Adyar Pamphlets No. 39
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MAGIC
[This pamphlet is made up of two articles entitled "Ancient Magic and Modern Science", and "Animated Statues" which appeared in The Theosophist, Volume VIII, dated October and November 1886 respectively.]
THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE
Adyar, Madras, India
Benares, India; Chicago, U.S.A.
[Page 3] PAULTHIER, the French Indianist, may, or may not, be taxed with too much enthusiasm when saying that India appears before him as the grand and primitive focus of human thought, whose steady flame has ended by communicating itself to, and setting on fire the whole ancient world — [ Essay. Preface by Colebrooke ] — yet, he is right in his statement. It is Aryan metaphysics [ It is only through Mr. Barthelemy St. Hilaire that the world has learnt that "with regard to metaphysics, the Hindu genius has ever remained in a kind of infantile under-development"! ] that have led the mind to occult knowledge — the oldest and the mother science of all, since it contains within itself all the other sciences. And it is Occultism — the synthesis of all the discoveries in nature and, chiefly, of the psychic potency within and beyond every physical atom of matter — that has been the primitive bond that has cemented into one corner-stone the foundations of all the religions of antiquity.
The primitive spark has set on fire every nation, truly, and Magic underlies now every national faith, whether old or young. Egypt and Chaldea are [Page 4] foremost in the ranks of those countries that furnish us with the most evidence upon the subject, helpless as they are to do as India does — to protect their paleo-graphic relics from desecration. The turbid waters of the canal of Suez carry along to those that wash the British shores, the magic of the earliest days of Pharaonic Egypt, to fill up with its crumbled dust the British, French, German and Russian museums. Ancient, historical Magic is thus reflecting itself upon the scientific records of our own all-denying century. It forces the hand and tires the brain of the scientist, laughing at his efforts to interpret its meaning in his own materialistic way, yet helps the Occultist better to understand modern Magic, the rickety, weak grandchild of her powerful, archaic grandam. Hardly a hieratic papyrus exhumed along with the swathed mummy of King or Priest-Hierophant, or a weather-beaten, indecipherable inscription from the tormented sites of Babylonia or Nineveh, or an ancient tile-cylinder — that does not furnish new food for thought or some suggestive information to the student of Occultism. Withal, magic is denied and termed the "superstition" of the ignorant ancient philosopher.
Thus, magic in every papyrus; magic in all the religious formulae; magic bottled up in hermetically closed vials, many thousands of years old; magic in elegantly bound, modern works; magic in the most popular novels; magic in social gatherings; [Page 5] magic — worse than that, SORCERY — in the very air one breathes in Europe, America, Australia: the more civilised and cultured a nation, the more formidable and effective the effluvia of unconscious magic it emits and stores away in the surrounding atmosphere.
Tabooed, derided, magic would, of course, never be accepted under her legitimate name; yet science has begun dealing with that ostracised science under modern masks, and very considerably. But what is in a name? Because a wolf is scientifically defined as an animal of the genus canis, does it make of him a dog? Men of science may prefer to call the magic inquired into by Porphyry and explained by Iamblichus hysterical hypnosis, but that does not make it the less magic. The result and outcome of primitive Revelation to the earlier races by their "Divine Dynasties" the king-instructors, became innate knowledge in the Fourth race, that of the Atlanteans; and that knowledge is now called in its rare cases of "abnormal" genuine manifestations mediumship. The secret history of the world preserved only in far-away, secure retreats, would alone, if told unreservedly, inform the present generations of the powers that lie latent, and to most unknown, in man and nature. It was the fearful misuse of magic by the Atlanteans, that let their race to utter destruction, and — to oblivion. The tale of their sorcery and wicked enchantments has reached us, through classical writers, in fragmentary bits, as legends and childish [Page 6] fairy-tales, and as fathered on smaller nations. Thence the scorn for necromancy, goëtic magic, and theurgy. The "witches" of Thessaly are not less laughed at in our day than the modern medium or the credulous Theosophist. This is again due to sorcery, and one should never lack the moral courage to repeat the term; for it is the fatally abused magic that forced the adepts, "the Sons of Light", to bury it deep, after its sinful votaries had themselves found a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean; thus placing it beyond the reach of the profane of the race that succeeded to the Atlanteans. It is, then, to sorcery that the world is indebted for its present ignorance about it. But who or what class in Europe or America, will believe the report? With one exception, none; and that exception is found in the Roman Catholics and their clergy; but even they, while bound by their religious dogmas to credit its existence, attribute to it a satanic origin. It is this theory which, no doubt, has to this day prevented magic from being dealt with scientifically.
Still, nolens volens, science has to take it in hand. Archaeology in its most interesting department — Egyptology and Assyriology — is fatally wedded to it, do what it may. For magic is so mixed up with the world's history that, if the latter is ever to be written at all in its completeness, giving the truth and nothing but the truth, there seems to be no help for it. If Archaeology counts still upon discoveries and reports [Page 7] upon hieratic writings that will be free from the hateful subject, then HISTORY will never be written, we fear.
One sympathises profoundly with, and can well imagine, the embarrassing position of the various savants and "F.R.S.'" of Academicians and Orientalists. Forced to decipher, translate and interpret old mouldy papyri, inscriptions on steles and Babylonia rhombs, they find themselves at every moment face to face with MAGIC! Votive offerings, carvings, hieroglyphics, incantations — the whole paraphernalia of that hateful "superstition" — state them in the eyes, demand their attention, fill them with the most disagreeable perplexity. Only think what must be their feelings in the following case in hand. An evidently precious papyrus is exhumed. It is the post-mortem passport furnished to the osirified soul [ The reader need not be told that every soul newly-born into its cycle of 8,000 years after the death of the body it animated, became in Egypt, an "Osiris", was osirified, viz., the personality became reduced to its higher principles, a spirit. ] of a just translated Prince or even Pharaoh, written in red and black characters by a learned and famous scribe, say of the Fourth Dynasty, under the supervision of an Egyptian Hierophant — a class considered in all the ages and held by posterity as the most learned of the learned, among the ancient sages and philosophers. The statement therein were written at the solemn hours of the death and burial of a King Hierophant, of a Pharaoh and ruler. The purpose of the paper is the introduction of the "soul" to [Page 8] the awful region of Amenti, before its judges, there where a lie is said to outweigh every other crime The Orientalist carries away the papyrus and devotes to its interpretation days, perhaps weeks, of labour, only to find in it the following statement: "In the thirteenth year and the second month of Schomoo in the twenty-eight day of the same, we, the first High-priest of Ammon, the king of the gods, Penotman, the son of the delegate (or substitute) [ Substitute" was the name given to the father of the "Son" adopted by the High-priest Hierophant; a class of these remaining unmarried, and adopting "sons" for purposes of transmission of power and succession ] for the High-priest Pionki-moan, and the scribe of the temple of Sosser-sookhons and of the Necropolis Bootegamonmoo, began to dress the late Prince Oozirmari Pionokha, etc., etc., preparing him for eternity. When ready, the mummy was pleased to arise and thank his servants, as also to accept a cover worked for him by the hand of the "lady singer", Nefrelit Nimutha, gone into eternity the year so and so -" some hundred years before!" The whole in hieroglyphics.
This may be mistaken reading. There are dozens of papyri, though, well authenticated and recording more curious readings and narratives than that corroborated in this, by Sanchoniaton and Manetho, by Herodotus and Plato, Syncellus and dozens of other writers and philosophers, who mention the subject. Those papyri note down very often, as seriously as any historical fact needing no special corroboration, [Page 9] whole dynasties of Kings' — manes, viz., of phantoms and ghosts. The same is found in the histories of other nations.
All claim for their first and earliest dynasties [ The Secret Doctrine teaches that those dynasties were composed of divine beings, "the ethereal images of human creatures", in reality "gods", in their luminous astral bodies; the Sishta of preceding manvantaras ] of rulers and kings, what the Greeks called Manes and the Egyptians Ourvagan, "gods", etc.. Rossellius has tried to interpret the puzzling statement but in vain. "The word manes meaning urvagan", he says, "and that term in its literal sense signifying exterior image, we may suppose, if it were possible to bring down that dynasty within some historical period — that the word referred to some form of theocratic governments represented by the images of the gods and priests"!! [ Rossellius (Volume I Storia degli Monumenti dell Egitto, page 8). He adds that Manetho and the old Chronicles agree in translating the word manes by nékues. In the Chronicles of Eusebius Pamphilius, discovered at Milan and annotated by Cardinal Mai, the word nékues is also translated urvagan, "the exterior shadow" or ethereal image of men"; in short, the astral body.]
A dynasty of, to all appearance, living, at all events acting and ruling, kings turning out to have been simply mannikins and images, would require, to be accepted, a far wider stretch of modern credulity than even "kings' phantoms".
Were these Hierophants and Scribes, Pharaohs and King-Initiates all fools or frauds, confederates and liars, to have either believed themselves or tried to make other people believe in such cock-and-bull stories, if there were no truth at the foundation? And that for [Page 10] a long series of millenniums, from the first to the last Dynasty?
Of the divine Dynasty of Manes, the test of the Secret Doctrine will treat more fully; but a few such feats may be recorded from genuine papyri and the discoveries of archaeology. The Orientalists have found a plank of salvation: though forced to publish the contents of some famous papyri, they now call them Romances of the days of Pharaoh so-and-so. The device is ingenious, if not absolutely honest. The literary Sadducees may fairly rejoice.
One of such is the so-called "Lepsius Papyrus" of the Berlin Museum, now purchased by the latter from the heirs of Richard Lepsius. It is written in hieratic characters in the archaic Egyptian (old Coptic) tongue, and is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries of our age, inasmuch as it furnishes dates for comparison, and rectifies several mistakes in the order of dynastical successions. Unfortunately its most important fragments are missing. The learned Egyptologists who had the greatest difficulty in deciphering it have concluded that it was "an historical romance of the sixteenth century B.C., [ Supposititiously — during the eighteenth Dynasty of Kings, agreeably to Manetho's Synchronistic Tables, disfigured out of recognition by the able Eusebius, the too clever Bishop of Caesarea. ] dating back to events that took place during the reign of Pharaoh Cheops, the supposed builder of the pyramid of that name, who [Page 11] flourished in the twenty-sixth (?) century before our era". It shows Egyptian life and the state of society at the Court of that great Pharaoh, nearly nine hundred years before the little unpleasantness between Joseph and Mrs. Potiphar.
The first scene opens with King Cheops on his throne, surrounded by his sons, whom he commands to entertain him with narratives about hoary antiquity and the miraculous powers exercised by the celebrated sages and magicians at the Court of his predecessor. Prince Chefren than tells his audience how a magus during the epoch of Pharaoh Nebkha fabricated a crocodile out of wax and endowed him with life and obedience. Having been placed by a husband in the room of his faithless spouse, the crocodile snapped at both the wife and her lover, and seizing them carried them both into the sea. Another prince told a story of his grandfather, the parent of Cheops, Pharaoh Senefru. Feeling seedy, he commanded a magician into his presence, who advised him as a remedy the spectacle of twenty beautiful maidens of the Court sporting in a boat on the lake near by. The maidens obeyed and the hear of the old despot was "refreshed". But suddenly one of the ladies screamed and began to weep aloud. She had dropped into the water, one hundred and twenty feet deep in that spot, a rich necklace. Then a magician pronounced a formula, called the genii of the air and water to his help, and plunging his hand into the [Page 12] waves brought back with it the necklace. The pharaoh was greatly struck with the feat. He looked no more at the twenty beauties, "divested of their clothes, covered with nets, and with twenty oars made of ebony and gold"; but commanded that sacrifices should be made to the manes of those two magicians when they died. To this Prince Gardadathu remarked that the highest among such magicians never die, and one of them lived to that day, more than a centenarian, at the town of Deyd-Snefroo; that his name was Deddy; and that he had the miraculous power of reuniting cut-off heads to their bodies and recalling the whole to life, as also full authority and sway over the lions of the desert. He, Deddy, knew likewise where to procure the needed expensive materials for the temple of the god Thoth (the wisdom deity), which edifice Pharaoh Cheops was anxious to raise near his great pyramid. Upon hearing this, the mighty King Cheops expressed a desire to see the old sage at his Court! Thereupon the Prince Gardadathu started on his journey, and brought back with him the great magician.
After long greetings and mutual compliments and obeisance, according to the papyrus, a long conversation ensued between the Pharaoh and the sage, which goes on briefly thus:
"I am told, oh sage, that thou art able to reunite
heads severed from their bodies to that latter."
"I can do so, great King", answered Deddy. [Page 13]
"Let a criminal be brought here, without delay", quoth the Pharaoh.
"Great Kind, my power does not extent to men. I can resurrect only animals", remarked the sage.
A goose was then brought, its head cut off and placed in the east corner of the hall, and its body at the western side. Deddy extended his arm in the two directions in turn and muttered a magic formula. Forthwith the body of the bird arose and walked to the center of the hall, and the head rolled up to meet it. Then the head jumped on the bleeding neck; the two were reunited; and the goose began to walk about, none the worse for the operation of beheading.
The same wonderful feat was repeated by Deddy upon canaries and a bull. After which the Pharaoh desired to be informed with regard to the projected temple of Thoth.
The sage-magician knew all about the old remains of the temple, hidden in a certain house a Heliopolis: but he had no right to reveal it to the king. The revelation had to come from the eldest of the three triplets of Rad-Dedtoo. "The latter is the wife of the priest of the Sun, at the city of Saheboo. She will conceive the triplet-sons from the sun-god, and these children will play an important part in the history of the land of Khemi (Egypt), inasmuch as they will be called to rule it. The eldest, before he becomes a Pharaoh, will be High-priest of the Sun at the city of Heliopolis. [Page 14]
"Upon hearing this, Pharaoh Cheops rent his clothes in grief: his dynasty would thus be overthrown by the son of the deity to whom he was actually raising a temple!"
Here the papyrus is torn; and a large portion of it being missing, posterity is denied the possibility of learning what Pharaoh Cheops undertook in this emergency.
The fragment that follows apprises us of that which is evidently the chief subject of the archaic record — the birth of the three sons of the sun-god. As soon as Rad-Dedtoo felt the pangs of childbirth, the great sun-god called the goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Mesehentoo, and Hekhtoo, and sent them to help the priestess, saying: "She is in labour with my three sons who will, one day, be the rulers of this land. Help her, and they will raise temples for you, will make innumerable libations of wine and sacrifices". The goddesses did as they were asked, and three boys, each one yard long and with very long arms, [ Long arms in Egypt meant as now in India, a sign of mahãmãtship or adeptship. ] were born. Isis gave them their names and Nephthys blessed them, while the two other goddesses confirmed on them their glorious future. The three young men became eventually kings of the Fifth Dynasty, their names being Ouserkath, Sagoorey and Kakäy. After the goddesses had returned to their celestial mansions some great miracles occurred. The corn [Page 15] given the mother goddesses returned of itself into the corn-bin in an outhouse of the High-priest, and the servants reported that voices of invisibles were singing in it the hymns sung at the birth of hereditary princes, and the sounds of music and dances belonging to that rite were distinctly heard. This phenomenon endangered, later on, the lives of the future kings — the triplets.
A female slave having been punished once by the High-priestess, the former ran away from the house, and spoke thus to the assembled crowds: " How dare she punish me, that woman who gave birth to three kings? I will go and notify it to Pharaoh Cheops, our lord."
At this interesting place the papyrus is again torn; and the reader left once more in ignorance of what resulted from the denunciation, and how the three boy-pretenders avoided the persecution of the paramount ruler. [ This is the more to be regretted — says the translator of the papyrus — that "legendary details, notwithstanding the contents of the Lepsius papyrus are evidently based upon the most ancient traditions; and as a a matter of fact emanate from eye-witnesses and first-hand evidence". The data in the papyrus are absolutely coincident with facts known, and agree with the discoveries made by Egyptology and the undeniable information obtained concerning the history and far-away events of that "land of mystery and riddle", as Hegel called it. Therefore we have no cause whatever to doubt the authenticity of the general narrative contained in our papyrus. It reveals to us, likewise, entirely new historical facts. Thus, we learn, first of all, that (Kefren) or Chephren was the son of Cheops; that the fifth Dynasty originated in the town of Saheboo; that its first three Pharaohs were three brothers — and that the elder of the triplets had been a solar High-priest at Heliopolis before ascending to the throne. Meagre as the details appear, they become quite [Page 16] important in the history of events removed from us by more than forty centuries. Finally, the Lepsius papyrus is an extremely ancient document, written in the old Egyptian tongue, while the events narrated therein may, for their originality (magic?), be placed on a par with the best Egyptian narratives translated and published by the famous Egyptologist and Archaeologist, Mr. Maspero, in his work called Contes de l'ancienne Egypte.] [Page 16]
Another magical feat is given by Mariette Bey (Mon., Dir. pp. 1, 9, Persian epoch), from a tablet in the Bulak Museum, concerning the Ethiopian kingdom founded by the descendants of the High-priests of Ammon, wherein flourished absolute theocracy. It was the god himself, it appears, who selected the kings at his fancy, and "the stele 114 which is an official statement about the election of Aspalout, shows how such events took place". (Gebel-Barkal) The army gathered near the Holy Mountain at Napata, choosing six officers who had to join other delegates of state, proposed to proceed to the election of a king.
"Come", reads the inscribed legend, "come, let us choose a master who would be like an irresistible young bull". And the army began lamenting, saying — " Our master is with us, and we know him not!" And others remarked, "Aye, but we can know him, though till now no one save Râ (the god) does so: may the great God protect him from harm wherever he be".... .... Forthwith the whole army cried out, "But there is that god Ammon-Râ, in the Holy Mountain, and he is the god of Ethiopia! Let us to him, do not speak in ignorance of him; for the word [Page 17] spoken in ignorance of him is not good. Let him choose, that god, who is the god of the kingdom of Ethiopia, since the days of Râ .... He will guide us, as the Ethiopian kings are all his handiwork, and he gives the kingdom to the son whom he loves." "This is what the entire army saith: 'It is an excellent speech, in truth a million of times.' "
Then the narrative shows the delegates duly purified, proceeding to the temple and prostrating themselves before the huge statue of Ammon-Râ, while framing their request. "The Ethiopic priests are mighty ones. They know how to fabricate miraculous images and status, capable of motion and speech, to serve as vehicles for the gods; it is an art they hold from their Egyptian ancestors."
All the members of the Royal family pass in procession before the statue of Ammon-Râ — still it moveth not. Bus as soon as Aspalout approaches it,the huge statue seizes him with both arms, and loudly exclaims: "This is your king! This is your master who will make you live!"' and the army chiefs greet the new Pharaoh. He enters into the sanctuary and is crowned by the god, personally, and with his own hands; then joins his army. The festival ends with the distribution of bread and beer. (Gebel-Barkal)
There is a number of papyri and old inscriptions proving beyond the slightest doubt that for thousands of years high-priests, magicians and Pharaohs believed — as well as the masses — in magic, besides practising [Page 18]
it; the latter being liable to be referred to clever jugglery. The statues had to be fabricated; for unless they were made of certain elements and stones, and were prepared under certain constellations, in accordance with the conditions prescribed by magic art, the divine (or infernal, if some will so have it) powers, or FORCES , that were expected to animate such statues and images, could not be made to act therein. A galvanic-battery has to be prepared of specific metals and materials, not made at random, if one would have it produce its magical effects. A photograph has to be obtained under specific conditions of darkness and certain chemicals, before it can result in a given purpose.
Some twenty years ago, archaeology was enriched with a very curious Egyptian document giving the views of that ancient religion upon the subject of ghosts (manes) and magic in general. It is called the "Harris papyrus on Magic" (Papyrus Magique). It is extremely curious in its bearing upon the esoteric teachings of Occult Theosophy, and is very suggestive. It is left for our next article [Animated Statues] — on Magic. [Page 19]
TO whatsoever cause it may be due matters little, but the word fetich is given in the dictionaries the restricted sense of "an object selected temporarily for worship," "a small idol used by the African savages," etc., etc.In his "Des Cultes Antérieurs à l'Idolatrie", Dulaure defines Fetichism as "the adoration of an object considered by the ignorant and the weak-minded as the receptacle or the habitation of a god or genius".
Now all this is extremely erudite and profound, no doubt; but it lacks the merit of being either true or correct. Fetich may be an idol among the negroes of Africa, according to Webster; and there are weak-minded and ignorant people certainly who are fetich worshippers. Yet the theory that certain objects — statues, images, and amulets for example — serve as a temporary or even constant habitation to a "god", "genius" or spirit simply, has been shared by some of the most intellectual men known to history. It was not originated by the ignorant and weak-minded, since the majority of the world's sages and philosophers, from credulous Pythagoras down to sceptical Lucian, believed in such a thing in antiquity; as in our highly civilized, cultured and learned century several hundred millions of Christians still believe in it, whether the above definitions be correct or the one we shall now give. The administration of the Sacrament, [Page 20] the mystery of Transubstantiation "in the supposed conversion of the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the body and blood of Christ," would render the bread and wine and the communion cup along with them fetiches — no less than the tree or rag or stone of the savage African. Every miracle-working image, tomb and statue of a Saint, Virgin or Christ, in the Roman Catholic and Greek Churches, have thus to be regarded as fetiches; because, whether the miracle is supposed to be wrought by God or an angel, by Christ or a saint, those images or statues do become — if the miracle be claimed as genuine — "the receptacle or dwelling" for a longer or shorter time of God or an "angel of God".
It is only in the "Dictionnaire des Religions" (Article on Fetichisme) that a pretty correct definition may be found: "The word fetich was derived from the Portuguese word fetisso, "enchanted", "bewitched" or "charmed"; whence fatum, "destiny", fatua, "fairy," etc.. Fetich, moreover, was and still ought to be identical with "idol"; and as the author of "The Teraphim of Idolatry" says, "Fetichism is the adoration of any object, whether inorganic or living, large or of minute proportions, in which, or, in connection with which, any 'spirit' — good or bad in short — an invisible intelligent power — has manifested its presence."
Having collected for my "Secret Doctrine" a number of notes upon this subject, I may now give some [Page 21] of them apropos of the latest Theosophical novel "A Fallen Idol", and thus show that work of fiction based on some very occult truths of Esoteric Philosophy.
The images of all the gods of antiquity, from the earliest Aryans down to the latest Semites — the Jews, — were all idols and fetiches, whether called Teraphim, Urim and Thummim, Kabeiri, or cherubs, or the gods Lares. If, speaking of the teraphim — a word that Grotius translates as "angels," an etymology authorized by Cornelius, who says that they "were the symbols of angelic presence"— the Christians are allowed to call them "the mediums through which divine presence was manifested," why not apply the same to the idols of the "heathen"?
I am perfectly alive to the fact that the modern man of science, like the average sceptic, believes no more in an "animated" image of the Roman Church than he does in the "animated" fetich of a savage. But there is no question, at present, of belief or disbelief. It is simply the evidence of antiquity embracing a period of several thousands of years, as against the denial of the nineteenth century — the century of Spiritualism and Spiritism, of Theosophy and Occultism, of Charcot and his hypnotism, of psychic "suggestion," and of unrecognized BLACK MAGIC all round.
Let us Europeans honour the religion of our forefathers, by questioning it on its beliefs and their origin, before placing on its defence pagan antiquity and its [Page 22] grand philosophy; where do we find in Western sacred literature, so-called, the first mention of idols and fetiches? In chapter xxxi (et seq) of Genesis, in Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, wherein the ancestors of Abraham, Serug and Terah, worshipped little idols in clay which they called their gods; and where also, in Haran, Rachel stole the images (teraphim) of her father Laban. Jacob may have forbidden worship of those gods, yet one finds 325 years after that prohibition, the Mosaic Jews adoring "the gods of the Amorites" all the same (Joshua xxiv. 14, 15). The teraphim-gods of Laban exist to this day among certain tribes of Musulmans on Persian territory. They are small statuettes of tutelary genii, or gods, which consulted on every occasion. The Rabbis explain that Rachel no other motive for stealing her father's gods than that of preventing his learning from them the direction she and her husband Jacob had taken, lest he should prevent them from leaving home once more. Thus, it was not piety, or the fear of the Lord God of Israel, but simply a dread of the indiscretion of the gods that made her secure them. Moreover, her mandrakes were only another kind of sortilegious and magical implements.
Now what is the opinion of various classical and even sacred writers on these idols, which Hermes Trismegistus calls "statues far-seeing futurity". (Asclepias)?
Philo of Biblos shows that the Jews consulted demons like
the Amorites, especially through small [Page 23] statues made of gold, shaped
as nymphs which, questioned at any hour, would instruct them what the querists
had to do and what to avoid. (Antiquities)
In More Nevochim (I, iii) it is said that nothing resembled more those portative and preserving gods of the pagans (dii portatiles vel Averrunci) than those tutelary gods of the Jews. They were "veritable phylacteries or animated talismans, the spiriantia simulacra of Apuleius (Book xi), whose answers, given in the temple of the goddess of Syria, were heard by Lucian personally, and repeated by him. Kircher (the Jesuit Father) shows also that the teraphim looked, in quite an extraordinary way, like the pagan Serapises of Egypt; and Cedrenus seems to corroborate that statement of Kircher (in his Vol. iii, p. 494 "OEdipus," etc.) by showing that the t and the s (like the Sanskrit s and the Zend h) were convertible letters, the Seraphim (or Serapis) and the teraphim, being absolute synonyms.
As to the use of these idols, Maimonides tells us (More Nevochim, p. 41) that these gods or images passed for being endowed with the prophetic gift, and as being able to tell the people in whose possession they were "all that was useful and salutary for them."
All these images, we are told, had the form of a baby or small child, others were only occasionally much larger. They were statues or regular idols in the human shape. The Chaldeans exposed them to the [Page 24] beams of certain planets for the latter to imbue them with their virtues and potency. These were for purposes of astro-magic; the regular teraphim for those of necromancy and sorcery, in most cases. The spirits of the dead (elementaries) were attached to them by magic art, and they were used for various sinful purposes.
Ugolino [ Ugolino - Thesaur - Vol. xxiii, p. 475 ] puts in the mouth of the sage Gamaliel, St. Paul's master (or guru), the following words, which he quotes, he says, from his "Capito", chap. xxxvi: "They (the possessors of such necromantic teraphim) killed a new-born baby, cut off its head, and placed under its tongue, salted and oiled, a little gold lamina in which the name of an evil spirit was perforated; then, after suspending that head on the wall of their chamber, they lighted lamps before it, and prostrate on the ground they conversed with it."
The learned Marquis de Mirville believes that it was just such ex-human fetiches that were meant by Philostratus, who gives a number of instances of the same. "There was the head of Orpheus" — he says — "which spoke to Cyrus, and the head of a priest-sacrificer from the temple of Jupiter Hoplosmius which, when severed from its body, revealed, as Aristotle narrates, the name of its murderer, one called Cencidas; and the head of one Publius Capitanus, which, according to Trallianus, at the moment of the victory won by Acilius the Roman Consul, over [Page 25] Antiochus, King of Asia, predicted to the Romans the great misfortunes that would soon befall them, etc." (Pn. des Esprits, Vol. iii, 29 Memoir to the Academy, p. 252.)
Diodorus tells the world how such idols were fabricated for magical purposes in days of old. Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, having, in consequence of a fright given premature birth to a child of seven months, Cadmus, in order to follow the custom of his country and to give it (the babe) a supermundane origin which would make it live after death, enclosed its body within a gold statue, and made of it an idol for which a special cult and rites were established." (Diodorus, lib. i. p. 48.)
As Feret, in his article in the Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, Vol. xxiii, p. 247 — pointedly remarks, when commenting upon the above passage: "A singular thing, deserving still more attention, is that the said consecration of Semele's baby, which the Orphics show as having been the custom of Cadmus' ancestors — is precisely the ceremony described by the Rabbis, as cited by Seldenus, with regard to the teraphim or household gods of the Syrians and the Phoenicians. There is little probability, however, that the Jews should have been acquainted with the Orphics."
Thus, there is every reason to believe that the numerous drawings in Father Kircher's Oedipus, little figures and heads with metallic laminae protruding [Page 26] from under their tongues, which hang entirely out of the heads' mouths, are real and genuine teraphims — as shown by de Mirville. Then again in Le Blanc's Religions, (Vol. iii, p. 277), speaking of the Phoenician teraphim, the author compares them to the Greco-Phrygian palladium, which contained human relics. "All the mysteries of the apotheosis, of orgies, sacrifices and magic, were applied to such heads. A child young enough to have his innocent soul still united with the Anima Mundi — the Mundane Soul — was killed," he says; "his head was embalmed and its soul was fixed in it, as it is averred, by the power of magic and enchantments." After which followed the usual process, the gold lamina, etc., etc.
Now this is terrible BLACK MAGIC
, we say; and none but the dugpas of old, the villainous sorcerers of antiquity, used it. In the Middle Ages only several Roman Catholic priests are known to have resorted to it; among others the apostate Jacobin priest in the service of Queen Catherine of Medici, that faithful daughter of the Church of Rome and the author of the "St. Bartholomew Massacre." The story is given by Bodin, in his famous work on Sorcery Le Démonomanie, ou Traité des Sorciers (Paris, 1587); and it is quoted in Isis Unveiled (Vol. ii, p. 56). Pope Sylvester II was publicly accused by Cardinal Benno of sorcery, on account of his "Brazen Oracular Head." These heads and other talking statues, trophies of the [Page 27]
magical skill of monks and bishops, were facsimiles of the animated gods of the ancient temples. Benedict IX, John XX, and the Sixth and Seventh, Popes Gregory are all known in history as sorcerers and magicians. Notwithstanding such an array of facts to show that the Latin Church has despoiled the ancient Jews of all — aye, even to their knowledge of black art inclusively — one of their advocates of modern times, namely, the Marquis de Mirville, is not ashamed to publish against the modern Jews, the most terrible and foul of accusations!
In his violent polemics with the French symbologists, who try to find a philosophical explanation for ancient Bible customs and rites, he says: "We pass over the symbolic significations that are sought for to explain all such customs of the idolatrous Jews, (their human teraphim and severed baby-heads), because we do not believe in them (such explanations) at all. But we do believe, for one, that 'the head' consulted by the — Scandinavian Odin in every difficult affair was a teraphim of the same (magic) class. And that in which we believe still more, is, that all those mysterious disappearances and abductions of small (Christian) children, practised at all times and even in our own day by the Jews — are the direct consequences of those ancient and barbarous necromantic practices . . . Let the reader remember the incident of Damas and Father Thomas." (Pneum des Esprits, Vol. iii, p. 254.) [Page 28]
Quite clear and unmistakable this. The unfortunate, despoiled Israelites are plainly charged with abducting Christian children to behead and make oracular heads with them, for purposes of sorcery! Where will bigotry and intolerance with their odium theologicum land next, I wonder?
On the contrary, it seems quite evident that it is just in consequence of such terrible malpractices of Occultism that Moses and the early ancestors of the Jews were so strict in carrying out the severe prohibition against graven images, statues and likenesses in any shape, of either "gods" or living men. This same reason was at the bottom of the like prohibition by Mohammed and enforced by all the Musalman prophets. For the likeness of any person, in whatever form and mode, of whatever material, may be turned into a deadly weapon against the original by a really learned practitioner of the black art. Legal authorities during the Middle Ages, and even some 200 years ago, were not wrong in putting to death those in whose possession small wax figures of their enemies were found, for it was murder contemplated, pure and simple. "Thou shalt not draw the vital spirits of thy enemy, or of any person into his simulacrum," for "this is a heinous crime against nature." And again: "Any object into which the fiat of a spirit has been drawn is dangerous, and must not be left in the hands of the ignorant. . . . An expert in magic has to be called purify it." (Practical Laws of Occult Science, Book v, Coptic copy.) [Page 29]
In a kind of "Manual" of Elementary Occultism, it is said: "To make a bewitched object (fetich) harmless, its parts have to be reduced to atoms (broken), and the whole buried in damp soil" — (follow instructions, unnecessary in a publication).[ The author of A Fallen Idol,— whether through natural intuition or study of occult laws it is for him to say — shows knowledge of this fact by making Nebelsen say that the spirit of the tirthankar was paralysed and torpid during the time his idol had been buried in India. That Eidôlon or Elementary could do nothing. See p. 295. ]
That which is called "vital spirits" is the astral body. "Souls, whether united or separated from their bodies, have a corporeal substance inherent to their nature", says St. Hilarion. (Comm. in Matth. Chapter v. No. 8.) Now the astral body of a living person, of one unlearned in occult sciences, may be forced (by an expert in magic) to animate, or be drawn to, and then fixed within any object, especially into anything made in his likeness, a portrait, a statue, a little figure in wax, etc.. And as whatever hits or affects the astral reacts by repercussion on the physical body, it becomes logical and stands to reason that, by stabbing the likeness in its vital parts — the heart, for instance — the original may be sympathetically killed, without any one being able to detect the cause of it. The Egyptians, who separated man (exoterically) into three divisions or groups — "mind body" (pure spirit, our 7th and 6th principles); the spectral soul (the 5th, 4th, and 3rd principles); and the gross body (prana and sthula sarira), called [Page 30] forth in their theurgies and evocations (for divine white magical purposes, as well as for those of the black art) the "spectral soul", or astral body, as we call it.
" It was not the soul itself that was evoked, but its simulacrum that the Greeks called Eidôlon, and which was the middle principles between soul and body. That doctrine came from the East, the cradle of all learning. The Magi of Chaldea as well as all other followers of Zoroaster, believed that it was not the divine soul alone (spirit) which would participate in the glory of celestial light, but also the sensitive soul." (Psellus, in Scholiis, in Oracle)
Translated into our Theosophical phraseology, the above refers to Atmã and Buddhi — the vehicle of spirit. The NeoPlatonics, and even Origen, — "call the astral body Augoeides and Astroeides, i.e., one having the brilliancy of the stars". (Sciences Occultes, by Cte. de Resie, Vol. ii, p. 598-9.)
Generally speaking, the world's ignorance on the nature of the human phantom and vital principle, as on the functions of all man's principles, is deplorable. Whereas science denies them all — an easy way of cutting the gordian knot of the difficulty — the churches have evolved the fanciful dogma of one solitary principle, the Soul, and neither of the two will stir from its respective preconceptions, notwithstanding the evidence of all antiquity and its most intellectual writers. Therefore, before the question can be argued with any hope of lucidity, the following points [Page 31] have to be settled and studied by our Theosophists — those, at any rate, who are interested in the subject:
1. The difference between a physiological hallucination and a psychic or spiritual clairvoyance and clairaudience.
2. Spirits, or the entities of certain invisible beings — whether Ghosts of once living men, angels, spirits, or elementals, — have they, or have they not, a natural though an ethereal and to us invisible body? Are they united to, or can they assimilate some fluidic substance that would help them to become visible to men?
3. Have. they, or have they not, the power of so becoming infused among the atoms of any object, whether it be a statue (idol), a picture, or an amulet, as to impart to it their potency and virtue, and even to animate it?
4. Is it in the power of any Adept, Yogi or Initiate, to fix such entities, whether by White or Black magic, in certain objects?
5. What are the various conditions (save Nirvâna and Avitchi) of good and bad men after death? etc., etc.
All this may be studied in the literature of the ancient classics, and especially in Aryan literature. Meanwhile, I have tried to explain and have given the collective and individual opinions thereon of all the great philosophers of antiquity in my Secret Doctrine. I hope the book will now very soon appear. [Page 32] Only, in order to counteract the effects of such humoristical works as A Fallen Idol on weak-minded people, who see in it only a satire upon our beliefs, I thought best to give here the testimony of the ages to the effect that such post-mortem pranks as played by Mr. Anstey's sham ascetic, who died a sudden death, are of no rare occurrence in nature.
To conclude, the reader may be reminded that if the astral body of man is no superstition founded on mere hallucinations, but a reality in nature, then it becomes only logical that such an eidôlon, whose individuality is all centred after death in his personal EGO — should be attracted to the remains of the body that was his, during life;[ Even burning does not affect its interference or prevent it entirely — since it can avail itself of the ashes. Earth alone will make it powerless ] and in case the latter was burnt and the ashes buried, that it should seek to prolong its existence vicariously by either possessing itself of some living body (a medium's), or, by attaching itself to his own statue, picture, or some familiar object in the house or locality that it inhabited. The "vampire" theory, can hardly be a superstition altogether. Throughout all Europe, in Germany, Styria, Moldavia, Servia, France and Russia, those bodies of the deceased who are believed to have become vampires, have special exorcismal rites established for them by their respective Churches. Both the Greek and Latin religions think it beneficent to have such bodies dug out and transfixed to the earth by a pole of aspen-tree wood. [Page 33]
However it may be, whether truth or superstition, ancient philosophers and poets, classics and lay writers, have believed as we do now, and that for several thousand years in history, that man had within him his astral counterpart, which would appear by separating itself or oozing out of the gross body, during life as well as after the death of the latter. Till that moment the "spectral soul" was the vehicle of the divine soul and the pure spirit. But, as soon as the flames had devoured the physical envelope, the spiritual soul, separating itself from the simulacrum of man, ascended to its new home of unalloyed bliss (Devachan or Swarga), while the spectral eidôlon descended into the regions of Hades (limbus, purgatory, or kâma loka). "I have terminated my earthly career," exclaims Dido, "my glorious spectre (astral body), the IMAGE of my person, will now descend into the womb of the earth.[Which is not the interior of the earth, or hell, as taught by the anti-geological-theologians, but the cosmic matrix of its region — the astral light of our atmosphere] Et nunc magna mei sub terras ibit imago (Aeneid, lib. iv, 654).
Sabinus and Servius Honoratus (a learned commentator of Virgil of the sixth century) have taught, as shown by Delris, the demonlogian (lib. ii, ch. xx and xxv, p. 116), that man was composed, besides his soul, of a shadow (umbra) and a body. The soul ascends to heaven, the body is pulverized, and the shadow is plunged in Hades. . . . This phantom — umbra seu simulacrum — is not a real body, they say: it is the appearance of [Page 34] one, that no hand can touch, as it avoids contact like a breath. Homer shows this same shadow in the phantom of Patroclus, who perished, killed by Hector, and yet "Here he is — it is his face, his voice, his blood still flowing from his wounds!" (See Iliad, xxiii, and also Odyssey, i, xi.) The ancient Greeks and Latins had two souls — anima bruta and anima divina, the first of which is in Homer the animal soul, the image and the life of the body, and the second, the immortal and the divine.
As to our Kâma loka, Ennius, says Lucretius — "has traced the picture of the sacred regions in Acherusia, where dwell neither our bodies nor our souls, but only our simulacres, whose pallidity is dreadful to behold!" It is amongst those shades that divine Homer appeared to him, shedding bitter tears as though the gods had created that honest man for eternal sorrow only. It is from the midst of that world (Kâma loka), which seeks with avidity communication with our own, that this third (part) of the poet, his phantom — explained to him the mysteries of nature. . . . . . . .
Esse Acherusia templa
Quo neque permanent animae, neque corpora nostra,
Sed quoedam simulacra, modis pallentia miris,
Unde sibi exortam semper florentis Homeri
Commemorat speciem lacrymas et fundere salsas
Coepisse, et rerum naturam, expandere dictis.
ythagoras and Plato both divided soul into two representative parts, independent of each other — the one, the rational soul, or 'Logon' , the other, irrational, 'alogon' — the latter being again subdivided into two [Page 35] parts or aspects, the thumichon and epithumichon, which with the divine soul and its spirit and the body, make the seven principles of Theosophy. What Virgil calls imago, "image", Lucretius names — simulacrum, "similitude" (See De Nat. rerum I), but they are all names for one and the same thing, the astral body.
We gather thus two points from the ancients entirely corroborative of our esoteric philosophy: (a) the astral or materialized figure of the dead is neither the soul, nor the spirit, nor the body of the deceased personage, but simply the shadow thereof, which justifies our calling it a "shell"; and (b) unless it be an immortal God (an angel) who animates an object, it can never be a spirit, to wit, the SOUL, or real, spiritual ego of a once living man; for these ascend, and an astral shadow (unless it be of a living person) can never be higher than a terrestrial, earth-bound ego, or an irrational shell. Homer was therefore right in making Telemachus exclaim, on seeing Ulysses, who reveals himself to his son: "No, thou art not my father, thou art a demon, a spirit who flatters and deludes me!" (Odyssey, xvi, page 194)
It is such illusive shadows, belonging to neither Earth nor Heaven, that are used by sorcerers and other adepts of the Black Art, to help them in persecutions of victims; to hallucinate the minds of very honest and well meaning persons occasionally, who fall victims to the mental epidemics aroused by them for a purpose; and to oppose in every way the beneficent [Page 36] work of the guardians of mankind, whether divine or — human.
For the present, enough has been said to show that the Theosophists have the
evidence of the whole of antiquity in support of the correctness of their doctrines.
Note. — As a corroboration of the theory that a great volume of psychic force may be concentrated in an object of worship, we may add the following biblical narrative of the overthrow of the image of the idol Dagon, in its own temple, by the superior power of the Hebraic ark. It runs thus:
When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon, and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. (I Sam. v. 3 and 4.)
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