The Lost Light- AN INTERPRETATION OF ANCIENT SCRIPTURES

Alvin Boyd Kuhn


To

THE MEMORY OF DR. ROBERT NORWOOD WHOSE CHARGE TO ME TO WRITE THIS BOOK WAS AN IMPELLING AND SUSTAINING INSPIRATION TO THE TASK, THIS WORK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED


CONTENTS


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PROLOGUE

I. TRAGEDY DIES IN LAUGHTER

II. ECCE HOMO - ECCE DEUS

III. TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH

IV. WISDOM HIDDEN IN A MYSTERY

V. LOOSING THE SEVEN SEALS

VI. THE DESCENT TO AVERNUS

VII. COLONISTS FROM HEAVEN

VIII - IN DURANCE VILE

IX. ALIVE IN DEATH

X. THE MUMMY IN AMENTA

XI. DISMEMBERMENT AND DISFIGUREMENT

XII. AMBROSIA AND NECTAR

XIII. EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE

XIV. FIRE ON HEAVENíS HEARTH

XV. NOXIOUS FUMES AND LURID FLAMES

XVI. BAPTISM AT THE CROSSING

XVII. THE ARK AND THE DELUGE

XVIII. THE LAKE OF EQUIPOISE

XIX. WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE

XX. SUNS OF INTELLECT

XXI. AT THE EAST OF HEAVEN

XXII. SKYLARK AT HEAVENíS GATE


PROLOGUE

Coming forth in a day when theology has long been discredited - even in its own ecclesiastical household - and religion itself is threatened with obliteration by rampant forces hostile to it, this book aims to rehabilitate theology and to stabilize true religion. It must be said at the very outset and with blunt insistence that it is for religion and not in any way against it. It is written to establish religion again as the cornerstone of human culture, when civilization has largely turned away from it to seek elsewhere the guiding light. It is designed to redeem Divine Theology from her outcast condition and place her again beside Philosophy and Science on the throne in the kingdom of manís mind.

It needs sharply to be asseverated that the book is for religion because many will pronounce it the most forthright attack on ecclesiastical doctrinism yet presented. It can hardly be denied that it sweeps away almost the entire body of common acceptance of biblical and theological meaning. But it makes no war on anything in religion save the idiocies and falsities that have crept into the general conception of orthodox belief. Finding the chief enemies of true religion were those within her own gates, the book has had to address itself to the ungenerous task of repudiating the whole untenable structure of accredited interpretation in order to erect on the ground the lovely temple of ancient truth. If theology is to be rescued from its forlorn state of intellectual disrepute into which not its enemies but its friends have precipitated it through an unconscionable perversion of its original significance to gross repulsiveness, the errors and distortions perpetrated upon it by those of its own household must be ruthlessly dismantled. Hence to many the book will seem like a devastating assault on the very citadel of common religious preachment. In the face of all this it must be maintained that the work is written to support and defend religion against all its foes and that it is constructive and not destructive of true religious values at every turn. It was no light or (Page 1) frivolous gesture to affront a settled and rooted growth of beliefs and doctrinal statements that have been cherished for centuries around the hearthstone of Christian culture and become hallowed by age-long acceptance and the strong loves and loyalties inbred in sensitive childhood. But it was seen to be a drastic operation quite necessary to save the organism of religion itself from further decay and menacing death. Excrescences of misconception and superstition had to be heroically cut out of the body of theology and the calcareous incrustations of ignorant interpretation dissolved and carried away by the acid stream of living truth flowing forth, after centuries of suppression, from the mighty scriptures of the past.

The Western world has too long and fatuously labored under the delusion that a pious and devout disposition fulfills the whole requirement of true religion. Ancient sagacity knew that piety without intelligence, or religion without philosophy, was insufficient and dangerous. It knew that general good intent was not safe from aberrancy, folly and fanaticism unless it was directed by the highest powers and resources of the mind. And the mind itself had to be fortified with specific knowledge of the nature of the cosmos and of man and the relation between the two. Following the dictum of the sage, Hermes Trismegistus, that "the vice of a soul is ignorance, the virtue of a soul is knowledge," the scriptures of old inculcated the precept that with all manís getting he must first get wisdom and understanding. These were related to his well-being as health to his navel and marrow to his bones, and would alone give him a crown of eternal life. They were pronounced more precious than all the things that he could desire. The council of Illuminati therefore laid down their systems of cosmology and anthropology, which have become by immemorial tradition the Bibles of humanity, universally reverenced. In them were given the ordinances of life, the constitution of the cosmos, the laws governing both nature and mind. They still constitute the Magna Carta of all human action guided by intelligence. For they were the first Institutes embodying the Principia and Fundamenta of all moral behavior, the only true chart and compass to guide human effort in a line of harmony with an overshadowing divine plan of evolution for the Cosmos.

The corruption and final loss of the basic meaning of these scriptures has been, in the whole of time, the greatest tragedy in human (Page 2) history. Like Shakespeareís tide, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, but, omitted, casts all the rest of life in shoals and quicksands, the wreckage of the Esoteric Gnosis in the centuries following Platoís day, culminating in the debacle of all philosophical religion about the third century of Christianityís development and ushering in sixteen centuries of the Dark Ages, has thrown all religion out of basic relation to true understanding and caused it to breed an endless train of evils, fanaticisms, bigotries, idiosyncrasies, superstitions, wars and persecutions that more than anything else blacken the record of manís historic struggle toward the light. The present (1940) most frightful of all historical barbarities owes its incidence directly to the decay of ancient philosophical knowledge and the loss of vision and virtue that would have attended its perpetuation.

What, then, must be the importance of a book which restores to the scriptures of ancient wisdom the lost light of their true original meaning?

In a very real and direct way the salvation of culture and a free spirit in the world is contingent upon this restoration of the ancient intelligence to modernity. For man at this age has had new and mighty powers of nature suddenly placed in his hands, and yet lacks the spiritual poise and sagacity to use them without calamity. Most strangely, the control of the lower physical, natural or brute forces by the mind or reason was the one central situation primarily and fundamentally dealt with in the sage tomes of antiquity. To effect that control in a perfect balance and harmony, and to train the reasoning intellect in the divine art of it, was the aim and end of the Arcane Philosophy. Ideology in the Western world has endlessly vacillated back and forth between the cult of the inner spirit and engrossment in objective materialism. Ancient philosophy taught that the true path of evolutionary growth was to be trodden by an effort that united the forces of the spirit with those of the world, the lower disciplined by the higher. The whole gist of the Esoteric Doctrine was the study and mastery of the powers engaged in working out the evolutionary advance, so that the aspirant might be able to align his cultural effort in consonance with the requirements of the problem and the end to be achieved.

Without this guiding data and this evolutionary perspective modern man is totally at a loss how to focus his endeavor and is unable to point (Page 3) his direction in line with anything more fixed and basic than his next immediate objective of apparent desirability. He has neither a knowledge of his origin, a chart of his path, an inventory of his capacities or a vision of his goal. Hence he travels the long road still a benighted wanderer without compass. He can but recoil from one mistaken plunge after another, learning sporadic lessons from pain and misfortune. The ancient torch that was lighted for his guidance he has let burn out. This lamp was the body of Ancient Philosophy. In this critical epoch in the life of the world this book proclaims afresh the message of lost truth.

. . . . . . .

Three ancient and long-discredited sciences have had a surprising renaissance in popular fancy and scientific interest: symbolism, alchemy, astrology. The last has particularly come into a general vogue, but on a basis which still inclines conservative positivism in science and scholarship to regard it as allied closely with "popular superstition." In its predictive or "fortune-telling" aspect it is generally looked at askance. But there is another side on which it has pertinence and value that has not been recognized in the modern revival and on which perhaps its most legitimate claim to consideration rests. This is its function as symbolic theology. Unquestionably cosmic operation, cosmic significance, lie behind the twelve constellations of the zodiac and the thirty-six or more other stellar configurations. The planisphere or chart of the heavens was doubtless the first of all Bibles, pictorially edited. Not quite simply and directly but intrinsically, all Bibles are amplifications and elaborations of the original volume of ideography first written on the open face of the sky, charted in the zodiac and heavenly maps, and later transferred to earth and written in scrolls and parchments. Man was instructed to fashion his new body of spiritual glory "after the pattern of things in the heavens," the heavenly or zodiacal man. And a graph of the structure and history of this celestial Personage was sketched by the enlightened sages in the configurated star clusters. Zodiac comes from the Greek word zodion, a small living image, signifying that it is a graph of the microcosmic life of man, which is cast in the form of the macrocosmic life of the universe, or of God. Manís own small body is a replica of this body of God, made in its image and likeness. The vast frame of Cosmic Man (Page 4) was outlined in the scroll of the heavens, the solar systems and galaxies being living cell clusters in his immense organism.

A deal of this adumbrative symbology elucidating theological doctrinism is set forth in the body of the present work. But there is a group of its data that strikes so deeply into the heart of general theology that it is given here at the outset for the sake of its overwhelming impressiveness. It must prove to be so conclusive an evidence that Biblical theology rests more solidly than has ever been believed on zodiacal backgrounds that its presentation will be admittedly a matter of great moment. It traces the unsuspected significance of two of the twelve signs, Virgo and Pisces, in the very heart of New Testament narrative. Let the reader picture before him the ordinary zodiac, with the house of Virgo at the western equinox point and that of Pisces directly opposite on the eastern side. The simple fact that they stand six months apart will presently be seen to assume great importance in Gospel determination.

The exposition must begin with the puzzling and hitherto unexplained item of ancient religious myth, that the Christs, the Sun-Gods, the Messiahs, all were depicted as having two mothers. How, one asks, could there possibly be rational significance in this? It has been put aside as just some more of the mythical rubbish and nonsense of early Paganism. The profundity of pagan intelligence, hiding sublime cosmic truth under glyph and symbol, has not been dreamed of.

The depiction should not have created incredulity, seeing that the Gospel Jesus himself, dramatic figure of the divine principle in man, announced it categorically in declaring to Nicodemus that "ye must be born again." Nicodemus asks if this means that we must enter a second time into our motherís body and experience a second birth in the natural manner. Jesus replies that we "must be born of water and the spirit." Attention must be directed a moment to the fact that the Latin word spiritus, translated "spirit" in many passages, means as well "air" or "breath." One of the great keys to Bible meaning is the series of the four "elements" of ancient mythicism: earth, water, air and fire. The body of the physical or natural man was conceived as being composed of the two lower, earth and water, while air and fire, representing mind and spirit, commingled to make the higher or spiritual man. Jesusí statement to Nicodemus, then, could have been rendered, "born of water and air." And John the Baptist uses three of the (Page 5) four elements when he states that he, the forerunner of the Christos, and therefore a type of the lower natural man, indeed baptizes us with water (omitting earth), but that there cometh after him one higher than himself who shall baptize us with the holy spiritus (air) and with fire. Jesus thus affirms that we have two births, necessitating two mothers, and John the Baptist adds that we must have two baptisms.

Since manís spirit is an indestructible fragment of Godís own mighty Spirit, truly a tiny spark of that cosmic Intelligence and Love which we call the Mind of God, the ancients typified the divine element in man by fire and in contrast the lower or human element by water. The fiery soul of man is housed in a tenement of flesh and matter which is seven-eighths water by actual composition! The crossing of the rivers and seas and the immersion of solar heroes in water in olden mythologies, and the rite of baptism in theology, signified nothing beyond the fact of the soulís immersion in a physical body of water nature in its successive incarnations.

Now man is distinctly a creature compounded of two natures, a higher and a lower, a spiritual and a sensual, a divine and a human, a mortal and an immortal, and finally a fiery and a watery, conjoined in a mutual relationship in the organic body of flesh. Says Heraclitus: "Man is a portion of cosmic fire, imprisoned in a body of earth and water." Speaking of man Plato affirms: "Through body it is an animal; through intellect it is a god." To create man God incarnated the fiery spiritual principle of his life in the watery confines of material bodies. That is the truest basic description of man that anthropology can present. All problems spring from that foundation and are referable for solution back to it.

Man is, then, a natural man and a god, in combination. Our natural body gives the soul of man its baptism by water; our nascent spiritual body is to give us the later baptism by fire! We are born first as the natural man; then as the spiritual. Or we are born first by water and then by fire. Of vital significance at this point are two statements by St. Paul: "That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural"; and, "First that which is natural, then that which is spiritual." Again he says: "For the natural man comprehendeth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he." Of course not; for he is not yet in that higher kingdom of evolution, and he must be transformed, transfigured, lifted up into a superior world of consciousness before (Page 6) he can cognize spiritual things. Evolution will thus transform him, and nothing else will.

Using astrological bases for portraying cosmic truths, the ancients localized the birth of the natural man in the zodiacal house of Virgo and that of the spiritual man in the opposite house of Pisces. These then were the houses of the two mothers of life. The first was the Virgin Mother (Virgo), the primeval symbol of the Virgin Mary thousands of years B.C. Virgo gave man his natural birth by water and became known as the Water-Mother; Pisces (the Fishes by name) gave him his birth by the Fish and was denominated the Fish-Mother. The virgin mothers are all identified with water as symbol and their various names, such as Meri, Mary, Venus (born of the sea-foam), Tiamat, Typhon and Thallath (Greek for "sea") are designations for water. On the other side there are the Fish Avatars of Vishnu, such as the Babylonian Ioannes, or Dagon, and the Assyrian goddess Atergatis was called "the Fish-Mother." Virgo stood as the mother of birth by water, or the birth of man the first, of the earth, earthy; Pisces stood as the mother of birth by spirit or fire, or the birth of man the second, described by St. Paul as "the Lord from heaven." Virgo was the water-mother of the natural man, Pisces the fish-mother of the spiritual man."

There must now be brought out an unrevealed significance of the fish symbol in the zodiac and in mythical religion. It is of astonishing import. Water is the type of natural birth because all natural birth proceeds in and from water. All first life originated in the sea water. The fish is a birth in and from the water, and it stands patently as the generic type of organic life issuing out of inorganic! The fish typifies life embodied in a physical organic structure. Organic life is born out of the water, and is the first birth, child of the water-mother. And if organic life is in turn to become mother, its child will be mind and spiritual consciousness, son of the fish-mother! In brief, water is the mother of natural physical being, and organic structure becomes the later mother of divine mind.

Now, strangely enough, water is the type of another thing which is still more germinal of life, namely, matter. Matter is the virgin mother of all life in the aboriginal genesis. All things are generated in the womb of primordial matter, the "old genetrix" of Egyptian mythology. And it is by a consideration of the nature of matter and its evolution (Page 7) that we are enabled to arrive at last at the true meaning of the double motherhood of life. For oddly enough, matter is seen to exist in two states, in each of which it becomes mother of life, at two different levels. Primordial matter, the sea of (to us) empty space, is the first mother of all living forms. This is the primal "abyss of the waters" in Genesis. The Latin word for "mother" is our very word "matter," with one "t" left out--mater. And how close to mater is water! And organic structure is the second mother, parent of spiritual mind.

The ancient books always grouped the two mothers in pairs. They were called "the two mothers" or sometimes the "two divine sisters." Or they were the wife and sister of the God, under the names of Juno, Venus, Isis, Ishtar, Cybele or Mylitta. In old Egypt they were first Apt and Neith; and later Isis and Nephthys. Massey relates Neith to "net," i.e., fishnet! Clues to their functions were picked up in the great Book of the Dead: "Isis conceived him; Nephthys gave him birth." Or: "Isis bore him; Nephthys suckled him," or reared him. The full sense of these statements was not discerned until they were scrutinized in the light of another key sentence which matched them: "Heaven conceived him; the Tuat brought him forth." With this came the flash of clear insight into the mystery. For that which is to eventuate in the cycles of evolution as divine mind in an organic creature-man is aboriginally conceived by divine ideation in the innermost depths of Cosmic Consciousness, or in the purely noumenal world, or again in the bosom of Infinite Spirit, where Spirit is identical with pure undifferentiated matter. This is mirrored in the Egyptian statement that Isis conceived him. Matter in its invisible, inorganic state was the womb of the first conception. Isis is virgin, i.e., pure matter, or matter sublimated to spiritual tenuity. The Tuat, on the other hand, is really earth, as the type of physical matter, or matter organic, aggregated into substantial forms, called by us physical matter. It is matter as substance, constituted and existent in the visible world in structural forms. Isis was matter subsistent as empty space, and Nephthys was atomic matter, constituent of visible structural forms. The physical worlds which we must now think of as floating in the sea of empty space like fish in the water, are the second form of matter, and their organic bodies of substantial matter give birth to the Logoi in the solar systems and to the Christos in man. So divine spirit is conceived in the womb of Isis, the first universal mother, and brought to birth in the womb of (Page 8) Nephthys, the second mother, the immediate incubator and gestator of its manifest expression. One might paraphrase this situation by saying that a human child is first conceived in the love, or mind, of its parents, and later born from the womb of its physical mother. Thus life has two births and must of necessity have two mothers. Life is spiritually conceived and materially born. Or, man may be said to be born as a natural creature from spirit into matter, and born later as a spiritual god when he emerges from his baptism in the water of the body and reenters the bosom of his Father. Or, finally, he is born first as man, by water; and reborn later as god, by fire. And the first birth was depicted as taking place on the western side of the zodiac, in the house or womb of the Virgin Mother, Virgo, because in the west the sun, universal symbol of spiritual fire, descended into organic matter in its setting, or incarnation. So man is born as natural man on the west, to be regenerated as spiritual man on the east. Spiritís descent on the west makes it man; its resurrection on the east, like the summer sunrise, makes it deity again. This is the death and resurrection of the god in all religions. It is incarnation and return to spirit. It is the descent of the Messiah into Egypt and his exodus back to Canaan.

Further scrutiny of such data brings to light links of connection with the Bible. The chief one is found in the symbol of bread in connection with both Virgo and Pisces. Pisces is the house of the Fishes by name, but it is not commonly known that Virgo in astrological symbology was the house of Bread. This is indicated by several items of ancient typology. Many centuries ago in the precession of the equinoxes, the end of the year was marked by the position of the great Dog-Star Sirius, mighty celestial symbol of the divinity in man. Precisely at midnight of December 24 it stood on the meridian line from the zenith to Egypt. At the same moment there arose on the eastern horizon the constellation of the Virgin, bearing in her left arm the Christ child, symbol of the Christhood coming to function in man, and in her right hand the great star Spica (Latin, a head, or "spike" of wheat), symbol of that same divinity coming as celestial food for man. It must ever be remembered that the Gospel Jesus told us we had virtually to eat his body as food, and drink his blood, if we would inherit eternal life. So typism represented him as coming in the form of man, the babe Christ, and as food for man, the wheat. John speaks of the Christ principle in the words: "This is that bread which came (Page 9) down from heaven, that if a man eat of it he shall hunger no more." Jesus broke a loaf into fragments and gave to his disciples, saying that it was his body, broken for them.

We now have Virgo established as the house of Bread and Pisces as the house of Fish. But the characterization of the two houses must be brought along to a more specific evolutionary reference. What are these "houses," thus delineated? They are, as at first, the two states of matter, but now to be taken in immediate reference to the life of man on earth. They are in the final stage of the meaning manís body itself, which consists of matter in both its invisible and its visible forms. For man has a natural body and a spiritual body. Manís body itself houses the two mothers. The body is this double house of Bread and of Fish.

And the next link is seen when it is considered that this physical body is for the soul the house of death and in its regenerative phase, the house of rebirth. It is the house into which the spirit descends to its partial obscuration in the darkness of the grave of matter, into the night of death, or incarnation, out of which it is to arise in a new birth or resurrection on the opposite side of the cycle. A significant passage from the Book of the Dead recites: "Who cometh forth from the dusk, and whose birth is in the house of death"--referring to the incarnating soul. In a spiritual sense the soul "dies" on entering the body in incarnation, but has a new birth in it as it later resurrects from it. The body is therefore the house of his death and rebirth, or the place of his crucifixion and resurrection.

And the Egyptians had a name for the body as the locus of these transformations, which carry the central meaning of all theologies. This name now rises out of the dim mists of ancient Egyptian books to enlighten all modern Bible comprehension. This city of the body, where the sun of soul sank to its death on the cross of matter, to rearise in a new birth, was called the city of the sun, or in Greek, Heliopolis, but in the Egyptian, ANU. The name was given to an actual Egyptian city, where the rites of the death, burial and resurrection of Osiris or Horus were enacted each year; but the name bore a theological significance before it was given to a geographical town.

The name is obviously made up of NU, the name for the mother heaven, or empty space, or abyss of nothingness, and Alpha privative, meaning, as in thousands of words, "not." A-NU would then mean (Page 10) "not-nothingness," or a world of concrete actuality, the world of physical substantial manifestation. Precisely such a world it is in which units of virginal consciousness go to their death and rise again. A-NU is then the physical body of man on earth. The soul descends out of the waters of the abyss of the NUN, or space in its undifferentiated unity, which is the sign and name of all things negative. The NUN is indeed our "none." Life in the completeness of its unity is negative. To become positively manifest it must differentiate itself into duality, establish positive-negative tension, and later split up into untold multiplicity. This brings out the significance of the Biblical word "multiply." Life can not manifest itself in concrete forms until it multiplies itself endlessly. Unit life of deity must break itself up into infinite fragments in order to fill empty space with a multitude of worlds and beings of different natures. The primal Sea or Mother must engender a multitudinous progeny, to spawn the limitless shoals of organic fish-worlds. This is the meaning of the promise given to Abraham, that his seed should multiply till it filled the earth with offspring countless as the sands of the seashore. And if life was symboled by bread, as the first birth, and by fish, as the second, then we might expect to find in old religious typology the allegory of a Christ figure multiplying loaves and fishes! Are we surprised to find that the Gospel Jesus does this very thing, multiplying the fish loaves and two small fishes to feed a multitude!

This is astonishing enough in all conscience, but it yields in wonder to the next datum of Comparative Religion which came to our notice as a further tie between the Bible and antecedent Egyptian mythology. Who can adequately measure the seriousness of the challenge which this item of scholarship presents to Gospel historicity? For a discovery of sensational interest came to light when a passage was found in the Book of the Dead which gave to Anu the characteristic designation, "the place of multiplying bread"! Here in the long silent tomes of old Egypt was found the original, the prototype, of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes in the Gospels of Christianity. And a meaning never before apprehended had to be read into this New Testament wonder. At last we were instructed to catch in the miracle the sense that the physical body, as A-NU, was the place where the corpus of the Christís deific power was broken into an infinite number of fragments and distributed out among a multitude of creatures, enhungered after (Page 11) a three-daysí fast, or deprivation of the food of spiritual life in their sojourn in the three kingdoms, the mineral, vegetable and animal, before reaching the plane of mind. Here are all the elements of the inner meaning of the Christian Eucharist: the broken but multiplied fragments of the body of the god, distributed to feed hungry humanity. And as humanity is composed of twelve groups of divine conscious units, there were gathered up twelve baskets of fragments! And this episode of the Christís ostensible life is found to be Egyptian in origin and meaning and symbolic in character!

But new implications arise and lead us on to more startling disclosures. The Hebrews came along and appropriated Egyptian material. They picked up the name ANU and fitting it back into its zodiacal setting as Virgo, they called it the "house of Bread." This required their adding to ANU their word for "house," which, as anyone knows, is Beth. This yields us Beth-Anu. Now it is a fact of common philological knowledge that the ancient Greek and Egyptian "U" is rendered as "Y" when the words are brought over into English. The "U" became a "Y," and Beth-Anu now stands before us as the Bethany of the Gospels! Bethany is thus just the sign of Virgo, as the "house of Bread," the home of the great star Spica, the head of wheat!

But let us say "house of Bread" in ordinary Hebrew. What further astonishment strikes us here, as we find it reads Beth-Lehem (Lechem, Lekhem), for lechem, lekhem, is bread in everyday Hebrew. The Christ was born in Bethany or Bethlehem, the astrological "house of Bread." (Later it seems that the two signs, Virgo and Pisces, and their symbols, bread and fish, were almost interchangeably confused or commingled in the symbolic imagery. This was natural, since the two signs represented the same body of man in its two aspects of dying and being reborn, and the two processes are confusedly interblended.)

If Pisces is then the "house" in which the Christ in man comes to his birth, it is pertinent to ask if there are evidences in the Bible or Christianity that Jesus was colored with the fish typology. Here we encounter material enough to provide another nine-daysí wonder. For we find the Gospel Jesus marked with many items of the Piscean symbology. He picks his twelve disciples from the ranks of fishermen (in Egypt they were as well carpenters, reapers, harvesters, sailors, rowers, builders, masons, potters, etc.); he told Peter to find the gold in the fishís mouth; he performed the miraculous draught of fishes; (Page 12) he declared that he would make them "fishers of men." In the catacombs under Rome the symbol of the two fishes crossed was displayed on the Christís forehead, at his feet, or on a plate on the altar before him. And the Romans for several centuries dubbed the early Christians Pisciculi, or "Little Fishes," members of the "fish-cult." And the Greeks denominated the Gospel Jesus as Ichthys, the Fish. All this fish symbolism can not be explained away as sheer incident material. It is the product of ancient custom, which figured the Christs under the symbolism of the reigning sign of the zodiac, according to the precession of the equinoxes.

And yet another surprising correlation comes to view. The Christ, as it has here been delineated, is the offspring or creation of a conception of deific Mind, first in the inner bosom of spiritual matter, then in organic bodily structure. Primeval space, we have seen, was called in Egypt the NUN, or the Waters of the Nun. All Bible students recognize a familiar ring in the phrase "Joshua, Son of Nun." But so far has ignorance and obscurantism gone with its deadly work in Christian literalism that hardly anyone knows with definiteness that Joshua is just a variant name for Jesus. The phrase is actually written in some old documents as "Jesus, Son of Nun." At any rate Joshua is just Jesus, no less. So here is the Christ, called Jesus, son of the aboriginal space, or the NUN. But the wonder increases when we turn to the Hebrew alphabet and find that while "M" is called and spelled "Mem" and means "water," "N" is called and spelled "Nun" and means - of all things--"Fish"! Jesus, then, is son of Pisces, the Fish-sign, as he indeed is in the Gospels themselves.

And Horus, the Egyptian Christ, who is identical with the Jesus of the Gospels in some one hundred and eighty particulars, performed at Anu a great miracle. He raised his father Osiris from the dead, calling unto him in the cave to rise and come forth. Anu, as we have seen, became Bethany of the Gospels; and it was at Bethany that Jesus raised Lazarus from death! And who was Lazarus? Here the greatest of all the marvels in this chain of comparative data unfolds under our eyes. According to Budge and other eminent Egyptologists the ancient designation of Osiris was ASAR. But the Egyptians invariably expressed reverence for deity by prefixing the definite article "the" to the names of their Gods. Just as Christians say, or should say, the Christ, they said: the Osiris. It will be found that the article connoted deity in (Page 13) ancient usage. Our definite article, "the" is the root of the Greek word theos, God; the Spanish article, masculine, "el," is the Hebrew word for God; and the Greek masculine article, "ho," is a Chinese word for deity. To say the Osiris was equivalent to saying Lord Osiris. When the Hebrews took up the Egyptian phrases and names they converted the name of "the Osiris" or "Lord Osiris" directly into their own vernacular, and the result was "El-Asar." Later on the Romans, speaking Latin, took up the same material that had come down from revered Egyptian sources and to "El-Asar" they added the common Latin termination of the second declension masculine nouns, in which most menís names ended, namely, "-us"; and the result was now "El-Asar-us." In time the initial "E" wore off, as the scholars phrase it, and the "s" in Asar changed into its sister letter "z," leaving us holding in our hands the Lazarus whom Jesus raised at Bethany! To evidence that this derivation is not a fanciful invention or sheer coincidence the Biblical names of High Priests may be cited. We find one with the name of El(e)azar and another by name Azar-iah, "iah" or "jah" being suffixes of great deific connotation, matching "el." And so we are faced with the irrefutable evidence of Comparative Religion that Jesusí raising of Lazarus at Bethany is but a rescript of the old Egyptian dramatic mystery in which Horus, the Christ, raised his "dead" father Osiris, or El-Asar-us from the grave. And the Egyptian recital was in the papyri perhaps 5000 years B.C.

Also at the Egyptian scene were present the two divine sisters, Isis and Nephthys. An old source-name for Isis was Meri, basic for the Latin mare, the sea. The Egyptian plural of Meri was Merti. In Latin feminine form this became Mertae. In Hebrew it resolved into what was rendered in English as Martha. So even in the ancient Egyptian transaction there were present the two Maries, or Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus!

All this sets the stage for the crowning item in the correspondence. In the Gospel drama John the Baptist bears the character of the firstborn or natural man, coming first to prepare the ground or make straight the path for the advent of the spiritual man or Lord Christ. He would therefore stand as the son of the water-mother, Virgo, and under the astrological symbolism would be born at the autumn equinox, or in his motherís house. On the other side of the cycle of descent and resurrection Jesus, the Christos, would be the son of the (Page 14) fish-mother, and would be born in his motherís house, Pisces. These houses are six months apart astrologically. The whole edifice of Gospel historicity trembles under the impact of the strange dramatic circumstance, given in Luke, that the annunciation to Mary of her impregnation by the Holy Ghost came when John the Baptist was six months in Elizabethís womb. The natural man, having covered the "six months" between his birth and the date of his quickening into spiritual status in the evolutionary cycle, was thus quickened, or leaped in his motherís womb, when the time for the birth, or advent, of the spiritual Christ had arrived. The water baptism was to be consummated with the fire baptism. And Justin Martyr adds an item left out of the Gospels, that at the baptism of Jesus by John, a fire was kindled in the waters of the Jordan!

St. Paul declares that we come to birth spiritually only as we die carnally, which means that the quantum of divine character in us grows in proportion as the quantum of raw nature declines. As the spiritual man, Jesus, son of Nun, the fish, increases, the natural man, John, son of Virgo, the Water, must decrease. Astrologically, as a constellation or star sinks below the horizon in the west, its opposite constellation would be rising in the east. As John, type of the natural first birth, went down, Jesus, type of the spiritual second birth, rose on the world. And, says John the Baptist: "I must decrease as he must increase"!

. . . . . . .

On the analogy, might one venture to predict that a new day of brotherhood in human society may be about to dawn, as the "six monthsí" reign of a degrading literal interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures goes down to desuetude and the daystar of a transfiguring spiritual interpretation rises in the east? (Page 15)

Chapter 1

TRAGEDY DIES IN LAUGHTER

Little could the ancient mythologists and sages have foreseen that the "fabulous narrations" which their genius devised to cloak high truth would end by plaguing the mind of the Western world with sixteen centuries of unconscionable stultification. They could not possibly imagine that their allegorical constructions to dramatize spiritual truth would so miscarry from their hidden intent as to cast the mental life of half the world for ages under the cloud of the most grotesque superstition known to history. Nor could they have dreamed that the gross blindness and obtuseness of later epochs would cite these same marvelously ingenious portrayals as the evidence of childish crudity on the part of their formulators. Who could have suspected that a body of the most signal instrumentalities for conveying and preserving deep knowledge ever devised by man would become the means of centuries of mental enslavement?

Nothing more clearly evidences the present ageís loss of fixed moorings in philosophical truth than the inconsistency of its attitudes toward the sacred scriptures of antiquity. The general mind, indoctrinated by priestcraft, regards them as infallible revelations and holds them as fetishes, which it were a sacrilege to challenge; while theological scholarship hedges from pious veneration of them over to outright skepticism of their divine origin, swinging more recently to a view which takes them to be the simple conceptions of men just emerging from cave and forest barbarism. The character of divine dictation and absolute wisdom assigned to them on the one thesis has yielded to that of ignorant speculation of primitive folk on the other. That there is a possible truer characterization of them lying midway between the extravagances of these two extreme views has not seemed to come through to intelligence at any time. It has not occurred to students of religion that ancient scripts are the work neither of Supreme Deity on the one (Page 17) side, nor of groping infantile humanity on the other, but that their production must be sought in a region intermediate between the two. They came neither from supernal Deity nor from common humanity, but from humanity divinized! They were the output of normal humans graduating to divine or near-divine status, St. Paulís "just men made perfect." Their divinity is therefore not transcendent and exotic, and their humanity is not crude and doltish. They bear the marks, therefore, of human sagacity exalted to divine mastership.

When a student graduates creditably from a college he is presumed to have acquired a mastery over the field of knowledge covered in his course. Human life is a school, and why should not its graduates be presumed to have gained mastery over the range of knowledge which it covers, and to be able to write authoritatively upon it? Humans must at some time attain the goal, the prize of the high calling of God in Christly illumination, the crown of glorious intelligence. Lifeís school issues no diploma of graduation without attainment, for the graduation is the attainment. We have here the ground for the only sane acceptance of the ancient scriptures as books of accredited wisdom. We are neither asked to believe them inscribed by the finger of omnipotent Deity, nor forced to attribute them to the undeveloped brains of primitives. They can be seen as the products of the sage wisdom garnered by generations of men who had finally risen to clear understanding. They are the literary heritage bequeathed by men grown to the stature of divinity. Their veneration by the world for long centuries, even carried to the extreme of outrageous sycophancy, attests an indestructible tradition of their origination from sources accredited as divine and infallible. Their successful hold on the popular mind for many ages bespeaks also the unshakable foundations of their wisdom. They have withstood consistently the test of generations of human experience. Their wisdom holds against life; it rings true. And it is all the more precious to us because of its authorship by men of our own evolution, since thereby it does not miss immediate pertinence to our life.

Both the conventional views of Bible authorship have militated against the possible high service of the scriptures to mankind. The theory of their divine dictation to "holy men of old" has led to the abject surrender of the rational mind before their impregnable fortress of direct assertion, its hypnotization by a fetish, and the crippling of its native energies. The theory of their production by early crudity tends (Page 18) to the disparagement of the value and validity of their message. The other view here advanced preserves their venerated authority while it brings their authorship from alleged Cosmic Divinity back to men of earth. It saves us from the fatuous claim that "God" took time out to dictate a volume of absolute verity for the inhabitants of a minor planet amongst millions of trillions of such worlds. Relieving us of the necessity of asserting that Supreme Deity went into the book publishing business on this globe and took advantage of his commanding position to write the planetís "best seller," it preserves mental integrity by enabling us to assign scriptural authorship to human agency, where alone it is acceptable. It is understandable that evolved men, with vision opened to knowledge of the laws of life, would indite sage tomes for the enlightenment of those less advanced. In any case the Bibles are here; they must be accounted for. The phenomenon of their existence among the nations, their hoary age, their escape from destruction through the centuries, the ineradicable tradition of their divine origin and authority, their almost universal veneration, must all find some factual ground of explanation. The theory offered in refutation of the two conventional ones seems the only one that provides such a rational and acceptable basis. And since the belief in their sacredness generally persists, it can not be regarded as less than momentous that the world should know of a surety that, while these revered relics are not the voice of the personified Cosmos, neither are they the mere speculative romancing of cavemen or scholastics. They are the sure word of perfected wisdom.

There was a time, then, in early human history, when enlightened men possessed true knowledge, the passport to wisdom. Clear and concise answers to the profoundest problems of philosophy were known. In so far as the human intellectual faculty is capable of it, an understanding of the mystery and riddle of life itself and the laws of its evolutionary unfolding, was achieved by men who, as Hermes says, had been "reborn in mind." Philosophy was no mere "speculative enterprise," or tilting at logical windmills; it was a statement of the fundamental archai, or basic principles, of the science of being. It formed the groundwork for the elevation of theology to its true place as the King of Sciences, or the Kingly Science. Together philosophy and theology held the throne in the mental life of mankind; and justly so, for a reason which modern thought would do well to consider: they must ever be the ultimate science because they motivate finally the use we (Page 19) make of all other sciences! They hold final answers to all lifeís problems. They are the determination of all human action in the end. They alone can direct man finally to the path of good, for by no other means can he learn to know what constitutes the good. The sore need of the world today is the restoration of philosophy, to supply the proper motivation and end of action.

Though zealously guarded from the unworthy by its accredited custodians, knowledge was extant in the ancient day. Modern zeal for publicity finds it hard to understand why it was so sedulously kept esoteric. Briefly - for the full reason is a lengthy matter - a thing so precious, the distillation of ages of experience and the deposit of many lives of painful earning, could not be given out loosely to the undisciplined rabble to be violated and despoiled. Yet it was withheld from no worthy aspirant. No bars of bigotry or persecution interdicted its free culture. The Societies in which it was secretly pursued were honored by kings and the populace alike.

That halcyon age passed, that priceless legacy of knowledge was threatened with extinction, its pursuit was forbidden, its devotees assailed and exterminated; and for more than fifteen centuries the Occidental world has muddled through its age-to-age existence in nearly total ignorance of the fact that antiquity held, in its philosophy and theology, an adequate answer to the great interrogatory, the Sphinx riddle of human life.

The gift and then the loss of primal wisdom are the two most momentous events in human history. This age will be spectator to the third most significant event - the Renaissance of Ancient Culture. The plans of demigods and divine men, interrupted for fifteen centuries of the Dark Ages, will move forward again toward destined goals.

This age faces the denouement of a drama the like of which has not been unrolled in world history before and will hardly be repeated in aeons. Tragedy and comedy being copiously admixed in mortal existence, the astounding spectacle to which the world will shortly awake will exhibit untold calamity and the ludicrous conjoined in incredible fashion. We are destined soon to pass from a stunning sense of tragic loss to a world-echoing burst of laughter. The sting of our realization of our duo-millennial loss will melt away under the dawning recognition of our previous unbelievable stupidity. We are in a little time to be made acutely aware of a situation that will become the butt of hollow (Page 20) mirth for ages to come. Other egregious follies of history can be accepted or extenuated to the point of being condoned and forgotten. But this colossal ineptitude, prolonged over sixteen centuries, can not escape being laughed at for centuries more. A joke owes its character to the miscarriage of the intended sense into something ludicrously different. This denouement will stand as the historical joke of the ages. No less than this quantity of hilarity can balance the weight of the tragedy which loads the joke at the other end. For the ludicrously different direction in which the intended sense of the great mythical religions and dramatic rituals of the past took its perverted course entailed as a consequence the greatest of all historical tragedies,--the frightful chapter of religious bigotry and persecution. This worst of all forms of manís inhumanity to man was bred out of the miscarriage of the concealed meaning of the ancient spiritual myth. The transaction carried the form of a joke, but it also carried the substance of the most appalling terrorism in history. And this most calamitous of all blunders was the mistaking of religious myth, drama and allegory for veridical history!

The promise of our coming awakening lies in the progress made and to be made in the study of Comparative Religion, Comparative Mythology and Comparative Philology. What they will ere long make clear to us beyond further dispute is the almost unthinkable fact that for sixteen centuries the best intelligence of the West took the ancient sagesí Books of Wisdom, which were in all cases the spiritual dramatizations of the experience of the human soul on earth, for objective historical narratives. The spectacle that will soon throw a world first into wonder, confusion and dismay, and then into clownish laughter, is that of a civilization covering one third of the globe, and boasting itself as the highest in culture in the historical period, all the while taking its moral and spiritual guidance for an aeon from a Book or Books, of the true content and meaning of which it never for a moment has had the slightest inkling.

The superior knowledge vouchsafed from early graduates in lifeís school to disciplined pupils in the Mysteries of old was transmitted from generation to generation by oral teaching and preserved only in memory. But later, lest it be lost or corrupted, it was consigned to writing. Hence came the Sacred Books, Scriptures, Holy Writ, of antiquity. So highly were they held in the esteem of early men that when in (Page 21) later days their true origin and character had been forgotten, they were exalted to the position of veritable fetishes and assigned a quite preternatural source and rating. Regarded as books of superhuman intelligence, men have in face of them practically set in abeyance their human reason and bowed to them as the oracles of absolute Truth. This was natural and to a degree inevitable. But it spelled catastrophe to the general mental life of man by fixing upon him the basest hypnotization in all the annals of record, when a literal and historical, instead of a purely spiritual and typical interpretation of the books was broadcast to general acceptance. The evidence is mountain high that the taking of ancient ritual dramas and scriptural myths for objective history and the figures in them for human persons has been the fountain source of the most abject corruption of manís mental forces since the race began.

In mechanical exploit this is an age of marvel, and credit for this type of achievement should not be withheld. In study of life and its objective powers it has labored with wondrous accomplishment. In psychological delving into deeper phases of consciousness it has begun a pursuit long neglected. But in religion and philosophy it is one of the blindest of ages. It is not overstating the case to say that in these areas of human enterprise the mind of this era still slumbers in a state of ineptitude and gross darkness at least a degree or two below that commonly termed barbaric. At this moment the common mentality of the day, led and fed by a compactly institutionalized ecclesiastical power, stands committed to ideas as to the origin, structure, meaning and destiny of life which have not been surpassed in crudity and chimerical absurdity by the tribes of the forest and the sea isles. Conceptions in theology having to do with basic realities of manís relation to the universe are still presented in pulpits, Sunday Schools and Theological Seminaries which the uncorrupted native intelligence of children of eight and ten years shrinks from or accepts with startled dismay,--to the subsequent confusion of their whole mental integrity. A "scheme" of explanation of cosmic processes and world design, of human and angelic relations, of the plan and purport of life itself, is advanced for popular acceptance, yet is grotesque to common sense and fantastic to rational thought. Philosophy and religion are still propagated on the basis of a theology that is received without understanding by the "common people," entirely repudiated by the intelligentsia and brazenly (Page 22) dissembled by the very priesthood that lips its cantos and its oracles from Sunday to Sunday. In sum it can be said without the remotest possibility of successful dispute that the general grasp of the mind of this age on philosophical verity and the truth of life, as proffered by orthodox religionism, is still steeped in the crassest forms of dark superstition. And this has been due to the miscarriage of ancient symbolism.

History would seem to present a pattern of retrogressive current if it can be shown that this late epoch grovels in a mire of semi-barbaric philosophical grossness from which a former period was free. Degeneracy must have set in at some distant time and swept onward to this day. And such a phenomenon must have had its due cause. A great work of a learned author some years ago pointed to the approaching "decline of the West." What has not been seen, however, is that the West has long been in decline, is at a low stage of decay, and has not risen out of the murks of the Dark Ages. This has come in the wake of causes long operative in the world situation, which have been overlooked or failed of discovery through an egregious obscuration of the vision of scholars since the early centuries. And if this failure of insight is not to be attributed to stupidity that is in itself beyond understanding, then it becomes necessary for the historian of these things to posit for it another cause, one that casts the dark shadow of sinister motive over the whole course of that historical enterprise in which sinister motive is of all places most unpardonable. Corruption in politics or in economic or social life can be understood in relation to the imperfection of human nature, and in a measure pardoned. But designed corruption in religion is shattering to the very foundations of human aspiration. It shocks and paralyzes fundamental urges to sincerity. It weights the human spirit with the hopelessness of its effort to conquer imperfection. Dishonesty and insincerity in worldly dealings may entail disaster of greater or minor degree. In religion they are never less than fatal. There is one domain in which untruth is insupportable, that field of the human soulís endeavor of which Truth is the very substance and being,--religion.

Whether stupidity or sinister design prove to have been the cause of the loss of true original meaning must be left to the historical sequel to disclose. And whether the cause of the perpetuation of rank superstition in the present day of alleged enlightenment is to be laid at the door of ignorance or knavery or a combination of both, must likewise (Page 23) be determined as time moves on. It is certain that both the primal and the present causes of nescience are kindred, if not identical.

It is the purpose of the present volume to set forth to the modern mind the extent of the wreckage which splendid ancient wisdom suffered at the hands of later incompetence. And it is designed to accomplish this by setting up the sharp contrast between the present disfigurement and the past glory of the structure. This purpose entails the task of revealing for the first time the hidden meaning of the body of archaic scriptures by means of a clear and lucid interpretation of their myths and allegories, fables and dramas, astrological pictographs and numerological outlines. It will be at once seen to be a labor of no mean proportions to convert the entire mass of antique mythology and legend, Biblical graph and cryptogram, from presumed childish nonsense into an organic corpus of transcendent scientific significance. It involves the reversal of that mental process which in the days of early Christianity operated to change myth and allegory in the first instance over to factual history. As third century ignorance converted mythical typology to objective history, the task is now to convert alleged objective history back to mythology, and then to interpret it as enlightened theology. The almost insuperable difficulty of the project will consist in demonstrating to an uncomprehending world, mistaught for centuries and now fixed in weird forms of fantastic belief, that the sacred scriptures of the world are a thousand times more precious as myths than as alleged history. It can only be done by showing that as myths they illumine and exalt the mind to unparalleled clarity, while as assumed history they are either nonsensical or inconsequential. But centuries of erroneous indoctrination have so warped and victimized the modern mind that the effort to restore the scriptures to their primal mythical status will be met with the objection that the transaction will wipe the Bible and other sacred literature out of the realm of value altogether. In the common mind this would be to rob them of worth and significance utterly. So wretchedly has the ancient usage of the religious myth been misunderstood that the cry, "the Bible only a myth!", will fall upon the popular ear with all the catastrophic force and finality of the tolling of a death knell. And no statement that words can phrase will stand as a more redoubtable testimony to the correctness of this estimate of the present stupefaction of modern intelligence concerning religious philosophy than just this reaction. (Page 24) Ridicule, contempt and flat rejection will be the greeting accorded the proclamation that Biblical myth is truer and more important than Biblical history. Our book aims at nothing less than the full proof of this contention. It flies directly in the face of the awaiting scorn of common opinion on the point at issue. Yet nothing is easier than to demonstrate that Bible material taken as history is the veriest nonsense. Anyone with an analytic mind and an imagination to convert its narratives into realism can make it a laughingstock. The Voltaires, Paines, Ingersols and the freethinkers have done this successfully enough. But having disproved it as history, they have not redeemed it as spiritual mythology. The world awaits this work of interpretation, and only when it is supplied will the full force of the tragic humor of mistaking drama for history be grasped.

The loss or corruption of the philosophical interpretation of ancient scriptures precipitated the West into the Dark Ages, and a main factor in this disaster was a general obscuration of intelligence concerning the myth. Catastrophe was made the more readily possible because the rationale of the use of the myth in ancient hands passed from knowledge. When the recondite suggestiveness of the myth was lost, the inner essence of esoteric wisdom was dissipated away. Philosophy died out. And, bereft of its inner soul, the myth came to stand as the mere ghost of itself. With its hidden significance gone, it read nonsense and caricature. And so it has stood till this day. The word connotes in the popular mind of the present something about equivalent to fairy-tale, a fiction little removed from a "hoax." It is something that is sheer fanciful invention. To declare a narrative formerly believed to be true "only a myth" is to toss it out on the rubbish heap as a thing no longer of value. This attitude of mind toward the myth is itself the sign and seal of the decadence of this age. For ancient sagacity could hardly have assumed that any succeeding age would prove so obtuse as to take the outward form of its spiritual allegories for factual occurrence, or suppose that their formulators believed them to be true objectively.

To be sure, they are fanciful creations and entirely fictitious. They are fables of events which, as events, never happened. The aim was never at any time to deceive anybody. It was never imagined that anybody would ever "believe" them. Nevertheless the myth was designed to tell truth of the last importance. Its instrument was fancy, but its purpose was not falsehood, but sublime truth. Outwardly it was not (Page 25) true, but at the same time it portrayed full truth. It was not true for its "characters," but was true for all mankind. It was only a myth, but it was a myth of something. It used a false story to relate a true one. While it never happened, it is the type of all things that have happened and will happen. It is not objective history, but it embalms the import and substance, the heartís core, of all human history. Such authors as Spengler and Lord Raglan have begun to see that the ancients regarded it of far less importance to catalogue the occurrences of objective history than to dramatize its inner "spirit." The outward actions of humans are in the main trivial, because they constitute in the end only a partial and ephemeral account of whole verity. Ancient literature aimed at something infinitely higher and more universal. It strove to depict in the myths and dramas the eternal norms of life experience, which would stand as truth for all men at any time in evolution. The myths were cryptographs of the great design and pattern of human history, limning in the large the truth that is only in fragmentary fashion brought to living enactment in any given set of historical circumstances. The myth is always truer than history! Only in aeons will history have caught up with the myth, when it will have unfolded the entire design of the original mythograph. Hegel indeed essayed to read the features of a grand cosmic design in the straggling line of actual events. But the myth already foreshadows the ultimate meaning of history.

Such being the portentous function of the myth in the early stages of the life of humanity, it becomes in some degree apparent what blindness must have fallen upon the mental eye of practically a whole world to have blotted out in little more than a single century the knowledge of a thing of such vast utility. No matter how conclusively the data may prove the fact, it will probably remain forever incomprehensible to unstudied folk that whole bodies of ancient mythology and spiritual typology, suddenly became metamorphosed into alleged history. And because it ensued through sheer gaucherie and clumsy loutish dumbness, it will, as predicted, rise on our horizon as the supreme folly of the ages. When it is realized that an early gift of divine wisdom, planned to aid the race fight through the exigencies of its historical evolution, totally miscarried into tragic nonsense through the simple mistake of taking spiritual allegory for literal history, (Page 26) a humiliated world will find difficulty in ridding its memory of this preposterous blunder.

Deprived thus of a legacy of transcendent knowledge vouchsafed for its instruction, Western humanity has wound a tortuous path through dangerous terrain that the lost wisdom would have enabled it to avoid. It has been a journey made without the guiding light that had been given to render the road more easily passable. Civilization has floundered in the shoals and quicksands of ignorance. And its contemporary phase presents the strangest of spectacles,--that of a modern culture boasting its superiority over any antecedent one, yet admittedly guided in its ethical life by a Book of which it is now possible to affirm that not the most rudimentary sense of its message has ever been apprehended. The declaration can be made and supported that the Bible is still a sealed book. This study will vindicate that declaration by setting forth the hidden meaning of ancient scripture for the first time. Gross misinterpretation cannot be seen as such until its product has been set down alongside a true rendering. The crudeness and baseness of a literal and historical translation of the sense will only be brought into glaring light by being held up against a background of the clarity and dignity of a true spiritual meaning.

The promised interpretation is not predicated upon the play of a genius superior to that of the accumulated scholarship and acumen of centuries of religious students and theologians in Christendom. It was made possible purely by the discovery of clues and "keys" to the old scriptures hidden deeply in the tomes of ancient literature, which had escaped the notice of the long line of exegetical inquirers. If wonder and skepticism arise over the difficulty of understanding why discovery was made at this epoch and not in so long a time before, the answer is most probably to be found in the fact that the thousands who failed approached the study of ancient treasure-tomes with an attitude of mind that made defeat inevitable, while success came finally through an attitude that, if it did not of itself guarantee victory, at least opened the door to it. This is of immense significance and carries a weighty moral connotation with it. With the scales fallen at last from the eyes of purblind prejudice, it can be patently enough seen that there was little chance of discovery of the cryptic burden of ancient books as long as scholars undertook their study with the ingrained and obstinate assurance that they were the products of primitive infantilism. Ever thus (Page 27) have the archaic volumes been approached by Orientalists and Western savants. It is next to unbelievable to discover in what a rigid posture of predetermined estimate the scrutiny of antique writings has been undertaken by Western Christian scholars. Even when the evidence of sage wisdom was present under the eye, the relentless force of the fixation could never rest content until it had read the imputation of simpleness and crudity into the text. If early literature did not manifestly read as folly, it had to be made to do so. The inviolable presupposition in the case was that by no possibility could it be admitted that the ancients knew a modicum of what we know today. If it was to be granted that the seers of yore knew life truly and profoundly, it would be gall to modern intellectual pride, and the very walls of boasted modern superiority would be breached. The content of old scripts, mysterious and haunting as it often appeared, had to be explained on the basis of primitive naÔvetť of mind. By no right were the supposed aborigines of remote times entitled to the presumption of high knowledge or a scientific envisagement of the world. No thesis found in modern view could account for the prevalence of developed culture in the early stages of the chart of progressive evolution as at present conceived. The assignment of puerile nescience to the civilizations of even three and four thousand years ago had to be vindicated at all costs. The rating of primitives for early men had to be maintained.

Little wonder, then, that a literature scanned with such a blighting spirit never yielded its buried light. Supercilious contempt blinded the eyes of inquiry and closed the mind to all discovery. Obdurately refusing to admit the possibility of the presence of knowledge, no amount of search would reveal it. All the surer was inquiry doomed to failure in this field, when the most exalted genius the world ever knew had been at pains to disguise the outward appearance of that knowledge. It was only when at last the arcane writings were inspected with the eager spirit of genuine seeking and the reverent assurance of their holding precious mines of instruction, that the open sesame unlocked a hoard of hidden wealth.

If it shatters current orthodoxy in science or philosophy to establish the fact that archaic man possessed supernal sapiency, then shattering there must be. The thing cannot be obviated. It is a fact that out of the night of antiquity looms the giant light of transcendent intelligence on the part of numerous sages. At a period remote enough to be (Page 28) contemporary with the times incorrigibly marked as "primitive" by historians, the ancients possessed books of such exalted spiritual and intellectual content as to lie yet beyond the comprehension of vaunted modern intelligence! Modern pride must face the situation: "primitive" people already possessed books which by no possibility could have been produced by "primitive" mentality. Books which only sages could have written bespeak the presence of sages on the scene.

And sages there were. Popular academic theory must perforce revise its postulates in the case. It has stubbornly refused to admit the operation of a law of life in this situation which it sees at work everywhere else in the realm of genetic procedure. Universal observation yields the truth that infant life is everywhere parented. The period of helpless infancy is safeguarded by parental oversight. The elder generation is at hand to protect, nurture and instruct the young of every kind. Modern theory admits the prevalence of this rule everywhere - except strangely in the biological history of the human race as a unit. Granting the sway of the principle in the case of the individual, animal or human, it has refused to predicate its governance over the early life of humanity as an entity. But the presence of sapient writings, the evidence of great lost arts, and the remains of structures surpassing present achievement, attest incontrovertibly the uniform working of the law of parenthood here as elsewhere. The human race was parented. It was not left to struggle through its helpless infancy without guardianship. Ancient legend in the mass bears this out. Prehistoric lore teems with the stories of heroes and men of divine stature, demigods and sons of God who mingled with humanity, and who left codes of laws and manuals of civilization that manifest a mastery not possible of acquirement by primitives. Hermes, Orpheus, Cadmus, Zoroaster, Hammurabi, Manu, Buddha, Laotse, Moses, and even Plato and Pythagoras, hover in the dim light of remote legendary times as figures transcending normal human stature, and leaving behind writings that have been held up as the norm of perfect wisdom and conduct down the centuries. The Laws of Manu have stood for ages as the prototype of all legal and social codes since formulated. Hermes, Orpheus taught the nations agriculture, writing, astronomy, language, religion, philosophy and science, the saga runs.

Hence there is posited for the first time a natural and competent answer to the great and insistent question of the authorship of (Page 29) primeval books overpassing even present capability. The authorship of the sages removes these books at once from the category of merely human speculation and places them securely in the place of authority and authenticity. They were the products, not of early manís groping tentatives to understand life, but of evolved menís sagacious knowledge and matured experience. On no other ground can their perennial durability and universal power be accounted for. The early races obviously received and treasured these documents with the same high reverence with which the human child receives the codes and rules of conduct first handed down to it by its parents, who stand to it in loco Dei. If the primal world-reverence is found wanting in certain groups today, it is due not so much to the fact that the books have proven of unsound merit, but to the failure to know what they actually say. They are uninterpreted to this moment. They could not be scorned if their intrinsic meaning was known. The republication of that lost meaning will restore the bibles to universal veneration, but not as fetishes.

Incidentally all speculation of scholars as to the date of the personal authorship of the Bible books or other ancient documents of the kind must be declared to be pure and simple impertinence. Nobody knows or can know what hand first set these verses to paper, or at what epoch. The books are of unknown antiquity. They were extant thousands of years B.C. When they passed from oral impartation to written form none can say. Hundreds of volumes proclaim Moses to have been the writer of the Pentateuch. Yet the last of the five books describes Mosesí death and burial, and adds that not in a long cycle since his day (estimated by scholars at six hundred years at least) hath there been found one like unto him in wisdom and piety in all Israel! To ascribe any of the Bible books to any named writer is to trespass on the ground of folly. Indeed it is possible to assert that, in the common meaning of the term, they were never "written" at all. No man sat down and composed them out of his thought or his knowledge. They were the outlines of a great universal tradition formulated by the accumulated wisdom of those first "parents" or "guardians" of infant humanity, and, like the thousands of lines of the great Homeric poems, which had been held purely in the memory of the Hellenes for five hundred years, were finally committed by scribes to written form. Thus came those set formulations of systematic knowledge, cosmic data and moral (Page 30) codes, that have survived the test of time and still stand as sacred commitments. Their material presents the substantial truth of life, and not primitive manís erratic guessings. And sixteen hundred years of the most consecrated effort to study them has left their meaning still unrevealed.

But the Western mind has begun to delve into the fathomless spiritual philosophies of the ancient East. The renaissance of Oriental thought, which was first quickened by Schopenhauer in Europe and by Emerson in America, is now sweeping Occidental religious consciousness to a new and lofty height of vision and uplift. The eminent psychologist, C. G. Jung, declares this movement to be the most significant taking place in the thought life of today. The philosophy that could give an expansive illumination to a brain like Emersonís is proving a fount of light and incentive to millions more at present.

The mask of literary disguise is being slowly lifted from the face of ancient scripture, and what has been gratuitously assumed to be the product of primitive naÔvetť and ignorance is now seen to be the many-colored cloak of recondite wisdom. Even so apparently quixotic a construction as the body of Greek myths, which has gained for its originators the imputed status of moronism, bewildering and baffling the world for two millennia, is to be revealed as perhaps the most lucid presentment of philosophical truth ever given to the world. The light so long buried under a bushel of myths is beginning to shine through. Not only do they bear the impress of a genius able to portray mighty truth in fable and fiction, but they register an equal skill in artful concealment. Their employment of the craft of disguise has carried them so far beyond us that we have been gulled into taking the mask for the reality. The devisers of the myths were master dramatists and poets. With such deft touches did they weave the pattern of cosmic, mundane, spiritual and physical truth through their myriad narratives of gods and men, mermaids, harpies, satyrs, centaurs, stags and boars, labyrinths, rivers, trees and stars, that not the most outlandish detail of their fabrications can be ignored without the loss of some signal link of meaning. Generations of scholars, chained in the cave of orthodoxy with their backs to the light, have perennially scoffed at the idea that the myths might be fanciful portrayals of esoteric truth. And we have charged the most enlightened races in history, the Greeks, Chaldeans and Egyptians, with possessing the mentality of immature children. (Page 31)

We accused them of taking their three-headed dogs, their fire-breathing dragons, their griffins, naiads, Cyclops, Circes and Medusas for sure-enough actualities. We were sure we could afford to laugh at the simpleness of a people who ascribed the summerís drought to PhaŽthonís losing control of the horses of Apolloís sun-chariot. But modern presumption must brace itself for a rude jolt, when it shortly transpires that not one in a hundred of our population will be able to grasp the involved and profound signification of the PhaŽthon myth even when it has been clearly set forth. Face to face with what we could not understand in ancient literature, we assumed that the unintelligibility was due to ancient unintelligence in the construction. That it might be due to our unintelligence in the comprehension was unthinkable. We could only hold our ground of supposed enlightenment by shifting our ignorance to the ancients. If the myths made no sense to us, it was proof that there was no sense in them. But history is soon to reverse judgment. The comics in the case will be found to be modern, not ancient. Not they, but we, will be adjudged the simple-minded children lacking insight. And we will see ourselves at last, clowns and buffoons, laughing and grimacing in hideous mockery of a treasure the value of which we cannot grasp.

Perhaps there will be wanting to us the powers of discernment needed to catch the grandeur of arcane systems of philosophy under their covering of allegory. Habits of thought and postures of mind hostile to the presuppositions of the archaic knowledge will not easily adjust themselves to new views. The attempt at a full revelation of buried meaning will come with a shock to current theological vanity, to the pride of present knowledge and to the complacency of the mechanistic cast of modern thought. But the release of the hidden significance of the world scriptures at this epoch may be destined to achieve our salvation from threatened social catastrophe. For the ancient wisdom held the prescription for both individual sanity and a righteous social order. Folly flourished only by grace of its despoliation.

The release of the enlightenment potentially held in the old books will challenge many traditional habitudes of mind and most of the lingering relics of theological inculcation. It will republish the postulates of ancient knowledge that have been lost or discredited and establish them once more as the Principia of understanding for both the (Page 32) phenomena of life and the deep lore of the scriptures. Some of these, long without the pale of orthodox acceptance, will strangely have been found corroborated by late scientific discovery. The philosophical method was that of deduction, since it conceived life as unfolding in the outer order the pattern of things innately involved in its inner heart. The conclusion reached by evolutionists in present studies is that "evolution is centrifugal, developing outward from within the geneplasm, rather than centripetal, developing inward from without the geneplasm," in the words of Henry Fairfield Osborn. Another late finding is that "evolution is creational rather than variational. Variation of the species is the result of an original creative pattern within the geneplasm which is there from the very beginning." And a third pronouncement demolishes completely the theories of materialism, affirming that "evolution is prot-empirical rather than meta-empirical; the organs developing before there is any actual need for them rather than after the need for them arises." Nature already carries in her womb the embryo of that which will come to form. Life works ahead to an end premeditated in the beginning, so that Aristotleís scheme of "entelechy" is a sound principle in philosophy. Plato told us twenty-four hundred years ago that life is weaving on the field of manifestation the design of the archetypal ideas in the Cosmic Mind. Modern science and the clear interpretation of the arcane philosophy of the past will together restore Plato to his seat on the throne of mind.

The debate on teleology has been long and acrimonious. Negative conclusions have been fostered and apparently affirmed by the shortness of our perspective. The immensely extended outline of evolution envisioned by the cosmology of old will enable the mind to see the working of design. Mr. Clarence Darrow asks skeptically if the Lisbon earthquake was designed. As well might a colony of ants ask if the destruction of their burrow as we spade our garden was designed. Neither to the citizens of Lisbon nor to the ants in the garden would the philosophy of design be comforting. But we know that the digging was designed, not to destroy the ant-city, but to prepare the garden. So we may equally well know that the processes of world building were designed, not to destroy Lisbon, but to adjust the earthís crust properly about it. The designed activities progressing in two different worlds happened to clash, man being no more intelligent about the plans of cosmic beings than the ant about human intentions. And as (Page 33) man cannot change his larger designs always for the convenience of ants in certain situations, or indeed may not even be aware that his designs jeopardize their lives, so neither presumably can higher beings alter their operations for the temporary advantage of little man. Neither man nor nature has yet learned how to work on in evolution without the element of some sacrifice of life. It does not impugn design in the course and speed of an automobile that a child has been unfortunate enough to drift into its path.

Centuries of world life have been lived all awry because the philosophical insight into the structure of archetypal design has been dulled and obscured. The outlines of the pattern of evolution formulated in the beginning by Cosmic Mind were known of old, but lost in the long interim. The world being the crystallized projection of a divine thought-form and history the slow filling out of the lines of the pattern, what man can know of the structure of the original ideation, or the Great Plan, becomes of incontestable importance. This was the base and content of the Ancient Philosophy. It must be restored to knowledge. Fortunately it has never been lost beyond recovery, merely lost out of common thought. It was safe even while unknown, being preserved in the amber of a subtle cryptography. Ignorance came along and swept out of ken the esoteric purport; but at the same time it perpetuated the myths and allegories, believing them to be history. Deluded piety made a hash of the sense of the scriptures, yet all unwittingly saved them for the advantage of a wiser age.

On the one hand materialism has ignored the spiritual nature and motivation of the universe; on the other, ecclesiastical zealotry, blinded by stupid literalism, has rendered religion ridiculous. The truth must combat untruth on both these fronts, rebuffing a philosophy that denies the ideal frame of things, and rebuking an eccentric religionism that distorts early truth into revolting irrationality. To redeem religion from ignominy it is necessary to stigmatize its historical caricature, ecclesiasticism. War must be declared on its falsities to vindicate its truth. Medieval and modern incrustations, excrescences and abnormalities of a hundred types must be brushed away, if the brilliance of the splendid original creation of supernal genius is to shine forth again. Platoís theology and "divine philosophy" must be vindicated. (Page 34)

Chapter II

ECCE HOMO - ECCE DEUS

The modern zeal to exploit "the practical" is about one part good philosophy and nine parts sheer fatuity. The whole matter has been involved in the utmost fog and mental haze. The groundlessness of current notions of what constitutes "the practical" is readily disclosed by asking the question: What does modern man do with the gains which his practical effort has brought to him -wealth , comfort, means, freedom, competence? They bring him certain satisfactions, no doubt, and the answer in part is there. But often the satisfactions turn to ashes in his hands, or melt away as he reaches out to grasp them, or prove hollow soon or late. Their inadequacy and shallowness attest their futility and give "practical" philosophy the lie.

The entire question rests on the determination of what constitutes ultimate values in life itself, and this is only fixed by an adequate philosophy. To be sure, a basic ingredient in philosophy is experience, and a philosophy is largely a digest of experience. But philosophy is finally and inexorably the mindís grasp of a set of formulas of meanings which array the data of experience into a meaningful pattern, or structural design, which design must eventually match the outline of the archetypal noumenal thought form projected by Cosmic Mind for this area of creation. Harmony with this immanent pattern is the insistent demand, as well as the touchstone and seal of truth. The lower mind in man, being a fragment of cosmic intellect, is by nature keen to recognize and register, by an expansive pleasure, the concord of its ideas with the overshadowing form of truth. Some knowledge of the features of this living mosaic is essential to the final allocation of values, else there will be no criterion other than an unauthoritative sensual hedonism to determine whether an experience or a philosophy is good or detrimental. All actions and opinions rate a final appraisal on the ground of a deposit they leave in consciousness, according as (Page 35) they harmonize or disagree with the cosmic thought structure that is working to manifestation in the process. They accord, or not, with the elemental pattern of creation. Deep within is a sense that registers in the outer mind the thrill of that accord or disagreement. The acuteness of this barometer of values may be viciously blunted, so that its registering sense is sadly vitiated. Yet in the end it speaks in the stern language of pain and discord for violation of its principles, and positive pleasure for virtuous action. And the final definition of "the practical" is that which relates the life of man ever closer to the form and substance of the primordial pattern laid down for human evolution.

Early theology presented the general cast and outline of the great cosmic plan of creation, in the reflected light of which mortal mind could frame the more or less definite graph of the structure of this life on earth. The profound philosophy, then, that rested on this stratum of basic knowledge brought the offices of the enlightened intelligence to the aid of the outer and less reliable pragmatic criteria in the egoís effort to direct the evolution of the organism. Philosophical understanding thus in large measure could be made to obviate the toilsome methodology of trial and error, and both conserve available force and save valuable time and much suffering. One of the deep principles of the Buddhaís system was that "right knowledge" must come to save the individual from pitiable suffering arising from ignorance. If, as he averred, it is a fundamental truth that ignorance is the cause of sorrow, then knowledge is its antidote. And all the great religions of antiquity make this assertion. Says Hermes: "The vice of a soul is ignorance; the virtue of a soul is knowledge." The Book of Proverbs in the Bible enjoins at length the prime necessity of getting wisdom, understanding, knowledge. Its preciousness is set above "all the things that thou canst desire." It is glorified as an ornament of grace and a crown of life unto its possessor. In this document it is not placed second to Love or Christly Charity. By an invincible dialectic Plato and Socrates work out in dialogue after dialogue the proposition that one cannot be good until one knows what the good thing is, and even what it is good for. According to Rhys Davids in his Hibbert Lectures of 1881 on The Origin and Growth of Religions: Buddhism (p. 208), "it is not by chance that the foundation of the higher life, the gate to the heaven that is to be reached on earth, is placed, not in emotion, not in feeling, but in knowledge, in the victory over delusions. (Page 36) The moral progress of the individual depends, according to Buddhism, upon his knowledge. Sin is folly. It is delusion that leads to crime." An editorial in the New York Times of June 20, 1938, well says that the hearts of such folks as the German persecutors of Jewry "are bitter only when their minds are dark," and cites Voltaireís trenchant utterance that "men will continue to commit atrocities as long as they continue to believe absurdities." In so far as men act for reasons - instead of sheer brute impulse - the soundness or the imperfection of their "philosophy" in the case determines the good or evil quality of their deeds.

Knowledge has long been apostrophized as a beacon light, a lamp unto the feet. It seems to be an inexpugnable datum of history that fully enlightened sages of the past gave to infant humanity mighty formulations of cosmic truth, evolutionary schematism, wisdom of the last practical utility, and supernal knowledge of the worlds of men and of angels. They placed this torch in the hands of the early races for the advantage and behoof of all succeeding humanity. Precautions of the most extraordinary nature were taken to safeguard the deposit. But, miserabile dictu, the doltishness of historical groups at various times so far imperiled the gift that in a long period, roughly from the third century of Christianity until almost the present day, the open promulgation of the high teaching invited the bitterest persecution from the entrenched forces of cruder belief. Esoteric philosophy was forced to hide underground and make its way through the centuries by subterranean channels and covert devices. Barbarism threatened the utter extinction of previous light. Supervening ignorance swooped down upon and buried earlier knowledge. But in one of the resurgent waves of revival, the ancient light is breaking through the incrustation of ignorance once again. Wisdom is having its rebirth.

Obscuration enveloped brighter enlightenment because mankind seems unable to maintain its hold on the golden mean between extreme views. It is constantly following the swing of the pendulum from one movement to violent reaction in an opposite direction. Religious history is in the main a record of oscillation between arrant supernaturalism and soulless naturalism. The group mind bends far over to mystic or spiritistic faith on one side, and then sways equally far over to a dead materialism. It is either believing in angels, ghosts, spirits, saints, virgin births, elementals, divine interventions, miracles, (Page 37) transfigurations, salvations, vicarious atonements; or it is rebounding from these to blank mechanism which rates all such things as delusions. In his revulsion from eccentric mysticism man has sought always the wrong antidote - a barren naturalism. In his revulsion from the latter he has again always gone too far into uncritical mysticism. But there is a middle position that meets the essential truth between both attitudes. And the soul science of old set forth this median position. It presented mystic elements without irrationality, and advanced such knowledge of spiritual experience as to make the negation of such values impossible. Ancient theology was the science that dealt with the more sublimated essences and forces latent in the human endowment, exploiting them for the vast enrichment of the conscious life. It was the science of spiritual growth without mystic extravagance, the science of dynamically real elements in the psychic constitution of man, the very existence of which mechanistic science has disregarded. What the ancients called esoteric science is but the steady direct penetration of human intelligence into the deeper heart of nature, to manipulate creatively her hidden springs of power. It was based on a knowledge of the laws ruling the higher octaves in the diapason of consciousness. It was firmly grounded on premises which authenticated the existence of the soul as an entity. The soul has ever been the scarecrow in the garden of positive science. But modern science has itself reestablished the ground for such a predication in its recent findings with regard to the more sublimated constitution of matter, making a way for the reification of bodies of subatomic or ethero-spiritual composition, in which a unit of soul might find subsistence when disengaged from a fully substantial body. Late physics has gone far toward hypostasizing St. Paulís asserted "spiritual body," and his other statement that he knew a man "who was caught up into the third heaven." In the rarer forms of matter now hypothecated by our adventuring science will be found the rarefied physical implementation of whole octaves of "spiritual" phenomena catalogued by ancient psychic discernment, but looked at skeptically by positivism in our day. There is a spiritual evolution proceeding pari passu with the physical, and implemented by it. Our late science has only now come into view of natureís sublimated matter of varying gradations of density, enabling it for the first time to give body to the beings of ancient hierarchies and to give veritude to the ancient affirmation of "spiritual bodies." In proportion as the (Page 38) redoubtable solidity of scienceís basic stuff melts down into mere swirls of force, to that extent can the angels and demons of ancient systems stalk forth in something like veritable substantiality.

A penetrating view of the interior sublimation of matter opened to the eye of antiquity a fuller and more detailed charting of the basic components of manís constitution. Human nature was seen as a compound of at least four segments or strata of being, possessing four bodies of differentiated substance ranging from dense physical coarseness through etheric and mental gradients to spiritual tenuity. In short man has a physical, an emotional, a mental and a spiritual body, each finer one interpenetrating successively its coarser substrate and being held in linkage to it by vital affinities. Hence the deep lore of old dealt with a keen analysis and formulation of the laws of interaction between the several "men" in us and catalogued the extensive schedule of reactions in consciousness in that amplified psychology to a degree that proves astonishing to students of our time. The psychology of past days has names for a host of sharply drawn segmentations of subjective activity that modern probing has never systematically distinguished. Their "gods" were the living energies of nature and of mind, realities of the cosmos, and by no means fanciful and fictitious nonentities. They were the personified rays and energies that our science is now discovering. The broad field of what is termed mystical experience was mapped, with every section of its area charted in relation to the economy of the whole. It was no realm of whimsical idiosyncrasy, of sheer feeling. The revelation that the ancient East had perfected the technique of an elaborate spirito-psychological science, surpassing anything yet adduced by modern genius, is a marked denouement of current history. The renaissance of this buried "science of the soul" is giving birth again to the knowledge that man may pass from unconscious drifting with the tide of evolution to a conscious self-directed mastery of his progress. He may step from the status of a victim of evolutionís forces, such as he is when without cognizance of its laws, into the ranks of those who work intelligently with its plan. Hence he can advance more smoothly and swiftly with the tide, as Shakespeare asserted, instead of being tossed about by cross and counter currents whose play he does not understand. The vitalizing item of ancient knowledge was the prime datum that man is himself, in his real being, a spark of divine fire struck off like the flint flash from the Eternal (Page 39) Rock of Being, and buried in the flesh of body to support its existence with an unquenchable radiant energy. On this indestructible fire the organism and its functions were "suspended," as the Orphic theology phrased it, and all their modes and activities were the expression of this ultimate divine principle of spiritual intelligence, energizing in matter. Philosophy so grounded was able to meet the exegetical demands of the "mind-body problem" by its hypothecation of states of rarefied matter mediating between immaterial spirit and gross body and linking them commodiously in one organism. How the gross body holds connection with sheer "anima"--how it holds on to its "ghost"--was readily understood in the terms of their knowledge of intermediate structures which bridge by several steps the wide gap between pure spirit and palpable matter.

At the summit, or in the interior heart, of manís nature was the divine and immortal Atma or spirit; on the lower level there was the body, with its twofold equipment for sensation and emotion. Bridging the gap between the two was the principle of conscious mind called Manas. It could span the gap between "quickening spirit" and inert matter; because it stood between them and possessed affinities with both of them, which they lacked with each other. It could touch soul above and flesh beneath and pass the lofty motivations of the one across the gulf to the beneficiary below. Modern religious conception faces the absurd situation of envisaging man as obviously physical and animal by virtue of his body, and as obviously intellectual and spiritual through his soul, but with the ancient hierarchical grades of intermediacy torn out of the gap between the two. Early Christian revolt against esotericism threw down the ladder of linkage between man below and his soul above, and now has no resources to diagram the steps of his possible communion with his Emanuel. The gap left vacant had perforce to be filled in by theology with the single figure of the historical Jesus as mediator between man and his God. A historical personage was called in to implement a function that was originally assigned to one of the principles of manís own constitution. This was one of those consequences which the little blunder of mistaking myth for history entailed for succeeding ages.

On the strength of the new data furnished by modern science, present thought must orient its attitude toward basic problems, since it must view life as the play of causal forces in consciousness more (Page 40) sublimated and potent than any of the energies so far discerned in matter. It will then be in position to take counsel again with the primeval divine revelation. It will be able to predicate again the human soul and the divine spirit in man. In the ultimate it has been its failure to posit the independent Atmic entity in our life that has blocked its every excursion toward a vital religious philosophy. It has made philosophy the dead speculation it now is and religion both a chimerical and a fruitless enterprise. When theology wisely guided the effort to relate the lower man to the god within, it was the central pursuit in the life of the world and stood at the apex of dignity and importance. But the loss of vital premises of understanding blinded following ages to the value of spiritual culture, and theology and philosophy now go abegging for recognition, bereft of their former kingly renown. And now their continued abeyance threatens civilization itself. No age calls so piteously for the certain knowledge of the science of the soul; since to soul alone can be attached the anchor for all shifting human values. Without the scientific grounding of an inner principle in man which is itself a portion of Eternal Durability, and which will carry the values built up in life to endless perpetuity, human philosophy must forever lack stability and prime utility.

Such a carrier and preserver of values was the Atmic spark, described by Heraclitus as "a portion of cosmic Fire, imprisoned in a body of earth and water." It was on earth to trace its line of progress through the ranges of the elements and the kingdoms, harvesting its varied experiences at the end of each cycle. It was described by Greek philosophy as "more ancient than the body," because it had run the cycle of incarnations in many bodies, donning and doffing them as garments of contact with lower worlds, so that it might treasure up the powers of all life garnered in experience in every form of it. The mutual relation of soul to body in each of its incarnate periods is the nub of the ancient philosophy, and the core of all Biblical meaning. As the Egyptian Book of the Dead most majestically phrases it, the soul, projecting itself into one physical embodiment after another, "steppeth onward through eternity." No more solid foundation for salutary philosophy can be laid than this rock of knowledge, and civilization will flounder in perilous misadventure until this datum of intellectual certitude is restored to common thought.

The practical service of philosophy is the proper direction of effort. (Page 41) Its function is to furnish guiding intellectual light. Religion is the consecration of purpose to attain the goal indicated as blessed. But knowledge is the only guarantee of right effort. Misunderstanding leads the feet into morasses and quicksands. An errant philosophy is the poison of human endeavor at its source. Modern psychology loudly asserts that failure of the mind to know the answers to lifeís riddles breaks down its integrity and racks even the body. Philosophy, reduced now to tedious and jejune speculation, is that very bread of life for which we starve. It was once a body of positive truth. To it the mind could anchor. Only intelligence can save motivation from rank exuberance of eccentricity. Despoiled of the early truth, later ages have been in the position of a person trying to think without true premises. It is the function of science and philosophy to furnish the mind true premises. As Gerald Massey says, thinking is in essence a process of "thinging," since thoughts must rest on the nature of things. And things are themselves Godís thoughts in material form.

The one grand premise for constructive thinking is that man is a god functioning in the body of a human animal, and that this situation is typical of all other existent life, and a key to the comprehension of all. Religion is that field of effort in which man strives to relate a divine element, transcending immeasurably his own natural powers, to a lower self in which it is tenanted. In this comparative sense, its true function is and always will be to deal with those three elements which it has so shockingly abused and misapplied, the supernatural, the miraculous and the magical. In any absolute sense, to be sure, these terms are misnomers and can become misleading. But relative to the viewpoint of the merely natural man, the work of the god in his nature is transcendent and is indeed fittingly termed supernatural. For it is the province of religion to transfigure the natural life of man with the irradiance of cosmic romance, magical potency and unearthly splendor. It is designed to refashion the natural man into the likeness of a glorious spiritual being, the cosmical man of the heavens. To lower orders of life the capabilities of beings of a superior kingdom of life are justifiably designated as supernatural. Our brain power is supernatural to the dog.

Even now Socratesí "daimon" (daemon), that hovering presence which guided and warned him constantly throughout his life, is being entified as the "unconscious" mentor of present psychology. (Page 42) The restoration to Western thought of the divine monitorial guardianship of the individual will instigate the mightiest reformation in the history of Occidental religion. It will enforce a drastic alteration in theological dogma. For it will demand a discarding of the conventional form of the God idea and a return to that of learned antiquity.

It flouts current belief most flagrantly to assert that the Christian movement represented a descent from high pagan levels of knowledge and spiritual insight. Not a churchman but harbors the smug assurance that Christianity arose like a stately phoenix out of the ashes of a decadent paganism, to save a benighted world from sinking into a morass of degradation horrendous to contemplate. But current notions, however sanctified by pious belief, must yield before the influx of positive facts and the light of a proper interpretation of revered scriptures. This only means, however, that Christianity must cast off a heavy incrustation of exoteric literalism and reassert its own primal majestic message. No student conversant with the history of early Christianity will for a moment maintain that medieval or modern presentations of theology are identical with those held at the start. One of the most influential and admittedly the most learned of the Church Fathers, whose scholarship had been powerfully instrumental in formulating the early creedology, was excommunicated as a heretic within three hundred years after his death by a Church that had so quickly lost the light of its original inspiration.

"Origen, the pupil of St. Clement of Alexandria, and the best informed and most learned of the Church Fathers, who held the doctrine of rebirth and karma to be Christian, and against whom, 299 years after he was dead, excommunication was decreed by the exoteric Church on account of his beliefs, has said: ĎBut that there should be certain doctrines not made known to the multitude, which are revealed after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophical systems in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric.í" [Quoted in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, by W. Y. Evans-Wentz, in a note to p. 234, from Origenís Contra Celsum, Book I, Ch. VIII. ]

Both Origenís statement and his posthumous discrediting at the hands of the Church Council make it clear that Christianity had been radically transmogrified within a few hundred years after its inception. And every individual or sect in the centuries following the third that endeavored to revive the pristine purity of the original formulations was acrimoniously hounded and persecuted. Paulinism itself, (Page 43) which represents perhaps the clearest stream of high spiritual teaching, was hard put to escape being torn out of the context of scripture or defeated in ecclesiastical controversy.

The issue must be faced and determined now if religion is to live and exalt the race. The crux of the entire problem is the conception of deity in a form perennially available for man in the heart of his own nature. This conception is the core of all religious theory, and loss of it has been the cause of doubt, confusion and despair. Light and truth long lost are once more at hand to illumine minds now groping in darkness. False notions of deity have nearly cost mankind the loss of its birthright of knowledge.

The boast of Christianity and Judaism is that they alone have presented to mankind its purest concept of deity in the form of the One God--Monotheism. The claim is by no means true as fact. They may more correctly be said to have been the first to present the One God without the ancient train of the subordinate gods. They boast of having abolished the magnified evils of polytheism. But to the ancient sages the task of handling the Supreme God without his pantheon of lesser divinities was much the same as trying to deal physiologically with a man without consideration of his arms, feet, head and several organs. The gods of primeval religion were the active manifest powers, faculties, organs of God himself. Nature was his body, elemental forces the agents of his operative economy, universal mind his thinking faculty and ultimate beneficence his spiritual heart. The ancient systems of wisdom thought it not blasphemy to delineate the organic structure of deity to explain to human grasp the cause and nature of the world. Reverence was not withheld from even the lowest instrumentalization of Godhood. And God organically apprehended was to be better adored than God as an abstract "nonity."

But some strange quirk of philosophical revulsion against the function and nature of matter militated later to cause theologians to deem it a blasphemy to give God a body, parts and divisions. The mind could only be saved from defiling his purity by keeping him an empty abstraction. Unknowable and Absolute, he was to be kept ineffable. He was not to be dragged into the purlieus of mortal description, degraded into the semblance of a creation of manís low thought.

But the astute Greeks kept the one without foregoing the other. They reverenced the One as beyond the reach of thought, yet portrayed (Page 44) his emanations in the field of manifestation. And they ranked themselves as his sons. They deemed it not dishonoring to deity to recognize his being in all things. They saw him in nature, and not as abstracted from nature. And they studied nature as the living garment of Godís immanence.

Therefore, though the monotheistic concept has a place in manís thought problem, it is nevertheless to be appraised in its final utility to religion as practically valueless. The human mind cannot think without the concept of First Cause, and God must stand in the thought problem to fill this need. It has this dialectic utility. But it must ever remain a contentless abstraction. As such it turns out that the chalice of divinity that the Church proffered to benighted nations as the supreme boon of religion, was well-nigh an empty cup. And engrossing the mass mind with a philosophical concept that is unassimilable and must forever remain meaningless, ecclesiasticism perpetrated the far worse crime of condemning to desuetude that more realistic conception of resident deity which alone is fraught with pregnant power to apotheosize human life. Holding out a supreme Ineffability to its followers, it withheld from them at the same time the knowledge of that deity that is lodged immediately within their own selfhood. Giving them a God who is utterly inaccessible, it blocked their approach to the god who was "closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet."

This is of surpassing importance. It is revolutionary. It is devastating to prevalent orthodoxies. It shocks traditional piety to hear that the concept of the One Supreme can never be of great practical utility to man. But apart from its offices in generating in us perpetual wonder and awe, our dealing with it ends when we have placed it in the thought problem where the mind demands the postulate of First Cause. Beyond that it has little service to render us. Give it form, substance, content, description, we cannot, without destroying its necessary being. Whatever good will flow from our knowing that the Unknowable is back of all phenomena is ours. We can hardly love or worship what we cannot know. The boundary of our reach is wonder and speculation. Our attempts to worship it are the fluttering of a moth about the light we dare not look at. Ancient religion was suspected of having left the monotheistic God out of its picture. It did not leave it out, but it had the discretion to leave it alone! The sage theologists reverenced it by a becoming silence! Communion has never been established (Page 45) between man and an Absolute God in the cosmic heavens. But the pagan world provided a contact with a god dwelling immediately within the human breast. No reaching after the moon of the Absolute diverted conscious purpose from actual touch with the god who stood at oneís elbow. The seers of old held it a sacrilege for mortals to worship any power outside themselves. And this implied no spirit of vaunting humanism or affront to deity. It was just the recognition of deity at the point where it was accessible. The real heresy and apostasy, the gross heathenism, is to miss deity where it is to be had in the blind effort to seek it where it is not available.

Deity for man is at home, not afield in distant skies. The kingdom of heaven and the hope of glory are within. They lurk within the unfathomed depths of consciousness. Divinity lies buried under the heavier motions of the sensual nature and the incessant scurrying of the superficial mind. It is the still small voice, drowned out mostly by the raucous clamor of fleshly, material and mental interests. It is a pure, mild Presence, awaiting the day when the outer man will give more heed to its quiet speech. The Supreme God is not available; but within the quietude of his own being every man may find a fragment of that same God, made personal in his own individuality. This is the burden of the lost wisdom of antiquity. Other than potentially, God in his wholeness is not present with man; but he has not left man without that measure of his grace that man can utilize. He has projected into our nature a portion, a ray, of his own life. He has apportioned amongst all his creatures that measure of his ineffable power which each is capable of receiving. Yet potentially he has lodged the whole of himself in every man, for the nucleus of his divinity that he has implanted in every creature is a seed of the whole of his being. In man the divine seed is the Christos, the son of the Almighty Father. It is no negative statement, but the glorious affirmation of all attainment, to assert that this germ of divinity within the heart is all of God that man can possibly absorb in the present cycle. The cosmic God is hardly an object of worship by humanity; but that segmented portion of infinite Being that is tabernacled within the flesh of mortals - that is the actual divinity assigned to receive the attention and homage of mankind, and sacrificially to be eaten.

The indwelling god is himself being brought to birth within the womb of humanity. Each individual is gestating a divinity within the (Page 46) deeps of his own nature. Christianity has fervently exhorted us to look into the empyrean to find the unapproachable God. All the while the infant deity slumbers unheeded within the heart. Christianity has largely nullified the force of St. Paulís almost frantic cry to us: "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is within you?"

The seers of old distinguished between the Unknowable God of the thought theorem and the actual Presence in the human constitution by denominating the former "God" and the latter "the god." Intermediate deities were called variously "the Gods" and "the gods." The object of most constant attention in philosophy was "the god," the personal daemon of the individual. On the plane of all practical living value, it was useless to look to higher evolutionary forms of deific expression unless and until that was brought from infancy to maturity of function, since its qualities had to be assimilated into human nature before anything higher could be received. It can be stated as a matter beyond controversy that the vital concern of ancient religion was with the god lodged within the human psyche. If man missed contact with deity there, he missed it utterly.

Christianity euhemerized the pagan conception of the germinal deity in us in the historical Jesus. But this has left the rest of mortals unsanctified. The personalized Christ cuts the commonalty of mankind off from its divinity. An "only-begotten son of God," made to carry all the values and meanings in his human person, robs mankind at large of its birthright. The mistranslation of the Greek "monogenes" as "only-begotten" was an error fraught with the most terrific consequences for Christendom. It properly means "born of the one parent alone" (the Father, Spirit), in contradistinction to the idea of being born of the union of Father and Mother, or spirit and matter. It was a reference in ancient theogony to the descent of the Logos (the cosmic counterpart of the Christos in man) from the spiritual side of Godís nature alone, as distinct from its progenation from the union of spirit with matter. The doctrine was primordial in the Egyptian conception of the god Kheper or Khepera, symboled by the scarab, which, the Egyptians asserted, produced its young through the male or father alone. If Jesus was the sole epiphany of deity on earth, then the promises of our universal sonship are made nugatory. We are assured again and again that we are all sons of God and sons of the Highest. Christianity not only thrust upon the man Jesus the divinity that was (Page 47) apportioned amongst us all, but also, in its confusion and ignorance, forced upon his mortal person the function, power and office of the Cosmic Logos, which in the carefully graded system of the hierarchies could not conceivably have been embodied in the constitution of a mere man on earth. How could the mighty power that organized and ensouled galaxies of solar systems be confined within the tiny limits of a physical brain and nervous system? The great Christian Fathers, Clement of Alexandria and Origen (and others) expressly repudiated the possibility of the Logos taking flesh in one person of merely human stature. Such a limitation blasphemed Deity.

What has not been recognized is that the solitary exaltation of the man Jesus has inevitably demeaned humanity. His lonely apotheosization has disinherited us. And the general revolt of the intellectualism of this age against the resultant debasement of human nature to the level of the worm of the dust through Augustinian and Calvinistic impositions should stoutly attest the falsity of the orthodox characterization.

The mythical as opposed to the historical interpretation of the Gospels has been presented with some clarity by such men as Dupuis, Drews, Robertson, Smith, Renan, Strauss, Massey, Higgins, Mead and others. The historical view of Jesusí life is stubbornly maintained in spite of the evidence adduced by Comparative Religion and Mythology, which points with steady directness to the fact that the events of the Gospel narrative are matched with surprising fidelity by the antecedent careers of such world saviors as Dionysus, Osiris, Sabazius, Tammuz, Adonis, Atys, Orpheus, Mithras, Zoroaster, Krishna, Bala-Rama, Vyasa, Buddha, Hercules, Sargon, Serapis, Horus, Marduk, Izdubar, Witoba, Apollonius of Tyana, Yehoshua ben Pandira, and even Plato and Pythagoras. It is also held in the face of the consideration that the body of the material used in the ceremonial dramas performed by the hierophants in the early Mystery Religions for 1200 years B.C. constitute by and large the series of events narrated as the personal biography of the Galilean. It is worth impressing on all minds that the legend of the historicity of the Gospels is only to be held by ignoring the solid weight of such - and vastly more - significant testimony. Instead of permitting its adherents to move in the freedom of a spiritual interpretation, the ecclesiastical power is holding them rigidly to a doctrinal meaning that is badly vitiated by literalism. In exalting Jesus in unique magnificence, it lets the divinity in every manís heart lie (Page 48) fallow. The deity that needs exaltation is that which is struggling within the breasts of the sons of earth. Theological dogmatism fails utterly to see the ultimate Pyrrhic nature of its victory. Jesusí enthronement is the disinheritance of common man. Taught to look outside ourselves for the source of power and grace, we ignore the real presence within us that pleads for closer recognition. The historical Jesus blocks the way to the spiritual Christ in the chamber of the heart.

All Christian history would have been markedly different had not the historical Jesus been interpolated into the spiritual drama. By this diversion the aims of a true spiritual culture were sentimentally turned outward to the worship of an extraneous but romantic impersonation. The consecrated devotion of hundreds of millions of souls in Christendom for centuries, instead of being focused upon the effort to nurse to life a Christly spirit within the collective body of Western humanity, has been dissipated in almost total fruitlessness upon the figure of an historicized myth. The present demoralized state of civilization in countries most thoroughly saturated with Christian doctrinism confirms the sorry truth of this statement. And the earlier Christian history lends further corroboration in its record of bickering, heretical persecution, violent warfare and ghastly crucifixions that sicken the heart. And all this was perpetrated in the name of the personal Jesus! It could hardly have been done in the name of the spiritual Christos.

If it be advanced in rebuttal that the example of the historical Jesus has stood as a loadstone and beacon to inspire and attract the hearts of millions of devotees, and that the contemplation of his excellency will work a miracle of uplift in the believersí nature, this but proves the efficacy of psychology and not a fact of history. Ecclesiastical propaganda has more than once produced psychological hysteria, as witness the Crusades and the Inquisition. And religious hysteria has ever produced its marvels - stigmata , speaking in tongues and healings. Every religious psychologization has run into phenomena and sums its lists of "demonstrations." It is folly to question the psychological power of an example such as the pictured Jesus. Humans are almost helpless in their tendency to ape some paragon. It was precisely because mankind needed to be inspired to idealism that the formulators of the dramas in the Mystery Rituals introduced the Messiah, the Sun-God, the Christos as the central character of the piece. But he was there as ensampler and by no means as substitute or scapegoat. Much as (Page 49) mankind needs to be confronted by the constant presence of a model of its own destined perfection, it needs far more the invincible knowledge that divinity is its own inner possession.

To hold his place in mass reverence, Jesus had to be made matchless, incomparable, unapproachable. No man dared stand beside him. But overpowering splendour only twits and chides mediocrity. It reminds us of our littleness. It leaves us gazing blankly, hopelessly. The higher the elevation of Jesus, the vaster the gulf fixed between the ideal and the adorer. It clips the wings of aspiration. The setting up of a figure of perfection outside is in part psychologically hazardous. To approach him, to match his purity, is to reduce his stature. He must be kept beyond compare, the ever-receding ideal.

Ancient psychology of religion worked on a different principle. The motive to zeal was an ever-present possibility of attainment. Numbers of the sages were men who had gained the sunlit summit. They thought it not robbery to be equal with the god, for he was sent to call them into the mount of fellowship.

To sense poignantly the degradation to which literal caricature of spiritual knowledge has reduced theology, one needs but to point to the picture of millions of votaries gazing into the physical heavens to find God, where Laplace said that no telescope had ever located him, and searching the map of Judea to localize the Christos, whose dwelling can be only in the heart and conscience. And the Prince of Peace still awaits to be crowned the King of Glory. (Page 50)

CHAPTER III

TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH

The resolution of the "birth of Christ" into the delivery of a babe in a localized Bethlehem has kept the race from realizing the true meaning of the Messianic fulfillment. With the third century conversion of the features of the age-old spiritual drama into the alleged biography of a man-savior, the outlines of the great truth that a ray of the solar Logos was incorporated distributively in animal humanity faded out and were obliterated. All sound sense of the inner signification of the Christmas nativity tableau was irrevocably lost. The annual celebration of the advent of deity to earth remains a meaningless travesty to this day.

It becomes necessary, then, to outline the historical trends that led to the obscuration of this central feature of religious cultism. This is in no sense a diversion, but the most direct approach to the correct envisagement of ancient material. It will reveal items of the utmost strategic importance for a true evaluation of archaic structures. The restoration of the lost meaning will be given greater credence if the causes of its decadence are set forth.

The knowledge that a fragment of the spiritual heart of the sun was implanted in the body of each son of man to be his soul and his god was the golden secret imparted by the hierophants in the Mystery Schools to their qualified pupils. It was regarded as such a priceless treasure that these Secret Brotherhoods were organized specifically to guard its esoteric inviolability. From age to age it passed down the stream of oral transmission, now waning in one quarter, but spreading in another, and was revived periodically by messengers who came as the agents of a hierarchy of perfected men. From remote antiquity it was present in China, Tibet, India, Chaldea, Egypt. It was carried by the priests of the Orphic Mysteries over to the Hellenic world.[For corroboration see such works as The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, Iamblichusí The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, and Thomas Taylorís Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries. ] It was disseminated in the Greek areas in the philosophies of Pythagoras, Plato, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras;[Vide From Orpheus to Paul, by Vittorio D. Macchioro, a recognized world authority on Orphism. ] was embodied in the (Page 51) poetry of Homer, Hesiod, Pindar; in the dramas of Euripides and Aeschylus. From Egypt and Chaldea it emerged in the religion of the Hebrews, who wrought its myths, allegories and symbols obscurely into their Old Testament, but had more authentically kept the deposit in their ancient Kabalah. It was taken up by pre-Christian and early Christian Gnostics, being contained with sufficient clarity in the great Gnostic work, Pistis Sophia, a work conjecturally of Basilides or Valentinus. Its Orphic-Platonic rescension was widely republished by the Neo-Platonist school in the second, third and fourth centuries, with ample elucidation, a measure adopted in all likelihood by the spiritual hierarchy to check the growing trend of the nascent Christian movement toward the complete exoterization of its esoteric message. It was reintegrated eclectically around Alexandria by such syncretists as Maximius of Tyre, Ammonias Saccas and Philo Judaeus, powerfully influencing the character of primitive Christianity. It was carried most directly into Christian documentation by St. Paul, whom many scholars claim on evidence to have been himself an Initiate in the Greek Mysteries (as were Clement and Origen in the Egyptian), and also by St. John, whose Bible writings are decidedly more Platonic than distinctively Christian. The visible thread of its transmission runs on to Plutarch, after whom it became more subterranean, being propagated by Hermeticists, Therapeutae, Rosicrucians, Platonists, Mystics, Illuminati, Alchemists, Brothers of various designations and secret fraternities in Europe, out of sight of the jealous eye of the all-powerful Church. At the period of its lowest ebb in Europe it was tided over the danger of total extinction by Arabian and Moorish scholars and Jewish students in Spain. The teaching was preserved and handed on by such associations in Medieval Europe as the Cathedral Builders, the Platonic Academy of Florence, the Alchemists, the "Fire Philosophers," the Troubadours and Minnesingers, by secret printers, among them Aldus Minutius of Venice, who reprinted the classic Greek literature that ushered in the Italian Renaissance. Sporadically, now in one region, now in another, it took form in outward movements in groups of mystic and pietistic tendency of many names. It was the secret spring of motive and meaning in most medieval literature, in the folklore, the hero legends, the fairy myths, the Arthurian cycle, the Mabinogian tales, the Peredur stories, the Niebelungenlied, the castle ballads, the Romance of the Rose and many another invention of esoteric skill. (Page 52)

Features of it came to be embodied in a thousand conventional forms of common "superstition." It was pictorially outlined in the set of Tarot Cards of the Bohemians in the twelfth century. Philosophers such as Paracelsus, Raymond Lully, Pletho, Cardano, Philalethes, Robert Fludd (from whose work on Moses Milton is said to have derived his theses on which Paradise Lost was built) and others presented aspects of it in more or less surreptitious fashion. Jacob Boehmeís "Theosophical Points" vitally influenced Newtonís thought in important directions, as he confesses. Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo acknowledge their debt to the principles of the ancient science. Later came the English Platonists More and Cudworth, and it is alleged that Francis Bacon and the mysterious Count de St. Germain formulated the body of Masonic ritualism upon the old principles.

Coming to the surface again in recent years it is being revived by Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Kabalists, Esotericists, Mystics, Spiritual and Psychic Scientists and Parapsychologists in large numbers, and is perhaps the most vital movement in the thought life of today.

The door to this rejuvenescence of an influence so long buried was opened during the last century by the studies in Comparative Religion and Comparative Mythology assiduously pursued by many scholars. There was needed nothing but a mind free from bias to discern the unity, amounting virtually to identity, underlying all the old systems, which expressed so clearly the characteristic features of what appeared to have been a universal primal world religion, with the solar myth as its cornerstone. Every great historical religion is readily seen to have been, at its start, a pure expression of the basic elements of this outline, and equally readily seen to have badly vitiated the pristine purity of teaching in later decadence. A gross transgressor in this respect is seen to be Christianity, which carried original spiritual meaning further afield than perhaps any other. It is desirable to trace the causes and progress of this corruption.

The blanket assertion that ancient spiritual light was darkly obscured under Christian handling is a challenging statement and must be given the room to vindicate itself. This work in its entirety will amount to a substantiation of that claim. The point can be carried only by an ample reproduction of the substance of the archaic world religion, so that the clear outlines of the great pristine doctrines of theology as they were apprehended in the arcane schools, may by contrast reveal the darkness (Page 53) and vacuity of present readings. Only in the light of the radiant wisdom of the past will the glaring corruption of current interpretation become discernible.

The stream of degradation of originally pure teaching flowed in through the channels of literalism. The simple but still nearly incredible truth of the matter is that elaborate charts of spiritual ideography, devised with poetic genius and analogical skill, were mistaken for literal objective fact. The ancient theologists had sought to portray the essence of deep truth by means of fanciful constructions of many kinds. The whole of early Egyptian and Greek religious literature was a construction commonly termed mythology. What now looms as the consummate catastrophic stupidity of the centuries was the traducing of it into alleged history. This has been perpetrated in spite of the obvious impossibility of explaining how a people that produced Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Pericles, Heraclitus, Homer, Pindar and Demosthenes could gull itself into taking poetic fiction for objective occurrence on a grand scale. Our explanation of the mythology of the Greeks commits us to accrediting such sages with the minds of children. The myths were the lenses through which the gaze might be focused on the realities of recondite truth. Only to the crudely ignorant were the representations not diaphanous. But, oddly enough, blind misapprehension carried the day, and the transparency of the myths was darkened into solid opaqueness.

Christianity started out as a system closely kindred with the cults environing it, and boasting of conformity with them. The early Church Father, Justin Martyr in particular, is at pains to protest that Christianity in no wise differs from pagan usages. But a strange and curious thing then happened. There came to a head a virulent rebellion of mediocrity and inferiority against the aristocracy of intellect and culture. Christianity carried in large measure the impetuosity of this revolt. It became the embodied expression of a vehement assault on the esotericism of the Mystery Religions. It was evidently motivated by a popular resentment against the exclusiveness and aristocracy of the cults. Only a restricted and tested minority was eligible to admission into the Associations. The hidden teaching was withheld from the populace, under the strictest of secret bans. A wave of hostility to the privileged groups swept over the masses and culminated in an effort to crash through the restrictions of esotericism and bring out the secret (Page 54) doctrine for general behoof. Distrust of the possession of any real truth beyond ordinary grasp and perhaps the degeneracy of the Mysteries themselves to some extent, lent substance to the popular enmity. A movement to spread abroad a plain manís simple enunciation of the truths gained heavy momentum. A definite trend away from esotericism carried the impulse far over into literalism. The genius of culture in mankind has constantly had to contend with this effort of dull mediocrity to tear down its best structures of truth and beauty.[ See such a work as Lothrop Stoddardís The Revolt Against Civilization. ] The attempt to unmask the myths for commonplace rendering was quite like the present-day demand upon popular publicists for a reduction of their best wisdom to the level of moronic bluntness. But the effort to simplify the esoteric purport was to lose it, to wreck the spiritual edifice altogether. Truth can make no terms with incapacity.

When, later, the headship of the early Church passed out of the hands of the academicians of Athens and Alexandria, of Antioch, Tarsus and Ephesus, and fell into those of the less studied Romans, the trend to literalism had gained such volume that there swept into the movement a spirit of fell vindictiveness against the dominant systems. When the conception of the purely spiritual Christos could no longer successfully be imparted to the turbulent masses, who were clamoring for a political savior, it was found necessary, or expedient, to substitute the more concrete idea of a personal Messiah, who would be so obviously factual and realistic as to preclude the possibility of being misconceived by the most doltish. The swell of this tide of force carried the Church Fathers to the limit of recasting the entire Gospel in the terms of a human biography. So that what had been originally in the Mysteries and the sacred scripts a combined astrological and mythical dramatization of manís total experience, was now turned into the story of one character put forth as a "life." In spite of almost insuperable obstacles and the outcropping of endless absurdities and inanities of meaning in the transposition, the undertaking was carried through. The outcome has been that the theology handed down to us by the early reformation is the crudest, least rational and intellectually most disconcerting rendition of the ancient revelation anywhere extant. Philo, Origen, Clement and Josephus had expressly declared that scripture shielded beneath the literal narrative a secret profundity of meaning, which was its true message. Philo specified four distinct levels in which the sense of scripture was to be apprehended, the purely literal, (Page 55) or physical, the moral or emotional, the allegorical or mental and the anagogical, or lofty spiritual. The later Church discarded or disregarded the two or three more abstruse ones and held only to the lowest and the basest.

The drive to convert the highly concentrated "meat" of spiritual truth into "pap" or "milk" for the babes in capacity probably gave to Christianity that volcanic fervor that swept it forward among the lower ranks and shortly enabled it to turn the tide against its chief rival, Mithraism. The masses will always, as they did in Lutherís Reformation, seize upon a sweeping current of ideological force and attempt to utilize it as a means of escape from their lowly economic lot. The hopes of the rabble interwove the dream of political liberation with the religious message, adding an extraneous factor to the pressure to translate allegory into a tale of history. Then as now low culture soon turned from the fervor to achieve the slow laborious task of mastering an inner kingdom of spiritual character to eager expectation of a utopian regime in world affairs. In the spiritual drama were many lines which could be so misconstrued. [See Bouck Whiteís The Call of the Carpenter, which builds an entire economic interpretation of the Gospels on such specious material in the texts. ]

Thus Christianity lost its Gnosis; and all Christendom has since had to suffer the blighting of its best spiritual effort. If by the tactic the Church may be said to have gained the whole world, it lost its own soul in the process.

That Christianity after its inception was a ferment confined largely to the poor and untutored classes is indicated both by the Gospel story itself and by much data of history. Some authentic testimony may be useful in impressing the little-known fact upon general knowledge. The cultured Celsus, writing about 200 A.D., cannot refrain from commenting on the social complexion of the Christians of his day. He wrote:

"It is only the simpletons, the ignoble, the senseless slaves and womenfolk and children - whom they wish to persuade . . . wool-dressers and cobblers and fullers, the most uneducated and vulgar persons . . . whosoever is a sinner, or unintelligent, or a fool, in a word, whoever is godforsaken (@insert Greek equivalent), him the kingdom of God will receive." [Quoted by Edward Carpenter, Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 22. Also in Gloverís Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire. ]

Edward Carpenter, an unbiased and kindly student of early Christianity in relation to its contemporary faith, says: (Page 56) "The rude and menial masses, who had hitherto been almost beneath the notice of Greek and Roman culture, flocked in; and though this was doubtless, as time went on, a source of weakness to the Church, and a cause of dissension and superstition, yet it was the inevitable line of human evolution, and had a psychological basis." [Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 221. ]

Many additional statements in the same tenor could be quoted, but it is needless to enforce what is known and indisputable.

But one hears the protestations of Christians that the ministrations of their faith to the simple and the downtrodden was its glory and demonstrated a sounder humanitarianism than the Mystery Schools displayed. Let it have whatever praise goes with this part of its program. It is to the credit of any system that it gives to the lowly the food they need. The default of Christianity is that it gave to one class and withheld from another. Even to that one class it gave the poorest of bread - truth vitiated, devoid of nourishing sense, corrupted and corrupting - as witness its own unconscionable history. It attempted to furnish to the uncultured the easily digested provender they required, but swung with such zeal into this labor that it denied the need of strong meat to more capable digestions. Christianityís culpability was not that it fed the outcast and the sinner, but that it denied the Gnosis to the intelligent - or to any. Its Roman revolt against the spiritual esotericism constituted its betrayal of the innermost heart of all religion. It chose to feed the religious hunger of all grades of people with food that was not even wholesome for the simple.

And it must answer for its vicious resentment and unholy violence against the high-minded groups that again and again in the whole course of its history essayed with sincerity to restore it to the lost message of the Gnosis. Students of the situation in the early Church will know the factual ground beneath the Emperor Julianís caustic observation that "there is no wild beast like an angry theologian." And the murder of the learned Hypatia and the burning of the priceless books of the Alexandrian library are sufficient attestation of the level of savage ferocity to which the reaction against the lofty wisdom of the past had reduced its uncultured opponents. Christianity now lives to witness a world of more general intelligence, after repression by fiend-like persecution for fifteen centuries, once more and this time with irrepressible purpose, turning with an eagerness born of long denial to the (Page 57) esotericism of revived Oriental philosophies for the deeper nourishment of the human spirit.

Christianity can not shake off its pagan parentage. It must be seen that in spite of the almost complete dismantling of the esoteric interpretation, the system retained practically all the outward vestments of the hidden truth. That Christianity presented to the world a complete new system of high truth unknown before is of course now understood to be an unfounded legend. That it failed to make any single advance from ignorance to wisdom is not so obvious to its partisans or to the general public, but seems nevertheless indisputable on the evidence. It sadly bedimmed the old splendor of knowledge. For it threw away the golden grain and kept only the husk. The legitimacy of such a dogmatic assertion can become evident only in the light of the entire study here undertaken, since such a lengthy scrutiny is required to demonstrate that in dogma after dogma, rite after rite, and parable after parable, Christianity substituted a mean and valueless literal sense for the original inspiring message. If this was the sacrifice it made on behalf of the lowly masses, it wrote off the payment by a total suppression of light for those in higher intellectual brackets. It sealed up the anagogical meaning and hounded to the death the parties that strove for its dissemination.

Devising nothing new and retaining the outward form and dress of pagan systems, Christianity has ever been hard put to explain the undeniable similarity between antecedent religions and its own faith and practice. Intelligent churchmen have seen the futility of denying the fact and have readily admitted the pagan sources of Christianity. But in the third century it was a matter of critical importance to maintain the novel and superior character of the new religion. The device resorted to by numbers of the Fathers bears indisputable testimony to the desperateness of their plight. Church membership today will be loath to credit the reliability of the evidence on this matter, so nearly does it exceed all belief. Confronted from time to time with amazing evidences of identity between their own and pagan material, there was no recourse save to that negation of all logic, that last resort of bigotry and zealotry - the plea of diabolism! Christian pride should blush at the disingenuousness of its founders in this matter. The evidence bearing on the point is neither inconsiderable nor vague. In his (Page 58) excellent work, Pagan and Christian Creeds, Edward Carpenter comments at length on the subterfuge, as follows:

"The similarity of these ancient pagan legends and beliefs with Christian traditions was indeed so great that it excited the attention and the undisguised wrath of the early Christian Fathers. They felt no doubt about the similarity, but not knowing how to explain it, fell back upon the innocent theory that the Devil - in order to confound the Christians - had centuries before, caused the pagans to adopt certain beliefs and practices! (Very crafty, we may say, of the Devil, but very innocent of the Fathers to believe it!) Justin Martyr, for instance, describes the institution of the Lordís supper as narrated in the Gospels, and then goes on to say: ĎWhich the wicked devils have imitated in the Mysteries of Mithra, commanding the same thing to be done. For that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated you either know or can learn.í Tertullian also says (De Praescriptione Hereticorum, C. 30; De Bapt., C. 3; De Corona, C. 15) that Ďthe devil by the mysteries of his idols imitates even the main part of the divine mysteries. . . . He baptizes his worshippers in water and makes them believe that this purifies them from their crimes! . . . Mithra sets his mark on the forehead of his soldiers; he celebrates the oblation of bread; he offers an image of the resurrection and presents at once the crown and the sword; he limits his chief priests to a single marriage; he even has his virgins and ascetics.í Cortez, it will be remembered, complained that the Devil had positively taught to the Mexicans the same things which God had taught to Christendom."

To which may be added the astonishing statement of a modern Catholic priest, quoted by Carpenter (p. 68):

"And the Tartary Father GrŁber thus testifies: ĎThis only do I affirm, that the Devil so mimics the Catholic Church there, that although no European or Christian has ever been there, still in all essential things they agree so completely with the Roman Church as even to celebrate the Host with bread and wine; with my own eyes I have seen it!í"

There are many accusations against "the devil" in the same strain from Christian apologists. Not only were the theory and practice of the new cult identical in most respects with those of previous systems, but its own central thesis - the divinity of the Savior - had been anticipated by some hundreds of years in other cults. (Page 59) "If we look close," says Prof. Bousset, [Quoted in Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 206. ]"the result emerges with great clearness, that the figure of the Redeemer, as such, did not wait for Christianity to force its way into the religion of Gnosis, but was already present there under various forms."

Discussing the doctrine of a Savior, Carpenter writes: [Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 130. ])

"Probably the wide range of this doctrine would have been far better and more generally known, had not the Christian Church, all through, made the greatest of efforts and taken the greatest of precautions to extinguish and snuff out all evidence of the pagan claims on the subject. There is much to show that the early Church took this line with regard to pre-Christian Saviors." [See Tertullianís Apologia, C. 16. ]

Carpenter makes it clear that the coming of a Savior-God was in no sense a belief distinctive of Christianity. He explains that the Messianic prophecies of the Jews and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah infected Christian teaching to some degree with Judaic influence. The Hebrew word Messiah, meaning "The Anointed One," occurs some forty times in the Old Testament; and each time in the Septuagint, written as early as the third century before our era, it is translated Christos, which also means "Anointed." It is thus seen, says Carpenter, that the word "the Christ" was in vogue in Alexandria as far back as 280 B.C. In the Book of Enoch, written not later than B.C. 170, the Christ is spoken of as already existing in heaven, about to come to earth, and is called "The Son of Man." The Book of Revelation is full of passages from Enoch, likewise the Epistles of Paul and the Gospels.

These statements are but a suggestion of the full truth in this direction. The Christians were not content to let the matter rest with the explanation that Satan had teased them with some anticipatory resemblances. They resorted to the most violent measures to blot out all links between their body of doctrine and former pagan material. This is a black page in the history of Christianity and a measure of evil policy not easily condoned. They destroyed as far as possible the entire body of pagan record to obliterate, as Carpenter says, "the evidence of their own dishonesty." Porphyry tells of their destruction of elaborate treatises on Mithraism. And his own work on Christianity fell a prey likewise. Their vandal work is of record. The whole matter may be tersely summed up in the world of Sir Gilbert Murray: "The polemic (Page 60) literature of Christianity is loud and triumphant; the books of the pagans have been destroyed."

It is clear, if comment be not superfluous, that Christianity has lost, not gained, by its masking the truth about its origins. Rabid fanaticism and the destruction of literature are always the resort of a bad cause, revealing a want of a good defense on open ground. The frenzy of zeal to wipe out all the testimony that pointed to derivation from pagan forms argues a weak confidence, if not a bad conscience.

It may be said, in partial extenuation of the Fathersí conduct in the second, third and fourth centuries, that their discovery now and again of the startling similarities between their religion and earlier paganism may have come with genuine astonishment. It is commonly believed that the Greeks and Romans of the early Christian days stood far closer to the great Egyptian and Chaldean cultures than we do today. Such is far from the truth. The Egyptian papyri, monuments and tablets were a sealed book to the Christian Fathers, and remained so until Champollion worked out the key to the hieroglyphics from the Rosetta Stone in the early nineteenth century. The connection between the Christian cult and its antecedents in India, Chaldea and Egypt was not seen then as it can be today. We can in a measure understand the indignant surprise of the propagators of the new faith on finding that their alleged novel truth had been copied ahead of them by the heathen!

The crux of present interest in the matter is the consideration that the Christianity of our time is imperiling its own standing and repute by perpetuating a mistake made at its inception. Continuance in a folly so obvious in the face of modern scholarship will henceforth be an open confession of disingenuousness. It will be at the risk of the loss of the last vestige of respect yet accorded to it by studied intellectuals. Its only salvation from neglect and scorn constantly augmenting is a frank admission of its outgrowth from pagan antecedents, and a willingness to reconstruct its interpretation in relation to them. It must manifest a disposition to lift the stigma of "heathenism" from off the ancient faiths and restore them to their high place of nobility and worth. For in elevating its sources it will exalt itself. The outcome has been disastrous. (Page 61)

The Church might be well advantaged by paying head to Carpenterís candid conclusions on the subject. He says:

"I have said that out of this World-Religion Christianity really sprang. It is evident that the time has arrived when it must either acknowledge its source and frankly endeavor to affiliate itself to the same, or failing that, must perish. . . . Christianity, therefore, as I say, must either now come frankly forward and, acknowledging its parentage from the great Order of the Past, seek to rehabilitate that, and carry mankind one step forward in the path of evolution - or else it must perish. There is no other alternative."[Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 263. ]

It will be hard for an ingrained devotionalism to turn back and embrace what it had been so long taught to despise. But it must be done, or all pretense at regard for the truth be abandoned. The grand body of ancient teaching should never have been brought into contempt. Convicted of its error the Church must go the whole way in making the correction. No course but that of candor and honesty will now suffice, if indeed it is not too late even now to make amends and save a bad situation. Further concealment and evasion will only prove the more surely disastrous. For the sun of the moral zodiac has swung around into the sign of Libra, where the good and evil of historical action are weighed in the balance, and piled high on the adverse pan are the knavery and ignorance of early policies, the violent treatment of earnest esotericists, the destruction of priceless books and the cruel persecution of sincere sectaries. The way in which ecclesiastical Christianity meets this issue will determine its fate. If it confronts it with honest humility it may rise again in power. For there is power in the ancient spiritual science to transfigure Christian nations with the glow of righteousness. Readoption of the pagan wisdom will glorify a movement now sunk in nearly hopeless ineptitude. The Dark Ages are not yet past, and that treasure which slipped away through the fingers of early Christianity has not yet been restored. (Page 62)

Chapter IV

WISDOM HIDDEN IN A MYSTERY

We have remained stodgily and stupidly impervious to the infiltration of ancient truth because we have remained blind to the method of its presentation and preservation. We have lost the power to grasp the premises of true knowledge laid down by sage ancestors because we have been too dull to see through the subtleties of a methodology different from our own. These premises for thought will only be regained as the devices resorted to in their statement are comprehended. The very possibility of making the interpretation at all is intimately bound up with the use of abstruse keys to bring to light meanings covered under an adroit strategy of concealment. Modern mentality almost instinctively resents the presumption that sages of old put truth under a mask of subtle disguise. Modern canons of utility can admit no sense or sanity in a procedure of the sort. Truth is for general broadcasting, if only that its discoverer or author may get his financial reward for his contribution. But truth in ancient days was not sold to the public. There were, in the first place, no printing presses to manage its general and quick distribution. Secondly, it had to be safeguarded from the undisciplined who would misuse it. And thirdly, it had to be preserved. To this end it had to be embalmed in the amber of such myths, legends, folk-tales, parables and structures of natural symmetry as would become unforgettable mnemonics through the power of tradition. And finally it had to be expressed in a language that would be universally comprehensible - a language of living symbols. Therefore truth was dramatized and symbolized. The figures in the drama were the elements of divine and human nature; and the symbols were an alphabet of truth because they were phrases of truth itself in the world of flesh and matter. They carried to the mind their message of invisible truths because they were those invisible truths themselves appearing in manís cognizable world clothed in a garment (Page 63) of concreteness. Words are themselves but symbols. Objects of living nature are more definite speech to a discerning mind than formal language. It is as if one could throw the ideas of the mind on a screen. And Universal Mind did throw its archetypal ideas onto the screen of matter, where mortal man may look at them in their appearance that is not false, as philosophy has so mistakenly alleged, but true.

Unable to decipher the archaic language used, we have made hash of the true meaning of sacred love. The grandest of structures for truth-telling have been made into the grossest of fabrications. What the Bible has been declared to mean is inane nonsense; what it does actually mean is splendid truth. And the gross perversion and loss of its sense have come solely through our unfamiliarity with the special and involved techniques employed in writing the sacred books. Our efforts to read the texts in total ignorance of their art of literary indirection have run into the territory of the ridiculous.

The ancient scribes were, first of all, esotericists and wrote esoterically. All spiritual wisdom was held in secret brotherhoods and rigorously safeguarded from common dissemination. There existed a spiritual aristocracy quite difficult for us to conceive of, based on considerations the force of which we have lost the insight to appreciate. There were intellectual and spiritual castes, and the lower orders of mental capacity were not regarded as fitted to receive information where the qualifications for its social use were not fulfilled. Sheer pious faith could not alone gain one admission into the Mystery Schools. Actual discipline of body and mind, and certain inner unfoldments of faculty were held as requisite for the grasp of deeper truth. Initiation was to some real extent a matter of the mastery of theurgic powers dependent in the main upon purity of life. Esotericism arose primarily from the necessity of safeguarding the use of dynamic knowledge. Religion was far from being the jejune shell of social or mystical sentimentalism that it has so largely come to be at this epoch. It aimed to liberate the powerful forces hidden in the depths of manís psyche. It bore an immediate reference to individual evolution, in the processes of which natureís dynamic energies had to be controlled and intelligently directed. What we have derided as "magic" in the religion of old was just the control of subtle powers which we mostly permit to slumber in dormancy beneath the surface of our superficial life. Religion touched man so deeply in olden times that it awakened the (Page 64) potencies of his godlike endowment, an enterprise which concerns us rather little now. The imputation of sacredness to the rites of religion flowed directly from recognition of the vital issues at stake in the soulís incarnation on earth. And the right to participate in the higher mysteries, of which St. Paul speaks, belonged to those who had won it from nature by the payment of the full price - a life schooled to harmony by intelligent consecration of every personal force.

In spite of the enormous quantity of evidence pointing to the existence of a great body of esoteric teaching in the Mystery Brotherhoods, such a scholar as Renouf asks:[From Hibbert Lectures, p. 217. ]"Was there really, as is frequently asserted, an esoteric doctrine known to the scribes and priests alone, as distinct from the popular belief?" And his answer is: "No evidence has yet been provided in favor of this hypothesis." But how can Renouf support so negative a statement in the face of the positive testimony offered by Plato, Porphyry, Apuleius, Herodotus, Plotinus, Proclus, Iamblichus, Euripides and Cicero? He is decisively contradicted also by many modern writers, among them Angus, Kennedy and Halliday, who have undertaken profound and searching studies of the Mysteries. Certainly a man like Cicero can not be scorned when he testifies as follows:

"There is nothing better than those Mysteries by which, from a rough and fierce life, we are polished to gentleness and softened. And Initia, as they are called, we have thus known as the beginnings of life in truth; not only have we received from them the doctrine of living with happiness, but even of dying with a better hope."[Quoted in Preface to Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, by Manly P. Hall. ]

And is such a statement as the following from Plato without weight:

"But it was then lawful to survey the most splendid beauty, when we obtained, together with that blessed choir, this happy vision and contemplation. And we indeed enjoyed this blessed spectacle in conjunction with Jupiter . . . at the same time being initiated in those Mysteries which it is lawful to call the most blessed of all Mysteries. . . . Likewise in consequence of this divine initiation, we became spectators of entire, simple, immovable and blessed visions in the pure light. . . ."[Phaedrus, p. 64.]

To Renoufís ill-founded assertion it need only be rejoined that, to be sure, there is little or no evidence of esotericism, for the good reason (Page 65) that esotericism is the one thing in the world that is bound by its nature to leave little evidence! Does the scholar expect that the members of the Mysteries would have published their secrets abroad? On the contrary, they were bound to secrecy by the severest of all pledges.

Religious books have been written, if written at all, in cryptic form, with truth heavily veiled under the garb of cipher and symbol. Figures and glyphs had to be devised that would convey meaning to the initiated, but conceal it from the uninstructed. To interpret archaic literature one must learn to discern the intent of truth under the disguise of designed duplicity in the telling.

And it is further absurd for a Christian apologist to protest the fact of ancient esotericism, seeing that Christianity itself perpetuated esoteric distinctions in its own practices for two centuries. To this effect there is a mountain of evidence. Even the Christian Creed was kept largely a secret down to the fifth century. It was to be preserved in memory only. St. Augustine urged that no writing be done about the Creed because God had said that he would write his laws in our hearts and minds. According to J. R. Lumby, in his History of the Creeds (pp. 2, 3) there is found no specimen of a Creed until the end of the second century, and the oldest written Creed dates about the end of the third century.

The demands of an esoteric methodology account for the ancient use of mythopoeia. Here we encounter that feature of ancient procedure that has bred the prevalent wide confusion with respect to past wisdom, and find the solution of our bewilderment and ineptitude in face of ancient mythology. Our childish misconstruction that has written the record of our dull incomprehension across the scroll of literature for a millennium and a half, comes out in glaring silhouette as we fathom the devices of this cryptic treatment. We have mistaken symbolic language for direct speech. We have pitying condescension toward early races who explained the discovery of "fire" by the Promethean legend. We laugh at Hindus for saying that the earth is upheld by an elephant, which stands on a tortoise. We pridefully ask them on what the tortoise stood. Their pertinent answer might well be: "On modern stupidity." Not the ancients, but we, are the puerile party in the case. We, not they, have "believed" their myths. The apparent childishness of the myths is far overmatched by our real childishness in supposing they were taken as factual. One can not read in any (Page 66) modern academic work on ancient culture in Greece, Egypt, Chaldea or India without having to witness the birth anguish of the laboring idea that the myths reveal an inceptive stage of the slow evolution from primitive infantilism to our smug all-knowing wisdom.

We cast in the face of this presupposition the statement that the mythos was the designed instrument of consummate poetic and dramatic art!

The stories were devised to convey cosmical history, theogony, anthropogenesis, and finally individual experience of humans in the psycho-physiological development of mortal life. The whole cycle of the history of unfolding divinity in humanity was dramatized for stage enactment in the annual round of Mystery festivals. And portions of this drama have filtered down into the ritualism of practically every religion in the world. The epic of the human soul in earthly embodiment was the theme of every ancient poet and dramatist, and each strove to dress out the elements of the struggle in a new allegorical garb, with a new hero, whether Achilles, Hercules, Horus, Theseus, Aeneas, Orpheus, Jason, Dionysus, Buddha, Ulysses or Jesus, enacting the central role of the divine genius conquering the animal nature. In lieu of love, sex, detective, murder and gangster novels, the writers of the bygone era could deal but with one theme, that of the pilgrimage of the soul through the gamut of the elements. Each work was a Pilgrimís Progress. And novelty could be introduced only by the device of depicting the soulís experiences under a new allegorical situation, symbolizing afresh the old, old story of the immortal spiritís immersion in the sea of matter. In all, combats with dragons, wrestling with serpents, harassments by brute creatures, enchantments by Sirens, plottings of conspirators, imprisonment in dungeons and struggling through to an ultimate return to the original home of felicity, find their place. In one type of adventure after another the many features of the history of the divine Ego in its progress from earth back to the skies were allegorically portrayed. Every aspect of the experience had its appropriate myth.

Indeed there is every presumption in favor of the belief that the mythos was an infinitely more profound instrument in the hands of its inventors than we yet can fathom. It is hardly too much to affirm that it was the echo of the Logos itself carrying the form of the emanational Voice out into the material realm. The mythos brought the (page 67) unseen forms of abstract truth out into physical representation for the grasp of thought. There is warrant for believing that mutheomai, the Greek, meaning "to fable," "represent," "invent," is derivable from the Egyptian mutu, "quick utterance." It would suggest a form of direct speech to the intuitions. The myth made an outward picture of ideal forms. It dramatized truth. It had the graphic impressiveness of a cinematograph. This view is upheld by a writer who yet refutes at every turn the mythological basis of religion:[Emile Baumann, Saint Paul, p. 275. ]"It is the property of the mystic to proceed by way of images to the summit of a pure idea and the intellectual vision of the substance." That the myths were thus the vehicles for conveying the realization of abstract truths which could not be presented so forcefully in words alone seems indisputably clear. What is equally clear now is that, in the hands of ignorance, an exoteric rendering has taken the place of the esoteric, depriving the mind of its grasp on the essential truth intended in the adumbration. The danger of such a confusion was seen by Philo, the learned Jew, who when speaking of the Mosaic writings told his countrymen that "the literal statement is a fabulous one, and it is in the mythical that we shall find the true."[Quoted by Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 543. ] Philoís statement is not less apt for the present age.

Reluctant as is the modern scholar of repute to assent to the ascription of vital hidden meaning to the ancient legends, the truth in this regard is occasionally seen and admitted. It is refreshing to read such a passage as the following from one of the accredited authorities in the field of Egyptology. Speaking of the Mysteries of Osiris and the dramatic representations enacted each year at Abydos, he says:

"Every act was symbolical in character and represented some ancient belief or tradition. The paste, the mixture of wheat and water, the egg, the naked goddess Shenti, i.e., Isis in her chamber, the placing of the paste on her bed, the kneading of the paste into moulds, etc., represented the great processes of Nature which are set in motion when human beings are begotten and conceived, as well as the inscrutable powers which preside over growth and development. . . . And there was not the smallest action on the part of any member of the band who acted the Ďmiracle Playí of Osiris, and not a sentence in the Liturgy which did not possess importance and vital significance to the followers of Osiris."[E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 30. ]

In the light of such true words from one of the most eminent of Egyptologists it becomes next to incomprehensible that (Page 68) modern scholars have so wretchedly misconceived the inner purport of these old Mystery rituals and that the same scholar has himself most ridiculously misconstrued their meaning in many particulars. The broad modern assumption has been that the mythos was in toto a lot of mummery and that the rituals were a lot of hollow ceremonialism based on superstition. That they shadowed the greatest of spiritual truths has not yet entered the mind of any man highly received in the ranks of orthodox scholarship. No one has yet been able to tell these savants that they have been handling pearls, and not rubbish.

Yet they have been told, and by no one more courageously and vehemently than Gerald Massey, a scholar of surpassing ability whose sterling work has not yet won for him the place of eminence which he deserves. The wrecking of the mythos by ignorant literalism stirred Massey to bitter resentment against the perpetrators of the crime. His own words will speak best for him, while they support our own contentions:

"The aborigines did not mistake the facts of nature as we have mistaken the primitive method of representing them. It is we, not they, who are the most deluded victims of false belief. Christian capacity for believing the impossible is unparalleled in any time past amongst the race of men. Christian readers denounce the primitive realities of the mythical representations as puerile indeed, and yet their own realities alleged to be eternal, from the fall of Adam to the redemption by means of a crucified Jew, are little or nothing more than the shadows of these primitive simplicities of an earlier time. It will yet be seen that the culmination of credulity, the meanest emasculation of mental manhood, the densest obscuration of the inward light of nature, the completest imbecility of shuteye belief, the nearest approach to a total and eternal eclipse of common sense, has been attained beyond all chance of competition by the victims of the Christian creeds. The genesis of delusive superstition is late, not early. It is not the direct work of nature herself. Nature was not the mother who began her work of development by nursing her child in all sorts of illusions concerning things in general. . . . Primitive man was not a metaphysician, but a man of common sense. . . . The realities without and around him were too pressing for the senses to allow him to play the fool with delusive idealities. . . . Modern ignorance of the mythical mode of representation has led to the ascribing of innumerable false beliefs not only to primitive men and present-day savages, but also to the most learned and highly civilized people of antiquity, the Egyptians." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 33. As Massey is an authority frequently to be cited in this work, it is well to state that he was an English literary figure of some prominence in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first years of the twentieth. He studied the Egyptian hieroglyphics for forty years and had a force of transcribers employed in his later years of investigation to assemble the material from the monuments, tombs and papyri. His interpretation of Egyptian writings has been all too largely ignored by savants, yet he has the merit of having approached the task with a mind free from scholastic, theological or conventional biases, which have so utterly blinded the discernment and vitiated the conclusions of orthodox authorities. It is permissible for us to state that it was his works that opened our eyes to the hidden meaning under the material, when the works of more accredited specialists in the field had left us without a single enlightening hint. Massey is the only scholar in whose hands the recondite Egytpian material begins to take on rational significance. All the others leave it resembling unintelligible nonsense. Several important misconceptions in his interpretation are dealt with in the course of our work. Indeed we have used one or two of these as the most direct approach to a correction of the profound misconstructions which have vitiated the work of scholars in this field up to the present. ] (Page 69) He asserts again that the Egyptians "knew, more or less, that their own legends were mythical, whereas the Christians were vouching for their Mythos being historical." Concerning symbolism and mythical representation he emphasizes that "the insanity lies in mistaking it for human history or Divine Revelation." Mythology, he avers, is the repository of manís most ancient science, and "when truly interpreted once more, it is destined to be the death of those false theologies to which it has unwittingly given birth." Holding that all mythologizing originated in Egypt, he fights the conclusion of Renouf that "neither Hebrews nor Greeks borrowed any of their ideas from Egypt." The eminent scholar could not have known of Herodotusí statement that it was Melampus, the son of Amytheon, who introduced into Greece the name of Dionysus (Bacchus) and the ceremonial of his worship, having become acquainted with these and other practices in Egypt. Herodotus concludes:

"For I can by no means allow that it is by mere coincidence that the Bacchic ceremonies in Greece are so nearly the same as the Egyptian." [Lectures on Luniolatry, p. 2, by Gerald Massey. ]

Elsewhere (II, 81) he repeats:

". . . the rites called Orphic or Bacchic are in reality Egyptian and Pythagorean."

Massey claims that modern misinterpretation of ancient typology has made a terrible tyranny in the mental domain, much of our folklore and most of our popular beliefs being fossilized symbolism. "Misinterpreted mythology has so profoundly infected religion, poetry, art and criticism that it has created a cult of the unreal." He asserts that "a great deal of what has been imposed upon us as Godís direct, true and sole revelation to man is a mass of inverted myths."

Massey insists that theology is a diseased state of primitive mythology, contradicting the renowned Max MŁller, who has stated the contrary - that mythology was a disease of theology. Elsewhere he says that the Marchen are not reflections, but refractions, of the ancient myths. The mythos passed over into the folk-tale, not the folk-tale into the mythos. He contends that in truth the myths were the earliest forms taken by primitive thought in formulating representations of reality. Simple-minded early man saw life pictured by the living processes under his observation. Our own opinion diverges considerably from (Page 70) Masseyís at this point, since there is massive evidence, of the general type adduced in this work, to show that the myths were not the product of "primitive" simplicity, but on the contrary were devised by the highest mythopoetic genius. They were the output of a line of sages who knew the truth of what Paul has told us, that the inner world of ideality is understood by those things which are made, in the outer world of physis. They traced a marvelous series of parallels, correspondences, analogies between things seen and things unseen, the better to illustrate the latter. They knew that physical nature typed spiritual reality, and used the outlines of the former to pictorialize the latter. They took the tadpole or the serpent as the type of resurrected life, because they saw the spiritual process exemplified in these creatures. They took the hawk as the symbol of the risen soul because they saw the bird soar into the airy heights. They found in the mole a fit symbol of the soul immersed in the dark underworld of flesh, because the analogy was evident and under their eye. Nature supplied the suggestive identity, and they used it to teach subjective truths. Primitive man may well known the simple processes of nature from firsthand contact; but he will not know that they bespeak a spiritual counterpart of themselves in the interior life of man unless the sages so inform him. Masseyís view was not well considered in this regard. Whole generations of civilized folks have gazed upon the phenomena of nature and failed to be instructed spiritually by the spectacle. One must ask Massey if primitive fancy could construct allegories so profoundly elaborated that the united intelligence of the world for centuries has been unable to fathom their hidden significance. Millions of intelligent persons today have looked upon the sun and moon throughout the whole of their lives and have never yet discerned in their movements and phases an iota of the astonishing spiritual drama which the two heavenly bodies enact each month, a drama disclosed to our own astonished comprehension only by the books of ancient Egypt. Hundreds of celebrities in the field of Egyptology have mulled over the same material and have not yet lifted as much as a corner of the veil of Isis. Primitive simplicity could not have concocted what the age-long study of an intelligent world could not fathom. Not aboriginal naÔvetť, but exalted spiritual and intellectual acumen, formulated the myths. Reflection of the realities of a higher world in the phenomena of a lower world could not be detected when only the one world, the (Page 71) lower, was known. You can not see that nature reflects spiritual truth unless you know the form of spiritual truth. And such knowledge would be an a priori requirement to making the comparison at all! Did primitive man possess such profound knowledge of subjective truth?

But whence, it will be asked, came such exalted intelligence amongst the early undeveloped races? This question has been answered by the earlier statement that graduates of this or other cycles of growth had parented and tutored early mankind. A parent or guardian gives to the immature child a set of high maxims into the practical wisdom of which he is to grow in the course of his later development. Humanity was the ward of the demigods in remote times. And none but an intelligence beyond Shakespeareís, beyond Platoís, could have framed so marvelous a quiver of myths, the interior purport of which cannot even now be grasped save by the help of most recondite keys, themselves the distillation of a whole course of philosophical education. We have not read into the myths, as Massey claims, an unwarranted implication; we are only now, all too belatedly, drawing out of them some portion of a meaning deep as life itself, which they were from the first designed to embody. We do not have to superimpose extraneous meaning upon them. We find them already pregnant with truth. They shine with the flashing light of an inner connotation which they were intended to reflect. They were themselves the shadow in objective form of the substance of truth, and Massey must not object to our working from the shadow, as Plato suggested in the "cave allegory," back to the substance. It is the only method operable by men in the "cave."

The religious texts of old are at least one thing that did not arise from "primitive" ignorance. Says Budge, in speaking of the Egyptian Book of the Dead: "They canít be the literary product of savages or Negroes."[ ] He adds elsewhere:

"The descriptions of the heaven of the Egyptian depicted in the Pyramid Texts represent the conceptions of countless generations of theologians." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, I, p. 101. ]

Yet he refers to these Egyptian people as primitives. He reveals his mental obfuscation again in speaking of the Egyptian judgment:

"The pictorial form of the Judgment Scene cannot fail to strike us as belonging to a primitive period, when the Egyptians believed that hearts were actually weighed in the Balance before Osiris, while the words of the (Page 72) texts . . . suggest a development of ethics which we are accustomed to associate with the most civilized nations of the world." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, I, p. 334. ]

Apart from the fact that almost certainly no age of Egyptian history was so stupid as to believe that a living Osiris ever observed the weighing of physical hearts in an actual Judgment Scene - it being all a symbolical depiction - the passage discloses the confusion of the scholastic mind at the contemporaneous presence of elevated spirituality or ethics with alleged primitive culture. We see the same inadequacy of the "primitive" theory to meet the facts again in the following quotation from Budge:

"Mr. Dennett, after a long study of the religions of many tribes in Western Africa, says that the Bavili conception of God is so spiritual, or abstract, that he fears the reader will think him mad to suppose that so evidently degenerate a race can have formed so logical an idea of God." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, I, p. 370. ]

It seems never to have occurred to either Budge or Mr. Dennett or others that some saner age might some time pass upon our scholars the judgment of madness in thinking that the sublime spiritual conceptions of the Book of the Dead, the Chaldean Oracles, the Orphic Hymns, could have been the product of primitive peoples.

In discussing the (figurative) partaking by the ancient votaries of the bodies of their gods in the Eucharistic festival, which he mistakes for a literal eating (!), Budge traces the practice to a savage custom of cutting out and eating the vital organs of the bodies of captives in order to imbibe their courage, and says that "it is hard to understand the retention of such a notion in a text filled with sublime thoughts and ideas." Could not this distinguished scholar see that the sole difficulty in the matter was caused by the foolish attempt to read poetry and allegory as objective occurrence?

It is perhaps permissible to interject here an instance of the incapacity of modern academicians to interpret the ancient use of symbols. Says Budge again:

"The Egyptian Christian also associated the frog with new birth and on a Christian lamp described by Lauzone, is a figure of a frog surrounded by the legend ĎEgo eimi Anastasis,í ĎI am the Resurrection.í It is not easy at first sight to understand why the frog should have been a symbol of new life to the Egyptian any more than the beetle. . . ."[Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, I, p. 280. ] (Page 73) He finally arrives at the solution: "The frog appears with the coming of the rain, just as the beetle appears with the rising of the Nile, and so the ideas of new life and fertility became associated with them." That so eminent a scholar as Budge should admit the difficulty of understanding why the frog - which transforms from the tadpole - and the beetle - which goes into the ground only to reissue after an incubation of twenty-eight days as a new generation of himself - should have been taken as apt symbols of the resurrection is a sufficiently striking demonstration of the blindness with which modern presumption has approached the study of the lore of antiquity. The frog, the beetle, the snake, the worm becoming the chrysalis, were the obvious visible types of transfiguration and regeneration, the outward mark of the spiritual idea. Massey states that the Christian Fathers, with the exception perhaps of Clement of Alexandria, "had scarcely enough knowledge of the ancient symbolism to put any perceptible boundary to their ignorance." [Massey: The Natural Genesis, I, p. 431. ] They did not know that their Gospels were old Egyptian myths ignorantly literalized. Massey notes that Celsus "asked concerning the Christian legends, made false to fact by the ignorant literalization of the Gnosis,--ĎWhat nurse would not be ashamed to tell such fables to a child?í" One might paraphrase Celsusí question today by asking: "What age would not be ashamed to confess that it could not tell the difference between myths and actual history?"

Every religion apparently has begun at a high level and become corrupted until it stood in need of reformation and purification. Religions decay through atrophy of spiritual vision. Their course is marked by a blurring of the original light. Their fiery motivating spirit ever tends to become static. Early passion for radical regeneration of the life dwindles into a conservative tendency. The early dynamic symbols and slogans after a time lose their pristine significance. Hence the traditions, legends and rites found to be cherished by many semi-civilized tribes of our day are doubtless the decadent remnants or mere husks of former grand representations of spiritual truth. They do not represent the beginnings of crude religious apprehension; they are the crumbling ruins of once noble structures of wisdom and genius. Modern insight has entirely failed to sense this status of the religious material in anthropological study, in consequence of which the handling of religion as a sociological investigation has been (Page 74) marked by the grossest misconception, bewilderment and confusion. Academic opinion is that the myths and folk-tales are the groping efforts of undeveloped mind to interpret nature. But, on the contrary, they are the floating debris of splendid old formulations that once brimmed with the golden wine of high meaning. They are the wrack of mythology. "Whoever begins with the myths as a product of the Ďsavageí mind as savages are known today is fatally in error." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 29. ]Years of study convinced Massey that all the Marchen were the flotsam of old Egyptian wisdom-structures. He avers:

"We must go back to the Proto-Aryan beginnings which are Egyptian and Kamite. In Africa we find those things next to Nature where we can go no further back in search of origins. Egypt alone goes back far enough to touch Nature in these beginnings, and . . . Egypt alone has faithfully and intelligently kept the record." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 30. ]

In Budgeís Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection (Vol. I, p. 365) the author writes of the people of West Africa in relation to the assertion that they were primitive savages:

"This is a great mistake, for they possess the remnants of a noble and sublime religion, the precepts of which they have forgotten and the ceremonies of which they have debased."

Here for once the scholar glimpsed the truth of the anthropological situation as regards religious origins and subsequent decadence, and had he followed the light which here shone in his mind for the moment, he would have been spared the floundering in bogs and swamps of misconception which makes his treatises so nearly worthless in the end. In treating of that supposedly most debased of African religious customs, fetishism, he writes:

"Wherever we find fetishism it seems to be a corruption or modification of some former system of worship rather than the result of a primitive faith."

"All this is only theory as far as the Egyptians are concerned, but authorities on modern African religions tell us that this is exactly what has taken place among the peoples of West Africa. Thus Col. Ellis says that there is more fetishism among the Negroes of the West Indies, who have been Christianized for more than half a century, than amongst those of West Africa; for side by side with the new religion have lingered the old superstitions, whose true import has been forgotten or corrupted."[Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 201. ] (Page 75)

It served partisan ecclesiastical purposes in early times to weave some history into the texture of the allegory or to use certain bold historical events as the frame for the allegorical depiction. And this mixture has made the determination difficult in places. It is not an overstatement of truth to aver that the systems of mythology have served little better purpose in the Christian era than to detail the entire train of meaning. They have proved to be insoluble puzzles and enigmas. Our inability to make sense of them has totally distorted our estimate of Greek, Egyptian, Hindu and Chinese mentality, causing us to belittle their product most egregiously. Evidences of our erroneous estimates of their work are abundant. Lewis Spence quotes Budge (Egyptian Magic) as asserting that the Egyptians believed the gods could assume at will the forms of animals, and that this belief was the origin of the most sacred position accorded to animals in Kamite religion.

"This was the fundamental idea of so-called ĎEgyptian animal-worshipí which provoked the merriment of the cultured Greeks and drew down upon the Egyptians the ridicule and abuse of the early Christian writers."[Myths and Legends: Egypt, p. 271. ]

Budge is of record in a statement that

"it is doubtful if the Egyptian, at that time, had developed any spiritual conceptions, in our sense of the word; for although his ideas were very definite as to the reality of a future existence, I think that he had formulated few details about it, and that he had no idea as to where or how it was to be enjoyed."

Such a quotation provokes the comment that it might be heartily agreed that the Egyptians had no "spiritual conceptions in our sense of the word," for their understanding of eschatology far transcended ours in definiteness and lucidity, being both scientific and consistent, while ours is hazy and conjectural. And again, one could ask Budge just where in modern life the details as to the future state have been so expressly "formulated" on an accepted basis, and where one can gain explicit information nowadays as to "where and how it is to be enjoyed." For the Spiritualists are the only ones who have tried to set forth these matters with definiteness, and are we to understand that Budge regards their theories as the accepted knowledge of our brilliant era? Have not both science and the academic world scoffed at (Page 76) Spiritualistic offerings? Budge goes on to say that the student who views Egyptian religion "from the lofty standpoint of Christianity only," will regard it as gross polytheism or pantheism, expressed through rites that were cruel, bloodthirsty and savage, embellished with legends of the gods that are childish, the outcome of debased minds and imaginations, featuring a story of the resurrection of Osiris that is a farrago of nonsense in which absurd magical ceremonies play an impossible part, and a conception of heaven that bespeaks the imagination of a half-savage people. Yet he has more than once expressed his surprise at the sublimity and lofty purity of their presentments!

In his sorry effort at interpretation of the Egyptian Myths and Legends Lewis Spence adds clinching evidence of the utter incapacity of academic brains to discern in the least degree what the sages of old were laboring to do, when he permits himself to place the following shameful appraisal upon archaic intelligence:

"Again, to the Egyptian mind, incapable of abstract thought, an immaterial and intangible deity was an impossible conception. A god, and more so by reason of his godhead, must manifest and function in an actual body. . . . As the Egyptian everywhere craved the manifestation of and communion with his gods, it thus came about that incarnations of deity and its many attributes were multiplied."[Myths and Legends: Egypt, p. 283. ]

The consummate obtuseness that could prompt the ascription to the ancient Egyptian seers of the flat incapacity for abstract thought may not be comprehended in its bald grossness until the reader has finished the perusal of the present volume. We have not hitherto had the presentation of the lucid meaning of Egyptís religion to enable us to gauge the amazing injustice, as well as the crass stupidity, of so rank a judgment pronounced by ignorance against wisdom. In spiritual science we are still the barbarians.

Further comment would call attention to the sagacity of the Egyptians in refraining from doing the very thing of which Spence accused them,--of actualizing their deities as persons. Not the Egyptians but the Christians did this, in the person of Jesus. Personal gods were precisely the kind they did not have. What they had was representations of the gods, which is a whole kingdomís length away from the other conception. Their "gods" were in reality the actual energies of nature, of matter and of mind in the universe, graded in (Page 77) a wonderful hierarchy. These are intangible powers, and what can puny man do other than represent them by one or another type of image? The Egyptians had quite unaccountable knowledge of these sublimer forces, with some of which, as the ethers and the rays, modern science is now slowly becoming acquainted, and they poetically imaged them under deific names, as Thoth, Anup, Kheper, Khnum, Osiris, Horus, Ptah, Set, Isis, Nephthys and Ra. But gods in human flesh (except by personation) they expressly did not have. Budge wastes pages over the discussion as to whether Osiris was a living character; and decided that his tomb, with his actual bodily remains, was at Abydos. The time has come to cry out against such incompetent muddling and to bend ourselves with what capacity we have to unravel the golden threads of supernal wisdom running their magnificent design through the old books of Egypt.

Budge was a few times astute and fair enough to admit that injustice had been done to pagans by Christian aspersions as to their addiction to idol-worship and fetishism. He well recalls that the Portuguese Christian explorers adjudged the African tribes to be practitioners of witchcraft and sorcery simply because they were themselves familiar with it and gratuitously translated observed African ceremonies as such. He is good enough to say that "neither the Egyptian nor the modern African ever believed in the divinity of their amulets or fetishes, and they never considered them to represent deities." He quotes Dr. Nassau as a final authority in stating that "the thing itself, the material itself, is not worshipped. . . . Low as is fetishism, it nevertheless has its philosophy, a philosophy that is the same in kind as that of the higher forms of worship." The apex of fairness is reached in Budgeís statement in the Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, Vol. I, p. 198:

"From first to last there is no evidence whatever that the Egyptians worshipped a figure or symbol, whether made of metal or wood, stone, porcelain or any other substance, unless they believed it to be the abode of a spirit of some kind. So far from fetishism being peculiarly characteristic of Egyptian religion, it seems to me that this religion, at all events in its oldest forms, was remarkably free from it." (Page 78)

Chapter V

LOOSING THE SEVEN SEALS

If the mythologies of the early nations have been a source of perplexity and bafflement to students, no less so has been the Christian Bible itself. Not even the most rabid Christian partisan could claim that the book has throughout a clear message, clearly to be apprehended. Outside of much simple homiletic truth which has yielded comfort to troubled hearts, the Bible is as yet practically a sealed book. Its meaning is not known at the present day. Nothing but the thinnest shadow of the truth that the book portrays has yet fallen across the threshold of modern understanding. No suspicion of the grand completeness of its message has yet dawned upon us. Nineteen hundred years of theological digging has not unearthed the treasure buried under its allegorical profundities. And this failure has been due to our stubborn refusal to reject the Bible as history, and to accept it as cryptic typology. From beginning to end the Bible is nothing but a series of spiritual allegories traduced to history or interwoven with some history.

A further startling discovery along this line is that the series of myths deals not with a wide variety of spiritual or cosmical situations, but only with the same one situation in endless repetition! There is but one story to religion and its Bibles, only one basic event from which spring all the motivations of loyalty and morality that stir the human heart. The myth-makers had but one narrative to relate, one fundamental mystery of life to dilate upon. All phases of spiritual life arise out of the elements of the one cosmic and racial situation in which the human group is involved; and all scriptural allegory has reference to this basic datum, and meaning only in relation to it. The myths are all designed to keep mankind apprised of this central predicament. It is the key to the Bible. And it is the loss of this key situation that has caused the Book to be sealed against the age-long assaults of our curious prying and delving. The restoration of this key to our hands will (Page 79) be seen at once to open the doors to a vision of clear meaning, where now stalks dark incomprehensibility. Cosmology has been almost wholly discarded from religion since Miltonís day, yet a cosmical situation provides the ground for all adequate interpretation of Bible representation. The one central theme is the incarnation.

Beside esotericism and allegorism the Bible composers had recourse to another method which is less readily demonstrable and which has caused the confusion incident to mistaking myth for history to be far worse confounded. It was the method of uranography. The uranograph was the chart of the heavens with the constellated pictography. From remote times the ancients dealt with a celestial chart or map, on which their earliest teachers had essayed to depict the features of the soulís experience in the scenes which their enlightened imaginations had traced about the star clusters. The stellar zodiacs left at Denderah, Pylae and elsewhere are impressive reminders of the influence of this heavenly scenograph. The discovery in quite recent years of the Somerset zodiac in England, a giant zodiac wrought, it is calculated, 2700 B.C. in the natural features of the countryside covering one hundred square miles, with the figure of Leo, the Lion, four miles from nose to tail-tip, is another most authentic attestation to the basic significance which symbolical astrology has held in ancient religious formulations. Present students have as yet little conception of how generally this graph was employed in spiritual ideography and how pervasively it colored the composition of the scriptural writings. It is next to impossible to grasp subtle references in the Bible and other archaic literature without a knowledge of the features of this planisphere. Bibles are in fact, in a broad general sense, just the literary extension and amplification of the symbology of the zodiac! The sages had first written the history of the human soul upon the starry skies.

If we hold them guilty of having thus perpetrated what seems to us pure whimsicality, we are convicted of ignorance on another count. They were depicting history in that sphere where it had first occurred, before it began with man on earth. Spiritual history had been enacted on a cosmic scale in the heavens, in higher ranges of cosmic life, before it was repeated and copied in the human drama on this globe. The heavenly man, in whose image and likeness earthly man is made, and in whose body the suns and planets are but cells and organs, was the prototype of man himself. And so it comes that humanity was in (Page 80) primordial times instructed to build its life "after the pattern of things in the heavens." The planisphere was the historical and anatomical graph of the Divine Cosmical Man, and it became at once a secret glyph for the behoof of mundane humanity.

In the spirit of this understanding the religious teachers of yore ever sought to write into human, racial, national and individual history the reflection or pattern of the uranograph. This effort was the secret motif back of all national epics! The epic was an attempt to fashion national history in the similitude of the structural unity of the divine plan for macrocosmic, and by reflection, microcosmic, man. This is in general the theme of such an esoteric work as the Jewish Kabalah.

The distinctive features of the cosmograph are in evidence in every case. In every religious epic there is first and centrally a Holy City, a "Jerusalem," residence of the king and the eventual home of all the elect. There is next an Upper and Lower Land, typifying the dual segmentation of heaven and earth, or spirit and body, in manís nature, which was in all systems held to be the union of a divine with an animal principle. The two sections were always connected by a river, rising in the higher mountainous sources in the Upper Kingdom and flowing thence, carrying its blessings of fertility, down into the Lower Kingdom, which is thus nourished by the living water from above. Then there was always a bordering sea, symbolical in every case of the stormy ephermeral scene of the mortal life. No less was there a smaller water, a lake, Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Jordan River, Styx River, or the marshes or fens, which were to be crossed by the voyaging soul to reach the more blessed isles, or farther shore of spiritual bliss. Strangely enough there, was a further division of the land into seven tribal provinces, a heptarchy or heptanomis, as in Egypt, Judea, England and elsewhere. This division was representative of the seven kingdoms of nature, the seven stages of unfoldment through which life must pass in the completion of every cycle. At other times the division was a decad, after the pattern of the Sephirothal Tree of the Kabbalah, but eventually redistributed in twelve sections, as in the case of the Hebrews, Athens, Afghanistan and some others, reflecting the twelvefold segmentation of the zodiac, which in turn typified the twelve levels of manís evolutionary attainment, or "twelve manner of fruits" on the branches of the Tree of Life, the twelve divine elements of manís perfected being. Likewise there was (Page 81) always a definite locality designated as the birthplace of the god, which was in many instances also his place of death and burial and following resurrection. Other centers marked the scene of his initiations, temptations, baptisms, trials, crucifixion and transfiguration, every stage of his evolutionary experience, in fact. Then there were cities dedicated to the special cult of the sun, the moon, and even such stars as Orion, the stellar symbol of the Christos; or of Sirius, the great Dog-Star, symbol of the advent. The four cardinal points were featured, as emblematic of the four pillars of manís constitution, his physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies and natures. A warfare between the Upper and Lower Lands and their kings was generally a part of the "history," ending in the conquest of the Lower by the Higher and the union of the two under the crown of dual sovereignty. This drama was enacted so often in the "history" of so many kings of Egypt that even a scholar of the eminence of the late William H. Breasted, in his History of Egypt, expresses his puzzlement over the fact that nearly every Pharaoh of the dynasties had to conquer Lower Egypt afresh and unite the two halves of the country under a common hegemony! In all likelihood the physiography and organic structure of the heavenly man was to some extent copied in the distribution and construction of pyramids, tombs, temples and other sanctuaries, and the pyramids themselves were quite obviously astronomical graphs with ceremonial design and conformations. There was a mountain or holy hill of the Lord, and there were points of entrance and exit from and to the lower world of Amenta.

The celestial typology having been engrafted on the topography of the country itself, the next measure was to weave the dramatic features into the national history. Egypt and the Hebrew tribes are perhaps the most outstanding examples of the operation of this methodology on an extensive scale, how extensive the general student of the present age is unprepared to believe. Thus the names associated for ages with cosmic and spiritual typism were spread out over the maps of the different lands; and the national kings, heroes, warriors, sages became titular characters in the immemorial heavenly drama. In the light of this custom we are in a position to reach a conclusion of the very greatest importance for research, affecting the entire view of scripture as history. For we are confronted with the inexpugnable fact that the names and events in religious scripts were for the greater part not (Page 82) the products of objective history in the first place, but on the contrary the names and events in assumed history were a deposit from the religious books! The names of kings, heroes, cities, lakes, rivers and mountains were on the uranograph long before they appeared on national maps! They were transferred from the uranograph to the maps! The occurrences of Bible "history" had been enacted annually or nightly among the stars of the sky long before they became incorporated in the epics of religion. And they had been in the epics before they became assigned to actual localities and personages. Heavenly regions and spiritual transactions were finally brought to earth and given a local habitation on land and in history. In short, the naming of geographical features was done by the sacerdotal castes in each country, in which task they simply sought to pattern their country and its history after the scheme of the uranograph! Their map and their history were cast as far as could be done in the mold of the cosmic chart. Each nation designed to make its configuration and history reflect and fulfill the heavenly model!

A partial exemplification of the same tendency can be seen even in our own American history, where the priestly class gave religious names to the earliest settlements and geographical features. The practice is attested by such names as Salem, Providence, New Haven, Newark, New Canaan, Bethlehem, Nazareth (Pennsylvania), Sante Fe, Sacramento, Corpus Christi, Los Angeles, Vera Cruz, San Salvador, San Domingo and a list of saintsí names and holy appellations. The Puritans from England and Holland emigrated to New England actuated powerfully by the assurance that they were going to fulfill in the new continent the ancient Covenant between Jehovah and the Israelites. The Mayflower was part of the religious epic. The Anglo-Israel movement of the present day manifests largely the same tendencies.

The theory here advanced is not without support from other authorities. The following brings the weight of a very venerable document to the endorsement of the idea:

"It has already been suggested that the mapping out of localities was celestial before the chart was geographically applied and that all common naming on earth came from one common naming of the heavens, commencing with the Great Bear and the Dog. The mapping out of Egyptian localities according to the celestial Nomes and scenery is described in the (Page 83) inscription of Khnum-hept, who is said to have Ďestablished the landmark of the south, and sculptured the northern - like the heaven. He stretched the Great Bear on its back. He made the district in its two parts, setting up their landmarks, like the heaven.í" (Records of the Past, XII, 68.)

An evident additional corroboration of the theory is contained in the injunction given to Moses in the Bible:

"See that thou make all things after the pattern shown thee in the Mount . . . the pattern of the heavens."

"Jerusalem, the Mount of Peace, the Nabhi-Yoni of the Earth, was one of these sacred cities that were mapped out according to the Kamite model in the heavens." [Massey: The Natural Genesis, I, p. 168. ]

"The pattern of things in the Mount," "the pattern of the heavens," has not hitherto been seen to be the Biblical analogue and symbol of Platoís ideal forms. The Mount, the heavens, are of course the heights of divine ideation, whereon God projected his new world in thought forms before he impressed them upon matter. The heavens are the uplands of consciousness, or spheres of being, not physical localities. God formed his mental models on the Mount of Vision and Imagination before he cast them into concretion.

So far from grasping the uranographic art as the key to the historical problem in all scriptures, late writers vent their skepticism on this point in passages such as this:

"What proof is there - we ask once more - that the people, the mystics even, of two thousand or more years ago, read all this into the heavens; that they regarded the various divisions and towns, and the river and name of Galilee, as mystical and earthly reflexes of these celestial phenomena!"[The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels, T. J. Thorburn, p. 108. ]

There is proof enough in the very fact that the ancient seers were poets and allegorists, and not historians. Practically conclusive evidence that Bible names are not objective or historical (in the first place) is to be found in the fact that there are in the Bible some scores of allusions to such local names as Egypt, Jerusalem, Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, Sidon, Gilead, Assyria, Galilee, Ethiopia and others which, if taken in the earthly geographical sense, yield no intelligible meaning whatever. Further evidence is to be found in the notable fact that the divisions and localities on mundane maps do in the main largely match the celestial features. Charts of the "Holy Land of Canaan" have been (Page 84) found extant in early Egypt as much as three hundred years before the alleged Israelite exodus, whence it is to be presumed that this promised land of peace and plenty was allegorical before it was historical. Massey states that an entablature on the wall of an Egyptian temple bore a list of some hundred and twenty place names afterwards localized in Palestine, at a date at least one hundred and fifty years before there could possibly have been an exodus of Israelites from Egypt. It requires little "proof" to ascertain that "Egypt" as used throughout the Bible has the meaning of the lower self or animal-human personality, indeed the physical body of man itself. Jerusalem means the "holy city" or the heavenly realms, which are in consciousness, not on the map.

"The picture of this paradise in the Hebrew writings, the Psalms, the Books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation, were pre-extant long ages earlier as Egyptian. What the so-called Ďprophetsí of the Jews did was to make sublunary the vision of the good time in another life. There were always two Jerusalems from the time when Judea and Palestine were appendages of Egypt. Two Jerusalems were recognized by Paul, one terrestrial, one celestial. The name of Jerusalem we read as the Aarru-salem or fields of peace in the heaven of the never-setting stars. The burden of Jewish prophecy, which turned out so terribly misleading for those who were ignorant of the secret wisdom, is that the vision of this glorious future should be attained on earth; whereas it never had that meaning. . . . Thus Jerusalem on earth was to take the place of Jerusalem above and the Aarru-hetep became Jerusalem simply as a mundane locality."[Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 539. ]

From numberless texts in the Bible itself which point to the correctness of the uranographic interpretation of names we take one alone, which by itself is enough to substantiate the claim made in this connection. In Revelation (II: 8), speaking of the two witnesses whom it is said the dragon will rise up and slay, the apocalyptic writers says:

"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

There is enough in this verse to confound the entire schematism of Christian theology as historically based. It implies a clear refutation of the whole Passion Week and Good Friday ritual, as commemorative of "history." Jesus, so it says, was not crucified in an earthly Jerusalem, (Page 85) but only in a spiritual one, the name of which is indifferently Sodom or Egypt, the latter not even the name of an earthly city, but of a country! Jesus crucified in Egypt! And what becomes of the Gospel "history"? It is left to take its only true place, which is among the sacred myths! The crucifixion was, on the authority of the Bible itself, a spiritual and not a historical transaction.

T. J. Thorburn, author of a work aiming to invalidate the mythical nature of the Gospels, reveals the perplexity as well as the ineptitude of orthodox scholars in the face of the ancient trick of uranography and allegory:

"And if their statements are not to be taken in their natural and historical sense, then we must hold that in ancient literature it is more than doubtful whether writers ever mean precisely what they say."[ The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels, p. 109.]

They surely never dreamed that an age would come, so far lost to the mythical intent of their writings as to suppose they ever meant literally what they said. They could not know that the wisest savants of a distant epoch would be so blinded by the forces of obscurantism as not to realize that the old books spoke only in the terms of those earthly forms that adumbrate spiritual realities. The old masters of religious science were not in the habit of speaking "precisely"; they spoke under the forms of figure always. They could not suspect that their indirect poetical method would so outrageously befuddle modern "intelligence."

Ancient philosophy was intensely responsive to the conception that all things mundane were a lower copy of things empyrean. On the theory that all forms of life were typical of the one basic nature of all life everywhere, the sages read into earthly things the reflection of things celestial. Jesus said he could not tell the disciples of heavenly things unless they had first believed in earthly things. The sea of earth life reflected heavenly life in its bosom. The seers who knew that nature was a dramatization of cosmic archai, sought for the evidence of the archetypal design in every phenomenon on earth. With what remarkable nicety they traced higher truth in the mirror of nature we shall see clearly as the story unfolds. So, in the end, in their religious life they labored to represent their history as conforming to the primordial type. To this end they resorted to a measure which has caught and deceived purblind scholarship since that time. (Page 86)

From the general thesis that their national history reflected Godís plan for the world, it was an easy step to the more explicit assumption that their national life embodied the divine plan. They threw about themselves the aureole of divinely constituted agency to fulfill the cosmic plan. They therefore arrogated to themselves the title of "Godís chosen people," and took the names allotted only to the spiritualized humans, the men evolved to divinity! This tack will not appear either unlikely or outlandish when we ponder the disposition of nations in our own day to put forth blatant claims to be the chosen agents of Providence for the cultural rulership of the world.

Even if there seems to be veridical history in the Bible, it can be viewed properly as a setting for the spiritual dramatization, or as the clothing in which the drama was garbled. At times, perhaps, the writers appear to have utilized the data of actual history to stage the symbolic figurations. To this task the religious poets dedicated their ingenuity.

It becomes evident on this thesis that the historical element of the scriptures is of far less significance than has been supposed. It is the philosophy of history and not the data of history that is of foremost concern. As exhibiting providential design in world life it becomes of epic moment. The Hebrew race has exploited this phase of the old methodology to its highest possibility, only, however, as Egypt had done before it; and has been so successful that it has left the impression of a unique and exalted hierarchical status for the Jewish race. The outcome of our correction of vision will be that we shall for the first time properly regard the Old Testament books as, in the main, the universal drama of the spiritual life masquerading in the disguise of Hebrew history subtly woven into the great cosmic epic! The Biblical title Israelites is a spiritual designation purely, and is wrongly taken in the sense of the name of an ethnic group. "My people of Israel" or "the children of Israel" of the Hebrew deity are just the divinized humans, mortals who have put on the immortal spiritual nature, men graduated into Christhood, a spiritual group in the early Mysteries. Gentiles were those who were not yet spiritually reborn. The word comes from the Latin and Greek roots, "gen," "gent," meaning simply "to be born." They were those born as the first or natural man, but not yet reborn as the spiritual Christ. It can be given no ethnic reference. The name "Israelite" is obviously compounded of "Is," abbreviation of Isis, or Eveís original name, Issa (See Josephus); "Ra," the great Egyptian (Page 87) solar god, male and spiritual; and the Hebrew "El," God. It would then read, Father-Mother-God, making his "children" the sons of God, i.e., Christs. Likewise the name "Hebrews" means "those beyond" (the merely human state), and therefore is practically identical with "Israelites." Finally the term "Jews" (from the plural of the Egyptian IU--Latin JU) refers to the "male-female divinities," a title given in the Mysteries to men made gods and thus restored to androgyne, or male-female, condition. The national Jews thus adopted for their historical name all three of the exalted spiritual designations conferred in the Mysteries on the Epoptae or completely divinized candidates.

It was hardly expected that any positive documentary evidence could be found in support of the evident fact that these names had simply been appropriated by the race using them as illustrious titles abstracted from the uranograph. But a direct statement to that precise effect was found in the Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius, a learned German scholar, (on p. 6):

"Of the names Hebrews . . . and Israelites . . . the latter was more a national name of honor and was applied by the people to themselves with a patriotic reference to their descent from illustrious ancestors; . . ."

This is of vast significance as affecting the historical view of the Bible, with possible extremely severe repercussions on world history of the present.

The fourth consideration found essential to a grasp of archaic meaning is the knowledge that religion was an outgrowth from a specific situation involving the human race at its beginning. Religion is commonly assigned to a category under the head of psychology. It is a matter of mind and emotion.

But the roots of religion are found to go deeper than any mere inclination of the psyche. Eventually religion took psychological forms of expression, but it was originally not mere psychology. It was an outgrowth of anthropology. It took its rise out of the racial or evolutionary beginnings and bore an immediate relation thereto. Every feature of it was engendered out of the interrelation of the several elements entering into the compound of manís constitution.

Human nature was composed of more than one element. There were the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. (Page 88) More compactly viewed, there are the human-animal and the divine. Religion is just the play of the factors of the interrelationship subsisting between these several natures in man. Or it is the relation between man and his god, the latter being universally existent primarily within him, secondarily without. It details the history of the soul or divine spark of spirit in its cyclical incorporation in human bodies. Its central fact is the incarnation, the relation of soul to body, God to man, man to God.

According to Platoís Timaeus and other archaic documents a group of twelve legions of "junior gods," who were sparks of the eternal Flame of cosmic mind, were ordered, as their assignment in the cooperative work of creation with Deity, to descend to earth and elevate the races of the highest animal development by linking their own mental capacity with the organisms thus far developed by the evolution of form. They were to lift the animals across the gulf between the summit of instinct and the beginnings of reason. These angels were devas, "bright" or "shining" emanations of divine intelligence, but were not exempt from the "cycle of necessity," or periodical immersion in forms of physical embodiment on a planet for purposes of their own further self-evolution. It subserved both the interests of their own progress and that of the animals they were to uplift, that the two races, the one germinally conscious and immortal, the other dumbly brutish and mortal, should be periodically joined together, the higher to be the king and ruler of the lower. The procedure thus adopted by life gave to the animal the possibility of evolving a mind through association with a mental nature, and to the intelligent spirits the physical bodies that were their particular requirement for contacting the type of experience they were destined to undergo. If this seems bizarre, it must be remembered that all living entities are the result of the linkage of a spiritual nucleus with a material organism. No creature lives but what is compounded of "soul" and body.

In conformity with evolutionary law these legions of devas or angels, we are told, descended to earth, took lodgment in the bodies of higher animals and began their career of redeeming the lower creatures to mental status. In the Timaeus these "junior gods" are addressed by the Demiurgus (the creative Logos, Jupiter) and are told to descend and "convert yourselves according to your natures to the fabrication of animals," the gist of their mission being summed up in the command (Page 89) to "weave together mortal and immortal natures." This is one of the most important utterances of ancient scripture, because it announces the character of our constitution and sets forth plainly our evolutionary commission. It tells us that we are both animal-human and divine at once, animal as to our bodies, divine as to our intellects. For Plato says: "According to body it is an animal, but according to intellect a god." Our earthly task, according to St. Paul, is to link together the two natures in "one new man," bringing to an end in a final "reconciliation" "the battle of Armageddon," the aeonial warfare between the "carnal mind" of the animal and the spiritual mind of the god. This warfare is also Platoís strife between noŽsis, the spiritual intelligence, and doxa, the motions of the sense nature. The soul is here in body to discipline the latter by the inculcation of habits of rectitude until the animal learns to use the powers of mind. Tutoring the animal, the soul at the same time achieved its own higher schooling in deific unfoldment. This interlocking of the two grades of life in one organism must be constantly kept in view if the proper study of religion is to be made. No organic evolution can proceed from one kingdom to another without the deploying of the mental resources of a superior kingdom in aid of the level below it. And each kingdom profits by the act of brotherhood. The god achieves his own further apotheosis by reaching down to raise the animal to human estate.

It must be noted that when the intelligence of the god is joined to the life of the animal, it communicates but a fragment of its power to the organism, remaining for the larger part of its conscious being hidden on its own spiritual plane. It thus becomes an invisible guardian, or what the ancients called the "daimon." Lurking in the background of consciousness, it is what modern psychology has lately discovered and named the "collective unconscious." From behind the curtain, as it were, it directs the animal with only a tentacle of its power. It can not incorporate in the animal a greater measure of its capacity than the latter can suitably accommodate and carry. It will push down into expression more and more of itself as the refinement of the coarse body goes on apace. Like a radio, the mechanism must be tuned up higher to register finer vibrations. In the Greek theosophy it is stated that "the gods distribute divinity" to the grades of beings below them, which "participate according to their capacity."

In briefest summary (to be amplified to greater elaboration in the (Page 90) sequel) this is the basic cosmological and racial datum of every old religion. Together with its implications it is the basis of every religious interpretation ever made or to be made. Every problem of ethics, devotion, discipline and intellect receives its full complement of value and meaning only in reference to this fundamentum. Religion is far more than a posture of mystic feeling; it was in origin a series of codes, principles and practices given by the demigods to early mankind to awaken the torpid genius of our actual divinity. In a true sense it was designed to wield a semi-magical influence to transform animal man into the divinized human! Its rites were formulated with a view to bestirring manís memory of his essential deific character. It was in no sense merely worship. It was the most intensely practical and utilitarian culture the world has ever known. It was designed to prevent the utter loss of purpose and failure of effort in the cosmical task to which man, as a celestial intelligent spirit, had pledged himself under the Old Testament covenant and "the broad oaths fast sealed" of Greek theology. In coming to earth to help turn the tide of evolution past one of its most critical passages, he bound himself to do the work and return without sinking into the mire of animal sensuality. We must henceforth approach religion with the realization that it is the psychic instrumentality designed for the use of humanity in charting its way through the shoals of the particular racial and evolutionary crisis in which it was involved. All the stupendous knowledge relating to the entire cosmic chapter was once available, given by the gods to the sages. We have nearly lost it beyond recovery because the ignorance of an early age closed the Academies and crushed every attempt to revive the teaching. The prodigious folly of the modern essay to vitalize religion through piety alone will be more fully seen as the ancient picture takes form in the delineation. Our present business is to struggle to regain that lost paradise of intelligence. We must work again to the recognition of our high cosmic mission, and revivify the decadent forms of a once potent religious practique, based on knowledge. For spiritual cultism was once vitally related to our evolutionary security, which stands jeopardized by present religious desuetude.

The nature of the material to be presented in volume will enforce by the sheer illuminative power of the interpretation itself the necessity for this extended introduction. It was quite impossible to undertake the exegesis of recondite scriptures long misinterpreted or never (Page 91) interpreted at all, without providing a rationale of ancient literary methodology and setting up a background of philosophical light. The erection of this background was made all the more necessary by the inveterate recalcitrancy of modern scholarship to recognize the applicability of the methods and principles outlined. Their validation by the substance and meaning of the larger presentment now to be made involves nothing less than the complete revision of all our interpretative norms in religious study. (Page 92)

Chapter VI

THE DESCENT TO AVERNUS

The rectification of misguided rendering of holy writ in its entirety is a work of great magnitude and will tax severely the capacity of a single book. Particularly in regard to the traditional dogmas of theology, where misconception has become embedded in set habitudes of mind, the reinterpretation can be established only by the presentation of material in overwhelming quantity. The bare statement of the main theses of the venerable philosophy would be met with contempt or arrogant rejection. The claims must therefore be buttressed by a mass of irrefutable data. This material has not been marshaled for this use before in anything like organic array.

The story most properly begins with what is called in theology "the descent of the gods." Traditional lore is replete with legends of the "expulsion of the angels," "the fall of Lucifer and his hosts," "the fall from heaven," and the more philosophical "descent of the soul." These phrase-titles relate to the first step in the series of pre-historical and even pre-mundane episodes which culminated in the establishment of humanity on earth and the fabrication of human nature combining both a natural and a supernatural element. The substrate datum in religion is that man is an animal and a god in union. There were animals on earth and angels in heaven; and the counsels of cosmic intelligence decreed that the angels should join forces with the animals and be their gods. The conjunctive experience would educate both parties. The effort to overcome matterís inertia and the sense urge of the flesh would develop more dynamic spiritual initiative for the gods. They would be forced to deploy more of their potential and as yet static divine power to gain mastery over the elementary forces of the physical world.

Hints are not wanting in the old scripts to show that their obligation to leave their home of blissful rest in dreamy sub-consciousness in (Page 93) the ethereal spheres and suffer the hardships of earth life in gross animal bodies was in some part at least a measure of karmic retribution for past dereliction elsewhere. Pride and insolence are ascribed to them by Greek theology. Violated oaths and "Moiraís bounds transgressed" are alluded to by the philosophic poets. As evolution links penalty with readjustment and forward progress, it is not difficult to admit the play of both retributive and normal procedure in the enforced descent of minor deities to our globe. It is the expulsion of Satan and his hosts from heaven in Paradise Lost and Revelation. So presented, it has been taken either as a mythical unreality or an inscrutable chapter of celestial history, and discarded from serious consideration in religious systematism. It is, however, the central situation and must be restored to its pivotal place of consequence in the picture. The doctrine of the "descent" is crucial for the interpretation. True or false, it is what the scriptures are building their narratives upon.

Of the original twelve legions of deities, ten have plunged into the stream of incarnation and are now passing through the experiences incident thereto. At the conclusion of the venture, after many incarnations for each individual member, they will return to their celestial abodes, transfigured and further divinized. The allegory of the Prodigal Son is a short glyph or graph of this evolutionary descent and return. There is hardly a religious book of any ancient nation that does not deal more or less directly with that event.

To see the "descent" as an integral function of cosmic process and not as a calamitous "fall," it is quite necessary to expound a portion of Orphic-Platonic cosmogony.

The beginning must be made where creation itself begins. It starts from Unity. All things proceed from what was aboriginally and ever ultimately is, the One Life. The pagan name for the Supreme Power was commonly The One. All things ultimately resolve into the primordial One, since they emanate from that One in the beginning. Before manifestation takes place, Being is homogeneous, undifferentiated. It is uniform similitude and excludes dissimilitude. It is all One Essence, alike in every part, if parts there are.

But in such state it is unmanifest, and from our point of view unconscious, asleep, inert. The Hindu term is Pralaya. And out of Pralaya it must awake, for it sleeps only in alternate turn with waking (Page 94 ) activity, as do all its creatures made in its likeness. It passes, like them from death to life and back again, in eternal routine.

To awake and come into being it must by force of logic perform an operation upon its own nature which is the first ground of manifestation. It can not create a universe in which to live and suffer experience without breaking its Unity apart into duality. For it must become Consciousness on the one side, in order to know what and how to create, and Matter on the other, if it is to have material with which to create! So it must split its primal Oneness into a dualism which however is still subsumed under the unity. It becomes two in one or the One in two. The One has not become Two, but a twoness.

It virtually can not create without throwing itself into the condition of being at a tension between two aspects of itself, on the strength of which tension it can exert its inchoate energies. It must therefore manifest itself as the two ends of a polarity, positive and negative. It must become polarized in relation to itself; and so it takes on the double-aspected characterization of spirit and matter, male and female, consciousness and vehicle, function and instrument, attraction and repulsion, visible and invisible, real and actual. Positively, like the proton of the atom, it must stand stably in the center, governing, holding, regulating the cyclical whirl of negative force about its eternal rock of durability. Negatively, like the electrons, it must revolve in the periodic swing of active life. It must provide the dual grounds for living existence, a conscious nucleus presiding at the heart of moving, changing embodiments. It must become, out of itself, subject, knowing, and object, to be known. Its entire purpose is obviously to arise out of unconscious slumber and become ever more awake and more concretely conscious. Since there is nothing of which it can be conscious save itself, the aim of Life is thus ever to become more Self-conscious! Therefore it must, so to speak, set itself as object over against itself as subject, and down the ages and the cycles ever thus contemplate itself. It is the seeing eye and the thing seen, as all profound esoteric philosophy asserts.

As Genesis puts it, God effected his creation, gazed upon it with gratification and pronounced it good. To see his creation he had to objectify, hypostasize, reify his thoughts, the radiations of his subjective aspect. For he creates by thoughts. He must see his ideas form in (Page 95) concretion before him, take on material body and come to visible manifestation for himself and his creatures.

So his expression proceeds from unity to duality, and from duality it runs further onward to infinite multiplicity. Multiple manifestation is achieved by the operation of a principle which is easily comprehended. As life has split into spirit and matter, the one mobile, the other inert, the unity of the mobile is broken up into multitude as it moves against the immobile. The lighter essence, spirit, is broken and divided as it moves outward against the resistance of matter. A suggestive illustration is the infinite division of a body of water dropped as one unit from a height as it falls against the resistance of the air. Its sheer motion and speed throws it apart. The circulation of the blood from the central heart, dividing endlessly till it reaches the periphery in numberless streamlets, is a similar reflection of the universal law. Outward bound, it divides; on the return it reunites! Life descends, "falls," from the summit of its primal unity down into the arms of matter, dividing as it goes. Division is a logical necessity if it is to multiply itself, for unity can not multiply out of itself without first dividing itself. And it can not divide itself unless it falls or descends against resistance. The importance of this determination for clear grasp of basic theology can not be overstressed. Angels "fall" by divine ordinance, and not by literal folly of rebellion against deity. Evolutionary gravity brings them down from heaven to earth.

The wind does not commonly blow a steady gale, but comes in rhythmic puffs. Creative impulse acts similarly. Every cycle of energization of the universe finishes its work in seven waves or impulses, and the sub-cycles have also seven waves. Life projects its formative energies outward, or matterward, in surge after surge. Each one carries the impulse as far as it will go under its original force, or until the wave is brought to a dead standstill by the inertia of matter, the carrying and resisting medium. Each propulsion of power comes to a stop, locked in the embrace of matter. In this embrace the capacities of the two nodes of being interplay, fecundate each other, generate a growth of new life, and build up what is termed a plane or level or kingdom of nature, with creatures embodying the type of life there engendered. Thus there are terrestrial and celestial worlds (as Paul says), noumenal and phenomenal realms, physical and ethereal planes, material and spiritual bodies, heavens, fairylands, underworlds, hells, limbos, Isles (Page 96) of the Blessed, Elysian Fields, the meadows of Aarru-Hetep and homes on high. And the beings on the ranges from high divinity down to man are the gods of ancient mythology.

The capacities of life on each level are expressed and given play by the organic beings built up thereon. Thus each kingdom has its own specific nature and determinations. But life is not static; it is generative, reproductive, forward-moving. It creates anew, in its turn, at its level, and passes the stream of creative force on down the line. Thus the succession of waves of projection runs down the scale, each one carrying the formative force one surge farther out. On and on it goes, establishing the kingdoms of nature and the living citizens on them. The contiguous planes form a link of connection from top to bottom of the series, and this is the golden chain of life. And each level bears a definite relation to its neighbor on either side.

The explication of this relationship involves a law that is basic for all evolution. Its statement will render understandable the constitution of man. It tells why he is a soul and a body linked together. It may be called the great Law of Incubation.

Under its terms each plane is mother to the life on the plane above it and father to that of the plane below it. It receives from above the seed germs of higher life and harbors them in the womb of its soil, or matter, gestates them and eventually gives them their new birth. This is the function of motherhood. And matter (Latin mater, mother) is the universal mother. But, having received from above, it also gives the impulse to the order below; and as giver it is active, aggressive, generative - the father function. Feminine to life above, masculine to life beneath, it is the link and bridge between two worlds.

But at each step of transmission the primal impulse suffers a diminution of its impetus, a weakening of its force, and in consequence a further and further fragmentation. The matter of each plane on the downward or involutionary track being more dense in atomic structure than that of its superior, the living bodies it provides can not bear as heavy a life charge as the beings above can support, and the voltage of power must be stepped down if it is to be incorporated fittingly in the less capacious bodies of a lower kingdom. To effect this reduction in dynamism the bodies carrying the life of each plane act as electric transformers, changing a high current into numerous lesser currents to be accommodated to the lower carrying capabilities of bodies on the (Page 97) plane beneath. Hence the unit charge received from the plane above by each life structure on any place must, in falling one step further downward, be again broken up into a large number of fragments, each of which will become the energizing soul of a lower body. The Greek philosophers say in this connection that "the gods distribute divinity," scattering its higher units abroad from plane to plane, the units multiplying in number, but diminishing in power, as the stream flows on. This is what ancient theology connotes by "the river of life." The Orphic system speaks of "rivers of vivification," which, they say, "proceed from on high as far as to the last of things," or to the lowest stratum of the mineral kingdom. And as the gods distribute divinity, the secondary ranks in each case are said to "participate according to their capacity." The gods pour out their life for the vivifying of all lower beings, and the latter partake of this bounty or "grace" to the measure of their receptivity. Nothing other than this is meant by the "shed blood" of the gods, given for the life of the worlds. All old theologies aver that the blood of the gods, or of God, mixed with the clay of earth, makes the "red earth" which is given as the etymological signification of Adam in Hebrew, i.e., man. Man is compounded of the red lifeblood of deity and the dust of the ground, which in Hebrew is Adamah, purely the feminine or material aspect of Adam, spirit, itself. Deity mixed together spirit and matter to make man.

One more step in the analysis yields the final phase of the Law of Incubation. If life is to be propagated in eternal renewal, in multiplied individualization, it becomes necessary for any living creature on each plane to produce a multiple progeny of the seeds of its own life and "plant" or bury them in the soil of the kingdom immediately below it. There they go first to their "death," after which they are reborn or resurrected in the sprouting of the seeds and their growth back to maturity. Each generation lives anew in its regeneration, but multiplied by as many times itself as the number of seeds it produced and successfully germinated in the plane below.

The vegetable buries its seeds in the soil of the kingdom beneath it, the mineral. The animalís life is embodied in a corpus built up of vegetable material taken in each day as food. The human is rooted in an animal body. And now comes the pivotal fact in theology. The lowest ranks of gods, in their position just above humanity, must, by the Law of Incubation, send down their seeds, plant (incarnate) them (Page 98) in the bodies of humans, and win their next cyclical generation of divine life in that ground! Centuries of theological maundering have not told the millions of hungry sheep this plain truth as to why man nurtures a winged spirit of intelligence - a soul - in his physical body. The soul of man is in his body as a seed of divinity planted, buried, gone to its "death" in the soil of the human kingdom, and bears the same relation to that soil as does any seed to its bed. The greatest truth that can be told to mortals is that their bodies are each the gestating womb of a god. As said St. Paul, the Christ is being "formed within" each mortal body. Man has a soul because his physical human self is the nursery or breeding ground of the seeds of divinity. And manís divinity is, or begins as, a seed. His duty is to cultivate the growth of that deific embryo. It is gestating in the womb of his physical body, and he must, as said Socrates, become a philosophic "midwife" and aid in its birth. Plato reports the Demiurgus in the notable speech to the legions of devas in the Timaeus as saying that "whatever is immortal and divine" in the human makeup, "of that I will furnish the seed and the beginning. It is your business to do the rest; to weave together mortal and immortal natures." The upper plane furnishes the seeds of Godhood, the lower furnishes the soil or garden. Divinity is planted in "the garden of the world." It is the seminal soul of divine mind, destined to germinate and eventually blossom in the ground of humanity.

If, in sum, God is to multiply himself, his tree of life must reproduce on its branches a numerous progeny, each child bearing the potentiality of renewing the parent life in its fullness, and of carrying its eternal unfoldment one step ahead. As no living thing can subsist save as a result of a linking together of spirit and matter, a germinal unit of spirit must be incubated as the god in a body of material structure. This divine economy gives every creature its soul, which is its god. In the long chain of linked lives, from God down to mineral crystal, no being is deprived of its possibility of immediate communion with deity, up to the border of its capacity. But the "arm of the Lord" that is potent to bless and to save is within, not without. It is Emanuel, God with us, the hope of our glory. God is everywhere, within and without; but his son, the Christos, is only within. If he is not sought there, he will not be found. His inner presence is the provision of life that no entity should be bereft of instant contact with its parent god, who dwells on the plane just over its head, though rooted in its very (Page 99) body. Manís deity is not a personage in a distant land and time, but, as an Eastern saga puts it, "closer is he than breathing, nearer than hands and feet." No man can fail of touching his divinity, but failure of his knowledge that his deity is in himself may palsy his effort to arouse its latent faculties.

A legend of India tells of a council of the gods at which it was purposed to invest man with deity. A debate arose as to how it might be entrusted to him without his misusing it. One suggested that it be buried in the depths of the sea, so that he would not easily find and abuse it. Another advised placing it on the most inaccessible mountain top. Finally the supreme head of the assembly declared he had thought of a place where no man would ever think of looking for it,--in the deepmost chambers of manís own heart!

The basal truth that every living thing is a union of spirit and matter, soul and body, was put in a graph by the Egyptians. It is perhaps the oldest and most meaningful of signs. The great symbol carried in the hands of the gods was the Ankh, or crux ansata (ansated cross), a "T" topped with the circle. The circle is the female symbol, the boundless infinite matter, the mother of all things in endless round. The vertical line is the male symbol, a ray of intelligence that goes out from the heart of the universe to impregnate the worlds. The horizontal line is the line of division between the two, at the point where they are joined. It is the cross-line between them. The word Ankh means three most significant things: love, life and tie. It is a formula of all life, signifying that life is the resultant of a tying together of two things, spirit and matter, by the force of an attraction, which is love.

The great doctrine of the "descent" or "fall" can now be clearly envisaged. Deity, in the form of its seed potency, must descend from its own plane into the soil of the plane below it and be incubated there. It must leave its own home, its fatherís house, and go out into another country, where it will be an exile and a stranger. And like the youth going out from home into a rough world to make a fight of it under temptation and gross influences, he must undergo a long toilsome trial and testing and crucifixion to become an eventual victor and return with laurels. Said Jesus: "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world."

Additional elucidation of basic meaning flows from the consideration of the great doctrine of the Trinity in theology. One is not too bold (Page 100) in asserting that this formula of ancient truth is not comprehended in its clear and profound significance by the Church which still blindly offers it. Once a year the pew occupants listen to a sermon on the Trinity, but go away unenlightened. Yet it is the heart of the mystery of life, the base of theology, and - easily comprehensible.

Plotinus, the Neo-Platonist of the third century, who gave the doctrine to Christianity through Augustine, has given us an analogy with a natural phenomenon by which it is possible, with the additional link of a finding of modern science, to see the simple meaning of a doctrine that has baffled comprehension for sixteen centuries. He said that we can understand how one deity can have three aspects if we think of the sun, its light and its active energy. The sun in heaven is comparable to the Father of the Trinity. It is a glowing globe of fire. The fire of the sun does not go forth into the ends of space, but abides at home. Like a match which you strike in a dark room, the fire stays on the match; it does not leave it. The fire staysí but it generates and sends forth its son,--the light. This is the second aspect or "person." It is of the same essence with the Father, yet not he. And the Psalmist sings: "Send out thy light"!

Now a flood of clear light is released on the problem by following the implications as to the identity of the third "person," the Holy Spirit. But here it is necessary to adduce some pertinent data which is given to us by modern physical science to round out our analogy. We are told that a ray of the sunís light out in the void of space (not near a planet) is inert. It is both cold and dark. If one could reduce oneís body to the size of a pinpoint, one would be in total darkness and the intensest cold, though the sun be glaring overhead. The ray is impotent, inactive, uncreative and can generate no life until - and here is the nub of all philosophy - it falls upon a surface of a material body, a globe or planet! Only by incidence upon its opposite pole, matter, can the light of spirit come to its creative function. There is required the interplay of its rays with a resistant surface to bring out its own powers from latency to potency. Matter is, as already shown, the "mother" of life, while spirit (God) is its father. And, as everywhere, father spirit can not become creative until it unites with and fecundates mother matter! His ray of power, his son, is in a sense the phallic emanation of his seed, and the seed must become coefficient with the unfructified egg of life in matterís bosom to bring a new birth to (Page 101) pass. Almost it might be said,--here is all truth in a nutshell. The light of God would remain uncreative unless it entered the body or womb of mother life and aroused the slumbering potentialities therein. And here is the solution of a riddle of mythology which has baffled and horrified Christian moralists no end. The fables of the gods represent the son of deity as turning about and creating upon his own mother. Horus is called "the Bull of his Mother"--Isis. The sons of God marry their own mothers! Horrible! Detestable! shout the offended Church Fathers. Yet the son of present life marries and impregnates his own mother every time an acorn or grain of wheat falls into the ground and germinates! It is discernible at last why the letter H comes a second time into the form of the sacred tetragrammaton, or four-letter name of Jehovah, the Ineffable Name of ancient Kabalism--JHVH. "J" is the Father God, the line that comes down from on high, goes deep into the heart of matter and then turns upward to return to deity. The H represents by its two vertical lines life divided into its two aspects, spirit and matter, joined by the cross line, and so brings its activity into the realm of the mother, matter. The V is their son, who goes down in his turn into matter and returns. Now, why does the mother H come into the formula of creation a second time? The J H V would be a formula covering one - the first generation of life. It would take it through one cycle. But that would not be a glyph that would represent life as perpetuating itself through endless cycles of renewal. It would end there. The graph must carry it on. As, then, the son must take up the line and become father in his turn, he must unite his productive fecundation with his old mother, matter. And so the H, or mother, must be brought into the picture once more. And the holy name becomes thus a descriptive form for all creation. For spirit is creatively helpless, like the sunlight, without the cooperation of its opposite, matter, which is dramatized as its wife and sister. Hence every mythological deity was linked with his shakti or spouse, his creative potency, without whom he would remain forever ungenerative. The implications of this determination are tremendous, for if spirit can not give birth to its archetypal conceptions without the implementation of matter in actual creation, neither can it function apart from matter in philosophy! And a thousand fantastic "spiritual" cult systems that have deluded uncritical minds in every age by a denial of the utility of matter, are at one stroke given the coup de gr‚ce as illogical fallacies. (Page 102)

Reverting to the Trinity, it is desirable to go further with the Greek elaborators of the Orphic wisdom in delineating the aspects of divine activity.

Of the Father they assert that he "abides." A Hindu script has the passage in which Lord Krishna says: "Having impregnated the universe with a portion of myself, I yet remain." He remains on his own plane. He is the unmoved Mover and the uncaused Cause. He is without experience himself, delegating the function of acquiring it to his Son. He is unaffected, undivided, unchanging and undiminished.

Of the Son they say that he "proceeds." He bears the Fatherís potentialities out into all the universe. He is the radiating arm of his Fatherís power. He goes out to do the will of his parent and become his vicegerent in the worlds. He becomes Godís spoken Word. He conveys the Logoic ideas out upon the bosom of his Fatherís emanations to stamp them upon plastic matter. And proceeding from the bosom of the Father, he goes forth into every condition which is precisely the opposite of that of the Father. He will become subject to experience and suffer all things, while the Father abides unmoved. He will be affected, divided, changed and be sadly diminished, suffering the loss of all that he enjoyed with the Father. He will endure all experience in every kingdom, will be fragmented into "partial natures," will enter a moving stream of endless change, and will be reduced to a minimum of his glory on the cross of suffering.

Of the Holy Spirit they say that it "converts" matter to its own likeness; "is converted" by matter to its next higher estate; and finally "returns."

What, then, is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person? It is the first Ray of divine life, undergoing its final conversion into active creative agency. It is latent power of Godís mind, transformed into working efficacy. It is static divinity become kinetic. It is Godís Logos, or Word, carrying the command of his creative Voice, now converted into an energy that moves matter and builds worlds. It is, finally, Godís spirit at work; no longer static, or merely potential, but released upon matter in moving force - kinesis

It may be helpful to present a diagrammatic sketch of this formulation, as it is a brief but complete graph of the entire rationale of all incarnation, or involution of life in matter, and its evolution back to (Page 103) spirit. It is thus a concise formula comprehending all that ancient scriptures have been designed to elucidate.

 

SUN FATHER   ABIDES
LIGHT SON   PROCEEDS
EARTH HOLY SPIRIT { { CONVERTS (Matter)
IS CONVERTED (by Matter)
  RETURNS

All "history" takes place at the point where the light, or latent radiation of divine force, comes in contact with matter, earth, the mother. For there involution is brought to a halt and, spirit being implanted within the heart of matter and awakening its slumbering potencies, there is begun at that point a new growth of life, actuated by the union of intelligence with sheer energy. And this new growth begins the evolutionary stage, or the return unto the father, or parent, status.

When Trinities are given as Father, Mother and Son, the aspect here characterized as the Holy Spirit is the "Son," the product of the union of Father and Mother. When given as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Mother is implicit, being the material element necessary at all times.

The Sonís, or the rayís, impregnation of Mother matter begins a new process of growth from seed to adulthood, which through a cycle of "conversion" and "being converted" lifts up the new form of Sonship of deity to the stage which the Father had reached in its last previous cycle. The cycle is completed with the "return"; but after aeonial rest life gets ready to make its next rhythmic movement outward to unite again with the Mother.

Having set forth in the most compact form the outline of the structure of ancient evolutionary knowledge, it is incumbent on us now to trace the origin and fix the place of every single doctrine of theology in the draft. It is requisite also that sufficient space be granted to present as much as is permissible of the vast body of data supporting each phase of the exegesis. The "descent" is the first feature of the chart that relates heavenly creation to earthly life, and is logically the first aspect of divine activity to be taken up. Its groundwork and presuppositions having been laid down, its presence in ancient religion must be demonstrated with sufficient fullness. (Page 104)

Chapter VII

COLONISTS FROM HEAVEN

To begin with there is that vast mass of Medieval legend that became focused in Miltonís grand epic. The tradition of manís having lost a Paradise, having been cast out of heaven and thrown into a prison, a dungeon, a pit, a lake of pitch, a dark cavernous underground where suffering was intensified by fire, was almost universal in the background of theological belief over a long period. This wide possession might have remained highly instructive had not Milton, in common with all save isolated groups of Hermeticists in Europe, lost in signal knowledge that the fallen angels, the rebel hosts, the armies of Satan-Lucifer were, collectively, man himself, and that the fiery lake into which they were hurled was just our good earth! This tradition was the far-trailing descendant of the ancient Mysteries, in which the entire drama of manís evolution was enacted at the great annual festivals. Says Thomas Taylor, perhaps the most understanding of all Platoís interpreters:

"I now proceed to prove that the dramatic spectacles of the Lesser Mysteries were designed by the ancient theologists, their founders, to signify occultly the condition of the unpurified soul invested with the earthly body, and enveloped in a material and physical nature: . . ."[Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 4. ]

Cocker in his Greek Philosophy says that Plato in the Phaedrus, under the allegory of the chariot and the winged steeds, represents the lower or inferior part of manís nature as dragging the soul down to earth and subjecting it to a slavery under corporeal conditions. Taylor says [Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 120. ] that

"the descent of the superior intellect [The superior intellect of man is indeed the "god" spoken of. "Manís genius is a deity," said Heraclitus. ] into the realms of generated existence becomes, indeed, the greatest benefit and ornament which a material nature is capable of receiving; for without this participation of intellect in the lowest department of corporeal life, nothing but the irrational soul and a brutal life would subsist in the dark and fluctuating abode of the body." (Page 105)

The whole design of the Mysteries, according to the great Plato himself, was "to lead us back to the perfection from which, as our beginning, we first made our descent." One of the mysterious significations of the Thyrsus or reed used in the Mysteries was connected with the descent of the soul, for, "as it was a reed full of knots," it became "an apt symbol of the diffusion of the higher nature into the sensible world." Bacchus (the divine self) carried a reed instead of a scepter, and it betokened the godís "descent into our partial nature." "Indeed the Titans are Thyrsus-bearers; and Prometheus concealed fire in a Thyrsus or reed; after which he is considered as bringing celestial light into generation, or leading the soul into the body."

The Greeks allegorized the descent of the soul again in the fable of Ceres and Proserpine. Ceres is the higher intellect, Proserpina being her daughter, the soul. Edward Carpenter says

"that there were ritual dramas or passion plays [in the Mysteries], of which an important one dealt with the descent of Kore or Proserpine into the underworld, as in the Eleusinian representations, and her redemption and restoration to the upper world in spring." [Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 239. ]

No less applicable to the same fundamental situation is the Greek fable of Eros and Psyche. Love, the divine Eros, descends into the mortal sphere to redeem the human soul, or Psyche, from suffering in its animal habitat by marrying her. In the Mystery celebrations lasting nine days, Taylor tells us that on the eighth day the "fall of the soul into the lunar orb" was commemorated,

"because the soul in this situation is about to bid adieu to everything of a celestial nature; to sink into a perfect oblivion of her divine origin and pristine felicity; and to rush profoundly into the region of dissimilitude, ignorance and error. And lastly, on the ninth day, when the soul falls into the sublunary world and becomes united with a terrestrial body, a libation was performed such as is usual in the sacred rites."[See later explication of all lunar typology in the present work. ]Proclus, the great Neo-Platonist of the fourth century, expounding Platoís theology, says that it is the peculiar function of "heroic souls" (an order above daemons) to express "magnitude of operation, elevation and magnificence," but that this order "descends indeed for the benefit of the life of man, as partaking of a destiny inclining downwards." [ The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, II, 275.] (Page 106) Iamblicus corroborates Plato as to these grades of the hierarchy:

"Angles above dissolve the bonds of generation. Daemons draw souls down into nature; but heroes lead them to a providential attention to sensible works." [The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 93. ]

Iamblichus makes an unequivocal statement of the descent when he says:

"But from the first, divinity sent souls hither in order that they might again return to him." [The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 312. ]

He reiterates the idea (p. 68) when speaking of the gods:

"These, therefore, descend with invariable sameness for the salvation of the universe, and connectedly contain the whole of generation after the same manner."

He utters a strange sentiment when he affirms (p. 89) that the

"magnitude of the epiphanies [or manifestations] in the Gods, indeed, is so great as sometimes to conceal all heaven, the sun and the moon; and the earth itself, as the Gods descend, is no longer able to stand still."

Greek philosophy, as we have seen, embodies the traditions of the descent in several molds. In the cycle of the twelve mystic operations of Hercules, the hero is ordered to go down into Hades (our world) and bring up the three-headed Cerberus. His journey is a symbolic tracing of the experiences undergone by the soul on earth, not in some mysterious underworld below it. Orpheus descends to the underworld to recover his lost Eurydice, the soul. In Virgilís epic Aeneas finds the gate to Avernus and descends for the inspection of the Tartarian regions. It is instructive to note the etymology of this word "Avernus." It is the Greek ornos, a bird, and alpha (a )privative, meaning "un-" or "not" or "-less." The "v" is thrown in for euphony between the two vowels, and the "o" is shortened to "e." It would therefore read "not birds" or "no birds," with the implication of "not a good place for birds." When it is known that in all arcane systems the bird was the universal symbol for the soul, the meaning comes clear that this earth was regarded as the place where souls were poisoned by the noxious fumes arising from the carnal life, since the birds were lethalized by the vapor rising from the mouth of the pit of Avernus, became (Page 107) stupefied and fell into the underworld. The allegory tells the story of our descent with a force that no philosophical descanting could match. So deftly has ancient philological skill woven a theosophical meaning into the structure of language.

Danteís tour of Purgatory and the deeper Inferno is a treatment of the old myth, with political and other connotations. Ulyssesí visit to the cave of Polyphemus is again a form of the representation, and Theseus and his labyrinthine adventure underground is another rendering of it. From Herodotus we have an account (II, 122) of the descent into Hades of King Rhampsinitus, in whose honor the priests of Egypt instituted a rebirth festival. The Rig Veda parallels this story with an account of the boy Nachiketas, who descended into the realm of Yama, the deity of the earthly underworld, in Yama-Loka, the kingdom of the dead, and then returned to the world of life. Needless to say, neither Egyptians nor Hindus took their theological myths for history.

A number of utterances in the Chaldean Oracles point to a quite complete harmony with Orphic Platonism and Neo-Platonism. Indeed opinion veers strongly to the conclusion that Pythagorean, Platonic and Greek philosophy generally was formulated out of the principles of theology promulgated through the powerful agency of the Orphic Mysteries, and that those principles were brought by the Orphics into Greece from Chaldean sources. The Oracles agree with Greek doctrine that higher deific energies emanated outward from a spiritual focus into the material worlds. One of them runs: "For all things thence begin to extend their admirable rays downwards." The life of the gods rays outward into corporeal beings and becomes the animating principle or soul of living things.

A passage from the Tibetan Book of the Dead (p. 130) warns devotees to "be not attracted towards the dull blue light of the brute world," under penalty of falling into that kingdom of nature. It asserts (p. 125) that the predilection of our immortal nature toward animal grossness will cause it to "stray downwards." The text represents the human soul as beseeching the "Knowledge-Holding Deities" not to let it drift further down, but to lead it to the holy paradise. The soul exults that "These Knowledge-Holding Deities, the Heroes and the Dakinis have come from the holy paradise realms to receive me." The text traces the descent of these divinities who, false to their oaths, fall (Page 108) from lower to still lower stages of the Bardo, or world of dark embodiment.

A cuneiform tablet in the British Museum holds a legend of the rebellious angels who broke into the Lordís song with impious shouts, destroying the harmony, and who, for punishment, were cast down out of heaven. They are referred to in the Book of Jude (Ch. 6) in the line: "They kept not their own habitations." These in the Book of Enoch are the seven stars which "transgressed the commandment of God and came not in their proper season" (Enoch 18, 21, 22). It is said in the cuneiform text, "May the God of divine speech expel from his five thousand those who in the midst of his heavenly song shouted evil blasphemies."

Of tremendous significance to the thesis that early Christian doctrine was intimately allied with and influenced by the prevalent esoteric wisdom of environing cults, is a fragment called the Naasene Hymn, preserved by Hippolytus (Haer. V. 5). After describing the woes and sufferings of the human soul during its wanderings on earth, the hymn continues:

But Jesus said: Father, Behold
A war of evils has arisen upon earth;
It comes from thy breath and ever works;
Man strives to shun this bitter chaos,
But knows not how he may pass (safely) through it;
Therefore, do thou, O Father, send me;
Bearing thy seals I will descend (to earth);
Throughout the ages I will pass;
All mysteries I will unfold,
All forms of Godhead I will unveil,
All secrets of thy holy path
Styled Gnosis (knowledge) I will impart (to man).

The Jesus character alluded to here is, it seems certain, the Gnostic Jesus, or Ieou, whom we shall see is traceable to Egyptian origins many centuries B.C. Scholars will haggle over the question of the date of the hymn, whether A.D. or B.C. The possibility that it dates B.C. has already been repudiated with great speciousness.[T. J. Thorburn: The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels, p. 80 ff. ] The name Naasene, of apparently Ophite connection, seems to have etymological relation to both the names of Essene and Nazarene. If an Essene production it could (Page 109) readily be given a B.C. placing without violent improbability. There is evidence that cults of Nazarenes (Nararaioi) teaching Egypto-Gnostic Christolatry antedated the coming of the Gospel Jesus. The Ophites (serpent-symbolizers, not serpent-worshipers) were a Gnostic sect of early Christianity, later persecuted as heretics, who believed in a spiritual Christ-Aeon that descended into the material chaos to assist Sophia (Wisdom) in her efforts to emancipate the soul from the bondage of the flesh.

Turning to the material of Egypt we find the descent traced unmistakably in a thousand references. The conception is so pervading that all three persons of the Egyptian Trinity, Isis, Osiris and Horus, are represented as descending to the nether earth. Osiris, the Father God, descends, is cut to pieces by Sut (Satan) and the fragments of his body scattered over the earth. Isis, the Mother, descends to earth to search for the fragments. Horus, the Son, comes down in the identical character as the Christian Jesus in the advent at Christmas as the bringer of peace. As Jesus descends into hell (Apostlesí Creed), so Horus came from heaven into the realm of darkness as the light of the world. It is said that he descends into the funeral land, the abode of darkness and of death. The Speaker in the Egyptian Ritual (representing always the human soul) says: "I have come upon this earth, and I take possession of it with my two feet." It is said that Osiris goes down into Tattu (another name for Amenta) and finds there the soul of the sun, and is united thereto. The Manes (again the human soul) says: "I am he that cometh forth by day . . . I descend upon earth and mine eye maketh me to walk thereon." It is said of him: "Thou enterest in to the place where thy Father is, where Keb [Seb, the god of earth] is." Again: "Thou descendest under protection. Ra ferries thee to Amenta." In the Ritual (The Book of the Dead) it is said: "This is he who in his resurrection says, ĎI am the Lord on high and I descend to the earth of Seb that I may put a stop to evil.í"

Such references to the advent of divinity in the scripts of Egypt could be multiplied to great length. Likewise the religious lore of scores of aboriginal tribes in all continents hold multitudinous corroboration of the fact and confirm its status as the basic datum of all religious construction. A hundred folk-tales begin with the coming of some hero from heaven to earth, or with the flinging down of some (Page 110) object emblematic of divinity. The variety of symbols used is wide, and to one lacking the keys of interpretation, bewildering. It is enough to say that in all such legends the idea of the descent is central.

Looking now at the Christian Bible we shall find in plenty the features of the same myth. Bible students are not generally aware of the directness with which the descent of the gods to earth is there told. There is first the well-known declaration of God himself (distorted into a reference to the historical Jesus) that he sent his only-begotten son into the world that all believers might have everlasting life. Then there is the remarkable pronouncement in the Gospel of John (3): "No man ascendeth into heaven but he that cometh down from heaven." From Luke (19:10) we have: "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." Then there is Jesusí direct statement to his disciples: "Ye are from beneath; I am from above." The Lordís affirmation that he laid down his life for his sheep surely means not that he was immolated on a wooden cross, but that he resigned his celestial life to endure the burden of the cross (of flesh and matter). The Apocalyptistís vision of the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven is a reference to the descent of divinity in its fragmented form. The line that follows--"Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them . . . and God himself shall be with them and he shall be their God" (Rev. 21:1), is to the same effect. Jesus declares that he came from the Father into the earth.

Lifting from the term Christos the Christian limitation of its personification in the body of the historical Jesus, and reading for this distorted meaning the idea of the gods incarnated distributively in all men, it is possible to discern allusions to the descent all through the Bible. Though not so immediately obvious, the Lukan account which states that Jesus came down from the mount and "stood on a level place" (Ch. 6:17) before he delivered the Sermon, is another indirect allusion to the same fact. For the Pistis Sophia, the Gnostic Gospel, states that Jesus preached his discourse to his disciples "in the midst of Amenta"! Later comparison of many texts discloses the surprising fact that both the mount and the level plain, whereon the Sermon was delivered in the Gospels, are diverse forms of the same symbolism! Both refer to our earth, under the terms of equinoctial symbolism. The "mount" in the mythos was never in any sense an earthly elevation. Paul in one passage propounds the logical problem, which should have (Page 111) been given consideration, analogically, by our scientists,--how we can envisage the resurrection without the postulation of a previous descent from heaven. He asks (Ephesians 4:9): "Now he that ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens. . . ." The pertinence of this material for science is that science has studied life as in evolution without having postulated a necessary involution antecedently! Science must meet Paulís significant query. Likewise must theology restore to its high place the doctrine of the descent.

Symbolizing the divine nature as bread for man, John gives Jesusí announcement of his descent (6:47, 48) : "I am the bread of life . . . such is the bread that came down from heaven, that a man shall eat of it and shall not die." The general allegorism of scattering or sowing seed is employed to depict the Platonic "distribution of divinity" among men. In the parable of the sower we have a portraiture of the partitive incarnation of divine natures in mortal bodies. The falling of the seed into various types of soil is a natural version of the diversified embodiments the descending souls might have apportioned to them. This interpretation raises the parable to infinite heights of dignity and meaning above the feeble and ineffective rendering of uncomprehending thought, which is able to see in the figured situation nothing higher than the sowing of the "word," that is, the Sabbath droning from pulpits, impinging upon different grades of mental acumen or moral character! The "Word" is in no case the written Bible, even, but the Logos, or form of divine ideation, powerfully stamped upon the physical universe by the deific utterance. No student is in position to grasp the significance of the Logos doctrine until he has mastered the principles of Platonic theology, as outlined by Proclus [See Proclus: The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, 2 Vols., wherein the two hundred and eleven principles of Greek theology are listed and expounded. ] or Plotinus. Christian interpretation has merely shuffled along in the darkness without a light. "Like the streams in the circle of heaven I besprinkle the seeds of men," runs a text in the Records of the Past (Vol. III, 129).

The angels in Revelation pour out the contents of their censers over the earth, granting a nucleus of solar "fire" to each mortal to divinize him. As the Timaeus of Plato reports, the deity was to furnish the collective seed of what was to be immortal in humanity.

In Old Testament allegorism the doctrine is found most unexpectedly to be the core of meaning in the Abraham story. Like the Prodigal (Page 112) Son of the New Testament he was sent out from his home, country and kinsfolk (in the heavenly Eden) to go to a strange land (incidentally to the West, where was the Tuat, or gate of entry to the earth!). There his seed was to multiply until it filled the earth with his children, the heirs of supernal grace.

But the hidden sense of the name Abraham or Abram has escaped notice, and it is of great moment, as are all Bible names. Scholars may protest, but it seems obvious that the word is simply A-Brahm, (Hindu), meaning "non-Brahm." Abraham, the Patriarch or oldest of the aeons or emanations, was not Brahm, the Absolute, but the first emanation from Brahm; the first ray, the first God, perhaps equivalent to Ishwara of the Hindus. He was the first life that was not Absolute, yet from the Absolute. He was to go forth into the realms of matter, divide and multiply, and fill the world with his fragmented units. To return to Abrahamís bosom would be just to complete the cycle of outgoing and return, to rest in the bosom of the highest divinity close to the Absolute. Also he came out of Ur, of the Chaldees (or Kasadim), which is another key word, since Ur is the Chaldean word for "fire," the celestial empyrean, out of which all souls, as fiery sparks, are emanated. Kasadim, or Kasdim, was a term given to the highest celestial spirits, who fathered the production of the divine sparks of soul. It is practically equivalent to "Archangels."

Then Abraham went straight to Egypt from the land of Canaan, and his descendants were to suffer bondage in that lower country. It is a crushing blow to the historical rendering of Bible narrative to declare, on evidence that is incontrovertible, that the "Egypt" of the scriptures is not the country on the map. It is the term used in the allegories to designate the plane, state or "land" of embodied life, life on earth. "Egypt" is just this earth, or the state or locale of bodily life on it. It even at times connotes the physical body itself, as in "the flesh pots of Egypt." Hence the descent of Abraham, and later of the twelve sons of Jacob, into "Egypt" are again the fable of the soulís adventure here. If the term Egypt is taken as the geographical unit, many passages in which it occurs will be found to read as sheer nonsense. Had theology known that "the strange land" and "the far country" were glyphs for this earth of ours, greater sanity would have marked the counsels of ecclesiasticism down the centuries. If the "bondage in (Page 113) Egypt, that slave pen," as the Eternal repeatedly calls it (in the Moffatt translation), has been in some way interlocked with an historical servitude (as may have been the case), it still does not prove that the allegory intended to recount the bondage of a nation. It was a bondage of spirit under sense that was thus portrayed. Many passages from the Old Testament books refer to the Israelites as captives, outcasts, expatriates and exiles, matching Greek, Egyptian and Gnostic terminology, and alluding of course to the expulsion of the angelic hosts from a celestial Paradise to a bleak earthly exile. The sons of God had to go to Egypt also in order that fulfillment might be given to the hoary scriptural line from the Mystery drama: "Out of Egypt have I called my Son." For resurgent deity in the wandering exiles would eventually lead them back to their home on high.

In Luke (10:18) Jesus says that he "beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." As Satan is identical with Lucifer, the bringer of deific light, or the god (collectively), and the hosts of angelic souls (distributively), Jesusí utterance is readily seen as another affirmation of the descent of the spiritual principle, eternally symboled by "fire" from heaven. Again, in the resurrection scene "an angel of the Lord descended from heaven." Once more this is not a fragment of veridical history, but another brief figuration of the descent. In an Egypto-Gnostic fragment the same ideograph is repeated under the double representation, [See later exposition of the Law of the Two Truths, passim. ] when "the heavens opened and two men descended thence with great radiance," and both the young men entered the tomb. The seer in Revelation descries an angel in flight toward the earth and also sees the holy city of Zion, radiant with the glory of God, descending from the skies.

One of the Old Testament allegories has to do with the Lordís reminding Israel that he had "opened the doors of heaven" and "rained down manna upon them to eat." As bread is the Johannine symbol of divine nature on which the mortal race was to feed, so manna in the Mosaic narrative stands in the same usage. There is reason also to suppose that manna is cognate by derivation with the Sanskrit "manas," the principle of intelligence, which was the gift of deity to "man." Its distribution over the ground in a thin layer like frost and glistening white is a symbolism of the spirit, which comes to us in the form of a distillation over the ground of our concrete experience out of the (Page 114) brooding atmosphere of divine super-intelligence. And all deity is described as shining with radiance.

A frequent figure for the descending spirits of light is the falling star. In the Egyptian Records of the Past (Vol. II, p. 16) the Speaker says: "The place is empty into which the starry ones fall down headlong upon their faces and find nothing by which they can raise themselves up." In the same thought the Chinese have a venerable proverb which runs: "The stars ceased shining in heaven and fell upon earth, where they became men." That the star as an emblem of the divine soul is not altogether a sheer poetic fancy, is shown by the fact that, as Massey points out,

"The Elementaries or brute forces of nature may be said to have obtained their souls in the stars. Hence, as Plutarch says, the Dog-Star is the soul of Isis, Orion is the soul of Horus, and the Bear is the soul of Typhon,--Soul and Star being synonymous in the Egyptian word Seb." [The Natural Genesis, I, p. 332. ]

In one of the addresses to King Pepi it is said to him: "Thy soul is a living star at the head of his brethren." [ It should be understood that the Egyptians often used the names of kings for the character of the Christos, or the sun-god.]In the texts of Egypt the evil crocodile, typifying Paulís "carnal nature," is said to swallow the sinking stars," the souls that fall into the darkness of incarnation. Among the ancients the stars that dipped beneath the horizon were emblematic of souls in physical incarnation, in contradistinction to those that never set, which typed the non-incarnating gods. Souls in incarnation were dubbed by the Greeks "moist souls," since they were immersed in the body, which is seven-eighths water by composition. The redeemed souls rejoiced in the Egyptian Ritual (Ch. 44) at being lifted up "among the stars that never set." Those condemned to descend were represented as falling stars in danger of being devoured by the open jaws of the dragon (of mortal life). This reptile lurked in the "bight of Amenta" or the bend of the river "where the starry procession dipped down below the horizon." The Swabian "Lindwurm" was another form of the dragon that "swallowed the setting stars." Indeed the entire myth of the casting down of Saturn and his hosts was figured under the symbolism of falling stars. The dragon that "made war with the woman drew down into his kingdom many of the stars of heaven." One of the phenomena of the Crucifixion mentioned in Revelation along with the darkness over the earth, (Page 115) the veiled sun, the bloodstained moon, is that "the stars from the heavens fell." In the same place we read that "when the message of the third angel was sounded forth, a great star went down from heaven and it fell upon the earth." Another star fell at the sounding of the trumpet of the firth angel. The various legends, then, of falling stars become invested with unexpected significance as being disguised allusions to the descent of the angelic myriads to our shores,--to become our souls.

But nowhere is the statement of the descent of soul made more explicitly than in the very Creed of the Christian Church, wherein the second person of the Trinity is described as he "who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven . . . and was made man." Our material will show that the idea was common to many early nations, in whose literature it is stated with more definiteness than in the Christian.

If the descent was in partial degree a karmic punishment for sin, an enforced expiation of evolutionary dereliction in past cycles, as is hinted in Greek philosophy, it was also pictured as a seeking of refuge or a hiding for safety. Some contingency or crisis in celestial affairs, not fully divulged, made it both obligatory and advantageous for the angel hosts to flee heaven and find on earth, or in "Egypt," an escape from danger involved in some evolutionary impasse. It is not customary to think of hell as a haven, but certain implications in the old theology require us to do just that. At all events the legend of the hiding away of the young divine heroes is too general to be without deep significance. Adam hid himself when the Eternal walked in the garden. Moses as an infant was hidden in the papyrus swamps of "Egypt"; later he was hidden by the Eternal in a cleft of the rock as the majesty of the Lord swept by. Jonah ran and hid from the Eternal when first commanded to execute a mission to the Ninevites. The child Jesus had to be hidden away from danger in "Egypt"! The Old Testament Joseph went down to "Egypt" to be saved from danger. Jotham preserved his life from his murderous brother Abimelech by hiding. Saul was found in hiding among the baggage when he was chosen to be king in Israel. In Egypt, Buto, the nurse, concealed Horus, the analogue of Jesus, in Sekhem, "the hidden shrine and shut place,"--our earth. Horusí birth was in a secret place. A similar legend is related of the mythical Sargon in the cuneiform tablets. He says: "My mother, the Princess, conceived me; in a secret place she brought me forth." (Page 116) The supreme Egyptian Sun-God, the mighty spiritual divinity Ra, says to the earth: "I have hidden you." [Book of Hades, First Division. ]He says that in the "Egypt" of this lower world he had prepared a secret and mysterious dwelling for his children. This divine dwelling created by Ra as the place of protection for the elect, is called "the Retreat." Amen, an aspect of Ra, was termed "The Master of the Hidden Spheres"; and Amen itself means "the hidden god." In the Ritual (Ch. 22) Osiris cries: "I rise out of the egg in the hidden land." Under another name, Qem-Ur, he addresses the earth (Aukert, the underworld) as the land "which hidest thy companion who is in thee." The god again speaks of "hiding himself to cast light upon his hidden place." This is the typical Lucifer character of the descending god, the Light-Bringer. He hides himself in order, it is said, to perform there the "mysteries of the underworld." "These things shall be done secretly in the underworld." (Rubric to Ch. 137A of the Ritual.) Under the title of Unas he "gathers together his members which are in the hidden place." He says that he has "made Horus enter into the Hidden Shrine to vivify the heart of the god."

It is desirable to search a little more closely for the rationale of this hiding in the secret place of earth, as the bases of the whole theological situation are involved in this dark background. Two causes can be assigned for the descent, a normal evolutionary one, and another rising out of the motives for karmic punishment for error, stubbornness, pride or wrong. As to the first, the Greeks postulated the Cycle of Necessity, which required that all souls or fragments of divine being must pass through the round of all the elements, in order to embody in their finished perfection the qualities of every modification of life. The second cause is less philosophically rationalized and - hints are given us - grew out of a special situation involving the recalcitrant behavior of twelve legions of angels, who, in retribution for evolutionary irregularities on their part, were forced into an earthly incarnation distasteful to them. In the character of King Teta, Osiris is made to say: "This Teta hath detestation of the earth, and he will not enter into Seb" (god of earth). There are also references to the anger of the higher gods, enkindled against them. Plato (Phaedrus) speaks of those souls who were "subject through the ancient indignation of the Gods in consequence of former guilt" to severe penalties on earth. In the Cratylus he concurs with the doctrine of the Orphics that the soul is punished through its union with body. Iamblicus (Mysteries of the (Page 117) Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 133) states that a partial motive in the celebration of the Mysteries of Sabazius was the appeasing of "the ancient divine anger." Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, III) preserves a passage from a celebrated Pythagorean, Philolaus, which runs: "The ancient theologists and priests also testify that the soul is united with body as if for the sake of punishment." The Book of Enoch points to a motive for this punishment in that the deities "came not in their proper season." It is given that they were ordered to incarnate at an earlier period, when the bodies of the animal race were of a requisite preparedness to receive the principle of intelligence, but that they refused and in consequence were forced to descend much later, when the animal vehicles were far gone in a state of degeneracy. Proclus in his Hymn to Minerva prays to the goddess:

"Nor let these horrid punishments be mine,
Which guilty souls in Tartarus confine,
With fetters fastened to its broken floors,
And locked by hellís tremendous iron doors."
Dante in the Inferno alludes to the souls in bondage:
"Hither for failure of their vows exiled."

There is ground for connecting all this allusion to the penal character of our adventure on earth with the oft-cited "rebellion of the angels." Theological students should be more familiar with Platoís version of the Demiurgic speech to the hosts about to incarnate, the "junior gods," in the Timaeus. The Creator covenants with them to insure their immortality, to support them with his power; and then charge them to come to earth and "weave together mortal and immortal natures." It is said they rebelled, procrastinated and, when finally forced to descend by virtue of karma, missed the crest of a wave of evolution that would have carried them more smoothly forward past a crucial point. As it eventuated, their delay brought them to the earth when the lower race they were to uplift had sunk back into brutal degradation, and their penal infliction became the greater by the enhanced grossness of the bodies they were to inhabit. Their proper season had passed, as say Jude and Enoch.

Strangely we find in an old Egyptian inscription called " (Page 118) The Destruction of Mankind" a parallel to this somewhat anomalous situation in Platonic systematism. There is a rebellion against Ra, the Sun-God, followed by a great destruction and a deluge. Atum-Ra had been established as the king of gods and men, the God alone. There is a revolt against his supremacy. He calls the elder gods around him for consultation and says to them:

"You ancient gods, behold the beings who are born of myself; they utter words against me. Tell me, what would you do in these circumstances? Behold, I have waited and I have not destroyed them until I should hear what you have to say." [Detailed by Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 556. ]

The elder gods advise that he permit them to go and smite the enemies who plot evil against Ra, and let none remain alive. The rebels are then destroyed by being cast down for three days. Here is the distinct clue to true meaning, for the three days are a glyph for the time spent by evolutionary consciousness in the three lower kingdoms beneath man, the mineral, vegetable and animal. And "destruction" in this usage can not be taken as equivalent to actual annihilation or extirpation. This latter point is an extremely important one, as it saves many a Biblical allegory from utter perversion of meaning. After the exaction of the penalty, the "majesty of Ra" declares that he will now protect men on this account. "I raise my hand (in token) that I shall not again destroy men." The similarity of this description to more than a score of such narratives of the almighty anger against "a stiff-necked and rebellious people," their being cast out from celestial court and favor, and the eventual divine relenting and restoration of them to his providential care, must strike any fair-minded student who has read the Old Testament.

It is charged that Job, when cause is sought for his trial, had added "rebellion unto his sin." [See: The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy, Horace M. Kallen. ] It does not seem to be well known that the Old Testament contains an account of the "rebellion of the angels" in the guise of alleged Hebrew history. It is the rebellion of the "Sons of Korah," given in the Mosaic books, and recalled to the attention of the Israelites several times by the Eternal. It is told that at the rebellion the Lord caused the earth to open and swallow them up. It should be noticed that they were engulfed by the earth. It is known that two different groups of Psalms, thirteen to forty-nine, and eighty-four to eighty-eight, are specialized as "Psalms of the Sons of Korah." It is to (Page 119) be remarked as significant also that while swallowed up by earth, they were not destroyed! The rebel hosts, cast out of heaven, were not annihilated! What can this mean but that the term "destruction" is purely a glyph for the enforced descent to earth? Here they could expiate their contumely by sojourning in the untoward conditions of animal embodiment. Milton in the Paradise Lost, expresses Adamís surprise to find that his sentence of "death" for disobedience is a long, living death, not extinction. The account of the Korahitic rebellion expressly states that they were swallowed alive.

Happily Chaldean as well as Hindu records reaffirm the correctness of our interpretation, for Massey says:

"The Chaldean and Hindu legends know nothing of a human sin as a cause of the deluge. The sin against the gods, however, is described as the cause of the deluge in the so-called Ďdestruction of men.í . . . But these beings in the case were elemental, not mortal, and the sin was not human." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 559. ]

This is quite important. The beings were pre-human and angelic, not elemental in the theological sense. Their rebellion, in short, occurred in heaven, not on earth, though indeed it has been prolonged into the earthly life. They carried their rebellious attitude down with them and exhibit phases of it to the present!

An Egyptian text says of the god Anhur that he had seen the malice of these gods who "deserted their allegiance to raise a rebellion," and "he refused to go forth with them." Other texts contain references to "the children of impotent revolt," and tell of their "inroad into the Eastern part of heaven, whereupon there arose a battle in heaven and in all the earth." And another passage alludes to the "carrying out of the sentence upon those who are to die," and says it is "the withholding of that which is so needful to the souls of the children of impotent revolt." The meaning here is obviously their expatriation and consequent cutting off from participation in the life of their celestial estate.

In general summary of this point, it may be said that the implications and the moral of these traditions of rebellious and outcast angels are these: our divine souls (for we are those rebellious deities) fled under karmic pressure from heaven to earth, and we have carried the same refractoriness down in our racial history. We refused at first to incarnate in the animal forms, and we still are rebellious in our refusal (Page 120) to take full charge and assume complete mastery over the "animal" segment of our composite nature. Hence the frequent injunctions in old scriptures to "kill out" the lower elements in us, and such a statement as that in the Egyptian text of Unas to "slay the rebel" in consummating our work of redemption. [This spiritual edict has often been sadly misconstrued by mystical devotees. It does not, to be sure, imply the stern negation of all carnal impulses, far less their total annihilation. The animal nature is not to be ruthlessly slain, but transformed into the likeness of the spiritual man. ] Angels indeed were despatched to this realm, and their presence in the human constitution accounts for the divine element apostrophized in all religion. In the Epistle to the Hebrews (1:14) it is asked: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation?"

The next step in the unfoldment of the theme is to establish beyond dispute that it was to our earth that the descent was made. This is tremendously vital to true interpretation.

In Egyptian scriptures we encounter the promise that "if Pepi falleth on to the earth, Keb [Seb] will lift him up." Pepi here stands for the divinity in man, the god come to earth. To him in another place it is said: "Thou plowest the earth . . . Thou journeyest on the road whereon the gods journeyed." Here is identification of the earth as the place to which the gods were sent to travel the road of evolution.

One of the most conclusive statements of this fact in Christian scriptures is that memorable passage in Revelation (12:7-9), where we have a succinct rehearsal of the "war in heaven" and the casting down of the angel hosts in the character of Satan, as the dragon or serpent.

"There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels went forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels; and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast down into the earth and his angels were cast out with him."

It is of prime interest to note that the war in heaven was continued on earth, as has been intimated before. For after the dragon had been cast down to earth, he "waxed wroth with the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her seed."

This can be seen as the confirmation of the narrative in Genesis, wherein the Lord swore to place enmity between the serpent, or dragon, and the seed of the woman.

In the Egyptian Ritual, in the "chapter by which one cometh forth by day," the spirit of the descending god pleads: (Page 121)

"Let me have possession of all things soever which were offered ritualistically for me in the nether world. Let me have possession of the table of offerings which was heaped up for me on earth." He asks "that he may feed upon the bread of Seb [the earth god] or the food of earth." Proceeding he urges: "Let the Tuat be opened for me. Here am I."

This is an announcement of his advent upon earth, for the Tuat is the gate of entrance to Amenta. He is coming to this world to feed upon that type of concrete experience which the conditions here alone afford, under the name of "the bread of Seb." Later, following his resurrection, he says: "The tunnels of earth have given me birth." "I rise as a god among men," he exclaims. If there are men elsewhere than on earth, they are not those referred to in the old scriptures. He is described again as "Thou who givest light to the earth" (Rit., Ch. 15). Again he says: "I come that I may overthrow my adversaries upon earth." It is on earth that his opposition is to be met and hither he must come to conquer it, for his undeveloped divinity must grow by overcoming opposition. He is spoken of again as "he who has caused the authority of his father to be recognized in the great dwelling of Seb,"--earth. Another passage (Ch. 64) describes the lower self in man as saying: "I draw near to the god whose words were heard by me in the lower earth." As the god-soul descends he says: "My body shall be established and it shall neither fall into decay nor be destroyed upon this earth." His mission to earth is proclaimed as being to "vivify every human being that walketh upon the regions which are upon the earth." In another place we have a combined reference to the earth both as the "hidden place" and as the globe where the young gods came to progress. It is said of Isis that "she suckled the child in solitariness, and none knew where his place was, and he grew in strength and his arm increased in strength in the house of Keb," or the earth. Egypt will offer us in later connections a superabundance of testimony to the thesis under discussion, the relevance of which can not be so well appreciated until other phases of the mundane journey of the god can be presented. The localization of the place where the gods fell when ejected from heaven in the mythos as being our earth is one of the three or four major postulates of the ancient theology which this work is undertaken to establish, and its implications must alter all religious construction drastically. (Page 122)

The point was once known, but was obscured by ignorant handling of the Gnosis and was lost. It is almost unthinkable that it could have met such a fate when the Church had constantly before its eyes the legend of Christmas, with its clear imputation of the incarnation of the children of spiritual skies on earth. But the distributive nature of the Christhood had been submerged, and the tradition of the fall of the angels had been wrenched out of all relation to the Nativity at the winter solstice.

The passage in Revelation (22:16) that has left theological thought in such deep obscurity, may find acceptable rendition of its meaning in the light of the thesis of the descent: "I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." To apprehend the statement clearly we are required to read the name "Jesus" in the light of its Gnostic meaning as an Aeon, or emanation of divine spirit, an interpretation that is not at odds with its usage in the Book of Revelation. Students have been impressed with the evident resemblance of the Apocalypse to Gnostic literature, and one writer has ventured the opinion that it could have been written only by a Platonist versed in Mystery and Magian symbology. It bears quite pointed resemblances to such a Hermetic book as the Enoch. The Jesus referred to in it obviously has no identic relation to the Jesus personalized in the Gospels. His figure here is of cosmic proportions and equates the stature of the Logos. His dispatching of his angels to testify unto the churches can mean only that the Demiurgus, or Cosmic Intelligence embodied in an exalted being of the hierarchy, ordered the incarnation of the legionary hosts in the interests of the human evolution on earth. The "churches" can by no possible sophistry be distorted into a reference to the early Christian congregations. This would be to bring the dignity of cosmic operations down almost to the level of the monthly meeting of the Ladiesí Auxiliary! The "churches" were groupings or gradations of spiritual beings at or near the completed state of human development, if not the "ecclesia" or "assembly" of the divinized mortals.

Theology has never adequately traced the course of the evolutionary processes by which the simple fact of the descent of the angels for incarnation took on the character of a "fall," with the implication of disaster. Says Cocker: "The present life is a fall and a punishment." [ Greek Philosophy. ]Many passage from the Bible could be adduced to show that the (Page 123) incarnation was held to have resulted in a fall or debasement of pristine angelic virtue. The Revelation apostrophe to the fallen Babylon, the mighty, whose ancient glory had departed, giving place to the glory of the Beast, whose courts had become the habitation of devils, and whose fornicatory wines had made the nations drunk, is doubtless an allusion to the situation here envisaged. To what else could St. Paul conceivably be referring when, speaking of the Gentiles, he says:

"And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping things."

An earlier paragraph has corrected the miscomprehension of the meaning of the term "Gentiles," which has beset the theological mind for centuries. It would be illogical to ascribe so dire an evolutionary degeneration to the mere accident of non-membership in a religious caste, or nation of allegedly "chosen" people. The Gentiles were the as yet undivinized "sons of men," as distinct from the "Sons of God," or Israelites, and it was their unpurified natures that dragged down the gods who incarnated in their bodies and dimmed their glory. The Gentile is the man "from beneath"; the Israelite is "from above," as Jesus affirmed. "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second is the Lord from heaven," says St. Paul. The immersion of the latter in the bodies of the former reduced their originally vivid intelligence to such a point of stultification that they sank by degrees under the dominance of the sensual disposition. And here is found the conversion of the evolutionary "descent" into the theological "fall." The two terms Gentiles and Israelites can not be attached to any historical nationals. Their employment by several nations was at first only an allegorical flourish. The Greek use of the term "barbarians" and our own recent literary use of the word "Philistines" somewhat parallel this treatment of the word "Gentiles." The Gentiles were the party of the first part in evolution, who drew down the gods and changed their glory into the semblance of grinning hyenas, chattering apes, braying asses and rapacious wolves, in spite of "broad oaths fast sealed" and a covenant with deity.

The advent of the Prometheans to earth was the oblation, the divine sacrifice, the sacrifice "for sin." Yet it is only a perverted connotation of the word "sacrifice" that has caused this act of cosmic policy to be (Page 124) taken in the light of a self-privation on the part of the Luciferian hosts. Few words of noble meaning have not been touched by the disfiguring hand of low human understanding. Sacrifice (Latin: sacra and facio) means "to make sacred," and has no immediate correlation with the denial to oneself of benefits. If privation came in the process of incarnation, it was incidental, not inherent. The angel legions descended to make a lower order of life holy--"to adorn what was below them," as Plotinus puts it. Their labor was to the end of "sacrifying" a merely natural kingdom of life. It was to sanctify with the gift of divinity the mortal race, and make it immortal and divine.

This is not to assert that the enterprise did not entail hardship. The labor of evolution especially when self-consciousness had been awakened and the Ego became aware of his failures, and knew that he bore responsibility for his conduct, is more likely to be a Via Dolorosa than a path of roses. The reason for the accentuation of the denial aspect of the sacrifice is to be found in the fact that the upliftment of the lower grade entailed a long relinquishment of paradisiacal blessedness for the spirits of light, and a quenching of their deific fire in the moist humors, or "water," of the body. The adventure brought privation, torture, woe. It was an exile from a home of beatific happiness. To be plunged from a state of dreamy blissfulness into a state of dull realism and concrete objectivity, where the golden glow of idealism faded from every sight, was for them a dimming of the bright lamp of life. It was indeed a plunge from lively consciousness into partial unconsciousness. It was an ostracism from heaven into a long, hard and unattractive migration. They were to become colonists of a strange, distant land, if not castaways on its unfriendly shores. Cocker, already quoted, comments, in reference to Platoís Cave Allegory: "Their sojourn on earth is . . . a dreary exile from their proper home." Earth life is only a shadow of reality. In Egyptian scriptures the holy city of Aarru-Hetep (Salem) was to be built up by "the outcasts or the colonists from Egypt." St. Paul states that "we are a colony of heaven" (Moffatt translation). This is a clear Biblical intimation that we are expatriates from a higher world. Greek philosophy and mythology are replete with allusions to souls wandering on earth, exhiles from a diviner sphere. Most of the semi-divine heroes had long journeys and crusades assigned to them. And the Prodigal Son is of course the unquestioned representative of the exileís role in Bible lore. From the (Page 125) Greek philosopher Empedocles comes the echo of the sentiment that the soul has migrated to a foreign country:

"For this I weep, for this indulge my woe,
That eíer my soul such novel realms should know."

Mosesí son was Gershom, which the Moffatt translation gives as meaning "Stranger," with the parenthetical explanation: "For I have been a stranger in a foreign land."

In this connection there is the possibility of a rational solution of the meaning of a text in the Bible which, in its conventional reading, has proven a perplexity and a "hard saying." It appears to be a stroke at the fundamental integrity of human kinship, family affection. In Luke (14:26) Jesus tells the multitude that no one can be his disciple unless one hate father, mother, brother, sister and all kin. In the great Gnostic-Christian work, the Pistis Sophia (Bk. 2, p. 341) a text runs to nearly the same effect:

"For this cause have I said unto you aforetime, Ďhe who shall not leave father and mother to follow after me is not worthy of me.í What I said then was, ye shall leave your parents, the rulers, that ye may all be children of the first, everlasting mystery."

In the light of the additional explanatory material given in the Pistis Sophia and omitted from the Gospel account, it is possible to see that this necessity of the discipleís leaving father, mother and kin and breaking all home ties in an apparently ruthless disruption of the most commendable of earthly loves, bore no original reference to human parents and kindred, but was another of the many illusions to the expatriation of the angelic orders. This breaking of home ties occurred in the celestial paradise, which in all portrayal is called "the Homeland." To be a follower of Jesus in his mission to a submerged humanity was to accompany him in his descent to earth from heavenly Father and empyrean home. If religion had kept its original knowledge of our cosmic errand, we could have been saved the perennial perplexity of wondering why the Lordís disciples are commanded to flout the tenderest of human ties.

Many of the allusions to the children of Israel as exiles, captives in a foreign land, hostages and outcasts, are made during periods when the historical Hebrews were not in either the Egyptian or (Page 126) the Babylonian or Assyrian captivities, and were not in any mundane sense exiles. Empedocles describes mortals as "Heavenís exiles straying from the orb of light." In line with our thought are the words of the Christian Advent hymn:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Nor less grandly true are the lines of the "Gospel" hymn:
Iím but a stranger here;
Heaven is my home.

The various exiles, captivities and wanderings of the children of Israel were not historical. They were symbolic accounts of the descent of the twelve "tribes" of angelic spirits, "chosen" by the higher Lords in heaven to come to earth and divinize incipient humanity.(Page 127)

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