WHILE Mnesarchus, the father of Pythagoras, was in the city of Delphi on matters pertaining to his business as a merchant, he and his wife, Parthenis, decided to consult the oracle of Delphi as to whether the Fates were favorable for their return voyage to Syria. When the Pythoness (prophetess of Apollo) seated herself on the golden tripod over the yawning vent of the oracle, she did not answer the question they had asked, but told Mnesarchus that his wife was then with child and would give birth to a son who was destined to surpass all men in beauty and wisdom, and who throughout the course of his life would contribute much to the benefit of mankind. Mnesarchus was so deeply impressed by the prophecy that he changed his wife’s name to Pythasis, in honor of the Pythian priestess. When the child was born at Sidon in Phœnicia, it was–as the oracle had said–a son. Mnesarchus and Pythasis named the child Pythagoras, for they believed that he had been predestined by the oracle.
Many strange legends have been preserved concerning the birth of Pythagoras. Some maintained that he was no mortal man: that he was one of the gods who had taken a human body to enable him to come into the world and instruct the human race. Pythagoras was one of the many sages and saviors of antiquity for whom an immaculate conception is asserted. In his Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins writes: “The first striking circumstance in which the history of Pythagoras agrees with the history of Jesus is, that they were natives of nearly the same country; the former being born at Sidon, the latter at Bethlehem, both in Syria. The father of Pythagoras, as well as the father of Jesus, was prophetically informed that his wife should bring forth a son, who should be a benefactor to mankind. They were both born when their mothers were from home on journeys, Joseph and his wife having gone up to Bethlehem to be taxed, and the father of Pythagoras having travelled from Samos, his residence, to Sidon, about his mercantile concerns. Pythais [Pythasis], the mother of Pythagoras, had a connexion with an Apolloniacal spectre, or ghost, of the God Apollo, or God Sol, (of course this must have been a holy ghost, and here we have the Holy Ghost) which afterward appeared to her husband, and told him that he must have no connexion with his wife during her pregnancy–a story evidently the same as that relating to Joseph and Mary. From these peculiar circumstances, Pythagoras was known by the same title as Jesus, namely, the son of God; and was supposed by the multitude to be under the influence of Divine inspiration.”
This most famous philosopher was born sometime between 600 and 590 B.C., and the length of his life has been estimated at nearly one hundred years.
The teachings of Pythagoras indicate that he was thoroughly conversant with the precepts of Oriental and Occidental esotericism. He traveled among the Jews and was instructed by the Rabbins concerning the secret traditions of Moses, the lawgiver of Israel. Later the School of the Essenes was conducted chiefly for the purpose of interpreting the Pythagorean symbols. Pythagoras was initiated into the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Chaldean Mysteries. Although it is believed by some that he was a disciple of Zoroaster, it is doubtful whether his instructor of that name was the God-man now revered by the Parsees. While accounts of his travels differ, historians agree that he visited many countries and studied at the feet of many masters.
“After having acquired all which it was possible for him to learn of the Greek philosophers and, presumably, become an initiate in the Eleusinian mysteries, he went to Egypt, and after many rebuffs and refusals, finally succeeded in securing initiation in the Mysteries of Isis, at the hands of the priests of Thebes. Then this intrepid ‘joiner’ wended his way into Phoenicia and Syria where the Mysteries of Adonis were conferred upon him, and crossing to the valley of the Euphrates he tarried long enough to become versed in, the secret lore of the Chaldeans, who still dwelt in the vicinity of Babylon. Finally, he made his greatest and most historic venture through Media and Persia into Hindustan where he remained several years as a pupil and initiate of the learned Brahmins of Elephanta and Ellora.” (See Ancient Freemasonry, by Frank C. Higgins, 32°.) The same author adds that the name of Pythagoras is still preserved in the records of the Brahmins as Yavancharya, the Ionian Teacher.
Pythagoras was said to have been the first man to call himself a philosopher; in fact, the world is indebted to him for the word philosopher. Before that time the wise men had called themselves sages, which was interpreted to mean those who know. Pythagoras was more modest. He coined the word philosopher, which he defined as one who is attempting to find out.
After returning from his wanderings, Pythagoras established a school, or as it has been sometimes called, a university, at Crotona, a Dorian colony in Southern Italy. Upon his arrival at Crotona he was regarded askance, but after a short time those holding important positions in the surrounding colonies sought his counsel in matters of great moment. He gathered around him a small group of sincere disciples whom he instructed in the secret wisdom which had been revealed to him, and also in the fundamentals of occult mathematics, music, and astronomy, which he considered to be the triangular foundation of all the arts and sciences.
When he was about sixty years old, Pythagoras married one of his disciples, and seven children resulted from the union. His wife was a remarkably able woman, who not only inspired him during the years of his life but after his assassination continued to promulgate his doctrines.
As is so often the case with genius, Pythagoras by his outspokenness incurred both political and personal enmity. Among those who came for initiation was one who, because Pythagoras refused to admit him, determined to destroy both the man and his philosophy. By means of false propaganda, this disgruntled one turned the minds of the common people against the philosopher. Without warning, a band of murderers descended upon the little group of buildings where the great teacher and his disciples dwelt, burned the structures and killed Pythagoras.
Accounts of the philosopher’s death do not agree. Some say that he was murdered with his disciples; others that, on escaping from Crotona with a small band of followers, he was trapped and burned alive by his enemies in a little house where the band had decided to rest for the night. Another account states that, finding themselves trapped in the burning structure, the disciples threw themselves into the flames, making of their own bodies a bridge over which Pythagoras escaped, only to die of a broken heart a short time afterwards as the result of grieving over the apparent fruitlessness of his efforts to serve and illuminate mankind.
His surviving disciples attempted to perpetuate his doctrines, but they were persecuted on every hand and very little remains today as a testimonial to the greatness of this philosopher. It is said that the disciples of Pythagoras never addressed him or referred to him by his own name, but always as The Master or That Man. This may have been because of the fact that the name Pythagoras was believed to consist of a certain number of specially arranged letters with great sacred significance. The Word magazine has printed an article by T. R. Prater, showing that Pythagoras initiated his candidates by means of a certain formula concealed within
PYTHAGORAS, THE FIRST PHILOSOPHER.
From Historia Deorum Fatidicorum.
During his youth, Pythagoras was a disciple of Pherecydes and Hermodamas, and while in his teens became renowned for the clarity of his philosophic concepts. In height he exceeded six feet; his body was as perfectly formed as that of Apollo. Pythagoras was the personification of majesty and power, and in his presence a felt humble and afraid. As he grew older, his physical power increased rather than waned, so that as he approached the century mark he was actually in the prime of life. The influence of this great soul over those about him was such that a word of praise from Pythagoras filled his disciples with ecstasy, while one committed suicide because the Master became momentarily irritate over something he had dome. Pythagoras was so impressed by this tragedy that he never again spoke unkindly to or about anyone.
the letters of his own name. This may explain why the word Pythagoras was so highly revered.
After the death of Pythagoras his school gradually disintegrated, but those who had benefited by its teachings revered the memory of the great philosopher, as during his life they had reverenced the man himself. As time went on, Pythagoras came to be regarded as a god rather than a man, and his scattered disciples were bound together by their common admiration for the transcendent genius of their teacher. Edouard Schure, in his Pythagoras and the Delphic Mysteries, relates the following incident as illustrative of the bond of fellowship uniting the members of the Pythagorean School:
“One of them who had fallen upon sickness and poverty was kindly taken in by an innkeeper. Before dying he traced a few mysterious signs (the pentagram, no doubt) on the door of the inn and said to the host, ‘Do not be uneasy, one of my brothers will pay my debts.’ A year afterwards, as a stranger was passing by this inn he saw the signs and said to the host, ‘I am a Pythagorean; one of my brothers died here; tell me what I owe you on his account.'”
Frank C. Higgins, 32°, gives an excellent compendium of the Pythagorean tenets in the following outline:
“Pythagoras’ teachings are of the most transcendental importance to Masons, inasmuch as they are the necessary fruit of his contact with the leading philosophers of the whole civilized world of his own day, and must represent that in which all were agreed, shorn of all weeds of controversy. Thus, the determined stand made by Pythagoras, in defense of pure monotheism, is sufficient evidence that the tradition to the effect that the unity of God was the supreme secret of all the ancient initiations is substantially correct. The philosophical school of Pythagoras was, in a measure, also a series of initiations, for he caused his pupils to pass through a series of degrees and never permitted them personal contact with himself until they had reached the higher grades. According to his biographers, his degrees were three in number. The first, that of ‘Mathematicus,’ assuring his pupils proficiency in mathematics and geometry, which was then, as it would be now if Masonry were properly inculcated, the basis upon which all other knowledge was erected. Secondly, the degree of ‘Theoreticus,’ which dealt with superficial applications of the exact sciences, and, lastly, the degree of ‘Electus,’ which entitled the candidate to pass forward into the light of the fullest illumination which he was capable of absorbing. The pupils of the Pythagorean school were divided into ‘exoterici,’ or pupils in the outer grades, and ‘esoterici,’ after they had passed the third degree of initiation and were entitled to the secret wisdom. Silence, secrecy and unconditional obedience were cardinal principles of this great order.” (See Ancient Freemasonry.)
The study of geometry, music, and astronomy was considered essential to a rational understanding of God, man, or Nature, and no one could accompany Pythagoras as a disciple who was not thoroughly familiar with these sciences. Many came seeking admission to his school. Each applicant was tested on these three subjects, and if found ignorant, was summarily dismissed.
Pythagoras was not an extremist. He taught moderation in all things rather than excess in anything, for he believed that an excess of virtue was in itself a vice. One of his favorite statements was: “We must avoid with our utmost endeavor, and amputate with fire and sword, and by all other means, from the body, sickness; from the soul, ignorance; from the belly, luxury; from a city, sedition; from a family, discord; and from all things, excess.” Pythagoras also believed that there was no crime equal to that of anarchy.
All men know what they want, but few know what they need. Pythagoras warned his disciples that when they prayed they should not pray for themselves; that when they asked things of the gods they should not ask things for themselves, because no man knows what is good for him and it is for this reason undesirable to ask for things which, if obtained, would only prove to be injurious.
The God of Pythagoras was the Monad, or the One that is Everything. He described God as the Supreme Mind distributed throughout all parts of the universe–the Cause of all things, the Intelligence of all things, and the Power within all things. He further declared the motion of God to be circular, the body of God to be composed of the substance of light, and the nature of God to be composed of the substance of truth.
Pythagoras declared that the eating of meat clouded the reasoning faculties. While he did not condemn its use or totally abstain therefrom himself, he declared that judges should refrain from eating meat before a trial, in order that those who appeared before them might receive the most honest and astute decisions. When Pythagoras decided (as he often did) to retire into the temple of God for an extended period of time to meditate and pray, he took with his supply of specially prepared food and drink. The food consisted of equal parts of the seeds of poppy and sesame, the skin of the sea onion from which the juice had been thoroughly extracted, the flower of daffodil, the leaves of mallows, and a paste of barley and peas. These he compounded together with the addition of wild honey. For a beverage he took the seeds of cucumbers, dried raisins (with seeds removed), the flowers of coriander, the seeds of mallows and purslane, scraped cheese, meal, and cream, mixed together and sweetened with wild honey. Pythagoras claimed that this was the diet of Hercules while wandering in the Libyan desert and was according to the formula given to that hero by the goddess Ceres herself.
The favorite method of healing among the Pythagoreans was by the aid of poultices. These people also knew the magic properties of vast numbers of plants. Pythagoras highly esteemed the medicinal properties of the sea onion, and he is said to have written an entire volume on the subject. Such a work, however, is not known at the present time. Pythagoras discovered that music had great therapeutic power and he prepared special harmonies for various diseases. He apparently experimented also with color, attaining considerable success. One of his unique curative processes resulted from his discovery of the healing value of certain verses from the Odyssey and the Iliad of Homer. These he caused to be read to persons suffering from certain ailments. He was opposed to surgery in all its forms and also objected to cauterizing. He would not permit the disfigurement of the human body, for such, in his estimation, was a sacrilege against the dwelling place of the gods.
Pythagoras taught that friendship was the truest and nearest perfect of all relationships. He declared that in Nature there was a friendship of all for all; of gods for men; of doctrines one for another; of the soul for the body; of the rational part for the irrational part; of philosophy for its theory; of men for one another; of countrymen for one another; that friendship also existed between strangers, between a man and his wife, his children, and his servants. All bonds without friendship were shackles, and there was no virtue in their maintenance. Pythagoras believed that relationships were essentially mental rather than physical, and that a stranger of sympathetic intellect was closer to him than a blood relation whose viewpoint was at variance with his own. Pythagoras defined knowledge as the fruitage of mental accumulation. He believed that it would be obtained in many ways, but principally through observation. Wisdom was the understanding of the source or cause of all things, and this could be secured only by raising the intellect to a point where it intuitively cognized the invisible manifesting outwardly through the visible, and thus became capable of bringing itself en rapport with the spirit of things rather than with their forms. The ultimate source that wisdom could cognize was the Monad, the mysterious permanent atom of the Pythagoreans.
Pythagoras taught that both man and the universe were made in the image of God; that both being made in the same image, the understanding of one predicated the knowledge of the other. He further taught that there was a constant interplay between the Grand Man (the universe) and man (the little universe).
Pythagoras believed that all the sidereal bodies were alive and that the forms of the planets and stars were merely bodies encasing souls, minds, and spirits in the same manner that the visible human form is but the encasing vehicle for an invisible spiritual organism which is, in reality, the conscious individual. Pythagoras regarded the planets as magnificent deities, worthy of the adoration and respect of man. All these deities, however, he considered subservient to the One First Cause within whom they all existed temporarily, as mortality exists in the midst of immortality.
The famous Pythagorean Υ signified the power of choice and was used in the Mysteries as emblematic of the Forking of the Ways. The central stem separated into two parts, one branching to
THE SYMMETRICAL GEOMETRIC SOLIDS.
To the five symmetrical solids of the ancients is added the sphere (1), the most perfect of all created forms. The five Pythagorean solids are: the tetrahedron (2) with four equilateral triangles as faces; the cube (3) with six squares as faces; the octahedron (4) with eight equilateral triangles as faces; the icosahedron (5) with twenty equilateral triangles as faces; and the dodecahedron (6) with twelve regular pentagons as faces.
the right and the other to the left. The branch to the right was called Divine Wisdom and the one to the left Earthly Wisdom. Youth, personified by the candidate, walking the Path of Life, symbolized by the central stem of the Υ, reaches the point where the Path divides. The neophyte must then choose whether he will take the left-hand path and, following the dictates of his lower nature, enter upon a span of folly and thoughtlessness which will inevitably result in his undoing, or whether he will take the right-hand road and through integrity, industry, and sincerity ultimately regain union with the immortals in the superior spheres.
It is probable that Pythagoras obtained his concept of the Υ from the Egyptians, who included in certain of their initiatory rituals a scene in which the candidate was confronted by two female figures. One of them, veiled with the white robes of the temple, urged the neophyte to enter into the halls of learning; the other, bedecked with jewels, symbolizing earthly treasures, and bearing in her hands a tray loaded with grapes (emblematic of false light), sought to lure him into the chambers of dissipation. This symbol is still preserved among the Tarot cards, where it is called The Forking of the Ways. The forked stick has been the symbol of life among many nations, and it was placed in the desert to indicate the presence of water.
Concerning the theory of transmigration as disseminated by Pythagoras, there are differences of opinion. According to one view, he taught that mortals who during their earthly existence had by their actions become like certain animals, returned to earth again in the form of the beasts which they had grown to resemble. Thus, a timid person would return in the form of a rabbit or a deer; a cruel person in the form of a wolf or other ferocious animal; and a cunning person in the guise of a fox. This concept, however, does not fit into the general Pythagorean scheme, and it is far more likely that it was given in an allegorical rather than a literal sense. It was intended to convey the idea that human beings become bestial when they allow themselves to be dominated by their own lower desires and destructive tendencies. It is probable that the term transmigration is to be understood as what is more commonly called reincarnation, a doctrine which Pythagoras must have contacted directly or indirectly in India and Egypt.
The fact that Pythagoras accepted the theory of successive reappearances of the spiritual nature in human form is found in a footnote to Levi’s History of Magic: “He was an important champion of what used to be called the doctrine of metempsychosis, understood as the soul’s transmigration into successive bodies. He himself had been (a) Aethalides, a son of Mercury; (b) Euphorbus, son of Panthus, who perished at the hands of Menelaus in the Trojan war; (c) Hermotimus, a prophet of Clazomenae, a city of Ionia; (d) a humble fisherman; and finally (e) the philosopher of Samos.”
Pythagoras also taught that each species of creatures had what he termed a seal, given to it by God, and that the physical form of each was the impression of this seal upon the wax of physical substance. Thus each body was stamped with the dignity of its divinely given pattern. Pythagoras believed that ultimately man would reach a state where he would cast off his gross nature and function in a body of spiritualized ether which would be in juxtaposition to his physical form at all times and which might be the eighth sphere, or Antichthon. From this he would ascend into the realm of the immortals, where by divine birthright he belonged.
Pythagoras taught that everything in nature was divisible into three parts and that no one could become truly wise who did not view every problem as being diagrammatically triangular. He said, “Establish the triangle and the problem is two-thirds solved”; further, “All things consist of three.” In conformity with this viewpoint, Pythagoras divided the universe into three parts, which he called the Supreme World, the Superior World, and the Inferior World. The highest, or Supreme World, was a subtle, interpenetrative spiritual essence pervading all things and therefore the true plane of the Supreme Deity itself, the Deity being in every sense omnipresent, omniactive, omnipotent, and omniscient. Both of the lower worlds existed within the nature of this supreme sphere.
The Superior World was the home of the immortals. It was also the dwelling place of the archetypes, or the seals; their natures in no manner partook of the material of earthiness, but they, casting their shadows upon the deep (the Inferior World), were cognizable only through their shadows. The third, or Inferior World, was the home of those creatures who partook of material substance or were engaged in labor with or upon material substance. Hence, this sphere was the home of the mortal gods, the Demiurgi, the angels who labor with men; also the dæmons who partake of the nature of the earth; and finally mankind and the lower kingdoms, those temporarily of the earth but capable of rising above that sphere by reason and philosophy.
The digits 1 and 2 are not considered numbers by the Pythagoreans, because they typify the two supermundane spheres. The Pythagorean numbers, therefore, begin with 3, the triangle, and 4, the square. These added to the 1 and the 2, produce the 10, the great number of all things, the archetype of the universe. The three worlds were called receptacles. The first was the receptacle of principles, the second was the receptacle of intelligences, and the third, or lowest, was the receptacle of quantities.
“The symmetrical solids were regarded by Pythagoras, and by the Greek thinkers after him, as of the greatest importance. To be perfectly symmetrical or regular, a solid must have an equal number of faces meeting at each of its angles, and these faces must be equal regular polygons, i. e., figures whose sides and angles are all equal. Pythagoras, perhaps, may be credited with the great discovery that there are only five such solids.* * *
‘Now, the Greeks believed the world [material universe] to be composed of four elements–earth, air, fire, water–and to the Greek mind the conclusion was inevitable that the shapes of the particles of the elements were those of the regular solids. Earth-particles were cubical, the cube being the regular solid possessed of greatest stability; fire-particles were tetrahedral, the tetrahedron being the simplest and, hence, lightest solid. Water-particles were icosahedral for exactly the reverse reason, whilst air-particles, as intermediate between the two latter, were octahedral. The dodecahedron was, to these ancient mathematicians, the most mysterious of the solids; it was by far the most difficult to construct, the accurate drawing of the regular pentagon necessitating a rather elaborate application of Pythagoras’ great theorem. Hence the conclusion, as Plato put it, that ‘this (the regular dodecahedron) the Deity employed in tracing the plan of the Universe.’ (H. Stanley Redgrove, in Bygone Beliefs.)
Mr. Redgrove has not mentioned the fifth element of the ancient Mysteries, that which would make the analogy between the symmetrical solids and the elements complete. This fifth element, or ether, was called by the Hindus akasa. It was closely correlated with the hypothetical ether of modern science, and was the interpenetrative substance permeating all of the other elements and acting as a common solvent and common denominator of them. The twelve-faced solid also subtly referred to the Twelve Immortals who surfaced the universe, and also to the twelve convolutions of the human brain–the vehicles of those Immortals in the nature of man.
While Pythagoras, in accordance with others of his day, practiced divination (possibly arithmomancy), there is no accurate information concerning the methods which he used. He is believed to have had a remarkable wheel by means of which he could predict future events, and to have learned hydromancy from the Egyptians. He believed that brass had oracular powers, because even when everything was perfectly still there was always a rumbling sound in brass bowls. He once addressed a prayer to the spirit of a river and out of the water arose a voice, “Pythagoras, I greet thee.” It is claimed for him that he was able to cause dæmons to enter into water and disturb its surface, and by means of the agitations certain things were predicted.
After having drunk from a certain spring one day, one of the Masters of Pythagoras announced that the spirit of the water had just predicted that a great earthquake would occur the next day–a prophecy which was fulfilled. It is highly probable that Pythagoras possessed hypnotic power, not only over man but also over animals. He caused a bird to change the course of its flight, a bear to cease its ravages upon a community, and a bull to change its diet, by the exercise of mental influence. He was also gifted with second sight, being able to see things at a distance and accurately describe incidents that had not yet come to pass.
THE SYMBOLIC APHORISMS OF PYTHAGORAS
Iamblichus gathered thirty-nine of the symbolic sayings of Pythagoras and interpreted them. These have been translated from the Greek by Thomas Taylor. Aphorismic statement was one of the favorite methods of instruction used in the Pythagorean university of Crotona. Ten of the most representative of these aphorisms are reproduced below with a brief elucidation of their concealed meanings.
- Declining from the public ways, walk in unfrequented paths. By this it is to be understood that those who desire wisdom must seek it in solitude.
NUMBER RELATED TO FORM.
Pythagoras taught that the dot symbolized the power of the number 1, the line the power of the number 2, the surface the power of the number 3, and the solid the power of the number 4.
- Govern your tongue before all other things, following the gods. This aphorism warns man that his words, instead of representing him, misrepresent him, and that when in doubt as to what he should say, he should always be silent.
III. The wind blowing, adore the sound. Pythagoras here reminds his disciples that the fiat of God is heard in the voice of the elements, and that all things in Nature manifest through harmony, rhythm, order, or procedure the attributes of the Deity.
- Assist a man in raising a burden; but do not assist him in laying it down. The student is instructed to aid the diligent but never to assist those who seek to evade their responsibilities, for it is a great sin to encourage indolence.
- Speak not about Pythagoric concerns without light. The world is herein warned that it should not attempt to interpret the mysteries of God and the secrets of the sciences without spiritual and intellectual illumination.
- Having departed from your house, turn not back, for the furies will be your attendants. Pythagoras here warns his followers that any who begin the search for truth and, after having learned part of the mystery, become discouraged and attempt to return again to their former ways of vice and ignorance, will suffer exceedingly; for it is better to know nothing about Divinity than to learn a little and then stop without learning all.
VII. Nourish a cock, but sacrifice it not; for it is sacred to the sun and moon. Two great lessons are concealed in this aphorism. The first is a warning against the sacrifice of living things to the gods, because life is sacred and man should not destroy it even as an offering to the Deity. The second warns man that the human body here referred to as a cock is sacred to the sun (God) and the moon (Nature), and should be guarded and preserved as man’s most precious medium of expression. Pythagoras also warned his disciples against suicide.
VIII. Receive not a swallow into your house. This warns the seeker after truth not to allow drifting thoughts to come into his mind nor shiftless persons to enter into his life. He must ever surround himself with rationally inspired thinkers and with conscientious workers.
- Offer not your right hand easily to anyone. This warns the disciple to keep his own counsel and not offer wisdom and knowledge (his right hand) to such as are incapable of appreciating them. The hand here represents Truth, which raises those who have fallen because of ignorance; but as many of the unregenerate do not desire wisdom they will cut off the hand that is extended in kindness to them. Time alone can effect the redemption of the ignorant masses
- When rising from the bedclothes, roll them together, and obliterate the impression of the body. Pythagoras directed his disciples who had awakened from the sleep of ignorance into the waking state of intelligence to eliminate from their recollection all memory of their former spiritual darkness; for a wise man in passing leaves no form behind him which others less intelligent, seeing, shall use as a mold for the casting of idols.
The most famous of the Pythagorean fragments are the Golden Verses, ascribed to Pythagoras himself, but concerning whose authorship there is an element of doubt. The Golden Verses contain a brief summary of the entire system of philosophy forming the basis of the educational doctrines of Crotona, or, as it is more commonly known, the Italic School. These verses open by counseling the reader to love God, venerate the great heroes, and respect the dæmons and elemental inhabitants. They then urge man to think carefully and industriously concerning his daily life, and to prefer the treasures of the mind and soul to accumulations of earthly goods. The verses also promise man that if he will rise above his lower material nature and cultivate self-control, he will ultimately be acceptable in the sight of the gods, be reunited with them, and partake of their immortality. (It is rather significant to note that Plato paid a great price for some of the manuscripts of Pythagoras which had been saved from the destruction of Crotona. See Historia Deorum Fatidicorum, Geneva, 1675.)
According to Pythagoras, the position of each body in the universe was determined by the essential dignity of that body. The popular concept of his day was that the earth occupied the center of the solar system; that the planets, including the sun and moon, moved about the earth; and that the earth itself was flat and square. Contrary to this concept, and regardless of criticism, Pythagoras declared that fire was the most important of all the elements; that the center was the most important part of every body; and that, just as Vesta’s fire was in the midst of every home, so in the midst of the universe was a flaming sphere of celestial radiance. This central globe he called the Tower of Jupiter, the Globe of Unity, the Grand Monad, and the Altar of Vesta. As the sacred number 10 symbolized the sum of all parts and the completeness of all things, it was only natural for Pythagoras to divide the universe into ten spheres, symbolized by ten concentric circles. These circles began at the center with the globe of Divine Fire; then came the seven planers, the earth, and another mysterious planet, called Antichthon, which was never visible.
Opinions differ as to the nature of Antichthon. Clement of Alexandria believed that it represented the mass of the heavens; others held the opinion that it was the moon. More probably it was the mysterious eighth sphere of the ancients, the dark planet which moved in the same orbit as the earth but which was always concealed from the earth by the body of the sun, being in exact opposition to the earth at all times. Is this the mysterious Lilith concerning which astrologers have speculated so long?
Isaac Myer has stated:
“The Pythagoreans held that each star was a world having its own atmosphere, with an immense extent surrounding it, of aether.” (See The Qabbalah.)
The disciples of Pythagoras also highly revered the planet Venus, because it was the only planet bright enough to cast a shadow. As the morning star, Venus is visible before sunrise, and as the evening star it shines forth immediately after sunset. Because of these qualities, a number of names have been given to it by the ancients. Being visible in the sky at sunset, it was called vesper, and as it arose before the sun, it was called the false light, the star of the morning, or Lucifer, which means the light-bearer. Because of this relation to the sun, the planet was also referred to as Venus, Astarte, Aphrodite, Isis, and The Mother of the Gods. It is possible that: at some seasons of the year in certain latitudes the fact that Venus was a crescent could be detected without the aid of a telescope. This would account for the crescent which is often seen in connection with the goddesses of antiquity, the stories of which do not agree with the phases of the moon. The accurate knowledge which Pythagoras possessed concerning astronomy he undoubtedly secured in the Egyptian temples, for their priests understood the true relationship of the heavenly bodies many thousands of years before that knowledge was revealed to the uninitiated world. The fact that the knowledge he acquired in the temples enabled him to make assertions requiring two thousand years to check proves why Plato and Aristotle so highly esteemed the profundity of the ancient Mysteries. In the midst of comparative scientific ignorance, and without the aid of any modern instruments, the priest-philosophers had discovered the true fundamentals of universal dynamics.
An interesting application of the Pythagorean doctrine of geometric solids as expounded by Plato is found in The Canon.
“Nearly all the old philosophers,” says its anonymous author, “devised an harmonic theory with respect to the universe, and the practice continued till the old mode of philosophizing died out. Kepler (1596), in order to demonstrate the Platonic doctrine, that the universe was formed of the five regular solids, proposed the following rule. ‘The earth is a circle, the measurer of all. Round it describe a dodecahedron; the circle inclosing this will be Mars. Round Mars describe a tetrahedron; the sphere inclosing this will be Jupiter. Describe a cube round Jupiter; the sphere containing this will be Saturn. Now inscribe in the earth an icosahedron; the circle inscribed in it will be Venus. Inscribe an octahedron in Venus; the circle inscribed in it will be Mercury’ (Mysterium Cosmographicum, 1596). This rule cannot be taken seriously as a real statement of the proportions of the cosmos, fox it bears no real resemblance to the ratios published by Copernicus in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Yet Kepler was very proud of his formula, and said he valued it more than the Electorate of Saxony. It was also approved by those two eminent authorities, Tycho and Galileo, who evidently understood it. Kepler himself never gives the least hint of how his precious rule is to be interpreted.”
Platonic astronomy was not concerned with the material constitution or arrangement of the heavenly bodies, but considered the stars and planers primarily as focal points of Divine intelligence. Physical astronomy was regarded as the science of “shadows,” philosophical astronomy the science of “realities.”
Theon of Smyrna declares that the ten dots, or tetractys of Pythagoras, was a symbol of the greatest importance, for to the discerning mind it revealed the mystery of universal nature. The Pythagoreans bound themselves by the following oath: “By Him who gave to our soul the tetractys, which hath the fountain and root of ever-springing nature.”
THE CUBE AND THE STAR.
By connecting the ten dots of the tetractys, nine triangles are formed. Six of these are involved in the forming of the cube. The same triangles, when lines are properly drawn between them, also reveal the six-pointed star with a dot in the center. Only seven dots are used in forming the cube and the star. Qabbalistically, the three unused corner dots represent the threefold, invisible causal nature of the universe, while the seven dots involved in the cube and the star are the Elohim–the Spirits of the seven creative periods. The Sabbath, or seventh day, is the central dot.
CONCERNING the secret significance of numbers there has been much speculation. Though many interesting discoveries have been made, it may be safely said that with the death of Pythagoras the great key to this science was lost. For nearly 2500 years philosophers of all nations have attempted to unravel the Pythagorean skein, but apparently none has been successful. Notwithstanding attempts made to obliterate all records of the teachings of Pythagoras, fragments have survived which give clues to some of the simpler parts of his philosophy. The major secrets were never committed to writing, but were communicated orally to a few chosen disciples. These apparently dated not divulge their secrets to the profane, the result being that when death sealed their lips the arcana died with diem.
Certain of the secret schools in the world today are perpetuations of the ancient Mysteries, and although it is quite possible that they may possess some of the original numerical formulæ, there is no evidence of it in the voluminous writings which have issued from these groups during the last five hundred years. These writings, while frequently discussing Pythagoras, show no indication of a more complete knowledge of his intricate doctrines than the post-Pythagorean Greek speculators had, who talked much, wrote little, knew less, and concealed their ignorance under a series of mysterious hints and promises. Here and there among the literary products of early writers are found enigmatic statements which they made no effort: to interpret. The following example is quoted from Plutarch:
“The Pythagoreans indeed go farther than this, and honour even numbers and geometrical diagrams with the names and titles of the gods. Thus they call the equilateral triangle head-born Minerva and Tritogenia, because it may be equally divided by three perpendiculars drawn from each of the angles. So the unit they term Apollo, as to the number two they have affixed the name of strife and audaciousness, and to that of three, justice. For, as doing an injury is an extreme on the one side, and suffering one is an extreme on the on the one side, and suffering in the middle between them. In like manner the number thirty-six, their Tetractys, or sacred Quaternion, being composed of the first four odd numbers added to the first four even ones, as is commonly reported, is looked upon by them as the most solemn oath they can take, and called Kosmos.” (Isis and Osiris.)
Earlier in the same work, Plutarch also notes:
“For as the power of the triangle is expressive of the nature of Pluto, Bacchus, and Mars; and the properties of the square of Rhea, Venus, Ceres, Vesta, and Juno; of the Dodecahedron of Jupiter; so, as we are informed by Eudoxus, is the figure of fifty-six angles expressive of the nature of Typhon.” Plutarch did not pretend to explain the inner significance of the symbols, but believed that the relationship which Pythagoras established between the geometrical solids and the gods was the result of images the great sage had seen in the Egyptian temples.
Albert Pike, the great Masonic symbolist, admitted that there were many points concerning which he could secure no reliable information. In hisSymbolism, for the 32° and 33°, he wrote: “I do not understand why the 7 should be called Minerva, or the cube, Neptune.” Further on he added: “Undoubtedly the names given by the Pythagoreans to the different numbers were themselves enigmatical and symbolic-and there is little doubt that in the time of Plutarch the meanings these names concealed were lost. Pythagoras had succeeded too well in concealing his symbols with a veil that was from the first impenetrable, without his oral explanation * * *.”
This uncertainty shared by all true students of the subject proves conclusively that it is unwise to make definite statements founded on the indefinite and fragmentary information available concerning the Pythagorean system of mathematical philosophy. The material which follows represents an effort to collect a few salient points from the scattered records preserved by disciples of Pythagoras and others who have since contacted his philosophy.
METHOD OF SECURING THE NUMERICAL POWER OF WORDS
The first step in obtaining the numerical value of a word is to resolve it back into its original tongue. Only words of Greek or Hebrew derivation can be successfully analyzed by this method, and all words must be spelled in their most ancient and complete forms. Old Testament words and names, therefore, must be translated back into the early Hebrew characters and New Testament words into the Greek. Two examples will help to clarify this principle.
The Demiurgus of the Jews is called in English Jehovah, but when seeking the numerical value of the name Jehovah it is necessary to resolve the name into its Hebrew letters. It becomes יהוה, and is read from right to left. The Hebrew letters are: ה, He; ו, Vau; ה, He; י, Yod; and when reversed into the English order from left to right read: Yod-He-Vau-He. By consulting the foregoing table of letter values, it is found that the four characters of this sacred name have the following numerical significance: Yod equals 10. He equals 5, Vau equals 6, and the second He equals 5. Therefore, 10+5+6+5=26, a synonym of Jehovah. If the English letters were used, the answer obviously would not be correct.
The second example is the mysterious Gnostic pantheos Abraxas. For this name the Greek table is used. Abraxas in Greek is Ἀβραξας. Α = 1, β = 2, ρ = 100, α = 1, ξ =60, α = 1, ς = 200, the sum being 365, the number of days in the year. This number furnishes the key to the mystery of Abraxas, who is symbolic of the 365 Æons, or Spirits of the Days, gathered together in one composite personality. Abraxas is symbolic of five creatures, and as the circle of the year actually consists of 360 degrees, each of the emanating deities is one-fifth of this power, or 72, one of the most sacred numbers in the Old Testament of the Jews and in their Qabbalistic system. This same method is used in finding the numerical value of the names of the gods and goddesses of the Greeks and Jews.
All higher numbers can be reduced to one of the original ten numerals, and the 10 itself to 1. Therefore, all groups of numbers resulting from the translation of names of deities into their numerical equivalents have a basis in one of the first ten numbers. By this system, in which the digits are added together, 666 becomes 6+6+6 or 18, and this, in turn, becomes 1+8 or 9. According to Revelation, 144,000 are to be saved. This number becomes 1+4+4+0+0+0, which equals 9, thus proving that both the Beast of Babylon and the number of the saved refer to man himself, whose symbol is the number 9. This system can be used successfully with both Greek and Hebrew letter values.
The original Pythagorean system of numerical philosophy contains nothing to justify the practice now in vogue of changing the given name or surname in the hope of improving the temperament or financial condition by altering the name vibrations.
There is also a system of calculation in vogue for the English language, but its accuracy is a matter of legitimate dispute. It is comparatively modern and has no relationship either to the Hebrew Qabbalistic system or to the Greek procedure. The claim made by some that it is Pythagorean is not supported by any tangible evidence, and there are many reasons why such a contention is untenable. The fact that Pythagoras used 10 as the basis of calculation, while this system uses 9–an imperfect number–is in itself almost conclusive. Furthermore, the arrangement of the Greek and Hebrew letters does not agree closely enough with the English to permit the application of the number sequences of one language to the number sequences of the others.
THE NUMERICAL VALUES OF THE HEBREW, GREEK, AND SAMARITAN ALPHABETS.
From Higgins’ Celtic Druids.
|1||Names of the Hebrew letters.|
|3||Hebrew and Chaldean letters.|
|4||Numerical equivalents of the letters.|
|5||Capital and small Greek letters.|
|6||The letters marked with asterisks are those brought to Greece from Phœnicia by Cadmus.|
|7||Name of the Greek letters.|
|8||Nearest English equivalents to the Hebrew, Greek, and Samaritan Letters.|
NOTE. When used at the end of a word, the Hebrew Tau has the numerical value 440, Caph 500, Mem 600, Nun 700, Pe 800, Tzadi 900. A dotted Alpha and a dashed Aleph have the value of 1,000.
Further experimentation with the system may prove profitable, but it is without basis in antiquity. The arrangement of the letters and numbers is as follows:
The letters under each of the numbers have the value of the figure at: the top of the column. Thus, in the word man, M = 4, A = 1, N = 5: a total of 10. The values of the numbers are practically the same as those given by the Pythagorean system.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PYTHAGOREAN THEORY OF NUMBERS
(The following outline of Pythagorean mathematics is a paraphrase of the opening chapters of Thomas Taylor’s Theoretic Arithmetic, the rarest and most important compilation of Pythagorean mathematical fragments extant.)
The Pythagoreans declared arithmetic to be the mother of the mathematical sciences. This is proved by the fact that geometry, music, and astronomy are dependent upon it but it is not dependent upon them. Thus, geometry may be removed but arithmetic will remain; but if arithmetic be removed, geometry is eliminated. In the same manner music depends upon arithmetic, but the elimination of music affects arithmetic only by limiting one of its expressions. The Pythagoreans also demonstrated arithmetic to be prior to astronomy, for the latter is dependent upon both geometry and music. The size, form, and motion of the celestial bodies is determined by the use of geometry; their harmony and rhythm by the use of music. If astronomy be removed, neither geometry nor music is injured; but if geometry and music be eliminated, astronomy is destroyed. The priority of both geometry and music to astronomy is therefore established. Arithmetic, however, is prior to all; it is primary and fundamental.
Pythagoras instructed his disciples that the science of mathematics is divided into two major parts. The first is concerned with the multitude, or the constituent parts of a thing, and the second with the magnitude, or the relative size or density of a thing.
Magnitude is divided into two parts–magnitude which is stationary and magnitude which is movable, the stationary pare having priority. Multitude is also divided into two parts, for it is related both to itself and to other things, the first relationship having priority. Pythagoras assigned the science of arithmetic to multitude related to itself, and the art of music to multitude related to other things. Geometry likewise was assigned to stationary magnitude, and spherics (used partly in the sense of astronomy) to movable magnitude. Both multitude and magnitude were circumscribed by the circumference of mind. The atomic theory has proved size to be the result of number, for a mass is made up of minute units though mistaken by the uninformed for a single simple substance.
Owing to the fragmentary condition of existing Pythagorean records, it is difficult to arrive at exact definitions of terms. Before it is possible, however, to unfold the subject further some light must he cast upon the meanings of the words number, monad, and one.
The monad signifies (a) the all-including ONE. The Pythagoreans called the monad the “noble number, Sire of Gods and men.” The monad also signifies (b) the sum of any combination of numbers considered as a whole. Thus, the universe is considered as a monad, but the individual parts of the universe (such as the planets and elements) are monads in relation to the parts of which they themselves are composed, though they, in turn, are parts of the greater monad formed of their sum. The monad may also be likened (c) to the seed of a tree which, when it has grown, has many branches (the numbers). In other words, the numbers are to the monad what the branches of the tree are to the seed of the tree. From the study of the mysterious Pythagorean monad, Leibnitz evolved his magnificent theory of the world atoms–a theory in perfect accord with the ancient teachings of the Mysteries, for Leibnitz himself was an initiate of a secret school. By some Pythagoreans the monad is also considered (d) synonymous with the one.
Number is the term applied to all numerals and their combinations. (A strict interpretation of the term number by certain of the Pythagoreans excludes 1 and 2.) Pythagoras defines number to be the extension and energy of the spermatic reasons contained in the monad. The followers of Hippasus declared number to be the first pattern used by the Demiurgus in the formation of the universe.
The one was defined by the Platonists as “the summit of the many.” The one differs from the monad in that the term monad is used to designate the sum of the parts considered as a unit, whereas the one is the term applied to each of its integral parts.
There are two orders of number: odd and even. Because unity, or 1, always remains indivisible, the odd number cannot be divided equally. Thus, 9 is 4+1+4, the unity in the center being indivisible. Furthermore, if any odd number be divided into two parts, one part will always be odd and the other even. Thus, 9 may be 5+4, 3+6, 7+2, or 8+1. The Pythagoreans considered the odd number–of which the monad was the prototype–to be definite and masculine. They were not all agreed, however, as to the nature of unity, or 1. Some declared it to be positive, because if added to an even (negative) number, it produces an odd (positive) number. Others demonstrated that if unity be added to an odd number, the latter becomes even, thereby making the masculine to be feminine. Unity, or 1, therefore, was considered an androgynous number, partaking of both the masculine and the feminine attributes; consequently both odd and even. For this reason the Pythagoreans called it evenly-odd. It was customary for the Pythagoreans to offer sacrifices of an uneven number of objects to the superior gods, while to the goddesses and subterranean spirits an even number was offered.
Any even number may be divided into two equal parts, which are always either both odd or both even. Thus, 10 by equal division gives 5+5, both odd numbers. The same principle holds true if the 10 be unequally divided. For example, in 6+4, both parts are even; in 7+3, both parts are odd; in 8+2, both parts are again even; and in 9+1, both parts are again odd. Thus, in the even number, however it may be divided, the parts will always be both odd or both even. The Pythagoreans considered the even number-of which the duad was the prototype–to be indefinite and feminine.
The odd numbers are divided by a mathematical contrivance–called “the Sieve of Eratosthenes”–into three general classes: incomposite, composite, andincomposite-composite.
The incomposite numbers are those which have no divisor other than themselves and unity, such as 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, and so forth. For example, 7 is divisible only by 7, which goes into itself once, and unity, which goes into 7 seven times.
The composite numbers are those which are divisible not only by themselves and unity but also by some other number, such as 9, 15, 21, 25, 27, 33, 39, 45, 51, 57, and so forth. For example, 21 is divisible not only by itself and by unity, but also by 3 and by 7.
The incomposite-composite numbers are those which have no common divisor, although each of itself is capable of division, such as 9 and 25. For example, 9 is divisible by 3 and 25 by 5, but neither is divisible by the divisor of the other; thus they have no common divisor. Because they have individual divisors, they are called composite; and because they have no common divisor, they are called in, composite. Accordingly, the term incomposite-composite was created to describe their properties.
Even numbers are divided into three classes: evenly-even, evenly-odd, and oddly-odd.
The evenly-even numbers are all in duple ratio from unity; thus: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, and 1,024. The proof of the perfect evenly-even number is that it can be halved and the halves again halved back to unity, as 1/2 of 64 = 32; 1/2 of 32 = 16; 1/2 of 16 = 8; 1/2 of 8 = 4; 1/2 of 4 = 2; 1/2 of 2 = 1; beyond unity it is impossible to go.
The evenly-even numbers possess certain unique properties. The sum of any number of terms but the last term is always equal to the last term minus one. For example: the sum of the first and second terms (1+2) equals the third term (4) minus one; or, the sum of the first, second, third, and fourth terms (1+2+4+8) equals the fifth term (16) minus one.
In a series of evenly-even numbers, the first multiplied by the last equals the last, the second multiplied by the second from the last equals the last, and so on until in an odd series one number remains, which multiplied by itself equals the last number of the series; or, in an even series two numbers remain, which multiplied by each other give the last number of the series. For example: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 is an odd series. The first number (1) multiplied by the last number (16) equals the last number (16). The second number (2) multiplied by the second from the last number (8) equals the last number (16). Being an odd series, the 4 is left in the center, and this multiplied by itself also equals the last number (16).
The evenly-odd numbers are those which, when halved, are incapable of further division by halving. They are formed by taking the odd numbers in sequential order and multiplying them by 2. By this process the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 produce the evenly-odd numbers, 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22. Thus, every fourth number is evenly-odd. Each of the even-odd numbers may be divided once, as 2, which becomes two 1’s and cannot be divided further; or 6, which becomes two 3’s and cannot be divided further.
Another peculiarity of the evenly-odd numbers is that if the divisor be odd the quotient is always even, and if the divisor be even the quotient is always odd. For example: if 18 be divided by 2 (an even divisor) the quotient is 9 (an odd number); if 18 be divided by 3 (an odd divisor) the quotient is 6 (an even number).
The evenly-odd numbers are also remarkable in that each term is one-half of the sum of the terms on either side of it. For example:
THE SIEVE OF ERATOSTHENES.
Redrawn from Taylor’s Theoretic Arithmetic.
This sieve is a mathematical device originated by Eratosthenes about 230 B.C. far the purpose of segregating the composite and incomposite odd numbers. Its use is extremely simple after the theory has once been mastered. All the odd numbers are first arranged in their natural order as shown in the second panel from the bottom, designated Odd Numbers. It will then be seen that every third number (beginning with 3) is divisible by 3, every fifth number (beginning with 5;) is divisible by 5, every seventh number (beginning with 7) is divisible by 7, every ninth number (beginning with 9) is divisible by 9, every eleventh number (beginning with 11) is divisible by 11, and so on to infinity. This system finally sifts out what the Pythagoreans called the “incomposite” numbers, or those having no divisor other than themselves and unity. These will be found in the lowest panel, designated Primary and Incomposite Numbers. In his History of Mathematics, David Eugene Smith states that Eratosthenes was one of the greatest scholars of Alexandria and was called by his admirers “the second Plato.” Eratosthenes was educated at Athens, and is renowned not only for his sieve but for having computed, by a very ingenious method, the circumference and diameter of the earth. His estimate of the earth’s diameter was only 50 miles less than the polar diameter accepted by modern scientists. This and other mathematical achievements of Eratosthenes, are indisputable evidence that in the third century before Christ the Greeks not only knew the earth to be spherical in farm but could also approximate, with amazing accuracy, its actual size and distance from both the sun and the moon. Aristarchus of Samos, another great Greek astronomer and mathematician, who lived about 250 B.C., established by philosophical deduction and a few simple scientific instruments that the earth revolved around the sun. While Copernicus actually believed himself to be the discoverer of this fact, he but restated the findings advanced by Aristarchus seventeen hundred years earlier.
10 is one-half of the sum of 6 and 14; 18 is one-half the sum of 14 and 22; and 6 is one-half the sum of 2 and 10.
The oddly-odd, or unevenly-even, numbers are a compromise between the evenly-even and the evenly-odd numbers. Unlike the evenly-even, they cannot be halved back to unity; and unlike the evenly-odd, they are capable of more than one division by halving. The oddly-odd numbers are formed by multiplying the evenly-even numbers above 2 by the odd numbers above one. The odd numbers above one are 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and so forth. The evenly-even numbers above 2 are 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and soon. The first odd number of the series (3) multiplied by 4 (the first evenly-even number of the series) gives 12, the first oddly-odd number. By multiplying 5, 7, 9, 11, and so forth, by 4, oddly-odd numbers are found. The other oddly-odd numbers are produced by multiplying 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and so forth, in turn, by the other evenly-even numbers (8, 16, 32, 64, and so forth). An example of the halving of the oddly-odd number is as follows: 1/2 of 12 = 6; 1/2 of 6 = 3, which cannot be halved further because the Pythagoreans did not divide unity.
Even numbers are also divided into three other classes: superperfect, deficient, and perfect.
Superperfect or superabundant numbers are such as have the sum of their fractional parts greater than themselves. For example: 1/2 of 24 = 12; 1/4 = 6; 1/3 = 8; 1/6 = 4; 1/12 = 2; and 1/24 = 1. The sum of these parts (12+6+8+4+2+1) is 33, which is in excess of 24, the original number.
Deficient numbers are such as have the sum of their fractional parts less than themselves. For example: 1/2 of 14 = 7; 1/7 = 2; and 1/14 = 1. The sum of these parts (7+2+1) is 10, which is less than 14, the original number.
Perfect numbers are such as have the sum of their fractional parts equal to themselves. For example: 1/2 of 28 = 14; 1/4 = 7; 1/7 = 4; 1/14 = 2; and 1/28 = 1. The sum of these parts (14+7+4+2+1) is equal to 28.
The perfect numbers are extremely rare. There is only one between 1 and 10, namely, 6; one between 10 and 100, namely, 28; one between 100 and 1,000, namely, 496; and one between 1,000 and 10,000, namely, 8,128. The perfect numbers are found by the following rule: The first number of the evenly-even series of numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so forth) is added to the second number of the series, and if an incomposite number results it is multiplied by the last number of the series of evenly-even numbers whose sum produced it. The product is the first perfect number. For example: the first and second evenly-even numbers are 1 and 2. Their sum is 3, an incomposite number. If 3 be multiplied by 2, the last number of the series of evenly-even numbers used to produce it, the product is 6, the first perfect number. If the addition of the evenly-even numbers does not result in an incomposite number, the next evenly-even number of the series must be added until an incomposite number results. The second perfect number is found in the following manner: The sum of the evenly-even numbers 1, 2, and 4 is 7, an incomposite number. If 7 be multiplied by 4 (the last of the series of evenly-even numbers used to produce it) the product is 28, the second perfect number. This method of calculation may be continued to infinity.
Perfect numbers when multiplied by 2 produce superabundant numbers, and when divided by 2 produce deficient numbers.
The Pythagoreans evolved their philosophy from the science of numbers. The following quotation from Theoretic Arithmetic is an excellent example of this practice:
“Perfect numbers, therefore, are beautiful images of the virtues which are certain media between excess and defect, and are not summits, as by some of the ancients they were supposed to be. And evil indeed is opposed to evil, but both are opposed to one good. Good, however, is never opposed to good, but to two evils at one and the same time. Thus timidity is opposed to audacity, to both [of] which the want of true courage is common; but both timidity and audacity are opposed to fortitude. Craft also is opposed to fatuity, to both [of] which the want of intellect is common; and both these are opposed to prudence. Thus, too, profusion is opposed to avarice, to both [of] which illiberality is common; and both these are opposed to liberality. And in a similar manner in the other virtues; by all [of] which it is evident that perfect numbers have a great similitude to the virtues. But they also resemble the virtues on another account; for they are rarely found, as being few, and they are generated in a very constant order. On the contrary, an infinite multitude of superabundant and diminished numbers may be found, nor are they disposed in any orderly series, nor generated from any certain end; and hence they have a great similitude to the vices, which are numerous, inordinate, and indefinite.”
THE TABLE OF THE TEN NUMBERS
(The following outline of the Pythagorean numbers is a paraphrase of the writings of Nicomachus, Theon of Smyrna, Proclus, Porphyry, Plutarch, Clement of Alexandria, Aristotle, and other early authorities.)
Monad–1–is so called because it remains always in the same condition–that is, separate from multitude. Its attributes are as follows: It is called mind, because the mind is stable and has preeminence; hermaphrodism, because it is both male and female; odd and even, for being added to the even it makes odd, and to the odd, even; God, because it is the beginning and end of all, but itself has neither beginning nor end; good, for such is the nature of God; the receptacle of matter, because it produces the duad, which is essentially material.
By the Pythagoreans monad was called chaos, obscurity, chasm, Tartarus, Styx, abyss, Lethe, Atlas, Axis, Morpho (a name for Venus), and Tower or Throne of Jupiter, because of the great power which abides in the center of the universe and controls the circular motion of the planers about itself. Monad is also called germinal reason, because it is the origin of all the thoughts in the universe. Other names given to it were: Apollo, because of its relation to the sun; Prometheus, because he brought man light; Pyralios, one who exists in fire; geniture, because without it no number can exist; substance, because substance is primary; cause of truth; and constitution of symphony: all these because it is the primordial one.
Between greater and lesser the monad is equal; between intention and remission it is middle; in multitude it is mean; and in time it is now, because eternity knows neither past nor future. It is called Jupiter, because he is Father and head of the gods; Vesta, the fire of the home, because it is located in the midst of the universe and remains there inclining to no side as a dot in a circle; form, because it circumscribes, comprehends, and terminates; love, concord, and piety, because it is indivisible. Other symbolic names for the monad are ship, chariot, Proteus (a god capable of changing his form), Mnemosyne, and Polyonymous (having many names).
The following symbolic names were given to the duad–2–because it has been divided, and is two rather than one; and when there are two, each is opposed to the other: genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, movability, boldness, fortitude, contention, matter, dissimilarity, partition between multitude and monad, defect, shapelessness, indefiniteness, indeterminate ness, harmony, tolerance, root, feet of fountain-abounding idea, top, Phanes, opinion, fallacy, alterity, diffidence, impulse, death, motion, generation, mutation, division, longitude, augmentation, composition, communion, misfortune, sustentation, imposition, marriage, soul, and science.
In his book, Numbers, W. Wynn Westcott says of the duad: “it was called ‘Audacity,’ from its being the earliest number to separate itself from the Divine One; from the ‘Adytum of God-nourished Silence,’ as the Chaldean oracles say.”
As the monad is the father, so the duad is the mother; therefore, the duad has certain points in common with the goddesses Isis, Rhea (Jove’s mother), Phrygia, Lydia, Dindymene (Cybele), and Ceres; Erato (one of the Muses); Diana, because the moon is forked; Dictynna, Venus, Dione, Cytherea; Juno, because she is both wife and sister of Jupiter; and Maia, the mother of Mercury.
While the monad is the symbol of wisdom, the duad is the symbol of ignorance, for in it exists the sense of separateness–which sense is the beginning of ignorance. The duad, however, is also the mother of wisdom, for ignorance–out of the nature of itself–invariably gives birth to wisdom.
The Pythagoreans revered the monad but despised the duad, because it was the symbol of polarity. By the power of the duad the deep was created in contradistinction to the heavens. The deep mirrored the heavens and became the symbol of illusion, for the below was merely a reflection of the above. The below was called maya, the illusion, the sea, the Great Void, and to symbolize it the Magi of Persia carried mirrors. From the duad arose disputes and contentions, until by bringing the monad between the duad, equilibrium was reestablished by the Savior-God, who took upon Himself the form of a number and was crucified between two thieves for the sins of men.
The triad–3–is the first number actually odd (monad not always being considered a number). It is the first equilibrium of unities; therefore, Pythagoras said that Apollo gave oracles from a tripod, and advised offer of libation three times. The keywords to the qualities of the triad are friendship, peace, justice, prudence, piety, temperance, and virtue. The following deities partake of the principles of the triad: Saturn (ruler of time), Latona, Cornucopiæ, Ophion (the great serpent), Thetis, Hecate, Polyhymnia (a Muse), Pluto, Triton, President of the Sea, Tritogenia, Achelous, and the Faces, Furies, and Graces. This number is called wisdom, because men organize the present, foresee the future, and benefit by the experiences of the fast. It is cause of wisdom and understanding. The triad is the number of knowledge–music, geometry, and astronomy, and the science of the celestials and terrestrials. Pythagoras taught that the cube of this number had the power of the lunar circle.
The sacredness of the triad and its symbol–the triangle–is derived from the fact that it is made up of the monad and the duad. The monad is the symbol of the Divine Father and the duad of the Great Mother. The triad being made of these two is therefore androgynous and is symbolic of the fact that God gave birth to His worlds out of Himself, who in His creative aspect is always symbolized by the triangle. The monad passing into the duad was thus capable of becoming the parent of progeny, for the duad was the womb of Meru, within which the world was incubated and within which it still exists in embryo.
The tetrad–4–was esteemed by the Pythagoreans as the primogenial number, the root of all things, the fountain of Nature and the most perfect number. All tetrads are intellectual; they have an emergent order and encircle the world as the Empyreum passes through it. Why the Pythagoreans expressed God as a tetrad is explained in a sacred discourse ascribed to Pythagoras, wherein God is called the Number of Numbers. This is because the decad, or 10, is composed of 1, 2, 3, and 4. The number 4 is symbolic of God because it is symbolic of the first four numbers. Moreover, the tetrad is the center of the week, being halfway between 1 and 7. The tetrad is also the first geometric solid.
Pythagoras maintained that the soul of man consists of a tetrad, the four powers of the soul being mind, science, opinion, and sense. The tetrad connects all beings, elements, numbers, and seasons; nor can anything be named which does not depend upon the tetractys. It is the Cause and Maker of all things, the intelligible God, Author of celestial and sensible good, Plutarch interprets this tetractys, which he said was also called the world, to be 36, consisting of the first four odd numbers added to the first four even numbers, thus:
|1 + 3 +5 +7||= 16|
|2 + 4 + 6 + 8||= 20|
Keywords given to the tetrad are impetuosity, strength, virility, two-mothered, and the key keeper of Nature, because the universal constitution cannot be without it. It is also called harmony and the first profundity. The following deities partook of the nature of the tetrad: Hercules, Mercury, Vulcan, Bacchus, and Urania (one of the Muses).
The triad represents the primary colors and the major planets, while the tetrad represents the secondary colors and the minor planets. From the first triangle come forth the seven spirits, symbolized by a triangle and a square. These together form the Masonic apron.
The pentad–5–is the union of an odd and an even number (3 and 2). Among the Greeks, the pentagram was a sacred symbol of light, health, and vitality. It also symbolized the fifth element–ether–because it is free from the disturbances of the four lower elements. It is called equilibrium, because it divides the perfect number 10 into two equal parts.
The pentad is symbolic of Nature, for, when multiplied by itself it returns into itself, just as grains of wheat, starting in the form of seed, pass through Nature’s processes and reproduce the seed of the wheat as the ultimate form of their own growth. Other numbers multiplied by themselves produce other numbers, but only 5 and 6 multiplied by themselves represent and retain their original number as the last figure in their products.
The pentad represents all the superior and inferior beings. It is sometimes referred to as the hierophant, or the priest of the Mysteries, because of its connection with the spiritual ethers, by means of which mystic development is attained. Keywords of the pentad are reconciliation, alternation, marriage, immortality, cordiality, Providence, and sound. Among the deities who partook of the nature of the pentad were Pallas, Nemesis, Bubastia (Bast), Venus, Androgynia, Cytherea, and the messengers of Jupiter.
The tetrad (the elements) plus the monad equals the pentad. The Pythagoreans taught that the elements of earth, fire, air, and water were permeated by a substance called ether–the basis of vitality and life. Therefore, they chose the five-pointed star, or pentagram, as the symbol of vitality, health, and interpenetration.
It was customary for the philosophers to conceal the element of earth under the symbol of a dragon, and many of the heroes of antiquity were told to go forth and slay the dragon. Hence, they drove their sword (the monad) into the body of the dragon (the tetrad). This resulted in the formation of the pentad, a symbol of the victory of the spiritual nature over the material nature. The four elements are symbolized in the early Biblical writings as the four rivers that poured out of Garden of Eden. The elements themselves are under the control of the composite Cherubim of Ezekiel.
The Pythagoreans held the hexad–6–to represent, as Clement of Alexandria conceived, the creation of the world according to both the prophets and the ancient Mysteries. It was called by the Pythagoreans the perfection of all the parts. This number was particularly sacred to Orpheus, and also to the Fate, Lachesis, and the Muse, Thalia. It was called the form of forms, the articulation of the universe, and the maker of the soul.
Among the Greeks, harmony and the soul were considered to be similar in nature, because all souls are harmonic. The hexad is also the symbol of marriage, because it is formed by the union of two triangles, one masculine and the other feminine. Among the keywords given to the hexad are: time, for it is the measure of duration; panacea, because health is equilibrium, and the hexad is a balance number; the world, because the world, like the hexad, is often seen to consist of contraries by harmony; omnisufficient, because its parts are sufficient for totality (3 +2 + 1 = 6); unwearied, because it contains the elements of immortality.
By the Pythagoreans the heptad–7–was called “worthy of veneration.” It was held to be the number of religion, because man is controlled by seven celestial spirits to whom it is proper for him to make offerings. It was called the number of life, because it was believed that human creatures born in the seventh month of embryonic life usually lived, but those born in the eighth month often died. One author called it the Motherless Virgin, Minerva, because it was nor born of a mother but out of the crown, or the head of the Father, the monad. Keywords of the heptad are fortune, occasion, custody, control, government, judgment, dreams, voices, sounds, and that which leads all things to their end. Deities whose attributes were expressed by the heptad were Ægis, Osiris, Mars, and Cleo (one of the Muses).
Among many ancient nations the heptad is a sacred number. The Elohim of the Jews were supposedly seven in number. They were the Spirits of the Dawn, more commonly known as the Archangels controlling the planets. The seven Archangels, with the three spirits controlling the sun in its threefold aspect, constitute the 10, the sacred Pythagorean decad. The mysterious Pythagorean tetractys, or four rows of dots, increasing from 1 to 4, was symbolic of the stages of creation. The great Pythagorean truth that all things in Nature are regenerated through the decad, or 10, is subtly preserved in Freemasonry through these grips being effected by the uniting of 10 fingers, five on the hand of each person.
The 3 (spirit, mind, and soul) descend into the 4 (the world), the sum being the 7, or the mystic nature of man, consisting of a threefold spiritual body and a fourfold material form. These are symbolized by the cube, which has six surfaces and a mysterious seventh point within. The six surfaces are the directions: north, east, south, west, up, and down; or, front, back, right, left, above, and below; or again, earth, fire, air, water, spirit, and matter. In the midst of these stands the 1, which is the upright figure of man, from whose center in the cube radiate six pyramids. From this comes the great occult axiom: “The center is the father of the directions, the dimensions, and the distances.”
The heptad is the number of the law, because it is the number of the Makers of Cosmic law, the Seven Spirits before the Throne.
The ogdoad–8–was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10 (1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4’s, each 4 is divided into two 2’s, and each 2 is divided into two 1’s, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience. Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele, Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).
The ogdoad was a mysterious number associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece and the Cabiri. It was called the little holy number. It derived its form partly from the twisted snakes on the Caduceus of Hermes and partly from the serpentine motion of the celestial bodies; possibly also from the moon’s nodes.
The ennead–9–was the first square of an odd number (3×3). It was associated with failure and shortcoming because it fell short of the perfect number 10 by one. It was called the called the number of man, because of the nine months of his embryonic life. Among its keywords are ocean and horizon, because to the ancients these were boundless. The ennead is the limitless number because there is nothing beyond it but the infinite 10. It was called boundary and limitation, because it gathered all numbers within itself. It was called the sphere of the air, because it surrounded the numbers as air surrounds the earth, Among the gods and goddesses who partook in greater or less degree of its nature were Prometheus, Vulcan, Juno, the sister and wife of Jupiter, Pæan, and Aglaia, Tritogenia, Curetes, Proserpine, Hyperion, and Terpsichore (a Muse).
The 9 was looked upon as evil, because it was an inverted 6. According to the Eleusinian Mysteries, it was the number of the spheres through which the consciousness passed on its way to birth. Because of its close resemblance to the spermatozoon, the 9 has been associated with germinal life.
The decad–10–according to the Pythagoreans, is the greatest of numbers, not only because it is the tetractys (the 10 dots) but because it comprehends all arithmetic and harmonic proportions. Pythagoras said that 10 is the nature of number, because all nations reckon to it and when they arrive at it they return to the monad. The decad was called both heaven and the world, because the former includes the latter. Being a perfect number, the decad was applied by the Pythagoreans to those things relating to age, power, faith, necessity, and the power of memory. It was also called unwearied, because, like God, it was tireless. The Pythagoreans divided the heavenly bodies into ten orders. They also stated that the decad perfected all numbers and comprehended within itself the nature of odd and even, moved and unmoved, good and ill. They associated its power with the following deities: Atlas (for it carried the numbers on its shoulders), Urania, Mnemosyne, the Sun, Phanes, and the One God.
The decimal system can probably be traced back to the time when it was customary to reckon on the fingers, these being among the most primitive of calculating devices and still in use among many aboriginal peoples.
The Human Body in Symbolism
THE oldest, the most profound, the most universal of all symbols is the human body. The Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, and Hindus considered a philosophical analysis of man’s triune nature to be an indispensable part of ethical and religious training. The Mysteries of every nation taught that the laws, elements, and powers of the universe were epitomized in the human constitution; that everything which existed outside of man had its analogue within man. The universe, being immeasurable in its immensity and inconceivable in its profundity, was beyond mortal estimation. Even the gods themselves could comprehend but a part of the inaccessible glory which was their source. When temporarily permeated with divine enthusiasm, man may transcend for a brief moment the limitations of his own personality and behold in part that celestial effulgence in which all creation is bathed. But even in his periods of greatest illumination man is incapable of imprinting upon the substance of his rational soul a perfect image of the multiform expression of celestial activity.
Recognizing the futility of attempting to cope intellectually with that which transcends the comprehension of the rational faculties, the early philosophers turned their attention from the inconceivable Divinity to man himself, with in the narrow confines of whose nature they found manifested all the mysteries of the external spheres. As the natural outgrowth of this practice there was fabricated a secret theological system in which God was considered as the Grand Man and, conversely, man as the little god. Continuing this analogy, the universe was regarded as a man and, conversely, man as a miniature universe. The greater universe was termed the Macrocosm–the Great World or Body–and the Divine Life or spiritual entity controlling its functions was called the Macroprosophus. Man’s body, or the individual human universe, was termed the Microcosm, and the Divine Life or spiritual entity controlling its functions was called the Microprosophus. The pagan Mysteries were primarily concerned with instructing neophytes in the true relationship existing between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm–in other words, between God and man. Accordingly, the key to these analogies between the organs and functions of the Microcosmic man and those of the Macrocosmic Man constituted the most prized possession of the early initiates.
In Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky summarizes the pagan concept of man as follows:
“Man is a little world–a microcosm inside the great universe. Like a fetus, he is suspended, by all his three spirits, in the matrix of the macrocosmos; and while his terrestrial body is in constant sympathy with its parent earth, his astral soul lives in unison with the sidereal anima mundi. He is in it, as it is in him, for the world-pervading element fills all space, and is space itself, only shoreless and infinite. As to his third spirit, the divine, what is it but an infinitesimal ray, one of the countless radiations proceeding directly from the Highest Cause–the Spiritual Light of the World? This is the trinity of organic and inorganic nature–the spiritual and the physical, which are three in one, and of which Proclus says that ‘The first monad is the Eternal God; the second, eternity; the third, the paradigm, or pattern of the universe;’ the three constituting the Intelligible Triad.”
Long before the introduction of idolatry into religion, the early priests caused the statue of a man to be placed in the sanctuary of the temple. This human figure symbolized the Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations. Thus the priests of antiquity accepted man as their textbook, and through the study of him learned to understand the greater and more abstruse mysteries of the celestial scheme of which they were a part. It is not improbable that this mysterious figure standing over the primitive altars was made in the nature of a manikin and, like certain emblematic hands in the Mystery schools, was covered with either carved or painted hieroglyphs. The statue may have opened, thus showing the relative positions of the organs, bones, muscles, nerves, and other parts. After ages of research, the manikin became a mass of intricate hieroglyphs and symbolic figures. Every part had its secret meaning. The measurements formed a basic standard by means of which it was possible to measure all parts of cosmos. It was a glorious composite emblem of all the knowledge possessed by the sages and hierophants.
Then came the age of idolatry. The Mysteries decayed from within. The secrets were lost and none knew the identity of the mysterious man who stood over the altar. It was remembered only that the figure was a sacred and glorious symbol of the Universal Power, and it: finally came to be looked upon as a god–the One in whose image man was made. Having lost the knowledge of the purpose for which the manikin was originally constructed, the priests worshiped this effigy until at last their lack of spiritual understanding brought the temple down in ruins about their heads and the statue crumbled with the civilization that had forgotten its meaning.
Proceeding from this assumption of the first theologians that man is actually fashioned in the image of God, the initiated minds of past ages erected the stupendous structure of theology upon the foundation of the human body. The religious world of today is almost totally ignorant of the fact that the science of biology is the fountainhead of its doctrines and tenets. Many of the codes and laws believed by modern divines to have been direct revelations from Divinity are in reality the fruitage of ages of patient delving into the intricacies of the human constitution and the infinite wonders revealed by such a study.
In nearly all the sacred books of the world can be traced an anatomical analogy. This is most evident in their creation myths. Anyone familiar with embryology and obstetrics will have no difficulty in recognizing the basis of the allegory concerning Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, the nine degrees of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Brahmanic legend of Vishnu’s incarnations. The story of the Universal Egg, the Scandinavian myth of Ginnungagap (the dark cleft in space in which the seed of the world is sown), and the use of the fish as the emblem of the paternal generative power–all show the true origin of theological speculation. The philosophers of antiquity realized that man himself was the key to the riddle of life, for he was the living image of the Divine Plan, and in future ages humanity also will come to realize more fully the solemn import of those ancient words: “The proper study of mankind is man.”
Both God and man have a twofold constitution, of which the superior part is invisible and the inferior visible. In both there is also an intermediary sphere, marking the point where these visible and invisible natures meet. As the spiritual nature of God controls His objective universal form-which is actually a crystallized idea–so the spiritual nature of man is the invisible cause and controlling power of his visible material personality. Thus it is evident that the spirit of man bears the same relationship to his material body that God bears to the objective universe. The Mysteries taught that spirit, or life, was anterior to form and that what is anterior includes all that is posterior to itself. Spirit being anterior to form, form is therefore included within the realm of spirit. It is also a popular statement or belief that man’s spirit is within his body. According to the conclusions of philosophy and theology, however, this belief is erroneous, for spirit first circumscribes an area and then manifests within it. Philosophically speaking, form, being a part of spirit, is within spirit; but: spirit is more than the sum of form, As the material nature of man is therefore within the sum of spirit, so the Universal Nature, including the entire sidereal system, is within the all-pervading essence of God–the Universal Spirit.
According to another concept of the ancient wisdom, all bodies–whether spiritual or material–have three centers, called by the Greeks the upper center, the middlecenter, and the lower center. An apparent ambiguity will here be noted. To diagram or symbolize adequately abstract mental verities is impossible, for the diagrammatic representation of one aspect of metaphysical relationships may be an actual contradiction of some other aspect. While that which
THE TETRAGRAMMATON IN THE HUMAN HEART.
From Böhme’s Libri Apologetici.
The Tetragrammaton, or four-lettered Name of God, is here arranged as a tetractys within the inverted human heart. Beneath, the name Jehovah is shown transformed into Jehoshua by the interpolation of the radiant Hebrew letter סה, Shin. The drawing as a whole represents the throne of God and His hierarchies within the heart of man. In the first book of his Libri Apologetici, Jakob Böhme thus describes the meaning of the symbol: “For we men have one book in common which points to God. Each has it within himself, which is the priceless Name of God. Its letters are the flames of His love, which He out of His heart in the priceless Name of Jesus has revealed in us. Read these letters in your hearts and spirits and you have books enough. All the writings of the children of God direct you unto that one book, for therein lie all the treasures of wisdom. * * * This book is Christ in you.”
is above is generally considered superior in dignity and power, in reality that which is in the center is superior and anterior to both that which is said to be above and that which is said to be below. Therefore, it must be said that the first–which is considered as being above–is actually in the center, while both of the others (which are said to be either above or below) are actually beneath. This point can be further simplified if the reader will consider above as indicating degree of proximity to source and below as indicating degree of distance from source, source being posited in the actual center and relative distance being the various points along the radii from the center toward the circumference. In matters pertaining to philosophy and theology, up may be considered as toward the center and down as toward the circumference. Center is spirit; circumference is matter. Therefore, up is toward spirit along an ascending scale of spirituality; down is toward matter along an ascending scale of materiality. The latter concept is partly expressed by the apex of a cone which, when viewed from above, is seen as a point in the exact center of the circumference formed by the base of the cone.
These three universal centers–the one above, the one below, and the link uniting them-represent three suns or three aspects of one sun–centers of effulgence. These also have their analogues in the three grand centers of the human body, which, like the physical universe, is a Demiurgic fabrication.
“The first of these [suns],” says Thomas Taylor, “is analogous to light when viewed subsisting in its fountain the sun; the second to the light immediately proceeding from the sun; and the third to the splendour communicated to other natures by this light.”
Since the superior (or spiritual) center is in the midst of the other two, its analogue in the physical body is the heart–the most spiritual and mysterious organ in the human body. The second center (or the link between the superior and inferior worlds) is elevated to the position of greatest physical dignity–the brain. The third (or lower) center is relegated to the position of least physical dignity but greatest physical importance–the generative system. Thus the heart is symbolically the source of life; the brain the link by which, through rational intelligence, life and form are united; and the generative system–or infernal creator–the source of that power by which physical organisms are produced. The ideals and aspirations of the individual depend largely upon which of these three centers of power predominates in scope and activity of expression. In the materialist the lower center is the strongest, in the intellectualist the higher center; but in the initiate the middle center–by bathing the two extremes in a flood of spiritual effulgence–controls wholesomely both the mind and the body.
As light bears witness of life-which is its source-so the mind bears witness of the spirit, and activity in a still lower plane bears witness of intelligence. Thus the mind bears witness of the heart, while the generative system, in turn, bears witness of the mind. Accordingly, the spiritual nature is most commonly symbolized by a heart; the intellectual power by an opened eye, symbolizing the pineal gland or Cyclopean eye, which is the two-faced Janus of the pagan Mysteries; and the generative system by a flower, a staff, a cup, or a hand.
While all the Mysteries recognized the heart as the center of spiritual consciousness, they often purposely ignored this concept and used the heart in its exoteric sense as the symbol of the emotional nature, In this arrangement the generative center represented the physical body, the heart the emotional body, and the brain the mental body. The brain represented the superior sphere, but after the initiates had passed through the lower degrees they were instructed that the brain was the proxy of the spiritual flame dwelling in the innermost recesses of the heart. The student of esotericism discovers ere long that the ancients often resorted to various blinds to conceal the true interpretations of their Mysteries. The substitution of the brain for the heart was one of these blinds.
The three degrees of the ancient Mysteries were, with few exceptions, given in chambers which represented the three great centers of the human and Universal bodies. If possible, the temple itself was constructed in the form of the human body. The candidate entered between the feet and received the highest degree in the point corresponding to the brain. Thus the first degree was the material mystery and its symbol was the generative system; it raised the candidate through the various degrees of concrete thought. The second degree was given in the chamber corresponding to the heart, but represented the middle power which was the mental link. Here the candidate was initiated into the mysteries of abstract thought and lifted as high as the mind was capable of penetrating. He then passed into the third chamber, which, analogous to the brain, occupied the highest position in the temple but, analogous to the heart, was of the greatest dignity. In the brain chamber the heart mystery was given. Here the initiate for the first time truly comprehended the meaning of those immortal words: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” As there are seven hearts in the brain so there are seven brains in the heart, but this is a matter of superphysics of which little can be said at the present time.
Proclus writes on this subject in the first book of On the Theology of Plato:
“Indeed, Socrates in the (First) Alcibiades rightly observes, that the soul entering into herself will behold all other things, and deity itself. For verging to her own union, and to the centre of all life, laying aside multitude, and the variety of the all manifold powers which she contains, she ascends to the highest watch-tower offerings. And as in the most holy of the mysteries, they say, that the mystics at first meet with the multi form, and many-shaped genera, which are hurled forth before the gods, but on entering the temple, unmoved, and guarded by the mystic rites, they genuinely receive in their bosom [heart] divine illumination, and divested of their garments, as they would say, participate of a divine nature; the same mode, as it appears to me, takes place in the speculation of wholes. For the soul when looking at things posterior to herself, beholds the shadows and images of beings, but when she converts herself to herself she evolves her own essence, and the reasons which she contains. And at first indeed, she only as it were beholds herself; but, when she penetrates more profoundly into the knowledge of herself, she finds in herself both intellect, and the orders of beings. When however, she proceeds into her interior recesses, and into the adytum as it were of the soul, she perceives with her eye closed [without the aid of the lower mind], the genus of the gods, and the unities of beings. For all things are in us psychically, and through this we are naturally capable of knowing all things, by exciting the powers and the images of wholes which we contain.”
The initiates of old warned their disciples that an image is not a reality but merely the objectification of a subjective idea. The image, of the gods were nor designed to be objects of worship but were to be regarded merely as emblems or reminders of invisible powers and principles. Similarly, the body of man must not be considered as the individual but only as the house of the individual, in the same manner that the temple was the House of God. In a state of grossness and perversion man’s body is the tomb or prison of a divine principle; in a state of unfoldment and regeneration it is the House or Sanctuary of the Deity by whose creative powers it was fashioned. “Personality is suspended upon a thread from the nature of Being,” declares the secret work. Man is essentially a permanent and immortal principle; only his bodies pass through the cycle of birth and death. The immortal is the reality; the mortal is the unreality. During each period of earth life, reality thus dwells in unreality, to be liberated from it temporarily by death and permanently by illumination.
HAND DECORATED WITH EFFIGIES OF JESUS CHRIST, THE VIRGIN MARY, AND THE TWELVE APOSTLES.
From an old print, courtesy of Carl Oscar Borg.
Upon the twelve phalanges of the fingers, appear the likenesses of the Apostles, each bearing its own appropriate symbol. In the case of those who suffered martyrdom the symbol signifies the instrument of death. Thus, the symbol of St. Andrew is a cross; of St. Thomas, a javelin or a builder’s square; of St. James the Less, a club; of St Philip, a cross; of St. Bartholomew, a large knife or scimitar; of St. Matthew, a sword or spear (sometimes a purse); of St. Simon, a club or saw; of St. Matthias, an axe; and of St. Judas, a halbert. The Apostles whose symbols do not elate to their martyrdom are St. Peter, who carries two crossed keys, one gold and one silver; St. James the Great, who bears a pilgrim’s staff and an escalop shell; and St. John, who holds a cup from which the poison miraculously departed in the form of a serpent. (See Handbook of Christian Symbolism.) The figure of Christ upon the second phalange of the thumb does not follow the pagan system of assigning the first Person of the Creative Triad to this Position. God the Father should occupy the second Phalange, God the Son the first phalange, while to God the Holy Spirit is assigned the base of the thumb.–Also, according to the Philosophic arrangement, the Virgin should occupy the base of the thumb, which is sacred to the moon.
While generally regarded as polytheists, the pagans gained this reputation not because they worshiped more than one God but rather because they personified the attributes of this God, thereby creating a pantheon of posterior deities each manifesting a part of what the One God manifested as a whole. The various pantheons of ancient religions therefore actually represent the catalogued and personified attributes of Deity. In this respect they correspond to the hierarchies of the Hebrew Qabbalists. All the gods and goddesses of antiquity consequently have their analogies in the human body, as have also the elements, planets, and constellations which were assigned as proper vehicles for these celestials. Four body centers are assigned to the elements, the seven vital organs to the planets, the twelve principal parts and members to the zodiac, the invisible parts of man’s divine nature to various supermundane deities, while the hidden God was declared to manifest through the marrow in the bones.
It is difficult for many to realize that they are actual universes; that their physical bodies are a visible nature through the structure of which countless waves of evolving life are unfolding their latent potentialities. Yet through man’s physical body not only are a mineral, a plant, and an animal kingdom evolving, but also unknown classifications and divisions of invisible spiritual life. just as cells are infinitesimal units in the structure of man, so man is an infinitesimal unit in the structure of the universe. A theology based upon the knowledge and appreciation of these relationships is as profoundly just as it is profoundly true.
As man’s physical body has five distinct and important extremities–two legs, two arms, and a head, of which the last governs the first four–the number 5 has been accepted as the symbol of man. By its four corners the pyramid symbolizes the arms and legs, and by its apex the head, thus indicating that one rational power controls four irrational corners. The hands and feet are used to represent the four elements, of which the two feet are earth and water, and the two hands fire and air. The brain then symbolizes the sacred fifth element–æther–which controls and unites the other four. If the feet are placed together and the arms outspread, man then symbolizes the cross with the rational intellect as the head or upper limb.
The fingers and toes also have special significance. The toes represent the Ten Commandments of the physical law and the fingers the Ten Commandments of the spiritual law. The four fingers of each hand represent the four elements and the three phalanges of each finger represent the divisions of the element, so that in each hand there are twelve parts to the fingers, which are analogous to the signs of the zodiac, whereas the two phalanges and base of each thumb signify the threefold Deity. The first phalange corresponds to the creative aspect, the second to the preservative aspect, and the base to the generative and destructive aspect. When the hands are brought together, the result is the twenty-four Elders and the six Days of Creation.
In symbolism the body is divided vertically into halves, the right half being considered as light and the left half as darkness. By those unacquainted with the true meanings of light and darkness the light half was denominated spiritual and the left half material. Light is the symbol of objectivity; darkness of subjectivity. Light is a manifestation of life and is therefore posterior to life. That which is anterior to light is darkness, in which light exists temporarily but darkness permanently. As life precedes light, its only symbol is darkness, and darkness is considered as the veil which must eternally conceal the true nature of abstract and undifferentiated Being.
In ancient times men fought with their right arms and defended the vital centers with their left arms, on which was carried the protecting shield. The right half of the body was regarded therefore as offensive and the left half defensive. For this reason also the right side of the body was considered masculine and the left side feminine. Several authorities are of the opinion that the present prevalent right-handedness of the race is the outgrowth of the custom of holding the left hand in restraint for defensive purposes. Furthermore, as the source of Being is in the primal darkness which preceded light, so the spiritual nature of man is in the dark part of his being, for the heart is on the left side.
Among the curious misconceptions arising from the false practice of associating darkness with evil is one by which several early nations used the right hand for all constructive labors and the left hand for only those purposes termed unclean and unfit for the sight of the gods. For the same reason black magic was often referred to as the left-hand path, and heaven was said to be upon the right and hell upon the left. Some philosophers further declared that there were two methods of writing: one from left to right, which was considered the exoteric method; the other from right to left, which was considered esoteric. The exoteric writing was that which was done out or away from the heart, while the esoteric writing was that which–like the ancient Hebrew–was written toward the heart.
The secret doctrine declares that every part and member of the body is epitomized in the brain and, in turn, that all that is in the brain is epitomized in the heart. In symbolism the human head is frequently used to represent intelligence and self-knowledge. As the human body in its entirety is the most perfect known product of the earth’s evolution, it was employed to represent Divinity–the highest appreciable state or condition. Artists, attempting to portray Divinity, often show only a hand emerging from an impenetrable cloud. The cloud signifies the Unknowable Divinity concealed from man by human limitation. The hand signifies the Divine activity, the only part of God which is cognizable to the lower senses.
The face consists of a natural trinity: the eyes representing the spiritual power which comprehends; the nostrils representing the preservative and vivifying power; and the mouth and ears representing the material Demiurgic power of the lower world. The first sphere is eternally existent and is creative; the second sphere pertains to the mystery of the creative breach; and the third sphere
THE THREEFOLD LIFE OF THE INNER MAN.
Redrawn from Gichtel’s Theosophia Practica.
Johann Georg Gichtel, a profound Philosopher and mystic, the most illumined of the disciples of Jakob Böhme, secretly circulated the above diagrams among a small group of devoted friends and students. Gichtel republished the writings of Böhme, illustrating them with numerous remarkable figures. According to Gichtel, the diagrams above, represent the anatomy of the divine (or inner) man, and graphically set forth its condition during its human, infernal, and divine states. The plates in the William Law edition of Böhme’s works are based apparently upon Gichtel’s diagrams, which they follow in all essentials. Gichtel gives no detailed description of his figures, and the lettering on the original diagrams here translated out of the German is the only clue to the interpretation of the charts.
The two end figures represent the obverse and reverse of the same diagram and are termed Table Three. They are “designed to show the Condition of the whole Man, as to all his three essential Parts, Spirit, Soul, and Body, in his Regenerated State.” The third figure from the left is called the Second Table, and sets forth “the Condition of Man in his old, lapsed, and corrupted State; without any respect to, or consideration of his renewing by regeneration.” The third figure, however, does not correspond with the First Table of William Law. The First Table presumably represents the condition of humanity before the Fall, but the Gichtel plate pertains to the third, or regenerated, state of mankind. William Law thus describes the purpose of the diagrams, and the symbols upon them: “These three tables are designed to represent Man in his different Threefold State: the First before his Fall, in Purity, Dominion, and Glory: the Second after his Fall, in Pollution and Perdition: and the Third in his rising from the Fall, or on the Way of regeneration, in Sanctification and Tendency to his last Perfection.” The student of Orientalism will immediately recognize in the symbols upon the figures the Hindu chakras, or centers of spiritual force, the various motions and aspects of which reveal the condition of the disciple’s internal divine nature.
to the creative word. By the Word of God the material universe was fabricated, and the seven creative powers, or vowel sounds–which had been brought into existence by the speaking of the Word–became the seven Elohim or Deities by whose power and ministration the lower world was organized. Occasionally the Deity is symbolized by an eye, an ear, a nose, or a mouth. By the first, Divine awareness is signified; by the second, Divine interest; by the third, Divine vitality; and by the fourth, Divine command.
The ancients did not believe that spirituality made men either righteous or rational, but rather that righteousness and rationality made men spiritual. The Mysteries taught that spiritual illumination was attained only by bringing the lower nature up to a certain standard of efficiency and purity. The Mysteries were therefore established for the purpose of unfolding the nature of man according to certain fixed rules which, when faithfully followed, elevated the human consciousness to a point where it was capable of cognizing its own constitution and the true purpose of existence. This knowledge of how man’s manifold constitution could be most quickly and most completely regenerated to the point of spiritual illumination constituted the secret, or esoteric, doctrine of antiquity. Certain apparently physical organs and centers are in reality the veils or sheaths of spiritual centers. What these were and how they could be unfolded was never revealed to the unregenerate, for the philosophers realized that once he understands the complete working of any system, a man may accomplish a prescribed end without being qualified to manipulate and control the effects which he has produced. For this reason long periods of probation were imposed, so that the knowledge of how to become as the gods might remain the sole possession of the worthy.
Lest that knowledge be lost, however, it was concealed in allegories and myths which were meaningless to the profane but self-evident to those acquainted with that theory of personal redemption which was the foundation of philosophical theology. Christianity itself may be cited as an example. The entire New Testament is in fact an ingeniously concealed exposition of the secret processes of human regeneration. The characters so long considered as historical men and women are really the personification of certain processes which take place in the human body when man begins the task of consciously liberating himself from the bondage of ignorance and death.
The garments and ornamentations supposedly worn by the gods are also keys, for in the Mysteries clothing was considered as synonymous with form. The degree of spirituality or materiality of the organisms was signified by the quality, beauty, and value of the garments worn. Man’s physical body was looked upon as the robe of his spiritual nature; consequently, the more developed were his super-substantial powers the more glorious his apparel. Of course, clothing was originally worn for ornamentation rather than protection, and such practice still prevails among many primitive peoples. The Mysteries caught that man’s only lasting adornments were his virtues and worthy characteristics; that he was clothed in his own accomplishments and adorned by his attainments. Thus the white robe was symbolic of purity, the red robe of sacrifice and love, and the blue robe of altruism and integrity. Since the body was said to be the robe of the spirit, mental or moral deformities were depicted as deformities of the body.
Considering man’s body as the measuring rule of the universe, the philosophers declared that all things resemble in constitution–if not in form–the human body. The Greeks, for example, declared Delphi to be the navel of the earth, for the physical planet was looked upon as a gigantic human being twisted into the form of a ball. In contradistinction to the belief of Christendom that the earth is an inanimate thing, the pagans considered not only the earth but also all the sidereal bodies as individual creatures possessing individual intelligences. They even went so far as to view the various kingdoms of Nature as individual entities. The animal kingdom, for example, was looked upon as one being–a composite of all the creatures composing that kingdom. This prototypic beast was a mosaic embodiment of all animal propensities and within its nature the entire animal world existed as the human species exists within the constitution of the prototypic Adam.
In the same manner, races, nations, tribes, religions, states, communities, and cities were viewed as composite entities, each made up of varying numbers of individual units. Every community has an individuality which is the sum of the individual attitudes of its inhabitants. Every religion is an individual whose body is made up of a hierarchy and vast host of individual worshipers. The organization of any religion represents its physical body, and its individual members the cell life making up this organism. Accordingly, religions, races, and communities–like individuals–pass through Shakespeare’s Seven Ages, for the life of man is a standard by which the perpetuity of all things is estimated.
According to the secret doctrine, man, through the gradual refinement of his vehicles and the ever-increasing sensitiveness resulting from that refinement, is gradually overcoming the limitations of matter and is disentangling himself from his mortal coil. When humanity has completed its physical evolution, the empty shell of materiality left behind will be used by other life waves as steppingstones to their own liberation. The trend of man’s evolutionary growth is ever toward his own essential Selfhood. At the point of deepest materialism, therefore, man is at the greatest distance from Himself. According to the Mystery teachings, not all the spiritual nature of man incarnates in matter. The spirit of man is diagrammatically shown as an equilateral triangle with one point downward. This lower point, which is one-third of the spiritual nature but in comparison to the dignity of the other two is much less than a third, descends into the illusion of material existence for a brief space of time. That which never clothes itself in the sheath of matter is the Hermetic Anthropos–the Overman– analogous to the Cyclops or guardiandæmon of the Greeks, the angel of Jakob Böhme, and the Oversoul of Emerson, “that Unity, that Oversoul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other.”
At birth only a third part of the Divine Nature of man temporarily dissociates itself from its own immortality and takes upon itself the dream of physical birth and existence, animating with its own celestial enthusiasm a vehicle composed of material elements, part of and bound to the material sphere. At death this incarnated part awakens from the dream of physical existence and reunites itself once more with its eternal condition. This periodical descent of spirit into matter is termed the wheel of life and death, and the principles involved are treated at length by the philosophers under the subject of metempsychosis. By initiation into the Mysteries and a certain process known as operative theology, this law of birth and death is transcended, and during the course of physical existence that part of the spirit which is asleep in form is awakened without the intervention of death–the inevitable Initiator–and is consciously reunited with the Anthropos, or the overshadowing substance of itself. This is at once the primary purpose and the consummate achievement of the Mysteries: that man shall become aware of and consciously be reunited with the divine source of himself without tasting of physical dissolution.
THE DIVINE TREE IN MAN
From Law’s Figures of Jakob Böhme.
Just as the diagram representing the front view of man illustrates his divine principles in their regenerated state, so the back view of the same figure sets forth the inferior, or “night,” condition of the sun. From the Sphere of the Astral Mind a line ascends through the Sphere of reason into that of the Senses. The Sphere of the Astral Mind and of the Senses are filled with stars to signify the nocturnal condition of their natures. In the sphere of reason, the superior and the inferior are reconciled, Reason in the mortal man corresponding to Illumined Understanding in the spiritual man.
THE DIVINE TREE IN MAN
From Law’s Figures of Jakob Böhme.
A tree with its roots in the heart rises from the Mirror of the Deity through the Sphere of the Understanding to branch forth in the Sphere of the Senses. The roots and trunk of this tree represent the divine nature of man and may be called his spirituality; the branches of the tree are the separate parts of the divine constitution and may be likened to the individuality; and the leaves–because of their ephemeral nature–correspond to the personality, which partakes of none of the permanence of its divine source.
The Hiramic Legend
WHEN Solomon–the beloved of God, builder of the Everlasting House, and Grand Master of the Lodge of Jerusalem–ascended the throne of his father David he consecrated his life to the erection of a temple to God and a palace for the kings of Israel. David’s faithful friend, Hiram, King of Tyre, hearing that a son of David sat upon the throne of Israel, sent messages of congratulation and offers of assistance to the new ruler. In his History of the Jews, Josephus mentions that copies of the letters passing between the two kings were then to be seen both at Jerusalem and at Tyre. Despite Hiram’s lack of appreciation for the twenty cities of Galilee which Solomon presented to him upon the completion of the temple, the two monarchs remained the best of friends. Both were famous for their wit and wisdom, and when they exchanged letters each devised puzzling questions to test the mental ingenuity of the other. Solomon made an agreement with Hiram of Tyre promising vast amounts of barley, wheat, corn, wine, and oil as wages for the masons and carpenters from Tyre who were to assist the Jews in the erection of the temple. Hiram also supplied cedars and other fine trees, which were made into rafts and floated down the sea to Joppa, whence they were taken inland by Solomon’s workmen to the temple site.
Because of his great love for Solomon, Hiram of Tyre sent also the Grand Master of the Dionysiac Architects, CHiram Abiff, a Widow’s Son, who had no equal among the craftsmen of the earth. CHiram is described as being “a Tyrian by birch, but of Israelitish descent,” and “a second Bezaleel, honored by his king with the title of Father.” The Freemason’s Pocket Companion (published in 1771) describes CHiram as “the most cunning, skilful and curious workman that ever lived, whose abilities were not confined to building alone, but extended to all kinds of work, whether in gold, silver, brass or iron; whether in linen, tapestry, or embroidery; whether considered as an architect, statuary [sic]; founder or designer, separately or together, he equally excelled. From his designs, and under his direction, all the rich and splendid furniture of the Temple and its several appendages were begun, carried on, and finished. Solomon appointed him, in his absence, to fill the chair, as Deputy Grand-Master; and in his presence, Senior Grand-Warden, Master of work, and general overseer of all artists, as well those whom David had formerly procured from Tyre and Sidon, as those Hiram should now send.” (Modem Masonic writers differ as to the accuracy of the last sentence.)
Although an immense amount of labor was involved in its construction, Solomon’s Temple–in the words of George Oliver–“was only a small building and very inferior in point of size to some of our churches.” The number of buildings contiguous to it and the vast treasure of gold and precious stones used in its construction concentrated a great amount of wealth within the temple area. In the midst of the temple stood the Holy of Holies, sometimes called the Oracle. It was an exact cube, each dimension being twenty cubits, and exemplified the influence of Egyptian symbolism. The buildings of the temple group were ornamented with 1,453 columns of Parian marble, magnificently sculptured, and 2,906 pilasters decorated with capitals. There was a broad porch facing the east, and the sanctum sanctorum was upon the west. According to tradition, the various buildings and courtyards could hold in all 300,000 persons. Both the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies were entirely lined with solid gold plates encrusted with jewels.
King Solomon began the building of the temple in the fourth year of his reign on what would be, according to modern calculation, the 21st day of April, and finished it in the eleventh year of his reign on the 23rd day of October. The temple was begun in the 480th year after the children of Israel had passed the Red Sea. Part of the labor of construction included the building of an artificial foundation on the brow of Mount Moriah. The stones for the temple were hoisted from quarries directly beneath Mount Moriah and were trued before being brought to the surface. The brass and golden ornaments for the temple were cast in molds in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredatha, and the wooden parts were all finished before they reached the temple site. The building was put together, consequently, without sound and without instruments, all its parts fitting exactly “without the hammer of contention, the axe of division, or any tool of mischief.”
Anderson’s much-discussed Constitutions of the Free-Masons, published in London in 1723, and reprinted by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1734, thus describes the division of the laborers engaged in the building of the Everlasting House:
“But Dagon’s Temple, and the finest structures of Tyre and Sidon, could not be compared with the Eternal God’s Temple at Jerusalem, * * * there were employed about it no less than 3,600 Princes, or Master-Masons, to conduct the work according to Solomon’s directions, with 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountain, or Fellow Craftsmen, and 70,000 labourers, in all 153,600 besides the levy under Adoniram to work in the mountains of Lebanon by turns with the Sidonians, viz., 30,000, being in all 183,600.”
Daniel Sickels gives 3,300 overseers, instead of 3,600, and lists the three Grand Masters separately. The same author estimates the cost of the temple at nearly four thousand millions of dollars.
The Masonic legend of the building of Solomon’s Temple does not in every particular parallel the Scriptural version, especially in those portions relating to CHiram Abiff. According to the Biblical account, this Master workman returned to his own country; in the Masonic allegory he is foully murdered. On this point A. E. Waite, in his New Encyclopædia of Freemasonry, makes the following explanatory comment:
“The legend of the Master-Builder is the great allegory of Masonry. It happens that his figurative story is grounded on the fact of a personality mentioned in Holy Scripture, but this historical background is of the accidents and not the essence; the significance is in the allegory and not in any point of history which may lie behind it.”
CHiram, as Master of the Builders, divided his workmen into three groups, which were termed Entered Apprentices, Fellow-Craftsmen, and Master Masons. To each division he gave certain
A MASONIC APRON WITH SYMBOLIC FIGURES.
From an early hand-painted Masonic apron.
While the mystic symbolism of Freemasonry decrees that the apron shall be a simple square of white lambskin with appropriate flap, Masonic aprons are frequently decorated with curious and impressive figures. “When silk cotton, or linen is worn,” writes Albert Pike, “the symbolism is lost. Nor is one clothed who blots, defaces, and desecrates the white surface with ornamentation, figuring, or colors of any kind.” (See Symbolism.)
To Mars, the ancient plane of cosmic energy, the Atlantean and Chaldean “star gazers” assigned Aries as a diurnal throne and Scorpio as a nocturnal throne. Those not raised to spiritual life by initiation are described as “dead from the sting of a scorpion,” for they wander in the night side of divine power. Through the mystery of the Paschal Lamb, or the attainment of the Golden Fleece, these soul are raised into the constructive day Power of Mars in Aries–the symbol of the Creator.
When worn over the area related to the animal passions, the pure lambskin signifies the regeneration of the procreative forces and their consecration to the service of the Deity. The size of the apron, exclusive of the flap, makes it the symbol of salvation, for the Mysteries declare that it must consist of 144 square inches.
The apron shown above contains a wealth of symbolism: the beehive, emblematic of the Masonic lodge itself, the trowel, the mallet, and the trestleboad; the rough and trued ashlars; the pyramids and hills of Lebanon; the pillars, the Temple, and checkerboard floor; and the blazing star and tools of the Craft. The center of the apron is occupied by the compass and square, representative of the Macrocosm an the microcosm, and the alternately black and white serpent of astral light. Below is an acacia branch with seven sprigs, signifying the life Centers of the superior and the inferior man. The skull and cross bones are a continual reminder that the spiritual nature attains liberation only after the philosophical death of man’s sensuous personality.
passwords and signs by which their respective excellence could be quickly determined. While all were classified according to their merits some were dissatisfied, for they desired a more exalted position than they were capable of filling. At last three Fellow-Craftsmen, more daring than their companions, determined to force CHiram to reveal to them the password of the Master’s degree. Knowing that CHiram always went into the unfinished sanctum sanctorum at high noon to pray, these ruffians–whose names were Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum–lay in wait for him, one at each of the main gates of the temple. CHiram, about to leave the temple by the south gate, was suddenly confronted by Jubela armed with a twenty-four-inch gauge. Upon CHiram’s refusal to reveal the Master’s Word, the ruffian struck him on the throat with the rule, and the wounded Master then hastened to the west gate, where Jubelo, armed with a square, awaited him and made a similar demand. Again CHiram was silent, and the second assassin struck him on the breast with the square. CHiram thereupon staggered to the east gate, only to be met there by Jubelum armed with a maul. When CHiram, refused him the Master’s Word, Jubelum struck the Master between the eyes with the mallet and CHiram fell dead.
The body of CHiram was buried by the murderers over the brow of Mount Moriah and a sprig of acacia placed upon the grave. The murderers then sought to escape punishment for their crime by embarking for Ethiopia, but the port was closed. All three were finally captured, and after admitting their guilt were duly executed. Parties of three were then sent out by King Solomon, and one of these groups discovered the newly made grave marked by the evergreen sprig. After the Entered Apprentices and the Fellow-Craftsmen had failed to resurrect their Master from the dead he was finally raised by the Master Mason with the “strong grip of a Lion’s Paw.”
To the initiated Builder the name CHiram Abiff signifies “My Father, the Universal Spirit, one in essence, three in aspect.” Thus the murdered Master is a type of the Cosmic Martyr–the crucified Spirit of Good, the dying god–whose Mystery is celebrated throughout the world. Among the manuscripts of Dr. Sigismund Bastrom, the initiated Rosicrucian, appears the following extract from von Welling concerning the true philosophic nature of the Masonic CHiram:
“The original word חירם, CHiram, is a radical word consisting of three consonants ח ר and ם i. e. Cheth, Resh and Mem. (1) ח, Cheth, signifiesChamah, the Sun’s light, i. e. the Universal, invisible, cold fire of Nature attracted by the Sun, manifested into light and sent down to us and to every planetary body belonging to the solar system. (2) ר, Resh, signifies ריח Ruach, i. e. Spirit, air, wind, as being the Vehicle which conveys and collects the light into numberless Foci, wherein the solar rays of light are agitated by a circular motion and manifested in Heat and burning Fire. (3) ם, or מMem, signifies majim, water, humidity, but rather the mother of water, i. e. Radical Humidity or a particular kind of condensed air. These three constitute the Universal Agent or fire of Nature in one word, חירם, CHiram, not Hiram.”
Albert Pike mentions several forms of the name CHiram: Khirm, Khurm, and Khur-Om, the latter ending in the sacred Hindu monosyllable OM, which may also be extracted from the names of the three murderers. Pike further relates the three ruffians to a triad of stars in the constellation of Libra and also calls attention to the fact that the Chaldean god Bal–metamorphosed into a demon by the Jews–appears in the name of each of the murderers, Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum. To interpret the Hiramic legend requires familiarity with both the Pythagorean and Qabbalistic systems of numbers and letters, and also the philosophic and astronomic cycles of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Brahmins. For example, consider the number 33. The first temple of Solomon stood for thirty-three years in its pristine splendor. At the end of that time it was pillaged by the Egyptian King Shishak, and finally (588 B.C.) it was completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people of Jerusalem were led into captivity to Babylon. (See General History of Freemasonry, by Robert Macoy.) Also King David ruled for thirty-three years in Jerusalem; the Masonic Order is divided into thirty-three symbolic degrees; there are thirty-three segments in the human spinal column; and Jesus was crucified in the thirty-third year of His life.
The efforts made to discover the origin of the Hiramic legend show that, while the legend in its present form is comparatively modem, its underlying principles run back to remotest antiquity. It is generally admitted by modem Masonic scholars that the story of the martyred CHiram is based upon the Egyptian rites of Osiris, whose death and resurrection figuratively portrayed the spiritual death of man and his regeneration through initiation into the Mysteries. CHiram is also identified with Hermes through the inscription on the Emerald Table. From these associations it is evident that CHiram is to be considered as a prototype of humanity; in fact he is Plato’s Idea (archetype) of man. As Adam after the Fall symbolizes the Idea of human degeneration, so CHiram through his resurrection symbolizes the Idea of human regeneration.
On the 19th day of March, 1314, Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templars, was burned on a pyre erected upon that point of the islet of the Seine, at Paris, where afterwards was erected the statue of King Henry IV. (See The Indian Religions, by Hargrave Jennings.)
“It is mentioned as a tradition in some of the accounts of the burning,” writes Jennings, “that Molay, ere he expired, summoned Clement, the Pope who had pronounced the bull of abolition against the Order and had condemned the Grand Master to the flames, to appear, within forty days, before the Supreme Eternal judge, and Philip [the king] to the same awful tribunal within the space of a year. Both predictions were fulfilled.”
The close relationship between Freemasonry and the original Knights Templars has caused the story of CHiram to be linked with the martyrdom of Jacques de Molay. According to this interpretation, the three ruffians who cruelly slew their Master at the gates of the temple because he refused to reveal the secrets of his Order represent the Pope, the king, and the executioners. De Molay died maintaining his innocence and refusing to disclose the philosophical and magical arcana of the Templars.
Those who have sought to identify CHiram with the murdered King Charles the First conceive the Hiramic legend to have been invented for that purpose by Elias Ashmole, a mystical philosopher, who was probably a member of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Charles was dethroned in 1647 and died on the block in 1649, leaving the Royalist party leaderless. An attempt has been made to relate the term “the Sons of the Widow” (an appellation frequently applied to members of the Masonic Order) to this incident in English history, for by the murder of her king England became a Widow and all Englishmen Widow’s Sons.
To the mystic Christian Mason, CHiram. represents the Christ who in three days (degrees) raised the temple of His body from its earthly sepulcher. His three murderers were Cæsar’s agent (the state), the Sanhedrin (the church), and the incited populace (the mob). Thus considered, CHiram becomes the higher nature of man and the murderers are ignorance, superstition, and fear. The indwelling Christ can give expression to Himself in this world only through man’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. Right thinking, right feeling, and right action–these are three gates through which the Christ power passes into the material world, there to labor in the erection of the Temple of Universal Brotherhood. Ignorance, superstition, and fear are three ruffians through whose agencies the Spirit of Good is murdered and a false kingdom, controlled by wrong thinking, wrong feeling, and wrong action, established in its stead. In the material universe evil appears ever victorious.
“In this sense,” writes Daniel Sickels, “the myth of the Tyrian is perpetually repeated in the history of human affairs. Orpheus was murdered, and his body thrown into the Hebrus; Socrates was made to drink the hemlock; and, in all ages, we have seen Evil temporarily triumphant, and Virtue and Truth calumniated, persecuted, crucified, and slain. But Eternal justice marches surely and swiftly through the world: the Typhons, the children of darkness, the plotters of crime, all the infinitely varied forms of evil, are swept into oblivion; and Truth and Virtue–for a time laid low–come forth, clothed with diviner majesty, and crowned with everlasting glory!” (See General Ahiman Rezon.)
If, as there is ample reason to suspect, the modern Freemasonic Order was profoundly influenced by, if it is not an actual outgrowth of, Francis Bacon’s secret society, its symbolism is undoubtedly permeated with Bacon’s two great ideals: universal education and universal democracy. The deadly enemies of universal education are ignorance, superstition, and fear, by which the human soul is held in bondage to the lowest part of its own constitution. The arrant enemies of universal democracy have ever been the crown, the tiara, and the torch. Thus CHiram symbolizes that ideal state of spiritual, intellectual, and physical emancipation which has ever been sacrificed upon the altar of human selfishness. CHiram is the Beautifier of the Eternal House. Modern utilitarianism, however, sacrifices the beautiful for the practical, in the same breath declaring the obvious lie that selfishness, hatred, and discord are practical.
Dr. Orville Ward Owen found a considerable part of the first
THE EMBLEMATIC HAND OF THE MYSTERIES.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
A hand covered with numerous symbols was extended to the neophytes when they entered into the Temple of Wisdom. An understanding of the embossed upon the surface of the hand brought with it Divine power and regeneration Therefore, by means of these symbolic hands the candidate was said to be raised from the dead.
thirty-two degrees of Freemasonic ritualism hidden in the text of the First Shakespeare Folio. Masonic emblems are to be observed also upon the title pages of nearly every book published by Bacon. Sir Francis Bacon considered himself as a living sacrifice upon the altar of human need; he was obviously cut down in the midst of his labors, and no student of his New Atlantis can fail to recognize the Masonic symbolism contained therein. According to the observations of Joseph Fort Newton, the Temple of Solomon described by Bacon in that utopian romance was not a house at all but the name of an ideal state. Is it not true that the Temple of Freemasonry is also emblematic of a condition of society? While, as before stated, the principles of the Hiramic legend are of the greatest antiquity, it is not impossible that its present form may be based upon incidents in the life of Lord Bacon, who passed through the philosophic death and was raised in Germany.
In an old manuscript appears the statement that the Freemasonic Order was formed by alchemists and Hermetic philosophers who had banded themselves together to protect their secrets against the infamous methods used by avaricious persons to wring from them the secret of gold-making. The fact that the Hiramic legend contains an alchemical formula gives credence to this story. Thus the building of Solomon’s Temple represents the consummation of the magnum opus, which cannot be realized without the assistance of CHiram, the Universal Agent. The Masonic Mysteries teach the initiate how to prepare within his own soul a miraculous powder of projection by which it is possible for him to transmute the base lump of human ignorance, perversion, and discord into an ingot of spiritual and philosophic gold.
Sufficient similarity exists between the Masonic CHiram and the Kundalini of Hindu mysticism to warrant the assumption that CHiram may be considered a symbol also of the Spirit Fire moving through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column. The exact science of human regeneration is the Lost Key of Masonry, for when the Spirit Fire is lifted up through the thirty-three degrees, or segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name. Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus. In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man–the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia.
There is an Oriental painting which shows three sun bursts. One sunburst covers the head, in the midst of which sits Brahma with four heads, his body a mysterious dark color. The second sunburst–which covers the heart, solar plexus, and upper abdominal region–shows Vishnu sitting in the blossom of the lotus on a couch formed of the coils of the serpent of cosmic motion, its seven-hooded head forming a canopy over the god. The third sunburst is over the generative system, in the midst of which sits Shiva, his body a grayish white and the Ganges River flowing out of the crown of his head. This painting was the work of a Hindu mystic who spent many years subtly concealing great philosophical principles within these figures. The Christian legends could be related also to the human body by the same method as the Oriental, for the arcane meanings hidden in the teachings of both schools are identical.
As applied to Masonry, the three sunbursts represent the gates of the temple at which CHiram was struck, there being no gate in the north because the sun never shines from the northern angle of the heavens. The north is the symbol of the physical because of its relation to ice (crystallized water) and to the body (crystallized spirit). In man the light shines toward the north but never from it, because the body has no light of its own but shines with the reflected glory of the divine life-particles concealed within physical substance. For this reason the moon is accepted as the symbol of man’s physical nature. CHiram is the mysterious fiery, airy water which must be raised through the three grand centers symbolized by the ladder with three rungs and the sunburst flowers mentioned in the description of the Hindu painting. It must also pass upward by means of the ladder of seven rungs-the seven plexuses proximate to the spine. The nine segments of the sacrum and coccyx are pierced by ten foramina, through which pass the roots of the Tree of Life. Nine is the sacred number of man, and in the symbolism of the sacrum and coccyx a great mystery is concealed. That part of the body from the kidneys downward was termed by the early Qabbalists the Land of Egypt into which the children of Israel were taken during the captivity. Out of Egypt, Moses (the illuminated mind, as his name implies) led the tribes of Israel (the twelve faculties) by raising the brazen serpent in the wilderness upon the symbol of the Tau cross. Not only CHiram but the god-men of nearly every pagan Mystery ritual are personifications of the Spirit Fire in the human spinal cord.
The astronomical aspect of the Hiramic legend must not be overlooked. The tragedy of CHiram is enacted annually by the sun during its passage through the signs of the zodiac.
“From the journey of the Sun through the twelve signs,” writes Albert Pike, “come the legend of the twelve labors of Hercules, and the incarnations of Vishnu and Buddha. Hence came the legend of the murder of Khurum, representative of the Sun, by the three Fellow-Crafts, symbols of the Winter signs, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces, who assailed him at the three gates of Heaven and slew him at the Winter Solstice. Hence the search for him by the nine Fellow-Crafts, the other nine signs, his finding, burial, and resurrection.” (See Morals and Dogma.)
Other authors consider Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius as the three murderers of the sun, inasmuch as Osiris was murdered by Typhon, to whom were assigned the thirty degrees of the constellation of Scorpio. In the Christian Mysteries also Judas signifies the Scorpion, and the thirty pieces of silver for which he betrayed His Lord represent the number of degrees in that sign. Having been struck by Libra (the state), Scorpio (the church), and Sagittarius (the mob), the sun (CHiram) is secretly home through the darkness by the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces and buried over the brow of a hill (the vernal equinox). Capricorn has for its symbol an old man with a scythe in his hand. This is Father Time–a wayfarer–who is symbolized in Masonry as straightening out the ringlets of a young girl’s hair. If the Weeping Virgin be considered a symbol of Virgo, and Father Time with his scythe a symbol of Capricorn, then the interval of ninety degrees between these two signs will be found to correspond to that occupied by the three murderers. Esoterically, the urn containing the ashes of CHiram represents the human heart. Saturn, the old man who lives at the north pole, and brings with him to the children of men a sprig of evergreen (the Christmas tree), is familiar to the little folks under the name of Santa Claus, for he brings each winter the gift of a new year.
The martyred sun is discovered by Aries, a Fellow-Craftsman, and at the vernal equinox the process of raising him begins. This is finally accomplished by the Lion of Judah, who in ancient times occupied the position of the keystone of the Royal Arch of Heaven. The precession of the equinoxes causes various signs to play the rôle of the murderers of the sun during the different ages of the world, but the principle involved remains unchanged. Such is the cosmic story of CHiram, the Universal Benefactor, the Fiery Architect: of the Divine House, who carries with him to the grave that Lost Word which, when spoken, raises all life to power and glory. According to Christian mysticism, when the Lost Word is found it is discovered in a stable, surrounded by beasts and marked by a star. “After the sun leaves Leo,” writes Robert Hewitt Brown, “the days begin to grow unequivocally shorter as the sun declines toward the autumnal equinox, to be again slain by thethree autumnal months, lie dead through the three winter ones, and be raised again by the three vernal ones. Each year the great tragedy is repeated, and the glorious resurrection takes place.” (See Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy.)
CHiram is termed dead because in the average individual the cosmic creative forces are limited in their manifestation to purely physical–and correspondingly materialistic–expression. Obsessed by his belief in the reality and permanence of physical existence, man does not correlate the material universe with the blank north wall of the temple. As the solar light symbolically is said to die as it approaches the winter solstice, so the physical world may be termed
DIANA OF EPHESUS.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
Crowned with a triple tower-like tiara and her form adorned with symbolic creatures representative of her spiritual powers, Diana stood for the source of that imperishable doctrine which, flowing from the bosom of the Great Multimammia, is the spiritual food of those aspiring men and women who have consecrated their lives to the contemplation of reality. As the physical body of man receives its nutriment from the Great Earth Mother, so the spiritual nature of man is fed from the never failing fountains of Truth pouring outward from the invisible worlds.
the winter solstice of the spirit. Reaching the winter solstice, the sun apparently stands still for three days and then, rolling away the stone of winter, begins its triumphal march north towards the summer solstice. The condition of ignorance may be likened to the winter solstice of philosophy; spiritual understanding to the summer solstice. From this point of view, initiation into the Mysteries becomes the vernal equinox of the spirit, at which time the CHiram in man crosses from the realm of mortality into that of eternal life. The autumnal equinox is analogous to the mythological fall of man, at which time the human spirit descended into the realms of Hades by being immersed in the illusion of terrestrial existence.
In An Essay on the Beautiful, Plotinus describes the refining effect of beauty upon the unfolding consciousness of man. Commissioned to decorate the Everlasting House, CHiram Abiff is the embodiment of the beautifying principle. Beauty is essential to the natural unfoldment of the human soul. The Mysteries held that man, in part at least, was the product of his environment. Therefore they considered it imperative that every person be surrounded by objects which would evoke the highest and noblest sentiments. They proved that it was possible to produce beauty in life by surrounding life with beauty. They discovered that symmetrical bodies were built by souls continuously in the presence of symmetrical bodies; that noble thoughts were produced by minds surrounded by examples of mental nobility. Conversely, if a man were forced to look upon an ignoble or asymmetrical structure it would arouse within him a sense of ignobility which would provoke him to commit ignoble deeds. If an ill-proportioned building were erected in the midst of a city there would be ill-proportioned children born in that community; and men and women, gazing upon the asymmetrical structure, would live inharmonious lives. Thoughtful men of antiquity realized that their great philosophers were the natural products of the æsthetic ideals of architecture, music, and art established as the standards of the cultural systems of the time.
The substitution of the discord of the fantastic for the harmony of the beautiful constitutes one of the great tragedies of every civilization. Not only were the Savior-Gods of the ancient world beautiful, but each performed a ministry of beauty, seeking to effect man’s regeneration by arousing within him the love of the beautiful. A renaissance of the golden age of fable can be made possible only by the elevation of beauty to its rightful dignity as the all-pervading, idealizing quality in the religious, ethical, sociological, scientific, and political departments of life. The Dionysiac Architects were consecrated to the raising of their Master Spirit–Cosmic Beauty–from the sepulcher of material ignorance and selfishness by erecting buildings which were such perfect exemplars of symmetry and majesty that they were actually magical formulæ by which was evoked the spirit of the martyred Beautifier entombed within a materialistic world.
In the Masonic Mysteries the triune spirit of man (the light Delta) is symbolized by the three Grand Masters of the Lodge of Jerusalem. As God is the pervading principle of three worlds, in each of which He manifests as an active principle, so the spirit of man, partaking of the nature of Divinity, dwells upon three planes of being: the Supreme, the Superior, and the Inferior spheres of the Pythagoreans. At the gate of the Inferior sphere (the underworld, or dwelling place of mortal creatures) stands the guardian of Hades–the three–headed dog Cerberus, who is analogous to the three murderers of the Hiramic legend. According to this symbolic interpretation of the triune spirit, CHiram is the third, or incarnating, part–the Master Builder who through all ages erects living temples of flesh and blood as shrines of the Most High. CHiram comes forth as a flower and is cut down; he dies at the gates of matter; he is buried in the elements of creation, but–like Thor–he swings his mighty hammer in the fields of space, sets the primordial atoms in motion, and establishes order out of Chaos. As the potentiality of cosmic power within each human soul, CHiram lies waiting for man by the elaborate ritualism of life to transmute potentiality into divine potency. As the sense perceptions of the individual increase, however, man gains ever greater control over his various parts, and the spirit of life within gradually attains freedom. The three murderers represent the laws of the Inferior world–birth, growth, and decay–which ever frustrate the plan of the Builder. To the average individual, physical birch actually signifies the death of CHiram, and physical death the resurrection of CHiram. To the initiate, however, the resurrection of the spiritual nature is accomplished without the intervention of physical death.
The curious symbols found in the base of Cleopatra’s Needle now standing in Central Park, New York, were interpreted as being of first Masonic significance by S. A. Zola, 33° Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Egypt. Masons’ marks and symbols are to be found on the stones of numerous public buildings not only in England and on the Continent but also in Asia. In his Indian Masons’ Marks of the Moghul Dynasty, A. Gorham describes scores of markings appearing on the walls of buildings such as the Taj Mahal, the Jama Masjid, and that: famous Masonic structure, the Kutab Minar. According to those who regard Masonry as an outgrowth of the secret society of architects and builders which for thousands of years formed a caste of master craftsmen, CHiram Abiff was the Tyrian Grand Master of a world-wide organization of artisans, with headquarters in Tyre. Their philosophy consisted of incorporating into the measurements and ornamentation of temples, palaces, mausoleums, fortresses, and other public buildings their knowledge of the laws controlling the universe. Every initiated workman was given a hieroglyphic with which he marked the stones he trued to show to all posterity that he thus dedicated to the Supreme Architect of the Universe each perfected product of his labor. Concerning Masons’ marks, Robert Freke Gould writes:
“It is very remarkable that these marks are to be found in all countries–in the chambers of the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, on the underground walls of Jerusalem, in Herculaneum and Pompeii, on Roman walls and Grecian temples, in Hindustan, Mexico, Peru, Asia Minor–as well as on the great ruins of England, France, Germany, Scotland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.” (See A Concise History of Freemasonry.)
From this viewpoint the story of CHiram may well represent the incorporation of the divine secrets of architecture into the actual parts and dimensions of earthly buildings. The three degrees of the Craft bury the Grand Master (the Great Arcanum) in the actual structure they erect, after first having killed him with the builders’ tools, by reducing the dimensionless Spirit of Cosmic Beauty to the limitations of concrete form. These abstract ideals of architecture can be resurrected, however, by the Master Mason who, by meditating upon the structure, releases therefrom the divine principles of architectonic philosophy incorporated or buried within it. Thus the physical building is actually the tomb or embodiment of the Creative Ideal of which its material dimensions are but the shadow.
Moreover, the Hiramic legend may be considered to embody the vicissitudes of philosophy itself. As institutions for the dissemination of ethical culture, the pagan Mysteries were the architects of civilization. Their power and dignity were personified in CHiram Abiff–the Master Builder–but they eventually fell a victim to the onslaughts of that recurrent trio of state, church, and mob. They were desecrated by the state, jealous of their wealth and power; by the early church, fearful of their wisdom; and by the rabble or soldiery incited by both state and church. As CHiram when raised from his grave whispers the Master Mason’s Word which was lost through his untimely death, so according to the tenets of philosophy the reestablishment or resurrection of the ancient Mysteries will result in the rediscovery of that secret teaching without which civilization must continue in a state of spiritual confusion and uncertainty.
When the mob governs, man is ruled by ignorance; when the church governs, he is ruled by superstition; and when the state governs, he is ruled by fear. Before men can live together in harmony and understanding, ignorance must be transmuted into wisdom, superstition into an illumined faith, and fear into love. Despite statements to the contrary, Masonry is a religion seeking to unite God and man by elevating its initiates to that level of consciousness whereon they can behold with clarified vision the workings of the Great Architect of the Universe. From age to age the vision of a perfect civilization is preserved as the ideal for mankind. In the midst of that civilization shall stand a mighty university wherein both the sacred and secular sciences concerning the mysteries of life will be freely taught to all who will assume the philosophic life. Here creed and dogma will have no place; the superficial will be removed and only the essential be preserved. The world will be ruled by its most illumined minds, and each will occupy the position for which he is most admirably fitted.
The great university will be divided into grades, admission to which will be through preliminary tests or initiations. Here mankind will be instructed in the most sacred, the most secret, and the most enduring of all Mysteries–Symbolism. Here the initiate will be taught that every visible object, every abstract thought, every emotional reaction is but the symbol of an eternal principle. Here mankind will learn that CHiram (Truth) lies buried in every atom of Kosmos; that every form is a symbol and every symbol the tomb of an eternal verity. Through education–spiritual, mental, moral, and physical–man will learn to release living truths from their lifeless coverings. The perfect government of the earth must be patterned eventually after that divine government by which the universe is ordered. In that day when perfect order is reestablished, with peace universal and good triumphant, men will no longer seek for happiness, for they shall find it welling up within themselves. Dead hopes, dead aspirations, dead virtues shall rise from their graves, and the Spirit of Beauty and Goodness repeatedly slain by ignorant men shall again be the Master of Work. Then shall sages sit upon the seats of the mighty and the gods walk with men.
The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color
HARMONY is a state recognized by great philosophers as the immediate prerequisite of beauty. A compound is termed beautiful only when its parts are inharmonious combination. The world is called beautiful and its Creator is designated the Good because good perforce must act in conformity with its own nature; and good acting according to its own nature is harmony, because the good which it accomplishes is harmonious with the good which it is. Beauty, therefore, is harmony manifesting its own intrinsic nature in the world of form.
The universe is made up of successive gradations of good, these gradations ascending from matter (which is the least degree of good) to spirit (which is the greatest degree of good). In man, his superior nature is the summum bonum. It therefore follows that his highest nature most readily cognizes good because the good external to him in the world is in harmonic ratio with the good present in his soul. What man terms evil is therefore, in common with matter, merely the least degree of its own opposite. The least degree of good presupposes likewise the least degree of harmony and beauty. Thus deformity (evil) is really the least harmonious combination of elements naturally harmonic as individual units. Deformity is unnatural, for, the sum of all things being the Good, it is natural that all things should partake of the Good and be arranged in combinations that are harmonious. Harmony is the manifesting expression of the Will of the eternal Good.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC
It is highly probable that the Greek initiates gained their knowledge of the philosophic and therapeutic aspects of music from the Egyptians, who, in turn, considered Hermes the founder of the art. According to one legend, this god constructed the first lyre by stretching strings across the concavity of a turtle shell. Both Isis and Osiris were patrons of music and poetry. Plato, in describing the antiquity of these arts among the Egyptians, declared that songs and poetry had existed in Egypt for at least ten thousand years, and that these were of such an exalted and inspiring nature that only gods or godlike men could have composed them. In the Mysteries the lyre was regarded as the secret symbol of the human constitution, the body of the instrument representing the physical form, the strings the nerves, and the musician the spirit. Playing upon the nerves, the spirit thus created the harmonies of normal functioning, which, however, became discords if the nature of man were defiled.
While the early Chinese, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, Israelites, and Greeks employed both vocal and instrumental music in their religious ceremonials, also to complement their poetry and drama, it remained for Pythagoras to raise the art to its true dignity by demonstrating its mathematical foundation. Although it is said that he himself was not a musician, Pythagoras is now generally credited with the discovery of the diatonic scale. Having first learned the divine theory of music from the priests of the various Mysteries into which he had been accepted, Pythagoras pondered for several years upon the laws governing consonance and dissonance. How he actually solved the problem is unknown, but the following explanation has been invented.
One day while meditating upon the problem of harmony, Pythagoras chanced to pass a brazier’s shop where workmen were pounding out a piece of metal upon an anvil. By noting the variances in pitch between the sounds made by large hammers and those made by smaller implements, and carefully estimating the harmonies and discords resulting from combinations of these sounds, he gained his first clue to the musical intervals of the diatonic scale. He entered the shop, and after carefully examining the tools and making mental note of their weights, returned to his own house and constructed an arm of wood so that it: extended out from the wall of his room. At regular intervals along this arm he attached four cords, all of like composition, size, and weight. To the first of these he attached a twelve-pound weight, to the second a nine-pound weight, to the third an eight-pound weight, and to the fourth a six-pound weight. These different weights corresponded to the sizes of the braziers’ hammers.
Pythagoras thereupon discovered that the first and fourth strings when sounded together produced the harmonic interval of the octave, for doubling the weight had the same effect as halving the string. The tension of the first string being twice that of the fourth string, their ratio was said to be 2:1, or duple. By similar experimentation he ascertained that the first and third string produced the harmony of the diapente, or the interval of the fifth. The tension of the first string being half again as much as that of the third string, their ratio was said to be 3:2, or sesquialter. Likewise the second and fourth strings, having the same ratio as the first and third strings, yielded a diapente harmony. Continuing his investigation, Pythagoras discovered that the first and second strings produced the harmony of the diatessaron, or the interval of the third; and the tension of the first string being a third greater than that of the second string, their ratio was said to be 4:3, or sesquitercian. The third and fourth strings, having the same ratio as the first and second strings, produced another harmony of the diatessaron. According to Iamblichus, the second and third strings had the ratio of 8:9, or epogdoan.
The key to harmonic ratios is hidden in the famous Pythagorean tetractys, or pyramid of dots. The tetractys is made up of the first four numbers–1, 2, 3, and 4–which in their proportions reveal the intervals of the octave, the diapente, and the diatessaron. While the law of harmonic intervals as set forth above is true, it has been subsequently proved that hammers striking metal in the manner
THE INTERVALS AND HARMONIES OF THE SPHERES.
From Stanley’s The History of Philosophy.
In the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres, the interval between the earth and the sphere of the fixed stars was considered to be a diapason–the most perfect harmonic interval. The allowing arrangement is most generally accepted for the musical intervals of the planets between the earth and the sphere of the fixed stars: From the sphere of the earth to the sphere of the moon; one tone; from the sphere of the moon to that of Mercury, one half-tone; from Mercury to Venus, one-half; from Venus to the sun, one and one-half tones; from the sun to Mars, one tone; from Mars to Jupiter, one-half tone; from Jupiter to Saturn, one-half tone; from Saturn to the fixed stars, one-half tone. The sum of these intervals equals the six whole tones of the octave.
THE CONSONANCES OF THE MUNDANE MONOCHORD.
From Fludd’s De Musica Mundana.
This diagrammatic sector represents the major gradations of energy and substance between elemental earth and absolute unconditioned force. Beginning with the superior, the fifteen graduated spheres descend in the following order: Limitless and Eternal Life; the superior, the middle, and the inferior Empyrean; the seven planets; and the four elements. Energy is symbolized by Fludd as a pyramid with its base upon the concave surface of the superior Empyrean, and substance as another Pyramid with its base upon the convex surface of the sphere (not planet) of earth. These pyramids demonstrate the relative proportions of energy and substance entering into the composition of the fifteen planes of being. It will be noted that the ascending pyramid of substance touches but does not pierce the fifteenth sphere–that of Limitless and Eternal Life. Likewise, the descending pyramid of energy touches but does not pierce the first sphere–the grossest condition of substance. The plane of the sun is denominated the sphere of equality, for here neither energy nor substance predominate. The mundane monochord consists of a hypothetical string stretched from the base of the pyramid of energy to the base of the pyramid of substance.
described will not produce the various tones ascribed to them. In all probability, therefore, Pythagoras actually worked out his theory of harmony from the monochord–a contrivance consisting of a single string stretched between two pegs and supplied with movable frets.
To Pythagoras music was one of the dependencies of the divine science of mathematics, and its harmonies were inflexibly controlled by mathematical proportions. The Pythagoreans averred that mathematics demonstrated the exact method by which the good established and maintained its universe. Number therefore preceded harmony, since it was the immutable law that governs all harmonic proportions. After discovering these harmonic ratios, Pythagoras gradually initiated his disciples into this, the supreme arcanum of his Mysteries. He divided the multitudinous parts of creation into a vast number of planes or spheres, to each of which he assigned a tone, a harmonic interval, a number, a name, a color, and a form. He then proceeded to prove the accuracy of his deductions by demonstrating them upon the different planes of intelligence and substance ranging from the most abstract logical premise to the most concrete geometrical solid. From the common agreement of these diversified methods of proof he established the indisputable existence of certain natural laws.
Having once established music as an exact science, Pythagoras applied his newly found law of harmonic intervals to all the phenomena of Nature, even going so far as to demonstrate the harmonic relationship of the planets, constellations, and elements to each other. A notable example of modern corroboration of ancient philosophical reaching is that of the progression of the elements according to harmonic ratios. While making a list of the elements in the ascending order of their atomic weights, John A. Newlands discovered at every eighth element a distinct repetition of properties. This discovery is known as the law of octaves in modern chemistry.
Since they held that harmony must be determined not by the sense perceptions but by reason and mathematics, the Pythagoreans called themselves Canonics, as distinguished from musicians of the Harmonic School, who asserted taste and instinct to be the true normative principles of harmony. Recognizing, however, the profound effect: of music upon the senses and emotions, Pythagoras did not hesitate to influence the mind and body with what he termed “musical medicine.”
Pythagoras evinced such a marked preference for stringed instruments that he even went so far as to warn his disciples against allowing their ears to be defiled by the sounds of flutes or cymbals. He further declared that the soul could be purified from its irrational influences by solemn songs sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. In his investigation of the therapeutic value of harmonics, Pythagoras discovered that the seven modes–or keys–of the Greek system of music had the power to incite or allay the various emotions. It is related that while observing the stars one night he encountered a young man befuddled with strong drink and mad with jealousy who was piling faggots about his mistress’ door with the intention of burning the house. The frenzy of the youth was accentuated by a flutist a short distance away who was playing a tune in the stirring Phrygian mode. Pythagoras induced the musician to change his air to the slow, and rhythmic Spondaic mode, whereupon the intoxicated youth immediately became composed and, gathering up his bundles of wood, returned quietly to his own home.
There is also an account of how Empedocles, a disciple of Pythagoras, by quickly changing the mode of a musical composition he was playing, saved the life of his host, Anchitus, when the latter was threatened with death by the sword of one whose father he had condemned to public execution. It is also known that Esculapius, the Greek physician, cured sciatica and other diseases of the nerves by blowing a loud trumpet in the presence of the patient.
Pythagoras cured many ailments of the spirit, soul, and body by having certain specially prepared musical compositions played in the presence of the sufferer or by personally reciting short selections from such early poets as Hesiod and Homer. In his university at Crotona it was customary for the Pythagoreans to open and to close each day with songs–those in the morning calculated to clear the mind from sleep and inspire it to the activities of the coming day; those in the evening of a mode soothing, relaxing, and conducive to rest. At the vernal equinox, Pythagoras caused his disciples to gather in a circle around one of their number who led them in song and played their accompaniment upon a lyre.
The therapeutic music of Pythagoras is described by Iamblichus thus: “And there are certain melodies devised as remedies against the passions of the soul, and also against despondency and lamentation, which Pythagoras invented as things that afford the greatest assistance in these maladies. And again, he employed other melodies against rage and anger, and against every aberration of the soul. There is also another kind of modulation invented as a remedy against desires.” (See The Life of Pythagoras.)
It is probable that the Pythagoreans recognized a connection between the seven Greek modes and the planets. As an example, Pliny declares that Saturn moves in the Dorian mode and Jupiter in the Phrygian mode. It is also apparent that the temperaments are keyed to the various modes, and the passions likewise. Thus, anger–which is a fiery passion–may be accentuated by a fiery mode or its power neutralized by a watery mode.
The far-reaching effect exercised by music upon the culture of the Greeks is thus summed up by Emil Nauman: “Plato depreciated the notion that music was intended solely to create cheerful and agreeable emotions, maintaining rather that it should inculcate a love of all that is noble, and hatred of all that is mean, and that nothing could more strongly influence man’s innermost feelings than melody and rhythm. Firmly convinced of this, he agreed with Damon of Athens, the musical instructor of Socrates, that the introduction of a new and presumably enervating scale would endanger the future of a whole nation, and that it was not possible to alter a key without shaking the very foundations of the State. Plato affirmed that music which ennobled the mind was of a far higher kind than that which merely appealed to the senses, and he strongly insisted that it was the paramount duty of the Legislature to suppress all music of an effeminate and lascivious character, and to encourage only s that which was pure and dignified; that bold and stirring melodies were for men, gentle and soothing ones for women. From this it is evident that music played a considerable part in the education of the Greek youth. The greatest care was also to be taken in the selection of instrumental music, because the absence of words rendered its signification doubtful, and it was difficult to foresee whether it would exercise upon the people a benign or baneful influence. Popular taste, being always tickled by sensuous and meretricious effects, was to be treated with deserved contempt. (See The History of Music.)
Even today martial music is used with telling effect in times of war, and religious music, while no longer developed in accordance with the ancient theory, still profoundly influences the emotions of the laity.
THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES
The most sublime but least known of all the Pythagorean speculations was that of sidereal harmonics. It was said that of all men only Pythagoras heard the music of the spheres. Apparently the Chaldeans were the first people to conceive of the heavenly bodies joining in a cosmic chant as they moved in stately manner across the sky. Job describes a time “when the stars of the morning sang together,” and in The Merchant of Venice the author of the Shakesperian plays
THE MUNDANE MONOCHORD WITH ITS PROPORTIONS AND INTERVALS.
From Fludd’s De Musica Mundana.
In this chart is set forth a summary of Fludd’s theory of universal music. The interval between the element of earth and the highest heaven is considered as a double octave, thus showing the two extremes of existence to be in disdiapason harmony. It is signifies that the highest heaven, the sun, and the earth have the same time, the difference being in pitch. The sun is the lower octave of the highest heaven and the earth the lower octave of the sun. The lower octave (Γ to G) comprises that part of the universe in which substance predominate over energy. Its harmonies, therefore, are more gross than those of the higher octave (G to g) wherein energy predominates over substance. “If struck in the more spiritual part,” writes Fludd, “the monochord will give eternal life; if in the more material part, transitory life.” It will be noted that certain elements, planets, and celestial spheres sustain a harmonic ratio to each other, Fludd advanced this as a key to the sympathies and antipathies existing between the various departments of Nature.
writes: “There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st but in his motion like an angel sings.” So little remains, however, of the Pythagorean system of celestial music that it is only possible to approximate his actual theory.
Pythagoras conceived the universe to be an immense monochord, with its single string connected at its upper end to absolute spirit and at its lower end to absolute matter–in other words, a cord stretched between heaven and earth. Counting inward from the circumference of the heavens, Pythagoras, according to some authorities, divided the universe into nine parts; according to others, into twelve parts. The twelvefold system was as follows: The first division was called theempyrean, or the sphere of the fixed stars, and was the dwelling place of the immortals. The second to twelfth divisions were (in order) the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus, Mercury, and the moon, and fire, air, water, and earth. This arrangement of the seven planets (the sun and moon being regarded as planets in the old astronomy) is identical with the candlestick symbolism of the Jews–the sun in the center as the main stem with three planets on either side of it.
The names given by the Pythagoreans to the various notes of the diatonic scale were, according to Macrobius, derived from an estimation of the velocity and magnitude of the planetary bodies. Each of these gigantic spheres as it rushed endlessly through space was believed to sound a certain tone caused by its continuous displacement of the æthereal diffusion. As these tones were a manifestation of divine order and motion, it must necessarily follow that they partook of the harmony of their own source. “The assertion that the planets in their revolutions round the earth uttered certain sounds differing according to their respective ‘magnitude, celerity and local distance,’ was commonly made by the Greeks. Thus Saturn, the farthest planet, was said to give the gravest note, while the Moon, which is the nearest, gave the sharpest. ‘These sounds of the seven planets, and the sphere of the fixed stars, together with that above us [Antichthon], are the nine Muses, and their joint symphony is called Mnemosyne.'” (See The Canon.)This quotation contains an obscure reference to the ninefold division of the universe previously mentioned.
The Greek initiates also recognized a fundamental relationship between the individual heavens or spheres of the seven planets, and the seven sacred vowels. The first heaven uttered the sound of the sacred vowel Α (Alpha); the second heaven, the sacred vowel Ε (Epsilon); the third, Η (Eta); the fourth, Ι (Iota); the fifth, Ο (Omicron); the sixth, Υ (Upsilon); and the seventh heaven, the sacred vowel Ω (Omega). When these seven heavens sing together they produce a perfect harmony which ascends as an everlasting praise to the throne of the Creator. (See Irenæus’ Against Heresies.) Although not so stated, it is probable that the planetary heavens are to be considered as ascending in the Pythagorean order, beginning with the sphere of the moon, which would be the first heaven.
Many early instruments had seven Strings, and it is generally conceded that Pythagoras was the one who added the eighth string to the lyre of Terpander. The seven strings were always related both to their correspondences in the human body and to the planets. The names of God were also conceived to be formed from combinations of the seven planetary harmonies. The Egyptians confined their sacred songs to the seven primary sounds, forbidding any others to be uttered in their temples. One of their hymns contained the following invocation: “The seven sounding tones praise Thee, the Great God, the ceaseless working Father of the whole universe.” In another the Deity describes Himself thus: “I am the great indestructible lyre of the whole world, attuning the songs of the heavens. (See Nauman’sHistory of Music.)
The Pythagoreans believed that everything which existed had a voice and that all creatures were eternally singing the praise of the Creator. Man fails to hear these divine melodies because his soul is enmeshed in the illusion of material existence. When he liberates himself from the bondage of the lower world with its sense limitations, the music of the spheres will again be audible as it was in the Golden Age. Harmony recognizes harmony, and when the human soul regains its true estate it will not only hear the celestial choir but also join with it in an everlasting anthem of praise to that Eternal Good controlling the infinite number of parts and conditions of Being.
The Greek Mysteries included in their doctrines a magnificent concept of the relationship existing between music and form. The elements of architecture, for example, were considered as comparable to musical modes and notes, or as having a musical counterpart. Consequently when a building was erected in which a number of these elements were combined, the structure was then likened to a musical chord, which was harmonic only when it fully satisfied the mathematical requirements of harmonic intervals. The realization of this analogy between sound and form led Goethe to declare that “architecture is crystallized music.”
In constructing their temples of initiation, the early priests frequently demonstrated their superior knowledge of the principles underlying the phenomena known as vibration. A considerable part of the Mystery rituals consisted of invocations and intonements, for which purpose special sound chambers were constructed. A word whispered in one of these apartments was so intensified that the reverberations made the entire building sway and be filled with a deafening roar. The very wood and stone used in the erection of these sacred buildings eventually became so thoroughly permeated with the sound vibrations of the religious ceremonies that when struck they would reproduce the same tones thus repeatedly impressed into their substances by the rituals.
Every element in Nature has its individual keynote. If these elements are combined in a composite structure the result is a chord that, if sounded, will disintegrate the compound into its integral parts. Likewise each individual has a keynote that, if sounded, will destroy him. The allegory of the walls of Jericho falling when the trumpets of Israel were sounded is undoubtedly intended to set forth the arcane significance of individual keynote or vibration.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF COLOR
“Light,” writes Edwin D. Babbitt, “reveals the glories of the external world and yet is the most glorious of them all. It gives beauty, reveals beauty and is itself most beautiful. It is the analyzer, the truth-teller and the exposer of shams, for it shows things as they are. Its infinite streams measure off the universe and flow into our telescopes from stars which are quintillions of miles distant. On the other hand it descends to objects inconceivably small, and reveals through the microscope objects fifty millions of times less than can be seen by the naked eye. Like all other fine forces, its movement is wonderfully soft, yet penetrating and powerful. Without its vivifying influence, vegetable, animal, and human life must immediately perish from the earth, and general ruin take place. We shall do well, then, to consider this potential and beautiful principle of light and its component colors, for the more deeply we penetrate into its inner laws, the more will it present itself as a marvelous storehouse of power to vitalize, heal, refine, and delight mankind.” (See The Principles of Light and Color.)
Since light is the basic physical manifestation of life, bathing all creation in its radiance, it is highly important to realize, in part at least, the subtle nature of this divine substance. That which is called light is actually a rate of vibration causing certain reactions upon the optic nerve. Few realize how they are walled in by the limitations
THE THEORY OF ELEMENTAL MUSIC.
From Fludd’s De Musica Mundana.
In this diagram two interpenetrating pyramids are again employed, one of which represents fire and the other earth. It is demonstrated according to the law of elemental harmony that fire does not enter into the composition of earth nor earth into the composition of fire. The figures on the chart disclose the harmonic relationships existing between the four primary elements according to both Fludd and the Pythagoreans. Earth consists of four parts of its own nature; water of three parts of earth and one part of fire. The sphere of equality is a hypothetical point where there is an equilibrium of two parts of earth and two parts of fire. Air is composed of three parts of fire and one part of earth; fire, of four parts of its own nature. Thus earth and water bear to each other the ratio of 4 to 3, or the diatessaron harmony, and water and the sphere of equality the ratio of 3 to 2, or the diapente harmony. Fire and air also bear to each other the ratio of 4 to 3, or the diatessaron harmony, and air and the sphere of equality the ratio of 3 to 2, or the diapente harmony. As the sum of a diatessaron and a diapente equals a diapason, or octave, it is evident that both the sphere of fire and the sphere of earth are in diapason harmony with the sphere of equality, and also that fire and earth are in disdiapason harmony with each other.
of the sense perceptions. Not only is there a great deal more to light than anyone has ever seen but there are also unknown forms of light which no optical equipment will ever register. There are unnumbered colors which cannot be seen, as well as sounds which cannot be heard, odors which cannot be smelt, flavors which cannot be tasted, and substances which cannot be felt. Man is thus surrounded by a supersensible universe of which he knows nothing because the centers of sense perception within himself have not been developed sufficiently to respond to the subtler rates of vibration of which that universe is composed.
Among both civilized and savage peoples color has been accepted as a natural language in which to couch their religious and philosophical doctrines. The ancient city of Ecbatana as described by Herodotus, its seven walls colored according to the seven planets, revealed the knowledge of this subject possessed by the Persian Magi. The famous zikkurat or astronomical tower of the god Nebo at Borsippa ascended in seven great steps or stages, each step being painted in the key color of one of the planetary bodies. (See Lenormant’s Chaldean Magic.) It is thus evident that the Babylonians were familiar with the concept of the spectrum in its relation to the seven Creative Gods or Powers. In India, one of the Mogul emperors caused a fountain to be made with seven levels. The water pouring down the sides through specially arranged channels changed color as it descended, passing sequentially through all shades of the spectrum. In Tibet, color is employed by the native artists to express various moods. L. Austine Waddell, writing of Northern Buddhist art, notes that in Tibetan mythology,
“White and yellow complexions usually typify mild moods, while the red, blue, and black belong to fierce forms, though sometimes light blue, as indicating the sky, means merely celestial. Generally the gods are pictured white, goblins red, and devils black, like their European relative.” (SeeThe Buddhism of Tibet.)
In Meno, Plato, speaking through Socrates, describes color as “an effluence of form, commensurate with sight, and sensible.” In Theætetus he discourses more at length on the subject thus:
“Let us carry out the principle which has just been affirmed, that nothing is self-existent, and then we shall see that every color, white, black, and every other color, arises out of the eye meeting the appropriate motion, and that what we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element, but something which passes between them, and is peculiar to each percipient; are you certain that the several colors appear to every animal–say a dog–as they appear to you?”
In the Pythagorean tetractys–the supreme symbol of universal forces and processes–are set forth the theories of the Greeks concerning color and music. The first three dots represent the threefold White Light, which is the Godhead containing potentially all sound and color. The remaining seven dots are the colors of the spectrum and the notes of the musical scale. The colors and tones are the active creative powers which, emanating from the First Cause, establish the universe. The seven are divided into two groups, one containing three powers and the other four a relationship also shown in the tetractys. The higher group–that of three–becomes the spiritual nature of the created universe; the lower group–that of four–manifests as the irrational sphere, or inferior world.
In the Mysteries the seven Logi, or Creative Lords, are shown as streams of force issuing from the mouth of the Eternal One. This signifies the spectrum being extracted from the white light of the Supreme Deity. The seven Creators, or Fabricators, of the inferior spheres were called by the Jews the Elohim. By the Egyptians they were referred to as the Builders (sometimes as the Governors) and are depicted with great knives in their hands with which they carved the universe from its primordial substance. Worship of the planets is based upon their acceptation as the cosmic embodiments of the seven creative attributes of God. The Lords of the planets were described as dwelling within the body of the sun, for the true nature of the sun, being analogous to the white light, contains the seeds of all the tone and color potencies which it manifests.
There are numerous arbitrary arrangements setting forth the mutual relationships of the planets, the colors, and the musical notes. The most satisfactory system is that based upon the law of the octave. The sense of hearing has a much wider scope than that of sight, for whereas the ear can register from nine to eleven octaves of sound the eye is restricted to the cognition of but seven fundamental color tones, or one tone short of the octave. Red, when posited as the lowest color tone in the scale of chromatics, thus corresponds to do, the first note of the musical scale. Continuing the analogy, orange corresponds to re, yellow to mi, green to fa, blue to sol, indigo to la, and violet to si (ti). The eighth color tone necessary to complete the scale should be the higher octave of red, the first color tone. The accuracy of the above arrangement is attested by two striking facts: (1) the three fundamental notes of the musical scale–the first, the third, and the fifth–correspond with the three primary colors–red, yellow, and blue; (2) the seventh, and least perfect, note of the musical scale corresponds with purple, the least perfect tone of the color scale.
In The Principles of Light and Color, Edwin D. Babbitt confirms the correspondence of the color and musical scales: “As C is at the bottom of the musical scale and made with the coarsest waves of air, so is red at the bottom of the chromatic scale and made with the coarsest waves of luminous ether. As the musical note B [the seventh note of the scale] requires 45 vibrations of air every time the note C at the lower end of the scale requires 24, or but little over half as many, so does extreme violet require about 300 trillions of vibrations of ether in a second, while extreme red requires only about 450 trillions, which also are but little more than half as many. When one musical octave is finished another one commences and progresses with just twice as many vibrations as were used in the first octave, and so the same notes are repeated on a finer scale. In the same way when the scale of colors visible to the ordinary eye is completed in the violet, another octave of finer invisible colors, with just twice as many vibrations, will commence and progress on precisely the same law.”
When the colors are related to the twelve signs of the zodiac, they are arranged as the spokes of a wheel. To Aries is assigned pure red; to Taurus, red-orange; to Gemini, pure orange; to Cancer, orange-yellow; to Leo, pure yellow; to Virgo, yellow-green; to Libra, pure green; to Scorpio, green-blue; to Sagittarius, pure blue; to Capricorn, blue-violet; to Aquarius, pure violet; and to Pisces, violet-red.
In expounding the Eastern system of esoteric philosophy, H. P, Blavatsky relates the colors to the septenary constitution of man and the seven states of matter as follows:
|COLOR||PRINCIPLES OF MAN||STATES OF MATTER|
|Violet||Chaya, or Etheric Double||Ether|
|Indigo||Higher Manas, or Spiritual Intelligence||Critical State called Air|
|Blue||Auric Envelope||Steam or Vapor|
|Green||Lower Manas, or Animal Soul||Critical State|
|Yellow||Buddhi, or Spiritual Soul||Water|
|Orange||Prana, or Life Principle||Critical State|
|Red||Kama Rupa, or Seat of Animal Life||Ice|
This arrangement of the colors of the spectrum and the musical notes of the octave necessitates a different grouping of the planets in order to preserve their proper tone and color analogies. Thus do becomes Mars; re, the sun; mi, Mercury; fa, Saturn; sol, Jupiter; la, Venus; si (ti) the moon. (See The E. S. Instructions.)
THE FOUR ELEMENTS AND THEIR CONSONANTAL INTERVALS.
From Fludd’s De Musica Mundana.
In this diagram Fludd has divided each of the four Primary elements into three subdivisions. The first division of each element is the grossest, partaking somewhat of the substance directly inferior to itself (except in the case of the earth, which has no state inferior to itself). The second division consists of the element in its relatively pure state, while the third division is that condition wherein the element partakes somewhat of the substance immediately superior to itself. For example the lowest division of the element of water is sedimentary, as it contains earth substance in solution; the second division represents water in its most common state–salty–as in the case of the ocean; and the third division is water in its purest state–free from salt. The harmonic interval assigned to the lowest division of each element is one tone, to the central division also a tone, but to the higher division a half-tone because it partakes of the division immediately above it. Fludd emphasizes the fact that as the elements ascend in series of two and a half tones, the diatessaron is the dominating harmonic interval of the elements.
ALBERT PIKE, quoting from Transcendental Magic, thus sums up the importance of Qabbalism as a key to Masonic esotericism:
“One is filled with admiration, on penetrating into the Sanctuary of the Kabalah, at seeing a doctrine so logical, so simple, and at the same time so absolute. The necessary union of ideas and signs, the consecration of the most fundamental realities by the primitive characters; the Trinity of Words, Letters, and Numbers; a philosophy simple as the alphabet, profound and infinite as the Word; theorems more complete and luminous than those of Pythagoras; a theology summed up by counting on one’s fingers; an Infinite which can be held in the hollow of an infant’s hand; ten ciphers and twenty-two letters, a triangle, a square, and a circle,–these are all the elements of the Kabalah. These are the elementary principles of the written Word, reflection of that spoken Word that created the world!” (Morals and Dogma.)
Hebrew theology was divided into three distinct parts. The first was the law, the second was the soul of the law, and the third was the soul of the soul of the law. The law was taught to all the children of Israel; the Mishna, or the soul of the law, was revealed to the Rabbins and teachers; but the Qabbalah, the soul of the soul of the law, was cunningly concealed, and only the highest initiates among the Jews were instructed in its secret principles.
According to certain Jewish mystics, Moses ascended Mount Sinai three times, remaining in the presence of God forty days each time. During the first forty days the tables of the written law were delivered to the prophet; during the second forty days he received the soul of the law; and during the last forty days God instructed him in the mysteries of the Qabbalah, the soul of the soul of the law. Moses concealed in the first four books of the Pentateuch the secret instructions that God had given him, and for centuries students of Qabbalism. have sought therein the secret doctrine of Israel. As the spiritual nature of man is concealed in his physical body, so the unwritten law–the Mishna and the Qabbalah–is concealed within the written teachings of the Mosaic code. Qabbalah means the secret or hidden tradition, the unwritten law, and according to an early Rabbi, it was delivered to man in order that through the aid of its abstruse principles he might learn to understand the mystery of both the universe about him and the universe within him.
The origin of Qabbalism is a legitimate subject for controversy. Early initiates of the Qabbalistic Mysteries believed that its principles were first taught by God to a school of His angels before the fall of man. The angels later communicated the secrets to Adam, so that through the knowledge gained from an understanding of its principles fallen humanity might regain its lost a estate. The Angel Raziel was dispatched from heaven to instruct Adam in the mysteries of the Qabbalah. Different angels were employed to initiate the succeeding patriarchs in this difficult science. Tophiel was the teacher of Shem, Raphael of Isaac, Metatron of Moses, and Michael of David. (See Faiths of the World.)
Christian D. Ginsburg has written:
“From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out. It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical systems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into it in the land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in it from one of the angels. * * * Moses also initiated the seventy Elders into the secrets of this doctrine and they again transmitted them from hand to hand. Of all who formed the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were most initiated into the Kabbalah.” (See The Kabbalah.)
According to Eliphas Levi, the three greatest books of Qabbalism are the Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation; the Sepher ha Zohar, The Book of Splendor; and the Apocalypse, The Book of Revelation. The dates of the writing of these books are by no means thoroughly established. Qabbalists declare that the Sepher Yetzirah was written by Abraham. Although it is by far the oldest of the Qabbalistic books, it was probably from the pen of the Rabbi Akiba, A.D. 120.
The Sepher ha Zohar presumably was written by Simeon ben Jochai, a disciple of Akiba. Rabbi Simeon was sentenced to death about A.D. 161 by Lucius Verus, co-regent of the Emperor Marc Aurelius Antoninus. He escaped with his son and, hiding in a cave, transcribed the manuscript of the Zohar with the assistance of Elias, who appeared to them at intervals. Simeon was twelve years in the cave, during which time he evolved the complicated symbolism of the “Greater Face” and the “Lesser Face.” While discoursing with disciples Rabbi Simeon expired, and the “Lamp of Israel” was extinguished. His death and burial were accompanied by many supernatural phenomena. The legend goes on to relate that the secret doctrines of Qabbalism had been in existence since the beginning of the world, but that Rabbi Simeon was the first man permitted to reduce them to writing. Twelve hundred years later the books which he had compiled were discovered and published for the benefit of humanity by Moses de León. The probability is that Moses de León himself compiled the Zohar about A.D. 1305, drawing his material from the unwritten secrets of earlier Jewish mystics. The Apocalypse, accredited to St. John the Divine, is also of uncertain date, and the identity of its author has never been satisfactorily proved.
Because of its brevity and because it is the key to Qabbalistic thought, the Sepher Yetzirah is reproduced in full in this chapter. So far as is
THE SEVENTY-TWO NAMES OF GOD.
From Kircher’s Œdipus Ægyptiacus.
This rare cut shows the name of God in seventy-two languages inscribed upon the petals of a symbolic sunflower. Above the circle are the seventy-two powers of God according to the Hebrew Qabbalah. Below two trees, that on the left bearing the symbols of the planets and that on the right the signs of the zodiac and the names of the tribes of Israel. The esoteric doctrines of the Qabbalah are in alignment with the secret teachings of all the schools of philosophy, but the method by which its secrets are revealed to the wise and concealed from the ignorant is most unusual. As the religious world interprets its scriptures with twentieth-century educational facilities, it becomes ever more apparent that the sacred books were not historical documents, but that the kings, sages, prophets, and saviors whom Bible students ham revered for ages as once-existing personalities are in reality only personified attributes of man himself.
known, the Sepher ha Zohar has never been completely translated into English, but it can be obtained in French. (S. L. MacGregor-Mathers translated three books of the Zohar into English.) The Zohar contains a vast number of philosophical tenets, and a paraphrase of its salient points is embodied in this work.
Few realize the influence exerted by Qabbalism over mediæval thought, both Christian and Jewish. It taught that there existed within the sacred writings a hidden doctrine which was the key to those writings. This is symbolized by the crossed keys upon the papal crest. Scores of learned minds began to search for those arcane truths by which the race should be redeemed; and that their labor was not without its reward, their subsequent writings have demonstrated.
The theories of Qabbalism are inextricably interwoven with the tenets of alchemy, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, and Freemasonry. The words Qabbalism andHermeticism are now considered as synonymous terms covering all the arcana and esotericism of antiquity. The simple Qabbalism of the first centuries of the Christian Era gradually evolved into an elaborate theological system, which became so involved that it was next to impossible to comprehend its dogma.
The Qabbalists divided the uses of their sacred science into five sections. The Natural Qabbalah was used solely to assist the investigator in his study of Nature’s mysteries. The Analogical Qabbalah was formulated to exhibit the relationship which exists between all things in Nature, and it revealed to the wise that all creatures and substances were one in essence, and that man–the Little Universe–was a replica in miniature of God–the Great Universe. The Contemplative Qabbalah was evolved for the purpose of revealing through the higher intellectual faculties the mysteries of the celestial spheres. By its aid the abstract reasoning faculties cognized the measureless planes of infinity and learned to know the creatures existing within them. The Astrological Qabbalah instructed those who studied its lore in the power, magnitude, and actual substance of the sidereal bodies, and also revealed the mystical constitution of the planet itself. The fifth, orMagical Qabbalah, was studied by such as desired to gain control over the demons and subhuman intelligences of the invisible worlds. It was also highly valued as a method of healing the sick by talismans, amulets, charms, and invocations.
The Sepher Yetzirah, according to Adolph Franck, differs from other sacred books in that it does not explain the world and the phenomena of which it is the stage by leaning on the idea of God or by setting itself up as the interpreter of the supreme will. This ancient work rather reveals God by estimating His manifold handiwork. In preparing the Sepher Yetzirah for the consideration of the reader, five separate English translations have been compared. The resulting form, while it embodies the salient features of each, is not a direct translation from any one Hebrew or Latin text. Although the purpose was to convey the spirit rather than the letter of the ancient document, there are no wide deviations from the original rendition. So far as known, the first translation of the Sepher Yetzirah into English was made by the Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalisch, in 1877. (See Arthur Edward Waite.) In this translation the Hebrew text accompanies the English words. The work of Dr. Kalisch has been used as the foundation of the following interpretation, but material from other authorities has been incorporated and many passages have been rewritten to simplify the general theme.
At hand also was a manuscript copy in English of the Book of the Cabalistick Art, by Doctor John Pistor. The document is undated; but judging from the general type of the writing, the copy was made during the eighteenth century. The third volume used as a reference was the Sepher Yetzirah, by the late Win. Wynn Westcott, Magus of the Rosicrucian Society of England. The fourth was the Sepher Yetzirah, or The Book of Creation, according to the translation in the Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, edited by Prof. Charles F. Horne. The fifth was a recent publication, The Book of Formation, by Knut Stenring, containing an introduction by Arthur Edward Waite. At hand also were four other copies–two German, one Hebrew, and one Latin. Certain portions of the Sepher Yetzirah are considered older and more authentic than the rest, bur the controversy regarding them is involved and nonproductive that it is useless to add further comment. The doubtful passages are therefore included in the document at the points where they would naturally fall.
THE SEPHER YETZIRAH, THE BOOK OF FORMATION
- YAH, the Lord of Hosts, the living Elohim, King of the Universe, Omnipotent, the Merciful and Gracious God, Supreme and Extolled, Dweller in the Height whose habitation is Eternity, who is Sublime and Most-Holy, engraved His name and ordained (formed) and created the Universe in thirty-two mysterious paths (stages) of wisdom (science), by three Sepharim, namely, Numbers, Letters, and Sounds, which are in Him one and the same.
- Ten Sephiroth (ten properties from the Ineffable One) and twenty-two letters are the Foundation of all things. Of these twenty-two letters three are called “Mothers,” sewn “Double,” and twelve “Simple.”
- The ten numbers (Sephiroth) out of Nothing are analogous to the ten fingers and the ten toes: five over against five. In the center between them is the covenant with the Only One God. In the spiritual world it is the covenant of the voice (the Word), and in the corporeal world the circumcision of the flesh (the rite of Abraham).
- Ten are the numbers (of the Sephiroth) out of Nothing, ten–not nine; ten–not eleven. Comprehend this great, wisdom, understand this knowledge and be wise. Inquire into the mystery and ponder it. Examine all things by means of the ten Sephiroth. Restore the Word to Its Creator and lead the Creator back to His throne again. He is the only Formator and beside Him there is no other. His attributes are ten and are without limit.
- The ten ineffable Sephiroth have ten infinitudes, which are as follows:
The infinite beginning and the infinite end;
The infinite good and the infinite evil;
The infinite height and the infinite depth;
The infinite East and the infinite West;
The infinite North and the infinite South;
and over them is the Lord Superlatively One, the faithful King. He rules over all in all from His holy habitation for ages of ages.
- The appearance of the ten spheres (Sephiroth) out of Nothing is as a flash of lightning or a sparkling flame, and they are without beginning or end. The Word of God is in them when they go forth and when they return. They run by His order like a whirlwind and prostrate themselves before His throne.
- The ten Sephiroth have their end linked to their beginning and their beginning linked to their end, cojoined as the flame is wedded to the live coal, for the Lord is Superlatively One and to Him there is no second. Before One what can you count?
- Concerning the number (10) of the spheres of existence (Sephiroth) out of Nothing, seal up your lips and guard your heart as you consider them, and if your month opens for utterance and your heart turns towards thought, control them, returning to silence. So it is written: “And the living creatures ran and returned.” (Ezekiel i. 14.) And on this wise was the covenant made with us,
- These are the ten emanations of number out of Nothing:
1st. The spirit of the living Elohim, blessed and more than blessed be the living Elohim of ages. His Voice, His Spirit, and His Word are the Holy Spirit.
2nd. He produced air from the spirit and in the air. He formed and established twenty-two sounds–the letters. Three of them were fundamental, or mothers; seven were double; and twelve were simple (single); but the spirit is the first one and above all.
3rd. Primordial water He extracted from the air. He formed therein twenty-two letters and established them out of mud and loam, making them like a border, putting them up like a wall, and surrounding them as with a rampart. He poured snow upon them and it became earth, as it reads: “He said to the snow be thou earth.” (Job. xxxvii. 6.)
4th. Fire (ether) He drew forth from the water. He engraved and established by it the Throne of Glory. He fashioned the Seraphim, the Ophanim, and the Holy Living Creatures (Cherubim?), as His ministering angels; and with (of) these three He formed His habitation, as it reads: “Who made His angels spirits, His ministers a flaming fire.” (Psalms civ. 4.)
By arranging the four letters of the Great Name, י ה ו ה, (I H V H), in the form of the Pythagorean Tetractys, the 72 powers of the Great Name of God are manifested. The key to the problem is as follows:
|. .||=||H I||=||5+10||=||15|
|. . .||=||V H I||=||6+5+10||=||21|
|. . . .||=||H V H I||=||5+6+5+10||=||26|
|The Great Name of God||=||72|
5th. He selected three consonants (I, H, V) from the simple ones–a secret belonging to the three mothers, or first elements; א מ ש (A, M, Sh), air, water, fire (ether). He sealed them with His spirit and fashioned them into a Great Name and with this sealed the universe in six directions. He turned towards the above and sealed the height with י ה ו (I, H, V).
6th. He turned towards the below and sealed the depth withה י ו (H, I, V).
7th. He turned forward and sealed the East with ו י ה (V, I, H).
8th. He turned backward and sealed the West with ו ה י (V H, I).
9th. He turned to the right and sealed the South with י ו ה (I, V, H).
10th. He turned to the left and sealed the North with ה ו י (H, V, I).
NOTE. This arrangement of the letters of the Great Name is according to the Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalisch.
- These are the ten ineffable existences out of nothing; From the spirit of the Living God emanated air; from the air, water; from the water, fire (ether); from the fire, the height and the depth, the East and the West, the North and the South.
- There are twenty-two basic (sounds and) letters. Three are the first elements (water, air, fire), fundamentals, or mothers; seven are double letters; and twelve are simple letters. The three fundamental letters א מ ש have as their basis the balance. At one end of the scale are the virtues and at the other the vices, placed in equilibrium by the tongue. Of the fundamental letters מ (M) is mute like the water, ש (Sh) hissing like fire, א (A) a reconciling breath between them. t
- The twenty-two basic letters having been designed, appointed, and established by God, He combined, weighed, and exchanged them (each with the others), and formed by them all beings which are in existence, and all which will be formed in time to come.
- He established twenty-two basic letters, formed by the voice and impressed upon the air by the breath. He set them to be audibly uttered in five different parts of the human mouth: namely, Gutturals, א ה ח ע; Palatals, ג י כ ק; Linguals, ד ט ל נ ת Dentals, ז ש ס ר ץ; Labials, ב ו מ ף.
- He fixed the twenty-two basic letters in a ring (sphere) like a wall with two hundred and thirty-one gates, and turned the sphere forward and backward. Turned forward, the sphere signified good; when reversed, evil. Three letters may serve for an illustration: There is nothing better than ע נ ג (O, N, G), pleasure (joy), and nothing worse than נ ג ע (N, G, O), plague (sorrow).
- How was it all accomplished? He combined, weighed, and changed: the א (A) with all the other letters in succession, and all the others again with א (A), and all again with ב (B); and so with the whole series of letters. Hence it follows that there are two hundred and thirty-one formations, or gates, through which the powers of the letters go forth; every creature and every language proceeded from One Name and the combinations of its letters.
- He created a reality out of Nothing. He called the nonentity into existence and hewed colossal pillars from intangible air. This has been shown by the example of combining the letter א (A) with all the other letters, and all the other letters with א. By speaking He created every creature and every word by the power of One Name. As an illustration, consider the twenty-two elementary substances from the primitive substance of א. The production of every creature from the twenty-two letters is proof that they are in reality the twenty-two parts of one living body.
- The first three elements (the Mother letters, א מ ש) resemble a balance, in one scale virtue and in the other vice, placed in equilibrium by the tongue.
- The three Mothers, א מ ש, enclose a great, wonderful, and unknown mystery, and are sealed by six wings (or elementary circles), namely, air, water, fire–each divided into an active and a passive power. The Mothers, א מ ש, gave birth to the Fathers (the progenitors), and these gave birth to the generations.
- God appointed and established three Mothers, א מ ש, combined, weighed, and exchanged them, forming by them three Mothers, in the universe, in the year, and in man (male and female).
- The three Mothers, א מ ש, in the universe are: air, water, and fire. Heaven was created from the elementary fire (or ether) ש, the earth, comprising sea and land, from the elementary water, מ, and the atmospheric air from the elementary air, or spirit, א, which establishes the balance among them. Thus were all things produced.
- The three Mothers, א מ ש, produce in the year heat, coldness, and the temperate state. Heat was created from fire, coldness from water, and the temperate state from air, which equilibrates them.
- The three Mothers, א מ ש, produce in man (male and female) breast, abdomen, and head. The head was formed from the fire, ש; the abdomen from the water, מ; and the breast (thorax) from air, א, which places them in equilibrium.
- God let the letter א (A) predominate in primordial air, crowned it, combined it with the other two, and sealed the air in the universe, the temperate state in the year, and the breast in man (male and female).
- He let the letter מ (M) predominate in primordial water, crowned it, combined it with the other two, and sealed the earth in the universe (including land and sea), coldness in the year, and the abdomen in man (male and female).
- He let the letter ש (Sh) predominate in primordial fire, crowned it, combined it with the other two, and sealed heaven in the universe, heat in the year, and the head of man (male and female).
- The seven double letters, ב ג ד כ פ ר ת (B, G, D, K, P, R, Th), have a duplicity of pronunciation (two voices), aspirated and unaspirated, namely: פּ ת, רּ ר, פּ פ, כּ כ, דּ ד, גּ גThey serve as a model of softness and hardness, strength and weakness.
- The seven double letters symbolize wisdom, riches, fertility life, power, peace, and grace.
- The seven double letters also signify the antitheses to which human life is exposed. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness; of riches, poverty; of fertility, sterility; of life, death; of power, servitude; of peace, war; and of beauty, deformity.
- The seven double letters point out the six dimensions, height, depth, East and West, North and South, and the Holy Temple in the center, which sustains them all.
- The double letters are seven and not six, they are seven and not eight; reflect upon this fact, search into it and reveal its hidden mystery and place the Creator on His throne again.
- The seven double letters having been designed, established, purified, weighed, and exchanged by God, He formed of them seven planets in the universe, seven days in the Year, and seven gateways of the senses in man (male and female). From these seven He also produced seven heavens, seven earths, and seven Sabbaths. Therefore He loved seven more than any other number beneath His throne.
- The seven planets in the universe are: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon. The seven days in the Year are the seven days of the week (possibly the seven creative days are meant). The seven gateways in man (male and female) are two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth.
- NOTE. Knut Stenring differs from other authorities in his arrangement of the planets and days of the week in the following seven stanzas. Kircher has still a different order. Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalisch, Wm. Wynn Westcott, and The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East adopt the following arrangement.
THE HEBREW LETTERS ACCORDING TO THE SEPHER YETZIRAH.
In the central triangle are the three Mother Letters from which come forth the seven Double Letters–the planets and the heavens. Surrounding the black star are the signs of the zodiac symbolized by the twelve Simple Letters. In the midst of this star is the Invisible Throne of the Most Ancient of the Ancients–the Supreme Definitionless Creator.
1st. He caused the letter. ב (B) to predominate in wisdom, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them the Moon in the universe, the first day in the year, and the right eye in man (male and female).
2nd. He caused the letter ג (G) to predominate in riches, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them Mars in the universe, the second day in the year, and the right ear in man (male and female).
3rd. He caused the letter ד (D) to predominate infertility, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them the Sun in the universe, the third day in the year, and the right nostril in man (male and female).
4th. He caused the letterכ (K) to predominate in life, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them Venus in the universe, the fourth day in the year, and the left eye in man (male and female).
5th. He caused the letter פ (P) to predominate in power, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them Mercury in the universe, the fifth day in the year, and the left ear in man (male and female).
6th. He caused the letter ר (R) to predominate in peace, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them Saturn in the universe, the sixth day in the year, and the left nostril in man (male and female).
7th. He caused the letter ת (Th) to predominate in grace, crowned it, combined each with the others, and formed by them Jupiter in the universe, the seventh day in the year, and the mouth of man (male and female).
- With the seven double letters He also designed seven earths, seven heavens, seven continents, seven seas, seven rivers, seven deserts, seven days, seven weeks (from Passover to Pentecost), and in the midst of them His Holy Palace. There is a cycle of seven years and the seventh is the release year, and after seven release years is the Jubilee. For this reason God loves the number seven more than any other thing under the heavens.
- In this manner God joined the seven double letters together. Two stones build two houses, three stones build six houses, four stones build twenty-four houses, five stones build 120 houses, six stones build 720 houses, and seven stones build 5,040 houses. Make a beginning according to this arrangement and reckon further than the mouth can express or the ear can hear.
- The twelve simple letters ה ו ז ח ט י ל נ ס ע צ ק (H, V, Z, Ch, T, I, L, N, S, O, Tz, Q) symbolize the twelve fundamental properties: speech, thought, movement, sight, hearing, work, coition, smell, sleep, anger, taste (or swallowing), and mirth.
- The simple letters correspond to twelve directions: east height, northeast, east depth; south height, southeast, south depth; west height, southwest, west depth; north height, northwest, north depth. They diverge to all eternity and are the arms of the universe.
- The simple letters having been designed, established, weighed, and exchanged by God, He produced by them twelve zodiacal signs in the universe, twelve months in the year, and twelve chief organs in ` human body (male and female).
4, The signs of the zodiac are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The months of the year are: Nisan, liar, Sivan, Tammuz, Ab, Elul, Tisri, Marcheshvan, Kislev, Tebet, Sebat, and Adar. The organs of the human body are: two hands, two feet, two kidneys, gall, small intestine, liver, esophagus, stomach, and spleen.
- NOTE. In the following twelve stanzas, Knut Stenring again differs, this time as to the arrangement of properties:
1st. God caused the letter ה (H) to predominate in speech, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Aries (the Ram) in the universe, the month Nisan in the year, and the right foot of the human body (male and female).
2nd. He caused the letter ו (V) to predominate in thought, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Taurus (the Bull) in the universe, the month liar in the year, and the right kidney of the human body (male and female).
3rd. He caused the letter ז (Z) to predominate in movement, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Gemini (the Twins) in the universe, the month Sivan in the year, and the left foot of the human body (male and female).
4th. He caused the letter ח (Ch) to predominate in sight, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Cancer (the Crab) in the universe, the month Tammuz in the year, and the right hand of the human body (male and female).
5th. He caused the letter ט (T) to predominate in hearing, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Leo (the Lion) in the universe, the month Ab in the year, and the left kidney of the human body (male and female).
6th. He caused the letter י (I) to predominate in work, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Virgo (the Virgin) in the universe, the month Elul in the year, and the left hand of the human body (male and female).
7th. He caused the letter ל (L) to predominate in coition, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Libra (the Balance) in the universe, the month Tisri in the year, and the gall of the human body (male and female).
8th. He caused the letter נ (N) to predominate in smell, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Scorpio (the Scorpion) in the universe, the month Marcheshvan in the year, and the small intestine in the human body (male and female).
9th. He caused the letter ס (S) to predominate in sleep, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Sagittarius (the Archer) in the universe, the month Kislev in the year, and the stomach in the human body (male and female).
10th. He caused the letter ע (O) to predominate in anger, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Capricorn (the Goat) in the universe, the month Tebet in the year, and the liver in the human body (male and female).
11th. He caused the letter צ (Tz) to predominate in taste (or swallowing), crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Aquarius (the Water Bearer) in the universe, the month Sebat in the year, and the esophagus in the human body (male and female).
12th. He caused the letter ק (Q) to predominate in mirth, crowned it, combined it with the others, and fashioned by them Pisces (the Fishes) in the universe, the month Adar in the year, and the spleen in the human body (male and female).
- He made them as a conflict, He arranged them as provinces and drew them up like a wall. He armed them and set one against another as in warfare. (The Elohim did likewise in the other spheres.)
- There are three Mothers or first elements, א מ ש (A, M, Sh), from which emanated three Fathers (progenitors)–primordial (spiritual) air, water, and fire–from which issued the seven planets (heavens) with their angels, and the twelve oblique points (zodiac).
- To prove this there are three faithful witnesses: the universe, the year, and man. There are the twelve, the balance, and the seven. Above is the Dragon, below is the world, and lastly the heart of man; and in the midst is God who regulates them all.
- The first elements are air, water, and fire; the fire is above, the water is below, and a breath of air establishes balance between them. The token is: the fire carries the water. The letterמ (M) is mute; ש (Sh) is hissing like fire; there is א (A) among them, a breath of air which reconciles the two.
- The Dragon (Tali) is in the universe like a king upon his throne; the celestial sphere is in the year like a king in his empire; and the heart is in the body of men like a king in warfare.
- God also set the opposites against each other: the good against the evil, and the evil against the good. Good proceeds from good, evil from evil; the good purifies the bad, the bad the good. The good is reserved for the good, and the evil for the wicked.
- There are three of which each stands by itself: one is in the affirmative (filled with good), one is in the negative (filled with evil), and the third equilibrates them.
- There are seven divided three against three, and one in the midst of them (balance). Twelve stand in warfare: three produce love and three hatred; three are life-givers and three are destroyers.
- The three that cause love are the heart and the two ears; the three that produce hatred are the liver, the gall, and the tongues; the three life-givers are the two nostrils and the spleen; and the three destroyers are the mouth and the two lower openings of the body. Over all these rules God, the faithful king, from His holy habitation in all eternity. God is One above three, three are above seven, seven are above twelve, yet all are linked together.
- There are twenty-two letters by which the I AM (YAH), the Lord of Hosts, Almighty and Eternal, designed and created by three Sepharim (Numbers, Letters, and Sounds) His universe, and formed by them all creatures and all those things that are yet to come.
- When the Patriarch Abraham had comprehended the great truths, meditated upon them, and understood them perfectly, the Lord of the Universe (the Tetragrammaton) appeared to him, called him His friend, kissed him upon the head, and made with him a covenant. First, the covenant was between the ten fingers of his hands, which is the covenant of the tongue (spiritual); second, the covenant was between the ten toes of his feet, which is the covenant of circumcision (material); and God said of him, “Before Abraham bound the spirit of the twenty-two letters (the Thora) upon his tongue and God disclosed to him their secrets. God permitted the letters to be immersed in water, He burned them in the fire and imprinted them upon the winds. He distributed them among the seven planets and gave them to the twelve zodiacal signs.
Fundamentals of Qabbalistic Cosmogony
THE Qabbalists conceive of the Supreme Deity as an Incomprehensible Principle to be discovered only through the process of eliminating, in order, all its cognizable attributes.
That which remains – when every knowable thing has been removed – is AIN SOPH, the eternal state of Being. Although indefinable, the Absolute permeates all space. Abstract to the degree of inconceivability, AIN SOPH is the unconditioned state of all things.
Substances, essences, and intelligences are manifested out of the inscrutability of AIN SOPH, but the Absolute itself is without substance, essence, or intelligence. AIN SOPH may be likened to a great field of rich earth out of which rises a myriad of plants, each different in color, formation, and fragrance, yet each with its roots in the same dark loam–which, however, is unlike any of the forms nurtured by it. The “plants” are universes, gods, and man, all nourished by AIN SOPH and all with their source in one definitionless essence; all with their spirits, souls, and bodies fashioned from this essence, and doomed, like the plant, to return to the black ground–AIN SOPH, the only Immortal–whence they came.
AIN SOPH was referred to by the Qabbalists as The Most Ancient of all the Ancients. It was always considered as sexless. Its symbol was a closed eye. While it may be truly said of AIN SOPH that to define It is to defile It, the Rabbis postulated certain theories regarding the manner in which AIN SOPH projected creations out of Itself, and they also assigned to this Absolute Not-Being certain symbols as being descriptive, in part at least, of Its powers. The nature of AIN SOPH they symbolize by a circle, itself emblematic of eternity. This hypothetical circle encloses a dimensionless area of incomprehensible life, and the circular boundary of this life is abstract and measureless infinity.
According to this concept, God is not only a Center but also Area. Centralization is the first step towards limitation. Therefore, centers which form in the substances of AIN SOPH are finite because they are predestined to dissolution back into the Cause of themselves, while AIN SOPH Itself is infinite because It is the ultimate condition of all things.
The circular shape given to AIN SOPH signifies that space is hypothetically enclosed within a great crystal-like globe, outside of which there is nothing, not even a vacuum. Within this globe–symbolic of AIN SOPH–creation and dissolution take place. Every element and principle that will ever be used in the eternities of Kosmic birth, growth, and decay is within the transparent substances of this intangible sphere. It is the Kosmic Egg which is not broken till the great day “Be With Us,” which is the end of the Cycle of Necessity, when all things return to their ultimate cause.
In the process of creation the diffused life of AIN SOPH retires from the circumference to the center of the circle and establishes a point, which is the first manifesting One–the primitive limitation of the all-pervading O. When the Divine Essence thus retires from the circular boundary to the center, It leaves behind the Abyss, or, as the Qabbalists term it, the Great Privation.
Thus, in AIN SOPH is established a twofold condition where previously had existed but one. The first condition is the central point–the primitive objectified radiance of the eternal, subjectified life. About this radiance is darkness caused by the deprivation of the life which is drawn to the center to create the first point, or universal germ. The universal AIN SOPH, therefore, no longer shines through space, but rather upon space from an established first point.
Isaac Myer describes this process as follows: “The Ain Soph at first was filling All and then made an absolute concentration into Itself which produced the Abyss, Deep, or Space, the Aveer Qadmon or Primitive Air, the Azoth; but this is not considered in the Qabbalah as a perfect void or vacuum, a perfectly empty Space, but is thought of as the Waters or Crystalline Chaotic Sea, in which was a certain degree of Light inferior to that by which all the created [worlds and hierarchies] were made.” (See The Qabbalah.)
In the secret teachings of the Qabbalah it is taught that man’s body is enveloped in an ovoid of bubble-like iridescence, which is called the Auric Egg. This is the causal sphere of man. It bears the same relationship to man’s physical body that the globe of AIN SOPH bears to Its created universes. In fact, this Auric Egg is the AIN SOPH sphere of the entity called man. In reality, therefore, the supreme consciousness of man is in this aura, which extends in all directions and completely encircles his lower bodies.
As the consciousness in the Kosmic Egg is withdrawn into a central point, which is then called God–the Supreme One–so the consciousness in the Auric Egg of man is concentrated, thereby causing the establishment of a point of consciousness called the Ego. As the universes in Nature are formed from powers latent in the Kosmic Egg, so everything used by man in all his incarnations throughout the kingdoms of Nature is drawn from the latent powers within his Auric Egg. Man never passes from this egg; it remains even after death.
His births, deaths, and rebirths all take place within it, and it cannot be broken until the lesser day “Be With Us,” when mankind–like the universe–is liberated from the Wheel of Necessity.
THE QABBALISTIC SYSTEM OF WORLDS
On the accompanying circular chart, the concentric rings represent diagrammatically the forty rates of vibration (called by the Qabbalists Spheres) which emanate from AIN SOPH.
The circle X 1 is the outer boundary of space. It circumscribes the area of AIN SOPH. The nature of AIN SOPH Itself is divided into three parts, represented by the spaces respectively between X 1 and X 2, X 2 and X 3, X 3 and A 1; thus:
|X 1 to X 2,||אין,||AIN, the vacuum of pure spirit.|
|X 2 to X 3,||אין סוף,||AIN SOPH, the Limitless and Boundless.|
|X 3 to A 1,||אין סוף אור,||AIN SOPH AUR, the Limitless Light.|
It should be borne in mind that in the beginning the Supreme Substance, AIN, alone permeated the area of the circle; the inner rings had not yet come into manifestation. As the Divine Essence concentrated Itself, the rings X 2 and X 3 became apprehensible, for AIN SOPH is a limitation of AIN, and AIN SOPH AUR, or Light, is a still greater limitation. Thus the nature of the Supreme One is considered to be threefold, and from this threefold nature the powers and elements of creation were reflected into the Abyss left by the motion of AIN SOPH towards the center of Itself. The continual motion of AIN SOPH towards the center of Itself resulted in the establishment of the dot in the circle. The dot was called God, as being the supreme individualization of the Universal Essence.
Concerning this the Zohar says:
“When the concealed of the Concealed wished to reveal Himself He first made a single point: the Infinite was entirely unknown, and diffused no light before this luminous point violently broke through into vision.”
The name of this point is I AM, called by the Hebrews Eheieh. The Qabbalists gave many names to this dot. On this subject Christian D. Ginsberg writes, in substance: The dot is called the first crown, because it occupies the highest position. It is called the aged, because it is the first emanation. It is called the primordial or smooth point. It is called the white head, the Long Face–Macroprosophus–and the inscrutable height, because it controls and governs all the other emanations.
When the white shining point had appeared, it was called Kether, which means the Crown, and out of it radiated nine great globes, which arranged themselves in the form of a tree. These nine together with the first crown constituted the first system of Sephiroth. These ten were the first limitation of ten abstract points within the nature of AIN SOPH Itself. The power of AIN SOPH did not descend into these globes but rather was reflected upon them as the light of the sun is reflected upon the earth and planets. These ten globes were called the shining sapphires, and it is believed by many Rabbins that the word sapphire is the basis of the wordSephira (the singular of Sephiroth).
The great area which had been privated by the withdrawal of AIN SOPH into the central point, Kether, was now filled by four concentric globes called worlds, or spheres, and the light of the ten Sephiroth was reflected down through each of these in turn. This resulted in the establishment of four symbolical
THE HEBREW TRIAD.
The Qabbalists used the letter ש, Shin, to signify the trinity of the first three Sephiroth. The central circle slightly above the other two is the first Sephira–Kether, the White Head, the Crown. The other two circles represent Chochmah, the Father, and Binah, the Mother. From the union of the Divine Father and the Divine Mother are produced the worlds and the generations of living things. The three flame-like points of the letter ש have long been used to conceal this Creative Triad of the Qabbalists.
trees, each hearing the reflections of the ten Sephirothic globes. The 40 spheres of creation out of AIN SOPH are divided into four great world chains, as follows:
- A 1 to A 10, Atziluth, the Boundless World of Divine Names.
- B 1 to B 10, Briah, the Archangelic World of Creations.
- C 1 to C 10, Yetzirah, the Hierarchal World of Formations.
- D 1 to D 10, Assiah, the Elemental World of Substances.
Each of these worlds has ten powers, or spheres–a parent globe and nine others which conic out of it as emanations, each globe born out of the one preceding.
On the plane of Atziluth (A 1 to A 10), the highest and most divine of all the created worlds, the unmanifested AIN SOPH established His first point or dot in the Divine Sea–the three spheres of X. This dot–A 1–contains all creation within it, but in this first divine and uncontaminated state the dot, or first manifested. God, was not considered as a personality by the Qabbalists but rather as a divine establishment or foundation. It was called the First Crown and from it issued the other circles of the Atziluthic World: A 2, A 3, A 4, A 5, A 6, A 7, A 8, A 9, and A 10. In the three lower worlds these circles are intelligences, planers, and elements, but in this first divine world they are called the Rings of the Sacred Names.
The first ten great circles (or globes) of light which were manifested out of AIN SOPH and the ten names of God assigned to them by the Qabbalists are as follows:
- From AIN SOPH came A 1, the First Crown, and the name of the first power of God was Eheieh, which means I Am [That I Am].
- From A 1 came A 2, the first Wisdom, and the name of the second power of God was Jehovah, which means Essence of Being.
- From A 2 came A 3, the first Understanding, and the name of the third power of God was Jehovah Elohim, which means God of Gods.
- From A 3 came A 4, the first Mercy, and the name of the fourth power of God was El, which means God the Creator.
- From A 4 came A 5, the first Severity, and the name of the fifth power of God was Elohim Gibor, which means God the Potent.
- From A 5 came A 6, the first Beauty, and the name of the sixth power of God was Eloah Vadaath, which means God the Strong.
- From A 6 came A 7, the first Victory, and the name of the seventh power of God was Jehovah Tzaboath, which means God of Hosts.
- From A 7 came A 8, the first Glory, and the name of the eighth power of God was Elohim Tzaboath, which means Lord God of Hosts.
- From A 8 came A 9, the first Foundation, and the name of the ninth power of God was Shaddai, El Chai, which means Omnipotent.
- From A 9 came A 10, the first Kingdom, and the name of the tenth power of God was Adonai Melekh, which means God.
- From A 10 came B 1, the Second Crown, and the World of Briah was established.
The ten emanations from A 1 to A 10 inclusive are called the foundations of all creations.
The Qabbalists designate them the ten roots of the Tree of Life. They are arranged in the form of a great human figure called Adam Qadmon–the man made from the fire mist (red dirt), the prototypic Universal Man. In the Atziluthic World, the powers of God are most purely manifested. These ten pure and perfect radiations do not descend into the lower worlds and take upon themselves forms, but are reflected upon the substances of the inferior spheres. From the first, or Atziluthic, World they are reflected into the second, or Briatic, World. As the reflection always lacks some of the brilliancy of the original image, so in the Briatic World the ten radiations lose part of their infinite power. A reflection is always like the thing reflected, but smaller and fainter.
In the second world, B 1 to B 10, the order of the spheres is the Name as in the Atziluthic World, but the ten circles of light are less brilliant and more tangible, and are here referred to as ten great Spirits–divine creatures who assist in the establishment of order and intelligence in the universe. As already noted, B 1 is born out of A 10 and is included within all the spheres superior to itself. Out of B 1 are taken nine globes–B 2, B 3, B 4, B 5, B 6, B 7, B 8, B 9, and B 10–which constitute the World of Briah. These ten subdivisions, however, are really the ten Atziluthic powers reflected into the substance of the Briatic World. B 1 is the ruler of this world, for it contains all the other rings of its own world and also the rings of the third and fourth worlds, C and D.
In the World of Briah the ten spheres of light are called the Archangels of Briah. Their order and powers are as follows:
- From A 10 came B 1, the Second Crown; it is called Metatron, the Angel of the Presence.
- From B 1 came B 2, the second Wisdom; it is called Raziel, the Herald of Deity who revealed the mysteries of Qabbalah to Adam.
- From B 2 carne B 3, the second Understanding; it is called Tsaphkiel, the Contemplation of God.
- From B 3 came B 4 ‘ the second Mercy; it is called Tsadkiel, the justice of God.
- From B 4 came B 5, the second Severity; it is called Samael, the Severity of God.
- From B 5 came B 6, the second Beauty; it is called Michael, Like Unto God.
- From B 6 came B 7, the second Victory; it is called Haniel, the Grace of God.
- From B 7 came B 8, the second Glory; it is called Raphael, the Divine Physician.
- From B 8 came B 9, the second Foundation; it is called Gabriel, the Man-God.
- From B 9 came B 10, the second Kingdom; it is called Sandalphon, the Messias.
- From B 10 came C 1, the Third Crown, and the World of Yetzirah was established.
The ten Archangels of Briah are conceived to be ten great spiritual beings, whose duty is to manifest the ten powers of the Great Name of God existent in theAtziluthic World, which surrounds and interpenetrates the entire world of creation.
All things manifesting in the lower worlds exist first in the intangible rings of the upper spheres, so that creation is, in truth, the process of making tangible the intangible by extending the intangible into various vibratory rates. The ten globes of Briatic power, while themselves reflections, are mirrored downward into the third or Yetziratic World, where still more limited in their expression they become the spiritual and invisible zodiac which is behind the visible band of constellations. In this third world the ten globes of the original Atziluthic World are greatly limited and dimmed, but they are still infinitely powerful in comparison with the state of substance in which man dwells. In the third world, C 1 to C 10, the globes become hierarchies of celestial creatures, called the Choirs of Yetzirah. Here again, all are included within the ring C 1, the power which controls the Yetziratic World and which includes within itself and controls the entire world D.
The order of the globes and the names of the hierarchies composing them are as follows:
- From B 10 came C 1, the Third Crown; the Hierarchy is the Cherubim, Chaioth Ha Kadosh, the Holy Animals.
- From C 1 came C 2, the third Wisdom; the Hierarchy is the Cherubim, Orphanim, the Wheels.
- From C 2 came C 3, the third Understanding; the Hierarchy is the Thrones, Aralim, the Mighty Ones.
- From C 3 came C 4, the third Mercy; the Hierarchy is the Dominations, Chashmalim, the Brilliant Ones.
- From C 4 came C 5, the third Severity; the Hierarchy is the Powers, Seraphim, the Flaming Serpents.
- From C 5 came C 6, the third Beauty; the Hierarchy is the Virtues, Melachim, the Kings.
- From C 6 came C 7, the third Victory; the Hierarchy is the Principalities, Elohim, the Gods.
- From C 7 came C 8, the third Glory; the Hierarchy is the Archangels, Ben Elohim, the Sons of God.
- From C 8 came C 9, the third Foundation; the Hierarchy is the Angels, Cherubim, the Scat of the Sons.
- From C 9 came C 10, the third Kingdom; the Hierarchy is Humanity, the Ishim, the Souls of Just Men.
- From C 10 came D 1, the Fourth Crown, and the World of Assiah was established.
From the Yetziratic World the light of the ten spheres is reflected into the World of Assiah, the lowest of the four.
The ten globes of the original Atziluthic World here take upon themselves forms of physical matter and the sidereal system is the result. The World of Assiah, or the elemental world of substance, is the one into which humanity descended at the time of Adam’s fall. The Garden of Eden is the three upper worlds, and for his sins man was forced into the sphere of substance and assumed coats of skin (bodies).
All of the spiritual forces of the upper worlds, A, B, C, when they strike against the elements of the lower world, D, are distorted and perverted, resulting in the creation of hierarchies of demons to correspond with the good spirits in each of the higher worlds. In all the ancient Mysteries, matter was regarded as the source of all evil and spirit the source of all good, for matter inhibits and limits, often so clogging the inner perceptions that man is unable to recognize his own divine potentialities.
Since matter thus prevents humanity from claiming its birthright, it is called the Adversary, the power of evil. The fourth world, D, is the world of solar systems,
THE PLAN OF DIVINE ACTIVITY.
According to the Qabbalists, the life of the Supreme Creator permeates all substance, all space, and all time, but for diagrammatic purposes the Supreme, All-Inclusive Life is limited by Circle 3, which may be called “the boundary line of Divine existence.” The Divine Life permeating the area bounded by Circle 3 is focused at Point 1, which thus becomes the personification of the impersonal life and is termed “the First Crown.” The creative forces pouring through Point 1 come into manifestation as the objective universe in the intermediate space, Circle 2.
comprising not only the one of which the earth is a part but all the solar systems in the universe.
Opinions differ as to the arrangement of the globes of this last world, D 1 to D 10 inclusive. The ruler of the fourth world is D 1, called by some the Fiery Heaven; by others the Primum Mobile, or the First Motion. From this whirling fire emanates the material starry zodiac, D 2, in contradistinction to the invisible spiritual zodiac of the Yetziratic World. From the zodiac, D 2, are differentiated the spheres of the planets in concatenate order.
The ten spheres of the World of Assiah are as follows:
- From C 10 came D 1, the Fourth Crown; Rashith Ha-Galagalum, the Primum Mobile, the fiery mist which is the beginning of the material universe.
- From D 1 came D 2, the fourth Wisdom; Masloth, the Zodiac, the Firmament of the Fixed Stars.
- From D 2 came D 3, the fourth Understanding; Shabbathai, the sphere of Saturn.
- From D 3 came D 4, the fourth Mercy; Tzedeg, the sphere of Jupiter.
- From D 4 came D 5, the fourth Severity; Madim, the sphere of Mars.
- From D 5 came D 6, the fourth Beauty; Shemesh, the sphere of the Sun.
- From D 6 came D 7, the fourth Victory; Nogah, the sphere of Venus.
- From D 7 came D 8, the fourth Glory; Kokab, the sphere of Mercury.
- From D 8 came D 9, the fourth Foundation; Levanah, the sphere of the Moon.
- From D 9 came D 10, the Fourth Kingdom; Cholom Yosodoth, the sphere of the Four Elements.
By inserting a sphere (which he calls the Empyrean) before the Primum Mobile, Kircher moves each of the other spheres down one, resulting in the elimination of the sphere of the elements and making D 10 the sphere of the Moon.
In the World of Assiah are to be found the demons and tempters. These are likewise reflections of the ten great globes of Atziluth, but because of the distortion of the images resulting from the base substances of the World of Assiah upon which they are reflected, they become evil creatures, called shells by the Qabbalists.
There are ten hierarchies of these demons to correlate with the ten hierarchies of good spirits composing the Yetziratic World.
THE QABBALISTIC SCHEME OF THE FOUR WORLDS.
In the above chart the dark line between X 3 and A 1 constitutes the boundary of the original dot, while the concentric circles within this heavier line symbolize the emanations and the worlds which came forth from the dot. As this dot is contained within the outer rings X 1, X 2, and X 3, and represents the first establishment of an individualized existence, so the lower universe symbolized by the forty concentric circles within the dot represents the lower creation evolved out of and yet contained within the nature of the first Crown, which may be called God, within whom the divine powers, the celestial beings the sidereal worlds, and man, live and move and have their being. It is highly important that all the rings within A 1 be considered as being enclosed by the primitive dot, which is itself encircled by the great ring X 1, or the Auric Egg of AIN SOPH.
Each ring includes with in its own nature all the rings within itself and is included within the natures of all the rings outside of itself. Thus, A 1–the primitive dot–controls and contains the thirty-nine rings which it encloses, all of these partaking of its nature in varying degrees according to their respective dignities. Consequently, the entire area from A 1 to D 10 inclusive is the original dot, and the rings symbolize the divisions which took place with in it and the emanations which poured out from it after its establishment in the midst of the abstract nature of AIN SOPH. The powers of the rings decrease towards the center of the diagram, for Power is measured by the number of things controlled, and each ring controls the rings within it and is controlled by the rings outside of it. Thus, while A 1 controls thirty-nine rings besides itself, B 1 controls only twenty-nine rings besides its own. Therefore, A 1 is more powerful than B 1. As the greatest spiritual solidity, or permanence, is at the circumference and the greatest material density, or impermanence, is at the center of the diagram, the rings as they decrease in Power become more material and substantial until the center sphere, D 10, symbolizes the actual chemical elements of the earth. The rates of vibration are also lower as the rings approach the center. Thus, the vibration of A 2 is lower than A 1 but higher than A 3, and so on in decreasing scale towards the center, A 1 being the highest and D 10 the lowest sphere of creation. While A 1, the ruler of creation, controls the circles marked A, B, C, and D, it is less than the three rings of AIN SOPH–X 1, X2, and X3–and therefore bows before the throne of the ineffable Creator from whose substances it was individualized.
also ten Archdemons, corresponding to the ten Archangels of Briah. The black magicians use these inverted spirits in their efforts to attain their nefarious ends, but in time the demon destroys those who bind themselves to it.
The ten orders of demons and the ten Archdemons of the World of Assiah are as follows:
- D 1, the evil Crown; the hierarchy is called Thaumiel, the doubles of God, the Two-headed; the Archdemons are Satan and Moloch.
- From D 1 came D 2, the evil Wisdom; the hierarchy is called Chaigidiel, those who obstruct; the Archdemon is Adam Belial.
- From D 2 came D 3, the evil Understanding; the hierarchy is called Satharial, the concealment of God, the Archdemon is Lucifuge.
- From D 3 came D 4, the evil Mercy; the hierarchy is called Gamchicoth, the disturber of things; the Archdemon is Astaroth.
- From D 4 came D 5, the evil Severity; the hierarchy is called Golab, incendiarism and burning; the Archdemon is Asmodeus.
- From D 5 came D 6, the evil Beauty; the hierarchy is called Togarini, the wranglers; the Archdemon is Belphegor.
- From D 6 came D 7, the evil Victory; the hierarchy is called Harab Serap, the dispensing Raven; the Archdemon is Baal Chanan.
- From D 7 came D 8, the evil Glory; the hierarchy is called Samael, the embroiler; the Archdemon is Adramelek.
- From D 8 came D 9, the evil Foundation; the hierarchy is called Gamaliel, the obscene; the Archdemon is Lilith.
- From D 9 came D 10, the evil Kingdom; the hierarchy is called Nahemoth, the impure; the Archdemon is Nahema.
The Qabbalists declare that the worlds, intelligences, and hierarchies were established according to the vision of Ezekiel.
By the man of Ezekiel’s vision is symbolized the World of Atziluth; by the throne, the World of Briah; by the firmament, the World of Yetzirah; and by the living creatures the World of Assiah. These spheres are the wheels within wheels of the prophet. The Qabbalists next established a human figure in each of the four worlds: A 1 was the head and A 10 the feet of the man of Atziluth; B 1 was the head and B 10 the feet of the man of Briah; C 1 was the head and C 10 the feet of the man of Yetzirah; D 1 was the head and D 10 the feet of the man of Assiah. These four are called the World Men. They are considered androgynous and are the prototypes of humanity.
The human body, like that of the universe, is considered to be a material expression of ten globes or spheres of light.
Therefore man is called the Microcosm–the little world, built in the image of the great world of which he is a part. The Qabbalists also established a mysterious universal man with his head at A 1 and his feet at D 10. This is probably the secret significance of the great figure of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, with its head in the World of Atziluth, its arms and hands in the World of Briah, its generative system in the World of Yetzirah, and its legs and feet in the World of Assiah.
This is the Grand Man of the Zohar, of whom Eliphas Levi writes:
“It is not less astonishing to observe at the beginning of the Zohar the profundity of its notions and the sublime simplicity of its images. It is said as follows: ‘The science of equilibrium is the key of occult science. Unbalanced forces perish in the void. So passed the kings of the elder world, the princes of the giants. They have fallen like trees without roots, and their place is found no more. Through the conflict of unbalanced forces, the devastated earth was void and formless, until the Spirit of God made for itself a place in heaven and reduced the mass of waters.
All the aspirations of Nature were directed then towards unity of form, towards the living synthesis (if equilibrated forces; the face of God, crowned with light, rose over the vast sea and was reflected in the waters thereof. His two eyes were manifested, radiating with splendour, darting two beams of light which crossed with those of the reflection. The brow of God and His eyes formed a triangle in heaven, and its reflection formed a second triangle in the waters. So was revealed the number six, being that of universal creation.’
The text, which would be unintelligible in a literal version, is translated here by way of interpretation. The author makes it plain that the human form which he ascribes to Deity is only an image of his meaning and that God is beyond expression by human thought or representation by any figure. Pascal said that God is a circle, of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere. But how is one to imagine a circle apart from its circumference?
The Zohar adopts the antithesis of this paradoxical image and in respect of the circle of Pascal would say rather that the circumference is everywhere, while that which is nowhere is the center. It is however to a balance and not to a circle that it compares the universal equilibrium of things. It affirms that equilibrium is everywhere and so also is the central point where the balance hangs in suspension. We find that the Zohar is thus more forcible and more profound than Pascal. * * * The Zohar is a genesis of light; the Sepher Yetzirah is a ladder of truth.
Therein are expounded the two-and-thirty absolute symbols of speech–being numbers and letters. Each letter produces a number, an idea and a form, so that mathematics are applicable to forms and ideas, even as to numbers, in virtue of an exact proportion, and a perfect correspondence. By the science of the Sepher Yetzirah, the human mind is rooted in truth and in reason; it accounts for all progress possible to intelligence by means of the evolution of numbers.
Thus does the Zohar represent absolute truth, while the Sepher Yetzirah furnishes the method of its acquisition, its discernment and application.” (History of Magic.)
By placing man himself at the point D 10, his true constitution is revealed.
He exists upon four worlds, only one of which is visible. It is then made evident that his parts and members upon the material plane are, by analogy, hierarchies and intelligences in the higher worlds. Here, again, the law of interpenetration is evidenced. Although within man is the entire universe (the 43 spheres interpenetrating D 10), he is ignorant of its existence because he cannot exercise control over that which is superior to or greater than himself. Nevertheless, all these higher spheres exercise control over him, as his functions and activities demonstrate. If they did not, he would be an inert mass of substance. Death is merely the result of deflecting the life impulses of the higher rings away from the lower body.
The control of the transubstantial rings over their own material reflection is called life, and the spirit of man is, in reality, a name given to this great host of intelligences, which are focused upon substance through a point called the ego, established in the midst of themselves. X 1 is the outside boundary of the human Auric Egg, and the entire diagram becomes a cross section of the constitution of man, or a cross section of the Kosmic constitution, if correlated with the universe. By the secret culture of the Qabbalistic School, man is taught how to climb the rings (unfold his consciousness) until at last he returns to AIN SOPH. The process by which this is accomplished is called the Fifty Gates of Light. Kircher, the Jesuit Qabbalist, declares that Moses passed through forty-nine of the gates, but that Christ alone passed the fiftieth gate.
To the third edition of the Sepher Yetzirah translated from the Hebrew by Wm. Wynn Westcott are appended the Fifty Gates of Intelligence emanating from Binah, the second Sephira. The source of this information is Kircher’s Œdipus Ægyptiacus. The gates are divided into six orders, of which the first four have each ten subdivisions, the fifth nine, and the sixth only one.
The first order of gates is termed Elementary and its divisions areas follows:
(1) Chaos, Hyle, the First Matter
(2) Formless, void, lifeless
(3) The Abyss
(4) Origin of the Elements
(5) Earth (no seed germs)
(9) Differentiation of qualities
(10) Mixture and combination
The second order of gates is termed Decad of Evolution and its divisions areas follows:
(11) Minerals differentiate
(12) Vegetable principles appear
(13) Seeds germinate in moisture
(14) Herbs and Trees
(15) Fructification in vegetable life
(16) Origin of low forms of animal life
(17) Insects and Reptiles appear
(18) Fishes, vertebrate life in the waters
(19) Birds, vertebrate life in the air
(20) Quadrupeds, vertebrate earth animals
The third order of gates is termed Decad of Humanity and its divisions are as follows:
(21) Appearance of Man
(22) Material human body
(23) Human Soul conferred
(24) Mystery of Adam and Eve
(25) Complete Man as the Microcosm
(26) Gift of five human faces acting exteriorly
(27) Gift of five powers to the soul
(28) Adam Kadmon, the Heavenly Man
(29) Angelic beings
(30) Man in the image of God
The fourth order of gates is termed World of Spheres and its divisions are as follows:
(31) The Heaven of the Moon
(32) The Heaven of Mercury
(33) The Heaven of Venus
(34) The Heaven of the Sun
(35) The Heaven of Mars
(36) The Heaven of Jupiter
(37) The Heaven of Saturn
(38) The Firmament
(39) The Primum Mobile
(40) The Empyrean Heaven
The fifth order of gates is termed The Angelic World and its divisions are as follows:
(41) Ishim–Sons of Fire
(48) Ben Elohim–Angels
[The order of the Angels is a matter of controversy, the arrangement above differing from that accepted in other sections of this volume. The Rabbins disagree fundamentally as to the proper sequence of the Angelic names.]
The sixth order is termed The Archetype and consists of but one gate:
(50) God, AIN SOPH, He whom no mortal eye hath seen
The fiftieth gate leads from creation into the Creative Principle and he who passes through it returns into the unlimited and undifferentiated condition of ALL.
The fifty gates reveal a certain evolutionary process and it was declared by the Rabbins that he who would attain to the highest degree of understanding must pass sequentially through all of these orders of life, each of which constituted a gate in that the spirit, passing from the lower to the higher, found in each more responsive organism new avenues of self-expression.
The Tree of the Sephiroth
THE Tree of the Sephiroth may be considered an invaluable compendium of the secret philosophy which originally was the spirit and soul of Chasidism. The Qabbalah is the priceless heritage of Israel, but each year those who comprehend its true principles become fewer in number. The Jew of today, if he lacks a realization of the profundity of his people’s doctrines, is usually permeated with that most dangerous form of ignorance, modernism, and is prone to regard the Qabbalah either as an evil to be shunned like the plague or as a ridiculous superstition which has survived the black magic of the Dark Ages. Yet without the key which the Qabbalah supplies, the spiritual mysteries of both the Old and the New Testament must remain unsolved by Jew and Gentile alike.
The Sephirothic Tree consists of ten globes of luminous splendor arranged in three vertical columns and connected by 22 channels or paths. The ten globes are called the Sephiroth and to them are assigned the numbers i to 10. The three columns are called Mercy (on the right), Severity (on the left), and, between them,Mildness, as the reconciling power. The columns may also be said to represent Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, which form the triune support of the universe, for it is written that the foundation of all things is the Three. The 22 channels are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and to them are assigned the major trumps of the Tarot deck of symbolic cards.
Eliphas Levi declared that by arranging the Tarot cards according to a definite order man could discover all that is knowable concerning his God, his universe, and himself. When the ten numbers which pertain to the globes (Sephiroth) are combined with the 22 letters relating to the channels, the resultant sum is 32–the number peculiar to the Qabbalistic Paths of Wisdom. These Paths, occasionally referred to as the 32 teeth in the mouth of the Vast Countenance or as the 32 nerves that branch out from the Divine Brain, are analogous to the first 32 degrees of Freemasonry, which elevate the candidate to the dignity of a Prince of the Royal Secret. Qabbalists also consider it extremely significant that in the original Hebrew Scriptures the name of God should occur 32 times in the first chapter of Genesis. (In the English translations of the Bible the name appears 33 times.) In the mystic analysis of the human body, according to the Rabbins, 32 spinal segments lead upward to the Temple of Wisdom–the skull.
The four Qabbalistic Trees described in the preceding chapter were combined by later Jewish scholars into one all-inclusive diagram and termed by them not only the Sephirothic but also the Archetypal, or Heavenly, Adam. According to some authorities, it is this Heavenly Adam, and not a terrestrial man, whose creation is described in the opening chapters of Genesis. Out of the substances of this divine man the universe was formed; in him it remains and will continue even after dissolution shall resolve the spheres back into their own primitive substance. The Deity is never conceived of as actually contained in the Sephiroth, which are purely hypothetical vessels employed to define the limits of the Creative Essence. Adolph Franck rather likens the Sephiroth to varicolored transparent glass bowls filled with pure light, which apparently assumes the color of its containers but whose essential nature remains ever unchanged and unchangeable.
The ten Sephiroth composing the body of the prototypic Adam, the numbers related to them, and the parts of the universe to which they correspond are as follows:
|No.||THE SEPHIROTH||THE UNIVERSE||ALTERNATIVE|
|1||Kether–the Crown||Primum Mobile||The Fiery Heavens|
|2||Chochmah–Wisdom||The Zodiac||The First Motion|
It must continually be emphasized that the Sephiroth and the properties assigned to them, like the tetractys of the Pythagoreans, are merely symbols of the cosmic system with its multitude of parts. The truer and fuller meaning of these emblems may not be revealed by writing or by word of mouth, but must be divined as the result of study and meditation. In the Sepher ha Zohar it is written that there is a garment–the written doctrine-which every man may see. Those with understanding do not look upon the garment but at the body beneath it–the intellectual and philosophical code. The wisest of all, however, the servants of the Heavenly King, look at nothing save the soul–the spiritual doctrine–which is the eternal and ever-springing root of the law. Of this great truth Eliphas Levi also writes declaring that none can gain entrance to the secret House of Wisdom unless he wear the voluminous cape of Apollonius of Tyana and carry in his hand the lamp of Hermes. The cape signifies the qualities of self-possession and self-reliance which must envelope the seeker as a cloak of strength, while the ever-burning lamp of the sage represents the illumined mind and perfectly balanced intellect without which the mystery of the ages can never be solved.
The Sephirothic Tree is sometimes depicted as a human body, thus more definitely establishing the true identity of the first, or Heavenly, Man–Adam Kadmon–theIdea of the Universe. The ten divine globes (Sephiroth) are then considered as analogous to the ten sacred members and organs of the Protogonos, according to the following arrangement. Kether is the crown of the Prototypic Head and perhaps refers to the pineal gland; Chochmah and Binah are the right and left hemispheres respectively of the Great Brain; Chesed and Geburah (Pechad) are the right and left arms respectively, signifying the active creative members of the Grand Man; Tiphereth is the heart, or, according to some, the entire viscera; Netsah and Hod are the right and left legs respectively, or the supports of the world; Jesod is the generative system, or the foundation of form; and Malchuth represents the two feet, or the base of being. Occasionally Jesod is considered as the male and Malchuth as the female generative power. The Grand Man thus conceived is the gigantic image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, with head of gold, arms and chest of silver, body of brass, legs of iron, and feet of clay. The mediæval Qabbalists also assigned one of the Ten Commandments and a tenth part of the Lord’s Prayer in sequential order to each of the ten Sephiroth.
Concerning the emanations from Kether which establish themselves as three triads of Creative Powers–termed in the Sepher ha Zohar three heads each with three faces–H. P. Blavatsky writes: “This [Kether] was the first Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine ספּירות Sephiroth, or intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon, the πρωτόγονος, who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, or bisexual, the Greek Didumos, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thus we obtain three trinities, each contained in a ‘head.’ In the first head, or face (the three-faced Hindu Trimurti),
THE FOUR SEPHIROTHIC TREES.
The forty concentric circles shown in the large circular cut in the preceding chapter are here arranged as four trees, each consisting of ten circles. These trees disclose the organization of the hierarchies controlling the destinies of all creation. The trees are the same in each of the four world but the powers vested in the globes express themselves differently through the substances of each world, resulting in endless differentiation.
we find Sephira [Kether], the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hachama [Chochmah], or Wisdom, a masculine and active potency–also called Jah, יה–and Binah, בינה, or Intelligence, a female and passive potency, also represented by the name Jehovah יהוה. These three form the first trinity or ‘face’ of the Sephiroth. This triad emanated Hesed, הסד, or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El, from which emanated Geburah גבורה, or justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from the union of these two was produced Tiphereth טפּארת, Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim; and the second triad, ‘face,’ or ‘head,’ was formed. These emanating, in their turn, the masculine potency Netzah, נצה, Firmness, or Jehovah Sabaoth, who issued the feminine passive potency Hod,הוד, Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth; the two produced Jesod, יסוד, Foundation, who is the mighty living oneEl-Chai, thus yielding the third trinity or ‘head.’ The tenth Sephiroth is rather a duad, and is represented on the diagrams as the lowest circle. It is Malchuth or Kingdom, מלכות, and Shekinah, שכינה, also called Adonai, and Cherubim among the angelic hosts. The first ‘Head’ is called the Intellectual world; the second ‘Head’ is the Sensuous, or the world of Perception, and the third is the material or Physical world.” (See Isis Unveiled.)
Among the later Qabbalists there is also a division of the Sephirothic Tree into five parts, in which the distribution of the globes is according to the following order:
(1) Macroprosophus, or the Great Face, is the term applied to Kether as the first and most exalted of the Sephiroth and includes the nine potencies or Sephiroth issuing from Kether.
(2) Abba, the Great Father, is the term generally applied to Chochmah–Universal Wisdom–the first emanation of Kether, but, according to Ibn Gebirol, Chochmah represents the Son, the Logos or the Word born from the union of Kether and Binah.
(3) Aima, the Great Mother, is the name by which Binah, or the third Sephira, is generally known. This is the Holy Ghost, from whose body the generations issue forth. Being the third person of the Creative Triad, it corresponds to Jehovah, the Demiurgus.
(4) Microprosophus, or the Lesser Face, is composed of the six Sephiroth–Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netsah, Hod, and Jesod. The Microprosophus is commonly called the Lesser Adam, or Zauir Anpin, whereas the Macroprosophus, or Superior Adam, is Arikh Anpin. The Lesser Face is properly symbolized by the six-pointed star or interlaced triangles of Zion and also by the six faces of the cube. It represents the directions north, east, south, west, up, and down, and also the first six days of Creation. In his list of the parts of the Microprosophus, MacGregor-Mathers includes Binah as the first and superior part of the Lesser Adam, thus making his constitution septenary. If Microprosophus be considered as sexpartite, then his globes (Sephiroth) are analogous to the six days of Creation, and the tenth globe, Malchuth, to the Sabbath of rest.
(5) The Bride of Microprosophus is Malchuth–the epitome of the Sephiroth, its quaternary constitution being composed of blendings of the four elements. This is the divine Eve that is taken out
A TABLE OF SEPHIROTHIC CORRESPONDENCES.
From Fludd’s Collectio Operum.
The above diagram has been specially translated from the Latin as being of unique value to students of Qabbalism and also as an example of Robert Fludd’s unusual ability in assembling tables of correspondences. Robert Fludd ranks among the most eminent Rosicrucians and Freemasons; in fact, he has often been called “the first English Rosicrucian.” He has written several valuable documents directly bearing upon the Rosicrucian enigma. It is significant that the most important of his works should be published at the same time as those of Bacon, Shakespeare, and the first Rosicrucian authors.
THE SEPHIROTHIC TREE OF THE LATER QABBALISTS.
Translated from Kircher’s Œdipus Ægyptiacus.
Having demonstrated that the Qabbalists divided the universe into four worlds, each consisting of ten spheres, it is necessary to consider next how the ten spheres of each world were arranged into what is called the ”Sephirothic Tree.” This Tree is composed of ten circles, representing the numbers 1 to 20 and connected together by twenty-two canals–the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The ten numbers plus the twenty-two letters result in the occult number 32, which, according to the Mishna, signifies the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom. Letters and numbers, according to the Qabbalists, are the keys to all knowledge, for by a secret system of arranging them the mysteries of creation are revealed. For this reason they are called “the Paths of Wisdom.” This occult fact is carefully concealed in the 32nd degree of Freemasonry.
There are four trees, one in each of the four worlds established in the preceding chapter. The first is in the Atziluthic World, the ten circles being the ten globes of light established in the midst of AIN SOPH. The powers and attributes of this Tree are reflected into each of the three lower worlds, the form of the Tree remaining the same but its power diminishing as it descends. To further complicate their doctrine, the Qabbalists created another tree, which was a composite of all four of the world trees but consisted of only ten globes. In this single tree were condensed all the arcana previously scattered through the voluminous archives of Qabbalistic literature.
of the side of Microprosophus and combines the potencies of the entire Qabbalistic Tree in one sphere, which may be termed man.
According to the mysteries of the Sephiroth, the order of the Creation, or the Divine Lightning Flash which zigzags through the four worlds according to the order of the divine emanations, is thus described: From AIN SOPH, the Nothing and All, the Eternal and Unconditioned Potency, issues Macroprosophus, the Long Face, of whom it is written, “Within His skull exist daily thirteen thousand myriads of worlds which draw their existence from Him and by Him are upheld.” (See The Greater Holy Assembly.) Macroprosophus, the directionalized will of AIN SOPH, corresponding to Kether, the Crown of the Sephiroth, gives birth out of Himself to the nine lesser spheres of which He is the sum and the overbrooding cause. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, by the various combinations of which the laws of the universe are established, constitute the scepter of Macroprosophus which He wields from His flaming throne in the Atziluthic World.
From this eternal and ancient androgyne–Kether–come forth Chochmah, the great Father, and Binah, the great Mother. These two are usually referred to as Abba and Aima respectively–the first male and the first female, the prototypes of sex. These correspond to the first two letters of the sacred name, Jehovah, יהוה, IHVH. The Father is the י, or I, and the Mother is the ה, or H. Abba and Aima symbolize the creative activities of the universe, and are established in the creative world of Briah. In the Sepher ha Zohar it is written, “And therefore are all things established in the equality of male and female; for were it not so, how could they subsist? This beginning is the Father of all things; the Father of all Fathers; and both are mutually bound together, and the one path shineth into the other–Chochmah, Wisdom, as the Father; Binah, Understanding, as the Mother.”
There is a difference of opinion concerning certain of the relationships of the parts of the first triad. Some Qabbalists, including Ibn Gebirol, consider Kether as the Father, Binah as the Mother, and Chochmah as the Son. In this later arrangement, Wisdom, which is the attribute of the Son, becomes the creator of the lower spheres. The symbol of Binah is the dove, a proper emblem for the brooding maternal instinct of the Universal Mother.
Because of the close similarity of their creative triad to the Christian Trinity, the later Qabbalists rearranged the first three Sephiroth and added a mysterious point called Daath–a hypothetical eleventh Sephira. This is located where the horizontal line connecting Chochmah and Binah crosses the vertical line joining Kether and Tiphereth. While Daath is not mentioned by the first Qabbalists, it is a highly important element and its addition to the Sephirothic Tree was not made without full realization of the significance of such action. If Chochmah be considered the active, intelligent energy of Kether, and Binah the receptive capacity of Kether, thenDaath becomes the thought which, created by Chochmah, flows into Binah. The postulation of Daath clarifies the problem of the Creative Trinity, for here it is diagrammatically represented as consisting of Chochmah (the Father), Binah (the Mother, or Holy Ghost), and Daath, the Word by which the worlds were established. Isaac Myer discounts the importance of Daath, declaring it a subterfuge to conceal the fact that Kether, and not Chochmah; is the true Father of the Creative Triad. He makes no attempt to give a satisfactory explanation for the symbolism of this hypothetical Sephira.
According to the original conception, from the union of the Divine Father and the Divine Mother is produced Microprosophus–the Short Face or the Lesser Countenance, which is established in the Yetziratic World of formation and corresponds to the letter ו, or V, in the Great Name. The six powers of Microprosophusflow from and are contained in their own source, which is Binah, the Mother of the Lesser Adam. These constitute the spheres of the sacred planets; their name is Elohim, and they move upon the face of the deep. The tenth Sephira–Malchuth, the Kingdom–is described as the Bride of the Lesser Adam, created back to back with her lord, and to it is assigned the final, ה, or H, the last letter of the Sacred Name. The dwelling place of Malchuth is in the fourth world–Assiah–and it is composed of all the superior powers reflected into the elements of the terrestrial sphere. Thus it will be seen that the Qabbalistic Tree extends through four worlds, with its branches in matter and its roots in the Ancient of Ancients–Macroprosophus.
Three vertical columns support the universal system as typified by the Sephirothic Tree. The central pillar has its foundation in Kether, the Eternal One. It passes downward through the hypothetical Sephira, Daath, and then through Tiphereth and Jesod, with its lower end resting upon the firm foundation of Malchuth, the last of the globes. The true import of the central pillar is equilibrium. It demonstrates how the Deity always manifests by emanating poles of expression from the midst of Itself but remaining free from the illusion of polarity. If the numbers of the four Sephiroth connected by this column be added together (1 +6 +9 + 10), the sum is 26, the number of Jehovah. (See chapter on Pythagorean Mathematics.)
The column on the right, which is called Jachin, has its foundation on Chochmah, the outpouring Wisdom of God; the three globes suspended from it are all masculine potencies. The column at the left is called Boaz. The three globes upon it are feminine and receptive potencies, for it is founded in Understanding, a receptive and maternal potency. Wisdom, it will be noted, is considered as radiant or outpouring, and Understanding as receptive, or something which is filled by the flowing of Wisdom. The three pillars are ultimately united in Malchuth, in which all the powers of the superior worlds are manifested.
The four globes upon the central column reveal the function of the creative power in the various worlds. In the first world the creative power is Will–the one Divine Cause; in the second world, the hypothetical Daath–the Word coming forth from the Divine Thought; in the third world, Tiphereth–the Sun, or focal point between God and Nature; in the fourth world it is twofold, being the positive and negative poles of the reproductive system, of which Jesod is the male and Malchuth the female.
In Kircher’s Sephirothic Tree it should be especially noted that the ornaments of the Tabernacle appear in the various parts of the diagram. These indicate a direct relationship between the sacred House of God and the universe–a relationship which must always be considered as existing between the Deity through whose activity the world is produced and the world itself, which must be the house or vehicle of that Deity. Could the modern scientific world but sense the true profundity of these philosophical deductions of the ancients, it would realize that those who fabricated the structure of the Qabbalah possessed a knowledge of the celestial plan comparable in every respect with that of the modern savant.
The Tetragrammaton, or the four-lettered Name of God, written thus יהוה, is pronounce Jehovah. The first letter is י, Yod, the Germ, the Life, the Flame, the Cause, the One, and the most fundamental of the Jewish phallic emblems. Its numerical value is 10, and it is to be considered as the 1 containing the 10. In the Qabbalah it is declared that the a Yod is in reality three Yods, of which the first is the beginning, the second is the center, and the third is the end. Its throne is the Sephira Chochmah (according to Ibn Gebirol, Kether), from which it goes forth to impregnate Binah, which is the first ה, He. The result of this union is Tiphereth, which is the ו Vau, whose power is 6 and which symbolizes the six members of the Lesser Adam. The final ה, He, is Malchuth, the Inferior Mother, partaking in part of the potencies of the Divine Mother, the first He. By placing the four letters of the Tetragrammaton in a vertical column, a figure closely resembling the human body is produced, with Yod for the head, the first He for the arms and shoulders, Vau for the trunk of the body, and the final He for the hips and legs. If the Hebrew letters be exchanged for their English equivalents, the form is not materially changed or the analogy altered. It is also extremely significant that by inserting the letter ש,Shin, in the middle of the name Jehovah, the word Jehoshua, or Jesus, is formed thus:
In the Qabbalistic Mysteries, according to Eliphas Levi, the name Jehovah is occasionally written by connecting together 24 dots–the 24 powers before the throne–and it is believed that the name of the Power of Evil is the sign of Jehovah reversed or inverted. (See Transcendental Magic.) Of the Great Word, Albert Pike writes: “The True Word of a Mason is to be found in the concealed and profound meaning of the Ineffable Name of Deity, communicated by God to Moses; and which meaning was long lost by the very precautions taken to conceal it. The true pronunciation of that name was in truth a secret, in which, however, was involved the far more profound secret of its meaning. In that meaning is included all the truth that can be known by us, in regard to the nature of God.” (See Morals and Dogma.)
THE SEPHIROTH IN THE FORM OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
From Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
Thomas Maurice reproduces the above engraving, which is modification of the elaborate tree on the preceding page. The Sephiroth are here superimposed, decreasing in size as they decrease in power and dignity. Thus, the Crown is the greatest and the all-inclusive, and the Kingdom–which represents the physical universe–is the smallest and of least importance.
Qabbalistic Keys to the Creation of Man
HENRIE STEPHEN, in A World of Wonders, published in 1607, mentions a monk of St. Anthony who declared that while in Jerusalem the patriarch of that city had shown him not only one of the ribs of the Word made flesh and some rays from the Star of Bethlehem, but also the snout of a seraph, a finger nail of a cherub, the horns of Moses, and a casket containing the breath of Christ! To a people believing implicitly in a seraph sufficiently tangible to have its proboscis preserved, the more profound issues of Judaistic philosophy must necessarily be incomprehensible. Nor is it difficult to imagine the reaction taking place in the mind of some ancient sage should he hear that a cherub–which, according to St. Augustine, signifies the Evangelists; according to Philo Judæus, the outermost circumference of the entire heavens, and according to several of the Church Fathers, the wisdom of God–had sprouted finger nails. The hopeless confusion of divine principles with the allegorical figures created to represent them to the limited faculties of the uninitiated has resulted in the most atrocious misconceptions of spiritual truths. Concepts well-nigh as preposterous as these, however, still stand as adamantine barriers to a true understanding of Old and New Testament symbolism; for, until man disentangles his reasoning powers from the web of venerated absurdities in which his mind has lain ensnared for centuries, how can Truth ever be discovered?
The Old Testament–especially the Pentateuch–contains not only the traditional account of the creation of the world and of man, but also, locked within it, the secrets of the Egyptian initiators of the Moses concerning the genesis of the god-man (the initiate) and the mystery of his rebirth through philosophy. While the Lawgiver of Israel is known to have compiled several works other than those generally attributed to him, the writings now commonly circulated as the purported sixth and seventh books of Moses are in reality spurious treatises on black magic foisted on the credulous during the Middle Ages. Out of the hundreds of millions of pious and thoughtful students of Holy Writ, it is almost inconceivable that but a mere handful have sensed the sublimity of the esoteric teachings of Sod (the Jewish Mysteries of Adonai). Yet familiarity with the three Qabbalistical processes termed Gematria, Notarikon, and Temurah makes possible the discovery of many of the profoundest truths of ancient Jewish superphysics.
By Gematria is meant not only the exchange of letters for their numerical equivalents but also the method of determining by an analysis of its measurements the mystic purpose for which a building or other object was constructed. S. L. MacGregor-Mathers, in The Kabbalah Unveiled, gives this example of the application of Gematria:
“Thus also the passage, Gen. xviii. 2 VHNH SHLSHH, Vehenna Shalisha, ‘And lo, three men,’ equals in numerical value ‘ALV MIKAL GBRIAL VRPAL, Elo Mikhael Gabriel Ve-Raphael,’ These are Mikhael, Gabriel and Raphael; ‘for each phrase = 701.”
Assuming the sides of a scalene to be 11, 9, and 6 inches, a triangle of such dimensions would then be an appropriate symbol of Jehovah, for the sum of its three sides would be 26, the numerical value of the Hebrew word IHVH. Gematria also includes the system of discovering the arcane meaning of a word by analyzing the size and arrangement of the strokes employed in the formation of its various letters. Gematria was employed by the Greeks as well as the Jews. The books of the New Testament–particularly those attributed to St. John–contain many examples of its use. Nicephorus Callistus declared the Gospel according to St. John to have been discovered in a cavern under the Temple at Jerusalem, the volume having been secreted “long anterior to the Christian æra.” The existence of interpolated material in the fourth Gospel substantiates the belief that the work was originally written without any specific reference to the man Jesus, the statements therein accredited to Him being originally mystical discourses delivered by the personification of the Universal Mind. The remaining Johannine writings–the Epistles and the Apocalypse–are enshrouded by a similar veil of mystery.
By Notarikon each letter of a word may become the initial character of a new word. Thus from BRASHITH, first word in the book of Genesis, are extracted six words which mean that “in the beginning the Elohim saw that Israel would accept the law.” Mr. MacGregor-Mathers also gives six additional examples of Notarikon formed from the above word by Solomon Meir Ben Moses, a mediæval Qabbalist. From the famous acrostic ascribed to the Erythræan Sibyl, St. Augustine derived the word ΙΧΘΥΣ, which by Notarikon was expanded into the phrase, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” By another use of Notarikon, directly the reverse of the first, the initial, last, or middle letters of the words of a sentence may be joined together to form a new word or words. For example, the name Amen, ἁμήν, maybe extracted from ארנימלרנאטז, “the Lord is the faithful King.” Because they had embodied these cryptic devices in their sacred writings, the ancient priests admonished their disciples never to translate, edit, or rewrite the contents of the sacred books. .
Under the general heading of Temurah several systems may be grouped and explained in which various letters are substituted for other letters according to prearranged tables or certain mathematical arrangements of letters, regular or irregular. Thus the alphabet may be broken into two equal parts and written in horizontal lines so that the letters of the lower row can be exchanged for those of the upper row, or vice versa. By this procedure the letters of the word Kuzu may be exchanged for those of IHVH, the Tetragrammaton. In another form of Temurah the letters are merely rearranged., שתיה is the stone which is found in the center of the world, from which point the earth spread out on all sides.
THE VISION OF EZEKIEL.
From The “Bear” Bible.
This plate, which is from the first Protestant Bible published in Spanish, shows the Mercavah, or chariot of Jehovah, which appeared to Ezekiel by the river Chebar. The prophet beheld four strange creatures (E), each having four heads, four wings, and brazen hoofs like those of a calf. And there were four wheels (F) filled with eyes. Where the cherubim went the wheels went also. The space between the cherubim and the wheels was filled with coals of fire. Upon the top of the chariot was a throne, upon which sat the likeness of a man (H). Ezekiel fell upon his knees when he beheld the Mercavah surrounded by a whirlwind of clouds and flames (A, B, C). A hand (K) reached out from the clouds and the prophet was ordered to eat of a scroll which the hand held forth.
According to the mystics, the wheels supporting the throne of God represent the orbits of the planets, and the entire solar system is properly the Mercavah, or chariot of God. One of the divisions of the Qabbalah–that dealing with the arts and sciences of those planes which are under the heavens–is called the Mercavah. In the Zohar it is written that the celestial throne or Ezekiel’s vision signifies the traditional law; the appearance of a man sitting upon the throne represents the written law, Philo Judæus in describing the cherubim upon the Ark of the Covenant declares that the figures are an intimation of the revolutions of the whole heavens, one of the cherubim representing the outer circumference and the other the inner sphere. Facing each other, they represent the two hemispheres of the world. The flaming sword of the cherubim of Genesis is the central motion and agitation of the heavenly bodies. In all probability it also represents the solar ray.
When broken in two the stone is שת יה, which means “the placing of God.”(See Pekudei Rakov, 71, 72.) Again, Temurah may consist of a simple anagram, as in the English word live, which reversed becomes evil. The various systems of Temurah are among the most complicated and profound devices of the ancient Rabbins.
Among theological scholars there is a growing conviction that the hitherto accepted translations of the Scriptural writings do not adequately express the spirit of the original documents.
“After the first copy of the Book of God,” writes H. P. Blavatsky, “has been edited and launched on the world by Hilkiah, this copy disappears, and Ezra has to make a new Bible, which Judas Maccabeus finishes; * * * when it was copied from the horned letters into square letters, it was corrupted beyond recognition; * * * the Masorah completed the work of destruction; finally, we have a text, not 900 years old, abounding with omissions, interpolations, and premeditated perversions.” (See Isis Unveiled.)
Prof. Crawford Howell Toy of Harvard notes:
“Manuscripts were copied and recopied by scribes who not only sometimes made errors in letters and words, but permitted themselves to introduce new material into the text, or to combine in one manuscript, without mark of division, writings composed by different men; instances of these sorts of procedure are found especially in Micah and Jeremiah, and the groups of prophecies which go under the names of Isaiah and Zachariah.” (SeeJudaism and Christianity.)
Does the mutilated condition of the Holy Bible–in part accidental–represent none the less a definite effort to confuse the uninitiated reader and thus better conceal the secrets of the Jewish Tannaim? Never has the Christian world been in possession of those hidden scrolls which contain the secret doctrine of Israel, and if the Qabbalists were correct in their assumption that the lost books of the Mosaic Mysteries have been woven into the fabric of the Torah, then the Scriptures are veritably books within books. In rabbinical circles the opinion is prevalent that Christendom never has understood the Old Testament and probably never will. In fact, the feeling exists–in some quarters, at least–that the Old Testament is the exclusive possession of the Jewish faith; also that Christianity, after its unrelenting persecution of the Jew, takes unwarranted liberties when it includes strictly Jewish writings in its sacred canon. But, as noted by one rabbi, if Christianity must use the Jewish Scriptures, it should at least strive to do so with some degree of intelligence!
In the opening chapter of Genesis it is stated that after creating light and separating it from darkness, the seven Elohim divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. Having thus established the inferior universe in perfect accord with the esoteric teachings of the Hindu, Egyptian, and Greek Mysteries, the Elohim next turned their attention to the production of flora and fauna and lastly man. “And God said, Let us make man in ourimage, after our likeness. * * * So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, * * *.”
Consider in thoughtful silence the startling use of pronouns in the above extract from “the most perfect example of English literature.” When the plural and androgynous Hebrew word Elohim was translated into the singular and sexless word God, the opening chapters of Genesis were rendered comparatively meaningless. It may have been feared that had the word been correctly translated as “the male and female creative agencies,” the Christians would have been justly accused of worshiping a plurality of gods in the face of their repeated claims to monotheism! The plural form of the pronouns us and our reveals unmistakably, however, the pantheistic nature of Divinity. Further, the androgynous constitution of the Elohim (God) is disclosed in the next verse, where he (referring to God) is said to have created man in his own image, male and female; or, more properly, as the division of the sexes had not yet taken place, male-female. This is a deathblow to the time-honored concept that God is a masculine potency as portrayed by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Elohim then order these androgynous beings to be fruitful. Note that neither the masculine nor the feminine principle as yet existed in a separate state! And, lastly, note the word “replenish.” The prefix re denotes “back to an original or former state or position,” or “repetition or restoration.” (See Webster’s International Dictionary, 1926.)
This definite reference to a humanity existing prior to the “creation of man” described in Genesis must be evident to the most casual reader of Scripture.
An examination of Bible dictionaries, encyclopedias, and commentaries discloses the plural form of the word Elohim to be beyond the comprehension of their respected authors and editors. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge thus sums up the controversy over the plural form of the word Elohim: “Does it now or did it originally signify plurality of divine being?” A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, contains the following conclusion, which echoes the sentiments of more critical etymologists of the Bible: “The use of the plur. Elohim is also difficult to explain.” Dr. Havernick considers the plural form Elohim to signify the abundance and super-richness existing in the Divine Being. His statement, which appears in The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia, is representative of the efforts made to circumvent this extremely damaging word. The International Standard Bible Dictionary considers the explanations offered by modern theologians–of which Dr. Havernick’s is a fair example–to be too ingenious to have been conceived by the early Hebrews and maintains that the word represents the survival of a polytheistic stage of Semitic thought. The Jewish Encyclopedia supports the latter assumption with the following concise statement:
“As far as epigraphic material, traditions, and folk-lore throw light on the question, the Semites are shown to be of polytheistic leanings.”
Various schools of philosophy, both Jewish and Gentile, have offered explanations erudite and otherwise of the identity of Adam. In this primordial man the Neo-Platonists recognized the Platonic Idea of humanity–the archetype or pattern of the genus homo. Philo Judæus considered Adam to represent the human mind, which could understand (and hence give names to) the creatures about it, but could not comprehend (and hence left nameless) the mystery of its own nature. Adam was also likened to the Pythagorean monad which by virtue of its state of perfect unity could dwell in the Edenic sphere. When through a process akin to fission the monad became the duad–the proper symbol of discord and delusion–the creature thus formed was exiled from its celestial home. Thus the twofold man was driven from the Paradise belonging to the undivided creation and cherubim and a flaming sword were placed on guard at the gates of the Causal World. Consequently, only after the reestablishment of unity within himself can man regain his primal spiritual state.
According to the Isarim, the secret doctrine of Israel taught the existence of four Adams, each dwelling in one of the four Qabbalistic worlds. The first, or heavenly, Adam dwelt alone in the Atziluthic sphere and within his nature existed all spiritual and material potentialities. The second Adam resided in the sphere of Briah. Like the first Adam, this being was androgynous and the tenth division of its body (its heel, Malchuth) corresponded to the church of Israel that shall bruise the serpent’s head. The third Adam–likewise androgynous–was clothed in a body of light and abode in the sphere of Yetzirah. The fourth Adam was merely the third Adam after the fall into the sphere of Assiah, at which time the spiritual man took upon himself the animal shell or coat of skins. The fourth Adam was still considered as a single individual, though division had taken place within his nature and two shells or physical bodies existed, in one of which was incarnated the masculine and in the other the feminine potency. (For further details consult Isaac Myer.)
The universal nature of Adam is revealed in the various accounts concerning the substances of which he was formed. It was originally ordained that the “dirt” to be used in fashioning him was to be derived from the seven worlds. As these planes, however, refused to give of their substances, the Creator wrenched from them by force the elements to be employed in the Adamic constitution. St. Augustine discovered a Notarikon in the name of Adam. He showed that the four letters, A-D-A-M, are the first letters of the four words Anatole Dysis Arktos Mesembria, the Greek names for the four corners of the world. The same author also sees in Adam a prototype of Christ, for he writes:
“Adam sleeps that Eve may be formed: Christ dies, that the Church may be formed. While Adam sleeps, Eve is formed from his side. When Christ is dead, His side is smitten with a spear, that there flow forth sacraments to form the church. * * * Adam himself was the figure of Him that was to come.”
In his recent work, Judaism, George Foote Moore thus describes the proportions of the Adamic man: “He was a huge mass that filled the whole world to all the points of the compass. The dust of which his body was formed was gathered from every part of the world, or from the site of the future altar. Of greater interest is the notion that man was created androgynous, because it is probably a bit of foreign lore adapted to the first pair in Genesis. R. Samuel bar Nahman (third century), said, when God created Adam, He created him facing both ways (דיו פרעופים); then He sawed him in two and made two backs, one for each figure.
The Zohar holds the concept of two Adams: the first a divine being who, stepping forth from the highest original darkness, created the second, or earthly, Adam in His own image. The higher, or celestial, man was the Causal sphere With its divine potencies and potentialities considered as a gigantic personality; its members, according to the Gnostics, being the basic elements of existence. This Adam may have been symbolized as facing both ways to signify that with one face it looked upon the proximate Cause of itself and with the other face looked upon the vast sea of Cosmos into which it was to be immersed.
Philosophically, Adam may be regarded as representative of the full spiritual nature of man–androgynous and nor subject to decay. Of this fuller nature the mortal man has little comprehension. Just as spirit contains matter within itself and is both the source and ultimate of the state denominated matter, so Eve represents the lower, or mortal, portion that is taken out of, or has temporal existence in the greater and fuller spiritual creation. Being representative of the inferior part of the individual, Eve is the temptress who, conspiring with the serpent of mortal knowledge, caused Adam to sink into a trancelike condition in which he was unconscious of his own higher Self. When Adam seemingly awoke, he actually sank into sleep, for he no longer was in the spirit but in the body; division having taken place within him, the true Adam rested in Paradise while his lesser part incarnated in a material organism (Eve) and wandered in the darkness of mortal existence.
The followers of Mohammed apparently sensed more accurately than the uninitiated of other sects the true mystic import of Paradise, for they realized that prior to his fall the dwelling place of man was not in a physical garden in any particular part of the earth but rather in a higher sphere (the angelic world) watered by four mystical streams of life. After his banishment from Paradise, Adam alighted on the Island of Ceylon, and this spot is sacred to certain Hindu sects who recognize the old Island of Lanka–once presumably connected with the mainland by a bridge–as the actual site of the Garden of Eden from which the human race migrated. According to the Arabian Nights (Sir Richard Burton’s translation), Adam’s footprint may still be seen on the top of a Ceylonese mountain. In the Islamic legends, Adam was later reunited with his wife and after his death his body was brought to Jerusalem subsequent to the Flood for burial by Melchizedek. (See the Koran.)
The word ADM signifies a species or race and only for lack of proper understanding has Adam been considered as an individual. As the Macrocosm, Adam is the gigantic Androgyne, even the Demiurgus; as the Microcosm, he is the chief production of the Demiurgus and within the nature of the Microcosm the Demiurgus established all the qualities and powers which He Himself possessed. The Demiurgus, however, did not possess immortality and, therefore, could not bestow it upon Adam. According to legend, the Demiurgus strove to keep man from learning the incompleteness of his Maker. The Adamic man consequently partook of the qualities and characteristics of the angels who were the ministers of the Demiurgus. It was affirmed by the Gnostic Christians that the redemption of humanity was assured through the descent of Nous (Universal Mind), who was a great spiritual being superior to the Demiurgus and who, entering into the constitution of man, conferred conscious immortality upon the Demiurgic fabrications.
That phallic symbolism occupies an important place in early Jewish mysticism is indisputable. Hargrave Jennings sees in the figure of Adam a type of the lingam of Shiva, which was a stone representative of the creative power of the World Generator.
“In Gregorie’s works * * *,” writes Jennings, “is a passage to the effect that ‘Noah daily prayed in the Ark before the Body of Adam,’ i.e., before the Phallus–Adam being the primitive Phallus, great procreator of the human race. ‘It may possibly seem strange,’ he says, ‘that this orison should be daily said before the body of Adam,’ but ‘it is a most confessed tradition among the eastern men that Adam was commanded by God that his dead body should be kept above ground till a fullness of time should come to commit it פדככאלאועto the middle of the earth by a priest of the Most High God.’ This means Mount Moriah, the Meru of India. ‘This body of Adam was embalmed and transmitted from father to son, till at last it was delivered up by Lamech into the hands of Noah.'” (See Phallicism.)
This interpretation somewhat clarifies the Qabbalistic assertion that in the first Adam were contained all the souls of the Israelites. (See Sod.) Though according to the Aurea Legenda Adam was buried with the three seeds of the Tree of Knowledge in his mouth, it should be borne in mind that apparently conflicting myths were often woven around a single individual. One of the profound mysteries of Qabbalism is that set forth in the Notarikon based upon the letters of the name Adam (ADM). These three letters form the initials of the names Adam, David, and the Messiah, and these three personalities were said to contain one soul. As this soul represents the World Soul of humanity, Adam signifies the involving soul, the Messiah the evolving soul, and David that condition of the soul termed epigenesis.
In common with certain philosophic institutions of Asia, the Jewish Mysteries contained a strange doctrine concerning the shadows of the Gods. Gazing down into the Abyss, the Elohim beheld their own shadows and from these shadows patterned the inferior creation.
“In the dramatic representation of the creation of man in the Mysteries,” writes the anonymous Master of Balliol College, “the Aleim [Elohim] were represented by men who, when sculpturing the form of an Adamite being, of a man, traced the outline of it on their own shadow, or modelled it on their own shadow traced on the wall. This is how the art of drawing originated in Egypt, and the hieroglyphic figures carved on the Egyptian monuments have so little relief that they still resemble a shadow.”
In the ritualism of the early Jewish Mysteries the pageantry of creation was enacted, the various actors impersonating the Creative Agencies. The red dirt from which the Adamic man was fashioned may signify fire, particularly since Adam is related to the Yod, or fire flame, which is the first letter of the sacred nameJehovah. In John ii. 20 it is written that the Temple was forty and six years in the building, a statement in which St. Augustine sees a secret and sacred Gematria; for, according to the Greek philosophy of numbers, the numerical value of the name Adam is 46. Adam thus becomes the type of the Temple, for the House of God-like primitive man–was a microcosm or epitome of the universe.
In the Mysteries, Adam is accredited with having the peculiar power of spiritual generation. Instead of reproducing his kind by the physical generative processes, he caused to issue from himself–or, more correctly, to be reflected upon substance–a shadow of
NOAH AND HIS ZODIACAL ARK.
From Myer’s Qabbalah.
The early Church Father–notably Tertullian, Firmilian, St. Cyprian, St. Augustine, and St. Chrysostom–recognized in the ark a type or symbol of the Holy Catholic Church. Bede the Venerable, declared that Noah in all things typified Christ as Noah alone of his generation was just, so Christ alone was without sin. With Christ there was a sevenfold spirit of grace: with Noah seven righteous Persons. Noah by water and wood saved his own family Christ by baptism and the cross saves Christians. The ark was built of wood that did not decay. the church is composed of men who will live forever, for this ark means the church which floats upon the waves of the world.
The diagram shown above is also reproduced in The Rosicrucians, by Hargrave Jennings. This author adds to the original diagram appearing in Antiquitatum Judaicarum Libri IX the signs of the zodiac, placing Aries at the head and continuing in sequential order to Leo, which occupies the fifth cross section of the ark. Jennings assigns the panel containing the door to the undivided constellation of Virgo-Libra-Scorpio (which is continued into the first subdivision of the second section) and the remaining four cress sections to the constellations of Sagittarius to Pisces inclusive. A study of the plate discloses the ark to be divided into eleven main sections, and along the base and roof of each section are shown three subdivisions, thus making in all the sacred number 33. Occupying the position corresponding to the generative system of the human body will also be noted the cross upon the door of the central section. Two openings are shown in the ark: one–the main door representing the orifice through which the animal lives descend into physical existence; the other a small window proximate to the crown of the head through which the spirit gains liberty according to the ancient rites.
“When the androgenic Scorpio-Virgo was separated and the Balance or Harmony made from Scorpio, and placed between Scorpio, i.e., male, and Virgo, i.e., female, then appeared the 32 constellations or signs, as we now have them. The ark is three stories high (perhaps to symbolize Heaven, Man, Earth). In the figure of the Man, notice the parting of the hair in the middle of the forehead and the arrangement of the beard, whiskers, moustache and the hair, on the back of the neck and shoulders.” (See The Qabbalah by Isaac Myer.)
himself. This shadow he then ensouled and it became a living creature. These shadows, however, remain only as long as the original figure of which they are the reflections endures, for with the removal of the original the host of likenesses vanish with it. Herein is the key to the allegorical creation of Eve out of the side of Adam; for Adam, representative of the idea or pattern, is reflected into the material universe as a multitude of ensouled images which collectively are designatedEve. According to another theory, the division of the sexes took place in the archetypal sphere; hence the shadows in the lower world were divided into two classes consistent with the orders established in the Archetype. In the apparently incomprehensible attraction of one sex for the other Plato recognized a cosmic urge toward reunion of the severed halves of this archetypal Being.
Exactly what is to be inferred by the division of the sexes as symbolically described in Genesis is a much-debated question. That man was primarily androgynous is quite universally conceded and it is a reasonable presumption that he will ultimately regain this bisexual state. As to the manner in which this will be accomplished two opinions are advanced. One school of thought affirms that the human soul was actually divided into two parts (male and female) and that man remains an unperfected creature until these parts are reunited through the emotion which man calls love. From this concept has grown the much-abused doctrine of “soul mates” who must quest through the ages until the complementary part of each severed soul is discovered. The modern concept of marriage is to a certain degree founded upon this ideal.
According to the other school, the so-called division of the sexes resulted from suppression of one pole of the androgynous being in order that the vital energies manifesting through it might be diverted to development of the rational faculties. From this point of view man is still actually androgynous and spiritually complete, but in the material world the feminine part of man’s nature and the masculine part of woman’s nature are quiescent. Through spiritual unfoldment and knowledge imparted by the Mysteries, however, the latent element in each nature is gradually brought into activity and ultimately the human being thus regains sexual equilibrium. By this theory woman is elevated from the position of being man’s errant part to one of complete equality. From this point of view, marriage is regarded as a companionship in which two complete individualities manifesting opposite polarities are brought into association that each may thereby awaken the qualities latent in the other and thus assist in the attainment of individual completeness. The first theory may be said to regard marriage as an end; the second as a means to an end. The deeper schools of philosophy have leaned toward the latter as more adequately acknowledging the infinite potentialities of divine completeness in both aspects of creation.
The Christian Church is fundamentally opposed to the theory of marriage, claiming that the highest degree of spirituality is achievable only by those preserving the virginal state. This concept seemingly originated among certain sects of the early Gnostic Christians, who taught that to propagate the human species was to increase and perpetuate the power of the Demiurgus; for the lower world was looked upon as an evil fabrication created to ensnare the souls of all born into it–hence it was a crime to assist in bringing souls to earth. When, therefore, the unfortunate father or mother shall stand before the Final Tribunal, all their offspring will also appear and accuse them of being the cause of those miseries attendant upon physical existence. This view is strengthened by the allegory of Adam and Eve, whose sin through which humanity has been brought low is universally admitted to have been concerned with the mystery of generation. Mankind, owing to Father Adam its physical existence, regards its progenitor as the primary cause of its misery; and in the judgment Day, rising up as a mighty progeny, will accuse its common paternal ancestor.
Those Gnostic sects maintaining a more rational attitude on the subject declared the very existence of the lower worlds to signify that the Supreme Creator had a definite purpose in their creation; to doubt his judgment was, therefore, a grievous error. The church, however, seemingly arrogated to itself the astonishing prerogative of correcting God in this respect, for wherever possible it continued to impose celibacy, a practice resulting in an alarming number of neurotics. In the Mysteries, celibacy is reserved for those who have reached a certain degree of spiritual unfoldment. When advocated for the mass of unenlightened humanity, however, it becomes a dangerous heresy, fatal alike to both religion and philosophy. As Christendom in its fanaticism has blamed every individual Jew for the crucifixion of Jesus, so with equal consistency it has maligned every member of the feminine sex. In vindication of Eve philosophy claims that the allegory signifies merely that man is tempted by his emotions to depart from the sure path of reason.
Many of the early Church Fathers sought to establish a direct relationship between Adam and Christ, thereby obviously discounting the extremely sinful nature of man’s common ancestor, since it is quite certain that when St. Augustine likens Adam to Christ and Eve to the church he does not intend to brand the latter institution as the direct cause of the fall of man. For some inexplicable reason, however, religion has ever regarded intellectualism–in fact every form of knowledge–as fatal to man’s spiritual growth. The Ignaratitine Friars are an outstanding example of this attitude.
In this ritualistic drama–possibly derived from the Egyptians–Adam, banished from the Garden of Eden, represents man philosophically exiled from the sphere of Truth. Through ignorance man falls; through wisdom he redeems himself. The Garden of Eden represents the House of the Mysteries (see The Vision of Enoch) in the midst of which grew both the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Man, the banished Adam, seeks to pass from the outer court of the Sanctuary (the exterior universe) into the sanctum sanctorum, but before him rises a vast creature armed with a flashing sword that, moving slowly but continually, sweeps clear a wide circle, and through this “Ring Pass Not” the Adamic man cannot break.
The cherubim address the seeker thus:
“Man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. Thou wert fashioned by the Builder of Forms; thou belongest to the sphere of form, and the breath that was breathed into thy soul was the breath of form and like a flame it shall flicker out. More than thou art thou canst not be. Thou art a denizen of the outer world and it is forbidden thee to enter this inner place.”
And the Adam replies:
“Many times have I stood within this courtyard and begged admission to my Father’s house and thou hast refused it me and sent me back to wander in darkness. True it is that I was fashioned out of the dirt and that my Maker could not confer upon me the boon of immortality. But no more shalt thou send me away; for, wandering in the darkness, I have discovered that the Almighty hath decreed my salvation because He hath sent out of the most hidden Mystery His Only Begotten who didst take upon Himself the world fashioned by the Demiurgus. Upon the elements of that world was He crucified and from Him hath poured forth the blood of my salvation. And God, entering into His creation, hath quickened it and established therein a road that leadeth to Himself. While my Maker could not give me immortality, immortality was inherent in the very dust of which I was composed, for before the world was fabricated and before the Demiurgus became the Regent of Nature the Eternal Life had impressed itself upon the face of Cosmos. This is its sign–the Cross. Do you now deny me entrance, I who have at last learned the mystery of myself?”
And the voice replies: “He who is aware, IS! Behold!”
Gazing about him, Adam finds himself in a radiant place, in the midst of which stands a tree with flashing jewels for fruit and entwined about its trunk a flaming, winged serpent crowned with a diadem of stars. It was the voice of the serpent that had spoken.
“Who art thou?” demands the Adam.
“I,” the serpent answers, “am Satan who was stoned; I am the Adversary–the Lord who is against you, the one who pleads for your destruction before the Eternal Tribunal. I was your enemy upon the day that you were formed; I have led you into temptation; I have delivered you into the hands of evil; I have maligned you; I have striven ever to achieve your undoing. I am the guardian of the Tree of Knowledge and I have sworn that none whom I can lead astray shall partake of its fruits.”
The Adam replies:
“For uncounted ages have I been thy servant. In my ignorance I listened to thy words and they led me into paths of sorrow. Thou hast placed in my mind dreams of power, and when I struggled to realize those dreams they brought me naught but pain. Thou hast sowed in me the seeds of desire, and when I lusted after the things of the flesh agony was my only recompense. Thou hast sent me false prophets and false reasoning, and when I strove to grasp the magnitude of Truth I found thy laws were false and only dismay rewarded my strivings. I am done with thee forever, O artful Spirit! I have tired of thy world of illusions. No longer will I labor in thy vineyards of iniquity. Get thee behind me, rempter, and the host of thy temptations. There is no happiness, no peace, no good, no future in the doctrines of selfishness, hate, and passion preached by thee. All these things do I cast aside. Renounced is thy rule forever!”
And the serpent makes answer: “Behold, O Adam, the nature of thy Adversary!” The serpent disappears in a blinding sunburst of radiance and in its place stands an angel resplendent in shining, golden garments with great scarlet wings that spread from one corner of the heavens to the other. Dismayed and awestruck, the Adam falls before the divine creature.
“I am the Lord who is against thee and thus accomplishes thy salvation, ” continues the voice. “Thou hast hated me, but through the ages yet to be thou shalt bless me, for I have led thee our of the sphere of the Demiurgus; I have turned thee against the illusion of worldliness; I have weaned thee of desire; I have awakened in thy soul the immortality of which I myself partake. Follow me, O Adam, for I am the Way, the Life, and the Truth!”
THE adoration of the sun was one of the earliest and most natural forms of religious expression. Complex modern theologies are merely involvements and amplifications of this simple aboriginal belief. The primitive mind, recognizing the beneficent power of the solar orb, adored it as the proxy of the Supreme Deity. Concerning the origin of sun worship, Albert Pike makes the following concise statement in his Morals and Dogma: “To them [aboriginal peoples] he [the sun] was the innate fire of bodies, the fire of Nature. Author of Life, heat, and ignition, he was to them the efficient cause of all generation, for without him there was no movement, no existence, no form. He was to them immense, indivisible, imperishable, and everywhere present. It was their need of light, and of his creative energy, that was felt by all men; and nothing was more fearful to them than his absence. His beneficent influences caused his identification with the Principle of Good; and the BRAHMA of the Hindus, and MITHRAS of the Persians, and ATHOM, AMUN, PHTHA, and OSIRIS, of the Egyptians, the BEL of the Chaldeans, the ADONAI of the Phœnicians, the ADONIS and APOLLO of the Greeks, became but personifications of the Sun, the regenerating Principle, image of that fecundity which perpetuates and rejuvenates the world’s existence.”
Among all the nations of antiquity, altars, mounds, and temples were dedicated to the worship of the orb of day. The ruins of these sacred places yet remain, notable among them being the pyramids of Yucatan and Egypt, the snake mounds of the American Indians, the Zikkurats of Babylon and Chaldea, the round towers of Ireland, and the massive rings of uncut stone in Britain and Normandy. The Tower of Babel, which, according to the Scriptures, was built so that man might reach up to God, was probably an astronomical observatory.
Many early priests and prophets, both pagan and Christian, were versed in astronomy and astrology; their writings are best understood when read in the light of these ancient sciences. With the growth of man’s knowledge of the constitution and periodicity of the heavenly bodies, astronomical principles and terminology were introduced into his religious systems. The tutelary gods were given planetary thrones, the celestial bodies being named after the deities assigned to them. The fixed stars were divided into constellations, and through these constellations wandered the sun and its planets, the latter with their accompanying satellites.
THE SOLAR TRINITY
The sun, as supreme among the celestial bodies visible to the astronomers of antiquity, was assigned to the highest of the gods and became symbolic of the supreme authority of the Creator Himself. From a deep philosophic consideration of the powers and principles of the sun has come the concept of the Trinity as it is understood in the world today. The tenet of a Triune Divinity is not peculiar to Christian or Mosaic theology, but forms a conspicuous part of the dogma of the greatest religions of both ancient and modern times. The Persians, Hindus, Babylonians, and Egyptians had their Trinities. In every instance these represented the threefold form of one Supreme Intelligence. In modern Masonry, the Deity is symbolized by an equilateral triangle, its three sides representing the primary manifestations of the Eternal One who is Himself represented as a tiny flame, called by the Hebrews Yod (י). Jakob Böhme, the Teutonic mystic, calls the TrinityThe Three Witnesses, by means of which the Invisible is made known to the visible, tangible universe.
The origin of the Trinity is obvious to anyone who will observe the daily manifestations of the sun. This orb, being the symbol of all Light, has three distinct phases: rising, midday, and setting. The philosophers therefore divided the life of all things into three distinct parts: growth, maturity, and decay. Between the twilight of dawn and the twilight of evening is the high noon of resplendent glory. God the Father, the Creator of the world, is symbolized by the dawn. His color is blue, because the sun rising in the morning is veiled in blue mist. God the Son he Illuminating One sent to bear witness of His Father before all the worlds, is the celestial globe at noonday, radiant and magnificent, the maned Lion of Judah, the Golden-haired Savior of the World. Yellow is His color and His power is without end. God the Holy Ghost is the sunset phase, when the orb of day, robed in flaming red, rests for a moment upon the horizon line and then vanishes into the darkness of the night to wandering the lower worlds and later rise again triumphant from the embrace of darkness.
To the Egyptians the sun was the symbol of immortality, for, while it died each night, it rose again with each ensuing dawn. Not only has the sun this diurnal activity, but it also has its annual pilgrimage, during which time it passes successively through the twelve celestial houses of the heavens, remaining in each for thirty days. Added to these it has a third path of travel, which is called the precession of the equinoxes, in which it retrogrades around the zodiac through the twelve signs at the rate of one degree every seventy-two years.
Concerning the annual passage of the sun through the twelve houses of the heavens, Robert Hewitt Brown, 32°, makes the following statement: “The Sun, as he pursued his way among these ‘living creatures’ of the zodiac, was said, in allegorical language, either to assume the nature of or to triumph over the sign he entered. The sun thus became a Bull in Taurus, and was worshipped as such by the Egyptians under the name of Apis, and by the Assyrians as Bel, Baal, or Bul. In Leo the sun became a Lion-slayer, Hercules, and an Archer in Sagittarius. In Pisces, the Fishes, he was a fish–Dagon, or Vishnu, the fish-god of the Philistines and Hindoos.”
A careful analysis of the religious systems of pagandom uncovers much evidence of the fact that its priests served the solar energy and that their Supreme Deity was in every case this Divine Light personified. Godfrey Higgins, after thirty years of inquiry into the origin of religious beliefs, is of the opinion that “All the Gods of antiquity resolved themselves into the solar fire, sometimes itself as God, or sometimes an emblem or shekinah of that higher principle, known by the name of the creative Being or God.”
The Egyptian priests in many of their ceremonies wore the skins of lions, which were symbols of the solar orb, owing to the fact that the sun is exalted, dignified, and most fortunately placed in the constellation of Leo, which he rules and which was at one time the keystone of the celestial arch. Again, Hercules is the Solar Deity, for as this mighty hunter performed his twelve labors, so the sun, in traversing the twelve houses of the zodiacal band, performs during his pilgrimage twelve essential and benevolent labors for the human race and for Nature in general, Hercules, like the Egyptian priests, wore the skin of a lion for a girdle. Samson, the Hebrew hero, as his
THE LION OF THE SUN.
From Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
The sun rising over the back of the lion or, astrologically, in the back of the lion, has always been considered symbolic of power and rulership. A symbol very similar to the one above appears on the flag of Persia, whose people have always been sun worshipers. Kings and emperors have frequently associated their terrestrial power with the celestial Power of the solar orb, and have accepted the sun, or one of its symbolic beasts or birds, as their emblem. Witness the lion of the Great Mogul and the eagles of Cæsar and Napoleon.
THE WINGED GLOBE OF EGYPT.
From Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
This symbol, which appears over the Pylons or gates of many Egyptian palaces and temples, is emblematic of the three persons of the Egyptian Trinity. The wings, the serpents, and the solar orb are the insignia of Ammon, Ra, and Osiris.
name implies, is also a solar deity. His fight with the Nubian lion, his battles with the Philistines, who represent the Powers of Darkness, and his memorable feat of carrying off the gates of Gaza, all refer to aspects of solar activity. Many of the ancient peoples had more than one solar deity; in fact, all of the gods and goddesses were supposed to partake, in part at least, of the sun’s effulgence.
The golden ornaments used by the priestcraft of the various world religions are again a subtle reference to the solar energy, as are also the crowns of kings. In ancient times, crowns had a number of points extending outward like the rays of the sun, but modern conventionalism has, in many cases, either removed the points or else bent: them inward, gathered them together, and placed an orb or cross upon the point where they meet. Many of the ancient prophets, philosophers, and dignitaries carried a scepter, the upper end of which bore a representation of the solar globe surrounded by emanating rays. All the kingdoms of earth were but copies of the kingdoms of Heaven, and the kingdoms of Heaven were best symbolized by the solar kingdom, in which the sun was the supreme ruler, the planets his privy council, and all Nature the subjects of his empire.
Many deities have been associated with the sun. The Greeks believed that Apollo, Bacchus, Dionysos, Sabazius, Hercules, Jason, Ulysses, Zeus, Uranus, and Vulcan partook of either the visible or invisible attributes of the sun. The Norwegians regarded Balder the Beautiful as a solar deity, and Odin is often connected with the celestial orb, especially because of his one eye. Among the Egyptians, Osiris, Ra, Anubis, Hermes, and even the mysterious Ammon himself had points of resemblance with the solar disc. Isis was the mother of the sun, and even Typhon, the Destroyer, was supposed to be a form of solar energy. The Egyptian sun myth finally centered around the person of a mysterious deity called Serapis. The two Central American deities, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl, while often associated with the winds, were also undoubtedly solar gods.
In Masonry the sun has many symbols. One expression of the solar energy is Solomon, whose name SOL-OM-ON is the name for the Supreme Light in three different languages. Hiram Abiff, the CHiram (Hiram) of the Chaldees, is also a solar deity, and the story of his attack and murder by the Ruffians, with its solar interpretation, will be found in the chapter The Hiramic Legend. A striking example of the important part which the sun plays in the symbols and rituals of Freemasonry is given by George Oliver, D.D., in his Dictionary of Symbolical Masonry, as follows:
“The sun rises in the east, and in the east is the place for the Worshipful Master. As the sun is the source of all light and warmth, so should the Worshipful Master enliven and warm the brethren to their work. Among the ancient Egyptians the sun was the symbol of divine providence.” The hierophants of the Mysteries were adorned with many. insignia emblematic of solar power. The sunbursts of gilt embroidery on the back of the vestments of the Catholic priesthood signify that the priest is also an emissary and representative of Sol Invictus.
CHRISTIANITY AND THE SUN
For reasons which they doubtless considered sufficient, those who chronicled the life and acts of Jesus found it advisable to metamorphose him into a solar deity. The historical Jesus was forgotten; nearly all the salient incidents recorded in the four Gospels have their correlations in the movements, phases, or functions of the heavenly bodies.
Among other allegories borrowed by Christianity from pagan antiquity is the story of the beautiful, blue-eyed Sun God, with His golden hair falling upon His shoulders, robed from head to foot in spotless white and carrying in His arms the Lamb of God, symbolic of the vernal equinox. This handsome youth is a composite of Apollo, Osiris, Orpheus, Mithras, and Bacchus, for He has certain characteristics in common with each of these pagan deities.
The philosophers of Greece and Egypt divided the life of the sun during the year into four parts; therefore they symbolized the Solar Man by four different figures. When He was born in the winter solstice, the Sun God was symbolized as a dependent infant who in some mysterious manner had managed to escape the Powers of Darkness seeking to destroy Him while He was still in the cradle of winter. The sun, being weak at this season of the year, had no golden rays (or locks of hair), but the survival of the light through the darkness of winter was symbolized by one tiny hair which alone adorned the head of the Celestial Child. (As the birth of the sun took place in Capricorn, it was often represented as being suckled by a goat.)
At the vernal equinox, the sun had grown to be a beautiful youth. His golden hair hung in ringlets on his shoulders and his light, as Schiller said, extended to all parts of infinity. At the summer solstice, the sun became a strong man, heavily bearded, who, in the prime of maturity, symbolized the fact that Nature at this period of the year is strongest and most fecund. At the autumnal equinox, the sun was pictured as an aged man, shuffling along with bended back and whitened locks into the oblivion of winter darkness. Thus, twelve months were assigned to the sun as the length of its life. During this period it circled the twelve signs of the zodiac in a magnificent triumphal march. When fall came, it entered, like Samson, into the house of Delilah (Virgo), where its rays were cut off and it lost its strength. In Masonry, the cruel winter months are symbolized by three murderers who sought to destroy the God of Light and Truth.
The coming of the sun was hailed with joy; the time of its departure was viewed as a period to be set aside for sorrow and unhappiness. This glorious, radiant orb of day, the true light “which lighteth every man who cometh into the world,” the supreme benefactor, who raised all things from the dead, who fed the hungry multitudes, who stilled the tempest, who after dying rose again and restored all things to life–this Supreme Spirit of humanitarianism and philanthropy is known to Christendom as Christ, the Redeemer of worlds, the Only Begotten of The Father, the Word made Flesh, and the Hope of Glory.
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE SUN
The pagans set aside the 25th of December as the birthday of the Solar Man. They rejoiced, feasted, gathered in processions, and made offerings in the temples. The darkness of winter was over and the glorious son of light was returning to the Northern Hemisphere. With his last effort the old Sun God had torn down the house of the Philistines (the Spirits of Darkness) and had cleared the way for the new sun who was born that day from the depths of the earth amidst the symbolic beasts of the lower world.
Concerning this season of celebration, an anonymous Master of Arts of Balliol College, Oxford, in his scholarly treatise, Mankind Their Origin and Destiny, says: “The Romans also had their solar festival, and their games of the circus in honor of the birth of the god of day. It took place the eighth day before the kalends of January–that is, on December 25. Servius, in his commentary on verse 720 of the seventh book of the Æneid, in which Virgil speaks of the new sun, says that, properly speaking, the sun is new on the 8th of the Kalends of January-that is, December 25. In the time of Leo I. (Leo, Serm. xxi., De Nativ. Dom. p. 148), some of the Fathers of the Church said that ‘what rendered the festival (of Christmas) venerable was less the birth of Jesus Christ than the return, and, as they expressed it, the new birth of the sun.’ It was on the same day that the birth of the Invincible Sun (Natalis solis invicti), was celebrated at Rome, as can be seen in the Roman calendars, published in the reign of Constantine and of Julian (Hymn to the Sun, p. 155). This epithet ‘Invictus’ is the same as the Persians gave to this same god, whom they worshipped by the name of Mithra, and whom they caused to be born in a grotto (Justin. Dial. cum Trips. p. 305), just as he is represented as being born in a stable, under the name of Christ, by the Christians.”
Concerning the Catholic Feast of the Assumption and its parallel in astronomy, the same author adds: “At the end of eight months, when the sun-god, having increased, traverses the eighth sign, he absorbs the celestial Virgin in his fiery course, and she disappears in the midst of the luminous rays and the glory of her son. This phenomenon, which takes place every year about the middle of August, gave rise to a festival which still exists, and in which it is supposed that the mother of Christ, laying aside her earthly life, is associated with the glory of her son, and is placed at his side in the heavens. The Roman calendar of Columella (Col. 1. II. cap. ii. p. 429) marks the death or disappearance of Virgo at this period. The sun, he says, passes into Virgo on the thirteenth day before the kalends of September. This is where the Catholics place the Feast of the Assumption, or the reunion of the Virgin to her Son. This feast
THE THREE SUNS.
From Lilly’s Astrological Predictions for 1648, 1649, and 1650.)
The following description of this phenomenon appears in a letter written by Jeremiah Shakerley in Lancashire, March 4th, 1648:–“On Monday the 28th of February last, there arose with the Sun two Parelii, on either side one; their distance from him was by estimation, about ten degrees; they continued still of the same distance from the Zenith, or height above the Horizon, that the Sun did; and from the parts averse to the Sun, there seemed to issue out certain bright rays, not unlike those which the Sun sendeth from behind a cloud, but brighter. The parts of these Parelii which were toward the Sun, were of a mixt colour, wherein green and red were most predominant. A little above them was a thin rainbow, scarcely discernible, of a bright colour, with the concave towards the Sun, and the ends thereof seeming to touch the Parelii: Above that, in a clear diaphanous ayr, [air], appeared another conspicuous Rainbow, beautified with divers colours; it was as neer as I could discern to the Zenith; it seemed of something a lesser radius than the other, they being back to back, yet a pretty way between. At or neer the apparent time of the full Moon, they vanished, leaving abundance of terror and amazement in those that saw them. (See William Lilly.)
was formerly called the feast of the Passage of the Virgin (Beausobre, tome i. p. 350); and in the Library of the Fathers (Bibl. Part. vol. II. part ii. p. 212) we have an account of the Passage of the Blessed Virgin. The ancient Greeks and Romans fix the assumption of Astraea, who is also this same Virgin, on that day.”
This Virgin mother, giving birth to the Sun God which Christianity has so faithfully preserved, is a reminder of the inscription concerning her Egyptian prototype, Isis, which appeared on the Temple of Sais: “The fruit which I have brought forth is the Sun.” While the Virgin was associated with the moon by the early pagans, there is no doubt that they also understood her position as a constellation in the heavens, for nearly all the peoples of antiquity credit her as being the mother of the sun, and they realized that although the moon could not occupy that position, the sign of Virgo could, and did, give birth to the sun out of her side on the 25th day of December. Albertus Magnus states, “We know that the sign of the Celestial Virgin rose over the Horizon at the moment at which we fix the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Among certain of the Arabian and Persian astronomers the three stars forming the sword belt of Orion were called the Magi who came to pay homage to the young Sun God. The author of Mankind–Their Origin and Destiny contributes the following additional information: “In Cancer, which had risen to the meridian at midnight, is the constellation of the Stable and of the Ass. The ancients called it Præsepe Jovis. In the north the stars of the Bear are seen, called by the Arabians Martha and Mary, and also the coffin of Lazarus. “Thus the esotericism of pagandom was embodied in Christianity, although its keys are lost. The Christian church blindly follows ancient customs, and when asked for a reason gives superficial and unsatisfactory explanations, either forgetting or ignoring the indisputable fact that each religion is based upon the secret doctrines of its predecessor.
THE THREE SUNS
The solar orb, like the nature of man, was divided by the ancient sages into three separate bodies. According to the mystics, there are three suns in each solar system, analogous to the three centers of life in each individual constitution. These are called three lights: the spiritual sun, the intellectual or soular sun, and thematerial sun (now symbolized in Freemasonry by three candles). The spiritual sun manifests the power of God the Father; the soular sun radiates the life of God the Son; and the material sun is the vehicle of manifestation for God the Holy Spirit. Man’s nature was divided by the mystics into three distinct parts: spirit, soul, and body. His physical body was unfolded and vitalized by the material sun; his spiritual nature was illuminated by the spiritual sun; and his intellectual nature was redeemed by the true light of grace–the soular sun. The alignment of these three globes in the heavens was one explanation offered for the peculiar fact that the orbits of the planets are not circular but elliptical.
The pagan priests always considered the solar system as a Grand Man, and drew their analogy of these three centers of activity from the three main centers of life in the human body: the brain, the heart, and the generative system. The Transfiguration of Jesus describes three tabernacles, the largest being in the center (the heart), and a smaller one on either side (the brain and the generative system). It is possible that the philosophical hypothesis of the existence of the three suns is based upon a peculiar natural phenomenon which has occurred many times in history. In the fifty- first year after Christ three suns were seen at once in the sky and also in the sixty-sixth year. In the sixty-ninth year, two suns were seen together. According to William Lilly, between the years 1156 and 1648 twenty similar occurrences were recorded.
Recognizing the sun as the supreme benefactor of the material world, Hermetists believed that there was a spiritual sun which ministered to the needs of the invisible and divine part of Nature–human and universal. Anent this subject, the great Paracelsus wrote: “There is an earthly sun, which is the cause of all heat, and all who are able to see may see the sun; and those who are blind and cannot see him may feel his heat. There is an Eternal Sun, which is the source of all wisdom, and those whose spiritual senses have awakened to life will see that sun and be conscious of His existence; but those who have not attained spiritual consciousness may yet feel His power by an inner faculty which is called Intuition.”
Certain Rosicrucian scholars have given special appellations to these three phases of the sun: the spiritual sun they called Vulcan; the soular and intellectual sun, Christ and Lucifer respectively; and the material sun, the Jewish Demiurgus Jehovah. Lucifer here represents the intellectual mind without the illumination of the spiritual mind; therefore it is “the false light. ” The false light is finally overcome and redeemed by the true light of the soul, called the Second Logos or Christ. The secret processes by which the Luciferian intellect is transmuted into the Christly intellect constitute one of the great secrets of alchemy, and are symbolized by the process of transmuting base metals into gold.
In the rare treatise The Secret Symbols of The Rosicrucians, Franz Hartmann defines the sun alchemically as: “The symbol of Wisdom. The Centre of Power or Heart of things. The Sun is a centre of energy and a storehouse of power. Each living being contains within itself a centre of life, which may grow to be a Sun. In the heart of the regenerated, the divine power, stimulated by the Light of the Logos, grows into a Sun which illuminates his mind.” In a note, the same author amplifies his description by adding: “The terrestrial sun is the image or reflection of the invisible celestial sun; the former is in the realm of Spirit what the latter is in the realm of Matter; but the latter receives its power from the former.”
In the majority of cases, the religions of antiquity agree that the material visible sun was a reflector rather than a source of power. The sun was sometimes represented as a shield carried on the arm of the Sun God, as for example, Frey, the Scandinavian Solar Deity. This sun reflected the light of the invisible spiritualsun, which was the true source of life, light, and truth. The physical nature of the universe is receptive; it is a realm of effects. The invisible causes of these effects belong to the spiritual world. Hence, the spiritual world is the sphere of causation; the material world is the sphere of effects; while the intellectual–or soul–world is the sphere of mediation. Thus Christ, the personified higher intellect and soul nature, is called “the Mediator” who, by virtue of His position and power, says: “No man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
What the sun is to the solar system, the spirit is to the bodies of man; for his natures, organs, and functions are as planets surrounding the central life (or sun) and living upon its emanations. The solar power in man is divided into three parts, which are termed the threefold human spirit of man. All three of these spiritual natures are said to be radiant and transcendent; united, they form the Divinity in man. Man’s threefold lower nature–consisting of his physical organism, his emotional nature, and his mental faculties–reflects the light of his threefold Divinity and bears witness of It in the physical world. Man’s three bodies are symbolized by an upright triangle; his threefold spiritual nature by an inverted triangle. These two triangles, when united in the form of a six-pointed star, were called by the Jews “the Star of David,” “the Signet of Solomon,” and are more commonly known today as “the Star of Zion.” These triangles symbolize the spiritual and material universes linked together in the constitution of the human creature, who partakes of both Nature and Divinity. Man’s animal nature partakes of the earth; his divine nature of the heavens; his human nature of the mediator.
THE CELESTIAL INHABITANTS OF THE SUN
The Rosicrucians and the Illuminati, describing the angels, archangels, and other celestial creatures, declared that they resembled small suns, being centers of radiant energy surrounded by streamers of Vrilic force. From these outpouring streamers of force is derived the popular belief that angels have wings. These wings are corona-like fans of light, by means of which the celestial creatures propel themselves through the subtle essences of the superphysical worlds.
True mystics are unanimous in their denial of the theory that the angels and archangels are human in form, as so often pictured. A human figure would be utterly useless in the ethereal substances through which they manifest. Science has long debated the probability of the other planers being inhabited. Objections to the idea are based upon the argument that creatures with human organisms could nor possibly exist in the environments of Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. This argument fails to take into account Nature’s universal law of adjustment to environment. The ancients asserted that life originated from the sun, and that everything when bathed in the light of the solar orb was capable of absorbing the solar life elements and later radiating them as flora and fauna. One philosophical
SURYA, THE REGENT OF THE SUN.
From Moor’s Hindu Pantheon.
Moor describes this figure as follows: “The cast is nine inches in height, representing the glorious god of day-holding the attributes of VISHNU, seated on a seven-headed serpent; his car drawn by a seven-headed horse, driven by the legless ARUN, a personification of the dawn, or AURORA.” (See Moor’s Hindu Pantheon.)
concept regarded the sun as a parent and the planers as embryos still connected to the solar body by means of ethereal umbilical cords which served as channels to convey life and nourishment to the planets.
Some secret orders have taught that the sun was inhabited by a race of creatures with bodies composed of a radiant, spiritual ether not unlike in its constituency the actual glowing ball of the sun itself. The solar heat had no harmful effect upon them, because their organisms were sufficiently refined and sensitized to harmonize with the sun’s tremendous vibratory rate. These creatures resemble miniature suns, being a little larger than a dinner plate in size, although some of the more powerful are considerably larger. Their color is the golden white light of the sun, and from them emanate four streamers of Vril. These streamers are often of great length and are in constant motion. A peculiar palpitation is to be noted throughout the structure of the globe and is communicated in the form of ripples to the emanating streamers. The greatest and most luminous of these spheres is the Archangel Michael; and the entire order of solar life, which resemble him and dwell upon the sun, are called by modern Christians “the archangels” or “the spirits of the light.
THE SUN IN ALCHEMICAL SYMBOLOGY
Gold is the metal of the sun and has been considered by many as crystallized sunlight. When gold is mentioned in alchemical tracts, it may be either the metal itself or the celestial orb which is the source, or spirit, of gold. Sulphur because of its fiery nature was also associated with the sun.
As gold was the symbol of spirit and the base metals represented man’s lower nature, certain alchemists were called “miners” and were pictured with picks and shovels digging into the earth in search of the precious metal–those finer traits of character buried in the earthiness of materiality and ignorance. The diamond concealed in the heart of the black carbon illustrated the same principle. The Illuminati used a pearl hidden in the shell of an oyster at the bottom of the sea to signify spiritual powers. Thus the seeker after truth became a pearl-fisher: he descended into the sea of material illusion in search of understanding, termed by the initiates “the Pearl of Great Price.”
When the alchemists stated that every animate and inanimate thing in the universe contained the seeds of gold, they meant that even the grains of sand possessed a spiritual nature, for gold was the spirit of all things. Concerning these seeds of spiritual gold the following Rosicrucian axiom is significant: “A seed is useless and impotent unless it is put in its appropriate matrix.” Franz Hartmann comments on this axiom with these illuminating words: “A soul cannot develop and progress without an appropriate body, because it is the physical body that furnishes the material for its development.” (See In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom.)
The purpose of alchemy was not to make something out of nothing but rather to fertilize and nurture the seed which was already present. Its processes did nor actually create gold but rather made the ever-present seed of gold grow and flourish. Everything which exists has a spirit–the seed of Divinity within itself–and regeneration is not the process of attempting to place something where it previously had not existed. Regeneration actually means the unfoldment of the omnipresent Divinity in man, that this Divinity may shine forth as a sun and illumine all with whom it comes in contact.
THE MIDNIGHT SUN
Apuleius said when describing his initiation (vide ante): “At midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light.” The midnight sun was also part of the mystery of alchemy. It symbolized the spirit in man shining through the darkness of his human organisms. It also referred to the spiritual sun in the solar system, which the mystic could see as well at midnight as at high noon, the material earth bring powerless to obstruct the rays of this Divine orb. The mysterious lights which illuminated the temples of the Egyptian Mysteries during the nocturnal hours were said by some to he reflections of the spiritual sun gathered by the magical powers of the priests. The weird light seen ten miles below the surface of the earth by I-AM-THE-MAN in that remarkable Masonic allegory Etidorhpa (Aphrodite spelt backward) may well refer to the mysterious midnight sun of the ancient rites.
Primitive conceptions concerning the warfare between the principles of Good and Evil were often based upon the alternations of day and night. During the Middle Ages, the practices of black magic were confined to the nocturnal hours; and those who served the Spirit of Evil were called black magicians, while those who served the Spirit of Good were called white magicians. Black and white were associated respectively with night and day, and the endless conflict of light and shadow is alluded to many times in the mythologies of various peoples.
The Egyptian Demon, Typhon, was symbolized as part crocodile and part: hog because these animals are gross and earthy in both appearance and temperament. Since the world began, living things have feared the darkness; those few creatures who use it as a shield for their maneuvers were usually connected with the Spirit of Evil. Consequently cats, bats, toads, and owls are associated with witchcraft. In certain parts of Europe it is still believed that at night black magicians assume the bodies of wolves and roam around destroying. From this notion originated the stories of the werewolves. Serpents, because they lived in the earth, were associated with the Spirit of Darkness. As the battle between Good and Evil centers around the use of the generative forces of Nature, winged serpents represent the regeneration of the animal nature of man or those Great Ones in whom this regeneration is complete. Among the Egyptians the sun’s rays are often shown ending in human hands. Masons will find a connection between these hands and the well-known Paw of the Lion which raises all things to life with its grip.
The theory so long held of three primary and four secondary colors is purely exoteric, for since the earliest periods it has been known that there are seven, and not three, primary colors, the human eye being capable of estimating only three of them. Thus, although green can be made by combining blue and yellow, there is also a true or primary green which is not a compound. This can he proved by breaking up the spectrum with a prism. Helmholtz found that the so-called secondary colors of the spectrum could not be broken up into their supposed primary colors. Thus the orange of the spectrum, if passed through a second prism, does not break up into red and yellow but remains orange.
Consciousness, intelligence, and force are fittingly symbolized by the colors blue, yellow, and red. The therapeutic effects of the colors, moreover, are in harmony with this concept, for blue is a fine, soothing, electrical color; yellow, a vitalizing and refining color; and red, an agitating and heat-giving color. It has also been demonstrated that minerals and plants affect the human constitution according to their colors. Thus a yellow flower generally yields a medicine that affects the constitution in a manner similar to yellow light or the musical tone mi. An orange flower will influence in a manner similar to orange light and, being one of the so-called secondary colors, corresponds either to the tone re or to the chord of do and mi.
The ancients conceived the spirit of man to correspond with the color blue, the mind with yellow, and the body with red. Heaven is therefore blue, earth yellow, and hell–or the underworld–red. The fiery condition of the inferno merely symbolizes the nature of the sphere or plane of force of which it is composed. In the Greek Mysteries the irrational sphere was always considered as red, for it represented that condition in which the consciousness is enslaved by the lusts and passions of the lower nature. In India certain of the gods–usually attributes of Vishnu–are depicted with blue skin to signify their divine and supermundane constitution. According to esoteric philosophy, blue is the true and sacred color of the sun. The apparent orange-yellow shade of this orb is the result of its rays being immersed in the substances of the illusionary world.
In the original symbolism of the Christian Church, colors were of first importance and their use was regulated according to carefully prepared rules. Since the Middle Ages, however, the carelessness with which colors have been employed has resulted in the loss of their deeper emblematic meanings. In its primary aspect, white or silver signified life, purity, innocence, joy, and light; red, the suffering and death of Christ and His saints, and also divine love, blood, and warfare or suffering; blue, the heavenly sphere and the states of godliness and contemplation; yellow or gold, glory, fruitfulness, and goodness; green, fecundity, youthfulness, and prosperity; violet, humility, deep affection, and sorrow; black, death, destruction, and humiliation. In early church art the colors of robes and ornaments also revealed whether a saint had been martyred, as well as the character of the work that he had done to deserve canonization.
In addition to the colors of the spectrum there are a vast number of vibratory color waves, some too low and others too high to be registered by the human optical apparatus. It is appalling to contemplate man’s colossal ignorance concerning these vistas of abstract space. As in the past man explored unknown continents, so in the future, armed with curious implements fashioned for the purpose, he will explore these little known fastnesses of light, color, sound, and consciousness.
THE SOLAR FACE.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
The corona of the sun is here shown in the form of a lion’s mane. This is a subtle reminder of the fact that at one time the summer solstice took place in the sign of Leo, the Celestial Lion.
1 The longest total solar eclipse of the century occurred on July 22 over India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. It peaked over the Pacific Ocean, but even there the darkness lasted a mere 6 minutes and 29 seconds.
2 Fast and furious: The moon’s shadow zooms across Earth’s surface at up to 5,000 miles per hour.
3 Canadian astronomer and renowned eclipse chaser J. W. Campbell traveled the world for 50 years trying to see 12 different eclipses. He ran into overcast skies every time.
4 Don’t repeat J. W.’s mistakes: Monsoon season throughout south Asia means that there is a good chance the eclipse this July will be clouded out too.
5 Just before full eclipse, dazzling “Baily’s beads” appear where sunlight shines through valleys on the moon. The last bead creates the impression of a diamond ring in the sky.
6 On eclipse-viewing expeditions, this phenomenon is frequently accompanied by a marriage proposal.
7 The beautiful symmetry of a total solar eclipse happens because—by pure chance—the sun is 400 times larger than the moon but is also 400 times farther from Earth, making the two bodies appear the exact same size in the sky.
8 In case you were thinking about relocating: Earth is the only place in the solar system where that happens.
9 Other planets get other kinds of fun, though. Jupiter can have a triple eclipse, in which three moons cast shadows on the planet simultaneously. The event is easily visible through a backyard telescope.
10 The Chinese word for solar eclipse is shih, meaning “to eat.” In ancient China people traditionally beat drums and banged on pots to scare off the “heavenly dog” believed to be devouring the sun.
11 Then again, China also produced the first known astronomical recordings of solar eclipses, inscribed in pieces of bone and shell called “oracle bones,” from around 1050 B.C. or earlier.
12 By comparing those ancient records with modern calculations of eclipse patterns, scientists have determined that the day is 0.047 second longer today than it was back then.
13 Tidal friction, which causes that lengthening of the day, is also making the moon drift away. In about 600 million years it will appear too small to cover the sun, and there will be no more total solar eclipses.
14 In any given location, a total solar eclipse happens just once every 360 years on average.
15 Luckiest place on Earth Carbondale, Illinois, will beat the odds: Folks there will see an eclipse on August 21, 2017, and again on April 8, 2024.
16 In contrast, everyone on the night side of the world can see a lunar eclipse, where the moon slips into Earth’s shadow.
17 During a total lunar eclipse, the moon takes on a deep reddish hue due to the sunlight filtering through our atmosphere—the cumulative glow of all the world’s sunsets.
18 While stranded in Jamaica, Christopher Columbus was famously saved by the lunar eclipse of February 29, 1504, which he had read about in his almanac. After a fracas with the locals, Columbus warned that the moon would disappear if they did not start supplying his men with food.
19 When the moon vanished, the locals promptly complied, and Columbus breathed a huge sigh of relief: His almanac was calibrated for Germany, and he was not sure that he had adjusted correctly for local time.
20 Who knows—it might be useful to you, too. The next lunar eclipse visible from the United States will take place on December 21, 2010.