Adyar Pamphlets. No 109
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Reprinted from Lucifer Volume IV - March 1889
Theosophical Publishing House
Adyar, Madras, India
THEOSOPHISTS are very often, and very unjustly too, accused of infidelity and even of Atheism. This is a grave error, especially with regard to the latter charge.
In a large society, composed of so many races and nationalities, in an association wherein every man and woman is left to believe in whatever he or she likes, and to follow or not to follow — just as they please — the religion they were born and brought up in, there is but little room left for Atheism. As for “infidelity”, it becomes a misnomer and a fallacy. To show how absurd is the charge, in any case, it is sufficient to ask our traducers to point out to us, in the whole civilized world, that person who is not regarded as an “infidel” by some other person belonging to some different creed. Whether one moves in highly respectable and orthodox circles, or in a so-called heterodox “society”, it is all the same. It is a [Page 2] mutual accusation, tacitly, if not openly, expressed; a kind of a mental game at shuttlecock and battledore flung reciprocally, and in polite silence, at each other's heads. In sober reality, then, no theosophist any more than a non-Theosophist can be an infidel; while, on the other hand, there is no human being living who is not an infidel in the opinion of some sectarian or other. As to the charge of Atheism, it is quite another question.
What is Atheism, we ask, first of all? Is it disbelief in and denial of the existence of a God, or Gods, or simply the refusal to accept a personal deity on the somewhat gushy definition of R. Hall, who explains Atheism as “a ferocious system” because, “it leaves nothing above (?) us to excite awe, nor around us to awaken tenderness” (!) If the former, then most of our members — the hosts in India, Burma, and elsewhere — would demur, as they believe in Gods and supernal beings, and are in great awe of some of them. Nor would a number of Western Theosophists fail to confess their full belief in spirits, whether spatial or planetary, ghosts or angels. Many of us accept the existence of high and low Intelligences, and of Beings as great as any “personal” God. This is no occult secret. Most of us believe in the survival of the Spiritual Ego, in Planetary Spirits and Nirmânakâyas, those great Adepts of the past ages, who, renouncing their right to Nirvâna, remain in our spheres of being, not as [Page 3] “spirits” but as complete spiritual human Beings. Save their corporeal, visible envelope, which they leave behind, they remain as they were, in order to help poor humanity, as far as can be done without sinning against Karmic law. This is the “Great Renunciation”, indeed; an incessant, conscious self-sacrifice throughout aeons and ages till that day when the eyes of blind mankind will open and, instead of the few, all will see the universal truth. These Beings, may well be regarded as God and Gods — if they would but allow the fire in our hearts, at the thought of that purest of all sacrifices, to be fanned into the flame of adoration, or the smallest altar in their honour. But they will not. Verily, “the secret heart is fair Devotion's (only) temple”, and any other, in this case, would be no better than profane ostentation.
Now with regard to other invisible Beings, some
of whom are still higher, and others far lower on the scale of divine evolution.
To the latter we will have nothing to say; the former will have nothing to
say to us: for we are as good as non-existent for them. The homogeneous can
take no cognizance of the heterogeneous; and unless we learn to shuffle off
our mortal coil and commune with them “spirit to spirit”, we
can hardly hope to recognize their true nature. Moreover, every true Theosophist
holds that the divine HIGHER SELF of every mortal man is of the same essence
as the essence of these Gods. Being, [Page 4] moreover, endowed with
free-will, hence having, more than they, responsibility, we regard the incarnated
Ego as far superior to, if not more divine than, any spiritual intelligence still
awaiting incarnation. Philosophically, the reason for this is obvious, and
every metaphysician of the Eastern school will understand it. The incarnated
Ego has odds against it which do not exist in the case of a pure divine Essence
unconnected with matter; the latter has no personal merit, whereas the former
is on his way to final perfection through the trials of existence, of pain
The shadow of Karma does not fall upon that which is divine and unalloyed, and so different from us that no relation can exist between the two. As to those deities which are regarded in the Hindû esoteric Pantheon as finite and therefore under the sway of Karma, no true philosopher would ever worship them; they are signs and symbols.
Shall we then be regarded as atheists, only because while believing in Spiritual Hosts — those beings who have to be worshipped in their collectivity as a personal God — we reject them absolutely as representing the One Unknown? and because we affirm that the eternal Principle, the All in All, or the ABSOLUTENESS of the Totality, cannot be expressed by limited words, nor be symbolized by anything with conditioned and qualificative attributes? Shall we, more over, permit to pass without protest the charge [Page 5] against us of idolatry — by the Roman Catholics, of all men? They, whose religion is as pagan as any other of the solar and element worshippers; whose creed was framed out for them, cut and dry, ages before the year 1 of Christian era; and whose dogmas and rites are the same as those of every idolatrous nation — if any such nation still exists in spirit anywhere at this day. Over the whole face of the earth, from the North to the South Pole, from the frozen gulfs of Northland to the torrid plains of Southern India, from Central America to Greece and Chaldea, the Solar Fire, as the symbol of divine Creative Power, of Life and Love, was worshipped. The union of the Sun (male element) with Earth and the Water (matter, the female element) was celebrated in the temples of the whole Universe. If Pagans had a feast commemorative of this union — which they celebrated nine months ere the Winter Solstice, when Isis was said to have conceived — so have the Roman Catholic Christians. The great and holy day of the Annunciation, the day on which the Virgin Mary “found favour with (her) God” and conceived “the Son of the Highest”, is kept by Christians nine months before Christmas. Hence, the worship of the Fire, lights and lamps in the churches. Why? Because Vulcan, the fire-God, married Venus, the daughter of the Sea; that the Magi watched over the sacred fire in the East, and the Virgin-Vestals in the West. The Sun was the “Father”, Nature, the eternal [Page 6] Virgin Mother: Osiris and Isis, Spirit-Matter, the latter worshipped under each of its three states by Pagan and Christian. Hence the Virgins — even in Japan — clothed with star-spangled blue, standing on the lunar crescent, as symbolical of female Nature (in her three elements of Air, Water, Earth); Fire or the male Sun, fecundating her yearly with his radiant beams (the “cloven tongues like as of fire” of the Holy Ghost).
In Kalevala the oldest epic Poem of the Finns, of the pre-Christian antiquity of which there remains no doubt in the minds of scholars, we read of the gods of Finland, the gods of air and water, of fire and the forest, of Heaven and the Earth. In the superb translation by J. M. Crawford, in Rune L (Vol. II) the reader will find the whole legend of the Virgin Mary in
Mariatta, child of beauty,
Virgin-Mother of the Northland........(page 720)
Ukko, the great Spirit, whose abode is in Yûmäla, the sky or Heaven, chooses the Virgin Mariatta as his vehicle to incarnate through her in a Man-God. She becomes pregnant by plucking and eating a red berry (marja), when, repudiated by her parents, she gives birth to a “Son immortal”, in the manger of a stable. Then the “Holy Babe” disappears, and Mariatta is in search of him. She asks a star, “the guiding star of Northland”, where her “holy baby lies hidden”, but the star answers her angrily: [Page 7]
If I knew, I would not tell thee;
'Tis thy child that me created,
In the cold to shine for ever. . . .
and tells the Virgin nothing. Nor will the golden moon help her, because, Mariatta's babe having created her, left her in the great sky:
Here to wander in the darkness,
All alone at eve to wander,
Shining for the good of others. . . .
It is only the “Silver Sun” who, taking pity upon the Virgin-Mother, tells her:
Yonder is thy golden infant,
There thy holy babe lies sleeping,
Hidden to his belt in water,
Hidden in the reeds and rushes.
She takes the holy baby home, and while the mother calls him “Flower”,
Others named him Son of Sorrow.
Is this a post-Christian legend? Not at all; for, as said, it is essentially Pagan in origin and recognized as pre-Christian. Hence, with such data in hand in literature, the ever-recurring taunts of idolatry and atheism, of infidelity and paganism, ought to cease. The term idolatry, moreover, is of Christian origin. It was used by the early Nazarenes, during the two and a half centuries of our era, against those nations who used temples and churches, statues and images, because they, the early Christians themselves, had neither temples, statues, nor images, all of which they abhorred. [Page 8] Therefore the term “idolatrous” fits far better our accusers than ourselves, as this article will show. With Madonnas on every cross road, their thousands of statues, from Christs and Angels in every shape down to Popes and Saints, it is rather a dangerous thing for a Catholic to taunt any Hindu or Buddhist with idolatry. The assertion has now to be proved.
We may begin by the origin of the word God. What is the real and primitive meaning of the term? Its meanings and etymologies are as many as they are various. One of them shows the word derived from an old Persian and mystic term goda. It means “itself”, or something self-emanating from the absolute Principle. The root word was godan — whence Wotan, Woden, and Odin, the Oriental radical having been left almost unaltered by the Germanic races. Thus they made of it gotz, from which the adjective gut — “good”, as also the term gota, or idol, were derived. In ancient Greece, the word Zeus and Theos led to the Latin Deus. This goda, the emanation, is not, and cannot be, identical with that from which it radiates, and is, therefore, but a periodical, finite manifestation. Old Aratus, who wrote “full of Zeus are all the streets and the markets of man; full of Him is the sea and the harbours”, did not limit his deity to such a temporary reflection on our terrestrial [Page 9] plane as Zeus, or even its antetype — Dyaus, but meant, indeed, the universal, omnipresent Principle. Before the radiant god Dyaus (the sky) attracted the notice of man, there was the Vedic Tad (“that”) which, to the Initiate and philosopher, would have no definite name, and which was the absolute Darkness that underlies every manifested radiancy. No more than the mythical Jupiter — the later reflection of Zeus —could Sürya, the Sun, the first manifestation in the world of Mâyâ and the Son of Dyaus, fail to be termed “Father” by the ignorant. Thus the Sun became very soon interchangeable and one with Dyaus; for some, the “Son”, for others, the “Father” in the radiant sky; Dyaus-Pitar, the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father, truly shows, however, his finite origin by having the Earth assigned to him as a wife. It is during the full decadence of metaphysical philosophy that Dyâva-prthivi “Heaven and Earth” began to be represented as the Universal cosmic parents, not alone of men, but of the gods also. From the original conception, abstract and poetical, the ideal cause fell into grossness. Dyaus, the sky, became very soon Dyaus or Heaven, the abode of the “Father”, and finally, indeed, that Father himself. Then the Sun, upon being made the symbol of the latter, received the title of Dina-Kara “day-maker”, of Bhâskara “light-maker”, now the Father of his Son, and vice versa. The reign of ritualism and of anthropomorphic [Page 10] cults was henceforth established and finally degraded the whole world, retaining supremacy to the present civilized age.
Such being the common origin, we have but to contrast the two deities — the god of the Gentiles and the god of the Jews — on their own revealed Word ; and judging them on their respective definitions of themselves, conclude intuitively which is the nearest to the grandest ideal. We quote Colonel Ingersoll, who brings Jehovah and Brahma parallel with each other. The former, “from the clouds and darkness of Sinai”, said to the Jews:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”. Contrast this with the words put by the Hindu into the mouth of Brahm: “I am the same to all mankind. They who honestly serve other gods, involuntarily worship me. I am he who partaketh of all worship, and I am the reward of all worshippers.” Compare these passages. The first, a dungeon where crawl the things begot of jealous slime; the other, great as the domed firmament inlaid with suns. . . .
The “first” is the god who haunted Calvin's fancy, when he added to his doctrine of predestination that of Hell being paved with the skulls of unbaptized infants. The beliefs and dogmas of our churches are far more blasphemous in the ideas they imply than those of the benighted Heathen. The amours of Brahmâ, under the form of a buck, with [Page 11] his own daughter, as a deer, or of Jupiter with Leda, under that of a swan, are grand allegories. They were never given out as a revelation, but known to have been the products of the poetic fancy of Hesiod and other mythologists. Can we say as much of the immaculate daughters of the god of the Roman Catholic Church — Anna and Mary? Yet, even to breathe that the Gospel narratives are allegories too, as they would be most sacrilegious were they accepted in their dead letter, constitutes in a Christian born the acme of blasphemy!
Verily, they may whitewash and mask as much as they like the god of Abraham
and Isaac, they shall never be able to disprove the assertion of Marcion, who
denied that the God of Hate could be the same as the “Father of Jesus”. Heresy
or not, but the “Father in Heaven” of the Churches has remained since
then a hybrid creature; a mixture between the Jove of the Pagan mobs and the
“jealous God” of Moses, exoterically the Sun, whose abode is in
Heaven, or the sky, esoterically.
Does he not give birth to Light “that shineth in Darkness”, to the Day, the bright Dyaus, the Son, and is he not the Most High — Deus Coelum? And is it not again Terra, the “Earth”, the ever immaculate as the ever prolific Virgin who, fecundated by the ardent embraces of her “Lord” — the fructifying rays of the Sun — becomes, in this terrestrial sphere, the mother of all that lives [Page 12] and breathes on her vast bosom? Hence, the sacredness of her products in Ritualism — the bread and the wine. Hence also, the ancient messis, the great sacrifice to the goddess of harvest (Ceres Eleusina, the Earth again): messis, for the Initiates, missa for the profane,[From pro, “before”, and fanum, “the temple”, i.e., the non-initiates who stood before the fane, but dared not enter it. (Vide the Works of Ragon.) ] now transformed into the Christian mass or liturgy. The ancient oblation of the fruits of the Earth to the Sun, the Deus Altissimus, “the Most High”, the symbol of the G. A. O. T. U. of the Masons to this day, became the foundation of the most important ritual among the ceremonies of the new religion. The worship offered to Osiris-Isis (the Sun and the Earth),[The Earth, and the Moon, its parent, are interchangeable. Thus all the lunar goddesses were also the representative symbols of the Earth. — Vide The Secret Doctrine, “Symbolism”. ] to Bel and the cruciform Astarte of the Babylonians; to Odin or Thor and Friga, of the Scandinavians; to Belen and the Virgo Paritura of the Celts; to Apollo and the Magna Mater of the Greeks; all these couples having the same meaning, passed bodily to, and were transformed by, the Christians into the Lord God or the Holy Ghost descending upon the Virgin Mary.
Deus Sol or Solus, the Father, was made interchangeable with the Son: the “Father” in his noon glory, he became the “Son” at Sun-rise, when he was said to “be born”. This idea received its full apotheosis annually on December the 25th, during [Page 13] the Vernal Solstice, when the Sun — hence the solar gods of all the nations — was said to be born. Natalis solis invicte. And the “precursor” of the resurrecting Sun grows, and waxes strong, until the Vernal Equinox, when the god Sol begins its annual course, under the sign of the Ram or the Lamb, the first lunar week of the month. The 1st of March was feasted throughout all pagan Greece, as its neomenia was sacred to Diana. Christian nations celebrate their Easter, for the same reason, on the first Sunday that follows the full moon, at the Vernal Equinox. With the festivals of the Pagans, the canonicals of their priests and Hierophants were copied by Christendom. Will this be denied? In his Life of Constantine Eusebius confesses thus saying, perhaps, the only truth he ever uttered in his life — that “in order to render Christianity more attractive to the Gentiles, the priests (of Christ) adopted the exterior vestments and ornaments used in the pagan cult”. He might have added “their rituals and dogmas” also.
It is a matter of History — however unreliable the latter — for a number of facts preserved by ancient writers corroborate it, that Church Ritualism and Freemasonry have sprung from the same source, and developed hand in hand. But as Masonry, even with its errors and later innovations, was far nearer the [Page 14] truth than the Church, the latter began very soon her persecutions against it. Masonry was, in its origin, simply archaic Gnosticism, or early esoteric Christianity; Church Ritualism was, and is, exoteric paganism, pure and simple — remodelled, we do not say reformed. Read the works of Ragon, a Mason who forgot more than the Masons of today know. Study, collating them together, the casual but numerous statements made by Greek and Latin writers, many of whom were Initiates, most learned Neophytes and partakers of the Mysteries. Read finally the elaborate and venomous slanders of the Church Fathers against the Gnostics, the Mysteries and their Initiates — and you may end by unravelling the truth. It is a few philosophers who, driven by the political events of the day — tracked and persecuted by the fanatical Bishops of early Christianity — who had yet neither fixed ritual nor dogmas nor Church — it is these Pagans who founded the latter. Blending most ingeniously the truths of the Wisdom-religion with the exoteric fictions so dear to the ignorant mobs, it is they who laid the first foundations of ritualistic Churches and of the Lodges of modern Masonry. The latter fact was demonstrated by Ragon in his ANTE-OMNLAE of the modern Liturgy compared with the ancient Mysteries, and showing the rituals conducted by the early Masons; the former may be ascertained by a like comparison of the Church canonicals, the sacred vessels, and the [Page 15] festivals of the Latin and other Churches, with those of the pagan nations. But Churches and Masonry have widely diverged since the days when both were one. If asked how a profane can know it, the answer comes: ancient and modern Freemasonry are an obligatory study with every Eastern Occultist.
Masonry, its paraphernalia and modern innovations (the Biblical Spirit in it especially) notwithstanding, does good both on the moral and physical planes — or did so, hardly ten years ago, at any rate.[Since the origin of Masonry. the split between the British and American Masons and the French “Grand Orient” of the “Widow's Sons” is the first one that has ever occurred. It bids fair to make of these two sections of Masonry a Masonic Protestant and a Roman Catholic Church, as far as regards ritualism and brotherly love, at all events. ] It was a true ecclesia in the sense of fraternal union and mutual help, the only religion in the world, if we regard the term as derived from the word religare, “to bind” together, as it made all men belonging to it “brothers” —regardless of race and faith. Whether with the enormous wealth at its command it could not do far more than it does now, is no business of ours. We see no visible, crying evil from this institution, and no one yet, save the Roman Church, has ever been found to show that it did any harm. Can Church Christianity say as much? Let ecclesiastical and profane history answer the question. For one, it has divided the whole mankind into Cains and Abels; it has slaughtered millions in the name of her God — the Lord of Hosts, truly, the ferocious Jehovah Sabbaoth — and instead of giving an impetus to civilization, the favourite boast of her followers — it has retarded it during the long and weary Mediaeval ages. It is only under the relentless assaults [Page 16] of science and the revolt of men trying to free themselves, that it began to lose ground and could no longer arrest enlightenment. Yet has it not softened, as claimed, the “barbarous spirit of Heathendom”? We say no, most emphatically. It is Churchianity with its odium theologicum, since it could no longer repress human progress, which infused its lethal spirit of intolerance, its ferocious selfishness, greediness, and cruelty into modern civilization under the mask of cant and meek Christianity. When were the Pagan Caesars more bloodthirsty or more coolly cruel than are the modern Potentates and their armies? When did the millions of the Proletariat starve as they do now? When has mankind shed more tears and suffered than at present? Yes; there was a day when the Church and Masonry were one. These were centuries of intense moral reaction, a transitional period of thought as heavy as a nightmare, an age of strife. Thus, when the creation of new ideals led to the apparent pulling down of the old fanes and the destruction of old idols, it ended in reality with the rebuilding of those temples out of the old materials, and the erection of the same idols under new names. It was a universal rearrangement and whitewashing — but only skin deep. History will never be able to tell us — but tradition and judicious research do — how many semi-Hierophants and even high Initiates were forced to become renegades in order to ensure the survival of the secrets of [Page 17] Initiation. Praetextatus, pro-consul at Achaia, is credited with remarking in the fourth century of our era, that “to deprive the Greeks of the sacred mysteries which bind together the whole mankind was equivalent to depriving them of their life”. The Initiates took perhaps the hint, and thus joining nolens volens the followers of the new faith, then becoming all domineering, acted accordingly. Some hellenized Jewish Gnostics did the same; and thus more than one “Clemens Alexandrinus” — a convert to all appearance, an ardent Neo-Platonist and the same philosophical pagan at heart — became the instructor of ignorant Christian Bishops. In short the convert malgré lui blended the two external mythologies, the old and the new, and while giving out the compound to the masses, kept the sacred truths for himself.
The kind of Christians they made may be inferred from the example of Synesius, the Neo-Platonist. What scholar is ignorant of the fact, or would presume to deny, that the favourite and devoted pupil of Hypatia — the virgin-philosopher, the martyr and victim of the infamous Cyril of Alexandria — had not even been baptised when first offered by the bishops of Egypt the Episcopalian See of the Ptolemaïd? Every student is aware that, when finally baptised, after having accepted the office proffered, it was so skin-deep that he actually signed his consent only after his conditions had been complied with and his future privileges guaranteed. What the chief clause [Page 18] was, is curious. It was a sine quâ non condition that he was to be allowed to abstain from professing the (Christian) doctrines, that he, the new Bishop, did not believe in! Thus, although baptised and ordained in the degrees of deaconship, priesthood, and episcopate, he never separated himself from his wife, never gave up his Platonic philosophy, nor even his sport so strictly forbidden to every other bishop. This occurred as late as the fifth century.
Such transactions between initiated philosophers and ignorant priests of reformed Judaism were numerous in those days. The former sought to save their “mystery-vows” and personal dignity, and to do so they had to resort to a much-to-be-regretted compromise with ambition, ignorance, and the rising wave of popular fanaticism. They believed in Divine Unity, the ONE or Solus, unconditioned and unknowable; and still they consented to render public homage and pay reverence to Sol, the Sun moving among his twelve apostles, the twelve signs of the Zodiac, alias the twelve Sons of Jacob. The hoi polloi remaining ignorant of the former, worshipped the latter, and in them, their old time-honoured gods. To transfer that worship from the solar-lunar and other cosmic deities to the Thrones, Archangels, Dominions, and Saints was no difficult matter; the more so since the said sidereal dignities were received into the new Christian Canon with their old names almost unchanged. Thus, while, during Mass, the “Grand [Page 19] Elect” reiterated, under his breath, his absolute adherence to the Supreme Universal Unity of the “incomprehensible Workman”, and pronounced in solemn and loud tones the “Sacred Word” (now substituted by the Masonic “Word at low breath”), his assistant proceeded with the chanting of the Kyriel of names of those inferior sidereal beings whom the masses were made to worship. To the profane catechumen, indeed, who had offered prayers but a few months or weeks before to the Bull Apis and the holy Cynocephalus, to the sacred ibis and the hawk-headed Osiris, St. John's eagle [It is an error to say that John the Evangelist became the patron Saint of Masonry only after the sixteenth century, and it implies a double mistake. Between John the “Divine”, the “Seer” and the writer of Revelation, and John the Evangelist who is now shown in company of the Eagle, there is a great difference, as the latter John is a creation of Irenaeus, along with the fourth gospel. Both were the result of the quarrel of the Bishop of Lyons with the Gnostics, and no one will ever tell what was the real name of the writer of the grandest of the Evangels. But what we do know is, that the Eagle is the legal property of John, the author of the Apocalypsis, written originally centuries B.C., and only re-edited, before receiving canonical hospitality. This John, or Oannes, was the accepted patron of all the Egyptian and Greek Gnostics (who were the early Builders or Masons of “Solomon's Temple”, as, earlier, of the Pyramids) from the beginning of time. The Eagle was his attribute — the most archaic of symbols — being the Egyptian Ah, the bird of Zeus, and sacred to the Sun with every ancient people. Even the Jews adopted it among the Initiated Kabalists, as “the symbol of the Sephirah Tiph-e-reth, the spiritual Aether or air”, says Mr. Myer's “Qabbalah”. With the Druids the eagle was the symbol of the Supreme Deity, and again a portion of the cherubic symbol. Adopted by the pre-Christian Gnostics, it could be seen at the foot of the Tau in Egypt, before it was placed in the Rose-Croix degree at the foot of the Christian cross. Pre-eminently the bird of the Sun, the Eagle is necessarily connected with every solar god, and is the symbol of every seer who looks into the astral light, and sees in it the shadows of the Past, Present, and Future, as easily as the Eagle looks at the Sun. ] and the divine Dove [Page 20] (witness of the Baptism while hovering over the Lamb of God), must have appeared as the most natural development and sequence to his own national and sacred zoology, which he had been taught to worship since the day of his birth.
It may thus be shown that both modern Freemasonry and Church ritualism descend in direct line from initiated Gnostics, Neo-Platonists, and renegade Hierophants of the Pagan Mysteries, the secrets of which they have lost, but which have been nevertheless preserved by those who would not compromise. If both Church and Masons are willing to forget the history of their true origin, the Theosophists are not. They repeat: Masonry and the three great Christian religions are all inherited goods. The “ceremonies and passwords” of the former, and the prayers, dogmas, and rites of the latter, are travestied copies of pure Paganism (copied and borrowed as diligently by the Jews), and of Neo-Platonic Theosophy. Also, the “passwords” used even now by Biblical Masons and connected with “the tribe of Judah”, “Tubal-Cain”, and other Zodiacal dignitaries of the Old Testament, are the Jewish aliases of the ancient gods of the heathen mobs, not of the gods of the Hierogrammatists, the interpreters of the true mysteries. That which follows proves it well. The good Masonic [Page 21] Brethren could hardly deny that in name they are Solicoles indeed, the worshippers of the Sun in heaven, in whom the erudite Ragon saw such a magnificent symbol of the G.A.O.T.U. — which it surely is. Only the trouble he had was to prove — which no one can — that the said G. A. O. T. U. was not rather the Sol of the small exoteric fry of the Pro-fanes than the Solus of the High Epoptai. For the secret of the fires of Solus, the spirit of which radiates in the “Blazing Star”, is a Hermetic secret which, unless a Mason studies true Theosophy, is lost to him for ever. He has ceased to understand now, even the little indiscretions of Tshuddi. To this day Masons and Christians keep the Sabbath sacred, and call it the “Lord's” day; yet they know as well as any that both Sunday, and the Sonntag of Protestant England and Germany, mean the Sun-day or the day of the Sun, as it meant 2,000 years ago.
And you, Reverend and good Fathers, Priests, Clergymen, and Bishops, you who so charitably call theosophy “idolatry” and doom its adherents openly and privately to eternal perdition, can you boast of one single rite, vestment, or sacred vessel in church or temple that does not come to you from paganism? Nay, to assert it would be too dangerous, in view, not only of history, but also of the confessions of your own priestly craft.
Let us recapitulate if only to justify our assertions. [Page 22]
“Roman sacrificators had to confess before sacrificing”, writes du Choul. "The priests of Jupiter donned a tall, square, black cap (Vide Armenian and Greek modern priests), the head dress of the Flamines. The black soutane of the Roman Catholic priest is the black hierocoraces, the loose robe of the Mithraic priests, so-called from being raven coloured (raven, corax). The King-Priest of Babylon had a golden seal-ring and slippers kissed by the conquered potentates, a white mantle, a tiara of gold, to which two bandelets were suspended. The popes have the seal-ring and the slippers for the same use; a white satin mantle bordered with golden stars, a tiara with two bejewelled bandelets suspended to it, etc., etc. The white linen alb (alba vestis) is the garment of the priests of Isis; the top of the heads of the priests of Anubis was shaven (Juvenal), hence the tonsure; the chasuble of the Christian “Father” is the copy from the upper garment of the Phoenician priest-sacrificers, a garment called calasiris, tied at the neck and descending to their heels. The stole comes to our priests from the female garment worn by the Galli, the male nautches of the temple, whose office was that of the Jewish Kadashim; (Vide II Kings 23:7, for the true word) their belt of purity (?) from the ephod of the Jews, and the Isiac cord; the priests of Isis being vowed to chastity. (Vide Ragon, for details. )
The ancient pagans used holy water or lustrations to purify their cities, fields, temples, and men, just as it is being done now in Roman Catholic countries. Fonts stood at the door of every temple, full of lustral water and called favisses and aquiminaria. Before sacrificing, the pontiff or the curion (whence the French curé), dipping a laurel branch into the lustral water, sprinkled with it the pious congregation assembled, and that which was then termed lustrica and aspergilium is now called sprinkler (or [Page 23] goupillon, in French). The latter was with the priestesses of Mithra the symbol of the Universal lingam. Dipped during the Mysteries in lustral milk, the faithful were sprinkled with it. It was the emblem of Universal fecundity; hence the use of the holy water in Christianity, a rite of phallic origin. More than this; the idea underlying it is purely occult and belongs to ceremonial magic. Lustrations were performed by fire, sulphur, air, and water. To draw the attention of the celestial gods, ablutions were resorted to; to conjure the nether gods away, aspersion was used.
The vaulted ceilings of cathedrals and churches, Greek or Latin, are often painted blue and studded with golden stars, to represent the canopy of the heavens. This is copied from the Egyptian temples, where solar and star worship was performed. Again, the same reverence is paid in Christian and Masonic architecture to the Orient (or the Eastern point) as in the days of Paganism. Ragon described it fully in his destroyed volumes. The princeps porta, the door of the World, and of the “King of Glory”, by whom was meant at first the Sun, and now his human symbol, the Christ, is the door of the Orient, and faces the East in every church and temple.[Except, perhaps, the temples and chapels of dissident Protestants, which are built anywhere, and used for more than one purpose. In America I know of chapels hired for fairs and shows, and even theatres; to-day a chapel, the day after sold for debts, and fitted for a gin shop or a public house. I speak of chapels, of course, not of Churches and Cathedrals. ] It is through this “door of life” — the solemn pathway, through which the daily entrance of the luminary into the oblong square [A Masonic term; a symbol of the Arks of Noah, and of the Covenant, of the Temple of Solomon, the Tabernacle, and the Camp of the Israelites, all built as “oblong squares”. Mercury and Apollo were represented by oblong cubes and squares, and so is Kaaba, the great temple at Mecca. ] of the earth or the Tabernacle of the [Page 24] Sun is effected every morning — that the “newly born” babe is ushered, and carried to the baptismal font; and it is to the left of this edifice (the gloomy north whither start the “apprentices”, and where the candidates got their trial by water) that now the fonts, and in the days of old the well (piscinas) of lustral waters, were placed in the ancient churches, which had been pagan fanes. The altars of heathen Lutetia were buried, and found again under the choir of Notre-Dame of Paris, its ancient lustral wells existing to this day in the said Church. Almost every great ancient Church on the Continent that antedates the Middle Ages was once a pagan temple in virtue of the orders issued by the Bishops and Popes of Rome. Gregory the Great (Platine en sa Vie) commands the monk Augustine, his missionary in England, in this wise: “Destroy the idols, never the temples! Sprinkle them with holy water, place in them relics, and let the nations worship in the places they are accustomed to”. We have but to turn to the works of Cardinal Baronius, to find in the year XXXVIth of his Annals his confession. The Holy Church, he says, was permitted to appropriate the rites and ceremonies used by the pagans in their idolatrous cult, since she (the Church) expiated them by her consecration! In the Antiquités Gauloises (Book II, Ch. 19) by Fauchet, we read that the Bishops of France adopted [Page 25] and used the pagan ceremonies in order to convert followers to Christ.
This was when Gaul was still a pagan country. Are the same rites and ceremonies used now in Christian France, and other Roman Catholic countries, still going on in grateful remembrance of the pagans and their gods?
Up to the fourth century the churches knew of no altars. Up to that date the altar was a table raised in the middle of the temple, for purposes of Communion, or fraternal repasts (the Caena, as mass was originally said in the evening). In the same way now the table is raised in the “Lodge” for Masonic Banquets, which usually close the proceedings of a Lodge and at which the resurrected Hiram Abifs, the “Widow's Sons”, honour their toasts by fining, a Masonic mode of transubstantiation. Shall we call their banquet tables altars, also? Why not? The altars were copies from the ara maxima of pagan Rome. The Latins placed square and oblong stones near their tombs, and called them ara, altar; they were consecrated to the gods Lares and Manes. Our altars are a derivation from these square stones, another form of the boundary stones known as the gods Termini — the Hermeses, and the Mercuries, whence Mercurius quadratus, quadriceps, quadrifrons, [Page 26] etc., etc., the four-faced gods, whose symbols these square stones were, from the highest antiquity. The stone on which the ancient kings of Ireland were crowned was such an “altar”. Such a stone is in Westminster Abbey, endowed, moreover, with a voice. Thus our altars and thrones descend directly from the priapic boundary stones of the pagans — the gods termini.
Shall the church-going reader feel very indignant if he is told that the Christians adopted the pagan way of worshipping in a temple, only during the reign of Diocletianus? Up to that period they had an insurmountable horror for altars and temples, and held them in abomination for the first two hundre and fifty years of our era. These primitive Christians were Christians indeed; the moderns are more pagan than any ancient idolators. The former were the Theosophists of those days; from fourth century they became Helleno-Judaic Gentiles minus the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists. Read what Minutius Felix says in the third century to the Romans:
You fancy that we (Christians) conceal that which we worship because we will have neither temples nor altars? But what image of God shall we raise, since Man is himself God's image? What temple can we build to the Deity, when the Universe, which is Its work, can hardly contain It? How shall we enthrone the power of such Omnipotence in a single building? Is it not far better to consecrate to the Deity a temple in our heart and spirit?
But then the Christians of the type of Minutius Felix had in their mind the commandment [Page 27] of the Master-Initiate, not to pray in the synagogues and temples as the hypocrites do, “that they may be seen of men”. ( Matthew 6:5. ) They remembered the declarations of Paul, the Apostle-Initiate, the “Master Builder” (I Corinthians 3:10), that MAN was the one temple of God, in which the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, dwelleth. (Ibid.);they obeyed the truly Christian precepts, whereas the modern Christians obey but the arbitrary canons of their respective Churches, and the rules of their Elders. “Theosophists are notorious Atheists”, exclaims a writer in the “Church Chronicle”. “Not one of them is ever known to attend divine service . . . the Church is obnoxious to them”; and forthwith uncorking the vials of his wrath, he pours out their contents on the infidel, heathen F.T.S.. The modern Churchman stones the Theosophist as his ancient forefather, the Pharisees of the “Synagogue of the Libertines” (Acts 6:9) stoned Stephen, for saying that which even many Christian Theosophists say, namely that “the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Ibid. 48); and they “suborn men” just as these iniquitous judges did (Ibid. II) to testify against us.
Forsooth, friends, you are indeed the righteous descendants of your predecessors, whether of the colleagues of Saul, or of those of Pope Leo X, the cynical author of the ever famous sentence: “How useful to us this fable of Christ”, “Quantum nobis prodest hac fabula Christi!” [Page 28]
The “Solar Myth” theory has become in our day stale — ad nauseam — repeated as we hear it from the four cardinal points of Orientalism and Symbolism, and applied indiscriminately to all things and all religions, except Church Christianity and State-religion. No doubt the Sun was throughout the whole antiquity and since days immemorial the symbol of the Creative Deity — with every nation, not with the Pãrsis alone; but so he is with the Ritualists. As in days of old, so it is now. Our central star is the “Father” for the pro-fanes, the Son of the ever unknowable Deity for the Epoptai. Says the same Mason, Ragon, “The Sun was the most sublime and natural image of the Great Architect , as the most ingenious of all the allegories under which the moral and good man (the true sage) had ever endowed infinite and limitless Intelligence”. Apart from the latter assumption, Ragon is right; for he shows this symbol gradually receding from the ideal so represented and conceived, and becoming finally from a symbol the original, in the minds of his ignorant worshippers. Then the great Masonic author proves that it is the physical Sun which was regarded as both the Father and the Son by the early Christians.
“Oh, initiated Brethren”, he exclaims, “can you forget that in the temples of the existing religion a large lamp [Page 29] burns night and day? It is suspended in front of the chief altar, the depository of the ark of the Sun. Another lamp burning before the altar of the virgin-mother is the emblem of the light of the moon. Clemens Alexandrinus tells us that the Egyptians were the first to establish the religious use of the lamps. . . . Who does not know that the most sacred and terrible duty was entrusted to the Vestals? If the Masonic temples are lighted with three astral lights, the sun, the moonand the geometrical star, and with three vital lights, this hierophant and his two Episcopes (Wardens, in French Surveillants), it is because one of the Fathers of Masonry, the learned Pythagoras, ingenuously suggests that we should not speak of divine things without a light. Pagans celebrated a festival of lamps called Lampadophories in honour of Minerva, Prometheus, and Vulcan. But Lactantius and some of the earliest fathers of the new faith complained bitterly of this pagan introduction of lamps in the Churches; “If they deigned”, writes Lactantius, "to contemplate that light which we call the Sun, they would soon recognise that God has no need of their lamps”.And Vigilantius adds: 'Under the pretext of religion the Church established a Gentile custom of lighting vile candles. while the Sun is there illuminating us with a thousand lights. Is it not a great honour for the Lamb of God (the sun thus represented), which placed in the middle of the throne (the Universe) fills it with the radiance of his Majesty?' Such passages prove to us that in those days the primitive Church worshipped The Great Architect of the World in its image the Sun, sole of its kind”. (The Mass and its Mysteries, pp. 19 and 20.)
Indeed, while Christian candidates have to pronounce the Masonic oath turned to the East and that their “Venerable” keeps in the Eastern corner, because the Neophytes were made to do the same during the Pagan Mysteries, the Church has, in her turn, preserved the identical rite. During the High [Page 30] Mass, the High-Altar (ara maxima) is ornamented with the Tabernacle, or the pyx (the box in which the Host is kept), and with six lighted tapers. The esoteric meaning of the pyx and contents — the symbol of the Christ-Sun — is that it represents the resplendent luminary, and the six tapers the six planets (the early Christians knowing of no more), three on his right and three on his left. This is a copy of the seven branched candlestick of the synagogue, which has an identical meaning. “Sol est Dominus Meus”. “The Sun is my Lord!” exclaims David in Psalm 95, translated very ingeniously in the authorized version by “The Lord is a great God”, “a great King above all Gods” (v. 3), or planets truly! Augustin Chalis is more sincere in Philosophie des Religions Comparées (Vol. II, p. 18), when he writes:
All are devs (demons), on this Earth, save the God of the Seers (Initiates) the sublime IAO; and if in Christ you see aught than the SUN, then you adore a dev, a phantom such as are all the children of night.
The East being the cardinal point whence arises the luminary of the Day, the great giver and sustainer of life, the creator of al that lives and breathes on this globe, what wonder if all the nation of the Earth worshipped in him the visible agent of the invisible Principle and Cause; and that mass should be said in the honour of him who is the giver of messis or “harvest”. But, between worshipping the ideal as a whole, and the physical symbol, a part [Page 31] chosen to represent that whole and the ALL, there is an abyss. For the learned Egyptian, the Sun was the “eye” of Osiris, not Osiris himself; the same for the learned Zoroastrians. For the early Christians the Sun became the Deity, in toto; and by dint of casuistics, sophistry, and dogmas not to be questioned, the modern Christian churches have contrived to force even the educated world to accept the same, while hypnotising it into a belief that their god is the one living true Deity, the maker of, not the Sun — a demon worshipped by the “heathen”. But what may be the difference between a wicked demon, and the anthropomorphic God, e.g., as represented in Solomon's Proverbs? That “God”, unless poor, helpless, ignorant men call upon him, when their “fear cometh as desolation” and their “destruction as a whirlwind”, threatens them in such words as these “I will laugh at your calamities, I will mock when your fear cometh!” (Prov. 1:27) Identify this God with the great Avatar on whom the Christian legend is hung; make him one with that true Initiate who said, “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted”: and what is the result? Such identification alone quite sufficient to justify the fiendish joy of Tertullian, who laughed and rejoiced at the idea of his infidel next of kin roasting in hell-fire; the advice of Hieronymus to the Christian convert to trample over the body of his pagan mother, if she seeks to prevent him leaving her for ever to [Page 32] follow Christ; and it makes of all the Church tyrants, murderers, and omnes gentes of the Inquisition, the grandest and noblest exemplars of practical Christianity that have ever lived!
(continues on Adyar Pamphlets No. 110) - Part 2
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