. When the Pythoness (prophetess of Apollo) seated herself on the golden tripod over the yawning vent of the oracle, she did not answer the question they had asked, but told Mnesarchus that his wife was then with child and would give birth to a son who was destined to surpass all men in beauty and wisdom, and who throughout the course of his life would contribute much to the benefit of mankind. Mnesarchus was so deeply impressed by the prophecy that he changed his wife's name to Pythasis, in honor of the Pythian priestess. When the child was born at Sidon in Phœnicia, it was--as the oracle had said--a son. Mnesarchus and Pythasis named the child Pythagoras, for they believed that he had been predestined by the oracle.
The Great Pyramid was supreme among the temples of the Mysteries. In order to be true to its astronomical symbolism, it must have been constructed about 70,000 years ago. It was the tomb of Osiris, and was believed to have been built by the gods themselves, and the architect may have been the immortal Hermes. It is the monument of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, and the universal symbol of wisdom and letters.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a magnificent monument erected by Queen Artemisia in memory of her dead husband, King Mausolus, from whose name the word mausoleum is derived. The designers of the building were Satyrus and Pythis, and four great sculptors were employed to ornament the edifice. The building, which was 114 feet long and 92 feet wide, was divided into five major sections (the senses) and surmounted by a pyramid (the spiritual nature of man). The pyramid rose in 24 steps (a sacred number), and upon the apex was a statue of King Mausolus in a chariot. His figure was 9 feet 9½ inches tall. Many attempts have been made to reconstruct the monument, which. was destroyed by an earthquake, but none has been altogether successful. This monument was sacred to the planet Mars and was built by an initiate for the enlightenment of the world.
Eliphas Levi includes the Temple of Solomon among the Seven Wonders of the World, giving it the place occupied by the Pharos, or Lighthouse, of Alexandria. The Pharos, named for the island upon which it stood, was designed and constructed by Sostratus of Cnidus during the reign of Ptolemy (283-247 B.C.). It is described as being of white marble and over 600 feet high. Even in that ancient day it cost nearly a million dollars. Fires were lighted in the top of it and could be seen for miles out at sea. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the thirteenth century, but remains of it were visible until A.D. 1350. Being the tallest of all the Wonders, it: was naturally assigned to Saturn, the Father of the gods and the true illuminator of all humanity.
The Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic brass statue about 109 feet in height and requiring over twelve years to build, was the work of an initiated artist, Chares of Lindus. The popular theory--accepted for several hundred years--that the figure stood with one foot on each side of the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes and that full-rigged ships passed between its feet, has never been substantiated. Unfortunately, the figure remained standing but fifty-six years, being thrown down by an earthquake in 224 B.C. The shattered parts of the Colossus lay scattered about the ground for more than 900 years, when they were finally sold to a Jewish merchant, who carried the metal away on the backs of 700 camels. Some believed that the brass was converted into munitions and others that it was made into drainage pipes. This gigantic gilded figure, with its crown of solar rays and its upraised torch, signified occultly the glorious Sun Man of the Mysteries, the Universal Savior.
Many of the sculptors and architects of the ancient world were initiates of the Mysteries, particularly the Eleusinian rites. Since the dawn of time, the truers of stone and the hewers of wood have constituted a divinely overshadowed caste. As civilization spread slowly over the earth, cities were built and deserted; monuments were erected to heroes at present unknown; temples were built to gods who lie broken in the dust of the nations they inspired. Research has proved not only that the builders of these cities and monuments and the sculptors who chiseled out the inscrutable faces of the gods were masters of their crafts, but that in the world today there are none to equal them. The profound knowledge of mathematics and astronomy embodied in ancient architecture, and the equally profound knowledge of anatomy revealed in Greek statuary, prove that the fashioners of both were master minds, deeply cultured in the wisdom which constituted the arcana of the Mysteries .Thus was established the Guild of the Builders, progenitors of modern Freemasons. When employed to build palaces, temples or combs, or to carve statues for the wealthy, those initiated architects and artists concealed in their works the secret doctrine, so that now, long after their bones have returned to dust, the world realizes that those first artisans were indeed duly initiated and worthy to receive the wages of Master Masons.
Though its entrance was marked by two brass obelisks, the cave, surrounded by a wall of white stones and concealed in the heart of a grove of sacred trees, did not present an imposing appearance. There is no doubt that those entering it passed through strange experiences, for they were obliged to leave at the adjacent temple a complete account of what they saw and heard while in the oracle. The prophecies were given in the form of dreams and visions, and were accompanied by severe pains in the head; some never completely recovered from the after effects of their delirium. The confused recital of their experiences was interpreted by the priests according to the question to be answered. While the priests probably used some unknown herb to produce the dreams or visions of the cavern, their skill in interpreting them bordered on the Supernatural. Before consulting the oracle, it was necessary to offer a ram to the dæmon of the cave, and the priest decided by hieromancy whether the time chosen was propitious and the sacrifice was satisfactory.
For many centuries during its early history, virgin maidens were consecrated to the service of the oracle. They were called the Phœbades, or Pythiæ, and constituted that famous order now known as the Pythian priesthood. It is probable that women were chosen to receive the oracles because their sensitive and emotional nature responded more quickly and completely to "the fumes of enthusiasm." Three days before the time set to receive the communications from Apollo, the virgin priestess began the ceremony of purification. She bathed in the Castalian well, abstained from all food, drank only from the fountain of Cassotis, which was brought into the temple through concealed pipes, and just before mounting the tripod, she chewed a few leaves of the sacred bay tree. It has been said that the water was drugged to bring on distorted visions, or the priests of Delphi were able to manufacture an exhilarating and intoxicating gas, which they conducted by subterranean ducts and released into the shaft of the oracle several feet below the surface. Neither of these theories has been proved, however, nor does either in any way explain the accuracy of the predictions.
When the young prophetess had completed the process of purification, she was clothed in sanctified raiment and led to the tripod, upon which she seated herself, surrounded by the noxious vapors rising from the yawning fissure. Gradually, as she inhaled the fumes, a change came over her. It was as if a different spirit had entered her body. She struggled, tore her clothing, and uttered inarticulate cries. After a time her struggles ceased. Upon becoming calm a great majesty seemed to posses her, and with eyes fixed on space and body rigid, she uttered the prophetic words. The predictions were usually in the form of hexameter verse, but the words were often ambiguous and sometimes unintelligible. Every sound that she made, every motion of her body, was carefully recorded by the five Hosii, or holy men, who were appointed as scribes to preserve the minutest details of each divination. The Hosii were appointed for life, and were chosen from the direct descendants of Deucalion.
The oracle of Apollo at Delphi remains one of the unsolved mysteries of the ancients. Alexander Wilder derives the name Delphi from delphos, the womb. This name was chosen by the Greeks be cause of the shape of the cavern and the vent leading into the depths of the earth. The original name of the oracle was Pytho, so called because its chambers had been the abode of the great serpent Python, a fearsome creature that had crept out of the slime left by the receding flood that had destroyed all human beings except Deucalion and Pyrrha. Apollo, climbing the side of Mount Parnassus, slew the serpent after a prolonged combat, and threw the body down the fissure of the oracle. From that time the Sun God, surnamed the Pythian Apollo, gave oracles from the vent. With Dionysos he shared the honor of being the patron god of Delphi.
The worship of Apollo included the establishment and maintenance of places of prophecy by means of which the gods could communicate with mankind and reveal futurity to such as deserved the boon. The early history of Greece abounds with accounts of talking trees, rivers, statues, and caves in which nymphs, dryads, or dæmons had taken up their abodes and from which they delivered oracles. While Christian authors have tried to prove that oracular revelations were delivered by the Devil for the purpose of misleading humanity, they have not dared to attack the theory of oracles, because of the repeated reference to it in their own sacred writings. If the onyx stones on the shoulders of Israel's high priest made known by their flashings the will of Jehovah, then a black dove, temporarily endowed with the faculty of speech, could indeed pronounce oracles in the temple of Jupiter Ammon. If the witch of Endor could invoke the shade of Samuel, who in turn gave prophecies to Saul, could not a priestess of Apollo call up the specter of her liege to foretell the destiny of Greece?
Ever-burning lamps have been discovered in all parts of the world. Not only the Mediterranean countries but also India, Tibet, China, and South America have contributed records of lights which burned continuously without fuel.
In a tomb on the Appian Way which was opened during the papacy of Paul III was found a burning lamp which had remained alight in a hermetically sealed vault for nearly 1,600 years. According to an account written by a contemporary, a body--that of a young and beautiful girl with long golden hair--was found floating in an unknown transparent liquid and as well preserved as though death had occurred but a few hours before.
Some of the lamps were enclosed in circular vessels for protection; and instances have been recorded in which the original oil was found in them, in a perfect state of preservation, after more than 2,000 years. [...] After due consideration of the evidence at hand, it seems well within the range of possibility that the ancient priest-chemists did manufacture lamps that burned, if not indefinitely, at least for considerable periods of time. [...] Only a few maintained that the lamps would burn forever, but many were willing to concede that they might remain alight for several centuries without replenishment of the fuel.
In the esoteric doctrines the supreme individual achievement is the breaking of the Orphic egg, which is equivalent to the return of the spirit to the Nirvana--the absolute condition--of the Oriental mystics.
A more profound interpretation [of the Bembine Tablet] is found in the correspondences between the twelve figures in the upper panel and the twelve in the lower. This furnishes a key to one of the most arcane of ancient secrets--the relationship existing between the two great zodiacs the fixed and the movable. The fixed zodiac is described as an immense dodecahedron, its twelve surfaces representing the outermost walls of abstract space. From each surface of this dodecahedron a great spiritual power, radiating inward, becomes embodied as one of the hierarchies of the movable zodiac, which is a band of circumambulating so-called fixed stars. Within this movable zodiac are posited the various planetary and elemental bodies. The relation of these two zodiacs to the subzodiacal spheres has a correlation in the respiratory system of the human body. The great fixed zodiac may be said to represent the atmosphere, the movable zodiac the lungs, and the subzodiacal worlds the body. The spiritual atmosphere containing the vivifying energies of the twelve divine powers of the great fixed zodiac is inhaled by the cosmic lungs--the movable zodiac--and distributed by them through the constitution of the twelve holy animals which are the parts and members of the material universe. The functional cycle is completed when the poisonous effluvia of the lower worlds collected by the movable zodiac are exhaled into the great fixed zodiac, there to be purified by being passed through the divine natures of its twelve eternal hierarchies.
Anatomically, the twelve figures in the upper panel [of the Bembine Tablet] may well symbolize the twelve convolutions of the brain and the twelve figures in the lower panel the twelve zodiacal members and organs of the human body, for man is a creature formed of the twelve sacred animals with his members and organs under the direct control of the twelve governors or powers resident in the brain.
[...] the four central figures--Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio (called by Ezekiel the Cherubim)--are the globes; the cardinal and common signs on either side are the wings. Therefore the twelve signs of the zodiac may be symbolized by four globes, each with two wings.
Psellus quotes Zoroaster: 'The Egyptians and the Chaldeans, taught that there were seven corporeal worlds (i. e., worlds ruled by the intellectual powers);the first is of pure fire; the second, third, and fourth, ethereal; the fifth, sixth, and seventh, material; the seventh being the one called terrestrial and hater of light, and is located under the Moon, comprising within itself the matter called fundus, or foundation. 'These seven, plus the one invisible crown, constitute the eight worlds. [...] Thus, they understood by the Sun as ruler the solar world; by the material archangelic, the lunar world; by the fountain of the senses, the world of Saturn; by judgment, Jupiter; by lightning, Mars; by that of the reflections, or mirrors, the world of Venus; by the fountain of characters, the world of Mercury. All these are shown by the figures in the center pane of the Tablet [Tablet of Isis].
According to the Hebrew system of Qabbalism, the Tree of the Sephiroth was divided into two parts, the upper invisible and the lower visible. The upper consisted of three parts and the lower of seven. The three uncognizable Sephiroth were called Kether, the Crown; Chochmah, Wisdom; and Binah, Understanding. These are too abstract to permit of comprehension, whereas the lower seven spheres that came forth from them were within the grasp of human consciousness. The central panel contains seven triads of figures. These represent the lower Sephiroth, all emanating from the concealed threefold crown over the throne.
Proclus says: "Every property of divinity permeates all creation and gives itself to all inferior creatures. "One of the manifestations of the Supreme Mind is the power of reproduction according to species which it confers upon every creature of which it is the divine part. Thus souls, heavens, elements, animals, plants, and stones generate themselves each according to its pattern, but all are dependent upon the one fertilizing principle existing in the Supreme Mind. The fecundative power, though of itself a unit, manifests differently through the various substances, for in the mineral it contributes to material existence, in the plant it manifests as vitality, and in the animal as sensibility. It imparts motion to the heavenly bodies, thought to the souls of men, intellectuality to the angels, and superessentiality to God. Thus it is seen that all forms are of one substance and all life of one force, and these are co-existent in the nature of the Supreme One.
In their phallic symbolism the Egyptians used the sperm to represent the spiritual spheres, because each contains all that comes forth from it.
The Tablet of Isis was originally a table or altar, and its emblems were part of the mysteries explained by priests. Tables were dedicated to the various gods and goddesses; in this case Isis was so honored. The substances from which the tables were made differed according to the relative dignities of the deities. The tables consecrated to Jupiter and Apollo were of gold; those to Diana, Venus, and Juno were of silver; those to the other superior gods, of marble; those to the lesser divinities, of wood. Tables were also made of metals corresponding to the planets governed by the various celestials. As food for the body is spread on a banquet table, so on these sacred altars were spread the symbols which, when understood, feed the invisible nature of man.
Note the ancient signs for the planets were all composed of a Cross, Solar Disc and Crescent: Venus is a cross below a Sun disc, Mercury, a disc With a crescent above and cross below, Saturn is a Cross whose lowest point touches the apex of the crescent; Jupiter is a Crescent whose lowest point touches the left hand end of a cross: all these are deep mysteries.
There is a necessary connection between water, female power, passive principle, Binah, and Sephirotic Mother, and Bride.
The theory of transmigration was not applicable to the visible material body of man, but rather to the invisible immaterial spirit wandering along the pathway of the stars and sequentially assuming in the course of evolution the forms of the sacred zodiacal animals.
The sign of Gemini is supposed to have been the patron of phallic worship, and the two obelisks, or pillars, in front of temples and churches convey the same symbolism as the Twins.
The early star gazers, after dividing the zodiac into its houses, appointed the three brightest scars in each constellation to be the joint rulers of that house. Then they divided the house into three sections of ten degrees each, which they called decans. These, in turn, were divided in half, resulting in the breaking up of the zodiac into seventy-two duodecans of five degrees each. Over each of these duodecans the Hebrews placed a celestial intelligence, or angel, and from this system, has resulted the Qabbalistic arrangement of the seventy-two sacred names, which correspond to the seventy-two flowers, knops, and almonds upon the seven-branched Candlestick of the Tabernacle, and the seventy-two men who were chosen from the Twelve Tribes to represent Israel.
The occultists of the ancient world had a most remarkable understanding of the principle of evolution. They recognized all life as being in various stages of becoming. They believed that grains of sand were in the process of becoming human in consciousness but not necessarily in form; that human creatures were in the process of becoming planets; that planets were in the process of becoming solar systems; and that solar systems were in the process of becoming cosmic chains; and so on ad infinitum. One of the stages between the solar system and the cosmic chain was called the zodiac; therefore they taught that at a certain time a solar system breaks up into a zodiac. The house of the zodiac become the thrones for twelve Celestial Hierarchies, or as certain of the ancients state, ten Divine Orders. Pythagoras taught that 10, or the unit of the decimal system, was the most perfect of all numbers, and he symbolized the number ten by the lesser tetractys, an arrangement of ten dots in the form of an upright triangle.
The antiquity of the zodiac is much in dispute. To contend that it originated but a mere few thousand years before the Christian Era is a colossal mistake on the part of those who have sought to compile data, concerning its origin. The zodiac necessarily must be ancient enough to go backward to that period when its signs and symbols coincided exactly with the positions of the constellations whose various creatures in their natural functions exemplified the outstanding features of the sun's activity during each of the twelve months. One author, after many years of deep study on the subject, believed man's concept of the zodiac to be at least five million years old. In all probability it is one of the many things for which the modem world is indebted to the Atlantean or the Lemurian civilizations. About ten thousand years before the Christian Era there was a period of many ages when knowledge of every kind was suppressed, tablets destroyed, monuments torn down, and every vestige of available material concerning previous civilizations completely obliterated. Only a few copper knives, some arrowheads, and crude carvings on the walls of caves bear mute witness of those civilizations which preceded this age of destruction. Here and there a few gigantic structures have remained which, like the strange monoliths on Easter Island, are evidence of lost arts and sciences and lost races. The human race is exceedingly old. Modern science counts its age in tens of thousands of years; occultism, in tens of millions. There is an old saying that "Mother Earth has shaken many civilizations from her back," and it is not beyond reason that the principles of astrology and astronomy were evolved millions of years before the first white man appeared.
The important point to be remembered is that when the sun was said to be in a certain sign of the zodiac, the ancients really meant that the sun occupied the opposite sign and cast its long ray into the house in which they enthroned it. Therefore, when it is said that the sun is in Taurus, it means (astronomically) that the sun is in the sign opposite to Taurus, which is Scorpio. This resulted in two distinct schools of philosophy: one geocentric and exoteric, the other heliocentric and esoteric. While the ignorant multitudes worshiped the house of the sun's reflection, which in the case described would be the Bull, the wise revered the house of the sun's actual dwelling, which would be the Scorpion, or the Serpent, the symbol of the concealed spiritual mystery. This sign has three different symbols. The most common is that of a Scorpion, who was called by the ancients the backbiter, being the symbol of deceit and perversion; the second (and less common) form of the sign is a Serpent, often used by the ancients to symbolize wisdom.
There are two distinct systems of astrological philosophy. One of them, the Ptolemaic, is geocentric: the earth is considered the center of the solar system, around which the sun, moon, and planets revolve. Astronomically, the geocentric system is incorrect; but for thousands of years it has proved its accuracy when applied to the material nature of earthly things. A careful consideration of the writings of the great occultists and a study of their diagrams reveal the fact that many of them were acquainted with another method of arranging the heavenly bodies.
The other system of astrological philosophy is called the heliocentric. This posits the sun in the center of the solar system, where it naturally belongs, with the planets and their moons revolving about it. The great difficulty, however, with the heliocentric system is that, being comparatively new, there has not been sufficient time to experiment successfully and catalogue the effects of its various aspects and relationships. Geocentric astrology, as its name implies, is confined to the earthy side of nature, while heliocentric astrology may be used to analyze the higher intellectual and spiritual faculties of man.
Not only is Jesus often referred to as the Fisher of Men, but as John P. Lundy writes: "The word Fish is an abbreviation of this whole title, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, and Cross; or as St. Augustine expresses it, 'If you join together the initial letters of the five Greek words, Ἰησοῦς Χριστος Θεου Υιὸσ Σωτήρ, which mean Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, they will make ΙΧΘΥΣ, Fish, in which word Christ is mystically understood, because He was able to live in the abyss of this mortality as in the depth of waters, that is, without sin.'" (Monumental Christianity.) Many Christians observe Friday, which is sacred to the Virgin (Venus), upon which day they shall eat fish and not meat. The sign of the fish was one of the earliest symbols of Christianity; and when drawn upon the sand, it informed one Christian that another of the same faith was near.
From a consideration of this system, it is readily understood why certain religious symbols were adopted during different ages of the earth's history; for during the 2,160 years the sun was in the constellation of Taurus, it is said that the Solar Deity assumed the body of Apis, and the Bull became sacred to Osiris. (For details concerning the astrological ages as related to Biblical symbolism, see The Message of the Stars by Max and Augusta Foss Heindel.) During the Aryan Age the Lamb was held sacred and the priests were called shepherds. Sheep and goats were sacrificed upon the altars, and a scapegoat was appointed to bear the sins of Israel.
Millions of years ago, when the human race was in the making, man was like the angels, who knew neither good nor evil. He fell into the state of the knowledge of good and evil when the gods gave him the seed for the mental nature. From man's mental reactions to his environments he distills the product of experience, which then aids him to regain his lost position plus an individualized intelligence. Paracelsus said: "The body comes from the elements, the soul from the stars, and the spirit from God. All that the intellect can conceive of comes from the stars [the spirits of the stars, rather than the material constellations]."
Therefore, the Lamb of God is a title given to the sun, who is said to be reborn every year in the Northern Hemisphere in the sign of the Ram, although, due to the existing discrepancy between the signs of the zodiac and the actual star groups, it actually rises in the sign of Pisces.
As the zodiacal band marks the pathway of the sun through the constellations, it results in the phenomena of the seasons. The ancient systems of measuring the year were based upon the equinoxes and the solstices. The year always began with the vernal equinox, celebrated March 21 with rejoicing to mark the moment when the sun crossed the equator northward up the zodiacal arc. The summer solstice was celebrated when the sun reached its most northerly position, and the day appointed was June 21. After that time the sun began to descend toward the equator, which it recrossed southbound at the autumnal equinox, September 21. The sun reached its most southerly position at the winter solstice, December 21.
Nearly every religion of the world shows traces of astrological influence. The Old Testament of the Jews, its writings overshadowed by Egyptian culture, is a mass of astrological and astronomical allegories. Nearly all the mythology of Greece and Rome may be traced in star groups. Some writers are of the opinion that the original twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet were derived from groups of stars, and that the starry handwriting on the wall of the heavens referred to words spelt out, with fixed stars for consonants, and the planets, or luminaries, for vowels. These, coming into ever-different combinations, spelt words which, when properly read, foretold future events.
Among the ancients the sun was always symbolized by the figure and nature of the constellation through which it passed at the vernal equinox. For nearly the past 2,000 years the sun has crossed the equator at the vernal equinox in the constellation of Pisces (the Two Fishes). For the 2,160 years before that it crossed through the constellation of Aries (the Ram). Prior to that the vernal equinox was in the sign of Taurus (the Bull). It is probable that the form of the bull and the bull's proclivities were assigned to this constellation because the bull was used by the ancients to plow the fields, and the season set aside for plowing and furrowing corresponded to the time at which the sun reached the segment of the heavens named Taurus.
Each year the sun passes entirely around the zodiac and returns to the point from which it started--the vernal equinox--and each year it falls just a little short of making the complete circle of the heavens in the allotted period of time. As a result, it crosses the equator just a little behind the spot in the zodiacal sign where it crossed the previous year. Each sign of the zodiac consists of thirty degrees, and as the sun loses about one degree every seventy two years, it regresses through one entire constellation (or sign) in approximately 2,160 years, and through the entire zodiac in about 25,920 years. (Authorities disagree concerning these figures.) This retrograde motion is called the precession of the equinoxes. This means that in the course of about 25,920 years, which constitute one Great Solar or Platonic Year, each one of the twelve constellations occupies a position at the vernal equinox for nearly 2,160 years, then gives place to the previous sign.
Some authorities are of the opinion that the zodiac was originally divided into ten (instead of twelve) houses, or "solar mansions." In early times there were two separate standards--one solar and the other lunar--used for the measurement of the months, years, and seasons. The solar year was composed of ten months of thirty-six days each, and five days sacred to the gods. The lunar year consisted of thirteen months of twenty-eight days each, with one day left over. The solar zodiac at that time consisted often houses of thirty-six degrees each.
There is a popular theory concerning the origin of the zodiacal creatures to the effect that they were products of the imagination of shepherds, who, watching their flocks at night, occupied their minds by tracing the forms of animals and birds in the heavens. This theory is untenable, unless the "shepherds" be regarded as the shepherd priests of antiquity. It is unlikely that the zodiacal signs were derived from the star groups which they now represent. It is far more probable that the creatures assigned to the twelve houses are symbolic of the qualities and intensity of the sun's power while it occupies different parts of the zodiacal belt.
The word zodiac is derived from the Greek ζωδιακός (zodiakos), which means "a circle of animals," or, as some believe, "little animals."
The pagans looked upon the stars as living things, capable of influencing the destinies of individuals, nations, and races. That the early Jewish patriarchs believed that the celestial bodies participated in the affairs of men is evident to any student of Biblical literature, as, for example, in the Book of Judges: "They fought from heaven, even the stars in their courses fought against Sisera." The Chaldeans, Phœnicians, Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, and Chinese all had zodiacs that were much alike in general character, and different authorities have credited each of these nations with being the cradle of astrology and astronomy. The Central and North American Indians also had an understanding of the zodiac, but the patterns and numbers of the signs differed in many details from those of the Eastern Hemisphere.
In addition to the colors of the spectrum there are a vast number of vibratory color waves, some too low and others too high to be registered by the human optical apparatus.
In the original symbolism of the Christian Church, colors were of first importance and their use was regulated according to carefully prepared rules. Since the Middle Ages, however, the carelessness with which colors have been employed has resulted in the loss of their deeper emblematic meanings. In its primary aspect, white or silver signified life, purity, innocence, joy, and light; red, the suffering and death of Christ and His saints, and also divine love, blood, and warfare or suffering; blue, the heavenly sphere and the states of godliness and contemplation; yellow or gold, glory, fruitfulness, and goodness; green, fecundity, youthfulness, and prosperity; violet, humility, deep affection, and sorrow; black, death, destruction, and humiliation. In early church art the colors of robes and ornaments also revealed whether a saint had been martyred, as well as the character of the work that he had done to deserve canonization.
According to esoteric philosophy, blue is the true and sacred color of the sun. The apparent orange-yellow shade of this orb is the result of its rays being immersed in the substances of the illusionary world.
The ancients conceived the spirit of man to correspond with the color blue, the mind with yellow, and the body with red. Heaven is therefore blue, earth yellow, and hell--or the underworld--red.
The theory so long held of three primary and four secondary colors is purely exoteric, for since the earliest periods it has been known that there are seven, and not three, primary colors, the human eye being capable of estimating only three of them. Thus, although green can be made by combining blue and yellow, there is also a true or primary green which is not a compound. This can he proved by breaking up the spectrum with a prism. Helmholtz found that the so-called secondary colors of the spectrum could not be broken up into their supposed primary colors. Thus the orange of the spectrum, if passed through a second prism, does not break up into red and yellow but remains orange.
The purpose of alchemy was not to make something out of nothing but rather to fertilize and nurture the seed which was already present. Its processes did nor actually create gold but rather made the ever-present seed of gold grow and flourish.
As gold was the symbol of spirit and the base metals represented man's lower nature, certain alchemists were called "miners" and were pictured with picks and shovels digging into the earth in search of the precious metal--those finer traits of character buried in the earthiness of materiality and ignorance. The diamond concealed in the heart of the black carbon illustrated the same principle. The Illuminati used a pearl hidden in the shell of an oyster at the bottom of the sea to signify spiritual powers. Thus the seeker after truth became a pearl-fisher: he descended into the sea of material illusion in search of understanding, termed by the initiates "the Pearl of Great Price."
True mystics are unanimous in their denial of the theory that the angels and archangels are human in form, as so often pictured. A human figure would be utterly useless in the ethereal substances through which they manifest. Science has long debated the probability of the other planers being inhabited. Objections to the idea are based upon the argument that creatures with human organisms could nor possibly exist in the environments of Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. This argument fails to take into account Nature's universal law of adjustment to environment. The ancients asserted that life originated from the sun, and that everything when bathed in the light of the solar orb was capable of absorbing the solar life elements and later radiating them as flora and fauna. One philosophical concept regarded the sun as a parent and the planers as embryos still connected to the solar body by means of ethereal umbilical cords which served as channels to convey life and nourishment to the planets.
The Rosicrucians and the Illuminati, describing the angels, archangels, and other celestial creatures, declared that they resembled small suns, being centers of radiant energy surrounded by streamers of Vrilic force. From these outpouring streamers of force is derived the popular belief that angels have wings. These wings are corona-like fans of light, by means of which the celestial creatures propel themselves through the subtle essences of the superphysical worlds.
The priests of the Mysteries were symbolized as a serpent, sometimes called Hydra...The Serpent Kings reigned over the earth. It was these Serpent Kings who founded the Mystery Schools which later appeared as the Egyptian and Brahmin Mysteries...The serpent was their symbol...They were the true Sons of Light, and from them have descended a long line of adepts and initiates
Most Bibles published during the Middle Ages contain a section devoted to genealogical tables showing the descent of humanity from Father Adam to the advent of Jesus Christ. The tree growing from the roof of the Ark represents the body of Noah and its three branches, his sons--Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The nations by the descendants of Noah's three sons are appropriately shown in the circles upon the branches of the tree. While such tables are hopelessly incorrect from a historical point of view, to the symbolist their allegorical interpretations are of inestimable importance
People are eternally trying to walk out of difficulties, instead of trying to work out of them.
We all want the good things of life; we all desire to be surrounded by friends; but we have no right to expect to attract any of these things except when our own lives have earned us the right to be honored, respected, and admired.
What right has anyone to believe that man was born into the world to be happy? In the Arabian Nights, it is written, "Happiness must be earned." We are born with a divine birthright--a mind, a heart, two hands, and two feet. If any of these be missing at the time of our appearance, we have some other function proportionately developed to take its place. With these tools, we may go forth and earn happiness, but we have no right to assume that someone is going to thrust it upon us. We have come here for experience, as a child who goes to school. We may be happy in our studies, or we may curse them all the days of our lives. The wise are happy in doing the things that should be done. When we command the universe to make well the sick or to make the rich poor, we know not whereof we speak; for in our zeal and ignorance we may be doing an irreparable injury to the one we love, like a parent who cannot deny his children the sweetmeats that they want. In granting desires, we endanger both their lives and their future efficiency.
No man who is sick should be healed merely because he is ailing. He should learn the lesson that accompanies the disease that he has brought upon himself. To affirm health is foolishness; to find out the reason for the ailment, make right the wrong, and become healthy again, is wise and proper. To be so moderate, so wise, so thoughtful as not to become sick, is still better philosophy.
An aged and wise Chinese once set out to visit a distant place. He sent a messenger ahead to tell the good folks of the house to prepare him no food save rice; but when he arrived, he found a many-course dinner awaiting him, for the good family felt that they must so honor his presence. The philosopher reproved them, saying, "I asked for rice, you have given me fish; I asked for rice, you have given me corn; I asked for rice, you have given me meat; I asked for rice, and you have given me sweets; and among all these things you have given me no rice." Observing that the family was hurt by the words, the philosopher added: "I have lived these many years, and, after studying carefully this body which God has given me, I have found that it doth flourish nobly upon rice. It was with wisdom that I ordered rice; it was with folly that you insulted me by offering other foods. You say that I am a great philosopher, that I am wiser than all other men; and yet you did not think me wise enough to order my own mean." In the same way, when our brother asks for rice, we have no right to give him meat because we think he ought to have it. It matters not whether the meat be physical or spiritual, whether the rice be literal or allegorical.
People who use these false systems vindicate themselves, for the most part, on two unsound hypotheses: (1) that God has intended man to have whatever his puny intellect desires; (2) that man knows what he needs. Both of these are false assumptions. Man was not intended by God to be rich, wise, beautiful, healthy, witty, of charming personality, or happily married. This does not mean that the Lord has any objection to any of these things or all of them. It merely means that if man desires these things, he must go forth, as Adam was directed to do, earning his bread by the sweat of his brow and not by the sweat of somebody else's.
Honesty is a jewel of priceless value, and the forces of evil have little power over a life lived true to principle.
Evil will never cease to exist until selfishness and greed are overcome as factors in dictating the attitudes of men. It is the common thing for the concrete mind to sacrifice the eternal to the temporal. Man, concentrating upon the limited area of the known, loses sight of the effect of his actions upon the limitless area of the unknown. Shortsightedness, consequently, is the cause of endless misery. Moral shortsightedness results in vice, philosophical shortsightedness in materialism, religious shortsightedness in bigotry, rational short-sightedness in fanaticism.
An occultist is an expert in the science of life. As an operative magician, he is able to manipulate the forces of nature to the gratification of whatever end he may desire but woe to him if those ends are not in harmony with the natural plan! By means of his knowledge, he may work miracles, like the magicians of India, but: his feats are miraculous only to those who do not know as much as he does concerning the subtle forces of nature.
It is the power given by wisdom and knowledge that makes the occultist superior to his fellow man, his superiority being proportionate to his superior intelligence. In every walk of life, the uninitiated will be confronted with mysteries. To the average person, the working of a gasoline engine is just as mysterious as calculus would be to a kindergarten child, but intimate relationship and study result in that familiarity which gives ease in handling and intelligence in directing. It has been well said that no man is a stranger to his own valet. The philosopher is a servant of God, and by perfect serving, soon becomes capable of thoroughly understanding the desires and dictates of his divine Master.
All who are not consciously fortified in the path of right are possible victims of these monsters of iniquity; all who are not consciously on the white path, and firmly established in the way of sincerity and truth, are in eternal danger of these Harpies who float like soulless specters on the tide of evolution.
We must learn to realize that the greater the knowledge, the greater the penalty for abusing it. The sin that is excusable in the child is unforgivable in a man.
All true occultists abide by the laws of the nations and the community in which they dwell. While in many cases they recognize these laws as imperfect, they abide by them lest by their moral example they should teach the less intelligent to break the restraining bonds of law and order. It is said that laws are made for those who break them. We may add that laws were not made for Initiates, but there is a very small minority of people intelligent enough to live together honestly without the assistance of law. No matter how bad these laws are, they are far superior to the lawlessness which would exist when the mental hazard of punishment is removed from the untrained and unregenerated man.
A true occultist, be he student, disciple, or initiate, never discloses his position to any except those equally interested and equally sincere along similar lines.
No one is born without responsibility. Each living thing is responsible for itself, and when it fails to assume its individual responsibilities others must suffer as well as the thoughtless one.
The instinct of reverence for the Unknown is implanted in all human life.
First, the majority of people do not know what they are looking for. If they should meet truth, they would not recognize it. The Masters they seek are about them every day, but like Sir Launfal they journey into distant lands, seeking for those things which are upon their own doorsteps. Secondly, they would not accept wisdom if they should find it. They would all be glad to have the power that the Masters have, but few would labor unselfishly and untiringly for ages to secure that power and then consecrate it unreservedly to the good of humanity.
In a 1942 essay called "The Jew Does not Fit In," Hall suggested that anti-Semitism was the price Jews had to pay for being what he called "a peculiarly race-conscious people." The karma "of the Jew," he wrote, "holds a gradual dying out of racial persecution of Jews as a class in the degree and with the rapidity that the Jew forgets he is a Jew and remembers he is a human being." The same year he proposed that "millions and millions of entities who did not believe in competition or competitive systems in life were incarnated in India. The result is that the natural temperament of the Oriental is peaceful, not particularly ambitions; culturally static." In the same way, he said, in America entities of an almost intolerably possessive type had entered into incarnation together.
Hall adhered, for example, to Blavatsky's notion that there were three great systems of "racial karma" operating in the world: Lemurian, Atlantean and Aryan. Hall believed that remnants of what he described as "so-called Black peoples" were condemned to struggle against physical enslavement because they were the first humans to hunt and kill animals. Oriental nations and American Indians, he said, stemmed from Atlantean races paying for sins of arrogance and uncontrolled appetites by suffering through foreign invasions, internal corruption and perpetual poverty. The Aryan mind, he said, regarded complexity as synonymous with excellence. The result: dreams of empire, conspicuous consumption and blind faith in science.
Hall generally held a dim view of the lower classes of society and promoted birth control as a means of reducing the number of what he deemed the "mentally and physically unfit." By his logic, eugenics - controlling hereditary factors through selective breeding - would provide reincarnating souls with greater chances of being born into wealthier, happier, and more creative families. The world depends on leadership, he wrote in an essay on infant mortality in 1937, and constructive creative leadership can come into this world only when bodies of a fine organic quality can be produced. If some say it is unfair to keep out the waves of comparatively undeveloped egos by birth control, he reasons, it is also unfair that there be no class in society suitable to receive, nurture and culture the higher types of life waiting to bring the world knowledge and understanding.
As the parents of modern mankind, he advised Anglos to try to be more tolerant of the concerns being expressed by increasingly vocal oppressed minorities, whom he compared to adolescents experiencing growth pains.
For Hall supported the notion that Americans and British citizens were the most spiritually advanced people on the planet, and divinely appointed to lead lesser beings to the next level of development. "We have received with our Aryan birthright great spiritual and intellectual legacies," Hall said in a series of lectures on race and evolution in 1951. "We have the highest spiritual conviction of right, and also the highest evolved group of faculties ever bestowed upon living things, and these must continue and have their way, they must grow and unfold. There has been a great deal of question as to where the Sixth Subrace would come from. Some have felt it would come in an amalgamation of the American and British Empire. We do not know. Certainly the far-flung dominions such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other parts of the Empire, plus the American way of life will be a spearhead of a common attitude, and possibly from this spearhead will be derived a new type."
Before walking away from it all, Hogart met with Hall one last time, seeking answers to pressing questions: "I asked about a biography, and he said. 'I don't want you to write about me. Let my enemies do it.' I asked if he had it to do all over again, would he emphasize the Great White Brotherhood and illuminati. He said, 'I would drop all the magical trappings and emphasize self-help.' I asked him if I should get a Ph.D. and come back to PRS. He said, 'No. This place is custom-made for me. You need to build your own life.'"
"I said, 'When I came here, I was a rock singer. I still feel drawn to it. I know you hate it,'" Hogart recalled. "He said, 'That's exactly what you should be doing.'"
A mother and daughter belonging to the Lloyd family , an oil dynasty of Ventura County, over the years would donate millions of dollars to Hall's projects. They helped underwrite his whirlwind tour of the world's centers of spiritual thought in 1923 and eventually helped establish his compound near Griffith Park in 1934.
"Hall was never about truth, which is a childish vanity. He was about seeking truth, which is a spiritual quest," Hutchens added. "He was a profound thinker and a skilled businessman and he knew what sold. So, on one day he wrote profound insights for those who could perceive them, and the next day he wrote trash for the mass marketplace. He earned a living doing this, and not very many people can."
Wealth, therefore, impoverishes man, deprives him of time, absorbs his interests, depletes his strength, and leaves him incapable of becoming wise.
Truth manifesting the material universe is hopelessly obscured by the inadequate vehicles of its manifestation. Perfection manifesting through the imperfect appears by very necessity to be imperfect itself.
Love is religion, and hate is atheism...ethics is philosophy.
As the spirit enters the human body when the embryo reaches a certain degree of unfoldment, so will the spirit of Truth enter the religious body when that structure has adequately prepared itself for such a coming.
The world knows many religions, but Nature has but onc Truth.
All human beings are divided into four general classes...The lowest of these divisions is the physical nature, and those who dwell therein are of the earth, earthy; they live only for the gratification of their physical natures. Their idea of heaven is a place where there is food, feasting, and little or no work...Their minds are only partly active. Their bodies resemble prisons more than dwelling places...they live to labor, plodding along to a mediocre destiny...Give them opulence and they cannot retain it. Give them luxuries, and they do not appreciate them. They are the dark earthy ones who must ever bow before intelligence. They do not love God, for they cannot know Him.
The second division is made up of the artisans and those who labor both with mind and hand...They buy, sell, and exchange...Having a mind, they control the mindless...Not having the mental organism with which to reason, they fill the places of worship where thinking is done for them. They are the ones who allow their clergy to decide all spiritual problems for them, feeling themselves incapable of assuming the onus of heavy thinking...their credulity is utilized as a commercial asset by certain types of minds who consider it legitimate to capitalize on the ignorance of others.
The third class is made up of the scientists...they attack the boundary lines of the known...Those who wage this war in the cause of science are mostly concrete thinkers who follow as far as their instruments will lead them and then must wait for instruments still more powerful. Most of these minds are atheistic or at least agnostic...The miracles of theology are incapable of chemical analysis and are consequently taken cum grano salis by the scientific world.
The fourth and highest group embraces philosophers, musicians, and artists, all living in an abstract mental world surrounded by dreams and visions wholly unrecognizable by the other types. They have reached beyond the world of academic education to the world of creative idealism, which is at present the highest function of the human mind. This world is the dwelling place of genius, of invention, and of the things which lower mentalities can only accept but never analyze. Religiously, these minds are deistic. Most of them are monotheists - believers in one God. Many of them are mystics or occultists...
We would have much less trouble if our psychologists refrained from speaking for the first five years, for most of them are preaching with no more foundation for their eloquence than two weeks' study with someone no better informed than themselves.
The true occultist wants nothing but wisdom. When Solomon raised his hands to his God, Jehovah spoke from the heavens asking him what he would have, and he answered, "God give me the gift of wisdom." Jehovah asked him if there were not other things he desired, but Solomon answered, "No, only wisdom." And God told Solomon that because he had asked only for wisdom that all the other things should be added unto him and that from this day to the end of the world there would never be another king so rich, so great, or so blest.
Once men died for Truth, but now Truth dies at the hands of men.
An intellectual fact is not necessarily a truth
As power is given to man commensurate to his wisdom and understanding, it is not safe at the present time to reveal to the world at large the methods whereby entrance to the invisible world is possible. If this knowledge were given to selfish people unprepared for their responsibility, they would be able to destroy the universe, either through perversion or ignorance. In order to protect this sacred wisdom obstacles have been placed in the way of its attainment which only the sincere and courageous would be strong enough to overcome. Years of service, self-purification and self-mastery must be passed through before any candidate will be admitted to the path of wisdom.
In the remote past the gods walked with men and while the instructors from the invisible planes of Nature were still laboring with the infant humanity of this planet, they chose from among the sons of men the wisest and the truest. These they labored with, preparing them to carry on the work of the gods after the spiritual hierarchies themselves had withdrawn into the invisible worlds. With these specially ordained and illumined sons they left the keys of their great wisdom, which was the knowledge of good and evil. They ordained these anointed and appointed ones to be priests or mediators between themselves (the gods) and that humanity which had not yet developed the eyes which permitted them to gaze into the face of Truth and live.
Overshadowed by the divine prerogative, these illumined ones, founded what we now know as the Ancient Mysteries.
WHEN confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning faculties, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question. Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed. While the former may be qualified to solve the riddle of their own destiny, the latter must be led like a flock of sheep and taught in simple language. They depend almost entirely upon the ministrations of the shepherd. The Apostle Paul said that these little ones must be fed with milk, but that meat is the food of strong men. Thoughtlessness is almost synonymous with childishness, while thoughtfulness is symbolic of maturity.
There are, however, but few mature minds in the world; and thus it was that the philosophic-religious doctrines of the pagans were divided to meet the needs of these two fundamental groups of human intellect--one philosophic, the other incapable of appreciating the deeper mysteries of life. To the discerning few were revealed the esoteric, or spiritual, teachings, while the unqualified many received only the literal, or exoteric, interpretations. In order to make simple the great truths of Nature and the abstract principles of natural law, the vital forces of the universe were personified, becoming the gods and goddesses of the ancient mythologies. While the ignorant multitudes brought their offerings to the altars of Priapus and Pan (deities representing the procreative energies), the wise recognized in these marble statues only symbolic concretions of great abstract truths.