Whilst the people of modern
times appear to have been losing their Soul altogether, or not to
have found out that they really possess one, the ancient Egyptians,
Chaldeans, Hindus, Britons, and other races, reckoned that they had
Seven souls, or that the one soul as permanent entity included the
sum total of seven powers. The doctrine is very ancient, but it has
been stated anew by the author of "Esoteric
Buddhism," as if it were a recent revelation derived
from India as the fountain-head of ancient knowledge.
Mr. Sinnett's claim is, that he has been specially appointed by the Mahatmas as their mouth-piece to the Western World, and empowered to put into print, for the first time, the oral Wisdom that has hitherto been kept all sacredly concealed. But I can assure Mr. Sinnett that the seven Souls of Man are by no means new to us, nor are they those "transcendental conceptions of the Hindu mind" in which he has been led devoutly to believe. To the serious student of such subjects, the system of esoteric interpretation now put forth, with its seven souls of man projected into shadow-land; its races of men that go round and round the Planetarium seven by seven, like the animals entering Noah's ark; its seven planets as stages of human existence, with our earth left out of the reckoning; its seven continental cataclysms, which occur periodically; does not contain a revelation of new truth from the Orient, nor a corroboration of the old. The seven souls of man were not metaphysical "concepts" at any time in the past. The doctrine belongs to primitive biology, or the physiology of the soul, which preceded the later psychology. Just as we speak of the seven senses the ancients spoke of the seven souls as principles, powers, or constituent elements of man. These were founded on facts of common perception, verifiable in nature; and we do not need those faculties of the occult adept "which mankind at large has not yet evolved" in order that they may be apprehended.
Mr. Sinnett is of opinion that it would be "impossible for even the most skilful professor of occult science to exhibit each of these seven principles separate and distinct from the others." That is, when they have been mystified by pseudo-esoteric misrepresentation, in a metaphysical phase; then they lose the distinctness of physics; and then we have to hark back once more to distinguish and identify these seven souls of man. The truth is, that when the teachings of primitive philosophy have passed into the domain of later speculations, you can make neither head, tail, nor vertebra of them--they constitute an indistinguishable mush of manufactured mystery! And the only way of exposing the pretensions of false teaching, and of destroying the superstitions, old or new, that prey upon and paralyse the human mind, is by explaining them from the root; to learn what they once meant in their primary phase is to know what they do not and cannot mean for us to-day. Nothing avails us finally, short of a first-hand acquaintanceship with the knowledge and modes of expression that were primordial.
It is quite possible, and even apparent, that the first form of the mystical SEVEN was seen to be figured in heaven by the seven large stars of the Great Bear, the constellation assigned by the Egyptians to the Mother of Time, and of the seven Elemental Powers. And once a type like this has been founded it becomes a mould for future use--one that cannot be got rid of or out of. The Egyptians divided the face of the sky by night into seven parts. The primary Heaven was sevenfold. The earliest forces recognised in Nature were reckoned as seven in number. These became Seven Elementals, devils, or later divinities. Seven properties were assigned to nature--as matter, cohesion, fluxion, coagulation, accumulation, station, and division--and seven elements or souls to man. A principle of sevening, so to say, was introduced, and the number seven supplied a sacred type that could be used for manifold future purposes. When Abraham took his oath at Beer-sheba, the Well of the Seven, we are told that he sevened, or did seven. Sevening was then a recognised mode of swearing; and Sevening is still a recognised mode of swearing with the Esoteric Buddhists, who, according to Mr. Sinnett, continue it ad libitum, and carry it on through thick and thin.
The seven souls of the Pharaoh are often mentioned in the Egyptian texts. The moon-god, Taht-Esmun, or the later sun-god, expressed the Seven nature-powers that were prior to himself, and were summed up in him as his seven souls, of which he was the manifestor as the Eighth One. In the Hindu drawings we see the god Agni pourtrayed with seven arms to his body. These represent his seven powers, principles, breaths, or souls. The seven rays of the Chaldean god Heptaktis, or Iao, on the Gnostic stones indicate the same septenary of souls. The seven stars in the hand of the Christ in Revelation have the same significance. There is a star with eight rays, which is found to be the symbol of Buddha, of Assur in Assyria, of Mithras; and of the Christ in the catacombs of Rome. That was the symbol of the Gnostic pleroma of the seven souls, the perfect flower or star of which was the Christ of the Gnosis; not of any human history. It can be traced back to Egypt as the star of Sut-Horus, a star with eight points or loops, undoubtedly meant for Orion, which was at one time the star of Annunciation, that showed the place where the young child lay, or where the God was re-born upon the horizon of the Resurrection at Easter. A very ancient form of the eight-rayed star was a sign of the Nnu, the Associate Gods of Egypt, who were the Seven Ali (Ari) or Companions (Cf. the Babylonian Ili and Gnostic Elohim), as children of the Great Mother, the Gnostic Ogdoas. The same type, with the same meaning, is represented in the Book of Revelation, where the son of man (who is a male with female breasts, and therefore not a human being) holds in his hand the seven stars which symbolise the seven angels or spirits who are in the service of their Lord--like the Seven Great Spirits in the 17th chapter of the Egyptian "Book of the Dead."
Seven souls, or principles in man, were identified by our British Druids. In the Hebrew Targummim, Haggadoth and Kabbala, the Rabbins sometimes recognise a threefold soul--as of life, the animal--from the Egyptian nef, for the breath. This is the quickening spirit of the embryo. The Ruach is said to enter the boy at the age of thirteen years and one day. That is the soul of adultship, the reproducing spirit reproduced for reproduction at puberty. The third spirit, or Neshamah, is an intelligent soul which enters a man at twenty years of age, if the deeds of his life are right; if not, he is unworthy of the Neshamah, and the Nephesh and Ruach remain his only souls. Another Rabbi says the soul of man has five distinct forms and names--the Nephesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Cajiah, and the Jachida. The Cajiah is the spirit that makes to re-live; the Jachida denotes that which unifies all in one, and so establishes the permanent entity. Some persons are spoken of as being worthy to receive the Jachida in the life to come. Ben Israel teaches that the Nephesh, Ruach, and Neshamah signify nothing more than faculties, capacities, or constituent principles of the man, and that an additional soul means increase of knowledge and advancement in the study of Divine laws. The Rabbins also ran the number of souls up to seven; so likewise do the Karens of India. The Khonds of Orissa recognise four souls, or a fourfold soul. One of these dies on the dissolution of the body; one, the ancestral soul, remains attached to the Tribe on earth to be re-produced, generation after generation--in relation to which, when a child is born the priest inquires which member of the family has come back again? The third soul is able to go forth and hold spirit-intercourse, leaving the body in an inert condition. This is the soul that can assume other shapes by the art of Mleepa, or the gnosis of transformation. The fourth soul is restored to the good deity Boora, and thus attains immortality. Here, as in other instances, there is an ascending series.
Sometimes we meet with a dual soul called the dark shadow and the light shadow; at other times with a triple soul.
But we have now to do with the natural genesis of the Seven Souls and their culmination in the eighth One, the reproducer for another life, which was personified as the Pharaoh, the Repa, the Heir-Apparent, the Horus, the Buddha, Krishna or the Christ. Two sets of the seven may be tabulated in their Egyptian and Hindu shapes and compared as follows:--
|1. Rupa, body, or element of form
|1. Kha, body.
|2. Prana, or Jiva, the breath of life
|2. Ba, the soul of breath.
|3. Astral body
|3. Khabs, the shade.
|4. Manus, or Intelligence
|4. Akhu, Intelligence or Perception
|5. Khama-Rupa, or animal soul
|5. Seb, ancestral soul.
|6. Buddhi, or spiritual soul
|6. Putah, the first intellectual father.
|7. Atma, pure spirit
|7. Atmu, a divine, or eternal soul.
Primitive man naturally observed
from the first that he was brought forth by the mother, formed of flesh, made
from her blood; that is the mystical water, or matter of life, and the red earth
of mythology. This primal element was represented by the Great Mother of all
flesh; and the first soul was accordingly derived from the blood, the mystical
parent of Life. Thus, in the Mangaian account of Creation, the Great Mother,
Vari, is said to make the first man from pieces of her own flesh! Flesh being
blood that has taken form. "Some, indeed," says Hermes, "misled
by nature, mistook the blood for the soul;" that is, they took it
so, to begin with; and such was the nature of the human soul No. 1. This soul
of blood is identified in Genesis ix. 4 and 5. Blood is the Adamic soul! From
the Mother source came the red earth of the Adamic or primary creation, whence
the Rabbins sometimes call Adam the "Blood of the world!" In
the Semitic languages, Assyrian and Hebrew, Adam signified "Blood"--simply
blood, as the red. It was thought at one time that two primal races of
men were alluded to in the Cuneiform Texts, under the names of Adamu and
Sarku; but it is now known that these names signify the two principles
of female matter and male spirit, the Hindu perusha.
At this primitive stage begin the legends with which we have been so pitiably beguiled, or so profoundly perplexed!
In the first account of the creation of man, in the Hebrew Genesis, he is formed in the image of the Elohim, who were the seven primal elemental powers, that became celestial as the keepers of time in Heaven--in their second phase--and ultimately the seven Planetary spirits. At that early stage of sociology, man descended from the mother alone! In the second creation (for there are two), the woman is derived from the male as progenitor. The first is born of blood, the second of bone, a type of masculine substance. And these two sources, female and male, supply the two doctrinal types to Paul when he says, "As in Adam (the flesh-man) all men die, even so in Christ (the spirit-man) shall all be made alive!" Here the true interpretation cannot be obtained without the aid of the primitive physiology; it does not depend upon any fulfilment of fable as fact in later history, but on the adaptation of the mythical types to convey a mystical meaning in what are called "mysteries," that were very simple in their primal phase--which phase is the object of our present search.
The Psalmist refers to this Adamic man when he says, "Put not your trust in the son of man; his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth. In that very day his purposes perish." The antithesis to this was the Son of God, the second Adam, the man from heaven, the Christ, or immortal spirit; in short, a later type of the human soul! The first Adam represented the man, or creation of the seven souls, and the seven Elohim, whence it was said, in the Semitic Legends, that his head only reached up to the seventh heaven. The second Adam, or the Christ, attains the eighth heaven, as the height; or, he comes, later on, to represent the ten-fold heaven as the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalists.
The Tahitians, whose Great Mother is named Eve (or Ivi), have the same physiological myth! They say that the first men were formed of Araea, or red earth, and on this they lived until bread was made--bread being typical of corn, corn of seed, i.e., male source. All men derived from the motherhood at first--and in that mythical creation the man was really created from the woman, instead of the woman being taken from the man, which was of necessity a later creation, in keeping with the sociology. The mystery of the woman being taken from the man is mentioned in the Egyptian Ritual, or Book of the Dead. The speaker says: "I know the mystery of the woman being taken from the man." The matter of such a mystery was physiological. The far earlier mystery was that of man being created by the woman from the red earth, or blood.
Next it was apprehended that the mother inspired the breath of life into her embryo. And breath, prajna, jiva, or the ba, constitutes the soul No. 2. In various legends man was made from the red earth, and the Blacks of Victoria say that their creator, Pundjel, blew the breath of life, or the soul of breath, in at his navel. These were the first two souls of the seven, because blood supplied the element of flesh, or form, and breath was the primal element of life. A Yuni Indian description of death speaks of a man as having the wind pressed out of him, so that he forgot.
And now for a doctrinal development!
Blood and breath being the two primary elements or souls of life, these consequently became the two great types of sacrificial offering. Among the Amaponda Kaffirs when a new chief succeeds to the government it is a custom for him to be baptised in the blood of his brother, or some near relative, who is put to death for the purpose; and in Fiji when the canoe of a chief was launched a number of men were sacrificed, so that their souls (or Breath) might supply a wind of good luck for the sails of the vessel. It was on account of their natural genesis that these two souls of the blood and breath were typically continued in the water and the breath employed for the re-genesis, or regeneration, of the child in Christian baptism. Everyone of our religious rites and ceremonies has to be read backwards, like Hebrew, to be understood.
The observation that blood, the first factor in primitive biology, was the basis used by Nature in building up the future human being is probably the source and origin of the superstition that in building a city, fortress, bridge, or church, an enduring foundation must be laid in blood; whence the primitive practice of burying a living child, a calf, a dog, goat, or lamb--the lamb slain from the foundation of the world being a Mithraic and Christian survival of the same significance, with the bloody and barbarous rite of the Victim immured as a basis for the building. Sometimes, as in the legend of Vortigern, the foundation-stone was to be bathed in the blood of a child that was born of a mother without any father; as was the child-Horus, who was the child of the Virgin Mother only. The doctrine is Egyptian, and as such can be understood. It was applied to Horus shut up in the region of annihilation, or transformation (the Skhem), where his type was the Red Mouse.
As the breath of life was a kind of soul, so the steam of food, or the incense presented in sacrifice, was a form of the breath of life offered to the spirits of the dead or to the gods. The motive and meaning of many curious customs can only be apprehended on these physical grounds. For instance, when the Canadian Indians killed a bear they adjured the soul of the animal not to be angry with them, and then placing a pipe between its teeth blew tobacco-smoke backwards into its mouth, and thus symbolically restored that which they had just taken--its soul of breath. In the Rubric to the Egyptian Ritual it says--"Offer ye a great quantity of incense; it makes that spirit alive." Drops of blood from the heart of a cow are likewise to be offered with the incense. Blood and breath (incense) were both offered by the Jews. Philo explains that the offerings of frankincense laid on the golden altar in the Inner Temple were more holy than the blood offered outside. The mystical meaning of which, he says, must be investigated by those who are eager for the truth in accordance with the Gnosis. The blood and breath survive also in the bloody wafer and incense of the Roman Ritual.
Now, we have to go back to this Soul of Breath to reach the origin of the transmigration of souls, which has been continued into the domain of later doctrines by those who were ignorant of its beginnings. To breathe and to transmigrate are synonymous in Egyptian, under the word sen. But the transmigration of the soul of breath is neither physical nor spiritual in the modern sense; it is an entirely different doctrine from those of the Pythagorean and the Esoteric Buddhists, both of which were derived from the same primitive original, but have been perverted until they no longer represent the early coinage of human thought, and so they can authenticate nothing in this world, for any other. With a primitive soul of breath was evolved the notion of an Ancestral soul of the race, tribe, and Totem, which of necessity was as general as the intercourse of the sexes was then common. The Commentator on the Analects of the Confucius says--"My own animal spirits are the animal spirits of my progenitors." Another Chinese teacher says-- "Though we speak of individuals, and distinguish one from the other, yet there is in reality but one breath that animates them all. My own breath (or spirit) is the identical breath of my ancestors." This soul of Breath, thus Pantheistically apprehended and expressed, could and did transmigrate; might be, and was, re-incarnated. It was incarnated in being individualised and discreeted from the Ancestral soul; and when it went back it was merged again in the general--qua soul.
The king (Eg. Ank), who never dies, was first established upon this generic soul of the race, and not on a recurring identical personality of the reincarnated Soul. Thus reincarnation was true to the general Ancestral soul, but when continued in a later state of sociology, and applied to the Individual soul, it is a counterfeit--a false presentment of the original doctrine.
The basis of all incarnation and reincarnation has to be sought in the primitive animism of the general, Ancestral, or Pan-soul, first recognised. At that stage of thought it is our soul that comes, and goes, and returns again--not my soul nor yours; and afterwards the reincarnation of soul was continued as the reincarnation of souls, when souls had been individualised here on earth by the father coming to recognise his own children; but this was only through taking a false step and making a false inference.
The breath, or soul, of the dying was believed to re-enter the living. Thus, the Algonkins would bury their spirits, which were supposed to re-enter the future mothers as they were passing by! This was a soul of breath that could be inhaled, hence the practice of in-breathing souls. According to the Roman custom, it was the privilege of the nearest relative to inhale the last breath, or the passing soul, of a person dying.
But the soul that was founded on the mere breath of life, which the mother inspired to quicken the embryo, was not much to go upon for ultimate duration! The African Dinka tribe are said to reject the idea of immortality, because their soul is "but a breath!"--in which they agree with some modern secularists; because this sign of life visibly ceases in death! Such would be the argument of the primitive positivists, who had not got beyond their second soul--that of breath.
The third elementary is the so-called Astral shade, or shadow-soul. I once thought the shadow cast by the body might serve as the original type; or the image reflected in the eye. But there is more than that in it! There is a shade which is not a shadow. Dr. Tylor says that ghost, or phantom, seen by the dreamer, or visionary, is like a shadow, and thus the familiar term of the shade comes to express the soul! Such, however, is not the origin, as the Egyptian Shade, or Khaba, proves. The Khaba, or third soul, is a light, visible, but not tangible, envelope of the Ba, or soul of the breath. Khab signifies cover, to veil, to cover over. It is applied to an eclipse; and what is shade in a burning land but cover? Hence the type of the third soul is an Egyptian sunshade! It is so the thought is thinged. But they did not require, nor did they devise, a sunshade to image something like a shadow seen in sleep! In the Text, the deceased rejoices that his shade, cover, or Khaba, has not been stripped from his Ba, or second soul, in death. More literally, that he hasn't lost his envelope! The Ba, distinguished from the Shade, is said to breathe. It is pourtrayed with a human head on the body of a bird, and may be seen in the Amenti, going through the hells accompanied by its sunshade, for cover in a burning land! It retains form, breath and shade or covering. The Egyptian sunshade is a fan--actually the shade of breath. Their symbolism was so near to the natural fact!
The shadow-soul of the Khonds is one that dies when the body dissolves, which shows that the Shade with them was this corporeal soul. The Greenlanders also recognised two souls as the Shade and the Breath.
The fourth soul is an Intelligence, a form of mind, as the Power to perceive, to memorize, expressed by the Scottish "mind," to mind, or remember; the Egyptian ment, to memorize. In "making his transformation into the Soul" (Rit. ch. 85), the Deceased exclaims, in this character, "I am Perception, who never perishes under the name of the Soul" of mere breath.
The third soul being a sense-perception, or corporeal spirit, the fourth an intelligence--the intelligence developing perceptibly in the growing child -- the fifth is the Animal soul that visibly descends upon the male nature at the period of puberty, and not till then. This was the first soul that was seen to have the power of perpetuating itself for this life! No child has such power; therefore at this stage it was held that the child did not possess this soul, and so, in another doctrinal development, it was taught that children who died in the pre-pubescent stage of life, had NO souls! They had the soul of blood and breath, and the Astral shade, or, as the Egyptians have it, the Envelope; they were not without intelligence; but the power of reproduction constituted a self-creative soul! It was on this ground, then, that children who died before the soul of manhood had descended on their nature to transform it at puberty, were supposed to have no substantial, or self-producing soul. This accounts for the superstition that they wandered about after death as elves, or Elementaries, on the outskirts of this life, unable to enter the other world. For the infant elementaries were believed to walk and wander as elves, fairies, and brownies, in search of a soul, or in want of a name--as the conferring of a name was one mode of constituting a personality, or communicating a soul to the child! This may be illustrated by the Scotch story,--an "un-christened wean" was seen wandering about at Whittingham, in Scotland, who could not obtain foothold on the threshold of the other world, being minus in the matter of an adult principle, or soul No. 5. Many saw, but none dared speak to the poor little fellow, for fear of having to give up their own soul to him.
One night, however, a drunken man addressed the Elementary,--"Hoo's a' wi' ye, the morn's morn, Short Hoggers?" (short stockings that were sole-less as the child itself!) And the Elementary, having a name conferred, cried joyfully,--"Oh! weel's me noo, I've gotten a name! They ca' me Short Hoggers o' Whittingham!" and vanished, having obtained his soul by proxy, or through Naming. These undeveloped little spirits became the "Wee-folk" that peopled fairy-world. The superstitions still retain traces of this origin; those of the Brownie, for example. He is a very helpful worker, who serves freely and faithfully by night in the house, or out on the farm by day. But show him a pair of breeks, and he's off like Aiken-drum, the brownie of Blednock. The reason why would never be divined, apart from the natural genesis here explained. Breeches are a type of that masculine soul which the Brownie had never attained, and the poor little Elementary could not face this significant reminder of the fatal fact!
Now observe, upon this primeval constitution of a soul the rite of baptism and conferring a name (the name of the father) is founded. The doctrine of conferring a soul by proxy is very general! Hence the god-father and god-mother, or the father-god and mother-god of earlier beliefs, who represented the adult creative source. Hence, also, the power falsely claimed by the Christian Church to-day to save the souls of children by baptismal grace, in response to the equally false belief that children would otherwise be lost, or have to go without an eternal soul! Children that die unbaptised in Russia are not registered at all; are (or were) not reckoned in the data for the laws of mortality! What an influence such a system must exert on the pietistic, the ignorant, and feeble-minded, in forcing them into the fold of faith, out of which is supposed to open the only doorway for their little ones into everlasting life! In this manner the modern sacerdotalists employ the fetishism of the ancient medicine men in the form of religious dogmas, superstitious doctrines, and rites supposed to save.
It was at this stage of the soul that the doctrine of Salvation by means of self-emasculation had its natural genesis, and men unsexed themselves to save their souls, becoming eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake; a doctrine of salvation taught by the Christ in Matthew's Gospel, which was carried out by the castrating Christians, who, like the Russian Skoptsi, looked forward to a millennium that was to come when all were self-mutilated. In the fragment of the "Egyptian Gospel," quoted both by Clement of Alexandria and Clement of Rome, we are told that the Christ, having been asked by Salome when his Kingdom was to come, answered, "When the male with the female shall be neither male nor female." Now the Christ of which that could be said is of necessity the Spiritual Christ of either or of both Sexes. This is also the Christ of Paul when he says, "There is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ." Christian literalisers sought to attain that type by unsexing themselves!
It follows, on the same physical basis, that the woman does not possess a soul, or, at least, not this particular soul, founded on the principle of virility, and that at this stage of thought she must derive her self-perpetuating soul from the masculine nature--if at all. In the Egyptian tale of the two brothers (in which we find the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife), the younger one is deprived of his virile soul, whereupon he says to his consort,-- "I am a woman, even as thou art." Here, then, the woman is also treated as the impubescent or soulless child! Some of the Christian fathers maintained that woman has no inherent soul, which proves they could not have been Spiritualists in any practical sense! They held that woman only represented matter (our soul No. 1) degraded and damned ever since the Fall of Man, and only to be saved by childbearing, as Paul teaches; that is, by the grace of the male, and the addition of a later soul. The Khonds of India, who had not got beyond the general Ancestral soul of the tribe, coupled this with the masculine power, and held that Woman was not a producer of soul; and they actually killed off their female children, because these shared in the Ancestral soul of the tribe, without contributing to the reserved stock, and were thus robbing the males of a portion of their own proper soul. If they reserved all the virile soul to themselves, they were brave enough to capture women and wives from other tribes; and such was their argument for and defence of female infanticide within their own tribe!
The Turks, in common with other races, hold that Woman has no soul--I am trying to show the natural ground for such belief!--and that if she is reproduced at the time of the resurrection, it will have to be in the image of the male. This doctrine was likewise maintained by Augustine, amongst other of the Christian Fathers; and it dimly survives to-day with the Mormons, whose wives are wedded to the male, in order that they who are by nature soulless may have a chance of being raised at the last day by the saving power of the husband; consequently, the more wives wedded the more souls saved. This doctrine of the masculine soul is illustrated in Egypt by the shebti image of the dead. Egyptologists, like Mariette, have been puzzled to know why the "double" of the dead, which is always a figure of the bearded male, should be found in the tombs, as the type of the re-arising female, as well as of the male. It was because at a certain stage of thought--in relation to the physical basis--the female had to rise again in the image of the masculine soul--the soul No. 5--if at all.
Thus, the potential immortality of the female is here made dependent on the male, through the primitive physiology dominating and determining the later doctrine. Here, as in so many other cases, it is a survival--simply a survival--from the early physics! good for its own meaning--but unable to carry us any further--except in the way in which it will mislead us. The potential immortality of the soul is one of the oldest beliefs common to the aboriginal and barbaric races of the world. Potential, or conditional immortality, is a doctrine put forward afresh in our time by Esoteric Buddhists and certain bibliolators! But these latter never can touch bottom or determine anything whatever by wrangling over a few texts of Scripture, that have been brought on without the explanation of the oral hidden wisdom. It may be truly said of the people of one book:--"Behold! ye know not anything!" Such doctrines as conditional immortality can only be judged by their natural genesis! We shall never get at them by mistaking what we cannot understand for a divine revelation; nor by reading into them a modern mis-interpretation.
We have now to go back and learn of the primitive and uncivilised races, with whom the loss, say of Memory, is the loss of a soul. Absence of mind may be another mode of losing your soul. To lose your shadow even by having your likeness taken, may be the means of losing your soul, as is yet believed! Or it may be, that under the affliction of bronchitis or asthma, you run very great risk of losing your prana or soul of breath. Under such circumstances a Fijian would lie down and call upon his departing soul to come back to his bosom; or the Karen magician will run after the sick man's butterfly, as they call his wavering, wandering soul of breath, and pray it to return. And if the spirit-doctor should fail to catch the butterfly (or psyche), because it has crossed the boundary of life and death, he tries to capture the Astral Shade of a living man which may be flitting about whilst its owner is sleeping with his six other souls (or any lesser number) in the land of dreams; so that when he wakes he sickens, pines, and dies, because his other souls will besure to go in search of the missing Astral Shade--or envelope--for cover! We smile at such simplicity, but--when Plato, or any other metaphysical perverter of primitive thought, sets forth the doctrine that our knowledge is a matter of memory, and our science a mere reminiscence, that is but a sophism founded on this fourth soul of the early philosophy, which dates from the time when the faculty of memorising was the highest recognised type of mind or a soul.
Again, one form of the adult or masculine soul was considered to be a secretion of the marrow, the Sanskrit mearg, or majja-rasa, the sap of life--the marrow of manhood, or soul of horn and bone. An Accra saying has it that "marrow is the father of blood"! In the earliest biology, blood was the mother of marrow. With this change of view it was fabled that the woman was created from the man, as Eve was taken from the bone of Adam, or derived from the soul of his bone, considered to be masculine, and, as such, a form of the fifth soul. Here we can trace yet another doctrinal development. At this stage fat and oil were offered to the dead, as a type of the marrow of life, and soul of bone: the fat that was placed in the cups on the tombstones of the buried dead. To this day the Red Indians sacredly place a lump of fat in the mouth of the corpse prepared for the grave; and the Romanists anoint the dying with the oil called "extreme unction." In Egypt the very divinity of Horus consisted in the preservation of the holy oil on his face; he who was the anointed or the greased, i.e., the Christ (Records of the Past, 10, 164); he who was "raised from the dead through (and as) the glory of the Father"; and whose earliest advent was in the male nature, as the anointed at the time of puberty. Hence fat or oil was used as a bone-type of the primitive soul of man--the sole bone from which the first woman ever was created. This, the fifth soul, was at one time the quintessence of a man!
When the brain had been identified as the physical basis, or matter of mind, the sixth soul was then derived from this Ritual (chap. lxxviii.), the Osirified deceased says,--"Horus has come to me out of my father Osiris!" "He has come to me out of the brains of his head!" That was as the nous of the Gnostics, the revealer of an intellectual soul, who in Egypt is the god Ptah, or Putah, the opener, whom I elsewhere identify with Buddha in India. The Hindu Buddhi is the sixth soul, and Putah is lord of the sixth creation: he is also known as the "wisdom of the first intellect." (See "Natural Genesis," section 9.)
The Seventh soul was derived from the individualised fatherhood, which was represented by the father Atum for the first time in the Egyptian mythology--Atum being equivalent to the Buddhist Atma, the creative soul. Atum of the seventh creation represents the eternal--he inspires the breath of life everlasting, and is called the one sole God without change. At this stage of attainment the soul exults that it is created forever, and is a soul beyond time. The deceased exclaims, "Shu causes me to shine as a living lord, and to be made the Seventh when he comes forth!" "I am the one born of Sevekh!" and Sevekh means the sevenfold or seventh, the type of attainment, as the seventh of the total series. This "is he who comes out sound (in death)--the Unknown is his name." The "mystery of this soul made by the gods" is described as being, as it were, "self-existence"--i.e. of the permanent entity attained at last. It is called the "reserved soul," the "engendered of the gods, who provided it with its shapes. Inexplicable is the genesis. It is the greatest of secrets." (Rit. ch. 15.)
In this way the seven souls were identified in Egypt, and may be formulated as--(1) the Soul of Blood, (2) the Soul of Breath, (3) the Shade or Covering Soul, (4) the Soul of Perception, (5) the Soul of Pubescence, (6) the Intellectual Soul, (7) the Spiritual Soul.
The first was formative.
The second soul breathed.
The third soul enveloped.
The fourth soul perceived.
The fifth soul procreated.
The sixth soul reproduced intellectually.
The seventh perpetuated permanently.
And at every one of these seven stages of development there was a fresh outgrowth of mythical legend or mystical representation--just as there might be a new efflorescence at the seven ascending knots of a bamboo cane. Much of this, however, has been shown in my "Natural Genesis," and cannot be repeated now.
But because the primitive and archaic man recognised and laid hold of seven elements, one after another, in the shape of form, breath, corporeal soul, perception, pubescent soul, intellectual soul, and an enduring soul, as a mode of identifying his physical elements and mental qualities--that does not make him resolvable into a number of elementary spirits after death, as if falsely imagined and maintained by the Esoteric Buddhists. There never were seven souls of blood, of breath, of cover, of perception, of the animal, intellectual, and spiritual nature which could have passed into another world as seven elementary spirits. These phantom likenesses of natural facts belonging to our past selves have no more power than photographs for each to become a future self. The shadows projected by the Seven did not, and could not, become spiritual beings in another world. They were only types for use in the mental world. They were a number of types, seven lines in an upward series, each of which served, for the time being, to denote the element at the time identified with or as the soul. We may look upon them as the seven lines of an ascending high-water mark.
The seven elements in the nature of man never could become anything more than seven types, according to an ascertained mode of typology; whereas the Esoteric Buddhist continues them as seven potential spirits of a man, the elementaries of another life, who may either attain the immortality of a united and permanent entity there, in some far-off future, or fail for lack of power to persist, and finally die out altogether. That is not a vision of the future, human or spiritual; it is but looking in a camera obscura held in front, which reflects in some dim and distorting manner a picture of the past that lies behind. We shall no more deposit seven, or even two, souls in death than Oliver Cromwell could have left behind him two skulls, found in two rival museums, one of which (the smaller of the two) was said to have been his skull when he was a boy!
These is nothing in the nature of things known or prefigured to warrant us in assuming a fundamental and enduring difference in the constituent quality of beings who belong to the same species. Nature gives no hint that we can either engender a force or destroy a faculty of persisting that may be called immortal--no hint that we can commit eternal suicide, and put an end to existence, any more than we could initiate our own beginning. It is here, as so often elsewhere, that an ancient mode of expression has become the modern mould of thought. The Esoteric Buddhists, like the primitive Christians, have been beguiled by the typology which they have failed to interpret. Of course, if you only credit an undeveloped being with the human form, the life of breath, the astral shade, and a twinkle of terrestrial intelligence, you can easily establish a doctrine of conditional immortality, but I affirm that it is solely on the plan of this primitive map of man, which was only tentatively true.
There never was a time when the adult male did not possess at least five of the seven principles or souls -- those of blood, breath, shade, perception, and the animal soul--howsoever small his intellect may have been. At least four of these souls--the soul of blood, breath, intelligence, and reproduction--belong to the animal in common with man; and so we find four souls are ascribed to the Bear by the Sioux Indians. The only possible human elementary spirit is the child that died before it came of age, and that is identifiably extant--in short, the seven were not souls in the flesh that when out of it could become seven orders of spirits objective to man. Seven elements, seven principles in seven degrees of the one life's development, became seven personalities or persons solely as a mode of expression, a classification in accordance with these primitive types. And being elements, when spoken of as personages they naturally become seven elementaries; and being elementaries in this biological sense of the true Esoteric teaching, they get mixed up with the seven powers of the elements or elementals and their prototypes, which never did, and never could, have a personal existence--never were living beings. Hence the dire confusion amongst the modern echoes of the ancient wisdom, and the indefiniteness of Esoteric Buddhism, on the subject of elementals and elementaries.
In the "Natural Genesis" I have traced the seven powers of the elements to their origin in external phenomena. The seven elementaries in the nature of man may also be followed as far as they will go.
In the Inscription of Una (Records of the Past; 2, 8), these Seven Souls of the Pharaoh are spoken of as being invoked "more than all the Gods." These were the Divine Ancestors, the Manes, who were worshipped in Egypt by the "Shus-en-Har," or followers of Horus, for thirteen hundred years before the time of Menes. Being Seven in Number, they are identical with the Seven Manus, Rishis, Elohim, and other Hebdomads found elsewhere. Their origin was in this wise. The Seven, who preceded the Eighth, being looked upon as progenitors of the one-enduring Soul, the Horus, Christ or Buddha, became a form of the Ancestors, or Manes; the nature of which has to be partly determined by the number Seven. They never were the Spirits of Individual Ancestors! They originated as seven human Elementaries, and not as Ghosts that made their appearance in a group of seven. These seven, being correlated and combined with the seven elemental forces recognised in external nature, we have that perplexing mixture of Elementaries and Elementals, on which subject we are told the Adepts are very diffident.
The Septenary of souls can be traced from first to last by means of the Egyptian doctrine of transformation. Thus the blood source that formed the embryo was quickened and transformed into the soul that breathed. The breathing soul attained cover, and transformed into the corporeal soul of shade; this transformed into an Intelligence. The intelligent youth transformed into the adult, when the animal soul, or pro-creative spirit, manifested at puberty. The adult soul transformed into the Hebrew Neshamah, the wise soul, or the Hindu Buddhi, the soul of ascertainment, and this into the soul that makes to re-live, which was represented by the God Atum, in whom the fatherhood was individualized at last as the begetter of an eternal soul; also by the Hebrew Adam, whose head reached up to the seventh Heaven.
This doctrine of transformation, and the unifying of various individualities into one personality, puts an end to the septenary, and to the diverse destinations after death of several human principles, which must have already attained totality by unity, in order that there might be a personality, or ego, in this life. Not one of the Seven Souls had obtained the permanent personality, and, as they were but seven rudimental factors in the development of an ultimate Soul, they could not become Seven Spirits as realities, or Apparitions, in another life. Each older self was merged in the now, and, therefore, the seven could neither be simultaneous nor contemporary, except when absorbed in the oneness of unity.
Hermes describes the one soul of the universe as entering into creeping things, and transforming into the soul of watery things, and this into the soul of things that live on the land; and airy ones are changed into men; and human souls that lay hold of immortality are changed into spirits, and so they ascend up to the region of the fixed stars (or gods), which is the eighth sphere; and this is the most perfect glory of the soul! But this was as the one soul of life, not as the eight, or seven individual souls. The eighth was the immortal blossom on the human branch.
The worst kind of haunting in this world is not done by the spirits of dead people, but by the phantoms of defunct ideas; the shadows cast upon the cloud-curtain of the hereafter by those things which were only types and figures of human realities here--not things in themselves from the first. And these seven, or other number of other selves, belonging to the one personality, have left their shadows in the domain of metaphysic, which is fundamentally fractured by this splitting up of the one personality into separate selves, whether sevenfold, fivefold, fourfold, threefold, or only secondary. Also, these ghosts of primitive physics are beginning to walk in our midst, and are trying to pass themselves off upon us as genuine spirit-phenomena. The Buddhist difference between personality and individuality was necessitated, and is explained by the individuality which may include a seven-fold form, or passage of the personality; seven persons in one ego, like the "Three Persons and one God" in the Trinity. In the process of doctrinal development, objective re-birth in a series of human lives, or spirits, has been substituted for the re-birth of the ego in personality at the different stages and conversions of the one being, whereas the original re-births were subjective, whether biological or psychical, and limited to the one life alone, in its successive stages of transformation.
Besides which, the Seven Souls are all summed up in an eighth.
This eighth to the seven is mentioned in the Book of Revelation, where the numbers of the Gnosis constitute Wisdom. The Beast, who is an Eighth, is also of the Seven! In Egypt it was the lunar Taht-Smen, the eighth, or the sun-god with the seven souls; in India, the god with seven arms. The eighth is also represented by the Buddha, who is the manifestor for the seven Buddhas, or Manus, and by the Gnostic Christ, who is called the eight-rayed star of the pleroma, or god-head, composed of seven earlier powers, of whom it is is said:--
"Then, out of gratitude for the great benefit which had been conferred on them, the whole pleroma of Æons, with one design and one desire, and with the concurrence of Christ and the holy spirit, their father also setting the seal of his approval on their conduct, brought together whatever each one had in himself of the greatest beauty and preciousness; and uniting all these contributions so as skilfully to blend the whole, they produced a being of most consummate beauty, the very star of the pleroma, and the perfect fruit (of it), namely, Jesus. Him they also speak of under the name of Saviour, and Christ, and, patronymically, Logos, and All Things, because he was formed from the contributions of all."
Such is the Gnostic account of the Christ as the eighth one, in whom the Seven Souls culminated. The seven spirits were also continued in the Gnostic system as the seven angels who convey the eternal soul to the human creature. You may see them in Didron's Christian Iconography as the Seven Doves which hover round the Virgin Mary, who carries the Christ in embryo--he who, as the eighth, became superior to the angels. The dove was also said by the Gnostics to represent Christ as the eight-fold one, or the illustrious Ogdoad; the number of the Dove being 801 in Greek letters. Hence the descent of the Dove that abode on Jesus when he attained the Christ-hood; where the symbol proves and identifies the typical and non-historical nature of the transaction, and the Gnostic character of the cumulative Christ.
The Ass, a Typhonian type of lunar phenomena, was likewise a representative of the Word or Logos that was reproduced as the Eighth--like the repeating note in the musical scale. It is well known that the bray of the donkey is just an octave in its range; and this made it an utterer of the Word or Logos, who was the Eighth. We read in the Ritual (ch. 125) that "Great words are spoken by the Ass!" And in old Egyptian the Ass has the name of Iu or Iao. The Eighth was the Seventh Soul, as first Person in the Hebdomad, the father-God afterwards reproduced as his own Son. This was Iu-em-hept (hept=7) in Egypt; the Ass-headed Iao-Sabaoth and Iao-Chnubis of the Gnostics. When expressed by means of external phenomena it was the Solar vivifier who was reproduced monthly, or annually, by the Mother-Moon; whence the re-birth or resurrection that is still dependent on the full moon of Easter; he who became Lord of the first day, or Sunday, instead of the seventh day, or Saturday.
The divine Fatherhood being founded at last in the God, or supreme one of the seven souls, whether called Atum-Ra, or Osiris in Egypt, Vishnu in India, Adam in the Greek Mysteries, or Jehovah amongst the Jews, his manifestor was impersonated as the divine son of the father-God, in whom the octave is attained, and the God-head of all the powers or souls is reproduced just as the eighth note in music is the note of repetition, reproduction, or re-appearance. And this eighth one was the Christ, as Iu-em-hept, the son of Atum, who is designated the "Eternal Word." This eighth one, as manifestor of the seven, was also Har-Khuti, in Egypt, the Lord of Lights and of the Glorified Elect, the God whose Sign is the Pyramid - figure of 7; Krishna Agni, or Buddha in India; Assur in Assyria; Pan, of the seven pipes, in Greece; and the Gnostic Christ, called Totem, the All, who was formed from the contributions of all the Seven, identical with the Buddha, who is the outcome of the seven Buddhas, the result of their "Collective Intelligence," called Adi-Buddha, or Buddha from the beginning, in allusion to this process of development; and whose symbol, like that of the Christ, and of Horus, is the star with eight rays! The Christ, or Mithras, or Horus, represented that height, or octave of attainment, to which the Gnostic adept aspired, and which Paul designates the full-grown Man, and the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ, or a sort of divine Octavius!
Such was the nature of the "Wisdom" that a Gnostic like Paul, Epopt and perfect, spoke amongst the perfected; and it would have been useless to have spoken such among A-Gnostics who were of the fleshly faith. This was the mystical Christ who came BY and AS the Holy Spirit; so Jesus is transformed into the Christ when the Holy Spirit descends upon him in his Baptism! But, after this transformation, it is said in the same Gospel that the Holy Spirit was not yet extant (or communicated), because Jesus was not yet glorified. To the genuine Gnostics this holy spirit always had been extant; but here we see its very existence made altogether dependent upon the personality and death of Jesus in the process of re-dating it and making him the author of it historically. Barnabas knew better. He identifies the Christ with the Man of the eighth Soul, who rose again on the Eighth Day of Creation!
Here the height was synonymous, and is identical, with the number eight! This height is represented in the Buddhist, Gnostic, and Mithraic mysteries by a ladder with eight steps, the eighth, or height, being the top of attainment, the place of the perfected; and so the octave was completed at last in Buddha-hood, in Elijah-hood, in Christ-hood, or the divine man-hood, of the pre-Christian religions; such likewise being the natural genesis of the eight ways and eight paths of Buddhism.
The Gnostics said salvation was brought by the Ogdoad; and the Saviour personified was the mystical Octavius: the superior man of the eighth creation! It is said by Peter in the Clementine Recognitions that there was an Ideal Man who had the right to the name of Messiah, because the Jews called their Kings the Christ, the Romans Cæsar, and the Egyptians Pharaoh. That is true. Each of these DID represent the same original type. The Roman Cæsar, the hairy, pubescent, or Anointed One, was an impersonation of this supreme soul; who happens to be the Eighth also by name in Octavianus, who was the first Emperor! (Born B.C. 63, called Augustus B.C. 27.) According to the Christianised Legends of the Sybil, the Romans wished to adore Octavianus as a divinity, but the Sybil showed him the Coming Christ in the Virgin's lap, whereupon he refused to be worshipped himself, took off his diadem, and adored the future child! Nevertheless, Octavianus was just as good an historical realisation of the mythical and mystical Christ as any personal Jesus could be; or, rather, both were equally impossible for those who knew.
Another Gnostic mode of illustrating this mystery may be pointed out in passing. The supreme personality was attained in the eighth degree of ascension, and the supreme sign of that personality, the pronoun I, was the ultimate outcome and representative sign of seven vowel sounds. Our letter I was the ai, ei, eta or ida of the Coptic, which has the numeral value of eight. Seven vowels, said the Gnostics, glorify the Word, and these were uttered in a single sound, in an O or an I. Thus the octave was completed, the height attained and expressed in a single letter sign, the I of Personality. The God was also invoked with adorations in the Greek Mysteries; possibly with the "8 Adorations," which are Egyptian and Chinese. This was another sign of the Eighth Soul, having the numerical value of Eight in hundreds. The sign survives as the vocative "Oh!" of religious aspiration.
According to the Gnosis, then, the Seven were only a group of phenomena which evolved the enduring entity at last, the eternal soul itself, into which they were transubstantiated in death; the re-appearing, manifesting spirit that was personified as the fully awakened Buddha, or the mystical Christ of the Mysteries. Such was the Finding of the Christ as a human product, which was first demonstrated by Spiritualism--the type having been continued by combining the mythical with the mystical! This was the "True Logos" which Philo and Celsus wrote about, the "Heavenly and indestructible offspring of a Divine and Incorporeal nature," the Gnostic "Light which lighteth every one that cometh into the world," not that earthly Shadow cast upon the background of ignorance called the Historical Christ. Such was the origin and mode of building up, stage by stage, the Christ of the Gnosis; the divine man, the man from heaven, described by Paul, the Christ of those who knew, the evolution of which has now been traced step by step to its culmination; the Christ of that spiritual existence beyond the grave, which was demonstrated in the mysteries of mediumship, who was called the son of God, also the son of man, because the son as manifestor implied the father as begetter! This was in the mystical phase.
In the moral aspect the Horus, Christ, or Buddha was set forth as a model to all men, the highest type of attainment for those who were climbing up the ladder of eight rounds. It was not the portrait of any one individual who could attain perfection once and for all as the representative of all men. That was the fatal mistake of the Christians--the men who did not know--as it is equally the error of those Esoterists who only pretend to know. The earliest mode of attaining this Christhood, or Buddhahood, was by cultivating the trance-conditions and becoming a spirit amongst spirits. This was moralised in a second phase when attainment was made dependent upon the practice of certain saving virtues. In the final phase conversion to a belief in the Christian scheme has taken the place of both!
It is positively provable that the Christ is but a type identical with the Horus, the Iao-Heptaktis, the Buddha or Pan of the prior cultus. According to Irenæus, the Valentinian Gnostics maintained the identity of the Saviour with Pan, who is called Christum in the Latin text. Pan was, of course, an earlier personification of the All, or "All Things." The type and origin are one, under whatsoever name. Consequently Pan, or Aristæus, with the seven-fold pipe in his hand, and the sheep on his shoulders, is the Christ, the Saviour, the Good Shepherd pourtrayed in the Roman Catacombs, instead of the historic Jesus, whose picture is not there.
The Christ or Buddha of the Gnostics could not become flesh once for all, as he was the supreme outcome and consummate flower of all flesh, in the culminating stage of spiritual attainment in life, and spiritual apparition after death. The Christ being an immortal principle, and very life itself, could not be put to death; so that "redemption by the death of Christ" is a fundamental fallacy from the first. Here, as in other matters, the essence of all the present writer has to say is, that a physical fulfilment is always and everywhere the doctrine of delusion. Historic personality could not authenticate the existence of the Buddha. It had no meaning when applied to the Christ.
They alone could accept such a version who were non-Gnostics and non-Spiritualists, entirely ignorant of the nature of the manifestor. It was the type of immortality, not as the mummy-image on earth, but as the starry Horus; as the Ka or glorified apparition that reappeared through the dark of death; as the risen Christ who rose upon the horizon of the resurrection; the Horus, whose name denotes the one who ascends as a spirit. For, the Egyptian, "only one who comes forth from the body" applies to the spirit in life, as well as in death. The art of leaving the body was common to the old dark races, and is practised by the rudest indigenes of many lands. The Khonds call it the art of Mleepa or transformation. An Egyptian artist named Iritsen (11th Dynasty) says he knows the "mystery of the Divine Word," and "how to produce the mode (or form) of issuing forth and coming in."
Whether in this life or another, the "Wise Spirits" were all one. "He has become as one of us" is said of Adam when he had become Dead as "Wise Spirits." It was this so-called Magical Art of producing abnormal conditions, and the faculty of Second Sight, that finally established the existence of a permanent individuality or soul beyond the Seven Elementaries. And it was the mystical Christ, so established, who alone could bring immortality to light; but not by a physical resurrection from the tomb. "I am the resurrection and the life" applies only to the principle or spirit--the 8th, as the one that rises again, the "only one," as the Ritual has it, "who ever comes from the body"--the typical eternal who appears as the deathless one upon the other side of the grave! This Christ cannot be made Historical or Personal FOR US,--only IN US! That is the doctrine of Paul, of Philo, and the Gnostics, opposed to the Christian doctrine of the physical or fleshly faith.
The ultimate soul, type or phase of existence, then, was not born as a mental concept, nor as the result of an induction, nor as the dream-shadow made objective; it was practically demonstrated as scientific matter - of - fact! The Christ of the Gnostics, of Philo-Judæus, and of Paul, the heavenly man, or second Adam, who came from Above, was no mere doctrinal abstraction, but the spirit or ghost that could be seen,--as it was seen by Paul in visions--and made to constitute his own special mystery; and always had been seen by those who possessed the second sight! even as it continues to be seen by the abnormal seers of to-day,--which ghost, according to the evidence collected by the Society for Psychical Research, is also visible at times to ordinary vision. In pourtraying their Ka image of the spiritual Ego, the glorified second-self, as a type of the Eternal Being, the Egyptians represented that which their Seers saw, and you may trust them for the truth in this, as in everything else, they were so entirely truthful. Indeed, I think the mind of man has never had so profound a sense of truth and verity as in the Egyptian phase. Through life they put their trust in truth, and it was their principle of cohesion in death.
The Osirified deceased says, "I am the Lord of Truth, living it daily. I am spiritualised, I have become a soul! I have touched truth." Their typical Eternal is called the sole being who lives by truth. Before the tribunal of eternal truth the accused pleads that he has not even altered a story in the telling of it! That alone was true which is for ever; and all along the line of progress they had groped in search of that which was ultimately true, and true for ever,--the exact opposite of the Hindu Maya, the untrue, or delusion. And they vouch for the fact that the Ghost of Man is a living reality--the final reality--the Horus or Christ. In comparison with those who know because they see that there is a continuity of existence beyond the change called death, because they have the faculty to perceive the dead as living phantasms embodied in a rarer form, we are all of us on the blind side of things! They know because they see; and we deny because we do not know. With the savage or the civilised seeing makes all the difference, and cuts short all question of the possibility of seeing.
But to return. Esoteric Buddhism tells us the higher principles of the series which go to constitute man are not fully developed in the mankind with which we are as yet familiar. Whereas this system of thought, this mode of representation, this septenary of powers, in various aspects, had been established in Egypt at least seven thousand years ago, as we learn from certain allusions to Atum found in the inscriptions lately discovered at Sakkarah. I say in various aspects because the Gnosis of the Mysteries was at least seven-fold in its nature--it was Elemental, Biological, Elementary (human), Stellar, Lunar, Solar, and Spiritual--and nothing short of a grasp of the whole system can possibly enable us to discriminate the various parts, distinguish one from the other, and determine the which and the what, as we try to follow the symbolical Seven through their several phases of character.
The Egyptian Ritual represents the drama of the doctrinal developments relating to the passage of the Deceased, with his trials and transformations in the underworld, which furnished the matter of the later mysteries, including the Greek, Mithraic, and Christian. In this, the Deceased plays over again the whole seven characters that went to the making up of the one personality, which became permanent in the eighth nature. He is reconstructed for the other life in exact accordance with the seven principles or souls with which he was constructed in this life. On the day of reckoning souls, the seven constituents have to be collected, counted, and united in one. According to the dramatic representation, immortality depended on totality. The seven chief
organs of life, or vehicles of Soul, were all preserved as types. And when put together again, according to pattern, he is as we say "all there," with the whole of his parts and members sound. The soul could exist independently of the heart, but there was no proper reconstruction possible without the heart being literally "in its right place."
It was thus they acted the Mystery. The Deceased cries, "Do not take my soul!" (Ba.) "Do not detain my shade!" (Khaba.) "Open the path to my shade, and my soul, and my intelligence (Akhu) to see the great God on the day of reckoning souls." One of the Genii says to him, "I join together thy bones for thee. I revive thy members for thee; I bring thee thy heart, and put it in its place." Then the Osirified deceased exclaims, "I am the reckoning which goes in"--"and the account which comes out"--i.e., when summed up and VERIFIED. When put together and divinized as the compound image of the Seven, it is said of the Eighth Soul, "Thy Individuality is permanent!" Having attained his sevenfold totality, he is the Eighth one, at peace as an enduring spirit, one of the Verified. The deceased is thus greeted, "Hail Osiris! thou hast come--thy ka (his spiritual image, or divine likeness) with thee!" and he is now hailed as the only one ever coming forth from the body, the foremost of those who belong to the solar race; the sun being the supreme type of the soul, as the Vivifier for ever. He has culminated in that unity which Spiritualism enables us to start with, without this prolegomena of the ancient physics. He makes the significant remark,--"I hasten to escape the Shades!" whose shadows have been utilised by our friends, the Theosophists, to explain away, or minimise the extant phenomena called Spiritualistic.
"The Third principle, or astral body," says Mr. Sinnett, "is that which is at times taken for the ghost of departed persons! Also, it may exude from the body of a spiritualistic medium, but it is no more a being than the cloud in the sky can become an animal, although it may show a spurious semblance in its form." This is to introduce the direst confusion, and to utterly mystify that which is sufficiently mystical! The corporeal or third soul of the series, only persists as a type, because it was once the highest representative of the soul. Souls that passed off into spirit-world when the soul was but a shade or covering soul, did not become sunshades in heaven nor fire-proofs in hell--nor can they issue from the medium's body as such, even through the sunshade is retained as a pictorial type of that soul! Yet the sunshade has an equal right to be classed among the Elementaries with the Astral Shade, or any other symbol of the soul. Indeed, the Siamese have the sunshade as a seven-fold type. Their sacred umbrella, that used to be the sunshade of royalty, had seven tiers to it, which represented the seven heavens in the mythical phase, and the seven souls in the mystical sense.
The spirit that returned to earth when the soul was the corporeal shade, and the third was the highest in the series, would be the Shade; this being the corporeal soul, when it appeared on a visit to the living it was supposed to go back to the body in the tomb, and to pass away altogether as the body decayed. It could not go to heaven when there was no heaven made out to go to. Being third in the series, this would become a ghost that only lived up to the third generation--as we find it among the Zulu Kaffirs! But the shade never could be one of seven souls emanating from the body of a medium. In such a climate as ours it would be economical if every medium could materialise and spread out a covering in that way! Of course, if you postulate or portray a soul at that immature stage of development, it will be without mind or memory, language, or individuality. It will be a shadow indeed! And so it reappears amongst the ghosts of Esoteric Buddhism, but it is not one of the Intelligences known to modern Spiritualism. We may as well say that the soul of blood became a red mouse, and the soul that fed on blood became a hawk, and so on all through the series of types; which they did according to the system of representation, although not in reality.
The Sevens were all correlated, the seven elemental powers, with the seven elements in man; and these seven souls, or elemental parts of man, were assigned to seven creators, or gods, and considered as seven creations in mythology, each of which had its zootype, such as the red mouse, the hawk, the ape, jackal, serpent, beetle, and crocodile. Seven zootypes having been adopted to represent seven elements in external nature, these or their equivalents were continued to express the seven elements or souls in man. The Shrew mouse was an Egyptian type of the first formation, the soul No. 1, the "blind Horus," as he was called; the hawk, of the second soul, that of breath and of sight; the monkey, of reflection (the other self); the jackal, of memory; the serpent (or goose which laid the egg), of the transformation into adultship; the frog (or beetle), of the transformation into an intellect; and the crocodile, Sevekh, which is number seven, into the Seer unseen, the soul as supreme one of the seven souls.
Now, as a soul was once typified by the red mouse, it is certain that the soul or ghost will be seen as a red mouse; and accordingly this soul was seen as the red mouse that came out of the sleeper's mouth, in a German story. This red mouse of a soul is also mentioned by Goëthe in "Faust." That is the red mouse that typified the primary soul of blood. The German goddess Holda, the receiver of children's souls, is represented as commanding a multitude of mice. Moreover, the mouse is sure to survive in a sort of spirit-world; and here we have it. The moon was a re-birthplace for the most elementary or rudimentary souls, because it was the first step on the planetary ladder, above the sublunary sphere. And so we find the myth of souls in the moon in the shape of little mice. The Dakota Indians say the waning of the moon is caused by multitudes of mice that are nibbling at it and causing its disappearance--the mouse being an Egyptian emblem of disappearance.
The mouse was a type of the first Horus, or soul No. 1. The hawk is a type of the soul of breath, or soul No. 2, because as Hor-Apollo explains, the hawk drinks blood, never water, and the soul is sustained by blood. As there was a soul that fed on blood in this life, the soul emaned from the body in death at that stage of thought and expression, will continue the type in another phase and sphere; so we have a soul or spirit of the dead that is supposed to come out of the corpse to suck the blood of the living; and the origin of the Vampire, that only lives by drinking human blood, has to be sought at this depth of rootage; for the blood-sucking demons of various kinds are held to be human souls, and not the elemental powers personified. If you consider (as I do) the ghost to be an objective fact in nature, the power to demonstrate, and the vision for seeing, may have existed from the earliest times, and there would be apparitions when the biology had only identified the blood with the soul of life!
Now there is not only evidence of a haunting spirit at this stage -- a soul of blood--a gory ghost, as the Vampire, but certain evil spirits, when conquered by a Mage like Solomon, always fled to, and were drowned in, the Red Sea, which was their fabled home and birthplace. That is the Egyptian Red Lake of Primordial Matter! In the Book of the Dead, certain undeveloped and rudimentary souls are sent back again, doomed to be resolved into the primal element, and are said in the texts to be suppressed in blood; they make their typical return to that from which they came.
Each of the Seven Principles, or Appetites, or souls, had the physical prototype, that was separately preserved by the Egyptians--the brain, tongue, heart, stomach, and other vehicles of life. Thus when the Kroo negroes hold that the stomach of a man ascends to heaven after death, we can understand it as a representative of one of the souls, or appetites. This soul of the stomach would need to be fed. No wonder, then, if we should hear of a demon in the shape of a stomach that goes about seeking whom it may devour. This is the Kephu of the Karens, a wandering wizard's stomach supposed to prey upon the souls of men.
Raw flesh and blood were offered to the uncivilised and gory ghost. But in the second phase a Soul of Breath would be more refined and not considered capable of consuming material food. At this stage we hear of the spirits snuffing the vapours and steam of victuals, inhaling the essences and smelling the aroma of food or the fragrance of flowers. In fine, we see provisions cold and hot offered--some things to eat and others to smell--the body and spirit of aliment, so to say, being presented to the Corporeal Soul of Matter and the less palpable Soul of Breath.
The shrew-mouse, or the bird, has no likeness to the human being, but the ape has a little. And at this third stage the nearest likeness to the human is adapted to express the other, or reflected, self, at the stage of the third soul; the Shade in Egypt is synonymous with the God Shu, one of whose types is the Great Ape. The Ape, as a type of the Soul, may account for the African superstition of men being changed into monkeys after death; the primitive symbol having been literalised. Now, Esoteric Buddhism professes to give some account of the seven races of man (which are founded on the seven souls) and of the evolution of the elementary into the human. In his third stage we are told that the "Coming man had developed at first the form rather of a giant ape than of a true man, but with intelligence coming more and more into the ascendant." Here we can clutch the proof that the third race is a continuation of the third soul, and that the basis of both is to be found in Egyptian typology; for the giant ape in Egypt was the type of the third elementary, the God Shu, or shade, the monkey-man on the monuments!
The Marawi say the souls of bad men after death will become jackals; and the jackal was another of the elementaries, the one who possibly represented the fourth soul, that of memory, as he was made the remembrancer and recorder of the gods.
The soul was also reckoned to be a birth of time! Hermes alludes to every soul that is in flesh by the wonderful working of the gods in circles! In the Ritual the deceased says, "My soul is from the beginning, from the reckoning of years"--and he boasts that he has time in his body! Time is Seb, and the soul of Seb is the soul of pubescence--our soul No. 5. The goose that laid the egg was a type of this soul! The goose being a representative of the soul born of time, an equivalent for the soul according to a symbolical mode of expression, you have only to continue that type in spirit-world or fairy-world for the goose to become identical with a spirit, and you may expect to find the goose amongst the elementaries--as in fact we do. In German faeryology, or the spiritualism of folk-lore, we find a class of earth-spirits, or wee folk, who visit the living; and when the ground is strewn with ashes overnight the footprints are supposed to be visible next morning as those of the goose or duck.
Here the returning spirit is identifiable with the likeness of Seb, or with his type the goose, but it does not mean that the human soul came back upon the feet of a goose! The ancient typology was continued, and remains to be interpreted. Take it literally at any stage and you must be all wrong, as are those Esoteric Buddhists who have mistaken an ancient mode of expression for a reality, and continued it into the future of the human soul, and applied it to the development of the human race, in doing which they are but wandering in a mental wilderness that is dark overhead with the shadows of the past.
The beetle was a type of our sixth soul, an emblem of transformation; and some of the primitive races held that a certain low class of spirits turn into beetles after death.
The crocodile, whose Egyptian name is Sevekh, or seventh, was a type of intelligence, as the seventh soul, the supreme one of seven, because (so Plutarch says) it could see in the water when its eyelids were closed over the eyes. It was thus the seer unseen. In the Kaffir languages the crocodile and a spirit (i.e., a soul, or the intelligence) have the same name. It is said to be believed by some of the Inner Africans that when a child of their's is born the mother gives birth to a crocodile at the same time. Here the Egyptian symbolism (over which I have spent a third of my lifetime) will enable us to interpret the meaning! These poor people intend to say their children are born with an intelligent soul, and the fact is expressed in the African language of typology.
But the human soul in its upward ascent had not actually passed through the stages of the mouse, hawk, ape, jackal, goose, beetle, and crocodile; nor will it return to or in any such shapes; nor did it project seven such elementaries as its shadows into spirit-world; nor did any primitive race, whether savage, Egyptian, or Hindu, ever think these things. Nor were they evolutionists in the Darwinian sense. It was a mode of expression, still readable in the Ritual, where the speaker, in making his transformations of the soul, says--"I am the mouse," "I am the hawk," "I am the ape;" jackal, goose, or serpent; "I am the crocodile whose soul comes from men"--that is, as a type of intelligence; "I am the soul of the gods," the Horus, or Christ, as the outcome of all.
Moreover, each of these souls had its representative type of Sacrifice that was eaten in eucharistic rites, and these might be traced more or less from the Shrew-mouse, that was eaten by the Hebrews, down to the body and blood of Jesus eaten by the Christians, as a mystery of transubstantiation.
It is in vain that the Pseudo-Esoterists try to saddle modern Spiritualism with this bestial set of acquaintances, elementaries, shadows, and shells as our relatives in another world. They are ignorant of the beginning, the natural genesis of this system of representation. They do not seem to know that the transformations of Buddha were of the same character, and originated in the same zoomorphic typology. The Buddha, or supreme soul, that reaches the top of attainment as the outcome of the previous seven, has in a sense been all seven, because of the one life running through them all--just as the mature man has been boy, babe, embryo. It consequently follows that whatsoever types the seven have been masked under, or represented by, may be applied to the Buddha as the ascending human soul. Hence he has various transmigrations and re-births, in which he emerges now as a bird, an ape, a frog--now as one kind of animal, now as another, because these were at first symbolic of the seven elements of body and soul that made up the totality of being--which elements in man, or in external nature, had been imaged by the zootypes of totemism that were continued as ideographs in a later phase of thought, and had no reference at all to any remote course of pre-human evolution on earth.
The Seven Races of Men that have been sublimated and made Planetary by Esoteric Buddhism, may be met with in the Bundahish as (1) the earth-men; (2) water-men; (3) breast-eared men; (4) breast-eyed men; (5) one-legged men; (6) bat-winged men; (7) men with tails. But these were never real races of men.
These are they who were created in the likenesses of the Seven Elementals, who were represented by Zootypes, which were afterwards continued in the heraldry of Tribal Totemism. Mr. Sinnett's instructors have mistaken these shadows of the Past, for things human and spiritual. They are neither, and never were either. This mode of representation can be studied as intended typology in Egypt, whereas, in India, a land that is haunted with the phantoms of metaphysics, it has been perverted into a system of metempsychosis, and a doctrine of migration for the human soul. In the Egyptian Judgment scenes, it is common to see the wicked soul sent back as, or by means of, an unclean beast--the sow being the type of uncleanness. Such symbolical representation was made actual in India, where such souls are sent back to earth as beasts or reptiles. It is affirmed in the Book of Manu that "In whatever disposition a man accomplishes such and such an act, he shall reap the fruit in a body endowed with such and such a quality."
As Hor-Apollo says, the Egyptians denoted a people obedient to their king, by depicting a bee! and then the Jewish Rabbins, adopting the type, say the soul of a governor who exalts himself proudly above his people, goes into a bee! When the Jews speak of souls that migrate into beasts and birds, and Plato of souls being re-incarnated into birds and beasts, they are making unwarrantable use of the primitive typology. In the later teachings, conveyed by means of the ancient symbolism, it was threatened that the fleshly soul would be reborn as a mouse or an ass; the thief would become a rapacious rat; the coward, a reptile; the bloodthirsty tyrant a vulture, or devouring beast of prey; the lowest classes, into the vilest creatures.
This is but the other side of the same mental coinage, and it is only to be understood as belonging to the same symbolism. All such primitive doctrines were indigenous to India, long ages before the latest Esoteric Buddhism was born; and here, as elsewhere, only in the earliest phases and physics, can we ever reach the root of the matter. So often the more abstract doctrines have no other foundation than this of perverted typology, the resulting metaphysical phantasmagoria being then put forth as an Esoteric revelation! That is, the mode or representation, which was only true as fable, has been moralized and made false in fact. An ancient mode of expression has become a modern mould of thought.
I once had a singular experience with an incipient medium, who came to me at the moment when my mind was full of Egyptian hieroglyphics. After he had entered the state of trance, these images appeared to take shape and "go for him!" He seemed to be surrounded and pursued by the very animals I had just been copying. Because he at first mistook the mental pictures for objective realities! And this is exactly what has been done by the pseudo-Esoterists represented by Mr. Sinnett.
The natural genesis was physical and followable; the expression was typical. In the later metaphysical phase we have only the shadow, the returning manes of the once living meaning, trying to pass itself off as a revelation of future reality. Metamorphosis of the soul was ancestral, biological, and figurative, at first; then it was continued in the astronomical allegory--both of which are omitted by the pseudo-Esoterists. And, lastly, it was made mystical by metaphysical assumption in the later systems of Esoteric hermeneutics; and now it is pretended that the last was first, and the uppermost stratum was primary, or, in the beginning, which it IS only in beginning to go back.
In conclusion. It has been my literary lot to explore the past of human thought, and its modes of expression, somewhat thoroughly, as an evolutionary fundamentalist. The obscurity lessened by slow degrees. I began to see how the primary "types" of thought were originated of necessity, and for use; how they became the signs of expression in language and mythology; and how theology, by its perversions and misrepresentations, has instituted a reign of error throughout the whole domain of religion. But, I am not one of those who go back to rehabilitate the past, or resuscitate the religion of Osiris, or Hermes, or Buddha, any more than that assigned to Jesus by 300 sects of Christians. Neither am I at enmity with the Theosophists. I am ready to join hands with all who work for the universal brotherhood; and I am their best ally, if they only knew it.
My desire is to gain all the knowledge the past can give, and supplement it with all that is known in the present, but with face set steadfastly toward the dawn of a still more luminous day of a larger knowledge, and of loftier out-look in the future! If we turn back to the past for our revelation and authoritative teaching, we are exalting the child as father to the man. The past is a region to explore, and learn of it all we can. It is impossible to understand the present without the profoundest knowledge of the past. Without a comprehension of the laws of evolution and development in the past, and of survival in the present, we can have no opinion ourselves that is of the least value to others.
And then we want to get out of it, and away from it, by growth, individual and national, as fast and as far as ever we are able. They are blind guides who seek to set up the past as superior to the present, because they may have a little more than ordinary knowledge of some special phase of it! There were no other facts or faculties in nature for the Hindu adepts or Egyptian Rekhi than there are for us, although they may have brooded for ages and ages over those of a supra-normal kind. The faculties with which the Adepts can--as Mr. Sinnett says--read the mysteries of other worlds, and of other states of existence, and trace the current of life on our globe, are identical with those of our clairvoyants and mediums, however much more developed and disciplined they may be in the narrower grooves of ancient knowledge. Much of the wisdom of the past depends on its being held secret and Esoteric--on being "kept dark," as we say. It is like the corals, that live whilst they are covered over and concealed in the waters, but die on reaching day!
Moreover, it is a delusion to suppose there is anything in the experience or wisdom of the past, the ascertained results of which can only be communicated from beneath the cloak and mask of mystery, by a teacher who personates the unknown accompanied by rites and ceremonies belonging to the pantomime and paraphernalia of the ancient medicine men. They are the cultivators of the mystery in which they seek to enshroud themselves, and live the other life as already dead men in this; whereas we are seeking to explore and pluck out the heart of the mystery. Explanation is the soul of science. They will tell you we cannot have their knowledge without living their life. But we may not all retire into a solitude to live the existence of ecstatic dreamers. Personally I do not want the knowledge for myself.
These treasures I am in search of I need for others. I want to utilise both tongue and pen and printer's type; and if there are secrets of the purer and profounder life, we cannot afford them to be kept secret; they ask to be made universally known. I do not want to find out that I am a god in my inner consciousness. I do not seek the eternal soul of self. I want the ignorant to know, the benighted to become enlightened, the abject and degraded to be raised and humanized; and would have all means to that end proclaimed world-wide, not patented for the individual few, and kept strictly private from the many. I cannot join in the new masquerade and simulation of ancient mysteries manufactured in our time by Theosophists, Hermeneutists, pseudo-Esoterists, and Occultists of various orders howsoever profound their pretensions. The very essence of all such mysteries as are got up from the refuse leavings of the past is pretence, imposition, and imposture. The only interest I take in the ancient mysteries is in ascertaining how they originated, in verifying their alleged phenomena, in knowing what they meant on purpose to publish the knowledge as soon and as widely as possible. Public experimental research, the printing press, and a free-thought platform, have abolished the need of mystery. It is no longer necessary for Science to take the veil, as she was forced to do for security in times past. Neither was the ancient gnosis kept concealed at first on account of its profundity, so much as on account of its primitive simplicity. That significance which the esoteric misinterpreters try to read into it was not in the nature of it originally--always excepting the phenomena of Spiritualism. There is a regular manufacture of the old masters carried on by impostors in Rome.
The modern manufacture of ancient mysteries is just as great an imposition, and equally sure to be found out. Do not suppose I am saying this, or waging war, on behalf of the mysteries called Christian, for I look upon them as the greatest imposition of all. Rome was the manufactory of old masters 1800 years ago. I am opposed to all man-made mystery, and all kinds of false belief. The battle of truth and error is not to be darkly fought now-a-days behind the mask of secrecy. Darkness gives all its advantage to error; day light alone is in favour of truth! Nature is full of mystery; and we are here to make out the mysteries of Nature and draw them into day-light, not to cultivate and keep veiled the mysteries made by man in the day of his need or the night of his past. We want to have done with the mask of mystery and all the devious devilries of its double-facedness, so that we may look fully and squarely into the face of Nature for ourselves, whether in the past, present, or future. Mystery has been called the mother of abominations, but the abominations themselves are the superstitions, the rites and ceremonies, the dogmas, doctrines, delusive idealisms, and unjust laws that have been falsely founded on the ancient mysteries by ignorant literalisation and esoteric misinterpretation!
The Karast, which I claim
to be the Egyptian original of the Greek Christ, was an image of rising again--a
representative of the resurrection; and in speaking of this symbol I ought to
have pointed to the fact that the alleged historic resurrection of Jesus has
never yet been found pourtrayed on the so-called early Christian Monuments,
including those discovered in the Roman Catacombs. But what do we find there
in place of the missing fact? The scene of Lazarus being raised from the
dead. This is depicted over and over again as the typical resurrection
where there is no real one! Christ of Egypt reproduced in Rome like the
other Mythical types perpetuated there by Gnostic Art. As the image is Egyptian,
it is probable that the name is so likewise. Las (or ras) signifies to
be raised up, and aru is another name for the Mummy-type; so that Las-aru,
or Lazarus, with the Greek terminal, is the Egyptian symbol of resurrection
called the Karast, or Christ. This typical and pictorial representation
of the rising from the dead would become the story of Lazarus in the natural
course of humanising the Mythos.
A correspondent writes:--"I
am reading this extraordinary 'Seven Souls' lecture, and have been able
to follow you as far as the following statement, whereat I stick. I am compelled
to trouble you for an explanation. You say: 'The Roman Cæsar, the hairy,
pubescent, or anointed one, was an impersonation of this supreme soul; he happens
to be the eighth by name in Octavianus!' This looks like converting history
into typology. Whatever the root significance of the term 'Cæsar' may
be, was it not the historical Julius Cæsar who really made, i.e., signalised
it, by his deeds?--the name subsequently becoming a complimentary title assumed
by the Emperors who were supposed, each in turn, to reflect the lustre of the
No. But this may serve as a useful
illustration of the historical versus the mythical view of the Christ. I
fear, however, that it is a failing of mine to make too many passing allusions,
and use too few words where explanations may be most needed. I mean the Cæsar
(of whom, in the case of Julius, the Roman legends related that he was born
with very long hair; like the long-haired Horus, or the long-haired Christ),
had a mythical origin, and bore a title that was typical. Historical rulers
were invested with divinity
in this way, and made into mundane representatives of the Gods. It has been
my work to trace such origins on various lines of research. For these mythical
origins are manifold; they can only be distinguished and determined by knowing
their Genesis in natural phenomena. In the present instance, I suggest or claim
that the Cæsar as well as the Ra, the Repa, the Buddha, or the Christ,
was a titular representative of the eighth, the total and eternal soul -- mythically
the re-born Sun; mystically the re-born Spirit or glorified Ghost of Man.
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