THE LOST LIGHT- by Alvin Boyd Kuhn - Part 2 of 5
IN DURANCE VILE
Having established the place of the soulís fall or descent as our earth, the next task is to present the teaching of ancient philosophy as to the character of the soulís actual experience in the dismal habitat of the animal bodies. Christian theology makes much of the doctrine of the Incarnation, but a vast amount of primary knowledge that would enlighten the mind with reference to this cardinal item has been lost by the Churchís flouting of the early Gnosis. The doctrine has been to ecclesiasticism such a baffling conundrum that it was shelved to a place of happy security in the person of the historical Jesus. Indeed the evidence grows stronger, as study proceeds, that the theory of a carnalized or personalized Savior, comprehending in himself every divine attribute, became established in early polity from the sheer fact of its serviceableness, it being found an easy solution of many a knotty problem of exegesis to ascribe every aspect of Godhood to the man Jesus. All divinity once safely localized in his person, a hundred confusing questions arising from the entanglement of deity with mortal flesh in all humanity could be summarily disposed of. Pagan philosophy required the presence of divinity in every son of earth. But a decadent religionism found the rationale of the situation too difficult to purvey to its ignorant following, and the euhemerized Jesus proved an easy evasion. Was not Jesus the only-begotten son of God? Insecure as this left the hierarchical status of every other Christian, it was sufficient for pious zealotry. The Incarnation was condensed in Jesus, touchingly born in the climate of tropical Egypt, and heralded by a star which in any astronomical view whatever becomes a natural monstrosity. All things considered it was a device of consummate utility to consign the whole matter of the Incarnation to the distant and sacrosanct person of the Nazarene. Beside bearing in his body the sins of the world, he has borne also in (Page 128) his frail person the unsolved problems of a blind and errant theology! The Jesus of Christianity was as much an intellectual necessity to a befuddled ecclesiasticism as Voltaireís God has been to a humanity trying to rationalize the universe. To a theology plunged into dialectical difficulties by its rejection of esotericism, a Jesus who "paid it all" has indeed been "a very present help in trouble." By cramming all the essence of divinity that came to earth into the sainted confines of Jesusí body and life, all qualms concerning the neglected "Christ in you" could be overborne by a wave of the hand toward the picture of the man of Galilee on the cross.
But pagan thought faced the implications and the data of the incarnation problem squarely. A fragment of deity was brought and lodged within the breast of every animal form evolved to the verge of the human kingdom. The animal race awaited the implantation of the divine spark, as their hope of a link with the order of responsible free agency and self-conscious intelligence. They stood at the point at which physical evolution could take them no farther toward mentality without the endowment of a nucleus or seed of potential mind from the plane above. They awaited the incubation of divine intelligence in their physical forms. The agents of such a blessing were at hand in the legions of Asuras, who had evolved the desired element of mind in former cycles elsewhere, but yet required some rounds of incarnate experience to complete the perfection of their divinity. After rebellion and delay they came to fulfill their cosmic destiny. We are those "unwilling Nirvanees," those "junior gods," those angelic hosts! By our coming and sharing our nature with the lesser creatures, they, too, become the heirs of immortality; for the essence of which our higher nature was nucleated is imperishable. If the animal could append it to his being, he would be immortalized also. The Demiurgus in charging us with the commission, assured us that we "should never be dissolved" (Timaeus). The gist of Platoís, as of Paulís, writings is that man is a being compounded of a lower perishable and a higher indestructible vesture, the two linked by an intermediate principle which may be inclined to a union with either, and which therefore stands at the place of the balance in human destiny. The fleshly form was contributed by physical evolution on earth, but it was molded upon the matrix of an emotional body of finer etheric substance supplied by the men of the previous Moon race, (Page 129) or the Lunar Pitris, at the end of their life period on our satellite. [Hindu, Tibetan, Platonic and other ancient systems are at one as to the accuracy of this item, difficult as it appears to us in our ignorance of cosmology and occult science. ]A higher race, concluding a course of incarnations upon another planet of our system, Venus or Mercury, contributed the mental or manasic principle, which was to control emotion and sensation. And the highest spiritual node of being was the gift of entities embodying the soul of the sun. We can see now why in ancient legends of the formulation of mankind, the various gods are said to contribute each a bit of his own nature to compile the final product, as in the Pandora myth. Manas or mind was the intermediary between emotion and spirit. Spirit was to control mind as mind controlled emotion. With the descending Asuras [ Known also as Gandharvas, Suryas, Kumaras, Rudras, Adityas, Manasaputras, Agniswatha Pitris, and by some dozen or more other names. ]came potential mind and the germ of undying spirit.
To present briefly the archaic legend of the advent, the accounts relate that of the twelve legions chosen to undertake the adventure in the far country, two were lost and had to find their place again in evolution later. Of the remaining ten, one group of five responded willingly to the order. They were therefore known as the Suras, or "willing Nirvanees." They are the obedient elder brother of the Prodigal Son allegory! But in their effort they did not descend to full incarnation in animal bodies, but remained suspended, so to say, over the earthly scene in what might be called spiritual bodies. They never reached the flesh, never became the souls of fleshly creatures. They were obedient, but never fully executed their commission. The remaining group of five legions, profiting by their example, at first refused to run the risk of the same abortive effort, and were known as the Asuras, or "unwilling ones." (Syrians and Assyrians became their earthly counterparts in the handling of the uranograph, the ancient "u" changing always to a "y" when Anglicized.) However, they could not avert their destiny, and reluctantly obeying, they succeeded in linking their divine principle of intelligence to the mortal forms of the animal-men awaiting them. "The underworld awaits your coming" is a statement made to them in one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament. They were the younger and wayward son in the Prodigal Son allegory! But they did go out from home, as the elder brother did not. Therefore they were worthy of the fatted calf and the shining robe on their return, victorious. The elder brother, though obedient, had not earned the reward. This is the solution of the difficult situation in the allegory, in which the sulkiness and apparent neglect of the obedient son who had remained faithfully at home, have so (Page 130) universally defeated the exegetical efforts of the theologians. The parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins is likewise a glyph of this same cosmic predicament. For one of the names of the Asuras was Kumaras, meaning "celibate young men," or "spiritual virgins." They are the "Innocents" of the Gospel story and the Hamemmet Beings of the Book of the Dead. Their virginity is by virtue of the fact that they were entities of pure spiritual nature, radiations of basic Spirit, who had not yet had full incarnation, which was ever symbolized as a "marriage" of spirit with flesh! They were cosmically unmarried, hence "virgin" young men.
We have here a new intimation of profound meaning back of the feature of the "virgin birth" and the "immaculate conception." The virginity pertained to both sides, the spiritual as well as the material. If the matter that was to give birth to spiritual mind was hitherto unwedded to spirit, never impregnated by spirit, so likewise were the spiritual units who were sent to be the "Bridegroom" of New Testament dramatism to wed these immaculate virgins of the material nature. They were yet "innocent" of copulation with matter. They were the ones chosen to descend to earth and wed material forms, inoculating virgin matter with the principle of immortal mind. They were "young men" and "celibate." Beside Hamemmet Beings the Egyptians termed them "younglings in the egg" and the "younglings of Shu," the god. And they dramatized them as birdsí (soulsí) eggs in the nest in the tree of life in danger of being devoured by the serpent - of the lower nature! One Egyptian name given, in addition to Apap or Apep, or Apepi, to the great Hydra serpent that lay in wait to devour the Manes in the "bight of Amenta" was Herut or Herrut. Evidence that is not lightly to be brushed aside in derision can be adduced in support of the suggestion that the name Herod, foisted on this serpent character in the myth when drama was historicized, is just a cover for the Herut reptile that threatens the Innocents! The historical Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, was dead at the year 4 B.C. Christian chronology has had to shift the "date" of Christís "birth" to the year 4 B.C. in order to be able to include Herod in the story. But Cyrenius (Quirinus), the "Governor in Syria" at the time of Jesusí birth according to the Gospel account, reigned from 13 to 11 B.C. Will another shift of seven to nine years be made to include him?
The Kumaras in the Egyptian books exult in their escape from the (Page 131) serpent threat with the cry: "Apap hath not found my nest. My egg has not been cracked!" The infant Hercules in his cradle strangled the two great snakes that crept up to devour him, and both Horus and his cat symbol stand with feet upon the giant serpentís neck, the cat severing its head with a knife.
Thomas Taylor, the discerning Platonist, states that we mortal men are composed of the "fragments" of the Titans. In Platonism generally the Titans were styled Thyrsus-bearers, as having "led the soul into the body," or "brought ungenerated into generated existence." Their part in implanting the seed of intelligence in man is poetically set forth in Proclusí Hymn to Minerva:
by thee we find
A demiurgic impulse in the mind."
Massey tells us that
"in the Latita-Vistara eight heavenly beings are enumerated as the Gods or Devas. They are the Nagas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kumaras and Mahorgas." [The Natural Genesis, I, p. 315. ]
They are the gods who (collectively) in Leviticus (26) say to the Israelites:
"I will ratify my compact with you; I will pitch my tent among you and never abhor you. I will live among you and be your God, and you shall be my people."
In this great enterprise of leading whole and impartible natures into the realm of division and darkness they were said to have established "the garden of the Asuras" about the South Pole of the heavens, the Paradise of Yama, Lord of the region of death, whilst the Suras, or unfragmented deities, are said to have dwelt in the locality of the North Polar region, the fabled Mt. Meru, or Paradise of Indra. This opposition of the two races of divinities, termed the War in Heaven, was the celestial counterpart and prototypal aspect of the later struggle inaugurated between the heavenly and the earthly elements in human nature when the Asuras descended to assume physical vestures. It was the pattern in the heavens of the war between the first Adam, or natural man, and the second Adam, or the man regenerated by the infusion of a spiritual consciousness. (Page 132)
The point now to be demonstrated beyond cavil is that the incarnation was localized in the bodies of a race that at the beginning was animal and in the end was to be human. The "tabernacling with men" which the deities undertook consisted in effecting the incorporation of their subtler faculties and capacities in bodies originally animal. The ancient apothegm of the sages--"Nature unaided fails"--must be given due consideration in the scheme of things and accepted as one of the canons of understanding. It seems to introduce into the system of evolution a bizarre and unaccountable factor. It appears to thrust the causative principle of mind, intelligence, into the order of natural unfoldment in a purely arbitrary way, such as science can not countenance. It appears to make evolution jump over the gap between beast and human, and suddenly presents man endowed with self-determinative intelligence with no provision made for his having earned it in orderly development. But the ancient wisdom does supply the link that to science is missing. It reveals the irrationality of scienceís attempt to account for the presence and growth of a plant without permitting the assumption that its seed was first planted in the soil. Science has been straining to explain the presence of mind in man without knowledge of the ancient theorem that each kingdom serves as the seedbed for the generation of life of the kingdom above it. It has been searching for formulae of explanation in total want of the understanding that
"one long immortal chain, whose sequence is never-ending, reaches by impact with that immediately above and by contact with that immediately below, from the very lowest to the very highest." [ Hargrave Jennings: The Rosicrucians.]
It is possible to discern a replica of this same linkage of principles in the functioning of our bodily organism, reaching from spirit at the top to flesh and bone at the bottom. Spirit touches and influences mind, mind touches emotion, emotion modifies nerve impulse, which affects the composition of the blood, and blood builds cell structure, eventuating in actual flesh and bone. The spirit in the human body is like a power current in a dynamo, motivating a dynamic impulse which reaches to the utmost bounds of the organism. But man, like nature, is composed of a series of structures of different tenuity, and each member of the series is a link in the chain, bound above and below to the contiguous links. The interrelation of the links is governed by the Law of Incubation, by which the seed germ of life on the level (Page 133) above is deposited in the soil of the level below, there to be hatched to new generation. In the Egyptian Ritual (Ch. 85) the incarnating Ego says: "I am the soul, the Creator of the god Nu, who maketh his habitation in the underworld; my place of incubation is unseen and my egg is not cracked." And in the resurrection scene in the Ritual the revivified Ego, figured as a dove, exclaims: "I am the Dove; I am the Dove,"! as he rises from the realm of darkness wherein the "egg of his future being was hatched by the divine incubator" (Ch. 86).
In the Pistis Sophia of the Gnostics the doctrine of the incubation finds clear expression when Jesus says:
"I found Mary, who is called my mother, after the material body; I implanted in her the first power which I had received from the hands of Barbelo, and I planted in her the power which I had received from the hands of the great, the good Sabaoth" (Meadís Trans., Bk. I, 13).
It is of transcendent importance to note that the Greek (Gnostic) work directly identifies Mary, the mother of divinity, with the physical body! Let Christian theology be advised of the long-lost truth of this matter. The mother in all ancient allegories typifies nothing more than the physical body which in man becomes the womb or matrix in which the radiant Christ-body of spirit is brought to birth. Is Christianity to fall below heathenism in its inability to rise above the level of the symbols to the discernment of the abstract truth behind them?
Proclus speaks of the soul having fallen like seed into the realms of generation. [Quoted by Iamblichus: The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 364. ]Paulís characterization of the nature of man as sown in corruption is a resort again to the imagery of incubation. The "junior gods," potentially if not yet actually divine, were sown, planted in a soil prepared by evolution to nourish their latent fires to expansion and full function, and this was the incarnation. The "fleshly" connotation of the word leaves no doubt as to the full reality of the process; the ground prepared was the physical body of animal-men. The entry of these divine seeds of life and mind into each animal form made possible for those creatures their transition across the gap of the "missing link" to the plane of humanhood. The link between brute beast and thinking man is missing on earth; for it was forged by evolutionary process in another realm, on another planet, and transferred to earth at a given critical epoch in mundane history. As Plutarch tells us, only one fourth of man, his physical body, is derived directly from (page 134) the earth; the other three parts are brought here and linked to his material frame by appropriate affinities. That this may not remain an insoluble enigma to modern skepticism about such things, it may be said that each of these principles intermixed in manís constitution was the product of an evolution on its particular globe, and that, since these globes themselves are but cells or organs in a larger composite living stellar being, the possibility of their sustaining vital relations or cooperative linkage in a common creative work is far from an unnatural presupposition. Science must go several steps deeper than it has yet gone into the secret workshop of nature before it can admit the legitimacy of such predications. Yet ancient psycho-physics faced the problems of life with the knowledge that all living organisms are concocted of a perishable material element and an imperishable subjective element bound together in temporary union. When the corruptible sheath fades away the imperishable nucleus floats free, persists and may later be embodied in another form. Science is to be reminded that substances are the more enduring in proportion to their tenuity, that "soul," as the Greeks affirmed, is far more lasting than body. Hence impressions made upon it are a more ineradicable book of life than any cemetery epitaph. Our emotional body, our mental vehicle and our immortal spiritual vesture each brings the record of its past indelibly imprinted upon the underlying etheric substance of its composition.
From Greek Platonism we draw some of the most direct and dialectically essential support for the thesis of the bodily incarnation. From Olympiodorusí Commentary on the Phaedo of Plato we take the following:
"It is necessary, first of all, for the soul to place a likeness of herself in the body. This is to ensoul the body. Secondly, it is necessary for her to sympathize with the image, as being of like idea. For every eternal form or substance is wrought into an identity with its interior substance, through an integrated tendency thereto."
We are here enlightened about the interior affinities which the two partners to the union manifest toward each other, the bonds that draw and hold and eventually weld them together.
Another pointed assertion comes from the Chaldean Oracles: (Page 135)
"For the Father of Gods and men placed our intellect in soul, but soul he deposited in sluggish body."
Perhaps we shall find nowhere else so detailed and analytic a statement of the principles on which life and nature regulate the metamorphoses which divine consciousness undergoes as it descends the Jacobís ladder from spirit heights to mortal sense on coming into incarnation, as in a paragraph from Proclus in the quaint style of Thomas Taylorís rendering:
"In order likewise that this may become manifest and also the arrangement, let us survey from on high the descent, as Plato says, and defluxion of the wings of the soul. From the beginning, therefore, and at first the soul, departing from this divine union, descended into intellect, and no longer possessed real being unitedly and in one, but apprehended and surveyed them by simple projections and, as it were, contacts of its intellect. In the next place, departing from intellect, and descending into reason and dianoia, it no longer apprehended real being by simple intuitions, but syllogistically and transitively, proceeding from one thing to another, from propositions to conclusions. Afterwards, abandoning true reasoning and the dissolving peculiarity [analysis], it descended into generation, and became filled with much irrationality and perturbation. It is necessary, therefore, that it should recur to its proper principles and again return to the place from whence it came." [The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, II, p. 355. ]
Nothing would so quickly aid modern psychology to work for fruitful results in understanding as to adopt this table of the successive "defluxions of the wings of the soul" in Platoís magnificent analysis. Surely the present status and modus of the psycheís operation are to be better envisaged if they are known to be the lowest and most darkened activity of a spiritual intelligence that on the heights above functioned by flashing intuition. Clearly outlined are the several steps which the soul takes from piercing light into murky darkness as it descends into body: first from identity with reality and direct inclusion of consciousness in it; then the plunge downward into that form of intellect which apprehends by immediate intuition; again the dip into the more sluggish processes of logical reasoning, in which, the inner relations of things being lost, the mind must establish them slowly by syllogistic process; and finally the dropping altogether from (Page 136) rational procedure into following the lead of sheer sense and impulse of the lower nature. With mighty realizations we are now able to see what St. Paul meant in saying, "Now we see through a glass darkly."
From a dissertation on Theurgy translated by the Renaissance Platonist, Ficinus, we take the following clear statement of the gradations in the chain of the descent:
"So that all things are full of divine natures; terrestrial natures receiving the plenitude of such as are celestial, but celestial of supercelestial essences; while every order of things proceeds gradually, in a beautiful descent, from the highest to the lowest. For whatever particulars are collected into one above the order of things, are afterwards dilated in descending, various souls being distributed under their various ruling divinities." [Quoted by the editor in Iamblichusí The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 345. ]
From the grand master of divine knowledge himself, Plato (Timaeus, xliv), comes the remarkable declaration:
"The Deity (Demiurgus) himself formed the divine; and then delivered over to his celestial offspring (the subordinate or generated gods), the task of creating the mortal. These subordinate deities, copying the example of their parent, and receiving from his hands the immortal principles of the human soul, fashioned after this the mortal body, which was consigned to the soul as a vehicle, and in which they placed also another kind of soul, which is mortal and is the seat of violent and fatal passions."
For sheer enlightenment these passages are worth whole libraries of modern speculation. The lower soul spoken of is the one which emanated from the moon race, and is, strictly speaking, the soul of the animal, not the god-soul of the man. It is this lower soul, called often the "elemental," the seat of the animal instincts, that the god has come to educate, and in the same body with which it has come to dwell. When Plato describes it as "the seat of violent and fatal passions," he is definitely identifying our mortal tenement with the body of an animal. This conclusion is strengthened by one of the Zoroastrian Oracles, which declares: "The wild beasts of the earth shall inhabit thy vessel." [Article by Thomas Taylor in Classical Journal, Vol. 16, p. 338. ]
Edward Carpenter, in reviewing the multifarious forms of the "sacrifice" doctrine in religions, says that "Brahma, . . . Indra, Soma, Hari and other gods, became incarnate in animals." [Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 132. ]And it is not without extreme significance that we have such a statement as the following from a scholarly authority: (Page 137)
"The sense of an absolute psychical distinction between man and beast, so prevalent in the civilized world, is hardly to be found among lower races." [Tylor: Primitive Culture, I, p. 469. (Edn. 1903.) ]
Naturally so, because the gap between man and animal there is less wide than it now is in cultured races. The animal did not at one jump land into full manhood. He was given the as yet ungerminated seed of divinity to nurse within the depths of his own nature. Only a tiny segment of the godís life was in conscious manifestation in and through the lower mentality of the beast at the start. The god could put little of his full power and capacity into expression through the imperfect brain of the animal. For a long time, or until the angelís presence in the brute body could refine the latterís impulses and proclivities and increase brain expansion, the deity could only lurk in the background of consciousness, becoming what we now so ignorantly term "the subconscious mind." There was obviously little difference between the first humans and the nearest animals. The difference did not assume marked proportions until ages had rolled by and the slow march of development had enabled the god to project more and more of his innate endowment into the sluggish nature of the beast he was tutoring. We have here, systematically propounded for the first time, the basic criterion for evaluating the progress of human culture. Culture is essentially nothing but the gradual modification of crude animal impulses into the gentler motions of the higher self. Modernity has never concisely known the cosmic or evolutionary foundations of this transaction. These lay hidden under the rejected esotericism of Platonic and other arcane teachings.
The Bible sets forth the implications of the incarnation in sensationally direct form in the Book of Daniel. Addressing the king (always a figure for the god) Daniel tells him that he will be taken away from human beings to dwell with the wild animals; and he condenses volumes of Platonic philosophy dealing with the obscuration of deific intellect in the descent, into the pithy statement, repeated three times in the first five chapters, that "you shall be given the mind of an animal"! An animalís mind was given unto him and his dwelling was with the wild beasts." Also: "He ate grass like cattle, and his nails grew like the claws of a bird." (Incidentally, here is positive proof of the non-historicity of Bible narrative, since these things did not happen (Page 138) to the historical King, Nebuchadnezzar!) But the Paradise lost in the incarnation was regained in the end, for finally, "When the time was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes unto heaven; my reason returned unto me, and I blessed the Lord, praising him and honoring him forever." The period of the duress in animal habitat is given as "seven years," each cycle of incarnate life being completed in seven ages! And all the mighty meaning of this grand allegory was missed because Nebuchadnezzar was taken for an historical personage, instead of a figure for the god in man.
Egypt furnishes us with one of the most direct and indubitable bits of testimony to the animal incarnation of the soul in one of the numberless prayers addressed to Osiris:
"Hail, Osiris Khenti-Amentiu (Lord of Amenta)! Thou art the Lord of millions of years, the lifter-up of wild animals, the Lord of cattle; . . ."
As Amenta is the region in which the Osiris-soul contacts the body, the verse is of surpassing meaning in this connection.
Massey writes in The Natural Genesis (Vol. I, p. 71):
"A very comprehensive designation for the divinities of all kinds, says Gill (Myths and Songs, p. 34), is the Mangaian Ďte anau tuarangi,í the heavenly family. This Ďcelestial race includes rats, lizards, beetles, sharks and several kinds of birds. The supposition was that the heavenly family had taken up their abode in these birds and fishes.í"
"Plutarch refers to the idea Ďthat the Gods, being afraid of Typhon; did, as it were, hide themselves in the bodies of ibises, dogs and hawks,í and repudiated it as Ďfoolery beyond belief.í This, however, is a matter of interpretation. We know that such representations were part of the drama of the Mysteries. Many descriptions might be quoted to show that in their religious ceremonies, the actors performed their masquerade in the guise of animals."
We have here a sterling clue to the lost meaning of most of the weird ritualism still carried out in our celebration of Halloweíen. The importance and gripping significance of this remnant of ancient symbolic dramatism is not dreamed of today. The masks worn were originally those of animal faces or hides. The festival, coming at the time of the September equinox (with a forty-daysí interval), when the sun, eternal symbol of the divine soul, was descending across the line which (Page 139) marked the boundary between disembodied spirit and soul embodied, dramatized the entry of the god into the animal body. "Mask" is in Latin "persona." The god was then putting on the mask of his personality; and all the weird capers, grimaces, horseplay and general buffoonery of the Halloweíen revelry most piquantly prefigure the deityís ungainly animalish behavior when cavorting behind the outward mask of the animalís nature! The moon being the parent of the mortal body, lunar symbolism was prominently introduced into the portrayal. And all this is another strong proof that it was the primal religious ritual drama that gave rise to social tradition and celebratory custom, and not folk-practice that gave rise to the myth, as scholars have always so erroneously contended. [An approach to this viewpoint is notable in a recent study of great importance by the English scholar, Lord Raglan, in his book, The Hero (Oxford University Press). The work presents evidence that the masks worn in olden celebrations were those of animals. ]
A patent hint of strong esoteric significance is found in the following:
"Diodorus has it that the gods were at one time hard pressed by the giants, and compelled to conceal themselves for a while under the form of animals, which in consequence became sacred." [Massey: The Natural Genesis, I, p. 74. ]
Here is straight anthropology hidden under semi-fable. It is the true explanation of a vast amount of tribal custom that has perplexed the learned world no end. Whole chapters of Frazersís Golden Bough and similar works, of which the authors have offered no rational interpretation and believed none possible, become intelligible at one stroke, and such a cultured people as the ancient Egyptians are exculpated from the charge of crude animism and fetishism in "worshipping animals."
The incarnation was incontestably the most fateful event that had ever taken place in the evolutionary career of animal-man, giving him a status far above that of his former condition. It was the faraway beginning of his apotheosis. It was his passport of entry into the kingdom of mind. The folklore and Mšrchen of the nations carry the story of this mighty crisis in evolution in an apparent mťlange of childish fancy, flippant caprice of invention and forms of the grossest imagery. These seeming qualities have been the means of derailing the train of our understanding of the hidden purport of the relics. We have but to use our imagination constructively to see how mythography passed first into the realism of dramatic representation, then (Page 140 ) into legend lacking the original spiritual meaning, and finally into a sadly distorted and barren folk-tale.
"Herodotus was told that the Neurian wizards among the Scythians, settled about the Black Sea, became each of them a wolf for a few days once a year. The Texan tribe of the Tonkaways did the same, when, clothed in wolf-skins, they celebrated the resurrection of the wolf from the Hades. The head of a wolf was worn in the Mysteries of Isis; because the wolf (Anup) was her warder and guardian during the search for Osiris in the underworld. . . . The candidate as the Loveteau of French Masonry still enters as a young wolf." [ Massey: The Natural Genesis, I, p. 74.]
A Chinese remnant relates that a maid conceived by air (the Holy Spirit!) and brought forth a child, which the father then threw into the pig-yard! "It was the rightful heir, who lived to become the monarch." If this seems tawdry and profane, let the reader note the obvious resemblance to the Prodigal Son allegory and the conception story of Mary.
The Shilluks have a tradition that "Nyakang then created men and women out of the animals he found in the country." The promise to mankind in the Genesis account, that the human should be lord of the animal creation, ruler of the beasts of the field, has obvious reference to the headship of the mental man over the body itself, which would be assumed by the soul or god upon his entry therein, under the terms of his covenant with Deity. His task in the incarnational assignment was to tame, subdue, discipline and finally exalt the lower personality, which was the depository of all animal experience in its soul,--our subconscious mind. Passages in the Book of Enoch state that man shall dwell with the wild beasts and shall subdue and overcome them. A verse in Ezekiel declares to the soul: "I shall fill the wild beasts of the earth with thee." But one of the most straightforward figurations of the incarnation in all religious literature is found in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, an apocryphal New Testament Gospel, when the soul, speaking as one of the characters in the drama, most beautifully poetizes his nature and mission in this remarkable utterance: "Suffer me to be food to the wild beasts, by whom I shall attain unto God. For I am the wheat of God, and I shall be ground between the teeth of the wild animals that I may be found the pure bread of Christ." The crushing of wheat into flour for bread was a (Page 141) widely used symbol of the fragmentation of unitary deity consequent upon his descent into bodies. The statement here that the crushing was done by the teeth of the wild beasts is beyond cavil a positive reference to the animal embodiment. And the added information that by such lowly incarnation the soul shall attain unto God should restore to theology the lost conception of the importance of the bodily life.
The Bibleís declaration that we "shall be as sheep among wolves" is a slanting hint at the picture of the gentle Christ spirit tenanting the bodies of the wild beasts of earth! And the scene of Daniel, the man of God, in the lionís den, is another suggestion that the soul may safely reside in the animalís body or "den," if it holds true to its divine ideal.
An Egyptian text addresses Thoth as "he who sendeth forth his heart to dwell in his body." Another presents us with a definite corroboration of the incarnation thesis. It speaks of Annu (in this case our earth) as "the land wherein souls are joined unto their bodies even in thousands."
An Arunta legend describes the animistic powers attributed to beings as the "ancestors who reproduce themselves by incorporation in the life on earth in the course of becoming men or animal."
It was the fundamental Egyptian conception that the god, on descending to earth, became "fleshed." The word Karas, which was used to designate the mummy, is traced to the Greek kreas, flesh. The taking on of a carnal form was in its true connotation the mummification of the Osiris or spirit. [A fuller elucidation of this theme will be given at a later place when the profounder significance of mummification is dealt with. ] An Egyptian text asserts most positively the union of soul and body. Chapter 163 of the Ritual says: "Let his soul have its being within his body, and let his body have its being within his soul." And another chapter (89) is entitled "the chapter by which the soul is united to the body." This can not mean the dead body, since obviously the soul is separated from, not united with, the cadaver. It can mean nothing but the conjunction of the incoming soul with the body at birth or a little later.
The amassing of so much data in support of the Incarnation, a doctrine of theology that is still included in ecclesiastical acceptance, may appear a labor of supererogation. Far from it. The data presented have been assembled with the purpose of restoring the dogma to its pivotal place of importance in the theological temple. It has been so viciously emasculated that a mass of testimony as to its original cardinal utility had to be adduced, if it is to be reestablished in its rugged pristine (Page 142) meaning. Mankind works blindly at the main problem confronting it so long as this doctrine is obscured. It was never intended to mean that the whole of the power of the Logos was crowded into the admittedly limited area of a single personality. It was not accepted in this light by the intelligent Fathers of the early Church, such as Clement and Origen; for they are on record as expressly repudiating such an eventuality. They regarded a personalized embodiment of deity as infinitely degrading to the Logos, verily a blasphemy.
Furthermore how can we understand Paulís preachment of the warfare between carnal and spiritual natures unless we are assured that soul and flesh were conjoined in intimate and affective relationship? If theology is to rise again to benignant influence, it must be mounted again upon its ancient bases of anthropology. If the advent, the incarnation, the birth, the temptation, the baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion and resurrection can not be shown to be the type of our own actual experience in present living, the temple of theology can not be expected to be rebuilt on a foundation of mystical sentiment alone. If the cosmological and anthropological aspects of the original esotericism had not been disdained, theology would not now stand in such forlorn case before a world styling itself intelligent. Thrown down from her pedestal of ancient dignity, she lies prostrate in the courtyard of the Church, and the busy populace hurrying by on worldly bent mocks her or heeds her not. She has no place in the hall of science, no true home in the human heart. Hardly even in the somber pulpit does she stand in honor. Her only place is in the dim and darksome alcoves of the ecclesiasticís library; and priestly zeal essays in vain to win back for her the departed power.
On this score it is desirable to give assent to one or two of Masseyís discerning judgments before passing on to the corollaries of the doctrine:
"The doctrine of the incarnation had been evolved and established in the Osirian religion at least four thousand years, and possibly ten thousand years, before it was purloined and perverted in Christianity." [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 231. ]
"The legend of the voluntary victim who in a passion of divinest pity became incarnate and was clothed in human form and feature for the salvation of the world, did not originate in a belief that God had manifested once for all as an historic personage. It has its roots in the remotest past. The same legend was repeated in many lands with a change of name, and (Page 143) at times of sex, for the sufferer, but none of the initiated in the esoteric wisdom ever looked upon the Kamite [Egyptian] Iusa, or Gnostic Horus, Jesus, Tammuz, Krishna, Buddha, Witoba, or any other of the many saviors as historic in personality, for the simple reason that they had been more truly taught." [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 211. ]
The incarnation, however, only begins the impartation of deity to the human race. It inaugurated on the planet a chain of events, the circumstances and trend of which must now be outlined. All of these involvements are profoundly relevant to the system of theology.
Greek philosophy viewed the descent and incarnation of the gods as entailing upon these exalted beings an almost total loss of their pristine glory and felicity, and a devastating reduction of their coefficient of consciousness. The soul became "cribbed, cabined and confined" in the sorry limitations of the carnal body, as it lost a dimension of consciousness at each step on the downward path. It becomes bound to the sensual and the palpable, after having been able to range at will throughout the limitless spaces of universal thought. It is impossible to surpass in lucidity the language of Greek philosophy in delineating these matters. Proclus, as reported by Iamblichus, avers that [Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 355. ]
"The soul by descending into the realms of generation, resembles a thing broken and relaxed. . . . Hence the soul energizes partially and not according to the whole of itself . . . the intellectual part of it is fettered . . . but the doxastic [That part swayed by mere sense intimation and superficial impression. ]sustains many fractures and turnings."
Proclus elucidates Platoís findings to the effect that
"it is impossible while here, to lead a theoretic life in perfection, as is evident from the causes which are enumerated in the Phaedo, viz., the occupations and molestations of the body, which do not suffer us to energize theoretically without impediment and disturbance." [The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, II, p. 475. ]
And his fellow-Platonist, the learned Iamblichus, adds a forceful assertion of the same idea:
"For the human soul is contained by one form and is on all sides darkened by body, which he who denominates the River of Negligence or the Water of Oblivion, or ignorance and delirium, or a bond through passions, will not by such appellations sufficiently express its turpitude. How therefore is it possible that the soul which is detained by so many evils can ever become sufficient to an energy of this kind?" [ Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, p. 179. ](Page 144) Empedocles, evidently drawing his philosophical ideas from Orphic Mystery cultism, has a poem, a fragment of which speaks of the "joyless region" in which the souls on earth
"Through Ateís meads and dreadful darkness stray."
The soul descends from the realms of light to the region of gloom:
"She flies from deity and heavenly light
To serve mad Discord in the realms of night."
A dialectical echo of Platoís Cave Myth is heard seven centuries after the Republic was written, in the language of the great Plotinus, mystic Neo-Platonist of the third century. Dealing with the fable of Narcissus and elucidating its hidden purport, he says:
"Hence, as Narcissus, by catching at the shadow, plunged in the stream and disappeared, so he who is captivated by beautiful bodies, and does not depart from their embrace, is precipitated, not with the body, but with his soul, into a darkness profound and repugnant to intellect, through which, remaining blind both here and in Hades, he associates with shadows." [The Enneads, I, Bk. VI. ]
In the Phaedrus Plato, in the beautiful allegory of the Chariot and the Winged Steeds, portrays the soul as being dragged down by the lower elements in manís nature and subjected to a slavery incident to corporeal embodiment. Out of these conditions he traces the rise of numerous evils that disorder the mind and becloud the reason. Indeed he shows with convincing dialectic that evil is just this breaking up of the vision of whole natures into distracted particulars where the interconnection of part with part is lost sight of. Evil is seen to be due to the condition of partiality and multiformity inseparable from the incarnate state, "into which we have fallen by our own fault." The rational element, formerly in full function, now falls asleep. Life is thereupon more generally swayed by the inclinations of the sensual part. Man becomes the slave of sense, the sport of phantoms and illusions. This is the realm in which Platoís noesis, or godlike intellect, ceases to operate for our guidance and we are dominated by doxa, or "opinion." [Rather the impulse of sense uncensored by critical thought. ] This state of mental dimness is the true "subterranean cave" of the Platonic myth, in which we see only shadows, mistaking them for reality.
Thomas Taylorís clear language enforces these ideas for our benefit: (Page 145)
"Such indeed is the wretched situation of the soul when profoundly merged in a corporeal nature. She not only becomes captive and fettered, but loses all her original splendor; she is defiled with the impurity of matter; and the sharpness of her rational sight is blunted and dimmed through the thick darkness of a material night." [ Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 103. ]
Proclus, an expounder of Plato rated nearly equal with his great inspirer, writes:
"when it [the soul] energizes according to nature, it is superior to the influence of Fate, but when it falls into sense and becomes irrational and corporeal, it follows the natures that are beneath it, and living with them as with intoxicated neighbors, is held in subjection by a cause that has dominion over things that are different from the rational essence." [The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, II, p. 476. ]
Indeed we have here the Greek philosophical root of one of the pivotal phases of Pauline doctrine. It was the descent and mooring of the soul "to the ruinous bonds of the body" that brought the spirit of man under the dominion of what Paul calls "the law"--of Fate, Karma and Necessity. This, too, was "the bondage in Egypt" of the Old Testament. On her own high plane the soul was in a state of liberty, "the glorious liberty of the sons of God." Only by her incarceration in a vessel whose constitutional functions were under the laws of physics and chemistry was she subjected to the rule of matter. The Greek philosophers declared that her release from this bondage was to be won only through the discipline of "philosophy." It taught the earnest man to abjure the motions of the flesh and to rise to the delight and freedom of the noetic consciousness. Paul couched the process in the language of religion, and called it spirituality or "grace."
"The dark night of the soul," no less than the GŲtterdšmmerung, was, in the ancient mind, just the condition of the soulís embodiment in physical forms. Taylor reasons that Minerva (the rational faculty, as Goddess of Wisdom) was by her attachment to body given wholly "to the dangerous employment and abandons the proper characteristics of her nature for the destructive revels of desire." All this is the dialectic statement of the main theme of ancient theology - the incarnation of the godlike intellect and divine soul in the darksome conditions of animal bodies.
The modern student must adjust his mind to the olden conception-- (Page 146) renewed again by Spinoza - of all life as subsisting in one or another modification of one primordial essence, called by the Hindus Mulaprakriti. This basic substance was held to make a transit from its most rarefied form to the grossest state of material objectivity and back again, in ceaseless round. Darkness was the only fit symbol to give to the mind any suggestive realization of the conditions of living intellectual energy when reduced in potential under the inertia of matter.
So severely curtailed were the soulís powers in bodily life that it was denominated her incarceration. The soul was a captive, caught in a prison, the doors of which were clamped fast upon it. Its jailer was the body with its sensuous nature. And like Paul in prison at Philippi, the soul would have to convert her jailer and transform his nature to the likeness of her own, to gain her release.
The implications of this cardinal item for ethics, pietism and spirituality are of the highest moment. For all such philosophies as Buddhism, Christian Science and Spiritualism (of certain forms), which seek escape from the rigors of incarnation by a sheer fiat of philosophical thought, and look to a disembodied state for immediate bliss, this principle is very directly an antidote and corrective. It points clearly to the false premises of all philosophies of "escape." We can not escape our obligation to the animal who is lending us his body for our own advancement. We came hither to transfigure these brute bodies, and such a miracle demands the exercise of the highest philosophical virtues and the fixed habits of theoretic contemplation of the beautiful and the good. Job asks if the days of man on earth "are not the days of an hireling," and declares that he has "found a ransom."
The Greeks believed "that human souls were confined in the body as in a prison, a condition which they denominated generation; from which Dionysus would liberate them." Their sufferings, their progress through the ascending stages of being, their catharsis or purification, and their enlightenment constituted the theme of the Orphic writers and the groundwork of the mystical rites.
We have Proclus declaring that Plato in the Phaedo
"venerates with a becoming silence the assertion delivered in the arcane discourses, that men are placed in the body as in a prison, secured by a guard, and testifies, according to the mystic ceremonies, the different allotments of purified and unpurified souls in Hades." [In Alexander Wilderís Introduction to the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, of Thomas Taylor, p. vxiii. ](Page 147) Here is evidence that the Mystery Plays were dramatic representations of our earthly imprisonment, with all that was corollary to it.
Of our condition of bondage Plato speaks in the following manner: ". . . liberated from this surrounding vestment, which we denominate body, and to which we are now bound like an oyster in its shell." It is Plato who states that the function of philosophy is to "disenthrall the soul from the bondage of sense." We are "captives chained to sense."
It seems never to have occurred to modern classical students that the many descriptions scattered through the Aeneid of Virgil, of shadowy groves, vales and caves, are allegoric of the gloomy conditions the soul encounters in her residence in bodies. The woods whose bristling shades terrify the hero (the soul) are the dismal murks of physical incarceration. Physical imagery must be translated over into spiritual or psychic realities. For of such matters only were the early sages discoursing. Speaking of the removal of the junior deities from heaven to earth, the poet writes in the Aeneid: "Nor do they, thus enclosed in darkness and the gloomy prison, behold the heavenly air."
One of the Egyptian texts says that it is impossible for the shade (soul) to leave the body on earth until the latter is raised up. After the telestic or perfecting work is finished, it is shown (Rit., Ch. 91) that the soul "does not [any longer] suffer imprisonment at any door in Amenta," this lower earth, "either in coming in or going out."
David echoes the Egyptian idea when in the cave (Ps. 142) he cries to the Lord: "Bring my soul out of prison." In the great Kamite religion Horus, exactly as the Christian Jesus, comes to "the spirits in prison" to set them free from bondage and darkness and lead them to the land of light. The Manes, or soul in the body, cries to the keepers: "Imprison not my soul, keep not in custody my shade. Let the path be open to my soul. Let it not be made captive by those who imprison the shades of the dead. O keep not captive my soul, O keep not ward over my shadow" (Rit., Ch. 92). Says Massey:
"Horus is the Kamite prototype of the chosen one, called the servant by Isaiah, who came Ďfor a light to the Gentiles, [Be it noted, the use of the term "Gentiles" here bears out the interpretation (as the not fully humanized animal souls) given in a former place. ] to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeons, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.í" (Isaiah 42:7.) [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 479. ]
An allied appellation of the "spirits in prison" is "those who are in their cells." Horus comes to wake "those who sleep in their cells." (Page 148)
Again the Manes in the prison of Osiris cries" "Let not the Osiris enter into the dungeon of the captives." "Let not Osiris advance into the valley of darkness." Osiris says to the warders of the prisons" "May I not sit within your dungeons, may I not fall into your pits." (Ch. 17.) Osiris elsewhere asks to be delivered from "this land of bondage." Sut, the personified evil one as opponent of the deliverer Horus, is called "the keeper of the prison-house for death," to which Horus comes as the lord of life and freedom. Horus, as deliverer, is said to come "to those who are in their prison cells," held captive by Sut. An interesting sidelight is thrown on one aspect of the function of the Goddess Hathor, who was the "habitation of the hawk, or the birdcage of the soul"! Hathor was the goddess of material creation, to which the body belonged, and the hawk represented the soul. The soul is caged in the body. The latter is even called "the chamber of torture" in the title to Ch. 85 of the Ritual. In Ch. 164 it is promised that the soul "shall not be shut in along with the souls that are fettered," and the prayer is uttered: "Let him escape from the evil chamber and let him not be imprisoned therein." The title of Ch. 91 of the Ritual is: "The chapter of not letting the soul of Nu . . . be captive in the underworld." In Ch. 130 there is a prayer: "Let not the Osiris-Nu fall headlong among those who would lead him captive."
In the Egyptian fable of the lion and the mouse, the mouse, a symbol of the quick energic life that descends into the underground and lives in subterranean darkness, comes like Jesus and Horus to gnaw the bonds of the great lion, here seemingly standing for the animal soul in the toils of flesh and matter.
In the Egypto-Gnostic text, the Pistis Sophia, there were twelve dungeons of infernal torment, in which the twelve legions of angels were imprisoned. The souls could only escape by pronouncing the name of the god who guarded each dungeon door. To pronounce a godís name was to become equal to him in nature.
In the Bible Exodus recounts that the children of Israel, who are figured as these twelve legions of devas "chosen" for the specific work of incarnation, "were groaning under their bondage, and the wail of their cries for help came up to God." The land to which they had been sent to work their redemptive errand in bondage to the flesh was "Egypt, that slave pen." In Leviticus (16) he admonishes them: "Remember, you were once a slave in Egypt." (Page 149)
A passage from the Logia, or recovered "sayings of the Lord," declares that "whosoever followeth the Beast, into captivity he goeth; for the Beast maketh captive all who so will to follow him."
Beside Platoís immortal allegory, there are many uses of the cave as emblem of the dark chambers of the body. Davidís pleading in the cave to be delivered from his prison is paralleled by Osirisí crying for deliverance in the cavern of Sut in Amenta.
Thomas Taylor expressly says that the cavern was used to "signify union with the terrestrial body."
In the fables of the Hercules cycle the hero (the soul, as always) tracks the Nemean lion into a cave where its capture is effected. As it was in the body that the divine nature in man was to "capture" or embrace the animal soul to lift it up, the cave symbolism for the body is again indicated.
In the Egyptian Ritual (Ch. 28) the soul affirms: "This whole heart of mine is laid upon the tablets of Tum, who guideth me to the caverns of Sut," or through the dark passages of Amenta. The tablets of Tum are records of the law, or Maat. They are kept by Taht, the divine scribe, in the Hall of Judgment. Thus to come under the law (St. Paul) brings the deity to the caverns of Sut, the physical body. Of Horus it is written again that he comes to awaken the "prisoners in their cells, the sleepers in their caves."
As ancient burial places were frequently caves in the hillside, we shall have little difficulty in tracing the symbolic meaning of the cave in both the birth and the resurrection scenes, not less than in the raising of Lazarus at Bethany, in Palestine, and of El-Asar(us) at Beth-Anu in Egypt.
Another direct employment of the cave emblem in Egyptian scripture is in Ch. 182 of the Ritual: "Taht says: ĎI gave Ra to enter the mysterious cave in order that he may revive the heart of him whose heart is motionless.í" As Ra is always the divinest spirit, there is again a clear allusion to the god descending into the cave of the body. In the Egyptian Bethany scene the "dead" soul is called aloud nine times to come forth from "the mysterious cave." Massey traces the word "cave" to the Egyptian Kep, which he says means a secret dwelling. It is obvious that, whether this etymology stand the scrutiny of linguistic scholarship or not, the mythologists of old did at any rate conceive the body to be that mysterious hidden dwelling, that shadowy cavern into (Page 150) which the legionaries of heaven were obliged to plunge for added physical experience. With this point established beyond cavil, one of the great stones in the arch of ancient interpretation will have been put in place and one of the supports of the structure of a correct theology will have been set up.
From the idea of a cave it was but a short step to that of a pit. In Job a remarkable verse adduces the theory that in sleep, when the lower mind is in abeyance, the inner soul, the god, speaks to Job and admonishes him as to the fluctuating issue of his battle with the flesh: "He keepeth back his soul from the pit." "The Lord is gracious unto him and saith, deliver him from going down into the pit." [Given in verse in The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy, Horace M. Kallen, p. 165 ff. ]
In the Biblical account of the rebellion of the sons of Korah, already noticed, it is said that they went down into the pit in death, but lived on, as did the Manes in the Egyptian Amenta. As the earth opened to swallow these rebels (ourselves), the pit is equated with our mundane home. In the Hebrew writings the pit is identical with the region known as Sheol, equivalent to the Greek Hades and the Egyptian Amenta. Horus is cast into the mire of the pit.
Jonah, upon being saved from the sea-monster, exclaims: "Yet Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God." Ezekiel contributes a reference both to the pit and to Egypt in a passage which appears to be beyond question a replica of the myth of Joseph in Egypt. The prophet says (19:1-5):
As "a lioness she couched among the lions and she brought up one of her whelps; he became a young lion"--Jesus as lion of the house of Judah - "nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with hooks into the land of Egypt."
On this portion of Bible text Massey comments as follows:
"The descent of the sun-god into the lower Egypt of Amenta is portrayed in the Marchen as the casting of Joseph into the pit, and the ascent therefrom in his glory by the coat of many colors," adding: "in an exodus from Egypt which can no longer be considered historical." [ Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 508.]
In the Book of Hades (10th division) there is a scene "of making fast the dragon in the pit," which is preparatory to the rising of Ra, or the birth of the divine in and from the human.
In Revelation (20:2, 3) the seer visioned an angel coming down out (Page 151) of heaven, having the keys of the abyss, or pit, and a great chain in his hand, with which he bound the dragon, the devil or Satan, for a thousand years, and sealed him fast in the pit. Horus makes war on the powers of evil for what they have done to his father Osiris, and calls to the gods to strike them and "punish them in your pits." To them he says: "Your particular duties in Amenta are to keep the pits of fire in accordance with Raís command, which I made known to you."
Let the reader estimate how far theology has departed from understanding that these "evil spirits" that were cast down and bound for a thousand years, or a long series of incarnations, were the angels of light, denominated Satan because of their rebellious and recalcitrant behavior under the hard decrees of incorporation in beastly bodies, and that these fiery pits are none other than our very physical bodies. Is not Satan equated with Lucifer, and is he not the Promethean Light-Bringer?
In Budgeís account of the functions of the ba-soul in Egyptian spiritism, he states that in the Papyrus of Nebqet the ba is seen, depicted as a human-headed hawk, flying down the funeral pit, bearing air and food to the mutilated body lying in the mummy-chamber. Here is additional confirmation that the pit designates the human body. Another Egyptian text, the Book of Am-Tuat (Division 20) describes the mutilation of the gods and their being cast down into pits of fire. Revelation tells of the horsemen, ten thousand times ten thousand, going forth to battle with those forms which had come up out of the smoke that ascended from the pit of the abyss, emitting fire. These may be taken as the forms of evil generated in the struggle between the gods and the animals whose natures are long in combat with each other.
Massey links the Egyptian Tepht, the abyss, with our "depth." He equates it also with Tevthe, and that with the Babylonian Tiamat, as well as the old Egyptian underworld monster, Typhon, the Dragon of the Deep. As such it figured the original birthplace of creation, and in a more human application it meant the human body as the seat or birthplace of the spiritual life. For the body is composed of matter, the infinite abysmal mother of all things. Typhon, who brought forth her brood of chaos in the abyss, later brings forth the young Sun-god, the divine immortal soul. The figure in this connection is common, we are (Page 152) told, in Akkad, China, Egypt and inner Africa. It is but a step in etymology from Tepht to the Hebrew Tophet, the dark pit.
There were said to be "seven sons of the Abyss," [Incarnation Records, Vol. II. p. 131. ] or the seven powers generated in nature, to be matched later by seven phases of growth in the human constitution - the ubiquitous seven in archaic literature.
The universal religious myth of the descent of the solar hero, ever typical of deity, into some dark abysmal region, emerging from it after ordeals of suffering, can have but one explanation: the incarnation of the hosts of light in the dense physical body.
Another earthly figure much used to type the dreary existence in the flesh was that of the "wilderness." A variation of it was the "desert." The people in the Typhonian darkness of Amenta were furnished a guide "through this wilderness." The Quichť Popul Vuh portrays the ancestors of the race as wanderers in a wilderness upon their way to their final homestead. A Hawaiian legend has it that the progenitors "wandered in a desert wilderness until at last they reached the promised land of Kane"--Canaan!
Numbers (14:33, 34) reads: "Your children shall be wanderers in this wilderness even forty days, for every day a year." The same book supplies another highly elucidative text (14:31, 32) which says: "Your little ones will I bring in, but as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness." The spiritual meaning here adumbrated is that the earthly or carnal nature in which the gods took residence would be conquered and disintegrated, or die, as the substance of the old seed dies in the ground in generating its offspring, while only the newborn god, the "little ones," the resurrected sons of dying fatherhood, would achieve the spiritual homeland of Canaan.
Elsewhere the term "desert in the Amenta of Egypt" is used to name the locality of bodily life. The people there are said to "dwell in darkness and black night."
The wanderings of the Biblical Israelites are a symbolic graph of this spiritual and racial experience, and have no other meaning, historical or literal, whatever. Hagarís fleeing into the wilderness under the compulsion of her situation, is but another similar picture of the same truth.
The hiding of the various Sons of God in a mysterious cave or secret earth of Amenta is but the mundane segment of a drama, the full (Page 153) action of which is involved in the grand play of forces and sweep of relations in higher spheres, as to the complete outline and significance of which we have not been fully informed by the archaic writers. Earth, it is clear, is but an appanage of heaven, and our history here is without full meaning when detached from its celestial base. The old books of Greece, Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, India are priceless for what they give us of this material.
It has been impossible in these excerpts entirely to avoid anticipation of the next symbol of earthly life, darkness. The body was pictured as the abode of night and gloomy shadows.
We have noticed Plotinusí statement that in her descent the "soul was precipitated into a darkness profound and repugnant to the intellect," which was obscured by it. The body is "nightís dark region" and the soulís "sojourn on earth is thus a dark imprisonment in the body."
One of the riddles of Greek mythology - why so intelligent a people as the Greeks symbolized deity as Bacchus, the god of intoxication - is solved by the keys here presented. Intoxication was used to image the befuddlement and mental darkness, the scattering of the godís high intellectual powers in mundane life. Says Thomas Taylor:
"For Bacchus is the evident symbol of the imperfect energies of intellect, and its scattering into the obscure and lamentable dominions of sense." [ Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 104. ]
And Revelation declares that even the Saints (the gods) have been made drunken with the power of the lower contacts. Soul had been intoxicated with the wine of sense.
The body is thought of as actually seizing souls. The Speaker in the Ritual cries to Ra:
"O deliver me from the god who seizes souls. The darkness in which Sekari dwells is terrifying to the weak." [Sekari, the god suffering diminution as he passed through incarnation. ]
In this darkness Osiris suffers, supplicating Ra for light. Ajax cries for light. Horus in his resurrection rises "from the house of darkness." Sut (Satan), the twin of Horus, is portrayed imprisoning his brother the soul of light, in the realm of darkness. He is called "the power of darkness." A dozen sections of the Pyramid Texts and the Records of the Past describe the journey of the soul through a "valley of darkness." The place to which the soul in the Egyptian scripts was (Page 154) conducted was termed "An-ar-ef, the house of obscurity, the city of dreadful night." The mole or shrewmouse was the animal symbol used by them to depict the god groping his earthly way in an underworld region of darkness. Horus, coming as deliverer, says: "I have sung praises unto those that dwell in darkness." The chapter in which this occurs is entitled "the chapter of making the transformation into the god who giveth light in the darkness." He comes to set prisoners free, and also, it is said, "to dissipate darkness." Incarnation being necessary for the higher birth of the soul, an Egyptian text reads: "The soul is brought forth through the embrace of the Lord of Darkness. He is Babi, the Lord of Darkness." In Ch. 175 "saith Osiris, the scribe Ani: Hail, Tmu! What manner (of land) is this into which I have come? . . . it is black as blackest night, and men wander helplessly therein. In it a man may not live in quietness of heart, nor may the longings of love be satisfied therein."
The very name of the great Egyptian script, the Book of the Dead, hints at the realm of darkness from which the soul emerges in its resurrection; for the title, translated, means "The Coming Forth by Day,"--or into the daylight, ostensibly from some region of darkness.
Our Hebrew and Christian scriptures provide a multitude of fitting texts which might be used to enlarge vastly this rťsumť of the old material that points to the earthly body of man as the theological world of darkness. Notably there is that in Matthew (4:16) which recites:
"The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them that sat in the shadow . . . did the light spring up."
And is it not the universal prayer of Christendom each Sabbath that the deific power should "enlighten our darkness"? (Page 155)
ALIVE IN DEATH
Such then was the archaic view of the origin of the soul from on high, its fall into the darkness and distractions of the body and its consequent submergence in carnal sense. And, drastic as is seen to be the necessary rehabilitation of all scripture on the basis of this revised understanding, it will be far overshadowed in theological importance by a still more radical reconstruction arising from the ancient use of the figure under which life in the body was mythically represented. For everywhere throughout antiquity earthly life was depicted as our death! It is of little avail that the portraiture be uproariously protested as not befitting such a condition of vivid life as is ours in the body. We may indignantly cast back upon ancient heads the obloquy of such an inappropriate metaphor. But our repudiation of their choice of figure falls entirely wide of the mark as affecting the meaning of ancient texts. The fact stands that they did call our life here death, and that when they spoke of "the dead" in sacred books, it is indubitable that they meant the living humans. The words "death" and "the dead" are used in the old scriptures to refer to living humanity in earthly embodiment. We scurrying mortals are "the dead" of the Bible and other sacred books, and the "death" spoken of there is our living existence here. We may reject the aptness of their symbolism, but it is past our prerogative to read a meaning into their books other than the one they intended; or to read out of them a meaning they consistently deposited therein. The astonishing point, of revolutionary significance for all religion, will receive textual treatment in the present chapter, and a later one will further vindicate the correctness of the thesis. It is perhaps the cardinal item of the whole theological corpus, the real "lost key" to a correct reading of subterranean meaning in esoteric literature. In ancient theology "death" means our life on earth.
Be the figure apt or be it considered unthinkable - as it will be at (Page 156) first by many - the texts of scripture will yield their cryptic meaning on no other terms. And the Bible is a sealed book mostly because these two words, "death" and "the dead," have not been read as covers of a far profounder sense than the superficial one.
To be sure, it is death in a sense to be understood as dramatic and relative only. And it pertains to the soul in man, not to the body. Life and death are ever as the two end seats on a "seesaw." As the one end goes to death the other rises to life. The death of the body releases the soul to a higher life; conversely, the "death" of the soul as it sinks in body opens the day of life to that body. The theological death of the soul in incarnation is a death that does not kill it in any final sense. It is a death from which it rises again at the cycleís end into a grander rebirth. It is a death that ends in resurrection. And sixteen centuries of inane misconception of the resplendent glory of the greatest of all doctrines, the resurrection from the dead, will be resolved at long last into the bursting light of its true meaning when the dust of ignorance is brushed away.
For animal man the advent of the gods was propitious; indeed it was the very antithesis of death. The plunge into carnality that brought "death and all our woe" to the soul, brought life to the lower man. That was part of its purpose. The gods came to "die" that we mortals might "live." They came that both they and we might have life more abundantly, but at what cost to themselves- a long "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Theirs was the death on the cross of flesh and matter.
The use of the term "death" must be in any case a comparative one, for there strictly is no death, in the form of total extinction of being, for any part of real being. All death, so called, is but a transition from state to state, a change of form, of that which is and can not cease to be. Life and death are eternally locked in each otherís arms, for as Thales says, "Air lives the death of water; fire lives the death of air," and so on. So body lives the death of the soul, and soul lives the death of the body. It thrives by virtue of that death. The germ and young shoot of any seed live the death of the body of the seed. The law of incubation brings high deities into their Hades, into Plutoís dark kingdom. For the gods the cycle of incarnations was the descent into hell - their crucifixion, death and burial, in all archaic literature!
The material demonstrating this proposition must be of sufficient (Page 157) volume to obviate all doubt as to its validity. Upon its successful vindication hinges the final determination of meaning for hundreds of passages, and the ultimate interpretation of the main theses of all theologies. As will be shown later, it carries with it the purport of the resurrection doctrine, the cornerstone of religions. When we come to that climactic doctrine, it will be possible to locate with exactness what and where that tomb was whose gates and bars were rent asunder by the resurgent Lord. Modern theology little dreams, to this day, the truth back of its own mishandled, but still grandiose, symbols.
The incarnation, for the soul, was its death and burial. But it was a living death and a burial alive. It was an entombment that carried life on, but under conditions that could be poetically dramatized as "death." Our inability to comprehend any but a physical sense of the word "burial" has left us easy victims of ancient poetic fancy, and led to the foisting upon ourselves perhaps the most degraded interpretation of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of deity in mortal life ever to be held by any religious group. Not even woodland tribes have so wretchedly missed the true sense of the great doctrines. Literalism in this instance has debased the human mind more atrociously than fetishism or totemism.
The textual testimony supporting the thesis is so voluminous that practical considerations forbid its full amassing. Nothing less, however, than the serried marshaling of much material will avail to carry conviction to minds unalterably set to opposing views.
Proclus advises us that the incarnating Egos were forewarned that their venture into flesh would be successful on condition that they achieved it "without merging themselves with the darkness of body." They were to make a magnetic connection with the animal body by means of a linkage of their currents of higher life with the forces playing through the nervous system of the animal. They were thus to be in position to pour down streams of vital power into the body, but were not to sink their total quantum of divine intellection into the sense life of the beast. They were to hover over the physical life of the body, touch it with divine flame, but not be drawn down into it. To fall into this dereliction would be to sin, to lose a measure of their vivific life and eventually to die. For there were always two deaths spoken of in the books of the past. It was death, in the first place, for them to come under the heavy depression of fleshly existence. This was the first (Page 158) death. But to sink farther down and be lost in the murks of animal sensualism to a degree that made a return to their heavenly state next to impossible, was to suffer the "second death," of which the soul ever stood in fear and terror in the old texts. The first death was the incarnation; the second was failure to rise and "return unto the Father."
As Apuleius says, the soul, then, approached the "confines of death." And on her approach, and at the moment of her divulsion from her seat on high, there ensued an intermediate or preparatory stage, a partial loss of consciousness termed by the writers a "swoon." Corroboration of this experience is found in a very old document known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead (44):
"In the Bardo ThŲdol the deceased [Mistaken for the defunct human, but really the descending god. ] is represented as retrograding step by step into the lower and lower states of consciousness. Each step downward is preceded by a swooning into unconsciousness; and possibly that which constitutes his mentality on the lower levels of the Bardo is some mental element or compound of mental elements . . . separated during the swooning from higher and more spiritually enlightened elements. . . ."
This swooning on the downward path to earthly death is likened to a falling asleep. Jesusí assertion that Lazarus was not dead but only sleeping, and needed only to be awakened, is a picturing of the same condition. Incidentally the same thing is said of the earthbound Osiris in Egypt. "That is Osiris, who is not dead but sleeping in Annu, the place of his repose, awaiting the call that bids him come forth to day." Massey comments:
"Osiris in Annu, like Lazarus in Bethany, was not dead but sleeping. In the text of Har-Hetep (Rit., Ch. 99), the Speaker, who personates Horus, is he who comes to awaken Asar (Osiris) out of his sleep. Also in one of the earlier funeral texts it is said of the sleeping Asar: ĎThe Great One waketh, the Great One riseth . . .í The Manes in Amenta were not looked upon as dead, but sleeping, breathless of body, motionless of heart. Hence Horus comes to awaken the sleepers in their coffins." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 846. ]
Horus says (Rit., Ch. 64): "I go to give movement to the Manes; I go to comfort him who is in a swoon,"--showing the perfect matching of Egyptian and Tibetan "necrological science.
The swoon attending each further step matterward deepens by degrees until it amounts to the full "sleep" or "dream" of (Page 159) mortal existence, introduced by the incubus of body upon spirits of light. It is the Oriental Maya. The vivid awareness of existence which we feel so indubitably is to the ancient sages only a dull slumber and stupor in comparison with that life of ecstatic realism from which we were divulsed by the decree of our Fate.
Thomas Taylor expounds Greek Platonism as holding that the soul "in the present life might be said to die, as far as it is possible for a soul to die." He asserts directly that the soul, until purified by "philosophy," "suffers death through this union with the body."
We have the whole idea most tersely expressed in the Gorgias of Plato:
"But indeed, as you say also, life is a grievous thing. For I should not wonder if Euripides spoke the truth when he says: ĎWho knows whether to live is not to die, and to die is not to live?í And we perhaps are in reality dead. For I have heard from one of the wise that we are now dead; and that the body is our sepulchre; but that the part of the soul in which the desires are contained is of such a nature that it can be persuaded and hurled upward and downwards."
If incarnate life is the burden of this death, then release from it must presuppose a liberation from the thralling "dead weight." Our work aims to correct the misconceptions that have vitiated previous studies in eschatology. Reputed savants in the field give no evidence of having the remotest apprehension of textual meanings pertaining to this phase of theology. Even Massey and Taylor have fallen just short of that final step in comprehension which would have taken them into the temple of truth, the threshold of which they never quite crossed. They knew that the ancients styled this life "death," but they were unable, apparently, to apply the connotations to the Bible and theology. The obsessions of current thought were too strong for them, and overrode the logic of their own premises.
The great Plotinus (Enneads I, lviii) gives us a clear presentment of the Greek conception:
"When the soul had descended into generation (from this first divine condition) she partakes of evil and is carried a great way into a state the opposite of her first purity and integrity, to be entirely merged in it . . . and death to her is, while baptized or immersed in the present body, (Page 160) to descend into matter and be wholly subjected to it. . . . This is what is meant by the falling asleep in Hades, of those who have come there."
It is worth noting that he uses the word "baptized" to describe incarnation. To incarnate was to be plunged into the watery condition of the body! This is the whole of the meaning of the baptism in ancient theology!
To the above may be added a supplement from Pythagoras, according to Clement, "that whatever we see when awake is death; and when asleep a dream."
It is sometimes true that archaic usage of the word "death" makes it cover the period following the occurrence of death in its common meaning, the demise of the body. Incarnation was regarded as a continuing experience, the periodical rhythm of release from the body no more breaking the sequence of lives than does our nightly sleep break the continuity of the experience of the days. But as our waking days are the important parts of our earthly activity, the nights being but interludes of repose and renewals of strength, so the positive incarnate periods of our larger lives are the primarily significant phases of our mundane history. The ancient seers both knew more about the subjective experiences of the soul when out of the body and were less concerned with them than modern Spiritualists. They regarded the phenomena of discarnate manifestation as but the more or less automatic reaction of the soul to the sum of its impressions in its last incarnation, a kind of reflex, threshing over the events of the life just closed. They would have regarded it as preposterous to use the vaporings of the spirits for the tenets of a religion. They were but the products of a mental automatism set up by the engrossments of the last life. The post mortem existence of the soul was only the hidden side of the life on earth, and regarded as comparatively inconsequential to the larger processes of conscious living. Theologically, "death" was the bodily life on earth, but comprising its two aspects of sleeping and waking, living and dying, in its comprehensive unity. Activity in the body during the waking phase of the "death" was alone determinative of destiny. By unfortunate diversion of the original cryptic sense, the unimportant portion of the experience, the interlude between lives, became the locale to which practically all religious values were shunted when esoteric knowledge was lost. The meaning of all religion has in consequence (Page 161) fled from earth, where it properly belongs and where alone its true value is realized, to heaven, where present focusing of meaning has little utility for man.
Taylor quotes the priests as testifying "that the soul is buried in body as in a sepulchre." [Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 7. ]Alexander Wilder, in a note to Taylorís Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries (p. 31), comments:
"Hades . . . supposed by classical students to be the region or estate of departed souls, . . . is regarded by Mr. Taylor and other Platonists as the human body, which they consider to be the grave and place of punishment for the soul."
Virgil adds significant testimony. In the Aeneid, writing of that "interior spirit" which sustains the heavens and earth, men and beasts, "the vital souls of birds and the brutes," he continues:
"In whom all is a potency . . . and a celestial origin as the rudimentary principles, so far as they are not clogged by noxious bodies. They are deadened by earthly forms and members subject to death; hence they fear and desire, grieve and rejoice."
Platoís able expounder Proclus, writing that the soul brings life to the body, says that
"she becomes herself situated in darkness; and by giving life to the body, destroys both herself and her own intellect (in as great a degree as these are capable of receiving destruction). For thus the mortal nature participates of intellect, but the intellectual part, of death, and the whole, as Plato observes in the Laws, becomes a prodigy composed of the mortal and the immortal, of the intellectual and that which is deprived of intellect. For this physical law which binds the soul to the body is the death of the immortal life, but vivifies the mortal body."
Wilder in his Introduction to Taylorís Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries comments again:
"The soul was believed (by the Greeks) to be a composite nature, linked on the one side to the eternal world, emanating from God, and so partaking of Divinity. On the other hand, it was also allied to the phenomenal and external world, and so liable to be subjected to passion, lust and the bondage of evils. This condition is denominated generation; and is supposed to be a kind of death to the higher form of life. Evil is inherent in this condition; and the soul dwells in the body as in a prison or a grave." (Page 162)
It has been claimed in some quarters that the death here mentioned is simply Greek tropology for a state of spiritual decay into which mortal man sinks. But a proper view sees such degeneracy as the result of the incarnation, which was the occasion of it. The concrete and the moral situations do image each other; but it is a matter of vast importance which one is primary and casts the reflection. There was a descent in historical fact. From it flowed the moral delinquency.
Having seen the lucid presentation of the "death" philosophy in Greek systems, we turn to Egypt. Does the wisdom of this venerable nation support that of Greece? With such fullness and positiveness does it agree with Greek conception that dispute as to the legitimacy of the interpretation must henceforth be silenced forever. It is from these unfathomable wells of Kamite knowledge that we draw the water which nourishes our intellectual life. Again the volume of material is prodigious.
It must be prefaced that the Egyptian writings use more than one character to personate the incarnating god. We may find Osiris, or Ra himself, or Tum, Atum or Horus taking the role. Then there are the two characters which we meet most often, the "Speaker" and the Manes in the Ritual. These appear to be distinctly the human soul. Sometimes again it is represented as the "deceased," again as the "Osirified deceased." Besides, the names of four or more kings are used to stand for deity: Unas, Ani, Pepi and Teta, frequently with "the" prefixed.
It is definitely corroborative of the thesis here defended that the central god figure in Egyptian religion, Osiris, the Father, in distinction from Horus, the Son, is consistently assigned the functions, prerogatives and sovereignty of the "king of the dead." He is hailed in a hundred passages as the Ruler of the Underworld, or as Lord of Amenta (Amenti, Amentiu), the Egyptian Hades, the correct locating of which region in theology is one of the major aims of this work. He is assimilable to the Greek Pluto, ruler of Hades, the dark underworld. That this dismal limbo of theology is actually our earth is a fact which has never once dawned upon the intellectual horizon of any modern savant, however high his name. Osiris, the "Speaker," the "Manes," the incarnating deity, is indeed the king in the realm of the dead. For we are those dead, and the god within us came to rule this (Page 163) kingdom, according to the arcane meaning of every religion. For the Egyptians called the coffin "the chest of the living." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 152. ]
A passage from Budge is of importance here:
"About the middle of the Ptolemaic period the attributes of Osiris were changed, and after his identification with Serapis, i.e., Pluto, the god of death, his power and influence declined rapidly, for he was no longer the god of life. In the final state of the cult of Osiris and Isis, the former was the symbol of death and the latter the symbol of life." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 306. ]
This change does not betoken what Budge supposes, but quite the contrary. It hints at the fact that the Egyptian conception of the character of Osiris as Lord of the Underworld of death began to weaken in the later days, as foreign influences crept in, and the profound esoteric meaning of "death" became obscured. The godís influence as Lord of Death declined rapidly at this epoch, not because of the ascription to him of a new and untrue character, but because of the decay of the true comprehension of his place and function in the pantheon. His influence in his perennial office decayed because knowledge of him in that role had decayed. With many such misapprehensions must the battle for a sane grasp of the ancient wisdom contend. The actual issue has been beclouded at almost every turn.
In confirmation of our claim that death in the ancient usage did not imply extinction, the Manes in the Ritual (Ch. 30 A) says: "After being buried on earth, I am not dead in Amenta." Horus knows that though he enters the realm of the dead, he does not suffer annihilation. He knows that he is that which survives all overthrow. Even though, as he adds, he is "buried in the deep, deep grave," he will not be destroyed there. He will rise out of the grave of the (living) body in his final resurrection.
Such a passage as the following carries in its natural sense the allocation of the term "dead" to living inhabitants on earth, not to the spirits of the deceased: "The peoples that have long been dead (?) come forth with cries of joy to see thy beauties every day." [Question mark is Budgeís - showing how much the scholar has been confused by his failure to apprehend the technical theological use of the term by the Egyptians. Passage from the Book of the Dead cited by Budge. ]It pertains to the resurrection. Another text says: Tanenet is the burial-place of Osiris." Tanenet, along with Aukert, Shekhem, Abydos, Tattu, Amenta and half a dozen others, is a designation for the earth as the place of burial for the soul living in death.
Cognate with the idea of death is the presumption of burial in a (Page 164) tomb, grave, coffin or sepulcher. Evidence of the prominence of these terms in relation to the descent into earth life is not wanting in the old texts. The matter is not left in any state of doubt or confusion. A sentence from Cockerís Greek Philosophy speaks in terms of unmistakable directness: "The soul is now dwelling in Ďthe grave which we call the body.í" [Quoted by Thomas Taylor, Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 91 ff. ] Here is indeed the undebatable clarification of that poetic imagery, the confusion of which with the natural fact of bodily decease has cost Christianity its heritage of wisdom.
In the Egyptian records we have Osiris as the god who "descended into Hades, was dead and buried" in Amenta. Masseyís succinct statement covering the point is: "The buried Osiris represented the god in matter,"--not in a hillside grave. The hillside grave, however, was the typograph used to designate the non-historical burial in the body. What could be more pointed and conclusive than Masseyís other declaration: "In the astronomical mythology the earth was the coffin of Osiris, the coffin of Amenta, which Sut, the power of darkness, closed upon his brother when he betrayed him to his death"? [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 706. ]"The coffin of Osiris is the earth of Amenta," he says again. [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 868. ]It is worthy of note that the shrine in the Egyptian temples, representing the vessel of salvation, was in the form of a funeral chest, the front side of which was removed so that the god might be seen. Chapter 39 of the Ritual contains a plea for the welfare of the incarnated soul: "Let not the Osiris-Ani, triumphant, lie down in death among those who lie down in Annu, the land wherein souls are joined unto their bodies." So that it is quite apparent that the land in which souls lie down in "death" is this old earth of ours. For nowhere else are souls joined unto their bodies! This is the only sphere in the range of cosmic activity where this transaction is possible, and this fact is sufficient warrant for focusing upon it all that mass of vague meaning for which theologians have been forced to seek a locale in various subterranean worlds whose place is found at last only in their own imaginations.
Horus says in one text: "I directed the ways of the god to his tomb in Peqar . . . and I caused gladness to be in the dwellers in Amentet when they saw the Beauty as it landed at Abydos." [Quoted by Budge: Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 8. ] Abydos was claimed to be the place of entry to the lower world where the "dead" lived, but in this use it was another of those transfers of uranographic locality to a town on the map in some way appropriately symbolizing the spiritual idea involved. There was no actual entrance to an actual (Page 165) underworld at Abydos (or anywhere else), but to complete the astral typology a temple, tomb and deep well (of great symbolic value) had been constructed there to the god Osiris. It was mythically and poetically the door of entry to the lower world, or realm of death, Amenta. Budge does not realize that he is writing only of the historical adaptation of a spiritual allegory when he says:
"But about Osirisí burial-place there is no doubt, for all tradition, both Egyptian and Greek, states that his grave was at Abydos (Abtu) in upper Egypt." [ Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 67. ]
He argues that Osiris must have been a living king, who was later deified. This is not likely, as there is little to indicate that the Egyptian gods were other than abstract personifications of the powers of nature and intelligence. The legend that his body was cut into fourteen pieces, scattered over the land and then reassembled for the resurrection could have no rational application to the life of an actual king. Myth has been taken for history on a vast scale.
Another text carries straightforward information of decided value: "In the text of Teta the dead king is thus addressed: ĎHail! hail! thou Teta! Rise up, thou Teta! . . . thou art not a dead thing." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 69. ]What can be the resolution of so evident a contradiction of terms - telling a dead king he is not dead - unless the new interpretation of "death" as herein advanced and supported be applicable? [Cf. the raising of Lazarus. ]The souls as deities entered the realm of death, our world, but were not dead; philosophy dramatized them as such, however.
In a different symbolism the Eye of Horus, an emblem typifying his life and said to contain his soul, was stolen and carried off by Sut, the evil twin. Of this Budge says that "during the period when Horusí Eye was in the hands of Sut, he was a dead god." His regaining possession of his Eye symbolized the recovery of his buried divinity and his restoration to his original Godhood. Horus elsewhere (Rit., Ch. 85) says: "I come that I may overthrow my adversaries upon earth, though my dead body be buried." If such a declaration is not to be taken for a species of after-death spiritism, it can have logical meaning only in reference to the contention that the buried god is the soul in the fleshly body.
It is imperative to look next at the conceptions of the sphere of death that were expressed through the use of the term "underworld." (Page 166) This region of partial death in which the outcast angels were imprisoned was styled the dark "underworld." A variant name was "the nether earth." It is often actually pictured as a subterranean cavern. It may be asked if it has ever occurred to any scholar of our time that "the underworld" was but another figurative appellation for the condition of life in the human body. Again a mass of data is available.
All nations of antiquity show in their literature traces of a legend in which the soul makes a journey through a dark underworld. The vagueness of its location, however, has failed to give any scholar an illuminating suggestion as to its totally figurative and unreal character. Nobody has ever seriously presumed to locate this dreary region, in spite of the fact that it was childishly regarded as an actual place. It was hazily associated with the grave or assumed to lie in some dim region into which the soul passed after death, somehow, somewhere "under," but under what, it was not apparently ever determined. The cause of bafflement was the ineradicable assumption that its "underness" was to be oriented in relation to the earth! No one has caught the idea that its location was under the heavens, and hence that it was our own earth itself! The surface of the earth, manís world, was assumed to be obviously not an "underworld." But the problem of locating another limbo beneath it baffled theological speculation through the ages. The outcome is that the locale of Plutoís shadowy kingdom has been hung indeterminately between the surface of the ground and the dubious dim region of after-death spheres. All the while a thousand texts point to its location in the physical body!
Lewis Spence cautiously admits that the court of the Mayan underworld seems to have been conducted on the principles of a secret society with a definite form of initiation, and that the Mysteries of Eleusis and others in Greece were concerned with the life of an underworld, especially dramatized in the story of Demeter and Kore. [ Myths and Legends: Egypt, p. 121. ] He admits that the Greek deities were gods of the dead. But he mars his tentative approach to the truth by advancing the conjecture that the Book of the Dead may have been the work of prehistoric Neolithic savages! We refrain from caustic comment, save to aver that if the Egyptian Book of the Dead was the product of Neolithic savages, the status of modern mentality which is as yet totally incapable of understanding its high message, must by inference lie a stratum or two below that level.
The Mystery Rituals did dramatize the life of an underworld, (Page 167) but the gods, as kings of this nether realm, were not subterranean deities. The gnomes and other nature sprites were the only "deities" that were believed to subsist beneath the surface of the physical earth. The gods of the underworld were always the gods of the dead. And as the souls of deceased mortals were in all religions asserted to ascent to heaven and never to remain in the burial ground with the corpse, it was again impossible to place the underworld down with the gnomes. But it seems next to incredible that academic diligence should have missed the plain correlation which would have made the descent of spirits from heaven equate the descent of all the divine heroes and sun-gods into the dark underworld - of earth.
From the great Egyptian Ritual, which so cryptically allegorizes this earthly death, we learn that the mystery of the Sphinx originated with the conception of the earth as the place of passage, of burial and rebirth, for the humanized deities. An ancient Egyptian name for the Sphinx was Akar. [Later equated by Massey with Achor, the valley of Sheol, the Hebrew Hades. ] This was also the name for the tunnel through the underworld. And it is said that the very bones of the deities quake as the stars go on their triumphant courses through the tunnels of Akar (Pyramid Texts: Teta, 319). As the stars were the descending deities, the metaphor of stars passing through the underworld tunnels is entirely clear in its implication. The riddle of the Sphinx is but the riddle of mankind on this earth. The terms of the riddle at least become clearly defined if we know that the mystery pertains to this our mortal life, above ground, and not to our existence in some unlocalized underworld of theological fiction.
The entrance to Amenta, with its twelve dungeons, consisted of a blind doorway which neither Manes nor mortal knew the secret of and none but the god could open. Hence the need of a deity who should come to unlock the portals and unbar the gates of hell, and be "the door" and "the way." The god came not only to unlock the door of divinity to human nature, but to be himself that door. The giving of the keys to bolt and unbolt the doors of the underworld was but the allegory of this evolutionary reinforcement of the human by the divine nature.
Descriptions of this dark realm of our present state are given in the texts. "It is a land without an exit, through which no passage has been made; from whose visitants, the dead, the light was shut out." "The light they beheld not; in darkness they dwell." Massey ventures the (Page 168) assertion that "the inferno, the purgatory and the paradise of Dante Alighieri are extant recognizably in the Book of the Dead as the domains of Amenta." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 415. ]
The first chapter of the Book of the Dead was repeated in the Mystery festivals on the day when Osiris was buried. His entrance into the underworld as a Manes corresponds to that of Osiris the corpse in Amenta, who represents the god rendered lifeless by his suffocation in the body of matter. The dead Osiris is said to enter the place of his burial called the Kasu. In this low domain of the dead there was nought but darkness; the upper light had been shut out. But Horus, Ptah, Anup, Ra and others of the savior gods would come in due time to awaken the sleepers "in their sepulchres," open the gates and guide the souls out into the light of the upper regions once more. One of the sayings of the soul contemplating its plight in the underworld is: "I do not rot. I do not putrefy. I do not turn to worms. My flesh is firm; it shall not be destroyed; it shall not perish in the earth forever" (Ch. 154). Inasmuch as the flesh of the physical body most certainly will perish, rot, putrefy, and turn to food for worms in the only grave that Christian theology has been able to tell us of, the term "flesh" in the excerpt can not be taken as that of the human body. And that it is not to be so taken is obvious from other passages. It refers to the substance of another body which does not rot away.
The same sense may distinctly be caught in the term "body" as used in the prayer uttered by the soul in the body when it says: "May my body neither perish nor suffer corruption forever." Such a prayer directed to the physical body would be obviously irrelevant, expecting the impossible. Horus, on his way to earth to ransom the captives, says: "I pilot myself towards the darkness and the sufferings of the deceased ones of Osiris" (Ch. 78). Massey sums the discussion:
"The wilderness of the nether earth, being a land of graves, where the dead awaited the coming of Horus, Shu, Apuat (Anup), the guide, and Taht . . . as servants of Ra, the supreme one god, to wake them in their coffins and lead them forth from the land of darkness to the land of day." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 643-4. ]
Analysis of other types of representation will disclose the fact that the Egyptians, in their lavish use of animals as symbols, filled the underworld with a menagerie of mythical monsters. Without trespassing on the ground of later discussion, it may be briefly said that a (Page 169) number of animals - dragons , serpents, crocodiles, dogs, lions, bears, etc. - lay in wait in the underworld to devour the luckless Manes. What is the significance of this? Patently it figures the menace to the soul of its subjection to the constant beat upon it of the animal propensities, since it had taken residence in the very bodies of the lower creatures. In a measure detached, it was yet not immune to being drawn down into ever deeper alliance with the carnal nature. Ever to be remembered is Danielís statement that "his mind was made like the mind of an animal."
Etymology supplies a sensational suggestion of the soundness of the present thesis in the similarity of the two words "tomb" and "womb," which Massey avers rise from the same root. At all events it is rigorously in accord with the Greek theory that the body, as the tomb of the soul, is at the same time the womb of its new birth. In the Egyptian Ritual the soul is addressed as he "who cometh forth from the dusk, and whose birth is in the house of death." This was Anu, Abydos, On (Heliopolis), or other uranographic center localized on the map, or the zodiacal signs of Virgo and Pisces. The Greek language bears striking testimony to the same kinship of the two words, as Plato points out in the Cratylus, in the practical identity of soma, body, and sema, tomb.
In the Christian Bible the textual evidence is multitudinous. A few excerpts only can be culled. First is St. Paulís clarion cry to us ringing down through nineteen centuries: "Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon thee." Job, combining his death with its correlative resurrection, exclaims: "I laid me down in death and slept; I awaked, for the Lord sustaineth me." Paul cries in the anguish of the fleshly duress, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" And it is an open question whether the final phrase might not as well have been rendered "this death in the body." And Jonah, correlative name with Jesus, cries from the allegorical whaleís belly: "Out of the belly of death have I cried unto thee, O God." Paul again pronounces us "dead" in our trespasses and sins, adding that "the wages of sin is death" and "to be carnally minded is death." It is sin that brings us back again and again into this "death" until we learn better. And the Apostle affirms that we are dead and that our life is hid with Christ in God. Our true life is as yet undeveloped, buried down in the depths of the latent capacities of being. The Psalms say (Page 170) that we "like sheep are laid in the grave," though "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave." The death spoken of is at one place defined as "even the death of the cross," when spirit is bound to the cross of matter and the flesh. Isaiah declares that "we live in darkness like the dead." And Jesus broadcasts the promise that whosoever believeth on him, "though he were dead, yet shall he live." Assurance is given (Peter 4:6) that the Gospel is preached "to them that are dead." Would not such addresses to the dead, as noted in several of these passages, be absurd if not referable to the living on earth?
Then there is the ringing declaration of the Father God in the Prodigal Son allegory, rebuking the churlish jealousy of the obedient elder brother at the rejoicing over the wastrelís return: "This my son was dead and is alive again." The thing described here as death was just the sojourn in that "far country"--earth.
A most direct and unequivocal declaration, however, is found in the first verse of chapter three of Revelation: "Ye have the name of being alive, but ye are dead." And this is at once followed by the adjuration to "Wake up; rally what is still left to you, though it is on the very point of death." This is again a strong hint of the danger that the soul might be so far submerged under sense as to fail to rise again, and sink down into the dreaded "second death."
But the most astonishing material corroborative of the thesis here propounded is found in St. Paulís discussion of the problem of sin and death in the seventh chapter of Romans. The statements made can be rendered intelligible and enlightening only by reading the term "death" in the sense here analyzed. He says first that "the interests of the flesh meant death; the interests of the spirit meant life and peace." And then he says: "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death."
In this chapter Paul concatenates the steps of a dialectical process which has not been understood in its deep meaning for theology. It is concerned with the relation of the three things: the law, sin and death. He asks: "Is the Law equivalent to sin?" And he replies that sin developed in us "under the Law." What is this mysterious Law that the Apostle harps on with such frequency? Theology has not possessed the resources for a capable answer, beyond the mere statement that it (Page 171) is the power of the carnal nature in man. It is that, in part; but the profounder meaning could not be gained without the esoteric wisdom - which had been discarded. This Law - St. Paulís bÍte noir - is that cosmic impulsion which draws all spiritual entities down from the heights into the coils of matter in incarnation. It is the ever-revolving Wheel of Birth and Death, the Cyclic Law, the Cycle of Necessity. As every cycle of embodiment runs through seven sub-cycles or stages, it is the seven-coiled serpent of Genesis that encircles man in its folds.
Now, says the Mystery initiate, by the Law came sin, and by sin came death. Here is the iron chain that binds man on the cross. The Law brings the soul to the place where it sins and sin condemns it to death. Death here must mean something other than the natural demise of the body, for that comes to all men be they pure or be they sinful. Reserving a more recondite elaboration of the doctrine of sin for a later place, it may be asserted here that the great theological bugaboo, sin, will be found to take its place close along the side of "death" as the natural involvement of the incarnation itself. Sin is just the soulís condition of immersion or entanglement in the nature of the flesh. And happily much of its gruesome and morbid taint by the theological mind can be dismissed as a mistaken and needless gesture of ignorant pietism.
Neither as animal below our status nor as angel above it can man sin. For the animal is not spiritually conscious and hence not morally culpable. And the angel is under no temptation or motivation from the sensual nature, which alone urges to "sin." Only when the Law links the soul to animal flesh does sin become possible. Romans (7:7) expressly declares: "Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law . . . For without the law sin was dead." Paul even says that at one time he lived without the law himself; this was before "the command" came to him. And what was this command? Again theology has missed rational sense because it has lost ancient cosmologies and anthropologies. The "command" was the Demiurgusí order to incarnate. It is found in the Timaeus of Plato and Proclusí work on Platoís theology. Then the Apostle states the entire case with such clarity that only purblind benightedness of mind could miss it: "When the command came home to me, sin sprang to life, and I died; . . ." He means to say that sin sprang to life as he died, i.e., incarnated. And then he adds the crowning utterance on this matter to be found in all sacred literature: (Page 172) "the command that meant life proved death to me." He explains further: "The command gave an impulse to sin, sin beguiled me and used the command to kill me." And he proceeds to defend the entire procedure of nature and life against the unwarranted imputations of its being all an evil miscarriage of beneficence: "So the Law at any rate is holy, the command is holy, just and for our good. Then did what was meant for my good prove fatal to me? Never. It was sin; sin resulted in death for me to make use of this good thing." [ Here would seem to be authentic rebuttal of the major premises of so much Oriental philosophy which builds on the general thesis that the whole of life on earth is evil, "a calamity to be avoided at all costs." (Radhakrishnan: Indian Philosophy, Vol. I.)]
The clarifying and sanifying corollaries of this explication and St. Paulís material are so expansive that pause should be made to consider them. In this light it may be seen that the whole of the negative and lugubrious posture of theology as to "sin," and "death" as its penalty, might be metamorphosed into an understanding of the natural and beneficent character of all such things in the drama. Ancient meaning has miscarried, with crushing weight upon the happy spirit of humanity; and rectification of such misconstruction is urgently needed.
In I Samuel (2:6) it is written: "The Eternal kills, the Eternal life bestows; he lowers to death and he lifts up." Job says: "I shall die in my nest, and I shall renew my youth like the eagle."
And a most significant verse from Isaiah (53) can be rescued from mutilation and sheer nonsense only by the application of the new meaning of "death." Speaking of the divinity, it says that "He hath made his grave with the wicked and the rich in his death." A marginal note is honest enough to tell us that the word "death" here used was in the plural number--"deaths"--in the original manuscripts. Here is invincible evidence that the word carries the connotation of "incarnations," for in no other possible sense can "death" be rationally considered in the plural number. In one incarnation the Christ soul is cast among the wicked; in another among the rich. This is a common affirmation of most Oriental religious texts. And his body is his grave.
St. Paul says some man will ask how the dead are raised and in what body do they come. And Christian theology has stultified the sanity of its millions of devotees by giving the answer in the words of the Creed: "The resurrection of the body"--leaving untutored minds to understand the physical body, or the corpse. The only comment provoked is to say that the picture of the cemetery graves being opened at the last trump, and the "dead" (cadavers) arising to array (Page 173) themselves in line before the tribunal of the judgment, has turned millions in disgust and revulsion away from the fold of orthodoxy. Paul states in the verses immediately following that the dead will rise in a spiritual body.
And then we face that climactic assurance that "the last enemy to be overcome is death." In lack of the covert intent of the word, Christian thought has ever believed that in some way this promise meant we should overcome the incidence of bodily decease, and live on in the physical vessel indefinitely. This would paralyze evolution. It would wreck the Cyclical Law. The Trinity is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. Without the periodic destruction of form there could be no renewal of life in higher and better forms. Life would be imprisoned forever in matter, and choked to its real death. Its charter of liberty is its periodical release from forms that while they enable, they also limit. What, then, means the passage? If death is the incarnation, the significance is found in the assurance that at the conclusion of the cycle, when the spirit has mastered all its mundane instruction, it will be made a "pillar in the house of God and shall go no more out." Its descents into the tombs of bodies will be at an end at last. "Death" will then be finally overcome.
In the Egyptian Ritual the soul rejoices in life, shouting, "He hath given me the beautiful Amenta, through which the living pass from death to life." Amenta is this world, and the soul is pictured as running through cycles of descent from life to "death" and back again. The same sequence is set forth in the first chapter of Revelation: "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore!" The Law precipitates us from the life above to the "death" down here, but lifts us up again.
There is no sublimer chapter in the entire Bible than the fifteenth of I Corinthians. And perhaps this treatment could not possibly be more fittingly concluded than with some of St. Paulís magnificent utterances therein. It may give us at last the thrilling realization of their grandeur when grasped in the majestic sense of their restored original meaning. Need we be reminded that these words of the Apostle will ring from our own throats in ecstatic jubilee, when, victorious at last over "death" and the "grave," we arise out of our final imprisonment in body and wing our flight like the skylark back to celestial mansions? (Page 174)
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
. . . . . . .
We have drawn enough material from the ancient fund now to have bountifully supplied the demand for "evidence" that in archaic philosophy the field of our life here is depicted as the dark cavern, the pit, the abyss, the bleak desert, the wilderness, the grave, the tomb, the underworld and hell of a life that migrated here from the skies. "We are a colony of heaven." Our deific souls are at the very bottom of the arc of death, and can never be as dead again as they are now, and have been.
But stranger revelations await us still. (Page 175)
THE MUMMY IN AMENTA
We now approach a phase of the general theme, the correction of popular misconception about which will be attended with the most momentous consequences for the whole of world religion. Only one or two other items of our revision of current belief will prove to be of more sensational interest. The matter that promises so largely is the Egyptian mummy and the practice of mummification. When the true signification of this marvelous custom of a sage race begins to dawn in clear light, it will assuredly seem as if modern appreciation of a great deposit of ancient knowledge could hardly have suffered so utter a rout, so total a wreckage.
General opinion, expressed and shared by the most learned of the Egyptologists, holds that the Egyptians mummified their dead for the reason that, believing in reincarnation or forms of transmigration, they desired the physical body to be preserved intact for the reoccupancy of the Ego or soul upon its return to earth. Common belief asserts that they hoped by this provision to make reincarnation easier for the returning soul, inasmuch as he would find his former body ready for him, and would not have to build a new one or enter the body of some animal. The quantity of "explanation" of this sort that one reads in the works of reputed scholars is indeed enough to drive any astute reasoner ad nauseam. Nothing betrays the shallow insufficiency of our knowledge so flagrantly as does this matter.
It would seem as if it should be unnecessary to issue a denial of the correctness of the popular theories just indicated. The truth of the matter should be evident to anyone who can frame a syllogism. One fact alone should have been sufficient to forestall the arrant blunder in misconceiving the mummification motive. An act performed for the alleged purpose of preservation began with a gross mutilation! The viscera, the whole of the organs of the chest and abdominal cavity (Page 176) were first removed, and the entrails placed in the Canopic jars at the four corners of the coffin. One does not mutilate that which one wishes to preserve. If this be not conclusive, let us add that at times both the head and the feet were cut off! Could the returning soul profitably use this old shriveled, leathery and mutilated shell as its next living tenement? Our idea has been a tacit insult to Egyptian intelligence. Surely we might have credited them from the start with being no such fools. Because we believed, under the lashing of medieval theologians, that Christ rose in his flesh and that we should do likewise at the last trump, we assumed that the Egyptians indulged their credulity in the same weird fashion. We are yet as children essaying to frame an explanation of the most profoundly symbolic act of the most illumined race of history.
It is the declaration drawn from our studies and supported by the evidence to be submitted, that the practice of embalmment was nothing more than a mighty rite of symbolism! One immediate item of confirmation is the fact that it was performed for only a relatively few of Egyptís deceased, notably kings and functionaries. It was costly, required a hundred days, and so was indulged in only in the case of those who could afford such an elaborate funeral ritual. If the motive for mummification had been one arising out of universal philosophy or accepted religious theory, it would have been practiced generally, with rich and poor alike. Not all Catholic Christians can afford elaborate masses. No enlightened nation would countenance for centuries a practice based on a theory which made the difference in worldly wealth critical for the whole future destiny of the great mass of its inhabitants. If the hope of future evolutionary welfare depended on this performance with the cadaver, then Egypt was guilty of a felonious neglect of her general population in favor of her overlords. And we know that early nations were, as we like to say, superstitious in the extreme about the punctilious observance of funeral rites. Virgil tells of the dread of the heroes of having their dead bodies lie unburied on the sand (inhumatus arena). Egypt could not have given the benefit of a vital ceremony to only a limited class.
The effort is here made for the first time in our day to set forth the inner spiritual significance of this great rite. Our development of the obsolete meaning of "death" in primal theology has led us right up (Page 177) to the threshold of the denouement. One further step will take us into the heart of the age-old mystery.
In the esoteric doctrine which regarded the present life as death, and the living body as the soulís tomb, we have the necessary background for adequate elucidation of the matter. The body was mummified to serve as a powerful moving symbol of the death of the soul in matter, and the various features of the meaning of this mundane life! Nothing more. But this far transcended in graphic impressiveness and cathartic virtue any theoretic dramatization of the philosophy of life made by any people since the days of Egyptís glory. The mummy was designed to point the whole moral of human life in a form of overwhelming psychological power. To a deeply philosophical people the lifeless body became at once the most impressive symbol of the entire import of life itself. The preserved corpse became the mute but grandiloquent reminder of life and death, mortality and immortality, in one mighty emblem.
The custom was an attempt to utilize the cadaver as the central object in a ritual designed to incorporate the essential features of their entire philosophy of life. The import of a ceremony based on the ostensible preservation of a thing which obviously could not be preserved for living purposes, was the enforcement upon all minds of the truth that the mortal part of man could be immortalized! Concomitant with this, the ritual bore the message that the divine part of man, the immortal soul, though in this body it has gone to its "death," is immortal still. It will defy death and corruption, as will the mummy.
The mummy was the cardinal object in a grandiose ritual precisely because it was a dead thing! It prefigured the nature of this life, which was, philosophically, death. The dead thing thus became the emblem of immortal life itself. The "dead" shall live forever. The mummy symboled life as death, and death as the gate to immortal life. And the preservation or immortalizing of the dead mortal by the infusion of spiritous oils, balsams, ichors, was to emblem the raising of this mortal to immortality through the adoption by the lower man of the spirit of eternal life from the injected Christ nature. By the infusion of the mind of Christ into the dead Adamic nature, born to sin, it could be raised to eternal life out of the realm of decay. To associate ritualistically the idea of undying existence with the defunct relic was to impress the lesson of the burial in matter of that divine fragment whose (Page 178) attribute is "life and everlastingness." Under the garb and swathings of death, its mission was to bring life and immortality to light.
The embalming was not the enactment of a vague spiritual ideal. Every detail of the process, as Budge testified, was a typical performance with specific relevance. The injection of preservatives was designed to do for the corpse symbolically what the putting on of the Christ spirit would do for "the body of this death."
An elaborate ritual was built up about the mummy. There were the mutilations and exsections, symbolizing the dismemberment or fragmentation of the divine intellect when cast into the distracting turmoil of sense life. The facial mask carried the implication of the "false" nature of the physical man, the personality, which was the mask (Latin: persona, a mask) the soul donned over its true self. The bound legs and arms symboled the limitation and motionlessness which matter ever imposes upon active spirit. The four Canopic jars at the corners of the coffin stood for the physical world, which is ever four-square as the base that upholds all higher life. The mummy case itself signified the body or earth, the physical house and habitat of the soul. The coffin lid served as the table for the mortuary meal, or the partaking of the "bread of Seb" or food of earth. The bandages were emblematic of the material vestures or bodies which enwrapped the soul, for one coming to earth it was "all meanly wrapped in swaddling clothes," the "coats of skin" that God gave to Adam and Eve in Genesis. Then there was the light, signifying of course the presence of the glowing power of deity within the fleshly house. When darkness was over the land of Egypt, "the Israelites had light in their dwellings." More meaningful still was the image of the hawk, or the hawk-headed Horus, which hovered over the mummy; for this was the figure of the resurrection, the soul as a bird leaving the body to return to the upper air of heaven. The Ankh-cross, symbol of life when spirit and matter are tied together, the ankham-flower of immortality, the Tat cross, symbol of eternal stability, the level of Amentu, symbol of the balance of natureís forces, the scarab, symbol of the resurrection, the vulture, the greenstone tablet of resin, all shadowed in one way or another the immortality of the spiritual principle lodged within the mortal vehicle. The spices and balsams were preservatives, sweet of savor. And the fluids that did so marvelously work their miracle of preservation upon the substance of decay, were as "the Amrit juice of immortality." (Page 179) In many countries a liquor called Soma (the Greek word, incidentally, for the "spiritual" body) was considered to bestow immortality. A tribal chant runs, in one verse:
"Weíve quaffed the soma bright
And are immortal grown
Weíve entered into light
And all the gods have known."
The lower manís immediate relation to his soul permits him to drink of that immortalizing nectar, and as it was always Eve, or Hathor, or Ishtar, a goddess, a woman, who offers to man the tempting cup, the inference is that mundane experience with matter, the mother of life, is the brimming chalice for our deification.
The mummy thus stood for the soul buried in body, or sometimes perhaps for the body itself. By its descent the soul had become, as it were, the mummy. It became the Manes, or shade of a dead person, in the depiction.
Massey comes very close in one place to sensing that the mummy must be given a spiritual significance:
"Hence the chapter of Ďintroducing the mummy into the Tuat [underworld] on the day of burialí deals not with the earthly mummy, but the mummy of the dramatic mysteries as a figure of the living personality." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 416. ]
This is the truth; but having seen the mummy in its true light for a moment, Massey still adheres to his precarious endeavor to read "the mummy in Amenta" into the life after (bodily) death, instead of allocating it to its relationship to earth, where only the living personality was in function. His phrase--"the mummy of the dramatic mysteries"--to all intents and purposes concedes the legitimacy of our thesis as to the mummyís true function.
But this scholarís study is so splendid in the main that we will be enlightened by looking at portions of his material:
"Amenta as the place of graves is frequently indicated in the Hebrew scriptures, as in the description of the great typical burial-place in the valley of Hamon-Gog. This was in the Egypt described in the Book of Revelation as the city of dead carcasses, where also their Lord was crucified as Ptah-Sekari or Osiris-Tat. Amenta had been converted into a cemetery by the death and burial of the solar god, who was represented as the mummy in (Page 180) the lower Egypt of the nether earth. The Manes were likewise imaged as mummies in their coffins. They also rose again in the mummy-likeness of their Lord, and went up out of Egypt in the constellation of the Mummy (Sahu-Orion), or in the coffin of Osiris that was imaged in the Great Bear." [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 644. ]
Can we miss the plain evidence here presented? The Manes were imaged as mummies in their coffins! Amenta (this earth) converted into a cemetery by the advent of the gods, our souls! We, the living on earth, figured unmistakably as mummies in our sarcophagi! Hence the grave and tomb of all ancient theology is the living physical body of man!
There will be profit in considering another Massey statement, since it reveals how he stumbled and fell at the very door of the truth:
"There is no possibility of the Manes coming back to earth for a new body or for a reentry into the old mummy. As the Manes says, Ďhis soul is not bound to his old body at the gates of Amentaí" (Chs. 26, 6). [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 198. ]
That the soul would not reenter the old mummy is a vital point of truth, and Massey deserves all credit for discerning it. But that it would not return to enter a new body flies in the face of all ancient and universal belief in reincarnation. This is just the point of issue to be clarified. The soul returns from life to life to be re-clothed in new garments, since it assuredly does not take up life again in the mutilated and decomposed old hulk. The Manes positively states that he is not bound to the old body; but a score of times he says he will construct, or reappear in, a glorious new vesture. This of course is the spiritual body of the resurrection. But it is not built up in one brief life on earth. It is the product of many successive lives, each in a new physical body. There is no room for confusion or dispute on this matter.
Ptah, Atum and finally Osiris are described at different stages as the solar god in mummified form in Amenta.
"He was the buried life on earth, and hence the god in matter, imaged in the likeness of the mummy. . . . Such was the physical basis of the mythos of the mystery that is spiritual in the eschatology." Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 198. [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 211. ]
And we find desirable explicitness in the following passages:
"In the Osirian mythos, when the sun-god enters the underworld, it is as a mummy or Ďcoffined oneí upon his way to the great resting place." (Page 181)
"The mummy-Osiris in Amenta is the figure of the sleeping deity. He is the god inert in matter, the sleeping or resting divinity."[Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 416. ]
Another most pertinent corroboration of our thesis that the mummy was but a ritualistic figure for the human soul "dead" in the body, is found in the following from Massey: [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 648. ]
"And just as Ra, the holy spirit, descends in Tattu on the mummy Osiris, and as Horus places his hands behind Osiris in the resurrection, so Iu [ Iu, a name of the Egyptian Messiah, equivalent to Jesus or Horus. ]comes to his body, the mummy in Amenta. Those who tow Ra along say, ĎThe god comes to his body; the god is towed along toward his mummy.í (Records, Vol. X, p. 132.) The sun-god, whether as Atum-Iu (Aiu or Aai) or Osiris-Ra, is a mummy in Amenta and a soul in heaven. Atum or Osiris, as the sun in Amenta, is the mummy buried down in Khebt, [As we saw, equals the "cave" of the body. ]or lower Egypt." [Upper Egypt, by the uranographic transfer, denotes the spiritual man and his spiritual body, while Lower Egypt denotes the carnal man and his body of flesh. ]
These passages conclusively indicate that the mummy was the type of the god in the body.
Conquest of the carnal nature and escape from it is in another place called the "overthrowal of your coffins." (Book of Hades, Fifth Division, Legend D.) Again, the earth is denominated "the coffin of Osiris, the coffin of Amenta."
In his descent to open the tombs for the release of the sleeping captives Horus says: "I am come as the mummified one," that is, in fleshly embodiment. It should be noted that this explicit statement of the god himself that he comes in the character of the mummy, taken with his other assurances that he comes to "those in their coffins," must be admitted to certify the truth of our contention throughout - that it is the god who comes to be buried in the matter of a lower kingdom, from which burial both he and the lower entity will be raised again to higher estate. When the sun-god entered "the ark of earth, which is called his coffin or sarcophagus," he was buried in obscurity and shorn of his power. In a sculptured sarcophagus of the fourth century the three Magi are offering gifts to the divine infant, a mummied child! Here the mummy is a figure of the divine nature circumscribed tightly by the garment of flesh. Need we remind the student that numberless images of the mummied Child-Jesus were found in Christian catacombs, tombs and chapels in the early centuries? At first view the linkage of the idea of death as suggested by the mummy, with the infant figure, rather than with the more appropriate stage of senility, (Page 182) seems an ineptitude. In early Christian and pre-Christian iconography Jesus was indeed often figured as an aged one, about to enter the grave. It only requires that we move the symbolic hint one short step forward to see the pertinence of the mummified child, called by the Egyptians the Khart. For the buried god was to have his rebirth in matter and to begin life anew as an infant. The deceased father god was to metamorphose into the new form of himself as his own child, as God the Son. While yet a baby-god, beginning his new career, he was cramped by the limitations of matter and the undeveloped stage of his own powers. He was the new god, who had not yet broken his bonds or risen from the limitations of his new incarnate situation.
It is evident that Hebraic development of archaic typology did not carry the figure of the mummy into Biblical literature. Yet a cognate symbolism is expressed through the word "flesh" mainly. Where the Kamite Ritual says: "My dead body shall not rot in the grave," the Hebrew Psalmist writes: "My flesh shall dwell in safety. For thou wilt not leave my soul to Sheol; [Sheol may be taken as identical with the Egyptian Amenta. ]neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption."
But occasionally an original Egyptian term has been retained in Hebrew transcription. Such a term is Sekhem, one of the names of the burial-place of the Osiris-mummy in the Ritual. The deceased is buried as a mummy in Sekhem. Also the well of Jacob near Sechem answers to the well of Osiris at Abydos, and the oak or terebinth in Sechem to the tree of life in the Pool of Persea. The fields of Sechem correspond to the Sekhet-Hetep or fields of peace and plenty in the Kamite original.
Also the incident of Joseph carrying Jacobís coffin matches Horusí carrying the Osiris-mummy.
The word mummy is perhaps derived from the Egyptian mum, to "initiate into the mysteries." This origin would suggest that the elaborate procedure of mummification was inaugurated to typify the whole broad meaning of the incarnation, as a submerging of high spirit in the dense state of mortal matter. For such a downward sweep through the world of material inertia was, as we shall see, the only, if fateful, path leading to the "initiation" of the spirits into the higher mysteries that lurk in the depths of life. The Sphinx riddle of life can be solved only by a living experience in all worlds from the lowest to the highest. Lifeís own justification of its processes is the raison díÍtre (Page 183) of our mummification in gross earthly bodies, and the great Nilitic rite was designed to express nothing more.
Attention must now be given to the Egyptian word which was used to designate the mummy. It was usually marked upon the coffin lid. It may offer a connection of great potential fruitfulness for knowledge. It consisted of the consonants K R S with a suffix T, giving K R S T. The voweling is indeterminate, as it always was in ancient writing. Scholars have introduced an A before the R and another after it, making the word K A R A S T as generally written. There is probably no authoritative warrant for this spelling, but there has ever been a stout resistance to all suggestions that the alternative vowels, E, I, O or U be used in the form. Yet scholarship would be hard put to substantiate any objection to the spellings Karist, Karest, Kerast, Kerist or Krist. Indeed, as the root is very likely a cognate form with the Greek kreas, flesh, there would be more warrant for writing it Krast, Krest or Krist than the usual Karast. If we know how easily a "Kr" consonant metamorphoses into the Greek Chr, we can not dismiss the suggested closeness of the word to the Greek Chrestos or Christos as an absurd improbability. This may indeed be the Kamite origin of our name Christ, whatever be the outcry against such a conclusion.
There are presented some other extremely interesting possibilities in this etymological situation, for by the use of another vowel we stand very close to the Latin crux, cross, the Middle English cros (cross) and our own word crust. For indeed the ground meaning of the entire incarnation story might well be expressed in the grouping of these very terms: The Christ on the cross is the encrusting of the divinity with flesh (Greek kreas). Not far away also is our word crystal, which contains the root meaning of any process of incrustation, or the precipitation of spirit energies into forms of solidification around an actuating nucleus of force. The large idea behind all these forms that stand so closely related in spelling is just that of spirit crystallizing and forming a crust about a spiritual node of life. And then the Greek word chruseos, golden, points to the end of the process to be consummated by the spirit in matter, when, metaphorically speaking, all baser forms of the encrusted covering or mummy will be transmuted by the divinityís glowing fire into the purest spiritual "gold." The "crystal sea" that is to receive all back into its depths links the two ends of the chemicalization, first downward, then upward, together in one (page 184) coherence. Our kreas or mummy case, that becomes but the crust of our life here on the cross of flesh, kreas, will be translated into crystals of pure gold, chrysos, by undergoing the chrysalis transformation into full deification. Still within the circle of these meanings we have chrism, cruse (of ointment), chrisom, charism, an anointing oil (our cream - French cresme, with the "s" dropped out, being a derivative of this stem), and finally within the glow of its influence comes the bright outline of the meaning of the great sacrament of the Eucharist. If all this etymological flourish appears to be highly fanciful, let the reader be assured that not a single term of the interwoven ideas in this chain is missing from the ancient symbolism. If it is a delightful play of fancy, its poetic originators were the sages of old.
When, then, Osiris is called the Karast-mummy, the meaning is doubtless that of spirit "fleshed" or incarnate. The flesh was the crust crystallized about the soul and as such became not only the cross, but the cruet or cruse containing the golden liquor of life. The partaking of it was our Eucharist, and our final transfiguration will be the putting on of the golden hues of immortality, symboled by the insect chrysalis operation. [So named because of the golden hues of the chrysalis. ]"O thou who risest out of the golden" is an address to the soul in the Ritual.
Finally, then, we have Massey breaking through the philological defenses thrown up by the alarmed orthodox scholars and openly connecting the Egyptian Karast with the Greek Christos or Christ. He announces the derivation dogmatically:
"Say what you will or believe what you may, there is no other origin for Christ the Anointed than for Horus the karast or anointed son of God the Father. . . . Finally, then, the mystery of the mummy is the mystery of Christ. As Christian it is allowed to be forever inexplicable. As Osirian the mystery can be explained. It is one of the mysteries of Amenta, with a more primitive origin in the rites of Totemism." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 219. ]
He adds that Osiris as the Karast-mummy was the prototypal Corpus Christi. As Osiris-Sekari he was the coffined one. Aseris, or the Osiris, represented the god in the anguish of his burial in the cerements of the mortal body, whose cries and ejaculations are to be heard ascending from Amenta in many a page of the Ritual, or from Sheol in the Hebrew scriptures. Massey states what has not been readily acceptable to Christian apologists hitherto when he writes: (Page 185)
"Indeed the total paraphernalia of the Christian mysteries had been made use of in Egyptian temples . . . Osiris in the monstrance should of itself suffice to show that the Egyptian Karast is the original Christ, and that the Egyptian mysteries were continued by the Gnostics and Christianized in Rome." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 213. ]
Immediately connected with the Christos is the term Messiah, since both terms, the one Greek, the other Egypto-Hebraic, mean "the anointed." The word Messiah is traced to the Egyptian mes or mas, to steep, to anoint, as also to be born. Messu was the Egyptian word for "the anointed" initiate in the Mystery rites. The "-iah" was a quite significant suffix added by the Hebrews, meaning, like the ubiquitous suffix "el," deity or God. As "-iah" or "-jah," it occurs in many Hebrew sacred names, sometimes as a prefix, as in Jahweh, but mostly as a suffix, as in Elijah, Halleluiah, Messiah, Zechariah, Abijah, Nehemiah, Obediah, Isaiah, Hezekiah and a long list more. The name Messiah then denotes the "divinely anointed" one or the "born (reborn) deity." When the first or natural man was anointed with the chrism of Christly grace, he was reborn as the Christos.
An item of great importance in this ritual was its performance always previous to the burial. It was a rite preparatory to the interment. Said Jesus himself of Mary: "In that she poured this ointment upon my body, she did it to prepare me for my burial" (Matt. 26:12). She was symbolically enacting the Mystery rite of the chrism, and her performance quite definitely matched the previous practices of the Egyptians, from whom it was doubtless derived. But what does such an act denote in the larger interpretation here formulated? If the burial was the descent of the gods into bodily forms, then the anointing must have been enacted immediately antecedent to it or in direct conjunction with it. The etymology of the word sheds much light upon this whole confused matter. The "oint" portion of it is of course the French softening of the Latin "unct" stem; and this, whether philologists have yet discovered the connection or not, is derived from that mighty symbol of mingled divinity and humanity of ancient Egypt - the A N K H cross. The word Ankh, meaning love, life and tie, or life as the result of tying together by attraction or love the two nodes of lifeís polarity, spirit and matter, suggests always and fundamentally the incarnation. For this is the "ankh-ing" of the two poles of being everywhere basic to life. The "unction" of the sacrament is really just the "junction" of (Page 186) the two life energies, with the "j" left off the word. Therefore the "anointing" is the pouring of the "oil of gladness," the spiritual nature, upon the mortal nature of living man. The "unguents" of the mummification were the types of the shining higher infusion, and they prepared the soul for, or were integrally a part of, its burial in the grave of mortality. And the Messiah was then crucified in the flesh. On this point Massey speaks clearly:
"In preparation of Osiris for his burial, the ointment or unguents were compounded and applied by Neith. It was these that were to preserve the mummy from decay and dissolution." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 883. ]
Neith applies the preservatives in Egypt; Mary in the Gospels. And as the feminine figures emblem matter, we must take the ritual as dramatizing the anointing of divinity with materiality, rather than just the anointing of the physical man with divinity. The same situation is found in the baptism allegory, where the lower man, John the Baptist, anoints with his element, water, the very deity, Christ, himself. In that close conjunction and interrelation of the two natures which the great Ankh symbol connotes, each nature "anoints" the other, and it matters little for final outcomes of meaning which is considered. All ancient symbols denoting the two elements in life are not only dual in themselves, but may generally be interchanged without damage to the ground signification. This strange - and practically unknown - aspect of the science of typology merits a full chapter in itself; but perhaps it will be enough to point out its application in specific situations where it will clarify the exegesis. Since the soulís burial in body is the cause and occasion of the release of its own higher potencies, its being anointed or baptized by matter (or "water") is thus both its active and its passive anointing. Let it be remembered, it both converts matter and is converted by matter. This is ever the basic formula. The anointing thus becomes kindred with the embalming. The chrismatic ceremony was the "ankh-ing" or tying together of soul and flesh for fuller outflow, giving in the outcome the Karast or Christ. In man the angel and the animal-human anoint each other.
As the climactic step in a series of benefits which Horus, the deliverer and reconstituter of his father Osiris, enumerates in an address to the latter, he likens the anointing to the gift of grace and spiritual unction: (Page 187)
"I have strengthened thine existence upon earth. I have given thee thy soul, thy strength, thy power. I have given thee thy victory. I have anointed thee with offerings of holy oil." [Ritual, Ch. 173 (Renouf and Naville). ]
The whole procedure of incarnation from its inception to the Prodigalís return, is to be seen as an anointing, first of spirit with flesh, then of flesh with spirit. Massey says that anointing was the mode of showing the glory of the Father in the person of his Son, and that Horus was anointed when he transformed from Horus the mortal to Horus the divine man.
The usual material for anointing was oil, but at least one other comes in as symbol. We are familiar with Jesusí mixing his spittle with a little earth to anoint the eyes of the blind man in the Gospels. A Hawaiian legend also has it that the first man was created from red earth (the meaning of "Adam") mixed with the spittle of the gods, and the triadic god then blew into his nose and bade him rise a living human being. Egyptian ideography pictures that the primeval god Tum conceived within himself, then spat, the spittle becoming the gods Shu and Tefnut, whose union as male and female produced the world. Another Kamite construction holds that the Eye of Ra (symbol of divine intelligence), being injured by the violent assault of Sut, was restored when anointed with spittle by Thoth.
In many more legends the gods are said to have mixed mortal clay with their blood, emblematic of their living power. The early myth-makers were adept at variation of the symbols. Horus, representing the god in man, says:
"He anointed my forehead as Lord of men, creating me as chief of mortals. He placed me in a palace as a youth, not yet come forth from my motherís womb."
This is a reference to the godís burial in matter, where life was a process of gestation for a new birth in spirit. The mortal man has not yet resurrected, not yet come forth from mother natureís womb! The spirit entombed is like Joseph in "Egypt" and Daniel in "Babylon" before they rose from out their "prisons" to become the rulers of the kingdom. We are still to have our birth out of matter into spirit. Our incarnation is our birth into body; our resurrection is to be our second birth, this time out of body.
Isaiah (61: 1,2) emphasizes the anointing in a famous verse: (Page 188)
"The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the poor. He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, [The specific significance of this term will appear in the chapter on Dismemberment. ]to proclaim liberty to the captives. . . ."
The "poor," it is to be recalled, are equivalent to the Gentiles, the unregenerate natural man. They were the ones for whom the message of the Messiah was intended. The announcement from heaven to earth that a race of deities was about to descend to lift animal life into the kingdom of reason and articulate speech was verily "the good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people," the best news ever wafted to the denizens of the planet up to that period. "Thou hast anointed my head with oil, my cup runneth over," echoes the immortal Psalm (23). "Having had my flesh embalmed," says the Osirified deceased in the Ritual (Ch. 64), "my body does not decay." Hence flesh, inoculated with spirit, or the mummy embalmed, becomes immortal. And the Word was made flesh! And flesh will be immortalized!
But the Egyptians had a correlative phrase with "the Word made flesh." It was "the Word made Truth." The Logos or spirit made flesh produced the first birth, the natural man, the first Adam. This was not the true Word, for it was falsified by the admixture of the earthly, natural element, by which it voiced the animal note. As the boyís voice at the age of manhood changes from a feminine to a masculine timbre, so the speech of the mortal had to swing away from the tones of its mother nature and issue as the voice of the spiritual Self. Figuratively at the human raceís age of twelve, always the number marking our spiritual perfecting, the Christ within us has to abandon the concerns of the maternal physical life and "be about his Fatherís business,"--the spiritual life. The race must turn from Mother Nature to Father God at its spiritual puberty.
It is quite noteworthy in this connection that one of the most eminent of modern psychologists, C. G. Jung, has divided human life into two periods, which he calls the forenoon and afternoon of life, the boundary line being placed at the age of thirty-five. He says that in the forenoon mankind lives the life of "nature," but turns in the "afternoon" to a life of "culture." So that we find even the span of mortal life epitomizing the larger scheme, in that we begin the "day" of life by living under nature, and turn in the afternoon to the concerns of the spirit and the mind. "First that which is natural, then that which is spiritual," St. Paul has reminded us. (Page 189)
The world took form upon the model of divine ideas, Plato affirms. In us men a god is striving to stamp his lines of beauty and grace upon the features of an animal! The God-word was fleshed so that it could preserve and finally transfigure the mummy with its splendor. But - and let ultra-idealists be advised!--spirit had to have plastic matter upon which to imprint its form and comeliness, else it would have remained forever unknown. The visible manifestation of latent wisdom, power and love could be achieved only by the spiritís encasement in a body. Matter, so derided by extreme "spiritual" theory, is the womb in which alone divine conceptions can be brought to birth. So that the fleshing of soul works the miracle of its own anointing. Flesh is the way and the means by which man, the divine thought, is christened with an ever fuller measure of the oil of beatification.
Carried some distance afield by certain involvements of the mummy discussion, we return to that aspect of it suggested by the mythical underworld. It has been already hinted that this nether world is our earth itself. But readers may not be fully aware that this assertion is here made directly in the face of all previous and present scholarship, and that it flouts all scholastic opinion. So open a challenge to world scholarship must summon additional proof to its support. The substantiation of the point is pivotal to the entire interpretation here advanced. The case wins or loses on the determination of this issue. Likewise the correct understanding of all theology hinges upon the outcome. As the many transactions involving the experience of the human soul in the body were enacted in Amenta, the underworld, the final meaning of the whole structure of theology is bound up with the correct location of this realm of gloomy shade. It is believed that the correction of the error under which the academic world has labored for centuries with regard to this region will necessitate the most sweeping alterations in religious and philosophical ideology, nothing short, in fact, of a total recasting of all meanings and values.
Amenta, the Egyptian term for this underworld, is given as a compound of the Egyptian "Amen," meaning "secret," "hidden"; and "ta," "earth" or "land." In this formation it becomes "the hidden earth" or "secret, hidden land." It is the land where the divine sons were hidden away in "Egypt" till the "wrath" of the Karmic Lords should be appeased. "Amen" was the "hidden deity," "the god in hiding." His hieroglyph pictures him as kneeling under a canopy. The "wrath" of (Page 190) God, be it proclaimed at last, is no divine "anger," in any human sense of the word, but the universally burning, consuming, transforming, building and destroying energy of Life itself, always anciently characterized as a "fire." And the word seems derivative from "Ur-ath," the original fiery force in matter, as "Ur" is "fire" and "-ath" is the feminine, that is, material classification. It therefore connotes the cosmical transforming energies locked up in the bosom of matter! This is of consummate importance. And all this complex ancient indirection of description is just to carry the idea that the soul must be tied down in its linkage with the deeply hidden energies of matter and body until the fiery potencies burning at that level refine and purify its grosser elements. A Biblical text speaks of its being "thrice refined in the fire," and Egyptian scripts abound with statements of its purification "in the crucible of the great house of flame." Maintaining the revolutionary thesis that Amenta is this earth, and not some realm elsewhere into which men relapse after earthly demise, the exposition will establish the fact that all the typology referring to it pertains to our own world. In every ancient system of cosmology this globe is the lowest of all planetary spheres. There can be no other hell, Tartarus, Avernus or Orcus, Sheol or Tophet below it. It is that darksome limbo where the Styx, the Phlegethon, the river of Lethe and other murky streams run their sluggish courses through the life of mortals.
Very apt, then, is the story of Isis and Osiris. Their infant, Horus, was suckled by Isis in solitude. She reared him in secret, and his limbs grew strong in the hidden land. None knew the hiding place, but it was somewhere in the marshes of Amenta, the lower Egypt of the mythos. This is matched in toto by the story of the birth of the mythical Sargon of Assyria. Likewise it is the background of the "flight into Egypt" of Jesus in the Gospels. The divine child had to be taken down into "Egypt" until the Herut menace was passed and in order that the son of God might be brought up out of it. As the angel of the Lord says to Joseph, "Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt," so at the birth of Horus the god Taht says to the mother, "Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child." She is bidden to take him down into the marshes of Lower Egypt, called Kheb or Khebt. But the Egyptian version gives us more ground for understanding the maneuver as a cosmographic symbol, because Taht tells Osiris that there "these things shall befall: his limbs will grow, he will wax (Page 191) entirely strong, he will attain the dignity of Prince . . . and sit upon the throne of his father." This is highly important, since it makes the hiding away a part of the cosmic process and not a mere incredible incident in Gospel "narrative." In the mutilated Gospel account the sojourn in Egypt is left as if it were a matter of brief duration, followed by the childís return. In the fuller Egyptian record it is seen that the dip into Lower Egypt is that necessary incubation in matter that must continue until it has brought the infant potentialities to actualization and function. As the seed in the soil, so the god in the earthly body and the "child" in "Lower Egypt"--all are hidden away for the growth that only thus could be attained. The secreting of the child is no more than the planting on earth of the divine seed in its appropriate soil - humanity
In the Ritual the Manes, or Osiris-Nu, says: "I am he whose stream is secret." Of Ptah it is also said: "Thy secret dwelling is in the depths (or the deep) of the secret waters and unknown" (Renouf: Hibbert Lectures, p. 321).
The presentation of the evidence supporting the mundane location of Amenta takes on from this point largely the semblance of a debate with Massey. If our study seems overburdened with his material, apology may be found in the explanation that, in the first place, he has fairly earned this amount of recognition, and secondly that his presentations focus the issues at stake with more definiteness than those of any other scholar. Though he missed the golden truth of this matter in the end, he still comes so close to it that he at times almost states it in spite of himself. The truth can hardly be better expounded than as the correction of his error, which proved so fatal at last to his work. No one has ever put more succinctly and clearly the nature of the experience of the soul or divine child in Amenta than he has done in the following excerpt:
"In the eschatology Horus, the child, is typical of the human soul which was incarnated in the blood of Isis, this immaculate virgin, to be made flesh, and to be born in mortal guise on earth as the son of Seb (god of earth) and to suffer all the afflictions of mortality. He descended to Amenta as the soul sinking in the dark of death. . . ."[Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 190. ]
Everything in this passage points to the identity of Amenta with earth. Clearly as Massey saw through the thousand disguises of ancient (Page 192) method, he was tricked at last by the arcane ruse of presenting earth experience under the mask of a ritual for the dead. He could hardly bring himself to believe, sharp as was his break with orthodoxy, that the miscarriage of esoteric sense had gone so utterly awry as to misplace all religious values finally in a wrong world. The enormity of cleric aberrancy was already so shocking to him that he can be pardoned for failing to perceive that it was indeed still seven leagues worse.
He fought his way through by what seemed the only devise which would enable him to keep the judgment, hell, purgatory and the underworld in the after-death realm. He was forced to split the term "earth," so frequently used with Amenta, into two parts, distinguishing an "earth of time" from an "earth of eternity." He took Amenta to be this fancied "earth of eternity" beyond the grave or death. He located it vaguely in the post mortem state, and segregated it from the earth of time, or the earth we know. But a little reflection on his part would have told him that the term "earth" has no possible appropriateness to a nonphysical existence in spiritual areas. The designations "land," "country," so often applied to the heavenly state of being, are used only by grace of euphemism or figure. Massey must have felt this, but it permitted him to use the word "earth" in reference to a purely celestial locale. This could not have been other than a bit disingenuous; and it cost him his place in renown and kept us an additional forty or fifty years in bondage to religious superstition.
He rightly insists that "not until we have mastered the wisdom of Egypt as recorded in Amenta shall we be enabled to read it on the surface of the earth." This is precisely what should be said, but where do we have access to "wisdom recorded in Amenta" (considered as his spirit world) if not on this earth, either in books or in experience? Can we go to (his) heaven and read records left there? He speaks of a first paradise as being celestial and a second one as "sub-terrestrial," and says that the latter is "the earthly paradise of legendary lore." But, as has been shown, a "sub-terrestrial" residence for man is meaningless verbiage, imagery without possible counterpart in actuality. The "sub-" was to be taken as subsolary and perhaps sublunary, at any rate sub-celestial, but never--really--sub-terrestrial. If it was used for poetic figure, there need be no quarrel. The ancients did use subterranean (Page 193) caverns as types of our life in Amenta, but only as types. Of a surety we shall not read old Egyptís mighty wisdom aright until we read it on the surface of this earth, for the inexpugnable reason that the "wisdom recorded in Amenta" is the wisdom pertaining to this earth! Amenta and this earth are one and the same place. Religion must bring back to this earth the core of all those meanings which took their flight from this sphere on the wings of scholarshipís egregious mislocation of the mythical region of Amenta.
His mistake, as that of all other scholars, was occasioned by loss of the archaic signification of "death." Books of the dead, forsooth, must inescapably apply to deceased humans, and hence their rituals must be designed for the spirits of the departed on "that other shore." It was thus not possible for anyone under this persuasion to discern that the Biblical phrase "after death" could mean its precise antithesis, as commonly viewed; that is, after entry into this life. It could not be seen that the phrase "deceased in their graves" had already been appropriated by the sages of Egypt to type the living denizens here on the globe.
Nevertheless the identification of Amenta with a post mortem state should have been seen at one glance as inadmissible in the light of a single consideration. Amenta, Hades, Sheol are always portrayed as the land of gloom, darkness and misery. These terms are often translated "hell" in the Bible and elsewhere. They are the dismal underworld. In it souls are imprisoned, captive, cut to pieces, mutilated, buried. Exactly opposite in description in every religion is the state of life after decease! It matches the Amenta characterization in no particular, but is its exact opposite. In it the soul finds release from the dark, heavy, dreary, wretched conditions that are descriptive of Amenta. It is the land of light, bliss, surcease from distress, rest and peace! The two portraitures will not mix! The Amenta of misery and gloom can not be at the same time the Happy Isles, the Aarru-Hetep and the asphodel meads! If to enter the body is to undergo captivity, then to leave it is to regain freedom, not to enter Amenta. Surely in this confusion of two worlds of diametrically opposite classification our savants are convicted of the most amazing want of acumen in reaching conclusions preposterously out of line with the data of scholarship. Massey should have been enlightened by what he wrote in this passage: (Page 194)
"Except when lighted up by the sun of night, Amenta was the land of darkness and the valley of the shadow of death. It remained thus, as it was at first, to those who could not escape the custody of Seb, the god of earth, Ďthe great annihilator who resideth in the valley.í"
If Amenta was the place where the god of earth detained souls in darkness, its localization on earth would seem to be incontrovertibly indicated. Or was not the god of earth on earth? We might expect a god to inhabit his own kingdom, the one over which he ruled.
Osiris, king of the land of the dead, is denominated "lord of the shrine which standeth at the center of the earth." (Rit., Ch. 64.) Massey speaks of "the human Horus"--and Horus was in Amenta. Humans exist only on the earth. The earth must be Amenta, then. He writes again that the drama "from which scenes are given in the Hebrew writings, as if these things occurred or would occur upon the earth, belongs to the mysteries of the Egyptian Amenta, and only as Egyptian could its characters ever be understood." The scenes in Hebrew scriptures are drawn largely from the early Egyptian Mysteries, which typified cosmic and racial history under the forms of dramatic ritual. But they were not events of either Egyptian or Hebrew objective history. They did not "occur" anywhere on earth, but they portrayed the interior meaning of all that did occur on earth. The events were not here, but their meaning was. They were not occurrence factually, but the key to all occurrence. Massey thought the myths must be veridically true in (his) Amenta, since they were not objectively true on earth. He caught half the truth only. The myths were only symbolic language telling human dullness of mind what life meant. The moment the myths are alleged to have taken place in heaven or anywhere else, that moment superstition begins to stalk into the counsels of religion. Nothing could occur in Amenta as a place distinct from this earth, since it was a mythopoetic name for earth itself.
But the sad part of Masseyís story and the reason it is important for us to scrutinize his mistake is that it is the story of a whole raceís deception for sixteen centuries! The localization of Amenta in heaven instead of on earth has defeated the whole purpose of religion for ages. And no pen or tongue will ever record the monstrous fatuity involved in the spectacle of a race looking into the wrong world and waiting with sanctified stupidity for the fulfillment of values that have slipped (Page 195) by them ungrasped all the while! When religion gave up its effort to realize values in the life here and fixed despairing eyes on heaven, it betokened the decay of primal human virtue and a sinking back into mystical fetishism. Came the Greek "loss of nerve" and the turning from earth to heaven for the realization of hopes ground to dust on earth. And this shift of philosophical view left the ground of culture lie fallow, and bred the rank growth that covered the whole terrain of the Dark Ages. There is needed no other warrant for the extension of the material of this chapter to some length. As things have turned out, it may well be that true location of the Egyptian Amenta, instead of being a mere point in academic scholarship, is the critical item in the life of culture today. The collapse of true religion is ever marked by its turning for its real experience from earth to mystical heavens.
Scholars have not sufficiently or capably reflected on the significant fact that ancient sacred books or Bibles have been largely Books of the Dead. The obvious glaring peculiarity of this fact has never seemed to occur to students. It should from the first have provoked wonder and curiosity that the sages of antiquity would have indited their great tomes of wisdom in such a form as to serve as manuals in the life to come, and not as guides for the life lived in the sphere in which the books were available! Only the heavy tradition that religion was a preparation for a life to come, instead of a way of life here, could have stifled this natural reaction to a situation that is odd enough in all conscience. It is no slight or inconsequential thing that Budge writes in one sentence of ". . . religious texts written for the benefit of the dead in all periods . . ." (of Egyptian history), without the least suspicion that he was penning an astonishing thing. It had been ponderously assumed by scholarship that the ancient sages were more concerned with the hereafter and the next world than with life down here. How the march of history would have swung into different highways had the world known that we living men were those "dead" for whom the sagas were inscribed by the masters of knowledge! And what must be the sobering realization for present reflection of the fact that the primeval revelation given to early races for the guidance and instruction of all humanity has missed entirely the world for which it was intended!
The scene of critical spiritual transactions is not "over there" in spirit land, but here in this inner arena of manís consciousness. (Page 196) Lifeís accounts do not remain suspended during our active experience on earth, to be closed and settled when the exertion is over. We are weaving the fabric and pattern of our creation of ourselves when we are awake on earth, not when we are at repose in ethereal heavens. The droning cry of lugubrious religionism for centuries has been to live life on earth merely as the preparation for heaven. But there is no logic in the idea of making preparation for rest! It is the other way around: rest is a preparation for more work. The positive expression of life is the exertion of effort to achieve progress. Rest is just the cessation of the effort, and needs no preparation. The character of our effort may, to be sure, determine the nature of our rest, yet one should say, rather, its completeness. Rest is in some degree correlative with the effort. Still the logic is indefeasible, that we work to achieve our purposes, and not to gain rest. The presumption that this life is of minor consequence and has value only as the steppingstone to another where true being is alone achieved, is one facet of that enormous fatuity of which we are holding orthodox indoctrination guilty. It is the last mark of the miscarriage of primal truth in the scriptures that its meaning and application have been diverted from that world it was intended to instruct, and projected over into another where its code can have no utility whatever. The offices of religion have fled to heaven, and must be brought back to earth. This return can be effected only by the right interpretation of the term "the dead" and the true location of Amenta, the scene of the judgment, hell, purgatory and the resurrection, and the seat of all evolutionary experience.
Massey asserts that "the nether earth was the other half of this" and that the "Gospel history has been based upon that other earth of the Manes being mistaken for the earth of mortals." But he errs on both counts. For the "other half of this" life is lived in a sphere which all faiths have located above this one, and not nether to it. The spirit world can in no way be localized as under our world. His second statement misses truth through the fact that the events in the life of the Manes are not, as he supposes, actual transactions in the afterdeath life of the spirit, but are only allegorical depictions of the soulís history in this life.
But he makes a point of great moment, worthy of transcription, when he states that the miracles of Jesus were not possible as objective events: (Page 197)
"They are historically impossible because they were pre-extant as mythical representations . . . in the drama of the Mysteries, that was as non-historical as the Christmas pantomime. The miracles ascribed to Jesus on earth had been previously assigned to Iusa, the divine healer, who was non-historical in the pre-Christian religion. Horus, whose other name is Jesus, is the performer of the Ďmiraclesí which are repeated in the Gospels; and which were first performed as the mysteries in the divine nether-world. But if Horus or Iusa be made human on earth, as a Jew in Judea, we are suddenly hemmed in by the miraculous, at the center of a maze with nothing antecedent for a clue; no path that leads to the heart of the mystery, and no visible means of exit therefrom. With the introduction of the human personage on mundane ground, the mythical inevitably becomes the miraculous; thus the history was founded on the miracles, which are perversions of the mythology that was provably pre-extant."
It was in these discernments that Massey rose to heights of clear vision and made a contribution to the cause of religious sanity that can not be rated too highly. This passage is a clear and courageous declaration of the long-lost truth of the matter. He performed a great service in discrediting the myths as history; but by thrusting them over into a purely suppositious world as alleged realities in the "eschatology," he committed his costly blunder.
It was into Amenta that both Horus and Jesus descended to preach to the souls in prison. Horusí object in making the descent was to utter the words of his father to the lifeless ones. So in the Pistis Sophia Jesus passed into Amenta as the teacher of the great mysteries. It is said in this Gnostic work: "Jesus spake these words unto his disciples in the midst of Amenta." [ Meadís Translation, p. 394. ]Moreover a special title is assigned to Jesus in Amenta. He is called Aber-Amentho; "Jesus, that is to say, Aber-Amentho," is a formula several times repeated. Aber means lord or ruler; so that again Jesus and Horus are exactly matched in title.
If Jesus delivered his discourses to his disciples "in Amenta," all question of where this hidden land is located should be settled forever. For unless all Gospels are accounts of the doings of wraiths in a spectral underworld, as even Massey suggests, we are bound to suppose that their transactions, historical or mythical, transpired on earth.
The hazy character of current Egyptological scholarship is notably manifest in a passage from Budge dealing with the location of the Tuat. It is clearly given in the Ritual as the gate of entry to (Page 198) the underworld. But Budge gives it as "the name of a district or region, neither in heaven nor upon earth, where the dead dwelt and through which the sun passed during the night." Where else the Tuat might be, if neither in heaven nor on earth, deponent saith not. In another place (Egyptian Literature, Vol. I) he defines the Tuat once more. "Tuat is a very ancient name for the Other World, which was situated either parallel to Egypt, or across the celestial ocean which surrounded either world." This goes far to prove that the science of Egyptology has been but a blind groping amid ideas utterly uncomprehended by the "learned" men in the field. Indeed Budge himself has penned what may be called his own "confession" on this score. For its downright candor and its general importance, it is quite worthy of insertion:
"Is it true that the more the subject of Egyptian religion and mythology is studied the less is known about them? The question is, however, thoroughly justified and every honest worker will admit that there are at the present time scores of passages even in such a comparatively well-known compilation as the Book of the Dead which are inexplicable, and scores of allusions to a fundamentally important mythological character of which the meanings are still unknown." (Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. I.)
The sun passing through the Tuat depicted the divine soul as passing through its incarnation, which being in the darkness of the body was charactered as the "dark night of the soul." As it entered the gate of Amenta, called the Tuat, it crossed the horizon line dividing the region of spirit or heaven from earth or embodiment, and there it stood in the twilight. Budge says that "the Tuat was a duplicate of Egypt," laid out in nomes, with a river valley and other similar features. This should further identify it with our earth.
In Amenta the soul was said to receive a new heart shaped "by certain gods in the nether world according to the deeds done in the body whilst the person was living on earth." Here again is confusion and a missing of the intent. The award of a new heart is not made like that of a prize on graduation day. The larger meaning is that the whole long experience of many lives creates a new heart, which is the resultant of the transformation of nature that is gradually accomplished by the whole process. It is quite impossible to draw intelligible meaning from the scriptures if we limit our survey to a single span of earth life as a prelude to an infinite "eternity" in its wake. Reason forbids (Page 199) our conceding to the actions of a single life on earth sufficient moment to fix the destiny of a soul forever. Ancient theology rested on no such irrational presumption.
Many statements aver that the soul passes into Amenta at death. Massey felt sure that this clinched his location of Amenta in the ghost world. He did not dream that the "death" the ancients spoke of brought the soul here instead of taking it away. The soulís statement that it came "to overthrow mine adversaries upon the earth" should have enlightened him. The soul descends here to battle the lower nature, the only adversary contemplated in the whole range of holy writ.
The attendants of the soul in its incarnational descent say to it (Ch. 128): "We put an end to thy ills through thy being smitten to earth"--"in death," Massey himself adds. But not even this brought discovery to his mind. The following is highly indicative also:
"From beginning to end of the Ritual we see that it is a being once human, man or woman, who is the traveler through the underworld. . . ." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 210. ]
Even though the Ritual assigned to this underworld pilgrim all human characteristics, scholars still have missed the hint that he was the human. Later texts give to the Manes in Amenta all the traits and features of the earth mortal.
The solar god in Amenta is addressed as "thou who givest light to the earth." This again is definite localization on earth. It was the sun-god who "tunneled the mount of earth and hollowed out Amenta,"--mistaken for two operations when they are of course one and the same. The sun-godís "boring through the earth" was one of the tropes.
Instruction is derived from noting how Masseyís erroneous idea entangled him in the following passage:
"The lower paradise of two is in the mount of earth, also called the funeral mount of Amenta. [Identification again.] The departed are not born immortals in that land; immortality is conditional. They have to fight and strive and wrestle with the powers of evil to compass it." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 374. ]
His own exegesis convicts him of shallow thinking here. For he has stated repeatedly that the soul enters his spectral Amenta with character already formed by "the deeds done in the body." His Amenta could not be the arena of moral conflict or fight to win immortality. (Page 200)
He has indeed called it "the earth of eternity." It is too late to writhe and wrestle for moral victory when that "Amenta" is entered. The earth is the one and only theater of spiritual struggle. So he errs in reiterating:
"The world-to-be in the upper paradise was what they made it by hard labor and by purification in Amenta." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 415. ]
Masseyís mistake, in common with that of much general religious opinion on these matters, lies in his affirming that after the termination of life in the body the soul first descends into Amenta, then later rises into Paradise. This flies in the face of all basic postulation of theology itself. The soul descends in coming to earth, and there is no lower region left into which it can further descend on quitting the body. Its incarnation in flesh drags it down, its release at decease lets it free to return upward. The false downward direction assigned to the soul on leaving earth is a perversion of true original conception due to the loss of the meaning of the term "death" in world religion. Profound philosophical insight corroborates the instinctive unconditioned idea which rises in connection with physical death, that the soul when released begins its ascent to celestial habitat. Only perverted theology inculcated the thought of further descent when the war between flesh and mind is over. The dissipation of that idea is ample justification for this chapter. Another sentence pictures his entanglement in the net:
"The sub-terrestrial paradise was mapped out for the Manes to work in, and work out their salvation from the ills of the flesh and the blemishes of the life on earth."
But how can he call this dark, murky, dismal underworld of sub-terrestrial life a "paradise"? In no religion is paradise pictured as a gloomy and forbidding place. This obsession of his, that the soul must first go down into a region of agony and bloody sweat and fiery torture after separation from the body and be purged of its earthly sins before it can rise into paradise, warrants all this dissertation upon it because it is the delusion of millions.
It is conceivable and admissible that the soul upon release from body may need a period of time to throw off some heavier portions of its clinging earthly mires, before it can return to the highest place of purity. But in all reason it must be contended that the locale of such (Page 201) a stage must be above, not below, the earth life. If the soul lingers a while on a level of purgation after life here, it is at least on a plane one step higher than this.
The general commitments of this whole discussion are of sufficient importance to excuse a general critique of the pious theory that life equalizes the balance of her forces by having us commit error in one world and do penance or make atonement in another. Almost universal as is the idea, there is little foundation for it in the great systems of early racial instruction. It is an excrescence on the body of saner teaching.
We must reap as we sow. "He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption." Half the world has been hypnotized with the belief that mankind can atone in an ethereal world for "deeds done in the body." Perfect justice would obviously require that we return to the same world in which acts were committed to square the Karmic accounts engendered by them. To work out our salvation from the ills of the flesh, the soul must at least be where flesh is! If we are to erase the blemishes of earth life, we must return to those conditions which constituted the nature of the problem in the first instance. In spirit world the problem is no longer present; it has been dissolved with matter. If we break the dishes in the kitchen we can hardly atone by singing in the parlor. How it is presumed by an eccentric theology that we can work out concrete problems in a world where concreteness has been dissolved, is not at all easy to see. Those who plan to win the unfought battles of spiritual life from a bower in Paradise had better take counsel with the ancient wisdom. There is no heavenly "peace without victory," or a victory without St. Paulís long fight. The arcane science tells modern ignorance why we are on earth. If there was some sufficient primal necessity for our coming to wrestle with flesh and sense in the first instance, then it must be essential that we continue to come until these forces and natures are overcome and raised. The wisdom of civilizations already hoary in Egyptís time is back of that pronouncement, and it is back of no other. The static angelic immortality of the Christians, the "eternal spiritual progress in heaven" of the Christian Scientists, Spiritualists and other cultists, find their rebuke and their correction in the venerable knowledge of the ancient sages.
The divine word or the Logos "is to be made truth in the life lived (Page 202) on earth, so that the spirit when it entered the hall of judgment, was, as it were, its own book of life, written for the all-seeing eye." This is magnificent truth that Massey states; but how infinitely more meaningful it becomes when it is known that the hall of judgment entered by the spirit to reap the fruits of former action and amend its ways, is not a spirit plane after death, but this present "underworld," to which it will return, after a rest, to face the further issues involved in its evolution. Returning here again and again, the soul brings its own record book of life with it, written in its own character. Character can be built nowhere else than on earth. No religion has ever said that we would be judged for deeds done in the spirit world! We are asleep then and inactive, and making no Karma, as the East phrases it. As St. Paul says, sin is lying dormant until incarnation again brings the moral agent, the soul, into subjection to the body of sense, when "sin springs to life."
The title of one of the chapters of the Ritual is: "Of introducing the mummy into the Tuat on the day of burial." This becomes absurd if the mummy is the corpse and the Tuat a spectral realm of wraiths. No more than that a man can take his gold watch with him to heaven could a mummy be introduced into Masseyís and Budgeís Tuat! The burial is the advent of the "mummified" soul or Karast into its coffin-case of the physical body.
Elsewhere Massey equates "the pillar of earth" with "the Tat of Amenta" and still fails to see identification. In another connection he writes:
"Thus we can identify Eve or Chavvak, as Kefa or Kep, the Great Mother, with Adam or Atum in the Garden of Amenta." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 455. ]
Were not Adam and Eve on earth?
A striking pronouncement in the Papyrus of Ani should have awakened true intelligence in his mind: "The soul, or Manes, makes the journey through Amenta in the two halves of sex." Where are there male and female sex distinctions save on earth? And one wonders how the scholar could have written the following and failed to see the basis of identity suggested:
"The mortal on earth was made up of seven constituent parts. The Osiris in Amenta had seven souls, which were collated, put together and unified to become the ever-living one." (Page 203)
But all students of ancient literature are aware that earth was the place where the collecting and unifying of the seven constituent souls of man were accomplished. Again a most direct hint of the truth was ignored by the savants. Also Greek metaphysical science asserts that the soul came down through nine stages "and became connected with the sublunary world and a terrene body, as the ninth and most abject gradation of her descent." [Taylor: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 105. ] Here is philosophical testimony that negates the existence of any hell or underworld below life in the body. Any observer of human life knows that it is possible for the soul to fall to the most abject baseness while in the body. We are in the lowest of the hells - Amenta
Again and again the texts say that Amenta is the dwelling of Seb, the god of earth.
Massey states that in the resurrection "man ascended from the earth below, or from below the earth." The first point of departure is correctly placed; but the alternative, meant to be an appositive, is ruled out of court. Man was never below the earth.
In the Jewish scriptures twelve sons of Jacob go down into Egypt for corn; in the Book of Amenta twelve sons of Ra make a journey toward the entrance to Amenta, represented as a gorge between two mountains, heaven and earth, and they go down into the lower Egypt of the twelve sons of Ra make a journey toward the entrance to Amenta, represented as a gorge between two mountains, heaven and earth, and they go down into the lower Egypt of the mythos. All this is figurative for the descent of the twelve legions of angels of light (sons of Ra, the Light-God) upon this planet. These are the true prototypes of the twelve tribes of Israel, to whom the Eternal as recorded in one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament, before their descent, calls: "The underworld awaits you with eager joy. It watches with open jaws to receive you." (Moffatt Trans.) In the Egyptian this is matched by the statement that "the reptile, or dragon, Ďeternal devourerí is his name (Ch. 17), lurks and watches in the Ďbight of Amentaí for its prey." The "bight of Amenta" accurately matches the "recess of earth" in the Greek terminology. In another form of typology the twelve are called "the twelve reapers of the harvest on earth, which was reaped in Amenta by Horus and the twelve." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 709. ]If the spiritual harvest was reaped "on earth" and "in Amenta," earth and Amenta must be the same place.
Massey places the habitat of those "people that sat in darkness" and who saw a great light, in Amenta. When Horus descends to them to bring the divine light, he is declared to "descend from heaven to the (Page 204) darkness of Amenta as the Light of the World." How could he be the light of the world if he did not come to the world? It is our earth, surely, and this is once more equated with Amenta.
When Satan takes Jesus into a high mountain for his trial (against the powers of matter) it was a place whence "all the kingdoms of the earth could be seen."
Horus in his coming is said to kindle a light in the dark of death for the soul "or spiritual image in Amenta." But he came to earth to bring light. When he arrived at the outer door of Amenta in his rising Horus says: "I arrive at the confines of earth." Says Massey himself: "He was to be the light of the world in the mortal sphere." And when Horus comes to give the breath of life to the inert Manes in Amenta and delivers his message, it is declared in the Rubric (to Ch. 70): "If this scripture is known upon earth, he (the Osiris) will have power to come forth to day and walk upon the earth among the living."
An important link in the chain of evidence is the statement that the seven principles or vehicles that were integrated in one organism to form perfect man "were all believed to come into existence after death." [Budge: Introduction to the Book of the Dead, p. xc. ]But as the khat or physical body was one of them, and it was incontestably dropped from association with the others after death, the phrase "after death" must here be taken in the peculiar theological sense delineated in this analysis. For only after the death and burial in body could the god begin the work of wedding the seven principles into an aggregate harmony. We are now put in position to grasp the works that take place "after death." For in the light of the new-old meaning of "death" all the experiences dramatized as occurring after bodily demise can be seen as falling within, not outside of, the limits of earthly life. Physical birth here is the beginning of that "death" and the events of life thus come "after (the beginning of) death." Even that redoubtable verse in the Bible, "It is given unto man once to die, and after that the judgment," does not overrule the exegesis here advanced. The integration of the seven constituent principles in man can not be carried on without the khat in a spirit-Amenta.
In describing the judgment of Ani (the Manes-soul) in Amenta, Budge writes: "Ani is here depicted in human form and wearing garments and ornaments similar to those which he wore on earth." (Page 205) To explain this, to him, odd phenomenon, Budge weaves an intricate conjecture that
"the body which he has in this hall of judgment can not be the body with which he had been endowed on earth, and we can probably understand that it is his spiritual body, wearing the white robes of the beatified dead in the world beyond the grave, that we see."
But what more natural than that the hierophants should portray the personage in the drama representing the human in the likeness of the human? The scrolls of old Egypt depicted Ani in human form and dress because it was to him as a human being that the meaning of the drama applied. Budge (and all others) first allocates the trial of the deceased to the nondescript astral world and then wonders why the human character is represented as human! If the pundits will have it that the Amenta in which the judgment trial takes place is the realm of flitting specters, they will have to contrive as best they can to solve the perplexities of Egyptian procedure created by their own preconceptions. But if they will follow the indicated guidance of the symbology employed, they will find their difficulties obviated as if by a touch of magic. For if Amenta is our earth, then Ani may be expected to appear as the typical human, with flesh, complexion and ornaments to match, and a little clothing if needed!
The text says of Teta: "This Teta hath broken forever his sleep in his dwelling which is upon earth." This assures us that the Amenta sleep takes place upon our earth.
Using "day" in the sense of incarnation, another text reads: "Thou appearest upon the earth each day," under the figure of the rising sun, of course.
Another chapter title (132) in the Book of the Dead gives a clue that is inerrant: "The chapter of causing a man to come back to see his house upon earth." And in the Saitic Recension the "house" is said to be in the underworld. The two are then equated.
Another chapter (152) gives a quite illuminative title: "Of building a house upon the earth." As this "house" is the temple which Jesus said he would re-erect "in three days," and is the central structure of all Masonry, it is important to note that its erection takes place on earth.
"I died yesterday, but I come today," exclaims the Manes (Ch. 179). (Page 206) "He sitteth as a living being in Amenta," affirms another verse. These do not sound like the expressions of the real defunct.
Budge tells us that the duty of supplying meat, drink and apparel to the "dead" was deputed to Anup, Keb and Osiris. Anup was the guide of souls in the underworld; Keb (Seb) was the god of earth; Osiris was the ruler of the kingdom of the dead. All three distinctly locate the region of death on this globe.
The following from Budge is noteworthy: [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 144. ]
"For the goddess (Taht-I-em-hetep) adds, Amenti is a place of stupor and darkness, and death calleth every one to him, gods and men, and great and little are all one to him; he seizeth the babe as well as the old man. Yet [Budge adds] the Egyptians did not [Italics are Budgeís. ]live wantonly, as if this life were a preparation for a gloomy death. They lived in expectation of passing into a region of light and glory."
Here is powerful confirmation of the contention that the Egyptians could not have regarded the gloomy and darksome Amenta as the region of life after death, and that the soul ascended to realms of glory and brightness on leaving the body instead of descending into the scholarsí purgatory--Amenta. The Egyptians were taught in the Mysteries that this life was the Amenti of stupor and darkness, and out of it they would pass to rest and brighter scenes in the empyrean. Budge supposes the call of "death" to be from the earth to heaven, when it is from heaven to earth, on the thesis here established. The call of death was the summons to bright angelic spirits to enter the life in body. It was St. Paulís "command." No wonder the noted Egyptologist has to register some incomprehension over the fact that the Egyptians were cheery in the face of passing at death into what he supposed was the fearsome Amenta. Plutoís rape of Proserpine should have enlightened him. The Grim Reaper calls all souls, when ready for the human trial, into the kingdom of "death." The other Egyptian designation for death is notable: "ĎDevourer of Millions of Yearsí is his name." This would indicate the total cycle of incarnations to be of great duration, which indeed all esoteric teaching asserts it to be. And still more significant is another title given him: "His name is either Suti (Sut) or Smam-ur, the Earth-soul." There is no escaping the invincible evidence: to die is to live on earth.
There are not wanting forthright statements from the Egyptians (Page 207) themselves which should prove conclusive as to the point under discussion. Massey himself gives one of them:
"In the inscriptions on the sarcophagus of Seti the earth is used as equivalent to Amenti and opposed to heaven." [The Natural Genesis, I, p. 525.]
Yet he did not see that this inscription was destructive of his own interpretation. He says further:
"Also the sun descending into the underworld is thus addressed: ĎOpen the Earth! traverse the Hades and the Sky! Ra, come to us!"
If now mundane life be found to be the seat of all human experience and human meaning, what must be made of the Biblical adjuration not to lay up treasures on earth? If this life is the scene and theater of destiny, why should it be ignored and scorned?
A part of the answer is that, to be sure, values are not held here in permanency. Obviously they could not be, if the bodies through which they are implemented disappear. But neither are they enjoyed forever in the spiritual existence which the soul has in the interim between lives. But the great and momentous question then arises: if they abide in perpetuity neither on earth nor in heaven, where are they preserved? The answer is: in the inner spiritual entity of the man wherever he goes; it is his permanent possession and he takes it with him always. It is his, whether in or out of the body, as St. Paul says. But - and this is the item of final import for man - though the gains of evolving life are not held on earth in perpetuity, it is on earth that they are won! And this knowledge is the sum and substance of philosophy. The soul comes to earth to win its pearl of great price in the depths of what is called the great sea of mortal life.
The scholarís thesis that religious texts were written for the benefit of the dead is the dire result of the complete reversal of the meaning of ancient typology. All the offices of poetry vindicate the claim that imagery uses the less real to depict the more real; a natural process to depict a spiritual one; a fairy tale to portray the deepest living realities. But a perverted theology used the real to depict the unreal. As to the mummy, current misconception holds that its preservation was to suggest an absolutely unreal future for the defunct body that could have no future and for the soul that as certainly could not return to it. On (Page 208) the contrary, the symbolism centering about the mummy, an entirely insignificant and unreal thing, was an elaborate device to impress on living humanity the far more real experience of the immortal self interred in the coffin of the fleshly body, but immortalized there.
The Books of the Dead should be pondered by the Western world with a new intensity. For with the new canon of interpretation laid down in the present work to guide our thinking, the title will yield a stunning realization of the catastrophic blunder of sixteen centuries of theological blindness. And flashing through awakened intelligence will dawn that benign understanding that religious scripts were meant for human guidance through this benighted land of the dead, the only Amenta, Sheol, Hades, Tophet or underworld ever contemplated by the original framers of the grand mythos. And not the less impressive will be that philosophical recognition, at last as at first, that man is himself the mummy, "dead" on earth, but preserved to immortality by the injection of the Amrit or Soma juice of the Christ nature. (Page 209)
DISMEMBERMENT AND DISFIGUREMENT
The answer to the riddle of the generally feeble pulse of religion in the modern age has been compounded out of the material adduced in the preceding chapters. But there are many distinct doctrinal items the corruption of the significance of which is a strong ancillary cause of the reduced power of ancient faith, and one of these can now be enunciated. In the light of extended exposition we shall be able to see why it was that the godsí descent into our realm, heralded by angel hosts as the event of supreme omen thus far in the history of the globe, has failed to bring to every mortal the climactic joy it was designed to release. It will be seen why the celestial tidings proclaimed of old to bring an era of peace and goodwill to all men have stirred us so faintly. A false theology has stepped in between the supernal messengers and the minds of the sons of earth to dull the thrill of the "good news." On the day of the Advent heavenís arches rang with the proclamation of peace and amity among men on the basis of the fact that a fragment of divinity had been lodged in the holy of holies of the temple of each human body. Emanuel had come to dwell with man. But the exuberant joyousness of all mortal hearts over the event has been clogged. No longer the substance but only the shadow of the truth remains to kindle Yuletide ecstasy. The allegory of the birth in the stable or cave was devised to keep mankind in exultant memory of its divinity. Alas! It speaks no more of our divinity. It extols the godly nature of but one. The paeans of sacred hilarity that are raised for the birth of our Savior are appropriate and efficacious only as that Savior stands as symbol of the glorious birth within ourselves. Long ago Angelus Silesius, a Christian mystic, admonished Christendom: (Page 210)
"Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
But not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn;
The cross on Golgotha thou lookest to in vain
Unless within thyself it be set up again."
If the birth of the god in each individual heart is not the interior meaning of the Nativity, then we celebrate the event to no purpose. No amount of adoration accorded to a newborn king in Judea will avail to redeem a single wayward heart if the Christ Child is not eventually domiciled in the breast of the individual. The King of Righteousness must be cradled in the manger of each human self ere the myth can work its magic in the world.
This miscarriage of the vital significance of the event has come about entirely through the desuetude of the doctrine that may be denominated by the Greeksí philosophical term, the godís dismemberment. The reconstruction of pristine wisdom can not be encompassed without the rehabilitation of this great doctrine. Sunk entirely out of sight, its restoration to its integral office in the body of theology will enable that science to function again with the semblance of its former power.
For the god came to earth not in his entirety, not in his single deific unity, but torn into hosts of fragments, grouped in twelve principal divisions. How could he hope to enter every mortal life, to tabernacle in every breast, if he came as one unit? This is just the mistake that Christian doctrinism made, fatal to humanity at large. It is a matter of simple logic. To be the divine guest in every human life he had to suffer fragmentation into as many portions as there were to be mortal children for him to father, in order that each might possess a share of his nature. This procedure was necessitated by the conditions extant. The terms under which the law of incubation operates require that the forces of life on any plane must take rootage in the soil of the kingdom below, as the sheer seeds of their own capabilities, and fragment their unity by division to accommodate their higher potencies to the lesser capacities of the lower organisms. These could not carry the heavier voltage of life in its unitary volume on the plane above. Man on earth could never implement and incorporate the full power of heaven. The embodiment of superior force in less capacious vehicles is accomplished by the partition of that upper unity into fragments, after the analogy of the oak tree in its annual production of a thousand embryonic units of its potential nature, each of which, when incubated in the mothering womb of the soil below it, is capable of regenerating its dying (Page 211) parent. And so every divine son of God raises his Father from the dead, as did Jesus and Horus. The god in man can not move across the dividing line between the kingdoms, stepping from the divine level down into the human, without suffering a dismantling of his integrity and a partitioning of his "body" into a multitude. He must experience a diminution of his intellectual genius analogous to what a human mind would suffer if it was to be incorporated in the brain of a dog. And Daniel does say this very thing! "An animalís mind shall be given unto him." Only a portion of the godís intellectual light, and that reduced in strength and luminosity, could function in the brain mechanism of animal man. In short, the gods could not transplant their full and mature selfhood into man, but only the seeds of its next cycle of growth. Indeed all projection of deity outward into matter is in embryonic form. Divine thought is sent out to take root in matter, there to have its cycle of new growth. The analogy of the oak and its acorns leaves nothing wanting for understanding of the evolutionary method. And it clarifies for us the incarnation, as being the planting, germinating, budding and flowering in mortal life, of the seed-germ of divinity. Jesus is the embryonic deity, born in the crib or crypt of manís mortal nature.
Clement of Alexandria, describing the sacra of the Mysteries, speaks of those who ignorantly worship "a boy torn to pieces by the Titans." This was Bacchus, in a part of whose Mystery ritual the body of the god was represented as torn into pieces by the Titans and scattered over the earth! It is significant that in the drama the god is cut into pieces while enticed into contemplating his image in a mirror. Greek philosophy spoke of the soulís projecting a similitude of herself into matter. She was to reproduce a likeness of herself in flesh, for the lower must be formed in the image of the higher. Man is to reproduce, as the acorn the oak, the image of his maker. This detail is an intimation that it was the godís inclination toward a life of sense, depicted by his bending down (Cf. the fable of Narcissus) to gaze delightedly at his reflection in the water of generation, that preceded his fall and divulsion into fragments. Jupiter, hurling his thunderbolts at the Titans, the forces of elementary nature, committed the members of Bacchus to Apollo, the Sun-god, that he might properly inter them. The godís heart, which had been snatched away by Pallas (the higher mind) during the laceration, and preserved for a new generation, emerges, (Page 212) and about it as a nucleus the scattered members are reassembled, and he is restored to his pristine integrity!
Turning to Egypt there is found an exactly parallel mythos, which has the god Osiris in place of the Greek Dionysus. Says Budge:
"Throughout the Egyptian texts it is assumed that the god suffered death and mutilation at the hands of his enemies; that various members of his body were scattered about the land of Egypt; that his sister-wife Isis Ďsought him sorrowingí and at length found him; that she fanned him with her wings and gave him air; that she raised up his body and was reunited with him; that she conceived and brought forth a child (Horus); and that he (Osiris) became the god and king of the underworld. In the legend of Osiris as given by Plutarch (De Iside et Osiride) it is said that he was murdered at the instigation of Typhon or Set, who tore the body into fourteen pieces, which he scattered throughout the land; Isis collected these pieces. . . ." [Introduction to the Book of the Dead, p. lxxx. ]
It is hard to think that this legend or glyph of our evolutionary history has stood in the books for five thousand years and failed eventually to illuminate the raceís understanding of its own cosmic situation.
Osiris was not the only sun-deity whose body suffered dismemberment in the Egyptian pantheon, for Ptah, an earlier god, shared the same mythic fate. Under his name of Ptah-Sekari he underwent fragmentation as did Osiris. For "Sekari is the title of the suffering Ptah, and sekar means to cut; cut in pieces; sacrifice; or, as we have the word in English, to score or scarify." [Massey: The Natural Genesis, I, p. 108 ff. ]Ptah was said to be the earliest form of God the Father, who became a voluntary sacrifice in "Egypt," and who, in the name of Sekari, was the silent sufferer, the coffined one, the deity that opened the nether world for the Manes. As a solar god he went down into Amenta. There he died and rose again. Atum, son of Ptah, also became the voluntary sacrifice as the source of life to mortals. As the "silent Sekari" Ptah was an earlier type of the figure of Jesus, who was as a lamb dumb before his shearers, and opened not his mouth against his accusers. The title of Sekari is in fact added to Osiris, as well as to Ptah, and as Osiris-Sekari he is the dismembered and mutilated mummy in his coffin. The Speaker in the Ritual cries: "The darkness in which Sekari dwells is terrifying to the weak." The Egyptian festival of the resurrection, celebrated every year in the (Page 213) month Choiak (Nov. 27 to Dec. 26, Alexandrian year) was devoted to the god Osiris-Ptah-Sekari, "who had been dead and was alive again; cut to pieces and reconstituted with his vertebrae sound and not a bone of his body found to be broken or missing." (Cf. the Gospels: "And they brake all his bones." This was the form of the dismemberment, to be followed by the reconstitution.)
That which applied to the Osiris-god also applied to "the dead in Osiris." (Cf. the Gospels: "Dead in Christ.") "They were figuratively cut in pieces as the tangible image of abstract death." [ Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 154. ]"When the mortal entered Amenta it was in the likeness of Osiris, who had been bodily dismembered in his death, and who had to be reconstituted to rise again as the spirit that never died." [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 479. ]It is certain that the Manes was considered to have suffered dismemberment like his ensampler Osiris, because it is written that before the mortal Manes could attain the ultimate state of spirit in the image of Horus the immortal, he must be put together part by part like Osiris, the dismembered god. From a divided being he had to be made whole again as Neb-er-ter, "the god entire." In one phase of the drama the deceased is put together bone by bone after the model of the backbone of Osiris. The backbone was an emblem of sustaining power, matching indeed the Tat cross of stability. In the Ritual (Ch. 102) Horus says: "I have come myself and delivered the god in his dismembered condition. I have healed the trunk and fastened the shoulder and made firm the leg." Horus, entering the lower world to seek and to save that which is lost in the obscurity of matter, says (Ch. 78): "I advance whithersoever there lieth a wreck in the field of eternity." On their drop into matter, the first episode in the godsí mutilation was the loss of their intellectual unity, typified by the figurative cutting off of their heads. "And the god Horus shall cut off their heads in heaven where they are) in the form of feathered fowl, and their hind parts shall be on the earth in the form of animals. . . ." It is even directly stated that "Ra mutilates his own person" for the benefit of mortals. Thoth later came and healed the mutilations. As Thoth was the god of knowledge, it can be seen on what plane of comprehension the mutilation and healing are to be given meaning. The dismemberment was only the division of unified intellect into partial vision. The reconstitution of the torn divinity is referred to in the address to Teta, the "dead" king on earth: "Hail, hail! Rise up, thou Teta! Thou hast received thy head, (Page 214) thou hast embraced thy bones, thou hast gathered together thy flesh."
In far India the Lord of Creation, Prajapati, was represented as having undergone dismemberment. Likewise Sarasvati. There is no question as to the wide prevalence of the symbol.
Nothing is more shattering to our modern sense of superiority and condescension with regard to early nations believed to have been "primitive" and ignorant, than to find in their literary relics the outlines of some of the grandest conceptions of Platonic or other high philosophic theory. In a Mexican legend we come upon the idea of the godís dismemberment in a striking form. A story portrayed the union of physical man with a higher spirit under the imagery of mixing a bone with blood. The tale runs to the effect that the Great Mother of the gods instructs them, in the creation of man, to go down to Mistlanteuctli, the Lord of Hades, and beg him to give them a bone or some ashes of the dead, who are with him. These would represent the lower natural body. Having received this, they were told to sacrifice over it, sprinkling the blood from their own bodies upon it. This would typify the impartation of their own divine natures to the mortals. After consultation they dispatched one of their number, Xolotl, down to Hades. He succeeded in procuring a bone six feet long (a certain identification with the human body) from Mistlanteuctli and started off with it at full speed. Wroth at this, the infernal chief gave chase, causing Xolotl a hasty fall, in which the bone was broken in pieces. The messenger gathered up in all haste what he could, and despite the stumble made his escape. Reaching the earth he put the fragments of bone into a basin and all the gods drew blood from their bodies and sprinkled it into the vessel. On the fourth day there was a movement among the wetted bones and a boy lay there before all, and in four days more of bloodletting and sprinkling, a girl came to life. If the Bible student is inclined to disdain this myth as profitless, let him turn to Ezekiel (37) and reflect on what he finds there. For the Biblical fable of the valley of dry bones contains five or six distinct points of identity with this legend: the operation of the gods upon the lifeless bones, a noise, a stirring and movement among the bones, a coming together and eventual constitution of them into living bodies, with flesh and sinew, and their creation as humans, male and female, as in Genesis.
The early Egyptians laconically dramatized the doctrine (Page 215) of dismemberment, but the intellectual Greeks wrote elaborate disquisitions upon its import. It is set forth by the Platonists with dialectical precision. The doctrine grows out of the very laws of thought. It is no whimsical speculative fancy. It rests on a logical necessity. For if life is to proceed from primal unity to manifest multiplicity and diversity, there is no way for the One to multiply itself save by an initial division of itself. Life proceeds from oneness and identity of nature into number and differentiation, and the structure of thought requires that multiformity arise from unity by partition of that unity. The One must break himself into pieces, tear himself apart, and this is the meaning of the mutilations and exsections of the gods. The One must give himself to division. And with division comes addition of forms, multiplication of units and combinations, but subtraction of deific power in the divided parts.
Each wave of creative impulse quivered outward from the central heart of being and, like falling water, body-blood and tree-sap, was fragmented by the resistance of matter. From plane to plane the dispersion continued. Wholes were broken into parts, which as wholes on their own plane went into further partition to plant the field of the next lower level. With his own inseparable being torn into multiple division, and each part an integral unit of the total, his life is seminally distributed in each. He lives in the parts and the parts live in him. The fragments are the cells of his body. "We are the members of one body, and Christ is the head." So Greek philosophy states that "each superior divinity becomes the leader of a multitude, generated from himself." And at last there is the basis for comprehensible sense in the phrase "the Lord of Hosts." Each deity is the lord of a host, who are the fragmented children of his own body.
Each unit of division, when incubated in the lower realm, begins to renew its fatherís life. It must arise and return unto the fatherís estate. The son must restore the parent who has died in him to his former greatness, with something added. He must raise that which has fallen and redeem that which has been lost. No one shall see the father save him to whom the son revealeth him. This was the typical function of Horus in relation to Osiris in Egypt, as it was that of Jesus to God his Father in the Gospels.
Buried within the heart of each fragment, then, is the hidden lord of divine life, and from no one is he absent. He dwells there to be the (Page 216) guide, the guardian, the comforter and informing intelligence of the organism. He is the holy spirit, the flame, the ray, the lamp unto our feet. Says St. Paul (I Cor. 4:7): "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts . . . but we have this treasure in earthen vessels." The ancients oft termed this presence the daemon or guardian angel, as in the famous case of Socrates. He is that attendant monitor who stands behind the scenes of the outer life, instant to bless, ready to save, a never-failing help in trouble. His counsel is never lacking, if one seeks it or has not previously stilled its small voice. It reasons with us until many times seven. It abides within our inner shrine, patiently awaiting the hour of our discovery and recognition of its presence.
We must take time to hear the voice of Greek wisdom anent the dismemberment:
"In the first place, then, we are made up from fragments (says Olympiodorus), because, through falling into generation, our life has proceeded into the most distant and extreme division; and from Titanic fragments, because the Titans are the ultimate artificers of things, and stand immediately next to whatever is constituted from them. But furthermore, our irrational life is Titanic, by which the rational and higher life is torn to pieces. Hence when we disperse the Dionysus, or intuitive intellect contained in the secret recesses of our nature, breaking in pieces the kindred and divine form of our essence, and which communicates, as it were, both with things subordinate and supreme, then we become the Titans (or apostates); but when we establish ourselves in union with this Dionysiacal or kindred form, then we become Bacchuses, or perfect guardians and keepers of our irrational life; for Dionysus, whom in this respect we resemble, is himself an ephorus or guardian deity; dissolving at his pleasure the bonds by which the soul is united to the body, since he is the cause of a parted life. But it is necessary that the passive or feminine nature of our irrational part, through which we are bound to body, and which is nothing more than the resounding echo, as it were, of soul, should suffer the punishment incurred by descent; for when the soul casts aside the (divine) peculiarity of her nature, she requires her own, but at the same time, a multiform body, that she may again become in need of a common form, which she has lost through Titanic dispersion in matter." [Taylor: Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 134. ]
"Now we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done (Page 217) away." Had we held our culture closer to the heart of Greek philosophy we should have seen the whole of things more clearly. We are the Titans who tore the divine philosophical fire away from the central altar in the empyrean and scattered it like sparks amongst the race of mortals. And these Titans, or Satanic hosts, were those apostates who compounded the felony of stealing divine fire by further carrying its dispersion into remote depths of matter. Yet they were the agents of deity to bring salvation, or the purifying, cleansing fire, to man on earth. They distributed the divine life in fragments among mortals, administering the cosmic Eucharist of the broken body and shed blood of the gods for a benison to all humanity. The divine intellectual power, the mind of the god, was divided amongst us, not, however, with the loss of the total unity of the godhead on his own plane. Only his lower fragments in body felt their reduction to poverty. Says Taylor:
And thus much for the mysteries of Bacchus, which, as well as those of Ceres, relate in one part to the descent of a partial intellect into matter, and its condition while united with the dark tenement of body; but there appears to be this difference between the two, that in the fable of Ceres and Proserpina, the descent of the whole rational soul is considered; and in that of Bacchus the scattering and going forth of that supreme part alone of our nature which we properly characterize by the appellation of intellect." [Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, p. 152. ]
In Proclusí Hymn to Minerva we have a spirited statement of the unified god-mind, Bacchus, fragmented:
"The Titans fell against his life conspired;
And with relentless rage and thirst for gore,
Their hands his members into fragments tore."
Olympiodorus unfolds the dialectical thesis in three propositions: (1). It is necessary that soul place a likeness of herself in body. (2). It is essential that she should sympathize with this image of herself, as it tends to seek integration with its parent. (3). "Being situated in a divided nature, it is necessary that she should be torn to pieces and fall into a last separation," after which she shall free herself from the simulacrum and rise again to unity. The gods impart their divided essence to mortals and then the fragments seek to rejoin their parents and be united again with them in nature. Bacchus pursued his image, (Page 218) formed in the mirror of matter, and thus was carried downward and scattered into fragments. But Apollo collected the fragments and restored them to union in the heavens.
If the Bible student judges all this to be foreign to his interpretation of his Book of Wisdom, let him consult the nineteenth chapter of Judges, and read the story of the rape and destruction of the concubine of a man whose name is not given, but described as "a Levite . . . in the remote highlands of Ephraim," which would seem to identify him with some higher spiritual principle. The concubine, who left for her fatherís house in a fit of rage, would perhaps correspond to Proserpina, the detached incarnating soul. The man sought her, and after long dallying with her reluctant father, started home with her, "from Bethlehem to the remote highlands of Ephraim." At Gibeah, among the Banjaminites, they lodged over night, and there the unruly citizens, "certain sons of Belial" (our lower propensities) attacked the house, forcing the man finally to send out his hostís virgin daughter and his own concubine to be ravished by the crowd. In the morning he lifted the concubineís body on his ass and took her home. Here "he took a knife and cut up the concubineís body, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, which he sent all over the country of Israel, telling his messengers to ask all the inhabitants, ĎWas ever such a crime committed since the Israelites left Egypt?í" Twelve baskets of fragments in the New Testament miracle; twelve legions of angels ready to come to Jesusí assistance in the garden of Gethsemane; twelve stones set in the midst of the Jordan when Joshua led the Israelites from Amenta into the Promised Land; twelve fragments of the soulís dismembered life in the story in Judges! If the literalist insists that Judges is talking about a concubine in the flesh, and not a principle of divided intellect in Greek philosophy, the all-sufficient answer is that he thus keeps the incidents of his Book on a level where they mean nothing and hold no instruction or appeal for the mind of man. And the proof of this is that on the level on which he keeps them nobody pays any attention to them. Only through Greek philosophy can we lift such neglected allegories to a height of impressive significance.
In the "miracle" of the Lordís feeding the five thousand with the loaves and fishes in the Gospel narrative we have a repetition of the dramatization of the Eucharistic rite minus only the accompanying statement from the Christ himself that the loaves were his own body, (Page 219) broken for the multitude of humans. We have set the stage certainly however, for the first full and clear comprehension of the meaning of the disciplesí "gathering up" (the Egyptian reconstitution) twelve baskets of fragments. In multiplying the bread, he dramatized the doctrine of the dismemberment, which was in twelve main sections or groups.
But Christian intelligence is not aware that in the very heart of its own chief rite of formalism this great doctrine lives in unsuspected completeness. St. Paul makes a specific announcement of it in I Corinthians (11:23):
"I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself, namely, that on the night he was betrayed the Lord Jesus took a loaf, and after thanking God he broke it, saying, ĎThis means my body broken for you; do this in memory of me."
Here is the fragmentation of the god announced at the heart of the Christian Eucharist! The body of the Messiah broken for us! The main symbol in all Christian ritual is the breaking of a piece of bread into fragments and distributing them out among the communicants! And all theological acumen has missed the relation of this to Greek Platonism just because the recital was not explicit enough to state that the Lordís body was broken into pieces.
Scholars have long quarreled over the word translated "broken," and will do so again, doubtless more violently than before, when the attempt is made to relate its meaning to the Greek doctrine of dismemberment here suggested. But the quarrel is gratuitous. There may be dispute about the word, but there can be no dispute about the act of breaking the bread, which dramatizes the meaning. For Jesus dismembered the bread as the indisputable outward symbol of the cosmic truth of his fragmented body of spirit; and to avoid the use of the participle "broken" in the verse would be a faithless betrayal of the obvious meaning of the text. Here then is Greek esoteric philosophy functioning on the innermost altar of the Christian faith!
The entire temple of Christian theology would be beautified and strengthened if this cardinal doctrine could once more be adequately envisaged and included in living presentation. But, the true meaning lost, and the spiritual signification deeply buried under the outer debris of the myths, the Church has nothing more sublime to offer (Page 220) its devotees than the picture of a physical body suffering alleged laceration on a wooden cross! Such a body could not rise and be reconstituted. But the unit body of deific virtue, distributed out into myriad earthly vessels of human life, broken thus and buried piecemeal in the soil of mortal flesh, could be reassembled and reunited in the increasing brotherhood of humanity. There is no truth in ancient scripture outside of a spiritual rendering of the material. As soon as the Church returns to the true original meaning of the "broken body of our Lord," it may take up again its prime function as nourisher of the souls of men.
Incarnation brought dismemberment; but this was not the only form of diminished power and beauty incurred in the process. The god also suffered many kinds of disfigurement. Dead and buried in matter, he was typed under a variety of figures representing his suffering and deformity. The depictions included those of a decrepit old man, a wizened babe (the mummy-Christ), a maimed, crippled, wounded, dumb, deformed, disfigured, demoniac, deaf, naked and ugly little child! He was bereft in every particular. Several of the early Church Fathers, misled by the change from drama to alleged history, actually described the person of Jesus as not comely and radiant, but ugly and deformed! This is but one of the many absurdities that came to light when allegorism was converted over into realism. Some of the disfigurement material from the Scriptures must be presented here briefly:
"In the Egyptian mysteries, all who enter the nether world as Manes to rise again as spirits, are blind and deaf and dumb and maimed and impotent because they are the dead. Their condition is typified by that of the mortal Horus who is portrayed as blind and maimed, deaf and dumb, in An-ar-ef, the abode of occultation, the house of obscurity . . . where all the citizens were deaf and dumb, maimed and blind, awaiting the cure that only came with the divine healer, who is Horus of the resurrection in the Ritual, or Khnum, the caster out of demons, or Iu-em-hetep, the healer, or Jesus in the Gospels, gnostic or agnostic. This restoring of sight to the blind man, or the two blind men, was one of the mysteries of Amenta that is reproduced amongst the miracles in the canonical Gospels." [Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 814. ]
When Horus, the deliverer, descends into Amenta he is hailed as the Prince in the City of the Blind; that is, of the dead who are sleeping (Page 221) in their prison cells. He comes to shine into their sepulchers and to restore spiritual sight to the blind on earth. Horus is designated "he who dissipates the darkness and gives eyes to the gods in obscurity." [ Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 815. ]
"The typical blind man in Amenta is Horus in the gloom of his sightless condition, as the human soul obscured in matter, or groping in the darkness of the grave. Sut has deprived him of his faculties. This is Horus An-ar-ef in the city of the blind."
What becomes of the Gospel healings and miraculous cures in the light of this antecedent material in the Egyptian scripts? It is a question momentous for the future of orthodoxy. There seems to be but one answer open to sincerity: the New Testament "miracles" are the reproductions of ancient Egyptian religious dramatizations in the Mysteries, and not actual occurrences.
Horus, prince in the city of blindness, as his father was king in the realm of the dead, comes to reconstitute his father whole and entire, and to give lost sight to all those dead as and in Osiris. The Manes were all blind, and the god had to work a magical operation on them to restore their sight. We have the Gospels dramatizing the godís opening up of intellectual faculty when at the typical age of twelve years he makes his transformation into the adult. The Egyptian emblem of the hawkís head given him at that epoch betokens his restored sight. His eye, stolen from him by Sut, is then restored. Under the astrological sign of Orion Horus was typed as the god of the night or dark, the blind god who received sight at dawn. He describes himself as the mortal born blind and dumb in An-ar-ef, the abode of occultation, but who in regaining his own sight will likewise open the eyes of the prisoners in their cells. The circle of the gods rejoices at seeing Horus take his fatherís throne and scepter and rule over the earth, replacing blindness with spiritual sight.
A most suggestive portrayal of this condition was hinted at in a calendar published in 1878 at Alexandria, in which there is recited a tradition that on December 19 "serpents become blind," and that on March 24 they "open their eyes." (A. Nourse, p. 24). As the serpent typed here the divine soul, the imagery is readily grasped. One must connect the story with the yearly astrology to see its full appropriateness. We read that three months of the year were assigned to the blind serpent or dragon in the abyss. The three months, as elsewhere three (Page 222) days and the three kingdoms below the human, figured the period of the godís burial in the material worlds. "As Jonas was three days in the whaleís belly, so must the Son of Man be three days in the bowels of the earth."
Jesus after his baptism announces his messianic commission to preach "recovery of sight to the blind," and healing to them that are bruised. And St. Paul writes that we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, "who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation." Of Jesus it is written that "to many blind he gave sight," not physical but spiritual.
The story of Samson, the luni-solar hero, does not omit the feature of loss of sight, when, as the god in incarnation, he is shorn of his power and bound helpless. He is eyeless in Gaza, pitiful and forlorn, like "the blind Orion hungering for the morn"--the return of the lost light. The Hebrews have a Talmudic tradition that Samson was lame in both his feet, which was also the status of the child-Horus, who was pictured as maimed and halt in his lower members, the crippled deity, as he is called by Plutarch.
Isaiahís chapter (61) in which the Manes announces that the Lord has sent him to bind up the brokenhearted and to open blind eyes, has been noted. But Isaiah has a far more touching portraiture of the suffering servant in reference to his disfigurement in chapter 53:
"His visage was so marred, more than any man,
and his form more than the sons of men.
Disfigured till he seemed a man no more,
Deformed out of the semblance of a man."
Horus bewails the loss of his eye to Sut who has pierced it, or stolen it. He cries: "I am Horus. I come to search for mine eyes." In the spring Sut restores the godís sight.
The mouse, the mole and the shrewmouse were all employed as symbols of the soul shut up in darkness, in the crypt of the body. Yet only by such burrowing in the dark underworld could the soul be transformed into a new and higher stage of life.
Harpocrates, the Greek-Egyptian god of healing, is traceable to the Egyptian Har-p-khart, who as a crippled deity was said to be begotten in the dark. The term "khart" signifies a deformed child, and includes also the idea of speechless. It should not be overlooked that our own (Page 223) word "infant," from the Latin, means "speechless!" Har(Horus) -p(the) -khart(speechless child) was the character depicting the god just born into matter, and not yet able to manifest or utter "the Word made Truth." One of the supreme features of Horusí mission was to open dumb mouths, or to give mouths to the dumb. This was to cause their lives to express the words of power and truth. Isaiah sings that "the dumb are to break forth into singing and the lame to leap for joy." Jesus was silent when accused. This is all to typify the infant god in the flesh, who has not yet learned to articulate the living reality of spiritual truth. As the human infant is speechless for an initial period of some two years, so the god is silent in the expression of his divine nature for a corresponding period at the beginning of his incarnate nature for a corresponding period at the beginning of his incarnate sojourn. At the judgment trial vindication for the Manes was assured if he could assert that he had given bread to the hungry, speech to the speechless, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked and a boat to him that had suffered shipwreck on the Nile - of life.
A further anthropological reference of great importance is suggested by the typology of the dawn of speech, in that it carries an allusion to the opening up of the faculty of speech by the race with the coming of the gods. Psychology reveals that speech was necessary for the development of thought. But it is just as rational to say that the power to think made speech possible.
Deprivation of breath was another form of typology for "the dead." And with breathing stopped, there was also the motionless heart. The Osiris says:
"I am motionless in the fields of those who are dumb in death. But I shall wake, and my soul shall speak in the dwelling of Tum, the Lord of Annu."
For it was in Beth-Annu (Bethany) in Egypt, the place of weeping, that Osiris lay in his coffin inert and motionless. Hence Osiris is portrayed in the likeness of the mummy called "the breathless one"; also "the god with the non-beating heart." Mummification set the seal of indestructability on the soul. The god in his advent announces:
"I utter Raís words to the men of the present generation, and I repeat his words to him who is deprived of breath"--the Manes in Amenta. (Rit., Ch. 36). (Page 224) Multitudes of crippled people followed Jesus into the mountains and cast themselves at his feet to be healed. "And he healed them; inasmuch that the multitude wondered when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking and the blind seeing." (Matt. 15:29 ff.).
A festival known as the Hakera was celebrated in Egypt. The name means "fasting" and the festival terminated the fasting with a feast. It was for the benefit of those who had been deprived of breath, who were dumb and blind, motionless and inert - in short, the deceased lying helpless like "wrecks" in the fields of Amenta.
Upon the Gnostic monuments in the Roman catacombs Jesus is portrayed in one of his two characters, matching Horus, as the little, old and ugly Jesus; in the other he corresponds to Horus of the beautiful face. The first is the suffering infant Messiah, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the despised and afflicted one. As Jesus in this character was never more than twelve years of age, "Old Child was his name." In the Pistis Sophia Jesus is again pictured in his two characters, the first being that of the puny child, the mortal Horus, born of the virgin mother (nature) as her blind and deaf, her dumb and impubescent child. It was the human Horus again who was pierced and tortured by Sut in death until the day of his triumph, when he rose to become king and conqueror in his turn. We are by this exposition permitted to see the mythical character of Job, the assailed one, subjected to the assaults of Sut (Satan). Practically all the central figures of the Old Testament enact the role of the Manes, the soul of buried deity.
In the Orphic Tablets the dead person is thus addressed: "Hail, thou who hast endured the suffering, such as thou hadst never suffered before; thou hast become god from man!" One portion of the Mystery ritual recited the sufferings of Psyche in the underworld of Pluto and her rescue by Eros, as described by Apuleius (The Golden Ass), in the cult of Isis. "Almost always," says Dr. Cheetham, speaking of the Mysteries, "the suffering of a god--suffering followed by triumph--seems to have been the subject of the sacred drama." [Quoted by Edward Carpenter: Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 239. ]The minds of the neophytes were prepared for the glorious breaking of the light by the preliminary ordeal of darkness, fatigue and terrors, typical of this earth life. Carpenter [ Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 28 (note). ]compares with the wounding of the side of Jesus an Aztec ceremonial of lighting a holy fire and communicating (Page 225) it to the multitude from the wounded breast of a human victim, celebrated every fifty-two years, when the constellation of the Pleiades is at the zenith. (Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, Bk. I, Ch. 4).
In the Ritual the Manes cries: "Decree this, O Atum, that if I see thy face, I shall not be pained by the signs of thy sufferings." In Luke (24:26) it is asked: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and enter into his glory?" And John declares that in the world we shall have tribulation.
Budge describes a form of the suffering Messiah:
"Thus the great god Ra, when bitten by the adder which Isis made, suffered violent pains in his body, and the sweat of agony rolled down his face, and he would have died if Isis had not treated him after he revealed to her his hidden name." [Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, I, p. 352. ]
The serpent formed by the goddess is the lower nature which is made to sting the life of the god into a coma upon his incarnation. A prayer in the Ritual pleads that the divine beings do away with the sorrow of the Osiris-Nu, his sufferings and his pains, and that his ills be removed. Massey draws a composite picture of the god beset with material limitation:
"This was the Horus of the incarnation, the god made flesh in the imperfect human form, the type of voluntary sacrifice, the image of suffering; being an innocent little child, maimed in his lower members, marred in his visage, lame and blind and dumb and altogether imperfect." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 525. ]
But the most appealing portrayal of this phase of the Christ experience, save that of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the picture of the "suffering servant" in Isaiah (Ch. 53). It is so striking that we must make space for it, in the beautiful language of the Moffatt translation: (Page 226)
"He was despised
and shunned by men, A man of pain who knew what sickness was;
like one from whom men turn with shuddering, he was despised, we took no heed of him.
And yet ours was the pain he bore, the sorrow he endured!
We thought him suffering from a stroke at Godís own hand;
yet he was wounded because we had sinned; Ďtwas our misdeeds that crushed him;
Ďtwas for our welfare that he was chastised; the blows that fell to him have brought us healing.
And the Eternal laid on him the guilt of all of us.
He was ill-treated, yet he bore it humbly, he never would complain;
Dumb as a sheep led to the slaughter, dumb as a ewe before the shearers.
They did away with him unjustly; and who heeded how he fell,
torn from the land of the living, struck down for sins of ours?
They laid him in a felonís grave, and buried him with criminals,
though he was guilty of no violence nor had he uttered a false word.
he shall succeed triumphantly, since he has shed his lifeblood,
and let himself be numbered among rebels,
bearing the great worldís sins and interposing for rebellious men."
This is a graphic depiction of the nature and office of the Christos, and written long before the appearance of any historical Jesus! The Gospel "life" of Jesus, Isaiahís account of the suffering servant, the chronicle of Jobís afflictions, the pre-Christian Gnostic story of the suffering Christ-Aeon and the description of the pierced, wounded, crucified Horus of antique Egyptian records, match each other with unmistakable fidelity.
The diminished glory of descending Godhood is also portrayed under the figure of disrobing. As the soul descends from one plane to another she is represented as being divested of one of her robes of glory at each step. The student of esotericism will see at once the meaning of this. Each plane clothes the soul with a body of its proper matter, pneumatikon, psychikon, physikon, or spiritual, psychic, physical. (Page 227) As the soul steps down the grades of being she takes on a coarser body, which is equivalent to her losing a more ethereal one, at each landing. And the incubus of each heavier one yields her a less and less vivid contact with reality. At last she descends virtually disrobed into the prison and tomb of the gross body.
In the Ritual (Ch. 71) we are told that in his incarnation Horus, or Iu, the Su, (Iusu, Jesu, or Jesus) "disrobes himself" to "reveal himself" when he "presents himself to the earth." The Babylonian goddess Ishtar is said to have made her descent through seven gates, at each of which she was stripped of one of her robes of glory. [ Talbot: The Legends of Ishtar; Records of the Past (Vol. I).]Massey gives us an important point in Comparative Religion in the following:
"The mutilation of Osiris in his coffin, the stripping of his corpse and tearing it asunder by Sut, who scattered it piecemeal, is represented by the stripping of the dead body of Jesus whilst it still hung on the cross, and parting his garments among the spoilers. ĎFor they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe.í" [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 877. ]
The god sinking into earthly embodiment is stripped of his finer robes and covered with the scarlet, red-blooded body of flesh!
In the Ritual (Ch. 172) the text runs:
"Thou puttest on the pure garment and thou divistest thyself of the apron when thou stretchest thyself upon the funeral bed. Thou receivest a bandage of the finest linen."
Which is to say, that on the return, the coarse bodies are thrown off and the robes of radiant light resumed. And what more apt symbol of the fleshly body than an apron? It is a garment put on to fend off the grime of earth, to hang between the purity of spirit and the smudginess of matter!
It is of the utmost significance that in the Genesis account it is twice said that Adam and Eve knew they were naked, and that they felt no shame the first time, but were overcome with shame after their fall into nakedness. The sense is that their first nakedness came while they were still in the "garden," the celestial paradise, and probably intimates their freedom from coarse garments of the lower natures. Their later nakedness came when they had been spiritually stripped, though clothed with coats of skin, or fleshly vestures. The "shame" arose from the godís recognition of his having fallen into a state of comparative (Page 228) degradation in which he would have to resort to sexual methods of procreation, when hitherto his life had been renewed by the sheer force of divine will, called kriyashakti in the East. Paul speaks of this body of our shame, as do Plotinus and the Neo-Platonists generally. It is the main basis of the widespread ascetic inclination in history. And the Jesus of the Pistis Sophia tells Salome that his kingdom shall come when "thou hast trampled under foot the garment of shame" and restored the soul, split into male and female segments here on earth, to its pristine whole, or androgyne condition.
In the Ritual the judgment is designated as that of the clothed and naked. If the Manes appeared naked before the judges, it meant that he had not overcome the grossness of his physical nature and robed himself in more radiant spiritual garb. To appear clothed was to have resumed the shining vestments of light. There is comment on this in Revelation (16:15): "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments lest he walk naked and see his shame." The seductions of earth and flesh were strong enough to cause many of the Manes to lose the luster of their inner vestures. Thus disrobed of their finer garments, they presented the evidence of their poor condition to pass the ordeals of the judgment. What further light do we need to interpret Jesusí parable of the man ejected from the marriage feast because he came in without a wedding garment? Massey comments:
"The Manes in the Ritual consist of the clothed and the naked. Those who pass the judgment hall become the clothed. The beatified spirits are invested with the robe of the righteous, the stole of Ra, in the garden." [Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 466. ]
In the resurrection ceremony of Osiris, the god is divested of his funerary garment and receives a bandage of the finest linen from the attendants of Ra (Rit., Ch. 172).
It is notable in this light that in Revelation the angel discerned in flight toward the earth came with outstretched wings "and veiled face." And what Exodus says of Moses has meaning in this connection (Ch. 34):
"Whenever he went into the presence of the Eternal to speak to him, he took the veil off, till he came out again; and when he came out and gave the Israelites the orders he had received, the Israelites would notice that the face of Moses was in a glow; whereupon Moses drew the veil over his face again till he went into the presence of the Eternal." (Page 229)
In this symbolic fashion the wise seers of old represented the incarnational going in and out before the Lord, the adventuring of the immortal soul out into body where it put on the veils of matter and flesh, and its retiring again into the holiest shrine of spirit where it dropped its heavier outer bodies and again became "clothed in light as with a garment."
In the Hindu, Egyptian and Greek Mystery rites the ceremony of indicating the soulís pilgrimage round the Cycle of Necessity was performed over what was called the "Snakeís Hole," and the "Inevitable Circle." It was imaged by a coiled snake. A part of the rite was to strip the snake in token of its sloughing, a symbol of the divestiture of the soul to be clothed anew in bright raiment. Proclus states that in the most holy Mysteries the mystae were divested of their garments to receive a new divine nature, or vestment of salvation.
Horus covers the naked body of Osiris with a white robe when he comes to raise the inert one. This act is paralleled in the Hebrew scriptures when Shem and Japheth go in backward to cover the nakedness of their father Noah. The drunkenness of Noah here betokens the swooning which accompanies the descent, as already set forth.
A number of verses in the Bible yield new and impressive evidence if read in the sense here indicated. The "coats of skin" made for Adam and Eve by God would be taken as the outer physical vehicles. The Psalms entreat that "thy priests be clothed with righteousness." Proverbs states that "drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." Isaiah speaks of the joyful ones being clothed with the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. Jesusí declaration that he was naked and "ye clothed me" would be inconsequential if taken as a historical fact. But in II Corinthians (Ch. 5) Paul gives strong confirmation of the higher sense:
"(For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we should be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life)."
"It makes me sigh, indeed, this yearning to be under the cover of my heavenly habitation, since I am sure that once so covered I shall not be Ďnakedí at the hour of death. I do sigh within this tent of mine with heavy anxiety - not that I want to be stripped, no, but to be under cover of the (Page 230) other, to have my mortal element absorbed by life . . . Come what may, then, I am confident; I know that while I reside in the body I am away from the Lord (for I have to lead my life in faith without seeing him); and in this confidence I would fain get away from the body and reside with the Lord."
This is direct and eloquent confirmation of Greek and Egyptian philosophy in the Christian Book. Here is the soul conscious of its alienation from heaven, miserably exiled in the flesh, made poor in spirit, yet striving resolutely to carry the mortal burden up the hill to its summit. Revelation (3:17) has a passage hardly less germane:
"Thou knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; I counsel thee to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that thou may be rich, white raiment to clothe you and prevent the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to rub on your eyes that you may see."
Revelation (19:8) gives a definition of our spiritual clothing, when referring to the soul, the bride: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, dazzling white; (the white linen is the righteousness of saints)." For those who rebel stubbornly against the mythical interpretation of the Bible, let it be noted that here the writer of holy gospel positively states that a physical thing, linen, is a spiritual quality.
And he that rode on the white horse is described as "clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; (his name is called THE LOGOS of God)." And here a Bible personage is merely a figure of an item of Greek philosophy! Will we not be instructed by such things?
It needs but to make the transfer in meaning from material to ethereal or spiritual clothing to discern the depth of practical significance in these allusions. The revelation will be lost only for those who persist in the assumption that Oriental imagery was so much fanciful froth, and not an endeavor to delineate by poetic figure a veridical basis of fact and phenomena. Instead of vaunting ourselves in superiority over presumed primitive crudity, we may have to demonstrate even our own good rating as pupils of sage wisdom when that is presented. The ancients had more to conceal than we yet seem capable of grasping. (Page 231)
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