(excerpt: Twilight Language )
It seems a strange coincidence that on the day – 3.22.16 – when the Mormon vote in Utah would be in the background, four Mormons (one French, three Americans) happened to be at the Brussels airport during the explosion on 3.22. Mormons are understood to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
(For more about the Belgian events, see here.)
One of the four, 19-year-old (Elder) Mason Wells, who was injured in the blast, has been spotlighted by the media. Why?
Richard Norby, Mason Wells, Joseph Empey, and Fanny Rachel Clain, left to right.
Four Mormon missionaries were injured by a blast at the airport, their church said, three seriously. One, Mason Wells, 19, was reportedly only one block away from the Boston bombing in 2013, and was in Paris during terror attacks there in November.
Two other missionaries, Richard Norby, 66 and Joseph Empey, 20 from Utah were seriously injured, officials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said. A fourth, Fanny Clain, suffered minor injuries. Source.
The coincidences of Wells’ location during three terrorist attacks is being noted frequently. Mason Wells was in Paris during the attacks of November 13, 2015, and watching the Boston Marathon (ofApril 15, 2013) because his mother was running in the race during that bombing. The Marathon bombing is tied to a Masonic location on a significant date.
I’m not talking here of such spooky tongue-twisters as H.P. Lovecraft’s Yog-Sothoth or Arthur Machen’s Ishakshar, but of quite ordinary names like Bell, Beall and variants, Crowley, Francis, Grafton, Grubb, Magee/McGee, Mason, McKinney, Montpelier, Parsons, Pike, Shelby, Vernon, Watson/Watt, Williams/Williamson. ~ Jim Brandon,The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit, 1983.
The influence of such names as Mason, Pike, Warren, and Lafayette, for example, issues, in some cryptopolitical and occult way, from their ties to the Masonic tradition. ~ Loren Coleman, Mysterious America, 1983, new edition 2007.
As the airport location of the bombings in Brussels becomes more known, it appears that that attack was set to target three USA airlines and the associated Americans.
Two blasts detonated near the American Airlines, United, and Delta check-in desks at Brussels Airport at 8 am (7 am GMT) during the first suicide bombing on March 22, 2016. And Starbucks?
The Starbucks logo is a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren.
The names and nationalities of those who have died in the Brussels attack are not completely known, yet. See here for more on those people.
Another Mason in the news on 3.22.
Governor Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason
On March 22, 2016, the Governor of Alabama was in full spin mode over his alleged affair with Rebekah Mason.
The former Secretary of Alabama Law Enforcement said [on 3.22.16] that Gov. Robert Bentley owes the people of Alabama an explanation.
Spencer Collier, who was fired Tuesday, has come forward with claims that he knew of the governor’s improper personal relationship with political adviser Rebekah Mason, and that Bentley refused to end the relationship even though it cost him his marriage to Diane Bentley. Source.
THE present consideration of the Bacon–Shakspere–Rosicrucian controversy is undertaken not for the vain purpose of digging up dead men’s bones but rather in the hope that a critical analysis will aid in the rediscovery of that knowledge lost to the world since the oracles were silenced. It was W. F. C. Wigston who called the Bard of Avon “phantom Captain Shakespeare, the Rosicrucian mask.” This constitutes one of the most significant statements relating to the Bacon-Shakspere controversy.
It is quite evident that William Shakspere could not, unaided, have produced the immortal writings bearing his name. He did not possess the necessary literary culture, for the town of Stratford where he was reared contained no school capable of imparting the higher forms of learning reflected in the writings ascribed to him. His parents were illiterate, and in his early life he evinced a total disregard for study. There are in existence but six known examples of Shakspere’s handwriting. All are signatures, and three of them are in his will. The scrawling, uncertain method of their execution stamps Shakspere as unfamiliar with the use of a pen, and it is obvious either that he copied a signature prepared for him or that his hand was guided while he wrote. No autograph manuscripts of the “Shakespearian” plays or sonnets have been discovered, nor is there even a tradition concerning them other than the fantastic and impossible statement appearing in the foreword of theGreat Folio.
A well-stocked library would be an essential part of the equipment of an author whose literary productions demonstrate him to be familiar with the literature of all ages, yet there is no record that Shakspere ever possessed a library, nor does he make any mention of books in his will. Commenting on the known illiteracy of Shakspere’s daughter Judith, who at twenty-seven could only make her mark, Ignatius Donnelly declares it to be unbelievable that William Shakspere if he wrote the plays bearing his name would have permitted his own daughter to reach womanhood and marry without being able to read one line of the writings that made her father wealthy and locally famous.
The query also has been raised, “Where did William Shakspere secure his knowledge of modern French, Italian, Spanish, and Danish, to say nothing of classical Latin and Greek?” For, in spite of the rare discrimination with which Latin is used by the author of the Shakespearian plays, Ben Jonson, who knew Shakspere intimately, declared that the Stratford actor understood “small Latin and less Greek”! Is it not also more than strange that no record exists of William Shakspere’s having ever played a leading rôle in the famous dramas he is supposed to have written or in others produced by the company of which he was a member? True, he may have owned a small interest in the Globe Theatre or Blackfriars, but apparently the height of his thespian achievements was the Ghost in Hamlet!
In spite of his admitted avarice, Shakspere seemingly made no effort during his lifetime to control or secure remuneration from the plays bearing his name, many of which were first published anonymously. As far as can be ascertained, none of his heirs were involved in any manner whatsoever in the printing of the First Folioafter his death, nor did they benefit financially therefrom. Had he been their author, Shakspere’s manuscripts and unpublished plays would certainly have constituted his most valued possessions, yet his will–while making special disposition of his second-best bed and his “broad silver gilt bowl” neither mentions nor intimates that he possessed any literary productions whatsoever.
While the Folios and Quartos usually are signed “William Shakespeare,” all the known autographs of the Stratford actor read “William Shakspere.” Does this change in spelling contain any significance heretofore generally overlooked? Furthermore, if the publishers of the First Shakespearian Folio revered their fellow actor as much as their claims in that volume would indicate, why did they, as if in ironical allusion to a hoax which they were perpetrating, place an evident caricature of him on the title page?
Certain absurdities also in Shakspere’s private life are irreconcilable. While supposedly at the zenith of his literary career, he was actually engaged in buying malt, presumably for a brewing business! Also picture the immortal Shakspere–the reputed author of The Merchant of Venice–as a moneylender! Yet among those against whom Shakspere brought action to collect petty sums was a fellow townsman–one Philip Rogers–whom he sued for an unpaid loan of two shillings, or about forty-eight cents! In short, there is nothing known in the life of Shakspere that would justify the literary excellence imputed to him.
The philosophic ideals promulgated throughout the Shakespearian plays distinctly demonstrate their author to have been thoroughly familiar with certain doctrines and tenets peculiar to Rosicrucianism; in fact the profundity of the Shakespearian productions stamps their creator as one of the illuminati of the ages. Most of those seeking a solution for the Bacon-Shakspere controversy have been intellectualists. Notwithstanding their scholarly attainments, they have overlooked the important part played by transcendentalism in the philosophic achievements of the ages. The mysteries of superphysics are inexplicable to the materialist, whose training does not equip him to estimate the extent of their ramifications and complexities. Yet who but a Platonist, a Qabbalist, or a Pythagorean could have writtenThe Tempest, Macbeth, Hamlet, or The Tragedy of Cymbeline? Who but one deeply versed in Paracelsian lore could have conceived, A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Father of modern science, remodeler
HEADPIECE SHOWING LIGHT AND SHADED A’s.
From Shakespeare’s King Richard The Second, Quarto of 1597.
The ornamental headpiece shown above has long been considered a Baconian or Rosicrucian signature. The light and the dark A‘s appear in several volumes published by emissaries of the Rosicrucians. If the above figure be compared with that from the Alciati Emblemata on the following pages, the cryptic use of the two A’s will be further demonstrated.
THE TITLE PAGE OF BURTON’S ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY.
From Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.
Baconian experts declare Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy to be in reality Francis Bacon’s scrapbook in which he gathered strange and rare bits of knowledge during the many years of eventful life. This title page has long been supposed to contain a cryptic message. The key to this cipher is the pointing figure of the maniac in the lower right-hand corner of the design. According to Mrs. Elizabeth Wells Gallup, the celestial globe at which the maniac is pointing is a cryptic symbol of Sir Francis Bacon. The planetary signs which appear in the clouds opposite the marginal figures 4, 5;, 6, and 7 signify the planetary configurations, which produce the forms of mania depicted. The seated man, with his head resting upon his hand. is declared by Baconian enthusiasts to represent Sir Francis Bacon.
of modern law, editor of the modem Bible, patron of modem democracy, and one of the founders of modern Freemasonry, Sir Francis Bacon was a man of many aims and purposes. He was a Rosicrucian, some have intimated the Rosicrucian. If not actually the Illustrious Father C.R.C. referred to in the Rosicrucian manifestoes, he was certainly a high initiate of the Rosicrucian Order, and it is his activities in connection with this secret body that are of prime importance to students of symbolism, philosophy, and literature.
Scores of volumes have been written to establish Sir Francis Bacon as the real author of the plays and sonnets popularly ascribed to William Shakspere. An impartial consideration of these documents cannot but convince the open-minded of the verisimilitude of the Baconian theory. In fact those enthusiasts who for years have struggled to identify Sir Francis Bacon as the true “Bard of Avon” might long since have won their case had they emphasized its most important angle, namely, that Sir Francis Bacon, the Rosicrucian initiate, wrote into the Shakespearian plays the secret teachings of the Fraternity of R.C. and the true rituals of the Freemasonic Order, of which order it may yet be discovered that he was the actual founder. A sentimental world, however, dislikes to give up a traditional hero, either to solve a controversy or to right a wrong. Nevertheless, if it can be proved that by raveling out the riddle there can be discovered information of practical value to mankind, then the best minds of the world will cooperate in the enterprise. The Bacon-Shakspere controversy, as its most able advocates realize, involves the most profound aspects of science, religion, and ethics; he who solves its mystery may yet find therein the key to the supposedly lost wisdom of antiquity.
It was in recognition of Bacon’s intellectual accomplishments that King James turned over to him the translators’ manuscripts of what is now known as the King James Bible for the presumable purpose of checking, editing, and revising them. The documents remained in his hands for nearly a year, but no information is to be had concerning what occurred in that time. Regarding this work, William T. Smedley writes: ” It will eventually be proved that the whole scheme of the Authorised Version of the Bible was Francis Bacon’s.” (See The Mystery of Francis Bacon.) The first edition of the King James Bible contains a cryptic Baconian headpiece. Did Bacon cryptographically conceal in the Authorized Bible that which he dared not literally reveal in the text–the secret Rosicrucian key to mystic and Masonic Christianity?
Sir Francis Bacon unquestionably possessed the range of general and philosophical knowledge necessary to write the Shakespearian plays and sonnets, for it is usually conceded that he was a composer, lawyer, and linguist. His chaplain, Doctor William Rawley, and Ben Jonson both attest his philosophic and poetic accomplishments. The former pays Bacon this remarkable tribute: “I have been enduced to think that if there were a beame of knowledge derived from God upon any man in these modern times, it was upon him. For though he was a great reader of books; yet he had not his knowledge from books but from some grounds and notions from within himself. ” (See Introduction to the Resuscitado.)
Sir Francis Bacon, being not only an able barrister but also a polished courtier, also possessed that intimate knowledge of parliamentary law and the etiquette of the royal court revealed in the Shakespearian plays which could scarcely have been acquired by a man in the humble station of the Stratford actor. Lord Verulam furthermore visited many of the foreign countries forming the background for the plays and was therefore in a position to create the authentic local atmosphere contained therein, but there is no record of William Shakspere’s ever having traveled outside of England.
The magnificent library amassed by Sir Francis Bacon contained the very volumes necessary to supply the quotations and anecdotes incorporated into the Shakespearian plays. Many of the plays, in fact, were taken from plots in earlier writings of which there was no English translation at that time. Because of his scholastic acquirements, Lord Verulam could have read the original books; it is most unlikely that William Shakspere could have done so.
Abundant cryptographic proof exists that Bacon was concerned in the production of the Shakespearian plays. Sir Francis Bacon’s cipher number was 33. In theFirst Part of King Henry the Fourth, the word “Francis” appears 33 times upon one page. To attain this end, obviously awkward sentences were required, as: “Anon Francis? No Francis, but tomorrow Francis: or Francis, on Thursday: or indeed Francis when thou wilt. But Francis.”
Throughout the Shakespearian Folios and Quartos occur scores of acrostic signatures. The simplest form of the acrostic is that whereby a name–in these instances Bacon’s–was hidden in the first few letters of lines. In The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2, appears a striking example of the Baconian acrostic:
“Begun to tell me what I am, but stopt
And left me to a bootelesse Inquisition,
Concluding, stay: not yet.
The first letters of the first and second lines together with the first three letters of the third line form the word BACon. Similar acrostics appear frequently in Bacon’s acknowledged writings.
The tenor of the Shakespearian dramas politically is in harmony with the recognized viewpoints of Sir Francis Bacon, whose enemies are frequently caricatured in the plays. Likewise their religious, philosophic, and educational undercurrents all reflect his personal opinions. Not only do these marked similarities of style and terminology exist in Bacon’s writings and the Shakespearian plays, but there are also certain historical and philosophical inaccuracies common to both, such as identical misquotations from Aristotle.
“Evidently realizing that futurity would unveil his full genius, Lord Verulam in his will bequeathed his soul to God above by the oblations of his Savior, his body to be buried obscurely, his name and memory to men’s charitable speeches, to foreign nations, to succeeding ages, and to his own countrymen after some time had elapsed. That portion appearing in italics Bacon deleted from his will, apparently fearing that he had said too much.
That Sir Francis Bacon’s subterfuge was known to a limited few during his lifetime is quite evident. Accordingly, stray hints regarding the true author of the Shakespearian plays may be found in many seventeenth century volumes. On page 33 (Bacon’s cipher number) of the 1609 edition of Robert Cawdry’s Treasurie or Storehouse
A BACONIAN SIGNATURE.
From Alciati Emblemata.
The curious volume from which this figure is taken was published in Paris in r618. The attention of the Baconian student is immediately attracted by the form of the hog in the foreground. Bacon often used this animal as a play upon his own name, especially because the name Bacon was derived from he word beech and the nut of this tree was used to fatten hogs. The two pillars in the background have considerable Masonic interest. The two A’s nearly in the center of the picture–one light and one shaded–are alone almost conclusive proof of Baconian influence. The most convincing evidence, however, is the fact that 17 is the numerical equivalent of the letters of the Latin farm of Bacon’s name (F. Baco) and there are 17 letters in the three words appearing in the illustration.
FRANCIS BACON, BARON VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBANS.
From Bacon’s Advancement of Learning.
Lord Bacon was born in 1561 and history records his death in 1626. There are records in existence, however, which would indicate the probability that his funeral was a mock funeral and that, leaving England, he lived for many years under another name in Germany, there faithfully serving the secret society to the promulgation of whose doctrines he had consecrate his life. Little doubt seems to exist in the minds of impartial investigators that Lord Bacon was the legitimate son of Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester.
of Similes appears the following significant allusion:
“Like as men would laugh at a poore man, if having precious garments lent him to act and play the part of some honourable personage upon a stage, when the play were at an ende he should keepe them as his owne, and bragge up and downe in them.”
Repeated references to the word hog and the presence of cryptographic statements on page 33 of various contemporary writings demonstrate that the keys to Bacon’s ciphers were his own name, words playing upon it, or its numerical equivalent. Notable examples are the famous statement of Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor: “Hang-hog is latten for Bacon, I warrant you”; the title pages of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia and Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene; and the emblems appearing in the works of Alciatus and Wither. Furthermore, the word honorificabilitudinitatibus appearing in the fifth act of Love’s Labour’s Lost is a Rosicrucian signature, as its numerical equivalent (287) indicates.
Again, on the title page of the first edition of Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, Father Time is depicted bringing a female figure out of the darkness of a cave. Around the device is a Latin inscription: “In time the secret truth shall be revealed.” The catchwords and printer’s devices appearing in volumes published especially during the first half of the seventeenth century were designed, arranged, and in some cases mutilated according to a definite plan.
It is evident also that the mispaginations in the Shakespearian Folios and other volumes are keys to Baconian ciphers, for re-editions–often from new type and by different printers–contain the same mistakes. For example, the First and Second Folios of Shakespeare are printed from entirely different type and by different printers nine years apart, but in both editions page 153 of the Comedies is numbered 151, and pages 249 and 250 are numbered 250 and 251 respectively. Also in the 1640 edition of Bacon’s The Advancement and Proficience of Learning, pages 353 and 354 are numbered 351 and 352 respectively, and in the 1641 edition ofDu Bartas’ Divine Weeks pages 346 to 350 inclusive are entirely missing, while page 450 is numbered 442. The frequency with which pages ending in numbers 50, 51, 52,53, and 54 are involved will he noted.
The requirements of Lord Verulam’s biliteral cipher are fully met in scores of volumes printed between 1590 and 1650 and in some printed at other times. An examination of the verses by L. Digges, dedicated to the memory of the deceased “Authour Maister W. Shakespeare,” reveals the use of two fonts of type for both capital and small letters, the differences being most marked in the capital T‘s, N‘s, and A‘s, (Seethe First Folio.) The cipher has been deleted from subsequent editions.
The presence of hidden material in the text is often indicated by needless involvement of words. On the sixteenth unnumbered page of the 1641 edition of Du Bartas’ Divine Weeks is a boar surmounting a pyramidal text. The text is meaningless jargon, evidently inserted for cryptographic reasons and marked with Bacon’s signature–the hog. The year following publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623, there was printed in “Lunæburg” a remarkable volume on cryptography, avowedly by Gustavus Selenus. It is considered extremely probable that this volume constitutes the cryptographic key to the Great Shakespearian Folio.
Peculiar symbolical head- and tail-pieces also mark the presence of cryptograms. While such ornaments are found in many early printed books, certain emblems are peculiar to volumes containing Baconian Rosicrucian ciphers. The light and dark shaded A is an interesting example. Bearing in mind the frequent recurrence in Baconian symbolism of the light and dark shaded A and the hog, the following statement by Bacon in his Interpretation of Nature is highly significant: “If the sow with her snout should happen to imprint the letter A upon the ground, wouldst thou therefore imagine that she could write out a whole tragedy as one letter?”
The Rosicrucians and other secret societies of the seventeenth century used watermarks as mediums for the conveyance of cryptographic references, and books presumably containing Baconian ciphers are usually printed upon paper bearing Rosicrucian or Masonic watermarks; often there are several symbols in one book, such as the Rose Cross, urns, bunches of grapes, and others.
At hand is a document which may prove a remarkable key to a cipher beginning in The Tragedy of Cymbeline. So far as known it has never been published and is applicable only to the 1623 Folio of the Shakespearian plays. The cipher is a line-and-word count involving punctuation, especially the long and short exclamation points and the straight and slanting interrogation points. This code was discovered by Henry William Bearse in 1900, and after it has been thoroughly checked its exact nature will be made public.
No reasonable doubt remains that the Masonic Order is the direct outgrowth of the secret societies of the Middle Ages, nor can it be denied that Freemasonry is permeated by the symbolism and mysticism of the ancient and mediæval worlds. Sir Francis Bacon knew the true secret of Masonic origin and there is reason to suspect that he concealed this knowledge in cipher and cryptogram. Bacon is not to be regarded solely as a man but rather as the focal point between an invisible institution and a world which was never able to distinguish between the messenger and the message which he promulgated. This secret society, having rediscovered the lost wisdom of the ages and fearing that the knowledge might be lost again, perpetuated it in two ways: (1) by an organization (Freemasonry)
A CRYPTIC HEADPIECE.
From Ralegh’s History of the World.
Many documents influenced by Baconian philosophy–or intended m conceal Baconian or Rosicrucian cryptograms–use certain conventional designs at the beginning and end of chapters, which reveal to the initiated the presence of concealed information. The above ornamental has long been accepted as of the presence of Baconian influence and is to be found only in a certain number of rare volumes, all of which contain Baconian cryptograms. These cipher messages were placed in the books either by Bacon himself or by contemporaneous and subsequent authors belonging to the same secret society which Bacon served with his remarkable knowledge of ciphers and enigmas. Variants of this headpiece adorn the Great Shakespearian Folio (1623); Bacon’s Novum Organum (1620); the St. James Bible (1611); Spencer’s Faerie Queene (1611); and Sir Walter Ralegh’s History of the World (1614) (See American Baconiana.)
THE DROESHOUT PORTRAIT OF SHAKSPERE.
From Shakespeare’s Great Folio of 1623.
There are no authentic portraits of Shakspere in existence. The dissimilarities the Droeshout, Chandos, Janssen, Hunt, Ashbourne, Soest, and Dunford portraits prove conclusively that the artists were unaware of Shakspere’s actual features. An examination of the Droeshout portrait discloses several peculiarities. Baconian enthusiasts are convinced that the face is only a caricature, possibly the death mask of Francis Bacon. A comparison of the Droeshout Shakspere with portraits and engravings of Francis Bacon demonstrates the identity of the structure of the two faces, the difference in expression being caused by lines of shading. Not also the peculiar line running from the ear down to the chin. Does this line subtly signify that the face itself a mask, ending at the ear? Notice also that the head is not connected with the body, but is resting on the collar. Most strange of all is the coat: one-half is on backwards. In drawing the jacket, the artist has made the left arm correctly, but the right arm has the back of the shoulder to the front. Frank Woodward has noted that there are 157 letters on the title page. This is a Rosicrucian signature of first importance. The date, 1623, Plus the two letters “ON” from the word “LONDON,” gives the cryptic signature of Francis Bacon, by a simple numerical cipher. By merely exchanging the 26 letters of the alphabet for numbers, 1 became A, 6 becomes F, 2 becomes B, and 3 becomes C, giving AFBC. To this is added the ON from LONDON, resulting in AFBCON, which rearranged forms F. BACON.
to the initiates of which it revealed its wisdom in the form of symbols; (2) by embodying its arcana in the literature of the day by means of cunningly contrived ciphers and enigmas.
Evidence points to the existence of a group of wise and illustrious Fratres who assumed the responsibility of publishing and preserving for future generations the choicest of the secret books of the ancients, together with certain other documents which they themselves had prepared. That future members of their fraternity might not only identify these volumes bur also immediately note the significant passages, words, chapters, or sections therein, they created a symbolic alphabet of hieroglyphic designs. By means of a certain key and order, the discerning few were thus enabled to find that wisdom by which a man is “raised” to an illumined life.
The tremendous import of the Baconian mystery is daily becoming more apparent. Sir Francis Bacon was a link in that great chain of minds which has perpetuated the secret doctrine of antiquity from its beginning. This secret doctrine is concealed in his cryptic writings. The search for this divine wisdom is the only legitimate motive for the effort to decode his cryptograms.
Masonic research might discover much of value if it would turn its attention to certain volumes published during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries which bear the stamp and signet of that secret society whose members first established modern Freemasonry but themselves remained as an intangible group controlling and directing the activities of the outer body. The unknown history and lost rituals of Freemasonry may be rediscovered in the symbolism and cryptograms of the Middle Ages. Freemasonry is the bright and glorious son of a mysterious and hidden father. It cannot trace its parentage because that origin is obscured by the veil of the superphysical and the mystical. The Great Folio of 1623 is a veritable treasure house of Masonic lore and symbolism, and the time is at hand when that Great Work should be accorded the consideration which is its due.
Though Christianity shattered the material organization of the pagan Mysteries, it could not destroy the knowledge of supernatural power which the pagans possessed. Therefore it is known that the Mysteries of Greece and Egypt were secretly perpetuated through the early centuries of the church, and later, by being clothed in the symbolism of Christianity, were accepted as elements of that faith. Sir Francis Bacon was one of those who had been entrusted with the perpetuation and dissemination of s the arcana of the superphysical originally in the possession of the pagan hierophants, and to attain that end either formulated the Fraternity of R.C. or was admitted into an organization already existing under that name and became one of its principal representatives.
For some reason not apparent to the uninitiated there has been a continued and consistent effort to prevent the unraveling of the Baconian skein. Whatever the power may be which continually blocks the efforts of investigators, it is as unremitting now as it was immediately following Bacon’s death, and those attempting to solve the enigma still feel the weight of its resentment.
A misunderstanding world has ever persecuted those who understood the secret workings of Nature, seeking in every conceivable manner to exterminate the custodians of this divine wisdom. Sir Francis Bacon’s political prestige was finally undermined and Sir Walter Ralegh met a shameful fate because their transcendental knowledge was considered dangerous.
The forging of Shakspere’s handwriting; the foisting of fraudulent portraits and death masks upon a gullible public; the fabrication of spurious biographies; the mutilation of books and documents; the destruction or rendering illegible of tablets and inscriptions containing cryptographic messages, have all compounded the difficulties attendant upon the solution of the Bacon-Shakspere-Rosicrucian riddle. The Ireland forgeries deceived experts for years.
According to material available, the supreme council of the Fraternity of R.C. was composed of a certain number of individuals who had died what is known as the “philosophic death.” When the time came for an initiate to enter upon his labors for the Order, he conveniently “died” under somewhat mysterious circumstances. In reality he changed his name and place of residence, and a box of rocks or a body secured for the purpose was buried in his stead. It is believed that this happened in the case of Sir Francis Bacon who, like all servants of the Mysteries, renounced all personal credit and permitted others to be considered as the authors of the documents which he wrote or inspired.
The cryptic writings of Francis Bacon constitute one of the most powerful tangible elements in the mysteries of transcendentalism and symbolic philosophy. Apparently many years must yet pass before an uncomprehending world will appreciate the transcending genius of that mysterious man who wrote the Novum Organum, who sailed his little ship far out into the unexplored sea of learning through the Pillars of Hercules, and whose ideals for a new civilization are magnificently expressed in the Utopian dream of The New Atlantis. Was Sir Francis Bacon a second Prometheus? Did his great love for the people of the world and his pity for their ignorance cause him to bring the divine fire from heaven concealed within the contents of a printed page?
In all probability, the keys to the Baconian riddle will be found in classical mythology. He who understands the secret of the Seven-Rayed God will comprehend the method employed by Bacon to accomplish his monumental labor. Aliases were assumed by him in accordance with the attributes and order of the members of the planetary system. One of the least known–but most important–keys to the Baconian enigma is the Third, or 1637, Edition, published in Paris, of Les Images ou Tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrates sophistes grecs et les statues de Callistrate, by Blaise de Vigenere. The title page of this volume–which, as the name of the author when properly deciphered indicates, was written by or under the direction of Bacon or his secret society–is one mass of important Masonic or Rosicrucian symbols. On page 486 appears a plate entitled “Hercules Furieux,” showing a gigantic figure shaking a spear, the ground before him strewn with curious emblems. In his curious work, Das Bild des Speershüttlers die Lösung des Shakespeare-Rätsels, Alfred Freund attempts to explain the Baconian symbolism in the Philostrates. Bacon he reveals as the philosophical Hercules, whom time will establish as the true “Spear-Shaker” (Shakespeare).
TITLE PAGE OF THE FAMOUS FIRST EDITION OF SIR WALTER RALEGH’S HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
From Ralegh’s History of the World.
What was the mysterious knowledge which Sir Walter Ralegh possessed and which was declared to be detrimental to the British government? Why was he executed when the charges against him could not be proved? Was he a member of me of those feared and hated secret societies which nearly overthrew political and religious Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Was Sir Walter Ralegh an important factor in the Bacon-Shakspere-Rosicrucian-Masonic enigma? By those seeking the keys to this great controversy, he seems to have been almost entirely overlooked. His contemporaries are unanimous in their praise of his remarkable intellect, and he has long been considered me of Britain’s most brilliant sons.
Sir Walter Ralegh–soldier, courtier, statesman, writer, poet, philosopher, and explorer–was a scintillating figure at the court of Queen Elizabeth. Upon this same man, King James–after the death of Elizabeth–heaped every indignity within his power. The cowardly James, who shuddered at the mention of weapons and cried like a child when he was crossed, was insanely jealous of the brilliant courtier. Ralegh’s enemies, Playing upon the king’s weakness, did not cease their relentless persecution until Ralegh had been hanged and his decapitated, quartered, and disemboweled body lay at their feet.
The title page reproduced above was used by Ralegh’s political foes as a powerful weapon against him. They convinced James I that the face of the central figure upholding the globe was a caricature of his own, and the enraged king ordered every copy of the engraving destroyed. But a few copies escaped the royal wrath; consequently the plate is extremely rare. The engraving is a mass Rosicrucian and Masonic symbols, and the figures on the columns in all probability conceal a cryptogram. More significant still is the fact that the page facing this plate is a headpiece identical with that used in the 1623 Folio of “Shakespeare” and also in Bacon’s
WHO were the Rosicrucians? Were they an organization of profound thinkers rebelling against the inquisitional religious and philosophical limitations of their time or were they isolated transcendentalists united only by the similarity of their viewpoints and deductions? Where was the “House of the Holy Spirit, ” in which, according to their manifestoes, they met once a year to plan the future activities of their Order? Who was the mysterious person referred to as “Our Illustrious Father and Brother C.R.C.”? Did those three letters actually stand for the words “Christian Rosie Cross”? Was Christian Rosencreutz, the supposed author of theChymical Nuptials, the same person who with three others founded “The Society of the Rose Cross”?
What relationship existed between Rosicrucianism and mediæval Freemasonry? Why were the destinies of these two organizations so closely interwoven? Is the “Brotherhood of the Rose Cross” the much-sought-after link connecting the Freemasonry of the Middle Ages with the symbolism and mysticism of antiquity, and are its secrets being perpetuated by modern Masonry? Did the original Rosicrucian Order disintegrate in the latter part of the eighteenth century, or does the Society still exist as an organization, maintaining the same secrecy for which it was originally famous? What was the true purpose for which the “Brotherhood of the Rose Cross” was formed? Were the Rosicrucians a religious and philosophic brotherhood, as they claimed to be, or were their avowed tenets a blind to conceal the true object of the Fraternity, which possibly was the political control of Europe? These are some of the problems involved in the study of Rosicrucianism.
There are four distinct theories regarding the Rosicrucian enigma. Each is the result of a careful consideration of the evidence by scholars who have spent their lives ransacking the archives of Hermetic lore. The conclusions reached demonstrate clearly the inadequacy of the records available concerning the genesis and early activities of the “Brethren of the Rose Cross.”
THE FIRST POSTULATE
It is assumed that the Rosicrucian Order existed historically in accordance with the description of its foundation and subsequent activities published in its manifesto, the Fama Fraternitatis, which is believed to have been written in the year 1610, but apparently did not appear in print until 1614, although an earlier edition is suspected by some authorities. Intelligent consideration of the origin of Rosicrucianism requires a familiarity with the contents of the first and most important of its documents. The Fama Fraternitatis begins with a reminder to all the world of God’s goodness and mercy, and it warns the intelligentsia that their egotism and covetousness cause them to follow after false prophets and to ignore the true knowledge which God in His goodness has revealed to them. Hence, a reformation is necessary, and God has raised up philosophers and sages for this purpose.
In order to assist in bringing about the reformation, a mysterious person called “The Highly Illuminated Father C.R.C.,” a German by birth, descended of a noble family, but himself a poor man, instituted the “Secret Society of the Rose Cross.” C.R.C. was placed in a cloister when only five years of age, but later becoming dissatisfied with its educational system, he associated himself with a brother of Holy Orders who was setting forth on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They started out together, but the brother died at Cyprus and C.R.C! continued alone to Damascus. Poor health prevented him from reaching Jerusalem, so he remained at Damascus, studying with the philosophers who dwelt there.
While pursuing his studies, he heard of a group of mystics and Qabbalists abiding in the mystic Arabian city of Damcar. Giving up his desire to visit Jerusalem, he arranged with the Arabians for his transportation to Damcar. C.R.C. was but sixteen years of age when he arrived at Damcar. He was received as one who had been long expected, a comrade and a friend in philosophy, and was instructed in the secrets of the Arabian adepts. While there, C.R.C. learned the Arabic tongue and translated the sacred book M into Latin; and upon returning to Europe he brought this important volume with him.
After studying three years in Damcar, C.R.C. departed for the city of Fez, where the Arabian magicians declared further information would be given him. At Fez he was instructed how to communicate with the Elementary inhabitants [probably the Nature spirits], and these disclosed to him many other great secrets of Nature. While the philosophers in Fez were not so great as those in Damcar, the previous experiences of C.R.C. enabled him to distinguish the true from the false and thus add greatly to his store of knowledge.
After two years in Fez, C.R.C. sailed for Spain, carrying with him many treasures, among them rare plants and animals accumulated during his wanderings. He fondly hoped that the learned men of Europe would receive with gratitude the rare intellectual and material treasures which he had brought for their consideration. Instead he encountered only ridicule, for the so-called wise were afraid to admit their previous ignorance lest their prestige be impaired. At this point in the narrative is an interpolation stating that Paracelsus, while not a member of the “Fraternity of the Rose Cross,” had read the book M and from a consideration of its contents had secured information which made him the foremost physician of mediæval Europe.
Tired, but not discouraged, as the result of the fruitlessness of his efforts, C.R.C. returned to Germany, where he built a house in which he could quietly carry on his study and research. He also manufactured a number of rare scientific instruments for research purposes. While he could have made himself famous had he cared to commercialize his knowledge, he preferred the companionship of God to the esteem of men.
After five years of retirement he decided to renew his struggle for a reformation of the arts and sciences of his day, this time with the aid of a few trusted friends. He sent to the cloister where his early training had been received and called to himself three brethren, whom he bound by an oath to preserve inviolate the secrets he should impart and to write down for the sake of posterity the information
THE GOLDEN AND ROSY CROSS.
From Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer.
It is said of this cross that it is made of spiritual gold and that each Brother wears it upon his breast. It bears the alchemical symbols of salt, sulphur, and mercury; also a star of the planets; and around it are the four words FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, and PATIENCE. The double-headed eagle, or Phœnix, subtly foreshadows the ultimate androgynous state of the human creature. Rosicrucian alchemy was not concerned with metals alone. Man’s own body was the alchemical laboratory, and none could reach Rosicrucian adeptship until he had performed the supreme experiment of transmutation by changing the base metals of ignorance into the pure gold of wisdom and understanding.
he should dictate. These four founded the “Fraternity of the Rose Cross.” They prepared its secret cipher language and, according to the Fama, a great dictionary in which all forms of wisdom were classified to the glorification of God. They also began the work of transcribing the book M, but found the task too difficult because of the demands of the great numbers of sick who came to them for healing.
Having completed a newer and larger building, which they called the “House of the Holy Spirit,” they decided to include four new members in the Fraternity, thus increasing the number to eight, seven of whom were German. All were unmarried. Working industriously together, they speedily completed the arduous labor of preparing the documents, instructions, and arcana of the Order. They also put the house called “Sancti Spiritus” in order.
They then decided to separate and visit the other countries of the earth, not only that their wisdom might be given to others who deserved it but also that they might check and correct any mistakes existing in their own system. Before separating, the Brethren prepared six rules, or by-laws, and each bound himself to obey them. The first rule was that they should take to themselves no other dignity or credit than that they were willing to heal the sick without charge. The second was that from that time on forever they should wear no special robe or garment, but should dress according to the custom of the country wherein they dwelt. The third stated that every year upon a certain day they should meet in the “House of the Holy Spirit,” or, if unable to do so, should be represented by an epistle. The fourth decreed that each member should search for a worthy person to succeed him at his own demise. The fifth stated that the letters “R.C.” should be their seal, mark, and character from that time onward. The sixth specified that the Fraternity should remain unknown to the world for a period of one hundred years.
After they had sworn to this code five of the Brothers departed to distant lands, and a year later two of the others also went their way, leaving Father C.R. C. alone in the “House of the Holy Spirit.” Year after year they met with great joy, for they had quietly and sincerely promulgated their doctrines among the wise of the earth.
When the first of the Order died in England, it was decided that the burial places of the members should be secret. Soon afterward Father C.R.C. called the remaining six together, and it is supposed that then he prepared his own symbolic tomb. The Fama records that none of the Brothers alive at the time of its writing knew when Father C.R.C. died or where he was buried. His body was accidentally discovered 120 years after his death when one of the Brothers, who possessed considerable architectural skill, decided to make some alterations in the “House of the Holy Spirit.” [It is only suspected that the tomb was in this building.]
While making his alterations, the Brother discovered a memorial tablet upon which were inscribed the names of the early members of the Order. This he decided to transfer to a more imposing chapel, for at that time no one knew in what country Father C.R.C. had died, this information having been concealed by the original members. In attempting to remove the memorial tablet, which was held in place by a large nail, some stones and plastering were broken from the wall, disclosing a door concealed in the masonry. The members of the Order immediately cleared away the rest of the débris and uncovered the entrance to a vault. Upon the door in large letters were the words: POST CXX ANNOS PATEBO. This, according to the mystic interpretation of the Brethren, meant, “In 120 years I shall come forth.”
The following morning the door was opened and the members entered a vault with seven sides and seven corners, each side five feet broad and eight feet high. Although the sun never penetrated this tomb, it was brilliantly illuminated by a mysterious light in the ceiling. In the center was a circular altar, upon which were brass plates engraved with strange characters. In each of the seven sides was a small door which, upon being opened, revealed a number of boxes filled with books, secret instructions, and the supposedly lost arcanum of the Fraternity.
Upon moving the altar to one side a brass cover was disclosed. Lifting this revealed a body, presumedly that of C.R.C., which, although it had lain there 120 years, was as well preserved as though it had just been interred. It was ornamented and attired in the robes of the Order, and in one hand was clasped a mysterious parchment which, next to the Bible, was the most valued possession of the Society. After thoroughly investigating the contents of the secret chamber, the brass plate and altar were put back in place, the door of the vault was again sealed, and the Brothers went their respective ways, their spirits raised and their faith increased by the miraculous spectacle which they had beheld.
The document ends by saying in effect, “In accordance with the will of Father C.R.C., the Fama has been prepared and sent forth to the wise and learned of all Europe in five languages, that all may know and understand the secrets of the august Fraternity. All of sincere soul who labor for the glory of God are invited to communicate with the Brethren and are promised that their appeal shall be heard, regardless of where they are or how the messages are sent. At the same time, those of selfish and ulterior motives are warned that only sorrow and misery will attend any who attempt to discover the Fraternity without a clean heart and a pure mind.”
Such, in brief, is the story of the Fama Fraternitatis. Those who accept it literally regard Father C.R.C. as the actual founder of the Brotherhood, which he is believed to have organized about 1400. The fact that historical corroboration of the important points of the Fama has never been discovered is held against this theory. There is no proof that Father C.R.C. ever approached the learned men of Spain. The mysterious city of Damcar cannot be found, and there is no record that anywhere in Germany there existed a place where great numbers of the halt and sick came and were mysteriously healed. A. E. Waite’s The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry contains a picture of Father C.R.C. showing him with a long beard upon his breast, sitting before a table upon which burns a candle. One hand is supporting his head and the other is resting the tip of its index finger on the temple of a human skull. The picture, however (see plate at head of chapter), proves nothing. Father C.R.C. was never seen by other than members of his own Order, and they did not preserve a description of him. That his name was Christian Rosencreutz is most improbable, as the two were not even associated until the writing of the Chymical Nuptials.
THE SECOND POSTULATE
Those Masonic brethren who have investigated the subject accept the historical existence of the “Brotherhood of the Rose Cross” but are divided concerning the origin of the Order. One group holds the society originated in mediæval Europe as an outgrowth of alchemical speculation. Robert Macoy, 33°, believes that Johann Valentin Andreæ, a German theologian, was the true founder, and he also believes it possible that this divine merely reformed and amplified an existing society which had been founded by Sir Henry Cornelius Agrippa. Some believe that Rosicrucianism represented the first European invasion of Buddhist and Brahmin culture. Still others hold the opinion that the “Society of the Rose Cross” was founded in Egypt during n the philosophic supremacy of that empire, and that it also perpetuated the Mysteries of ancient Persia and Chaldea.
In his Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins writes: “The Rosicrucians of Germany are quite ignorant of their origin; but, by tradition, they suppose themselves descendants of the ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans, Magi, and Gymnosophists.” (The last was a name given by the followers of Alexander the Great to a caste of naked Wise Men whom they found meditating along the river banks in India.) The consensus among these factions is that the story of Father C.R.C., like the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff, is an allegory and should not be considered literally. A similar problem has confronted students of the Bible, who have found not only difficult, but in the majority of cases impossible, their efforts to substantiate the historical interpretation of the Scriptures.
Admitting the existence of the Rosicrucians as a secret society with both philosophic and political ends, it is remarkable that an organization with members in all parts of Europe could maintain absolute secrecy throughout the centuries. Nevertheless, the “Brothers of the Rose Cross” were apparently able to accomplish this. A great number of scholars and philosophers, among them Sir Francis Bacon and Wolfgang von Goethe, have been suspected of affiliation with the Order, but their connection has not been established to the satisfaction of prosaic historians. Pseudo-Rosicrucians abounded, but the true members of the “Ancient and Secret Order of The Unknown Philosophers” have successfully lived up to their name; to this day they remain unknown.
During the Middle Ages a number of tracts appeared, purporting to be from the pens of Rosicrucians. Many of them, however, were spurious, being issued for their self-aggrandizement by unscrupulous persons who used the revered and magic name Rosicrucian in the hope of gaining religious or political power. This has greatly complicated
THE CRUCIFIED ROSE.
The original symbol of the Rosicrucian Fraternity was a hieroglyphic rose crucified upon a cross. The cross was often raised upon a three-stepped Calvary. Occasionally the symbol of a cross rising from a rose was used in connection with their activities. The Rosicrucian rose was drawn upon the Round Table of King Arthur, and is the central motif for the links forming the chain from which the “Great George” is suspended among the jewels of The Order of the Garter. Hargrave Jennings suspects this Order of having some connection with the Rosicrucians.
the work of investigating the Society. One group of pseudo-Rosicrucians went so far as to supply its members with a black cord by which they were to know each other, and warned them that if they broke their vow of secrecy the cord would be used to strangle them. Few of the principles of Rosicrucianism have been preserved in literature, for the original Fraternity published only fragmentary accounts of its principles and activities.
In his Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians, Dr. Franz Hartmann describes the Fraternity as “A secret society of men possessing superhuman–if not supernatural–powers; they were said to be able to prophesy future events, to penetrate into the deepest mysteries of Nature, to transform Iron, Copper, Lead, or Mercury into Gold, to prepare an Elixir of Life, or Universal Panacea, by the use of which they could preserve their youth and manhood; and moreover it was believed that they could command the Elemental Spirits of Nature, and knew the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone, a substance which rendered him who possessed it all-powerful, immortal, and supremely wise.”
The same author further defines a Rosicrucian as “A person who by the process of spiritual awakening has attained a practical knowledge of the secret significance of the Rose and the Cross. * * * To call a person a Rosicrucian does not make him one, nor does the act of calling a person a Christian make him a Christ. The real Rosicrucian or Mason cannot be made; he must grow to be one by the expansion and unfoldment of the divine power within his own heart. The inattention to this truth is the cause that many churches and secret societies are far from being that which their names express.”
The symbolic principles of Rosicrucianism are so profound that even today they are little appreciated. Their charts and diagrams are concerned with weighty cosmic principles which they treat with a philosophic understanding decidedly refreshing when compared with the orthodox narrowness prevalent in their day. According to the available records, the Rosicrucians were bound together by mutual aspirations rather than by the laws of a fraternity. The “Brothers of the Rose Cross” are believed to have lived unobtrusively, laboring industriously in trades and professions, disclosing their secret affiliation to no one–in many cases not even to their own families. After the death of C.R.C., most of the Brethren apparently had no central meeting place. Whatever initiatory ritual the Order possessed was so closely guarded that it has never been revealed. Doubtless it was couched in chemical terminology.
Efforts to join the Order were apparently futile, for the Rosicrucians always chose their disciples. Having agreed on one who they believed would do honor to their illustrious fraternity, they communicated with him in one of many mysterious ways. He might receive a letter, either anonymous or with a peculiar seal, usually bearing the letters “C.R.C. “or “R.C. “upon it. He would be instructed to go to a certain place at an appointed time. What was disclosed to him he never revealed, although in many cases his later writings showed that a new influence had come into his life, deepening his understanding and broadening his intellect. A few have written allegorically concerning what they beheld when in the august presence of the “Brethren of the Rose Cross.”
Alchemists were sometimes visited in their laboratories by mysterious strangers, who delivered learned discourses concerning the secret processes of the Hermetic arts and, after disclosing certain processes, departed, leaving no trace. Others declared that the “Brothers of the Rose Cross” communicated with them through dreams and visions, revealing the secrets of Hermetic wisdom to them while they were asleep. Having been instructed, the candidate was bound to secrecy not only concerning the chemical formulæ which had been disclosed to him but also concerning the method by which he had secured them. While these nameless adepts were suspected of being ”Brothers of the Rose Cross,” it could never be proved who they were, and those visited could only conjecture.
Many suspect the Rosicrucian rose to be a conventionalization of the Egyptian and Hindu lotus blossom, with the same symbolic meaning as this more ancient symbol. The Divine Comedy stamps Dante Alighieri as being familiar with the theory of Rosicrucianism. Concerning this point, Albert Pike in his Morals and Dogmamakes this significant statement: “His Hell is but a negative Purgatory. His heaven is composed of a series of Kabalistic circles, divided by a cross, like the Pantacle of Ezekiel. In the center of this cross blooms a rose, and we see the symbol of the Adepts of the Rose-Croix for the first time publicly expounded and almost categorically explained.”
Doubt has always existed as to whether the name Rosicrucian came from the symbol of the rose and cross, or whether this was merely a blind to deceive the uninformed and further conceal the true meaning of the Order. Godfrey Higgins believes that the word Rosicrucian is not derived from the flower but from the wordRos, which means dew. It is also interesting to note that the word Ras means wisdom, while Rus is translated concealment. Doubtless all of these meanings have contributed to Rosicrucian symbolism.
- E. Waite holds with Godfrey Higgins that the process of forming the Philosopher’s Stone with the aid of dew is the secret concealed within the name Rosicrucian. It is possible that the dew referred to is a mysterious substance within the human brain, closely resembling the description given by alchemists of the dew which, falling from heaven, redeemed the earth. The cross is symbolic of the human body, and the two symbols together–the rose on the cross–signify that the soul of man is crucified upon the body, where it is held by three nails.
It is probable that Rosicrucian symbolism is a perpetuation of the secret tenets of the Egyptian Hermes, and that the Society of Unknown Philosophers is the true link connecting modern Masonry, with its mass of symbols, to ancient Egyptian Hermeticism, the source of that symbolism. In his Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah, A. E. Waite makes this important observation: “There are certain indications which point to a possible connection between Masonry and Rosicrucianism, and this, if admitted, would constitute the first link in its connection with the past. The evidence is, however, inconclusive, or at least unextricated. Freemasonry per se, in spite of the affinity with mysticism which I have just mentioned, has never exhibited any mystic character, nor has it a clear notion how it came by its symbols.”
Many of those connected with the development of Freemasonry were suspected of being Rosicrucians; some, as in the case of Robert Fludd, even wrote defenses of this organization. Frank C. Higgins, a modern Masonic symbolist, writes: “Doctor Ashmole, a member of this fraternity [Rosicrucian], is revered by Masons as one of the founders of the first Grand Lodge in London.” (See Ancient Freemasonry.) Elias Ashmole is but one of many intellectual links connecting Rosicrucianism with the genesis of Freemasonry. The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that Elias Ashmole was initiated into the Freemasonic Order in 1646, and further states that he was “the first gentleman, or amateur, to be ‘accepted’.”
On this same subject, Papus, in his Tarot of the Bohemians, has written: “We must not forger that the Rosicrucians were the Initiators of Leibnitz, and the founders of actual Freemasonry through Ashmole.” If the founders of Freemasonry were initiated into the Great Arcanum of Egypt–and the symbolism of modern Masonry would indicate that such was the case–then it is reasonable to suppose that they secured their information from a society whose existence they admitted and which was duly qualified to teach them these symbols and allegories.
One theory concerning the two Orders is to the effect that Freemasonry was an outgrowth of Rosicrucianism; in other words, that the “Unknown Philosophers” became known through an organization which they created to serve them in the material world. The story goes on to relate that the Rosicrucian adepts became dissatisfied with their progeny and silently withdrew from the Masonic hierarchy, leaving behind their symbolism and allegories, but carrying away the keys by which the locked symbols could be made to give tip their secret meanings. Speculators have gone so far as to state that, in their opinion, modern Freemasonry has completely absorbed Rosicrucianism and succeeded it as the world’s greatest secret society. Other minds of equal learning declare that the Rosicrucian Brotherhood still exists, preserving its individuality as the result of having withdrawn from the Masonic Order.
According to a widely accepted tradition, the headquarters of the Rosicrucian Order is near Carlsbad, in Austria (see Doctor Franz Hartmann). Another version has it that a mysterious school, resembling in general principles the Rosicrucian Fraternity, which calls itself “The Bohemian Brothers,” still maintains its individuality in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) of Germany. One thing is certain: with the rise of Freemasonry, the Rosicrucian Order in Europe practically disappeared, and notwithstanding existing statements to the contrary, it is certain that the 18th degree (commonly known as the Rose-Croix) perpetuates many of the symbols of the Rosicrucian Fire Alchemists.
In an anonymous unpublished manuscript of the eighteenth century bearing the earmarks of Rosicrucian Qabbalism appears this statement:
THE ROSICRUCIAN ROSE.
From Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer.
The rose is a yonic symbol associated with generation, fecundity, and purity. The fact that flowers blossom by unfolding has caused them to be chosen as symbolic of spiritual unfoldment. The red color of the rose refers to the blood of Christ, and the golden heart concealed within the midst of the flower corresponds to the spiritual gold concealed within the human nature. The number of its petals being ten is also a subtle reminder of the perfect Pythagorean number. The rose symbolizes the heart, and the heart has always been accepted by Christians as emblematic of the virtues of love and compassion, as well as of the nature of Christ–the personification of these virtues. The rose as a religious emblem is of great antiquity. It was accepted by the Greeks as the symbol of the sunrise, or of the coming of dawn. In his Metamorphosis, or Golden Ass, Apuleius, turned into a donkey because of his foolishness, regained his human shape by eating a sacred rose given to him by the Egyptian priests.
The presence of a hieroglyphic rose upon the escutcheon of Martin Luther has been the basis of much speculation as to whether any connection existed between his Reformation and the secret activities of the Rose Cross.
“Yet will I now give the over-wise world a paradox to be solved, namely, that some illuminated men have undertaken to found Schools of Wisdom in Europe and these for some peculiar reason have called themselves Fratres Rosa: Crucis. But soon afterwards came false schools into existence and corrupted the good intentions of these wise men. Therefore, the Order no longer exists as most people would understand existence, and as this Fraternity of the Seculo Fili call themselves Brothers of the Rosie Cross, so also will they in the Seculo Spiritus Sancti call themselves Brothers of the Lily Cross and the Knights of the White Lion. Then will the Schools of Wisdom begin again to blossom, but why the first one chose their name and why the others shall also choose theirs, only those can solve who have understanding grounded in Nature.”
Political aspirations of the Rosicrucians were expressed through the activities of Sir Francis Bacon, the Comte de St.-Germain, and the Comte di Cagliostro. The last named is suspected of having been an emissary of the Knights Templars, a society deeply involved in transcendentalism, as Eliphas Levi has noted. There is a popular supposition to the effect that the Rosicrucians were at least partial instigators of the French Revolution. (Note particularly the introduction to Lord Bulwer-Lytton’s Rosicrucian novel Zanoni.)
THE THIRD POSTULATE
The third theory takes the form of a sweeping denial of Rosicrucianism, asserting that the so-called original Order never had any foundation in fact but was entirely a product of imagination. This viewpoint is best expressed by a number of questions which are still being asked by investigators of this elusive group of metaphysicians. Was the “Brotherhood of the Rose Cross” merely a mythical institution created in the fertile mind of some literary cynic for the purpose of deriding the alchemical and Hermetic sciences? Did the “House of the Holy Spirit” ever exist outside the imagination of some mediæval mystic? Was the whole Rosicrucian story a satire to ridicule the gullibility of scholastic Europe? Was the mysterious Father C.R.C. a product of the literary genius of Johann Valentin Andreæ, or another of similar mind, who, attempting to score alchemical and Hermetic philosophy, unwittingly became a great power in furthering the cause of its promulgation? That at least one of the early documents of the Rosicrucians was from the pen of Andreæ there is little doubt, but for just what purpose he compiled it still remains a matter of speculation. Did Andreæ himself receive from some unknown person, or persons, instructions to be carried out? If he wrote the Chymical Nuptials of Christian Rosencreutz when only fifteen years old, was he overshadowed in the preparation of that book?
To these vital questions no answers are forthcoming. A number of persons accepted the magnificent imposture of Andreæ as absolute truth. It is maintained by many that, as a consequence, numerous pseudo-societies sprang up, each asserting that it was the organization concerning which the Fama Fraternitatis and theConfessio Fraternitatis were written. Beyond doubt there are many spurious orders in existence today; but few of them can offer valid claims that their history dates back farther than the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The mystery associated with the Rosicrucian Fraternity has resulted in endless controversy. Many able minds, notable among them Eugenius Philalethes, Michael Maier, John Heydon, and Robert Fludd, defended the concrete existence of “The Society of Unknown Philosophers.” Others equally qualified have asserted it to be of fraudulent origin and doubtful existence. Eugenius Philalethes, while dedicating books to the Order, and himself writing an extended exposition of its principles, disclaims all personal connection with it. Many others have done likewise.
Some are of the opinion that Sir Francis Bacon had a hand in the writing of the Fama and Confessio Fraternitatis, on the basis that the rhetorical style of these works is similar to that of Bacon’s New Atlantis. They also contend that certain statements in the latter work point to an acquaintance with Rosicrucian symbology. The elusiveness of the Rosicrucians has caused them to be favorite subject’s for literary works. Outstanding among the romances which have been woven around them is Zanoni. The author, Lord Bulwer-Lytton, is regarded by some as a member of the Order, while others assert that he applied for membership but was rejected. Pope’s Rape of the Lock, &c. Comte de Gabalis by Abbé de Villars, and essays by De Quincy, Hartmann, Jennings, Mackenzie, and others, are examples of Rosicrucian literature. Although the existence of these mediæval Rosicrucians is difficult to prove, sufficient evidence is at hand to make it extremely probable that there existed in Germany, and afterwards in France, Italy, England, and other European countries, a secret society of illuminated savants who made contributions of great import to the sum of human knowledge, while maintaining absolute secrecy concerning their personalities and their organization.
THE FOURTH POSTULATE
The apparent incongruities of the Rosicrucian controversy have also been accounted for by a purely transcendental explanation. There is evidence that early writers were acquainted with such a supposition–which, however, was popularized only after it had been espoused by Theosophy. This theory asserts that the Rosicrucians actually possessed all the supernatural powers with which they were credited; that they were in reality citizens of two worlds: that, while they had physical bodies for expression on the material plane, they were also capable, through the instructions they received from the Brotherhood, of functioning in a mysterious ethereal body not subject to the limitations of time or distance. By means of this “astral form” they were able to function in the invisible realm of Nature, and in this realm, beyond reach of the profane, their temple was located.
According to this viewpoint, the true Rosicrucian Brotherhood consisted of a limited number of highly developed adepts, or initiates, those of the higher degrees being no longer subject to the laws of mortality; candidates were accepted into the Order only after long periods of probation; adepts possessed the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone and knew the process of transmuting the base metals into gold, but taught that these were only allegorical terms concealing the true mystery of human regeneration through the transmutation of the “base elements” of man’s lower nature into the “gold” of intellectual and spiritual realization. According to this theory, those who have sought to record the events of importance in connection with the Rosicrucian controversy have invariably failed because they approached their subject from a purely physical or materialistic angle.
These adepts were believed to have been able to teach man how to function away from his physical body at will by assisting him to remove the “rose from the cross.” They taught that the spiritual nature was attached to the material form at certain points, symbolized by the “nails” of the crucifixion; but by three alchemical initiations which took place in the spiritual world, in the true Temple of the Rose Cross, they were able to “draw” these nails and permit the divine nature of man to come down from its cross. They concealed the processes by which this was accomplished under three alchemical metaphoric expressions: “The Casting of the Molten Sea,” “The Making of the Rose Diamond,” and “The Achieving of the Philosopher’s Stone.”
While the intellectualist flounders among contradictory theories, the mystic treats the problem in an entirely different manner. He believes that the true Rosicrucian Fraternity, consisting of a school of supermen (not unlike the fabled Mahatmas of India), is an institution existing not in the visible world bur in its spiritual counterpart, which he sees fit to call the “inner planes of Nature”; that the Brothers can be reached only by those who are capable of transcending the limitations of the material world. To substantiate their viewpoint, these mystics cite the following significant statement from the Confessio Fraternitatis: “A thousand times the unworthy may clamour, a thousand times may present themselves, yet God hath commanded our ears that they should hear none of them, and hath so compassed us about with His clouds that unto us, His servants, no violence can be done; wherefore now no longer are we beheld by human eyes, unless they have received strength borrowed from the eagle.” In mysticism the eagle is a symbol of initiation (the spinal Spirit Fire), and by this is explained the inability of the unregenerated world to understand the Secret Order of the Rose Cross.
Those professing this theory regard the Comte de St.-Germain as their highest adept and assert that he and Christian Rosencreutz were one and the same individual. They accept fire as their universal symbol because it was the one element by means of which they could control the metals. They declared themselves the descendants of Tubal-cain and Hiram Abiff, and that the purpose of their existence was to preserve the spiritual nature of man through ages of materiality. “The Gnostic sects, the Arabs, Alchemists, Templars, Rosicrucians, and lastly the Freemasons, form the Western chain in the transmission of occult science.” (SeeThe Tarot of the Bohemians translated by A. E. Waite from the French of Papus.)
Max Heindel, the Christian mystic, described the Rosicrucian Temple as an “etheric structure” located in and around the home of a European country gentleman. He believed that this invisible building would ultimately be moved to the American continent. Mr. Heindel referred to the Rosicrucian Initiates as so advanced in the science of life that “death had forgotten them.”
THE CREST OF JOHANN VALENTIN ANDREÆ.
From Chymische Hochzeit.
The reference to four red roses and a white cross in the Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosencreutz identified Johann Valentin Andreæ as its author, for his family crest, shown above, consisted of four red roses and a white cross.
Rosicrucian Doctrines and Tenets
TRUSTWORTHY information is unavailable concerning the actual philosophical beliefs, political aspirations, and humanitarian activities of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Today, as of old, the mysteries of the Society are preserved inviolate by virtue of their essential nature; and attempts to interpret Rosicrucian philosophy are but speculations, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Evidence points to the probable existence of two distinct Rosicrucian bodies: an inner organization whose members never revealed their identity or teachings to the world, and an outer body under the supervision of the inner group. In all probability, the symbolic tomb of Christian Rosencreutz, Knight of the Golden Stone, was in reality this outer body, the spirit of which is in a more exalted sphere. For a period of more than a century subsequent to 1614, the outer body circulated tracts and manifestoes under either its own name or the names of various initiated members. The purpose of these writings was apparently to confuse and mislead investigators, and thus effectively to conceal the actual designs of the Fraternity.
When Rosicrucianism became the philosophical “fad” of the seventeenth century, numerous documents on the subject were also circulated for purely commercial purposes by impostors desirous of capitalizing its popularity. The cunningly contrived artifices of the Fraternity itself and the blundering literary impostures of charlatans formed a double veil behind which the inner organization carried on its activities in a manner totally dissimilar to its purposes and principles as publicly disseminated. The Fratres Rosa Crucis naively refer to the misunderstandings which they have for obvious reasons permitted to exist concerning themselves as being “clouds” within which they labor and behind which they are concealed.
An inkling of the substance of Rosicrucianism–its esoteric doctrines–can be gleaned from an analysis of its shadow–its exoteric writings. In one of the most important of their “clouds,” the Confessio Fraternitatis, the Brethren of the Fraternity of R.C. seek to justify their existence and explain (?) the purposes and activities of their Order. In its original form the Confessio is divided into fourteen chapters, which are here epitomized.
CONFESSIO FRATERNITATIS R. C. AD ERUDITOS EUROPÆ
Chapter I. Do not through hasty judgment or prejudice misinterpret the statements concerning our Fraternity published in our previous manifesto–the Fama Fraternitatis. Jehovah, beholding the decadence of civilization, seeks to redeem humanity by revealing to the willing and by thrusting upon the reluctant those secrets which previously He had reserved for His elect. By this wisdom the godly shall be saved, but the sorrows of the ungodly shall be multiplied. While the true purpose of our Order was set forth in the Fama Fraternitatis, misunderstandings have arisen through which we have been falsely accused of heresy and treason. In this document we hope so to clarify our position that the learned of Europe will be moved to join with us in the dissemination of divine knowledge according to the will of our illustrious founder.
Chapter II. While it is alleged by many that the philosophic cide (sic. JBH) of our day is sound, we declare it to be false and soon to die of its own inherent weakness. just as Nature, however, provides a remedy for each new disease that manifests itself, so our Fraternity has provided a remedy for the infirmities of the world’s philosophic system. The secret philosophy of the R.C. is founded upon that knowledge which is the sum and head of all faculties, sciences, and arts. By our divinely revealed system–which partakes much of theology and medicine but little of jurisprudence–we analyze the heavens and the earth; but mostly we study man himself, within whose nature is concealed the supreme secret. If the learned of out day will accept our invitation and join themselves to our Fraternity, we will reveal to them undreamed-of secrets and wonders concerning the hidden workings of Nature.
Chapter III. Do not believe that the secrets discussed in this brief document are lightly esteemed by us. We cannot describe fully the marvels of our Fraternity lest the uninformed be overwhelmed by our astonishing declarations and the vulgar ridicule the mysteries which they do not comprehend. We also fear that many will be confused by the unexpected generosity of our proclamation, for not understanding the wonders of this sixth age they do nor realize the great changes which are to come. Like blind men living in a world full of light, they discern only through the sense of feeling. [By sight is implied spiritual cognition: by feeling, the material senses.]
Chapter IV. We firmly believe that through deep meditation on the inventions of the human mind and the mysteries of life, through the cooperation of the angels and spirits, and through experience and long observation, our loving Christian Father C.R.C. was so fully illumined with God’s wisdom that were all the books and writings of the world lost and the foundations of science overturned, the Fraternity of R.C. could reestablish the structure of world thought upon the foundation of divine truth and integrity. Because of the great depth and perfection of our knowledge, those desiring to understand the mysteries of the Fraternity of R. C. cannot attain to that wisdom immediately, but must grow in understanding and knowledge. Therefore, our Fraternity is divided into grades through which each must ascend step by step to the Great Arcanum. Now that it has pleased God to lighten unto us His sixth candelabrum, is it not better to seek truth in this way than to wander through the labyrinths of worldly ignorance?
Furthermore, those who receive this knowledge shall become masters of all arts and crafts; no secret shall be hidden from them; and all good works of the past, present, and future shall be accessible to them. The whole world shall become as one book and the contradictions of science and theology shall be reconciled. Rejoice, O humanity! for the time has come when God has decreed that the number of our Fraternity shall be increased, a labor that we have joyously undertaken. The doors of wisdom are now open to the world, but only to those who have earned the privilege may the Brothers present themselves, for it is forbidden to reveal our knowledge even to our own children. The right to receive spiritual truth cannot be inherited: it must be evolved within the soul of man himself.
Chapter V. Though we may be accused of indiscretion in offering our treasures so freely and promiscuously–without discriminating between the godly, the wise, the prince, the peasant–we affirm that we have not betrayed our trust; for although we have published our Fama in five languages, only those understand it who have that right. Our Society is not to be discovered by curiosity
JOHANN VALENTIN ANDREÆ.
From a rare print.
In certain esoteric circles there are vague rumors which intimate that the humble personality of Johann Valentin Andreæ masked an exalted emissary of the Rose Cross. While there is sufficient evidence at hand to establish the actual existence of a German theologian by the name of Andreæ, there are many discrepancies in his biography which have net been cleared up to the satisfaction of critical investigators. A comparison of the face shown above with that of Sir Francis Bacon discloses striking resemblances in spite of the differences due to age. If Lord Bacon borrowed the name and identity of William Shakspere, he could also assume, after his mock funeral in England, the personality of Johann Valentin Andreæ. The crescent below the bust is significant, as it also appears upon the crest of Lord Bacon; to denote that he was the second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon. Further, the four letters (O MDC) in the frame at the lower right corner of the plate, by a very simple Baconian cipher, can be changed into number whose sum gives 33–the numerical equivalent of the name Bacon. These several points of interest, when considered together, go far towards clearing up the mystery surrounding the authorship of the first Rosicrucian manifestoes.
seekers, but only by serious and consecrated thinkers; nevertheless we have circulated our Fama in five mother tongues so that the righteous of all nations may have an opportunity to know of us, even though they be not scholars. A thousand times the unworthy may present themselves and clamor at the gates, but God has forbidden us of the Fraternity of R.C. to hear their voices, and He has surrounded us with His clouds and His protection so that no harm may come to us, and God has decreed that we of the Order of R.C. can no longer be seen by mortal eyes unless they have received strength borrowed from the eagle. We further affirm that we shall reform the governments of Europe and pattern them according to the system applied by the philosophers of Damcar. All men desirous of securing knowledge shall receive as much as they are capable of understanding. The rule of false theology shall be overthrown and God shall make His will known through His chosen philosophers.
Chapter VI. Because of the need of brevity, it is enough to say that our Father C.R.C. was born in the year 1378 and departed at the age of 106, leaving to us the labor of spreading die doctrine of philosophic religion to the entire world. Our Fraternity is open to all who sincerely seek for truth; but we publicly warn the false and impious that they cannot betray or injure us, for God has protected our Fraternity, and all who seek to do it harm shall have their evil designs return and destroy them, while the treasures of our Fraternity shall remain untouched, to be used by the Lion in the establishment of his kingdom.
Chapter VII. We declare that God, before the end of the world, shall create a great flood of spiritual light to alleviate the sufferings of humankind. Falsehood and darkness which have crept into the arts, sciences, religions, and governments of humanity–making it difficult for even the wise to discover the path of reality–shall be forever removed and a single standard established, so that all may enjoy the fruitage of truth. We shall not be recognized as those responsible for this change, for people shall say that it is the result of the progressiveness of the age. Great are the reforms about to take place; but we of the Fraternity of R.C. do not arrogate to ourselves the glory for this divine reformation, since many there are, not members of our Fraternity but honest, true and wise men, who by their intelligence and their writings shall hasten its coming. We testify that sooner the stones shall rise up and offer their services than that there shall be any lack of righteous persons to execute the will of God upon earth.
Chapter VIII. That no one may doubt, we declare that God has sent messengers and signs in the heavens, namely, the i new stars in Serpentarius and Cygnus, to show that a great Council of the Elect is to take place. This proves that God reveals in visible nature–for the discerning few–signs and symbols of all things that are coming to pass. God has given man two eyes, two nostrils, and two ears, but only one tongue. Whereas the eyes, the nostrils, and the ears admit the wisdom of Nature into the mind, the tongue alone may give it forth. In various ages there have been illumined ones who have seen, smelt, tasted, or heard the will of God, but it will shortly come to pass that those who have seen, smelt, tasted, or heard shall speak, and truth shall be revealed. Before this revelation of righteousness is possible, however, the world must sleep away the intoxication of her poisoned chalice (filled with the false life of the theological vine) and, opening her heart to virtue and understanding, welcome the rising sun of Truth.
Chapter IX. We have a magic writing, copied from that divine alphabet with which God writes His will upon the face of celestial and terrestrial Nature. With this new language we read God’s will for all His creatures, and just as astronomers predict eclipses so we prognosticate the obscurations of the church and how long they shall last. Our language is like unto that of Adam and Enoch before the Fall, and though we understand and can explain our mysteries in this our sacred language, we cannot do so in Latin, a tongue contaminated by the confusion of Babylon.
Chapter X. Although there are still certain powerful persons who oppose and hinder us–because of which we must remain concealed–we exhort those who would become of our Fraternity to study unceasingly the Sacred Scriptures, for such as do this cannot be far from us. We do not mean that the Bible should be continually in the mouth of man, but that he should search for its true and eternal meaning, which is seldom discovered by theologians, scientists, or mathematicians because they are blinded by the opinions of their sects. We bear witness that never since the beginning of the world has there been given to man a more excellent book than the Holy Bible. Blessed is he who possesses it, more blessed he who reads it, most blessed he who understands it, and most godlike he who obeys it.
Chapter XI. We wish the statements we made in the Fama Fraternitatis concerning the transmutation of metals and the universal medicine to be lightly understood. While we realize that both these works are attainable by man, we fear that many really great minds may be led away from the true quest of knowledge and understanding if they permit themselves to limit their investigation to the transmutation of metals. When to a man is given power to heal disease, to overcome poverty, and to reach a position of worldly dignity, that man is beset by numerous temptations and unless he possess true knowledge and full understanding he will become a terrible menace to mankind. The alchemist who attains to the art of transmuting base metals can do all manner of evil unless his understanding be as great as his self-created wealth. We therefore affirm that man must first gain knowledge, virtue, and understanding; then all other things may be added unto him. We accuse the Christian Church of the great sin of possessing power and using it unwisely; therefore we prophesy that it shall fall by the weight of its own iniquities and its crown shall be brought to naught.
Chapter XII. In concluding our Confessio, we earnestly admonish you to cast aside the worthless books of pseudo-alchemists and philosophers (of whom there are many in our age), who make light of the Holy Trinity and deceive the credulous with meaningless enigmas. One of the greatest of these is a stage player, a man with
A SYMBOLIC DIAGRAM OF THE OPERATIONS OF NATURE.
From Fludd’s Collectio Operum.
This plate, engraved by de Bry, is the most famous of the diagrams illustrating the philosophic principles of Robert Fludd (Robertus de Fluctibus). Three figures are outstanding links between Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry: Michael Maier, Elias Ashmole, and Robert Fludd. De Quincey considers Robert Fludd to be the immediate father of Freemasonry. (See The Rosicrucians and Freemasons.) Edward Waite considers Robert Fludd as second to none of the disciples of Paracelsus, even going as far as to declare that Fludd far surpassed his master. He further adds, “The central figure of Rosicrucian literature, towering as an intellectual giant above the crowd of souffleurs, theosophists, and charlatanic Professors of the magnum opus, who, directly or otherwise, were connected with the mysterious Brotherhood, is Robertus de Fluctibus, the great English mystical philosopher of the seventeenth century, a man of immense erudition, of exalted mind, and, to judge by his writings, of extreme personal sanctity. ” (See The Real History of the Rosicrucians.) Robert Fludd was born in 1574 and died in 1637.
The de Bry diagram shown above is almost self-explanatory. Outside the circle of the starry heavens are the three fiery rings of the empyreum–the triple fire of the Supreme Creator–in which dwell the celestial creatures. Within he, of the stars are the circles of the planets and elements. After the element of air comes the circle of the world (earth). The circle of animals is followed by the circle of plants, which, in turn is followed by the circle of he minerals. Then come various industries and in the center is a terrestrial globe with an ape-man sitting upon it, measuring a sphere with a pair of compasses. This little figure represents the animal creation. In the outer ring of fire, above is the sacred name of Jehovah surrounded by clouds. From these clouds issues a hand holding a chain. Between the divine sphere and the lower world personified by the ape is the figure of a woman. It is to be specially noted that the female figure is merely holding the chain connecting her with the lower world, but the chain connecting her with the higher world ends in a shackle about her wrist. This female figure is capable of several interpretations: she may represent humanity suspended between divinity and the beast; she may represent Nature as the link between God and the lower world; or she may represent the human soul–the common denominator between the superior and the inferior.
sufficient ingenuity for imposition. Such men are mingled by the Enemy of human welfare among those who seek to do good, thus making Truth more difficult of discovery. Believe us, Truth is simple and unconcealed, while falsehood is complex, deeply hidden, proud, and its fictitious worldly knowledge, seemingly a glitter with godly luster, is often mistaken for divine wisdom. You that are wise will turn from these false teachings and come to us, who seek not your money but freely offer you our greater treasure. We desire not your goods, but that you should become partakers of our goods. We do not deride parables, but invite you to understand all parables and all secrets. We do not ask you to receive us, but invite you to come unto our kingly houses and palaces, not because of ourselves but because we are so ordered by the Spirit of God, the desire of our most excellent Father C.R.C., and the need of the present moment, which is very great.
Chapter XIII. Now that we have made our position clear that we sincerely confess Christ; disavow the Papacy; devote our lives to true philosophy and worthy living; and daily invite and admit into our Fraternity the worthy of all nations, who thereafter share with us the Light of God: will you not join yourselves with us to the perfection of yourselves, the development of all the arts, and the service of the world? If you will take this step, the treasures of every part of the earth shall be at one time given unto you, and the darkness which envelopes human knowledge and which results in the vanities of material arts and sciences shall be forever dispelled.
Chapter XIV. Again we warn those who are dazzled by the glitter of gold or those who, now upright, might be turned by great riches to a life of idleness and pomp, not to disturb our sacred silence with their clamorings; for though there be a medicine which will cure all diseases and give unto all men wisdom, yet it is against the will of God that men should attain to understanding by any means other than virtue, labor, and integrity. We are not permitted to manifest ourselves to any man except it be by the will of God. Those who believe that they can partake of our spiritual wealth against the will of God or without His sanction will find that they shall sooner lose their lives in seeking us than attain happiness by finding us.
Johann Valentin Andreæ is generally reputed to be the author of the Confessio. It is a much-mooted question, however, whether Andreæ did not permit his name to be used as a pseudonym by Sir Francis Bacon. Apropos of this subject are two extremely significant references occurring in the introduction to that remarkable potpourri, The Anatomy of Melancholy. This volume first appeared in 1621 from the pen of Democritus junior, who was afterwards identified as Robert Burton, who, in turn, was a suspected intimate of Sir Francis Bacon. One reference archly suggests that at the time of publishing The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621 the founder of the Fraternity of R.C. was still alive. This statement–concealed from general recognition by its textual involvement–has escaped the notice of most students of Rosicrucianism. In the same work there also appears a short footnote of stupendous import. It contains merely the words: “Job. Valent. Andreas, Lord Verulam.” This single line definitely relates Johann Valentin Andreæ to Sir Francis Bacon, who was Lord Verulam, and by its punctuation intimates that they are one and the same individual.
Prominent among Rosicrucian apologists was John Heydon, who inscribes himself “A Servant of God, and a Secretary of Nature.” In his curious work, The Rosie Cross Uncovered, he gives an enigmatic but valuable description of the Fraternity of R.C. in the following language:
“Now there are a kind of men, as they themselves report, named Rosie Crucians, a divine fraternity that inhabit the suburbs of heaven, and these are the officers of the Generalissimo of the world, that are as the eyes and ears of the great King, seeing and hearing all things: they say these Rosie Crucians are seraphically illuminated, as Moses was, according to this order of the elements, earth refin’d to water, water to air, air to fire.” He further declares that these mysterious Brethren possessed polymorphous powers, appearing in any desired form at will. In the preface of the same work, he enumerates the strange powers of the Rosicrucian adepts:
“I shall here tell you what Rosie Crucians are, and that Moses was their Father, and he was Θεοῦ παῖς; some say they were of the order of Elias, some say the Disciples of Ezekiel; * * * For it should seem Rosie Crucians were not only initiated into the Mosaical Theory, but have arrived also to the power of working miracles, as Moses, Elias, Ezekiel, and the succeeding Prophets did, as being transported where they please, as Habakkukwas from Jewry to Babylon, or as Philip, after he had baptized the Eunuch to Azorus, and one of these went from me to a friend of mine in Devonshire, and came and brought me an answer to London the some day, which is four days journey; they caught me excellent predictions of Astrology and Earthquakes; they slack the Plague in Cities; they silence the violent Winds and Tempests; they calm the rage of the Sea and Rivers; they walk in the Air, they frustrate the malicious aspects of Witches; they cure all Diseases.”
The writings of John Heydon are considered a most important contribution to Rosicrucian literature. John Heydon was probably related to Sir Christopher Heydon, “a Seraphically Illuminated Rosie Crucian, ” whom the late F. Leigh Gardner, Hon. Secretary Sec. Ros. in Anglia, believes to have been the source of his Rosicrucian knowledge. In his Bibliotheca Rosicruciana he makes the following statement concerning John Heydon: “On the whole, from the internal evidence of his writings, he appears to have gone through the lower grade of the R. C. Order and to have given out much of this to the world.” John Heydon traveled extensively, visiting Arabia, Egypt, Persia, and various parts of Europe, as related in a biographical introduction to his work, The Wise-Mans Crown, Set with Angels, Planets, Metals, etc., or The Glory of the Rosie Cross–a work declared by him to be a translation into English of the mysterious book M brought from Arabia by Christian Rosencreutz.
Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes), another champion of the Order, corroborates the statement of John Heydon concerning the ability of the Rosicrucian initiates to make themselves invisible at will:
“The Fraternity of R.C. can move in this white mist. ‘Whosoever would communicate with us must be able to see in this light, or us he will never see unless by our own will.'”
The Fraternity of R.C. is an august and sovereign body, arbitrarily manipulating the symbols of alchemy, Qabbalism, astrology, and magic to the attainment of its own peculiar purposes, but entirely independent of the cults whose terminology it employs. The three major objects of the Fraternity are:
- The abolition of all monarchical forms of government and the substitution therefor of the rulership of the philosophic elect. The present democracies are the direct outgrowth of Rosicrucian efforts to liberate the maws from the domination of despotism. In the early part of the eighteenth century the Rosicrucians turned their attention to the new American Colonies, then forming the nucleus of a great nation in the New World. The American War of Independence represents their first great political experiment and resulted in the establishment of a national government founded upon the fundamental principles of divine and natural law. As an imperishable reminder of their
THE ALCHEMICAL ANDROGYNE
From the Turbæ Philosophorum.
The Turbæ Philosophorum is one of the earliest known documents on alchemy in the Latin tongue. Its exact origin is unknown. It is sometimes referred to as The Third Pythagorical Synod. As its name implies, it is an assembly of the sages and sets forth the alchemical viewpoints of many of the early Greek philosophers. The symbol reproduced above is from a rare edition of theTurbæ Philosophorum published in Germany in 1750, and represents by a hermaphroditic figure the accomplishment of the magnum opus. The active and passive principles of Nature were often depicted by male and female figures, and when these two principle, were harmoniously conjoined in any one nature or body it was customary to symbolize this state of perfect equilibrium by the composite figure above shown.
A ROSICRUCIAN TITLE PAGE.
From Maier’s Viatorium.
Count Michael Maier, physician to Rudolph II., was an outstanding figure in the Rosicrucian controversy. There is little doubt that he was an initiated member of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, empowered by the Order to promulgate its secrets among the philosophic elect of Europe. The above title page shows the seven planets represented by appropriate figures. Behind the central figure in each case is a smaller emblem, signifying the zodiacal sign in which the planet is enthroned. In the arch over the title itself is a portrait of the learned Maier. The volume of which this is the title page is devoted to an analysis of the nature and effect of the seven planets, and is couched in alchemical terminology throughout. Michael Maier concealed his knowledge so cunningly that it is exceedingly difficult to tract from his writings the secrets which he possessed. He was profuse in his use of emblems and the greater part of his philosophical lore is concealed in the engravings which illustrate his books.
sub rosa activities, the Rosicrucians left the Great Seal of the United States. The Rosicrucians were also the instigators of the French Revolution, but in this instance were not wholly successful, owing to the fact that the fanaticism of the revolutionists could not be controlled and the Reign of Terror ensued.
- The reformation of science, philosophy, and ethics. The Rosicrucians declared that the material arts and sciences were but shadows of the divine wisdom, and that only by penetrating the innermost recesses of Nature could man attain to reality and understanding. Though calling themselves Christians, the Rosicrucians were evidently Platonists and also profoundly versed in the deepest mysteries of early Hebrew and Hindu theology. There is undeniable evidence that the Rosicrucians desired to reestablish the institutions of the ancient Mysteries as the foremost method of instructing humanity in the secret and eternal doctrine. Indeed, being in all probability the perpetuators of the ancient Mysteries, the Rosicrucians were able to maintain themselves against the obliterating forces of dogmatic Christianity only by absolute secrecy and the subtlety of their subterfuges. They so carefully guarded and preserved the Supreme Mystery–the identity and interrelationship of the Three Selves–that no one to whom they did not of their own accord reveal themselves has ever secured any satisfactory information regarding either the existence or the purpose of the Order. The Fraternity of R.C., through its outer organization, is gradually creating an environment or body in which the Illustrious Brother C.R.C. may ultimately incarnate and consummate for humanity the vast spiritual and material labors of the Fraternity.
- The discovery of the Universal Medicine, or panacea, for all forms of disease. There is ample evidence that the Rosicrucians were successful in their quest for the Elixir of Life. In his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, Elias Ashmole states that the Rosicrucians were not appreciated in England, but were welcomed on the Continent. He also states that Queen Elizabeth was twice cured of the smallpox by the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, and that the Earl of Norfolk was healed of leprosy by a Rosicrucian physician. In the quotations that follow it is .hinted by John Heydon that the Brothers of the Fraternity possessed the secret of prolonging human existence indefinitely, but not beyond the time appointed by the will of God:
“And at last they could restore by the same course every Brother that died to life again, and so continue many ages; the rules you find in the fourth book. * * * After this manner began the Fraternity of the Rosie Cross, first by four persons, who died and rose again until Christ, and then they came to worship as the Star guided them to Bethlehem of Judea, where lay our Saviour in his mother’s arms; and then they opened their treasure and presented unto him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and by the commandment of God went home to their habitation. These four waxing young again successively many hundreds of years, made a magical language and writing, with a large dictionary, which we yet daily use to God’s praise and glory, and do find great wisdom therein. * * * Now whilst Brother C.R. was in a proper womb quickening, they concluded to draw and receive yet others more into their Fraternity.”
The womb herein referred to was apparently the glass casket, or container, in which the Brothers were buried. This was also called the philosophical egg. After a certain period of time the philosopher, breaking the shell of his egg, came forth and functioned for a prescribed period, after which he retired again into his shell of glass, The Rosicrucian medicine for the healing of all human infirmities may be interpreted either as a chemical substance which produces the physical effects described or as spiritual understanding–the true healing power which, whet a man has partaken of it, reveals truth to him. Ignorance is the worst form of disease, and that: which heals ignorance is therefore the most potent of all medicines. The perfect Rosicrucian medicine was for the healing of nations, races, and individuals.
In an early unpublished manuscript, an unknown philosopher declares alchemy, Qabbalism, astrology, and magic to have been divine sciences originally, but that through perversion they had become false doctrines, leading seekers after wisdom ever farther from their goal. The same author gives a valuable key to esoteric Rosicrucianism by dividing the path of spiritual attainment into three steps, or schools, which he calls mountains. The first and lowest of these mountains is Mount Sophia; the second, Mount Qabbalah; and the third, Mount Magia. These three mountains are sequential stages of spiritual growth. The unknown author then states:
“By philosophy is to be understood the knowledge of the workings of Nature, by which knowledge man learns to climb to those higher mountains above the limitations of sense. By Qabbalism is to be understood the language of the angelic or celestial beings, and he who masters it is able to converse with the messengers of God. On the highest of the mountains is the School of Magia (Divine Magic, which is the language of God) wherein man is taught the true nature of all things by God Himself.”
There is a growing conviction that if the true nature of Rosicrucianism were divulged, it would cause consternation, to say the least. Rosicrucian symbols have many meanings, but the Rosicrucian meaning has not yet been revealed. The mount upon which stands the House of the Rosy Cross is still concealed by clouds, in which the Brethren hide both themselves and their secrets. Michael Maier writes: “What is contained in the Fama and Confessio is true. It is a very childish objection that the brotherhood have promised so much and performed so little. With them, as elsewhere, many are called but few are chosen. The masters of the order hold out the rose as the remote prize, but they impose the cross on those who are entering.” (See Silentium post Clamores, by Maier, and The Rosicrucians and the Freemasons, by De Quincey.)
The rose and the cross appear upon the stained glass windows of Lichfield Chapter House, where Walter Conrad Arensberg believes Lord Bacon and his mother to have been buried. A crucified rose within a heart is watermarked into the dedication page of the 1628 edition of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.
The fundamental symbols of the Rosicrucians were the rose and the cross; the rose female and the cross male, both universal phallic emblems. While such learned gentlemen as Thomas Inman, Hargrave Jennings, and Richard Payne Knight have truly observed that the rose and the cross typify the generative processes, these scholars seem unable to pierce the veil of symbolism; they do not realize that the creative mystery in the material world is merely a shadow of the divine creative mystery in the spiritual world. Because of the phallic significance of their symbols, both the Rosicrucians and the Templars have been falsely accused of practicing obscene rites in their secret ceremonials. While it is quite true that the alchemical retort symbolizes the womb, it also has a far more significant meaning concealed under the allegory of the second birth. As generation is the key to material existence, it is natural that the Fraternity of R.C. should adopt as its characteristic symbols those exemplifying the reproductive processes. As regeneration is the key to spiritual existence, they therefore founded their symbolism upon the rose and the cross, which typify the redemption of man through the union of his lower temporal nature with his higher eternal nature. The rosy cross is also a hieroglyphic figure representing the formula of the Universal Medicine.
THE ELEMENTARY WORLD.
From Musæum Hermeticum Reformatum et Amplificatum.
The outer circle contains the figures of the Zodiac; the second, their signs and that part of the human body which they rule; the third, the months of the year, with brief notes concerning temperaments, etc. The fourth circle contains the elements accompanied by their appropriate symbols, and the following seven circles mark the orbits of the planets; also the planetary angels, the seven major members of the Universal Man, and the seven metals, each division appearing under its appropriate element according to the elemental names in the fourth circle. In the twelfth circle appear the words: “There are Three Principles, Three Worlds, Three Ages, and Three Kingdoms.” In the thirteenth circle appear the names of the twelve arts and sciences which are considered essential to spiritual growth. In the fourteenth circle is the word Nature. The fifteenth circle contains the following words. “It is the great honour of faithful souls, that from their very birth an angel is appointed to preserve and keep each of them.” (See first English translation, London, 1893.)
Fifteen Rosicrucian and Qabbalistic Diagrams
IN his well-known work, The Rosicrucians, Their Rites and Mysteries, Hargrave Jennings reproduces five Qabbalistic charts which he declares to be genuine Rosicrucian drawings. He gives no information concerning their origin nor does he attempt an elucidation of their symbolism. A recent writer who reproduced one of these charts correlated it to the emblematic tomb of Father C.R.C., thus exposing the true nature of Christian Rosencreutz.
The five plates reproduced in Hargrave Jennings’ book are part of a series of fifteen diagrams which appear in The Magical, Qabbalistical, and Theosophical Writings of Georgius von Welling, on the Subject of Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury. This extremely rare volume was published at Frankfort and Leipzig in 1735 and 1760. The numbers and figures on the charts refer to the chapters and sections of the Writings. These fifteen charts constitute a remarkable and invaluable addition to the few other known admittedly authentic Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian diagrams.
Lucifer is the greatest mystery of symbolism. The secret knowledge of the Rosicrucians concerning Lucifer is nowhere so plainly set forth as in these plates, which virtually reveal his true identity, a carefully guarded secret about which little has been written. Lucifer is represented by the number 741.
Von Welling does not give a complete exposition of the fifteen charts; to have done so would have been contrary to the principles of Qabbalistic philosophy. The deeper significance of the symbols is revealed only by profound study and contemplation.
TABLE I, Figures 1-11
Figure 1 is a Ptolemaic chart showing the true relationship existing between the primordial elements. Its secret significance is as follows: The outer ring enclosed by the lines A and B is the region of Schamayim, a Qabbalistic name for the Supreme Deity, signifying the expanse of the heavens, or a spiritual fiery water. Schamayim is “The Ocean of Spirit, ” within which all created and uncreated things exist and by the life of which they are animated. In the lower worlds Schamayim becomes the astral light.
The space between B and C marks the orbits or planes of the seven Spiritual Intelligences called the Divine Planets (not the visible planets). According to the Mysteries, the souls of men enter the lower worlds through ring B, the fixed stars. All creation reflects the glory of Schamayim, the energy that filters into the spheres of the elements through the windows of the stars and planets. Between C and D lies the region of the subtle, spiritual air, a subdivision of ether. D to Emarks the surface of the earth and sea, by which are also meant grades of ether. E to F marks the lower region, called “The Gathering of the Waters and the Production of the Virgin Earth, ” or “Ares. ” The alchemists called this “quicksand,” the true mystic foundation of the solid earth. F to G marks the circle of the subterranean air, which is more dense and coarse than that in the outer space, C to D. In this denser atmosphere the stellar influences and celestial impulses are crystallized into corporeal spirits, thus forming the multitude of forms which exist without knowledge of their own fiery source. G is the region of the central fire of the element earth, a coarse fire in contradistinction to the divine fiery Schamayim. The sphere of the starry heavens likewise has its opposite in the sphere of the subterranean air; and the sphere of the upper air (or subtle vaporous water) has its opposite in the sphere E to F. The focal point, D to E, between the three higher and the three lower spheres, is called “The Reservoir.” It receives impressions from both the superior and the inferior regions and is common to both.
Figure 2 is the Qabbalistic symbol of elemental water; Figure 9 represents the spiritual invisible water. Figure 3 is the Qabbalistic symbol of elemental air; Figure 7 represents the spiritual and invisible air. Figure 4 is the Qabbalistic sign of the elemental earth; Figure 8 represents the spiritual and invisible earth. Figure 5 is the Qabbalistic sign of the elemental fire; Figure 6 represents the spiritual and invisible fire. Figures 6, 7, 8, and 9 symbolize the four elements before the descent of Lucifer. They are the four rivers spoken of in Genesis, having their source in the one river, Figure W, which represents the elements superimposed on one another. The golden ball in the center is Schamayim, the fiery source of all elements. Figure 11 is the emblem of the beginning and the end of all creatures. From it all things proceed and to it all must return again, to become one with the fiery water of divine understanding.
TABLE II, Figures 12-51
Figures 12, 13, 14 demonstrate the sphere as a symbol of motion to be emblematic of fire, water, and air; and the cube as a symbol of weight to be emblematic of earth. The sphere rests upon a point, the cube upon a surface; the sphere is therefore used to symbolize spirit, and the cube, matter. Figure 14 demonstrates that atmosphere rushing in behind a falling object increases its velocity and apparently adds to its weight. The essential nature of each element is occultly signified by the peculiar symbol and character assigned to it.
Of Figure 15, the symbol of salt, von Welling writes, in substance: The cube has six sides, corresponding to the six days of creation, with the point of rest (the seventh day) in the center of the cube. On each surface of the cube appear the signs of the four elements [triangles]. The alchemists declared that salt was the first created substance produced by the fire (Schamayim) which flowed out of God. In salt all creation is concentrated; in salt are the beginning and end of all things. The cube, furthermore, is composed of twelve bodies, each of which has six sides. These bodies are the twelve fundamental pillars of the true invisible church, and when these twelve bodies are multiplied by their six sides the magical number 72 results. The wise have said that nothing is perfect until it has been dissolved, separated, and again united so that it becomes a body composed of twelve bodies, like the cube. The cube also consists of six pyramids with the six surfaces of the cube as their bases. The points of these six pyramids meet at the center of the cube. These six pyramids, each consisting of four triangles, signify the elements, and produce the magical number 24, which refers to the Elders before the Throne. The six surfaces and the point constitute the magical number 7. If 7 be multiplied by 7 again, and so on 7 times, the answer will reveal the method used by the ancients for measuring the periods of eternity; thus: (1) 7 X 7 = 49; (2) 49 X 7 = 343; (3) 343 X 7 = 2,401; (4) 2,401 X 7 = 16,807; (5):16,807 X 7 = 117,649; (6) 117,649 X 7 = 823,543; (7) 823,543 X 7 = 5,764,801. (This is not to be taken as earth years or times.) The 5,000, 000 represents the great hall year; the 700,000 the great Sabbath year, wherein all human beings gradually gain true understanding and become heirs to their original and eternal inheritance, which was lost when they were enmeshed in the lower elements. The 64,800 is the number of the fallen angels, and the last one year signifies the liberation of Lucifer and return to his original estate.
Figure 16 is another symbol of salt, while Figure 17 (the dot) is the sign of spirit, gold, the sun, or the germ of life. If the dot be moved before itself it becomes a line, Figure 18. This motion of the dot is the first motion. The beginning and end of every line is a dot. Figure 19 is the circle. It is the second motion and the most perfect of all lines. Out of it are formed all figures and bodies imaginable. Figure 20 represents the outpouring of the upper and spiritual life into manifestation. Figure 21 represents darkness, for it is the loosening of the subterrene destructive principle. Figure 20 is also the symbol of day, and Figure 21 of night.
TABLE I, Figures 1-11.
TABLE II, Figures 12-51.
Figure 22 is a symbol of water; Figure 23 is the complete universal character of light and darkness. The upright triangle represents Schamayim; the inverted triangle the dark earth which imprisons the infernal subterranean fire. It is “The First Day of Creation,” or the time of the separation of Schamayim and Ares. Figure 24 represents the six days of creation and proves that the elements are an outflow of the Divine Fire which, breaking up, becomes the substances of the tangible universe, as signified in Figure 25.
Figure 26 is the character of the air, showing that air is born out of the Eternal Light and the ethereal water. Figure 27 is the character of water. It is the inversion of Figure 26, indicating that its origin is from the lower fire and not the higher. Its upper part signifies that water does not lack the Divine element, but as a universal mirror reflects the heavenly influences. Figures 28 and 29 are symbols of salt, showing that it is both fire and water in one. Figure 30 is the character of fire in all its attributes, and Figure M (the same inverted), water in all its powers. Figure 32 is the character of salt in all its attributes. Figure 33 represents both gold and the sun. Their essential natures are identical, being formed from the first fire out of Schamayim. They are perfect, as can be seen from their symbol, for no more perfect form can be produced out of the dot than the circle.
Figure 34 is the character of the greater and lesser worlds; as the dot is surrounded by its circumference, this world is surrounded by Schamayim. Man (the Little World) is included in this symbol because his inner nature is potential gold (Aphar Min Haadamah), which gold is his eternal indestructible spiritual body. Gold is the masculine principle of the universe.
Figure 35 is the character of silver and the moon. It signifies that silver (like gold) is a perfect metal, except that the red part of its nature is turned inward. Silver is the feminine principle of the universe.
Figure 36 is the character of copper and Venus; Figure 37, of iron and Mars; Figure 38, of tin and Jupiter; Figure 39, of lead and Saturn; Figure 40, of Mercury (both the planet and the element); Figure 41, of antimony, the key metal of the earth itself; Figure 42, of arsenic; Figure 43, of sulphur; Figure 44, of cinnabar; Figure 45, of quicklime; Figure 46, of nitre; and Figure 47, of vitriol. Figure 48 is the character of sal ammoniac, which element derives its name from the Temple of Jupiter Ammon in an Egyptian desert, where it was found. Figure 49 is the character of alum; Figure 50, of alkali, a name of Arabian origin; and Figure 51, of sal tartar, a substance possessing great occult virtue.
TABLE Ill, Figure 52
The eight globes and the central square represent the seven days of creation. The three worlds wherein creation occurs are symbolized by three concentric rings. The German words in the outer ring are extracts from the first chapter of Genesis. The words around the outside of the outer ring are The First Day. The four small globes inside the outer ring deal with the abstract phases of creation. The upper globe containing the triangle encloses the words Heaven and Earth. The globe to the right contains the word Light, and the one to the left, Jehovah Elohim in the upper part and Darkness in the lower part. The globe at the bottom contains the word Day in the upper half and Night in the lower.
The four globes within the second ring depict the second, third, fourth, and fifth days of creation. The white globe above divided by a dotted line is designated The Second Day; the globe to the left with the mountains, The Third Day; the globe to the right with the planetary rings, The Fourth Day; and the globe below bisected by a dotted line, The Fifth Day. The square in the central ring containing the human form is marked The Sixth Day. This chart is a diagrammatic exposition of the three layers of the macrocosmic and microcosmic auric eggs, showing the forces active within them.
TABLE IV, Figure. 53
Figure 53 has been designated the symbolic tomb of Christian Rosencreutz. The upper circle is the first world–the Divine Sphere of God. The triangle in the center is the throne of God. The small circles at the points of the star symbolize the seven great Spirits before the throne, mentioned in the Book of Revelation, in the midst of which walks the Alpha and Omega–the Son of God. The central triangle contains three flames–the Divine Trinity. From the lowest of these flames proceeds the first divine outflow, shown by two parallel lines descending through the throne of Saturn (the Spirit Orifelis, through whom God manifested Himself). Passing through the boundary of the celestial universe and the 22 spheres of the lower system, the lines end at point B, the throne of Lucifer, in whom the divine outpouring is concentrated and reflected. From him the divine light irradiates in succession to d (Capricorn), e (Gemini), f (Libra), g (Taurus), h (Pisces), i(Aquarius), k (Cancer), l (Virgo), m (Aries), n (Leo), o (Scorpio), p (Sagittarius), thence back to d. The zodiacal circles represent twelve orders of great and beneficent Spirits, and the smaller circles within the ring of fixed stars mark the orbits of the sacred planets.
TABLE V, Figure 54.
Figure 54 is similar to Figure 53, but represents the universe at the time God manifested Himself through the character of Jupiter, the Spirit Sachasiel. Von Welling gives no reason for the change in the order of influx into the twelve orders of spirits, for the third world, for the adding of another circle and the interlaced triangles in the upper world, or for the letters Y and Z. In the upper triangle,
Table III, Figure 52
Table IV, Figure 53
Table V, Figure 54
Table VII, Figures 1-5, 7 and 8
A represents the Father Principle, F the divine outflow, G the point of influx into the twelve orders of spirits (probably Sagittarius). The letters H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O,P, Q, S, and T denote the sequential points of irradiations to each other; W and X, the World of the Sons of God; and B, C, D, and E, the World of Lucifer. This plate shows the universe after the descent of Lucifer into matter. According to von Welling, when Lucifer wanted to control power, the influx of the divine light instantly ceased. Lucifer’s world (which later became the solar system), with all its legions of spirits (who in their essence were Schamayim) reflecting his ideas and inverting the divine light, was turned into darkness. Lucifer’s Schamayim thereupon became a contracted disc, a tangible substance; and Chaos came into existence.
TABLE VI, Figures 55-59
Figure 55 symbolizes the Chaos of Lucifer; Figure 56, the separation of light from darkness; Figure 57, the light in the midst of the darkness; and Figure 58, the regions of the elements and their inhabitants. The four A‘s signify the Abyss surrounding all things. The A B is the fiery throne of Lucifer. The plane of g is the subterranean air; f, the subterranean water; c, the earth region; d, the outer water; e, the outer air, W and X the region of Schamayim. The elemental inhabitants of the planes differ in goodness according to their proximity to the center of wickedness (A B). The earth’s surface (c) divides the subterranean elementals from those of the outer water, air, and fire (d, c, and X). The elementals of the upper strata (the upper half of c, and all of d, e, and X) represent an ascending scale of virtue, while those of the lower strata (the lower half of c, and all of f, g, and A B) represent a descending scale of depravity.
The region of air (e) is a partial exception to this order. While air is close to the light and filled with beautiful spirits, it is also the habitation of Beelzebub, the Evil Spirit of the air, with his legion of elemental demons. Upon the subtle element of air are impressed the influences of the stars; the thoughts, words, and deeds of man; and a myriad of mysterious influences from the various planes of Nature. Man inhales these impressions, and they produce diverse effects upon his mind. In air are suspended also the seed germs by which water is impregnated and made capable of bringing forth forms of organic and inorganic life. The grotesque figures seen in crystal caves and frost pictures upon windows are caused by these aerial impressions. While the air elementals are great and wise, they are treacherous and confused because amenable to both good and evil impressions. The mighty elemental beings who inhabit the watery light fire of the region X cannot be deceived by the spirits of darkness. They love the creatures of the waters, for the watery element (d) proceeded from the fiery water (X). Mortal man cannot endure the society of these fiery spirits, but gains wisdom from them through the creatures of the waters in which they continually mirror themselves. Figure 59 represents this solar system, with W and X as the locality of the Garden of Eden.
TABLE VII, Figures 1-5, 7, 8 (Table VIII has Figure 6.)
Figure 1 is the triune divine sulphur, the All-Perfect out of the All-Perfect, the Soul of creatures. The threefold Divine One is symbolized by three interlaced circles designated alchemically salt, sulphur, and mercury. In the central triangle is the divine name Ehieh. Geist means spirit. The other words require no translation. Figure 2 is common destructive sulphur. A bar placed in the triangle makes it the character of earth. Figure 3 is true oil of vitriol, composed of a circle with two diameters and two reversed half-circles hanging below. In this are hidden the characters of all metals. Tin is symbolized by Figure 4 and iron by Figure 5. Figure 7 is the solar system according to Copernicus. Figure 8 is the last judgment. The sun is removed from the center of the solar system and replaced by the earth. This changes the respective positions of all the other planets except Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which retain their respective circles. The letter a signifies the circle of the sun; b, that of Mercury; c, that of Venus; d, (sic) that of the moon; and E, that of the earth. Inward from the sphere h are the great circles of damnation.
TABLE VII., Figure 6
In Figure 6 the letter a marks the center of eternity. The motion of the rays toward b, d, and c was the first divine manifestation and is symbolized by the equilateral triangle, b, d, c. The eternal world within the inner circle became manifest in the water (salt), the light (mercury), and the fire (sulphur) of the archetypal world, represented by the three circles (f, e, g) within the triangle of complete equality (h, i, k), which is in turn surrounded by the circle of the high throne. The circle f is named understanding; e, wisdom; g, reason. In circle i is the word Father; in circle h, Son; in circle k, Spirit. The seven outer circles are the seven spirits before the throne. The lower part of the figure is similar to Figures 53 and 54. The outer circles are the angelic world ending in the cognizable world of the Sons of God. Then comes the circle of the visible constellations and fixed stars; within this is the solar system with the sun as the center (l). Ungrund means the Abyss.
TABLE IX, Figure 9
Figure 9 is a synthesis of the Old and New Testaments and represents the interblending planes of being. In the right margin the seven outer circles contain the names of the planetary angels. The words in the graduated circles from the top triangle downward read: (1) Abyss of Compassion; (2) Zion; (3) The New Heaven and the New Earth; (4) The New Jerusalem; (5) Paradise; (6) The Bosom of Abraham; (7) The Outer Courts of the Lord. From below the circles of darkness reach upward, each divine principle being opposed by an infernal opposite. The small circle on the left containing a triangle and cross is named The Tree of Life, and that on the right The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the center of the diagram is the Trinity, joined with the superior and inferior planes by lines of activity.
TABLE X, Figures 10-15.
Figure 10 shows the New Jerusalem in form of a cube, with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the twelve lines of the cube. In the center is the eye of God. The words round the outer circle are from the Book of Revelation. Figures 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 possibly are cipher symbols of the angels of the plagues, the name of the Antichrist, the signature of the beast of Babylon, and the name of the woman riding on the beast of blasphemy.
Table VIII, Figure 6.
Table X, Figures 10-15.
Table IX, Figure 9.
Table XI, Figures 1-11
TABLE XI, Figures 1.-11
Figure 1 is the solar system according to Genesis. The o on top of the radius of the circle is the dot of Eternity–the Beginning of Beginnings. The whole diameter is the outflow of God, manifesting first in the heaven of heavens–the Schamayim, in which region human understanding cannot function. The space from k to icontains the heavens of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; l to m, the heavens of Venus and Mercury; m to h, the heavens of the sun. The letter e is the moon, the circle of the earth.
Figure 2 is the globe of the earth, showing the houses and signs of the zodiac. Figure 3 is the character of the Universal Mercury (Divine Life) in its triune aspect ofmercury, sulphur, and salt. Figure 4 is true saltpetre purified with quicklime and alkali. Figure 5 shows the exact degree or angle of the planets’ places as well as the individual fixed stars in the zodiac. The letter a is the sun and b is the earth. From k to i are the circles of Mercury and Venus; g to h, the circles of earth and moon; f to e and e to c, of Jupiter and Saturn; c to d, the starry belt or zodiac. Figure 6 is the Microcosm, with the planets and signs of the zodiac corresponding to the different parts of its form. The words upon the figure read: Know thyself. In words, herbs, and stones lies a great power. Figure 7 is the universal character from which all characters have been taken. Figures 8, 9, and 10 are left to the solution of the reader. Figure 11 is the radiating Universal Mercury.
TABLE XII, Figures 12-19
Figure 12 is called A Mirror of Astrological Aspects. Below it is an astrologer’s wheel. Figure 13 is similar to Figure 12. Figure 14 is a secret alchemical formula. The words around the circle read: Out of one in all is all. Figure 15 is an unsatisfactory attempt to show the comparative sizes of the suns and planets and their distances from each other. Figure 16 is the solar system with its internal and spiritual heavens. A B is the solar system; C is the sphere of fixed stars; D, E, F, Gare the systems of the spiritual worlds; H is the throne of the living God; J, K, L, M, and N are the Great Beyond, unmeasurable.
Figure 17 shows the creation of the solar system out of the ring of the Divine Eternity. The four A‘s are the Abyss, B is the first revelation of God out of the Abyss, and from this revelation C, D, E, F, and G were created. C and D represent the spiritual hierarchies; D and E, the upper worlds, or constellations; E and F, the distance from Jupiter to the upper worlds; F and G, the solar system with its planets and their heavens; B and C the throne of Christ.
Figure 18 describes the division according to Genesis of the waters above the heavens (D) from the waters below (A, B, and C). Figure 19 is the mercury of the philosophers, essential to material existence.
TABLE XIII, Figures 1-4
Figure 1 is Ain Soph, the Incomprehensible Abyss of Divine Majesty, an endless welling up, limitless in time and space. Figure 2 symbolizes the three Divine Principles–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Around the triangle is written: I Shall Be That I Shall Be. At the apex of the triangle is the word Crown; in the left point,Wisdom; in the right point, Understanding. Figure 3 represents the Trinity with its outflow. The words above the upper sphere are Revelation of the Divine Majesty in Jehovah Elohim. The lower circles contain the names of the Hierarchies controlling the lower worlds. The words within the circle of stars read: Lucifer the Son of the Aurora of the morning. The letter C represents the Universal Mercury. The words within the circle read: The first beginning of all creatures. Figure 4 represents the abode of Lucifer and his angels, the Chaos spoken of in Genesis.
TABLE XIV, Figures 5, 7, 8
Figure 5 shows the triangle of triune Divinity in the midst of a cross. At the left is a small triangle containing the words The Secrets of Elohim, and at the right is another inscribed The Secrets of Nature. On the horizontal arms of the cross are the words The Tree of Life and The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The plate explains the interblending of the spiritual and infernal powers in the creation of the universe. Figure 7 is called The Road to Paradise. It probably indicates the positions of the sun, moon, and planets at the moment of their genesis. Figure 8 is the earth before the flood, when it was watered by a mist or vapor. The words at the left are The Tree of Life; those at the right, The Tree of the Knowledge of good and Evil. The diagram with the symbol of Mars is devoted to a consideration of the rainbow.
TABLE XV, Figures 6, 9, 10
Figure 6 is similar to Figure 5 and is called The Secret of Nature. An interesting diagram is shown on either side of the central figure, each consisting of a triangle with circles radiating from its points. The diagram on the left is called The Secrets of the Upper World, and the one on right The Secrets of the Underworld.
Figure 9 is the solar system. Around the central part are the words The Place of the Damned. Figure 10 shows the dot, or point of rest, surrounded by a triangle enclosing a circle containing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. It represents completion of the process of regeneration and the consummation of the Great Work.
Table XII, Figures 12-19
Table XIII, Figures 1-4
Table XIV, Figures 5, 7, and 8
Table XV, Figures 6, 9, and 10
Which Have Influenced Modern Masonic Symbolism
WHEN confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning faculties, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question. Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed. While the former may be qualified to solve the riddle of their own destiny, the latter must be led like a flock of sheep and taught in simple language. They depend almost entirely upon the ministrations of the shepherd. The Apostle Paul said that these little ones must be fed with milk, but that meat is the food of strong men. Thoughtlessness is almost synonymous with childishness, while thoughtfulness is symbolic of maturity.
There are, however, but few mature minds in the world; and thus it was that the philosophic-religious doctrines of the pagans were divided to meet the needs of these two fundamental groups of human intellect–one philosophic, the other incapable of appreciating the deeper mysteries of life. To the discerning few were revealed the esoteric, or spiritual, teachings, while the unqualified many received only the literal, or exoteric, interpretations. In order to make simple the great truths of Nature and the abstract principles of natural law, the vital forces of the universe were personified, becoming the gods and goddesses of the ancient mythologies. While the ignorant multitudes brought their offerings to the altars of Priapus and Pan (deities representing the procreative energies), the wise recognized in these marble statues only symbolic concretions of great abstract truths.
In all cities of the ancient world were temples for public worship and offering. In every community also were philosophers and mystics, deeply versed in Nature’s lore. These individuals were usually banded together, forming seclusive philosophic and religious schools. The more important of these groups were known as theMysteries. Many of the great minds of antiquity were initiated into these secret fraternities by strange and mysterious rites, some of which were extremely cruel. Alexander Wilder defines the Mysteries as “Sacred dramas performed at stated periods. The most celebrated were those of Isis, Sabazius, Cybele, and Eleusis.” After being admitted, the initiates were instructed in the secret wisdom which had been preserved for ages. Plato, an initiate of one of these sacred orders, was severely criticized because in his writings he revealed to the public many of the secret philosophic principles of the Mysteries.
Every pagan nation had (and has) not only its state religion, but another into which the philosophic elect alone have gained entrance. Many of these ancient cults vanished from the earth without revealing their secrets, but a few have survived the test of ages and their mysterious symbols are still preserved. Much of the ritualism of Freemasonry is based on the trials to which candidates were subjected by the ancient hierophants before the keys of wisdom were entrusted to them.
Few realize the extent to which the ancient secret schools influenced contemporary intellects and, through those minds, posterity. Robert Macoy, 33°, in hisGeneral History of Freemasonry, pays a magnificent tribute to the part played by the ancient Mysteries in the rearing of the edifice of human culture. He says, in part: “It appears that all the perfection of civilization, and all the advancement made in philosophy, science, and art among the ancients are due to those institutions which, under the veil of mystery, sought to illustrate the sublimest truths of religion, morality, and virtue, and impress them on the hearts of their disciples.* * * Their chief object was to teach the doctrine of one God, the resurrection of man to eternal life, the dignity of the human soul, and to lead the people to see the shadow of the deity, in the beauty, magnificence, and splendor of the universe.”
With the decline of virtue, which has preceded the destruction of every nation of history, the Mysteries became perverted. Sorcery took the place of the divine magic. Indescribable practices (such as the Bacchanalia) were introduced, and perversion ruled supreme; for no institution can be any better than the members of which it is composed. In despair, the few who were true sought to preserve the secret doctrines from oblivion. In some cases they succeeded, but more often the arcanum was lost and only the empty shell of the Mysteries remained.
Thomas Taylor has written, “Man is naturally a religious animal.” From the earliest dawning of his consciousness, man has worshiped and revered things as symbolic of the invisible, omnipresent, indescribable Thing, concerning which he could discover practically nothing. The pagan Mysteries opposed the Christians during the early centuries of their church, declaring that the new faith (Christianity) did not demand virtue and integrity as requisites for salvation. Celsus expressed himself on the subject in the following caustic terms:
“That I do not, however, accuse the Christians more bitterly than truth compels, may be conjectured from hence, that the cryers who call men to other mysteries proclaim as follows: ‘Let him approach whose hands are pure, and whose words are wise.’ And again, others proclaim: ‘Let him approach who is pure from all wickedness, whose soul is not conscious of any evil, and who leads a just and upright life.’ And these things are proclaimed by those who promise a purification from error. Let us now hear who those are that are called to the Christian mysteries: Whoever is a sinner, whoever is unwise, whoever is a fool, and whoever, in short, is miserable, him the kingdom of God will receive. Do you not, therefore, call a sinner, an unjust man, a thief, a housebreaker, a wizard, one who is sacrilegious, and a robber of sepulchres? What other persons would the cryer nominate, who should call robbers together?”
It was not the true faith of the early Christian mystics that Celsus attacked, but the false forms that were creeping in even during his day. The ideals of early Christianity were based upon the high moral standards of the pagan Mysteries, and the first Christians who met under the city of Rome used as their places of worship the subterranean temples of Mithras, from whose cult has been borrowed much of the sacerdotalism of the modem church.
The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have a fundamental knowledge of Nature and her laws. Before man can obey, he must understand, and the Mysteries were devoted to instructing man concerning the operation of divine law in the terrestrial sphere. Few of the early cults actually worshiped anthropomorphic deities, although their symbolism might lead one to believe they did. They were moralistic rather than religionistic; philosophic rather than theologic. They taught man to use his faculties more intelligently, to be patient in the face of adversity, to be courageous when confronted by danger, to be true in the midst of temptation, and, most of all, to view a worthy life as the most acceptable sacrifice to God, and his body as an altar sacred to the Deity.
Sun worship played an important part in nearly all the early pagan Mysteries. This indicates the probability of their Atlantean origin, for the people of Atlantis were sun worshipers. The Solar Deity was usually personified as a beautiful youth, with long golden hair to symbolize the rays of the sun. This golden Sun God was slain by wicked ruffians, who personified the evil principle of the universe. By means of certain rituals and ceremonies, symbolic of purification and regeneration, this wonderful God of Good was brought back to life and became the Savior of His people. The secret processes whereby He was resurrected symbolized those cultures by means of which man is able to overcome his lower nature, master his appetites, and give expression to the higher side of himself. The Mysteries were organized for the purpose of assisting the struggling human creature to reawaken the spiritual powers which, surrounded by the flaming
A FEMALE HIEROPHANT OF THE MYSTERIES.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
This illustration shows Cybele, here called the Syrian Goddess, in the robes of a hierophant. Montfaucon describes the figure as follows: “Upon her head is an episcopal mitre, adorned on the lower part with towers and pinnacles; over the gate of the city is a crescent, and beneath the circuit of the walls a crown of rays. The Goddess wears a sort of surplice, exactly like the surplice of a priest or bishop; and upon the surplice a tunic, which falls down to the legs; and over all an episcopal cope, with the twelve signs of the Zodiac wrought on the borders. The figure hath a lion on each side, and holds in its left hand a Tympanum, a Sistrum, a Distaff, a Caduceus, and another instrument. In her right hand she holds with her middle finger a thunderbolt, and upon the same am animals, insects, and, as far as we may guess, flowers, fruit, a bow, a quiver, a torch, and a scythe.” The whereabouts of the statue is unknown, the copy reproduced by Montfaucon being from drawings by Pirro Ligorio.
ring of lust and degeneracy, lay asleep within his soul. In other words, man was offered a way by which he could regain his lost estate. (See Wagner’s Siegfried.)
In the ancient world, nearly all the secret societies were philosophic and religious. During the mediæval centuries, they were chiefly religious and political, although a few philosophic schools remained. In modern times, secret societies, in the Occidental countries, are largely political or fraternal, although in a few of them, as in Masonry, the ancient religious and philosophic principles still survive.
Space prohibits a detailed discussion of the secret schools. There were literally scores of these ancient cults, with branches in all parts of the Eastern and Western worlds. Some, such as those of Pythagoras and the Hermetists, show a decided Oriental influence, while the Rosicrucians, according to their own proclamations, gained much of their wisdom from Arabian mystics. Although the Mystery schools are usually associated with civilization, there is evidence that the most uncivilized peoples of prehistoric times had a knowledge of them. Natives of distant islands, many in the lowest forms of savagery, have mystic rituals and secret practices which, although primitive, are of a decided Masonic tinge.
THE DRUIDIC MYSTERIES OF BRITAIN AND GAUL
“The original and primitive inhabitants of Britain, at some remote period, revived and reformed their national institutes. Their priest, or instructor, had hitherto been simply named Gwydd, but it was considered to have become necessary to divide this office between the national, or superior, priest and another whose influence [would] be more limited. From henceforth the former became Der-Wydd (Druid), or superior instructor, and [the latter] Go-Wydd, or O-Vydd (Ovate), subordinate instructor; and both went by the general name of Beirdd (Bards), or teachers of wisdom. As the system matured and augmented, the Bardic Order consisted of three classes, the Druids, Beirdd Braint, or privileged Bards, and Ovates.” (See Samuel Meyrick and Charles Smith, The Costume of The Original Inhabitants of The British Islands.)
The origin of the word Druid is under dispute. Max Müller believes that, like the Irish word Drui, it means “the men of the oak trees.” He further draws attention to the fact that the forest gods and tree deities of the Greeks were called dryades. Some believe the word to be of Teutonic origin; others ascribe it to the Welsh. A few trace it to the Gaelic druidh, which means “a wise man” or “a sorcerer.” In Sanskrit the word dru means “timber.”
At the time of the Roman conquest, the Druids were thoroughly ensconced in Britain and Gaul. Their power over the people was unquestioned, and there were instances in which armies, about to attack each other, sheathed their swords when ordered to do so by the white-robed Druids. No undertaking of great importance was scatted without the assistance of these patriarchs, who stood as mediators between the gods and men. The Druidic Order is deservedly credited with having had a deep understanding of Nature and her laws. The Encyclopædia Britannica states that geography, physical science, natural theology, and astrology were their favorite studies. The Druids had a fundamental knowledge of medicine, especially the use of herbs and simples. Crude surgical instruments also have been found in England and Ireland. An odd treatise on early British medicine states that every practitioner was expected to have a garden or back yard for the growing of certain herbs necessary to his profession. Eliphas Levi, the celebrated transcendentalist, makes the following significant statement:
“The Druids were priests and physicians, curing by magnetism and charging amylets with their fluidic influence. Their universal remedies were mistletoe and serpents’ eggs, because these substances attract the astral light in a special manner. The solemnity with which mistletoe was cut down drew upon this plant the popular confidence and rendered it powerfully magnetic. * * * The progress of magnetism will some day reveal to us the absorbing properties of mistletoe. We shall then understand the secret of those spongy growths which drew the unused virtues of plants and become surcharged with tinctures and savors. Mushrooms, truffles, gall on trees, and the different kinds of mistletoe will be employed with understanding by a medical science, which will be new because it is old * * * but one must not move quicker than science, which recedes that it may advance the further. ” (See The History of Magic.)
Not only was the mistletoe sacred as symbolic of the universal medicine, or panacea, but also because of the fact that it grew upon the oak tree. Through the symbol of the oak, the Druids worshiped the Supreme Deity; therefore, anything growing upon that tree was sacred to Him. At certain seasons, according to the positions of the sun, moon, and stars, the Arch-Druid climbed the oak tree and cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle consecrated for that service. The parasitic growth was caught in white cloths provided for the purpose, lest it touch the earth and be polluted by terrestrial vibrations. Usually a sacrifice of a white bull was made under the tree.
The Druids were initiates of a secret school that existed in their midst. This school, which closely resembled the Bacchic and Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece or the Egyptian rites of Isis and Osiris, is justly designated the Druidic Mysteries. There has been much speculation concerning the secret wisdom that the Druids claimed to possess. Their secret teachings were never written, but were communicated orally to specially prepared candidates. Robert Brown, 32°, is of the opinion that the British priests secured their information from Tyrian and Phœnician navigators who, thousands of years before the Christian Era, established colonies in Britain and Gaul while searching for tin. Thomas Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, discourses at length on Phœnician, Carthaginian, and Greek expeditions to the British Isles for the purpose of procuring tin. Others are of the opinion that the Mysteries as celebrated by the Druids were of Oriental origin, possibly Buddhistic.
The proximity of the British Isles to the lost Atlantis may account for the sun worship which plays an important part in the rituals of Druidism. According to Artemidorus, Ceres and Persephone were worshiped on an island close to Britain with rites and ceremonies similar to those of Samothrace. There is no doubt that the Druidic Pantheon includes a large number of Greek and Roman deities. This greatly amazed Cæsar during his conquest of Britain and Gaul, and caused him to affirm that these tribes adored Mercury, Apollo, Mars, and Jupiter, in a manner similar to that of the Latin countries. It is almost certain that the Druidic Mysteries were not indigenous to Britain or Gaul, but migrated from one of the more ancient civilizations.
The school of the Druids was divided into three distinct parts, and the secret teachings embodied therein are practically the same as the mysteries concealed under the allegories of Blue Lodge Masonry. The lowest of the three divisions was that of Ovate (Ovydd). This was an honorary degree, requiring no special purification or preparation. The Ovates dressed in green, the Druidic color of learning, and were expected to know something about medicine, astronomy, poetry if possible, and sometimes music. An Ovate was an individual admitted to the Druidic Order because of his general excellence and superior knowledge concerning the problems of life.
The second division was that of Bard (Beirdd). Its members were robed in sky-blue, to represent harmony and truth, and to them was assigned the labor of memorizing, at least in part, the twenty thousand verses of Druidic sacred poetry. They were often pictured with the primitive British or Irish harp–an instrument strung with human hair, and having as many strings as there were ribs on one side of the human body. These Bards were often chosen as teachers of candidates seeking entrance into the Druidic Mysteries. Neophytes wore striped robes of blue, green, and white, these being the three sacred colors of the Druidic Order.
The third division was that of Druid (Derwyddon). Its particular labor was to minister to the religious needs of the people. To reach this dignity, the candidate must first become a Bard Braint. The Druids always dressed in white–symbolic of their purity, and the color used by them to symbolize the sun.
In order to reach the exalted position of Arch-Druid, or spiritual head of the organization, it was necessary for a priest to pass through the six successive degrees of the Druidic Order. (The members of the different degrees were differentiated by the colors of their sashes, for all of them wore robes of white.) Some writers are of the opinion that the title of Arch-Druid was hereditary, descending from father to son, but it is more probable that the honor was conferred by ballot election. Its recipient was chosen for his virtues and
THE ARCH-DRUID IN HIS CEREMONIAL ROBES.
From Wellcome’s Ancient Cymric Medicine.
The most striking adornment of the Arch-Druid was the iodhan moran, or breastplate of judgment, which possessed the mysterious Power of strangling any who made an untrue statement while wearing it. Godfrey Higgins states that this breastplate was put on the necks of witnesses to test the veracity of their evidence. The Druidic tiara, or anguinum, its front embossed with a number of points to represent the sun’s rays, indicated that the priest was a personification of the rising sun. On the front of his belt the Arch-Druid wore the liath meisicith–a magic brooch, or buckle in the center of which was a large white stone. To this was attributed the power of drawing the fire of the gods down from heaven at the priest’s command This specially cut stone was a burning glass, by which the sun’s rays were concentrated to light the altar fires. The Druids also had other symbolic implements, such as the peculiarly shaped golden sickle with which they cut the mistletoe from the oak, and the cornan, or scepter, in the form of a crescent, symbolic of the sixth day of the increasing moon and also of the Ark of Noah. An early initiate of the Druidic Mysteries related that admission to their midnight ceremony was gained by means of a glass boat, called Cwrwg Gwydrin. This boat symbolized the moon, which, floating upon the waters of eternity, preserved the seeds of living creatures within its boatlike crescent.
integrity from the most learned members of the higher Druidic degrees.
According to James Gardner, there were usually two Arch-Druids in Britain, one residing on the Isle of Anglesea and the other on the Isle of Man. Presumably there were others in Gaul. These dignitaries generally carried golden scepters and were crowned with wreaths of oak leaves, symbolic of their authority. The younger members of the Druidic Order were clean-shaven and modestly dressed, but the more aged had long gray beards and wore magnificent golden ornaments. The educational system of the Druids in Britain was superior to that of their colleagues on the Continent, and consequently many of the Gallic youths were sent to the Druidic colleges in Britain for their philosophical instruction and training.
Eliphas Levi states that the Druids lived in strict abstinence, studied the natural sciences, preserved the deepest secrecy, and admitted new members only after long probationary periods. Many of the priests of the order lived in buildings not unlike the monasteries of the modern world. They were associated in groups like ascetics of the Far East. Although celibacy was not demanded of them, few married. Many of the Druids retired from the world and lived as recluses in caves, in rough-stone houses, or in little shacks built in the depths of a forest. Here they prayed and medicated, emerging only to perform their religious duties.
James Freeman Clarke, in his Ten Great Religions, describes the beliefs of the Druids as follows: “The Druids believed in three worlds and in transmigration from one to the other: In a world above this, in which happiness predominated; a world below, of misery; and this present state. This transmigration was to punish and reward and also to purify the soul. In the present world, said they, Good and Evil are so exactly balanced that man has the utmost freedom and is able to choose or reject either. The Welsh Triads tell us there are three objects of metempsychosis: to collect into the soul the properties of all being, to acquire a knowledge of all things, and to get power to conquer evil. There are also, they say, three kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the nature of each thing, of its cause, and its influence. There are three things which continually grow less: darkness, falsehood, and death. There are three which constantly increase: light, life, and truth.”
Like nearly all schools of the Mysteries, the teachings of the Druids were divided into two distinct sections. The simpler, a moral code, was taught to all the people, while the deeper, esoteric doctrine was given only to initiated priests. To be admitted to the order, a candidate was required to be of good family and of high moral character. No important secrets were intrusted to him until he had been tempted in many ways and his strength of character severely tried. The Druids taught the people of Britain and Gaul concerning the immortality of the soul. They believed in transmigration and apparently in reincarnation. They borrowed in one life, promising to pay back in the next. They believed in a purgatorial type of hell where they would be purged of their sins, afterward passing on to the happiness of unity with the gods. The Druids taught that all men would be saved, but that some must return to earth many times to learn the lessons of human life and to overcome the inherent evil of their own natures.
Before a candidate was intrusted with the secret doctrines of the Druids, he was bound with a vow of secrecy. These doctrines were imparted only in the depths of forests and in the darkness of caves. In these places, far from the haunts of men, the neophyte was instructed concerning the creation of the universe, the personalities of the gods, the laws of Nature, the secrets of occult medicine, the mysteries of the celestial bodies, and the rudiments of magic and sorcery. The Druids had a great number of feast days. The new and full moon and the sixth day of the moon were sacred periods. It is believed that initiations took place only at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. At dawn of the 25th day of December, the birth of the Sun God was celebrated.
The secret teachings of the Druids are said by some to be tinctured with Pythagorean philosophy. The Druids had a Madonna, or Virgin Mother, with a Child in her arms, who was sacred to their Mysteries; and their Sun God was resurrected at the time of the year corresponding to that at which modern Christians celebrate Easter.
Both the cross and the serpent were sacred to the Druids, who made the former by cutting off all the branches of an oak tree and fastening one of them to the main trunk in the form of the letter T. This oaken cross became symbolic of their superior Deity. They also worshiped the sun, moon, and stars. The moon received their special veneration. Caesar stated that Mercury was one of the chief deities of the Gauls. The Druids are believed to have worshiped Mercury under the similitude of a stone cube. They also had great veneration for the Nature spirits (fairies, gnomes, and undines), little creatures of the forests and rivers to whom many offerings were made. Describing the temples of the Druids, Charles Heckethorn, in The Secret Societies of All Ages & Countries, says:
“Their temples wherein the sacred fire was preserved were generally situate on eminences and in dense groves of oak, and assumed various forms–circular, because a circle was the emblem of the universe; oval, in allusion to the mundane egg, from which issued, according to the traditions of many nations, the universe, or, according to others, our first parents; serpentine, because a serpent was the symbol of Hu, the Druidic Osiris; cruciform, because a cross is an emblem of regeneration; or winged, to represent the motion of the Divine Spirit. * * * Their chief deities were reducible to two–a male and a female, the great father and mother–Hu and Ceridwen, distinguished by the same characteristics as belong to Osiris and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or any other supreme god and goddess representing the two principles of all Being.”
Godfrey Higgins states that Hu, the Mighty, regarded as the first settler of Britain, came from a place which the Welsh Triads call the Summer Country, the present site of Constantinople. Albert Pike says that the Lost Word of Masonry is concealed in the name of the Druid god Hu. The meager information extant concerning the secret initiations of the Druids indicates a decided similarity between their Mystery school and the schools of Greece and Egypt. Hu, the Sun God, was murdered and, after a number of strange ordeals and mystic rituals, was restored to life.
There were three degrees of the Druidic Mysteries, but few successfully passed them all. The candidate was buried in a coffin, as symbolic of the death of the Sun God. The supreme test, however, was being sent out to sea in an open boat. While undergoing this ordeal, many lost their lives. Taliesin, an ancient scholar, who passed through the Mysteries, describes the initiation of the open boat in Faber’s Pagan Idolatry. The few who passed this third degree were said to have been “born again,” and were instructed in the secret and hidden truths which the Druid priests had preserved from antiquity. From these initiates were chosen many of the dignitaries of the British religious and political world. (For further details, see Faber’s Pagan Idolatry, Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, and Godfrey Higgins’Celtic Druids.)
THE RITES OF MITHRAS
When the Persian Mysteries immigrated into Southern Europe, they were quickly assimilated by the Latin mind. The cult grew rapidly, especially among the Roman soldiery, and during the Roman wars of conquest the teachings were carried by the legionaries to nearly all parts of Europe. So powerful did the cult of Mithras become that at least one Roman Emperor was initiated into the order, which met in caverns under the city of Rome. Concerning the spread of this Mystery school through different parts of Europe, C. W. King, in his Gnostics and Their Remains, says:
“Mithraic bas-reliefs cut on the faces of rocks or on stone tablets still abound in the countries formerly the western provinces of the Roman Empire; many exist in Germany, still more in France, and in this island (Britain) they have often been discovered on the line of the Picts’ Wall and the noted one at Bath.”
Alexander Wilder, in his Philosophy and Ethics of the Zoroasters, states that Mithras is the Zend title for the sun, and he is supposed to dwell within that shining orb. Mithras has a male and a female aspect, though not himself androgynous. As Mithras, he is the ford of the sun, powerful and radiant, and most magnificent of the Yazatas (Izads, or Genii, of the sun). As Mithra, this deity represents the feminine principle; the mundane universe is recognized as her symbol. She represents Nature as receptive and terrestrial, and as fruitful only when bathed in the glory of the solar orb. The Mithraic cult is a simplification of the more elaborate teachings of Zarathustra (Zoroaster), the Persian fire magician.
THE GROUND PLAN OF STONEHENGE.
From Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
The Druid temples of places of religious worship were not patterned after those of other nations. Most of their ceremonies were performed at night, either in thick groves of oak trees or around open-air altars built of great uncut stones. How these masses of rock were moved ahs not been satisfactorily explained. The most famous of their altars, a great stone ring of rocks, is Stonehenge, in Southwestern England. This structure, laid out on an astronomical basis, still stands, a wonder of antiquity.
According to the Persians, there coexisted in eternity two principles. The first of these, Ahura-Mazda, or Ormuzd, was the Spirit of Good. From Ormuzd came forth a number of hierarchies of good and beautiful spirits (angels and archangels). The second of these eternally existing principles was called Ahriman. He was also a pure and beautiful spirit, but he later rebelled against Ormuzd, being jealous of his power. This did not occur, however, until after Ormuzd had created light, for previously Ahriman had not been conscious of the existence of Ormuzd. Because of his jealousy and rebellion, Ahriman became the Spirit of Evil. From himself he individualized a host of destructive creatures to injure Ormuzd.
When Ormuzd created the earth, Ahriman entered into its grosser elements. Whenever Ormuzd did a good deed, Ahriman placed the principle of evil within it. At last when Ormuzd created the human race, Ahriman became incarnate in the lower nature of man so that in each personality the Spirit of Good and the Spirit of Evil struggle for control. For 3,000 years Ormuzd ruled the celestial worlds with light and goodness. Then he created man. For another 3,000 years he ruled man with wisdom, and integrity. Then the power of Ahriman began, and the struggle for the soul of man continues through the next period of 3,000 years. During the fourth period of 3,000 years, the power of Ahriman will be destroyed. Good will return to the world again, evil and death will be vanquished, and at last the Spirit of Evil will bow humbly before the throne of Ormuzd. While Ormuzd and Ahriman are struggling for control of the human soul and for supremacy in Nature, Mithras, God of Intelligence, stands as mediator between the two. Many authors have noted the similarity between mercury and Mithras. As the chemical mercury acts as a solvent (according to alchemists), so Mithras seeks to harmonize the two celestial opposites.
There are many points of resemblance between Christianity and the cult of Mithras. One of the reasons for this probably is that the Persian mystics invaded Italy during the first century after Christ and the early history of both cults was closely interwoven. The Encyclopædia Britannica makes the following statement concerning the Mithraic and Christian Mysteries:
“The fraternal and democratic spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with light and the sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration, the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot, the drawing of water from the rock; the use of bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and of the 25th of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis placed on abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating from the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, the resurrection of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe–[these] are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity,”
The rites of Mithras were performed in caves. Porphyry, in his Cave of the Nymphs, states that Zarathustra (Zoroaster) was the first to consecrate a cave to the worship of God, because a cavern was symbolic of the earth, or the lower world of darkness. John P. Lundy, in his Monumental Christianity, describes the cave of Mithras as follows:
“But this cave was adorned with the signs of the zodiac, Cancer and Capricorn. The summer and winter solstices were chiefly conspicuous, as the gates of souls descending into this life, or passing out of it in their ascent to the Gods; Cancer being the gate of descent, and Capricorn of ascent. These are the two avenues of the immortals passing up and down from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth.”
The so-called chair of St. Peter, in Rome, was believed to have been used in one of the pagan Mysteries, possibly that of Mithras, in whose subterranean grottoes the votaries of the Christian Mysteries met in the early days of their faith. In Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins writes that in 1662, while cleaning this sacred chair of Bar-Jonas, the Twelve Labors of Hercules were discovered upon it, and that later the French discovered upon the same chair the Mohammedan confession of faith, written in Arabic.
Initiation into the rites of Mithras, like initiation into many other ancient schools of philosophy, apparently consisted of three important degrees. Preparation for these degrees consisted of self-purification, the building up of the intellectual powers, and the control of the animal nature. In the first degree the candidate was given a crown upon the point of a sword and instructed in the mysteries of Mithras’ hidden power. Probably he was taught that the golden crown represented his own spiritual nature, which must be objectified and unfolded before he could truly glorify Mithras; for Mithras was his own soul, standing as mediator between Ormuzd, his spirit, and Ahriman, his animal nature. In the second degree he was given the armor of intelligence and purity and sent into the darkness of subterranean pits to fight the beasts of lust, passion, and degeneracy. In the third degree he was given a cape, upon which were drawn or woven the signs of the zodiac and other astronomical symbols. After his initiations were over, he was hailed as one who had risen from the dead, was instructed in the secret teachings of the Persian mystics, and became a full-fledged member of the order. Candidates who successfully passed the Mithraic initiations were called Lions and were marked upon their foreheads with the Egyptian cross. Mithras himself is often pictured with the head of a lion and two pairs of wings. Throughout the entire ritual were repeated references to the birth of Mithras as the Sun God, his sacrifice for man, his death that men might have eternal life, and lastly, his resurrection and the saving of all humanity by his intercession before the throne of Ormuzd. (See Heckethorn.)
While the cult of Mithras did not reach the philosophic heights attained by Zarathustra, its effect upon the civilization of the Western world was far-reaching, for at one time nearly all Europe was converted to its doctrines. Rome, in her intercourse with other nations, inoculated them with her religious principles; and many later institutions have exhibited Mithraic culture. The reference to the “Lion” and the “Grip of the Lion’s Paw” in the Master Mason’s degree have a strong Mithraic tinge and may easily have originated from this cult. A ladder of seven rungs appears in the Mithraic initiation. Faber is of the opinion that this ladder was originally a pyramid of seven steps. It is possible that the Masonic ladder with seven rungs had its origin in this Mithraic symbol. Women were never permitted to enter the Mithraic Order, but children of the male sex were initiates long before they reached maturity. The refusal to permit women to join the Masonic Order may be based on the esoteric reason given in the secret instructions of the Mithraics. This cult is another excellent example of those secret societies whose legends are largely symbolic representations of the sun and his journey through the houses of the heavens. Mithras, rising from a stone, is merely the sun rising over the horizon, or, as the ancients supposed, out of the horizon, at the vernal equinox.
John O’Neill disputes the theory that Mithras was intended as a solar deity. In The Night of the Gods he writes: “The Avestan Mithra, the yazata of light, has ‘10,000 eyes, high, with full knowledge (perethuvaedayana), strong, sleepless and ever awake (jaghaurvaunghem).’The supreme god Ahura Mazda also has one Eye, or else it is said that ‘with his eyes, the sun, moon and stars, he sees everything.’ The theory that Mithra was originally a title of the supreme heavens-god–putting the sun out of court–is the only one that answers all requirements. It will be evident that here we have origins in abundance for the Freemason’s Eye and ‘its nunquam dormio.'” The reader must nor confuse the Persian Mithra with the Vedic Mitra. According to Alexander Wilder, “The Mithraic rites superseded the Mysteries of Bacchus, and became the foundation of the Gnostic system, which for many centuries prevailed in Asia, Egypt, and even the remote West.”
MITHRAS SLAYING THE BULL.
From Lundy’s Monumental Christianity.
The most famous sculpturings and reliefs of this prototokos show Mithras kneeling upon the recumbent form of a great bull, into whose throat he is driving a sword. The slaying of the bull signifies that the rays of the sun, symbolized by the sword, release at the vernal equinox the vital essences of the earth–the blood of the bull–which, pouring from the wound made by the Sun God, fertilize the seeds of living things. Dogs were held sacred to the cult of Mithras, being symbolic of sincerity and trustworthiness. The Mithraics used the serpent a an emblem of Ahriman, the Spirit of Evil, and water rats were held sacred to him. The bull is esoterically the Constellation of Taurus; the serpent, its opposite in the zodiac, Scorpio; the sun, Mithras, entering into the side of the bull, slays the celestial creature and nourishes the universe with its blood.
THE BIRTH OF MITHRAS.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities
Mithras was born out of a rock, which, breaking open, permitted him to emerge. This occurred in the darkness of a subterranean chamber. The Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem confirms the theory that Jesus was born in a grotto, or cave. According to Dupuis, Mithras was put to death by crucifixion and rose again on the third day.
The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies
THE entire history of Christian and pagan Gnosticism is shrouded in the deepest mystery and obscurity; for, while the Gnostics were undoubtedly prolific writers, little of their literature has survived. They brought down upon themselves the animosity of the early Christian Church, and when this institution reached its position of world power it destroyed all available records of the Gnostic cultus. The name Gnostic means wisdom, or knowledge, and is derived from the Greek Gnosis. The members of the order claimed to be familiar with the secret doctrines of early Christianity. They interpreted the Christian Mysteries according to pagan symbolism. Their secret information and philosophic tenets they concealed from the profane and taught to a small group only of especially initiated persons.
Simon Magus, the magician of New Testament fame, is often supposed to have been the founder of Gnosticism. If this be true, the sect was formed during the century after Christ and is probably the first of the many branches which have sprung from the main trunk of Christianity. Everything with which the enthusiasts of the early Christian Church might not agree they declared to be inspired by the Devil. That Simon Magus had mysterious and supernatural powers is conceded even by his enemies, but they maintained that these powers were lent to him by the infernal spirits and furies which they asserted were his ever present companions. Undoubtedly the most interesting legend concerning Simon is that which tells of his theosophic contests with the Apostle Peter while the two were promulgating their differing doctrines in Rome. According to the story that the Church Fathers have preserved, Simon was to prove his spiritual superiority by ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire. He was actually picked up and carried many feet into the air by invisible powers. When St. Peter saw this, he cried out in a loud voice, ordering the demons (spirits of the air) to release their hold upon the magician. The evil spirits, when so ordered by the great saint, were forced to obey. Simon fell a great distance and was killed, which decisively proved the superiority of the Christian powers. This story is undoubtedly manufactured out of whole cloth, as it is only one out of many accounts concerning his death, few of which agree. As more and more evidence is being amassed to the effect that St, Peter was never in Rome, its last possible vestige of authenticity is rapidly being dissipated.
That Simon was a philosopher there is no doubt, for wherever his exact words are preserved his synthetic and transcending thoughts are beautifully expressed. The principles of Gnosticism are well described in the following verbatim statement by him, supposed to have been preserved by Hippolytus: “To you, therefore, I say what I say, and write what I write. And the writing is this. Of the universal Æons [periods, planes, or cycles of creative and created life in substance and space, celestial creatures] there are two shoots, without beginning or end, springing from one Root, which is the power invisible, inapprehensible silence [Bythos]. Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, [is manifested] from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things. Hence pairing with each other, they unite and manifest the Middle Distance, incomprehensible Air, without beginning or end. In this is the Father Who sustains all things, and nourishes those things which have a beginning and end.” (See Simon Magus, by G. R. S. Mead.) By this we are to understand that manifestation is the result of a positive and a negative principle, one acting upon the other, and it takes place in the middle plane, or point of equilibrium, called the pleroma. This pleroma is a peculiar substance produced out of the blending of the spiritual and material æons. Out of the pleroma was individualized the Demiurgus, the immortal mortal, to whom we are responsible for our physical existence and the suffering we must go through in connection with it. In the Gnostic system, three pairs of opposites, called Syzygies, emanated from the Eternal One. These, with Himself, make the total of seven. The six (three pairs) Æons (living, divine principles) were described by Simon in the Philosophumena in the following manner: The first two were Mind (Nous) and Thought(Epinoia). Then came Voice (Phone) and its opposite, Name (Onoma), and lastly, Reason (Logismos) and Reflection (Enthumesis). From these primordial six, united with the Eternal Flame, came forth the Æons (Angels) who formed the lower worlds through the direction of the Demiurgus. (See the works of H. P. Blavatsky.) How this first Gnosticism of Simon Magus and Menander, his disciple, was amplified, and frequently distorted, by later adherents to the cult must now be considered.
The School of Gnosticism was divided into two major parts, commonly called the Syrian Cult and the Alexandrian Cult. These schools agreed in essentials, but the latter division was more inclined to be pantheistic, while the former was dualistic. While the Syrian cult was largely Simonian, the Alexandrian School was the outgrowth of the philosophical deductions of a clever Egyptian Christian, Basilides by name, who claimed to have received his instructions from the Apostle Matthew. Like Simon Magus, he was an emanationist, with Neo-Platonic inclinations. In fact, the entire Gnostic Mystery is based upon the hypothesis of emanations as being the logical connection between the irreconcilable opposites Absolute Spirit and Absolute Substance, which the Gnostics believed to have been coexistent in Eternity. Some assert that Basilides was the true founder of Gnosticism, but there is much evidence to the effect that Simon Magus laid down its fundamental principles in the preceding century.
The Alexandrian Basilides inculcated Egyptian Hermeticism, Oriental occultism, Chaldean astrology, and Persian philosophy in his followers, and in his doctrines sought to unite the schools of early Christianity with the ancient pagan Mysteries. To him is attributed the formulation of that peculiar concept of the Deity which carries the name of Abraxas. In discussing the original meaning of this word, Godfrey Higgins, in his Celtic Druids, has demonstrated that the numerological powers of the letters forming the word Abraxas when added together result in the sum of 365. The same author also notes that the name Mithras when treated in a similar manner has the same numerical value. Basilides caught that the
THE DEATH OF SIMON THE MAGICIAN.
From the Nuremberg Chronicle.
Simon Magus, having called upon the Spirits of the Air, is here shown being picked up by the demons. St. Peter demands that the evil genii release their hold upon the magician. The demons are forced to comply and Simon Magus is killed by the fall.
powers of the universe were divided into 365 Æons, or spiritual cycles, and that the sum of all these together was the Supreme Father, and to Him he gave the Qabbalistical appellation Abraxas, as being symbolical, numerologically, of His divine powers, attributes, and emanations. Abraxas is usually symbolized as a composite creature, with the body of a human being and the head of a rooster, and with each of his legs ending in a serpent. C. W. King, in his Gnostics and Their Remains, gives the following concise description of the Gnostic philosophy of Basilides, quoting from the writings of the early Christian bishop and martyr, St. Irenæus: “He asserted that God, the uncreated, eternal Father, had first brought forth Nous, or Mind; this the Logos, Word; this again Phronesis, Intelligence; from Phronesis sprung Sophia, Wisdom, and Dynamis, Strength.”
In describing Abraxas, C. W. King says:
“Bellermann considers the composite image, inscribed with the actual name Abraxas, to be a Gnostic Pantheos, representing the Supreme Being, with the Five Emanations marked out by appropriate symbols. From the human body, the usual form assigned to the Deity, spring the two supporters, Nous and Logos, expressed in the serpents, symbols of the inner senses, and the quickening understanding; on which account the Greeks had made the serpent the attribute of Pallas. His head–that of a cock–represents Phronesis, that bird being the emblem of foresight and of vigilance. His two arms hold the symbols of Sophia and Dynamis: the shield of Wisdom and the whip of Power.”
The Gnostics were divided in their opinions concerning the Demiurgus, or creator of the lower worlds. He established the terrestrial universe with the aid of six sons, or emanations (possibly the planetary Angels) which He formed out of, and yet within, Himself. As stated before, the Demiurgus was individualized as the lowest creation out of the substance called pleroma. One group of the Gnostics was of the opinion that the Demiurgus was the cause of all misery and was an evil creature, who by building this lower world had separated the souls of men from truth by encasing them in mortal vehicles. The other sect viewed the Demiurgus as being divinely inspired and merely fulfilling the dictates of the invisible Lord. Some Gnostics were of the opinion that the Jewish God, Jehovah, was the Demiurgus. This concept, under a slightly different name, apparently influenced mediæval Rosicrucianism, which viewed Jehovah as the Lord of the material universe rather than as the Supreme Deity. Mythology abounds with the stories of gods who partook of both celestial and terrestrial natures. Odin, of Scandinavia, is a good example of a deity subject to mortality, bowing before the laws of Nature and yet being, in certain senses at least, a Supreme Deity.
The Gnostic viewpoint concerning the Christ is well worthy of consideration. This order claimed to be the only sect to have actual pictures of the Divine Syrian. While these were, in all probability, idealistic conceptions of the Savior based upon existing sculpturings and paintings of the pagan sun gods, they were all Christianity had. To the Gnostics, the Christ was the personification of Nous, the Divine Mind, and emanated from the higher spiritual Æons. He descended into the body of Jesus at the baptism and left it again before the crucifixion. The Gnostics declared that the Christ was not crucified, as this Divine Nous could not suffer death, but that Simon, the Cyrenian, offered his life instead and that the Nous, by means of its power, caused Simon to resemble Jesus. Irenæus makes the following statement concerning the cosmic sacrifice of the Christ:
“When the uncreated, unnamed Father saw the corruption of mankind, He sent His firstborn, Nous, into the world, in the form of Christ, for the redemption of all who believe in Him, out of the power of those that have fabricated the world (the Demiurgus, and his six sons, the planetary genii). He appeared amongst men as the Man Jesus, and wrought miracles.” (See King’s Gnostics and Their Remains.)
The Gnostics divided humanity into three parts: those who, as savages, worshiped only the visible Nature; those who, like the Jews, worshiped the Demiurgus; and lastly, themselves, or others of a similar cult, including certain sects of Christians, who worshiped Nous (Christ) and the true spiritual light of the higher Æons.
After the death of Basilides, Valentinus became the leading inspiration of the Gnostic movement. He still further complicated the system of Gnostic philosophy by adding infinitely to the details. He increased the number of emanations from the Great One (the Abyss) to fifteen pairs and also laid much emphasis on the Virgin Sophia, or Wisdom. In the Books of the Savior, parts of which are commonly known as the Pistis Sophia, may be found much material concerning this strange doctrine of Æons and their strange inhabitants. James Freeman Clarke, in speaking of the doctrines of the Gnostics, says: “These doctrines, strange as they seem to us, had a wide influence in the Christian Church.” Many of the theories of the ancient Gnostics, especially those concerning scientific subjects, have been substantiated by modern research. Several sects branched off from the main stem of Gnosticism, such as the Valentinians, the Ophites (serpent worshipers), and the Adamites. After the third century their power waned, and the Gnostics practically vanished from the philosophic world. An effort was made during the Middle Ages to resurrect the principles of Gnosticism, but owing to the destruction of their records the material necessary was not available. Even today there are evidences of Gnostic philosophy in the modern world, but they bear other names and their true origin is not suspected. Many of the Gnostic concepts have actually been incorporated into the dogmas of the Christian Church, and our newer interpretations of Christianity are often along the lines of Gnostic emanationism.
THE MYSTERIES OF, ASAR-HAPI
The identity of the Greco-Egyptian Serapis (known to the Greeks as Serapis and the Egyptians as Asar-Hapi) is shrouded by an impenetrable veil of mystery. While this deity was a familiar figure among the symbols of the secret Egyptian initiatory rites, his arcane nature was revealed only to those who had fulfilled the requirements of the Serapic cultus. Therefore, in all probability, excepting the initiated priests, the Egyptians themselves were ignorant of his true character. So far as known, there exists no authentic account of the rites of Serapis, but an analysis of the deity and his accompanying symbols reveals their salient points. In an oracle delivered to the King of Cyprus, Serapis described himself thus:
”A god I am such as I show to thee,
The Starry Heavens are my head, my trunk the sea,
Earth forms my feet, mine ears the air supplies,
The Sun’s far-darting, brilliant rays, mine eyes.”
Several unsatisfactory attempts have been made to etymologize the word Serapis. Godfrey Higgins notes that Soros was the name given by the Egyptians to a stone coffin, and Apis was Osiris incarnate in the sacred bull. These two words combined result in Soros-Apis or Sor-Apis, “the tomb of the bull.” But it is improbable that the Egyptians would worship a coffin in the form of a man.
Several ancient authors, including Macrobius, have affirmed that Serapis was a name for the Sun, because his image so often had a halo of light about its head. In his Oration Upon the Sovereign Sun, Julian speaks of the deity in these words: “One Jove, one Pluto, one Sun is Serapis.” In Hebrew, Serapis is Saraph, meaning “to blaze out” or “to blaze up.” For this reason the Jews designated one of their hierarchies of spiritual beings, Seraphim.
The most common theory, however, regarding the origin of the name Serapis is that which traces its derivation from the compound Osiris-Apis. At one time the Egyptians believed that the dead were absorbed into the nature of Osiris, the god of the dead. While marked similarity exists between Osiris-Apis and Serapis, the theory advanced by Egyptologists that Serapis is merely a name given to the dead Apis, or sacred bull of Egypt, is untenable in view of the transcendent wisdom possessed by the Egyptian priestcraft, who, in all probability, used the god to symbolize the soul of the world (anima mundi). The material body of Nature was called Apis; the soul which escaped from the body at death but was enmeshed with the form during physical life was designated Serapis.
- W. King believes Serapis to be a deity of Brahmanic extraction, his name being the Grecianized form of Ser-adah or Sri-pa, two titles ascribed to Yama, the Hindu god of death. This appears reasonable, especially since there is a legend to the effect that Serapis, in the form of a bull, was driven by Bacchus from India to Egypt. The priority of the Hindu Mysteries would further substantiate such a theory.
Among other meanings suggested for the word Serapis are: “The Sacred Bull,” “The Sun in Taurus,” “The Soul of Osiris,” “The Sacred Serpent,” and “The Retiring of the Bull.” The last appellation has reference to the ceremony of drowning the sacred Apis in the waters of the Nile every twenty-five years.
THE LION-FACED LIGHT-POWER.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
This Gnostic gem represents by its serpentine body the pathway of the Sun and by its lion head the exaltation of the solar in the constellation of Leo.
A SYMBOLIC LABYRINTH.
From Montfaucon’s Antiquities.
Labyrinths and mazes were favored places of initiation among many ancient cults. Remains of these mystic mazes have been found among the American Indians, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks. Some of these mazes are merely involved pathways lined with stones; others are literally miles of gloomy caverns under temples or hollowed from the sides of mountains. The famous labyrinth of Crete, in which roamed the bull-headed Minotaur, was unquestionably a place of initiation into the Cretan Mysteries.
There is considerable evidence that the famous statue of Serapis in the Serapeum at Alexandria was originally worshiped under another name at Sinope, from which it was brought to Alexandria. There is also a legend which tells that Serapis was a very early king of the Egyptians, to whom they owed the foundation of their philosophical and scientific power. After his death this king was elevated to the estate of a god. Phylarchus declared that the word Serapis means “the power that disposed the universe into its present beautiful order.”
In his Isis and Osiris, Plutarch gives the following account of the origin of the magnificent statue of Serapis which stood in the Serapeum at Alexandria:
While he was Pharaoh of Egypt, Ptolemy Soter had a strange dream in which he beheld a tremendous statue, which came to life and ordered the Pharaoh to bring it to Alexandria with all possible speed. Ptolemy Soter, not knowing the whereabouts of the statue, was sorely perplexed as to how he could discover it. While the Pharaoh was relating his dream, a great traveler by the name of Sosibius, coming forward, declared that he had seen such an image at Sinope. The Pharaoh immediately dispatched Soteles and Dionysius to negotiate for the removal of the figure to Alexandria. Three years elapsed before the image was finally obtained, the representatives of the Pharaoh finally stealing it and concealing the theft by spreading a story that the statue had come to life and, walking down the street leading from its temple, had boarded the ship prepared for its transportation to Alexandria. Upon its arrival in Egypt, the figure was brought into the presence of two Egyptian Initiates–the Eumolpid Timotheus and Manetho the Sebennite–who, immediately pronounced it to be Serapis. The priests then declared that it was equipollent to Pluto. This was a masterly stroke, for in Serapis the Greeks and Egyptians found a deity in common and thus religious unity was consummated between the two nations.
Several figures of Serapis that stood in his various temples in Egypt and Rome have been described by early authors. Nearly all these showed Grecian rather than Egyptian influence. In some the body of the god was encircled by the coils of a great serpent. Others showed him as a composite of Osiris and Apis.
A description of the god that in all probability is reasonably accurate is that which represents him as a tall, powerful figure, conveying the twofold impression of manly strength and womanly grace. His face portrayed a deeply pensive mood, the expression inclining toward sadness. His hair was long and arranged in a somewhat feminine manner, resting in curls upon his breast and shoulders. The face, save for its heavy beard, was also decidedly feminine. The figure of Serapis was usually robed from head to foot in heavy draperies, believed by initiates to conceal the fact that his body was androgynous.
Various substances were used in making the statues of Serapis. Some undoubtedly were carved from stone or marble by skilled craftsmen; others may have been cast from base or precious metals. One colossus of Serapis was composed of plates of various metals fitted together. In a labyrinth sacred to Serapis stood a thirteen-foot statue of him reputed to have been made from a single emerald. Modern writers, discussing this image, state that it was made of green glass poured into a mold. According to the Egyptians, however, it withstood all the tests of an actual emerald.
Clement of Alexandria describes a figure of Serapis compounded from the following elements: First, filings of gold, silver, lead, and tin; second, all manner of Egyptian stones, including sapphires, hematites, emeralds, and topazes; all these being ground down and mixed together with the coloring matter left over from the funeral of Osiris and Apis. The result was a rare and curious figure, indigo in color. Some of the statues of Serapis must have been formed of extremely hard substances, for when a Christian soldier, carrying out the edict of Theodosius, struck the Alexandrian Serapis with his ax, that instrument was shattered into fragments and sparks flew from it. It is also quite probable that Serapis was worshiped in the form of a serpent, in common with many of the higher deities of the Egyptian and Greek pantheons.
Serapis was called Theon Heptagrammaton, or the god with the name of seven letters. The name Serapis (like Abraxas and Mithras) contains seven letters. In their hymns to Serapis the priests chanted the seven vowels. Occasionally Serapis is depicted with horns or a coronet of seven rays. These evidently represented the seven divine intelligences manifesting through the solar light. The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that the earliest authentic mention of Serapis is in connection with the death of Alexander. Such was the prestige of Serapis that he alone of the gods was consulted in behalf of the dying king.
The Egyptian secret school of philosophy was divided into the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries, the former being sacred to Isis and the latter to Serapis and Osiris. Wilkinson is of the opinion that only the priests were permitted to enter the Greater Mysteries. Even the heir to the throne was not eligible until he had been crowned Pharaoh, when, by virtue of his kingly office, he automatically became a priest and the temporal head of the state religion. (See Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of the Egyptians.) A limited number were admitted into the Greater Mysteries: these preserved their secrets inviolate.
Much of the information concerning the rituals of the higher degrees of the Egyptian Mysteries has been gleaned from an examination of the chambers and passageways in which the initiations were given. Under the temple of Serapis destroyed by Theodosius were found strange mechanical contrivances constructed by the priests in the subterranean crypts and caverns where the nocturnal initiatory rites were celebrated. These machines indicate the severe tests of moral and physical courage undergone by the candidates. After passing through these tortuous ways, the neophytes who Survived the ordeals were ushered into the presence of Serapis, a noble and awe-inspiring figure illumined by unseen lights.
Labyrinths were also a striking feature in connection with the Rice of Serapis, and E. A. Wallis Budge, in his Gods of the Egyptians, depicts Serapis(Minotaur-like) with the body of a man and the head of a bull. Labyrinths were symbolic of the involvements and illusions of the lower world through which wanders the soul of man in its search for truth. In the labyrinth dwells the lower animal man with the head of the bull, who seeks to destroy the soul entangled in the maze of worldly ignorance. In this relation Serapis becomes the Tryer or Adversary who tests the souls of those seeking union with the Immortals. The maze was also doubtless used to represent the solar system, the Bull-Man representing the sun dwelling in the mystic maze of its planets, moons, and asteroids.
The Gnostic Mysteries were acquainted with the arcane meaning of Serapis, and through the medium of Gnosticism this god became inextricably associated with early Christianity. In fact, the Emperor Hadrian, while traveling in Egypt in A.D. 24, declared in a letter to Servianus that the worshipers of Serapis were Christians and that the Bishops of the church also worshiped at his shrine. He even declared that the Patriarch himself, when in Egypt, was forced to adore Serapis as well as Christ. (See Parsons’ New Light on the Great Pyramid.)
The little-suspected importance of Serapis as a prototype of Christ can be best appreciated after a consideration of the following extract from C. W. King’s Gnostics and Their Remains: “There can be no doubt that the head of Serapis, marked as the face is by a grave and pensive majesty, supplied the first idea for the conventional portraits of the Saviour. The Jewish prejudices of the first converts were so powerful that we may be sure no attempt was made to depict His countenance until some generations after all that had beheld it on earth had passed away.”
Serapis gradually usurped the positions previously occupied by the other Egyptian and Greek gods, and became the supreme deity of both religions. His power continued until the fourth century of
THE ALEXANDRIAN SERAPIS.
From Mosaize Historie der Hebreeuwse Kerke.
Serapis is often shown standing on the back of the sacred crocodile, carrying in his left hand a rule with which to measure the inundations of the Nile, and balancing with his right hand a curious emblem consisting of an animal with the heads. The first head–that of a lion–signified the present; the second head–that of a wolf–the past; and the third head–that of a dog–the future. The body with its three heads was enveloped by the twisted coils of a serpent. Figures of Serapis are occasionally accompanied by Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Pluto, and–like Jupiter–carry baskets of grain upon their heads.
the Christian Era. In A.D. 385, Theodosius, that would-be exterminator of pagan philosophy, issued his memorable edict De Idolo Serapidis Diruendo. When the Christian soldiers, in obedience to this order, entered the Serapeum at Alexandria to destroy the image of Serapis which had stood there for centuries, so great was their veneration for the god that they dared not touch the image lest the ground should open at their feet and engulf them. At length, overcoming their fear, they demolished the statue, sacked the building, and finally as a fitting climax to their offense burned the magnificent library which was housed within the lofty apartments of the Serapeum. Several writers have recorded the remarkable fact that Christian symbols were found in the ruined foundations of this pagan temple. Socrates, a church historian of the fifth century, declared that after the pious Christians had razed the Serapeum at Alexandria and scattered the demons who dwelt there under the guise of gods, beneath the foundations was found the monogram of Christ!
Two quotations will further establish the relationship existing between the Mysteries of Serapis and those of other ancient peoples. The first is from Richard Payne Knight’s Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology:
“Hence Varro [in De Lingua Latina] says that Cœlum and Terra, that is universal mind and productive body, were the Great Gods of the Samothracian Mysteries; and the same as the Serapis and Isis of the later Ægyptians: the Taautos and Astarte of the Phœnicians, and the Saturn and Ops of the Latins.” The second quotation is from Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma: “‘Thee,’ says Martianus Capella, in his hymn to the Sun, ‘dwellers on the Nile adore as Serapis, and Memphis worships as Osiris: in the sacred rites of Persia thou art Mithras, in Phrygia, Atys, and Libya bows down to thee as Ammon, and Phœnician Byblos as Adonis; thus the whole world adores thee under different names.'”
THE ODINIC MYSTERIES
The date of the founding of the Odinic Mysteries is uncertain, some writers declaring that they were established in the first century before Christ; others, the first century after Christ. Robert Macoy, 33°, gives the following description of their origin: “It appears from the northern chronicles that in the first century of the Christian Era, Sigge, the chief of the Aser, an Asiatic tribe, emigrated from the Caspian sea and the Caucasus into northern Europe. He directed his course northwesterly from the Black sea to Russia, over which, according to tradition, he placed one of his sons as a ruler, as he is said to have done over the Saxons and the Franks. He then advanced through Cimbria to Denmark, which acknowledged his fifth son Skiold as its sovereign, and passed over to Sweden, where Gylf, who did homage to the wonderful stranger, and was initiated into his mysteries, then ruled. He soon made himself master here, built Sigtuna as the capital of his empire, and promulgated a new code of laws, and established the sacred mysteries. He, himself, assumed the name of Odin, founded the priesthood of the twelve Drottars (Druids?) who conducted the secret worship, and the administration of justice, and, as prophets, revealed the future. The secret rites of these mysteries celebrated the death of Balder, the beautiful and lovely, and represented the grief of Gods and men at his death, and his restoration to life.” (General History of Freemasonry.)
After his death, the historical Odin was apotheosized, his identity being merged into that of the mythological Odin, god of wisdom, whose cult he had promulgated. Odinism then supplanted the worship of Thor, the thunderer, the supreme deity of the ancient Scandinavian pantheon. The mound where, according to legend, King Odin was buried is still to be seen near the site of his great temple at Upsala.
The twelve Drottars who presided over the Odinic Mysteries evidently personified the twelve holy and ineffable names of Odin. The rituals of the Odinic Mysteries were very similar to those of the Greeks, Persians, and Brahmins, after which they were patterned. The Drottars, who symbolized the signs of the zodiac, were the custodians of the arts and sciences, which they revealed to those who passed successfully the ordeals of initiation. Like many other pagan cults, the Odinic Mysteries, as an institution, were destroyed by Christianity, but the underlying cause of their fall was the corruption of the priesthood.
Mythology is nearly always the ritual and the symbolism of a Mystery school. Briefly stated, the sacred drama which formed the basis of the Odinic Mysteries was as follows:
The Supreme, invisible Creator of all things was called All-Father. His regent in Nature was Odin, the one-eyed god. Like Quetzalcoatl, Odin was elevated to the dignity of the Supreme Deity. According to the Drottars, the universe was fashioned from the body of Ymir, the hoarfrost giant. Ymir was formed from the clouds of mist that rose from Ginnungagap, the great cleft in chaos into which the primordial frost giants and flame giants had hurled snow and fire. The three gods–Odin, Vili, and Ve–slew Ymir and from him formed the world. From Ymir’s various members the different parts of Nature were fashioned.
After Odin had established order, he caused a wonderful palace, called Asgard, to be built on the top of a mountain, and here the twelve Æsir (gods) dwelt together, far above the limitations of mortal men. On this mountain also was Valhalla, the palace of the slain, where those who had heroically died fought and feasted day after day. Each night their wounds were healed and the boar whose flesh they ate renewed itself as rapidly as it was consumed.
Balder the Beautiful–the Scandinavian Christ–was the beloved son of Odin. Balder was not warlike; his kindly and beautiful spirit brought peace and joy to the hearts of the gods, and they all loved him save one. As Jesus had a Judas among His twelve disciples, so one of the twelve gods was false–Loki, the personification of evil. Loki caused Höthr, the blind god of fate, to shoot Balder with a mistletoe arrow. With the death of Balder, light and joy vanished from the lives of the other deities. Heartbroken, the gods gathered to find a method whereby they could resurrect this spirit of eternal life and youth. The result was the establishment of the Mysteries.
The Odinic Mysteries were given in underground crypts or caves, the chambers, nine in number, representing the Nine Worlds of the Mysteries. The candidate seeking admission was assigned the task of raising Balder from the dead. Although he did not realize it, he himself played the part of Balder. He called himself a wanderer; the caverns through which he passed were symbolic of the worlds and spheres of Nature. The priests who initiated him were emblematic of the sun, the moon, and the stars. The three supreme initiators–the Sublime, the Equal to the Sublime, and the Highest–were analogous to the Worshipful Master and the junior and Senior Wardens of a Masonic lodge.
After wandering for hours through the intricate passageways, the candidate was ushered into the presence of a statue of Balder the Beautiful, the prototype of all initiates into the Mysteries. This figure stood in the center of a great apartment roofed with shields. In the midst of the chamber stood a plant with seven blossoms, emblematic of the planers. In this room, which symbolized the house of the Æsir, or Wisdom, the neophyte took his oath of secrecy and piety upon the naked blade of a sword. He drank the sanctified mead from a bowl made of a human skull and, having passed successfully through all the tortures and trials designed to divert him from the course of wisdom, he was finally permitted to unveil the mystery of Odin–the personification of wisdom. He was presented, in the name of Balder, with the sacred ring of the order; he was hailed as a man reborn; and it was said of him that he had died and had been raised again without passing through the gates of death.
Richard Wagner’s immortal composition, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is based upon the Mystery rituals of the Odinic cult. While the great composer took many liberties with the original story, the Ring Operas, declared to be the grandest tetralogy of music dramas the world possesses, have caught and preserved in a remarkable manner the majesty and power of the original sagas. Beginning with Das Rheingold, the action proceeds through Die Walküre and Siegfried to an awe-inspiring climax in Götterdämmerung, “The Twilight of the Gods.”
THE NINE WORLDS OF THE ODINIC MYSTERIES.
The Nordic Mysteries were given in nine chambers, or caverns, the candidate advancing through them in sequential order. These chambers of initiation represented the nine spheres into which the Drottars divided the universe:
(1) Asgard, the Heaven World of the Gods;
(2) Alf-heim, the World of the light and beautiful Elves, or Spirits;
(3) Nifl-heim, the World of Cold and Darkness, which is located in the North;
(4) Jotun-heim, the World of the Giants, which is located in the East;
(5) Midgard, the Earth World of human beings, which is located in the midst, or middle place;
(6) Vana-heim, the World of the Vanes, which is located in the West;
(7) Muspells-heim, the World of Fire, which is located in the South;
(8) Svart-alfa-heim, the World of the dark and treacherous Elves, which is under the earth; and
(9) Hel-heim, the World of cold and the abode of the dead, which is located at the very lowest point of the universe.
It is to be understood that all of these worlds are invisible to the senses, except Midgard, the home of human creatures, but during the process of initiation the soul of the candidate–liberated from its earthly sheath by the secret power of the priests–wanders amidst the inhabitants of these various spheres. There is undoubtedly a relationship between the nine worlds of the Scandinavians and the nine spheres, or planes, through which initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries passed in their ritual
The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies
THE most famous of the ancient religious Mysteries were the Eleusinian, whose rites were celebrated every five years in the city of Eleusis to honor Ceres (Demeter, Rhea, or Isis) and her daughter, Persephone. The initiates of the Eleusinian School were famous throughout Greece for the beauty of their philosophic concepts and the high standards of morality which they demonstrated in their daily lives. Because of their excellence, these Mysteries spread to Rome and Britain, and later the initiations were given in both these countries. The Eleusinian Mysteries, named for the community in Attica where the sacred dramas were first presented, are generally believed to have been founded by Eumolpos about fourteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, and through the Platonic system of philosophy their principles have been preserved to modern times.
The rites of Eleusis, with their Mystic interpretations of Nature’s most precious secrets, overshadowed the civilizations of their time and gradually absorbed many smaller schools, incorporating into their own system whatever valuable information these lesser institutions possessed. Heckethorn sees in the Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus a metamorphosis of the rites of Isis and Osiris, and there is every reason to believe that all so-called secret schools of the ancient world were branches from one philosophic tree which, with its root in heaven and its branches on the earth, is–like the spirit of man–an invisible but ever-present cause of the objectified vehicles that give it expression. The Mysteries were the channels through which this one philosophic light was disseminated, and their initiates, resplendent with intellectual and spiritual understanding, were the perfect fruitage of the divine tree, bearing witness before the material world of the recondite source of all Light and Truth.
The rites of Eleusis were divided into what were called the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries. According to James Gardner, the Lesser Mysteries were celebrated in the spring (probably at the time of the vernal equinox) in the town of Agræ, and the Greater, in the fall (the time of the autumnal equinox) at Eleusis or Athens. It is supposed that the former were given annually and the latter every five years. The rituals of the Eleusinians were highly involved, and to understand them required a deep study of Greek mythology, which they interpreted in its esoteric light with the aid of their secret keys.
The Lesser Mysteries were dedicated to Persephone. In his Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, Thomas Taylor sums up their purpose as follows: “The Lesser Mysteries were designed by the ancient theologists, their founders, to signify occultly the condition of the unpurified soul invested with an earthy body, and enveloped in a material and physical nature.”
The legend used in the Lesser rites is that of the abduction of the goddess Persephone, the daughter of Ceres, by Pluto, the lord of the underworld, or Hades. While Persephone is picking flowers in a beautiful meadow, the earth suddenly opens and the gloomy lord of death, riding in a magnificent chariot, emerges from its somber depths and, grasping her in his arms, carries the screaming and struggling goddess to his subterranean palace, where he forces her to become his queen.
It is doubtful whether many of the initiates themselves understood the mystic meaning of this allegory, for most of them apparently believed that it referred solely to the succession of the seasons. It is difficult to obtain satisfactory information concerning the Mysteries, for the candidates were bound by inviolable oaths never to reveal their inner secrets to the profane. At the beginning of the ceremony of initiation, the candidate stood upon the skins of animals sacrificed for the purpose, and vowed that death should seal his lips before he would divulge the sacred truths which were about to be communicated to him. Through indirect channels, however, some of their secrets have been preserved. The teachings given to the neophytes were substantially as follows:
The soul of man–often called Psyche, and in the Eleusinian Mysteries symbolized by Persephone–is essentially a spiritual thing. Its true home is in the higher worlds, where, free from the bondage of material form and material concepts, it is said to be truly alive and self-expressive. The human, or physical, nature of man, according to this doctrine, is a tomb, a quagmire, a false and impermanent thing, the source of all sorrow and suffering. Plato describes the body as the sepulcher of the soul; and by this he means not only the human form but also the human nature.
The gloom and depression of the Lesser Mysteries represented the agony of the spiritual soul unable to express itself because it has accepted the limitations and illusions of the human environment. The crux of the Eleusinian argument was that man is neither better nor wiser after death than during life. If he does not rise above ignorance during his sojourn here, man goes at death into eternity to wander about forever, making the same mistakes which he made here. If he does not outgrow the desire for material possessions here, he will carry it with him into the invisible world, where, because he can never gratify the desire, he will continue in endless agony. Dante’s Inferno is symbolically descriptive of the sufferings of those who never freed their spiritual natures from the cravings, habits, viewpoints, and limitations of their Plutonic personalities. Those who made no endeavor to improve themselves (whose souls have slept) during their physical lives, passed at death into Hades, where, lying in rows, they slept through all eternity as they had slept through life.
To the Eleusinian philosophers, birch into the physical world was death in the fullest sense of the word, and the only true birth was that of the spiritual soul of man rising out of the womb of his own fleshly nature. “The soul is dead that slumbers,” says Longfellow, and in this he strikes the keynote of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Just as Narcissus, gazing at himself in the water (the ancients used this mobile element to symbolize the transitory, illusionary, material universe) lost his life trying to embrace a reflection, so man, gazing into the mirror of Nature and accepting as his real self the senseless clay that he sees reflected, loses the opportunity afforded by physical life to unfold his immortal, invisible Self.
An ancient initiate once said that the living are ruled by the dead. Only those conversant with the Eleusinian concept of life could understand that statement. It means that the majority of people are not ruled by their living spirits but by their senseless (hence dead) animal personalities. Transmigration and reincarnation were taught in these Mysteries, but in a somewhat unusual manner. It was believed that at midnight the invisible worlds were closest to the Terrestrial sphere and that souls coming into material existence slipped in during the midnight hour. For this reason many of the Eleusinian
THE RAPE OF PERSEPHONE.
From Thomassin’s Recucil des Figures, Groupes, Themes, Fontaines, Vases et autres Ornements.
Pluto, the lord of the underworld, represents the body intelligence of man; and the rape of Persephone is symbolic of the divine nature assaulted and defiled by the animal soul and dragged downward into the somber darkness of Hades, which is here used as a synonym for the material, or objective, sphere of consciousness.
In his Disquisitions upon the Painted Greek Vases, James Christie presents Meursius’ version of the occurrences taking place during the nine days required for the enactment of the Greater Eleusinian Rites. The first day was that of general meeting, during which those to be initiated were questioned concerning their several qualifications. The second day was spent in a procession to the sea, possibly for the submerging of a image of the presiding goddess. The third day was opened by the sacrifice of a mullet. On the fourth day the mystic basket containing certain sacred symbols was brought to Eleusis, accompanied by a number of female devotees carrying smaller baskets. On the evening of the fifth day there was a torch race, on the sixth a procession led by a statue of Iacchus, and on the seventh an athletic contest. The eighth day was devoted to a repetition of the ceremonial for the benefit of any who might have been prevented from coming sooner. The ninth and last day was devoted to the deepest philosophical issues of the Eleusinia, during which an urn or jar–the symbol of Bacchus–was exhibited as an emblem of supreme importance.
ceremonies were performed at midnight. Some of those sleeping spirits who had failed to awaken their higher natures during the earth life and who now floated around in the invisible worlds, surrounded by a darkness of their own making, occasionally slipped through at this hour and assumed the forms of various creatures.
The mystics of Eleusis also laid stress upon the evil of suicide, explaining that there was a profound mystery concerning this crime of which they could not speak, but warning their disciples that a great sorrow comes to all who take their own lives. This, in substance, constitutes the esoteric doctrine given to the initiates of the Lesser Mysteries. As the degree dealt largely with the miseries of those who failed to make the best use of their philosophic opportunities, the chambers of initiation were subterranean and the horrors of Hades were vividly depicted in a complicated ritualistic drama. After passing successfully through the tortuous passageways, with their trials and dangers, the candidate received the honorary title of Mystes. This meant one who saw through a veil or had a clouded vision. It also signified that the candidate had been brought up to the veil, which would be torn away in the higher degree. The modern word mystic, as referring to a seeker after truth according to the dictates of the heart along the path of faith, is probably derived from this ancient word, for faith is belief in the reality of things unseen or veiled.
The Greater Mysteries (into which the candidate was admitted only after he had successfully passed through the ordeals of the Lesser, and not always then) were sacred to Ceres, the mother of Persephone, and represent her as wandering through the world in quest of her abducted daughter. Ceres carried two torches, intuition and reason, to aid her in the search for her lost child (the soul). At last she found Persephone not far from Eleusis, and out of gratitude taught the people there to cultivate corn, which is sacred to her. She also founded the Mysteries. Ceres appeared before Pluto, god of the souls of the dead, and pleaded with him to allow Persephone to return to her home. This the god at first refused to do, because Persephone had eaten of the pomegranate, the fruit of mortality. At last, however, he compromised and agreed to permit Persephone to live in the upper world half of the year if she would stay with him in the darkness of Hades for the remaining half.
The Greeks believed that Persephone was a manifestation of the solar energy, which in the winter months lived under the earth with Pluto, but in the summer returned again with the goddess of productiveness. There is a legend that the flowers loved Persephone and that every year when she left for the dark realms of Pluto, the plants and shrubs would die of grief. While the profane and uninitiated had their own opinions on these subjects, the truths of the Greek allegories remained safely concealed by the priests, who alone recognized the sublimity of these great philosophic and religious parables.
Thomas Taylor epitomizes the doctrines of the Greater Mysteries in the following statement: “The Greater (Mysteries) obscurely intimated, by mystic and splendid visions, the felicity of the soul both here and hereafter when purified from the defilement of a material nature, and constantly elevated to the realities of intellectual (spiritual) vision.”
Just as the Lesser Mysteries discussed the prenatal epoch of man when the consciousness in its nine days (embryologically, months) was descending into the realm of illusion and assuming the veil of unreality, so the Greater Mysteries discussed the principles of spiritual regeneration and revealed to initiates not only the simplest but also the most direct and complete method of liberating their higher natures from the bondage of material ignorance. Like Prometheus chained to the top of Mount Caucasus, man’s higher nature is chained to his inadequate personality. The nine days of initiation were also symbolic of the nine spheres through which the human soul descends during the process of assuming a terrestrial form. The secret exercises for spiritual unfoldment given to disciples of the higher degrees are unknown, but there is every reason to believe that they were similar to the Brahmanic Mysteries, since it is known that the Eleusinian ceremonies were closed with the Sanskrit words “Konx Om Pax.”
That part of the allegory referring to the two six-month periods during one of which Persephone must remain with Pluto, while during the other she may revisit the upper world, offers material for deep consideration. It is probable that the Eleusinians realized that the soul left the body during steep, or at least was made capable of leaving by the special training which undoubtedly they were in a position to give. Thus Persephone would remain as the queen of Pluto’s realm during the waking hours, but would ascend to the spiritual worlds during the periods of sleep. The initiate was taught how to intercede with Pluto to permit Persephone (the initiate’s soul) to ascend from the darkness of his material nature into the light of understanding. When thus freed from the shackles of clay and crystallized concepts, the initiate was liberated not only for the period of his life but for all eternity, for never thereafter was he divested of those soul qualities which after death were his vehicles for manifestation and expression in the so-called heaven world.
In contrast to the idea of Hades as a state of darkness below, the gods were said to inhabit the tops of mountains, a well-known example being Mount Olympus, where the twelve deities of the Greek pantheon were said to dwell together. In his initiatory wanderings the neophyte therefore entered chambers of ever-increasing brilliancy to portray the ascent of the spirit from the lower worlds into the realms of bliss. As the climax to such wanderings he entered a great vaulted room, in the center of which stood a brilliantly illumined statue of the goddess Ceres. Here, in the presence of the hierophant and surrounded by priests in magnificent robes, he was instructed in the highest of the secret mysteries of the Eleusis. At the conclusion of this ceremony he was hailed as an Epoptes, which means one who has beheld or seen directly. For this reason also initiation was termed autopsy. The Epoptes was then given certain sacred books, probably written in cipher, together with tablets of stone on which secret instructions were engraved.
In The Obelisk in Freemasonry, John A. Weisse describes the officiating personages of the Eleusinian Mysteries as consisting of a male and a female hierophant who directed the initiations; a male and a female torchbearer; a male herald; and a male and a female altar attendant. There were also numerous minor officials. He states that, according to Porphyry, the hierophant represents Plato’s Demiurgus, or Creator of the world; the torch bearer, the Sun; the altar man, the Moon; the herald, Hermes, or Mercury; and the other officials, minor stars.
From the records available, a number of strange and apparently supernatural phenomena accompanied the rituals. Many initiates claim to have actually seen the living gods themselves. Whether this was the result of religious ecstasy or the actual cooperation of invisible powers with the visible priests must remain a mystery. In The Metamorphosis, or Golden Ass, Apuleius thus describes what in all probability is his initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries:
“I approached to the confines of death, and having trod on the threshold of Proserpine I, returned from it, being carried through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light; and I manifestly drew near to, the gods beneath, and the gods above, and proximately adored them.”
Women and children were admitted to the Eleusinian Mysteries, and at one time there were literally thousands of initiates. Because this vast host was not prepared for the highest spiritual and mystical doctrines, a division necessarily took place within the society itself. The higher teachings were given to only a limited number of initiates who, because of superior mentality, showed a comprehensive grasp of their underlying philosophical concepts. Socrates refused to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, for knowing its principles without being a member of the order he realized that membership would seal his tongue. That the Mysteries of Eleusis were based upon great and eternal truths is attested by the veneration in which they were held by the great minds of the ancient world. M. Ouvaroff asks, “Would Pindar, Plato, Cicero, Epictetus, have spoken of them with such admiration, if the hierophant had satisfied himself with loudly proclaiming his own opinions, or those of his order?”
The garments in which candidates were initiated were preserved for many years and were believed to possess almost sacred properties. Just as the soul can have no covering save wisdom and virtue, so the candidates–being as yet without true knowledge–were presented to the Mysteries unclothed, being first: given the skin of an animal and later a consecrated robe to symbolize the philosophical teachings received by the initiate. During the course of initiation the candidate
CERES, THE PATRON OF THE MYSTERIES.
From a mural painting in Pompeii.
Ceres, or Demeter, was the daughter of Kronos and Rhea, and by Zeus the mother of Persephone. Some believe her to be the goddess of the earth, but more correctly she is the deity protecting agriculture in general and corn in particular. The Poppy is sacred to Ceres and she is often shown carrying or ornamented by a garland of these flowers. In the Mysteries, Ceres represented riding in a chariot drawn by winged serpents.
THE PROCESSIONAL OF THE BACCHIC RITES.
From Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
In the initiation, of the Bacchic Mysteries, the rôle of Bacchus is played by the candidate who, set upon by priests in the guise of the Titans, is slain and finally restored to life amidst great rejoicing. The Bacchic Mysteries were given every three years, and like the Eleusinian Mysteries, were divided into two degrees. The initiates were crowned with myrtle and ivy, plants which were sacred to Bacchus.
In the Anacalypsis, Godfrey Higgins conclusively establishes Bacchus (Dionysos) as one of the early pagan forms of the Christos myth, “The birthplace of Bacchus, called Sabazius or Sabaoth, was claimed by several places in Greece; but on Mount Zelmisus, in Thrace, his worship seems to have been chiefly celebrated. He was born of a virgin on the 25th of December; he performed great miracles for the good of mankind; particularly one in which he changed water into wine; he rode in a triumphal procession on an ass; he was put to death by the Titans, and rose again from the dead on the 25th of March: he was always called the Saviour. In his mysteries, he was shown to the people, as an infant is by the Christians at this day, on Christmas Day morning in Rome.”
While Apollo most generally represents the sun, Bacchus is also a form of solar energy, for his resurrection was accomplished with the assistance of Apollo. The resurrection of Bacchus signifies merely the extraction or disentanglement of the various Parts of the Bacchic constitution from the Titanic constitution of the world. This is symbolized by the smoke or soot rising from the burned bodies of the Titans. The soul is symbolized by smoke because it is extracted by the fire of the Mysteries. Smoke signifies the ascension of the soul, far evolution is the process of the soul rising, like smoke, from the divinely consumed material mass. At me time the Bacchic Rites were of a high order, but later they became much degraded . The Bacchanalia, or orgies of Bacchus, are famous in literature.
passed through two gates. The first led downward into the lower worlds and symbolized his birth into ignorance. The second led upward into a room brilliantly lighted by unseen lamps, in which was the statue of Ceres and which symbolized the upper world, or the abode of Light and Truth. Strabo states that the great temple of Eleusis would hold between twenty and thirty thousand people. The caves dedicated by Zarathustra also had these two doors, symbolizing the avenues of birth and death.
The following paragraph from Porphyry gives a fairly adequate conception of Eleusinian symbolism: “God being a luminous principle, residing in the midst of the most subtile fire, he remains for ever invisible to the eyes of those who do not elevate themselves above material life: on this account, the sight of transparent bodies, such as crystal, Parian marble, and even ivory, recalls the idea of divine light; as the sight of gold excites an idea of its purity, for gold cannot he sullied. Some have thought by a black stone was signified the invisibility of the divine essence. To express supreme reason, the Divinity was represented under the human form–and beautiful, for God is the source of beauty; of different ages, and in various attitudes, sitting or upright; of one or the other sex, as a virgin or a young man, a husband or a bride, that all the shades and gradations might be marked. Every thing luminous was subsequently attributed to the gods; the sphere, and all that is spherical, to the universe, to the sun and the moon–sometimes to Fortune and to Hope. The circle, and all circular figures, to eternity–to the celestial movements; to the circles and zones of the heavens. The section of circles, to the phases of the moon; and pyramids and obelisks, to the igneous principle, and through that to the gods of Heaven. A cone expresses the sun, a cylinder the earth; the phallus and triangle (a symbol of the matrix) designate generation.” (From Essay on the Mysteries of Eleusis by M. Ouvaroff.)
The Eleusinian Mysteries, according to Heckethorn, survived all others and did not cease to exist as an institution until nearly four hundred years after Christ, when they were finally suppressed by Theodosius (styled the Great), who cruelly destroyed all who did not accept the Christian faith. Of this greatest of all philosophical institutions Cicero said that it taught men not only how to live but also how to die.
THE ORPHIC MYSTERIES
Orpheus, the Thracian bard, the great initiator of the Greeks, ceased to be known as a man and was celebrated as a divinity several centuries before the Christian Era. “As to Orpheus himself * * *, ” writes Thomas Taylor, “scarcely a vestige of his life is to be found amongst the immense ruins of time. For who has ever been able to affirm any thing with certainty of his origin, his age, his country, and condition? This alone may be depended on, from general assent, that there formerly lived a person named Orpheus, who was the founder of theology among the Greeks; the institutor of their lives and morals; the first of prophets, and the prince of poets; himself the offspring of a Muse; who taught the Greeks their sacred rites and mysteries, and from whose wisdom, as from a perennial and abundant fountain, the divine muse of Homer and the sublime theology of Pythagoras and Plato flowed.” (See The Mystical Hymns of Orpheus.)
Orpheus was founder of the Grecian mythological system which he used as the medium for the promulgation of his philosophical doctrines. The origin of his philosophy is uncertain. He may have got it from the Brahmins, there being legends to the effect that he got it was a Hindu, his name possibly being derived from ὀρφανῖος, meaning “dark.” Orpheus was initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries, from which he secured extensive knowledge of magic, astrology, sorcery, and medicine. The Mysteries of the Cabiri at Samothrace were also conferred upon him, and these undoubtedly contributed to his knowledge of medicine and music.
The romance of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the tragic episodes of Greek mythology and apparently constitutes the outstanding feature of the Orphic Rite. Eurydice, in her attempt to escape from a villain seeking to seduce her, died from the venom of a poisonous serpent which stung her in the heel. Orpheus, penetrating to the very heart of the underworld, so charmed Pluto and Persephone with the beauty of his music that they agreed to permit Eurydice to return to life if Orpheus could lead her back to the sphere of the living without once looking round to see if she were following. So great was his fear, however, that she would stray from him that he turned his head, and Eurydice with a heartbroken cry was swept back into the land of death.
Orpheus wandered the earth for a while disconsolate, and there are several conflicting accounts of the manner of his death. Some declare that he was slain by a bolt of lightning; others, that failing to save his beloved Eurydice, he committed suicide. The generally accepted version of his death, however, is that he was torn to pieces by Ciconian women whose advances he had spurned. In the tenth book of Plato’s Republic it is declared that, because of his sad fate at the hands of women, the soul that had once been Orpheus, upon being destined to live again in the physical world, chose rather to return in the body of a swan than be born of woman. The head of Orpheus, after being torn from his body, was cast with his lyre into the river Hebrus, down which it floated to the sea, where, wedging in a cleft in a rock, it gave oracles for many years. The lyre, after being stolen from its shrine and working the destruction of the thief, was picked up by the gods and fashioned into a constellation.
Orpheus has long been sung as the patron of music. On his seven-stringed lyre he played such perfect harmonies that the gods themselves were moved to acclaim his power. When he touched the strings of his instrument the birds and beasts gathered about him, and as he wandered through the forests his enchanting melodies caused even the ancient trees with mighty effort to draw their gnarled roots from out the earth and follow him. Orpheus is one of the many Immortals who have sacrificed themselves that mankind might have the wisdom of the gods. By the symbolism of his music he communicated the divine secrets to humanity, and several authors have declared that the gods, though loving him, feared that he would overthrow their kingdom and therefore reluctantly encompassed his destruction.
As time passed on the historical Orpheus became hopelessly confounded with the doctrine he represented and eventually became the symbol of the Greek school of the ancient wisdom. Thus Orpheus was declared to be the son of Apollo, the divine and perfect truth, and Calliope, the Muse of harmony and rhythm. In other words, Orpheus is the secret doctrine (Apollo) revealed through music (Calliope). Eurydice is humanity dead from the sting of the serpent of false knowledge and imprisoned in the underworld of ignorance. In this allegory Orpheus signifies theology, which wins her from the king of the dead but fails to accomplish her resurrection because it falsely estimates and mistrusts the innate understanding within the human soul. The Ciconian women who tore Orpheus limb from limb symbolize the various contending theological factions which destroy the body of Truth. They cannot accomplish this, however, until their discordant cries drown out the harmony drawn by Orpheus from his magic lyre. The head of Orpheus signifies the esoteric doctrines of his cult. These doctrines continue to live and speak even after his body (the cult) has been destroyed. The lyre is the secret teaching of Orpheus; the seven strings are the seven divine truths which are the keys to universal knowledge. The differing accounts of his death represent the various means used to destroy the secret teachings: wisdom can die in many ways at the same time. The allegory of Orpheus incarnating in the white swan merely signifies that the spiritual truths he promulgated will continue and will be taught by the illumined initiates of all future ages. The swan is the symbol of the initiates of the Mysteries; it is a symbol also of the divine power which is the progenitor of the world.
THE BACCHIC AND DIONYSIAC RITES
The Bacchic Rite centers around the allegory of the youthful Bacchus (Dionysos or Zagreus) being torn to pieces by the Titans. These giants accomplished the destruction of Bacchus by causing him to become fascinated by his own image in a mirror. After dismembering him, the Titans first boiled the pieces in water and afterwards roasted them. Pallas rescued the heart of the murdered god, and by this precaution Bacchus (Dionysos) was enabled to spring forth again in all his former glory. Jupiter, the Demiurgus, beholding the crime of the Titans, hurled his thunderbolts and slew them, burning their bodies to ashes with heavenly fire. Our of the ashes of the Titans–which also contained a portion of the flesh of Bacchus, whose body they had partly devoured–the human race was created. Thus the mundane life of every man was said to contain a portion of the Bacchic life.
For this reason the Greek Mysteries warned against suicide. He who attempts to destroy himself raises his hand against the nature of Bacchus within him, since man’s body is indirectly the tomb of this god and consequently must be preserved with the greatest care.
Bacchus (Dionysos) represents the rational soul of the inferior world. He is the chief of the Titans–the artificers of the mundane spheres. The Pythagoreans called him the Titanic monad. Thus Bacchus is the all-inclusive idea of the Titanic sphere and the Titans–or gods of the fragments–the active agencies by means of which universal substance is fashioned into the pattern of this idea. The Bacchic state signifies the unity of the rational soul in a state of self-knowledge, and the Titanic state the diversity of the rational soul which, being scattered throughout creation, loses the consciousness of its own essential one-ness. The mirror into which Bacchus gazes and which is the cause of his fall is the great sea of illusion–the lower world fashioned by the Titans. Bacchus (the mundane rational soul), seeing his image before him, accepts the image as a likeness of himself and ensouls the likeness; that is, the rational idea ensouls its reflection–the irrational universe. By ensouling the irrational image it implants in it the urge to become like its source, the rational image. Therefore the ancients said that man does not know the gods by logic or by reason but rather by realizing the presence of the gods within himself.
After Bacchus gazed into the mirror and followed his own reflection into matter, the rational soul of the world was broken up and distributed by the Titans throughout the mundane sphere of which it is the essential nature, but the heart, or source, of it they could not: scatter. The Titans took the dismembered body of Bacchus and boiled it in water–symbol of immersion in the material universe–which represents the incorporation of the Bacchic principle in form. The pieces were afterwards roasted to signify the subsequent ascension of the spiritual nature out of form.
When Jupiter, the father of Bacchus and the Demiurgus of the universe, saw that the Titans were hopelessly involving the rational or divine idea by scattering its members through the constituent parts of the lower world, he slew the Titans in order that the divine idea might not be entirely lost. From the ashes of the Titans he formed mankind, whose purpose of existence was to preserve and eventually to release the Bacchic idea, or rational soul, from the Titanic fabrication. Jupiter, being the Demiurgus and fabricator of the material universe, is the third person of the Creative Triad, consequently the Lord of Death, for death exists only in the lower sphere of being over which he presides. Disintegration takes place so that reintegration may follow upon a higher level of form or intelligence. The thunderbolts of Jupiter are emblematic of his disintegrative power; they reveal the purpose of death, which is to rescue the rational soul from the devouring power of the irrational nature.
Man is a composite creature, his lower nature consisting of the fragments of the Titans and his higher nature the sacred, immortal flesh (life) of Bacchus. Therefore man is capable of either a Titanic (irrational) or a Bacchic (rational) existence. The Titans of Hesiod, who were twelve in number, are probably analogous to the celestial zodiac, whereas the Titans who murdered and dismembered Bacchus represent the zodiacal powers distorted by their involvement in the material world. Thus Bacchus represents the sun who is dismembered by the signs of the zodiac and from whose body the universe is formed. When the terrestrial forms were created from the various parts of his body the sense of wholeness was lost and the sense of separateness established. The heart of Bacchus, which was saved by Pallas, or Minerva, was lifted out of the four elements symbolized by his dismembered body and placed in the ether. The heart of Bacchus is the immortal center of the rational soul.
After the rational soul had been distributed throughout creation and the nature of man, the Bacchic Mysteries were instituted for the purpose of disentangling it from the irrational Titanic nature. This disentanglement was the process of lifting the soul out of the state of separateness into that of unity. The various parts and members of Bacchus were collected from the different corners of the earth. When all the rational parts are gathered Bacchus is resurrected.
The Rites of Dionysos were very similar to those of Bacchus, and by many these two gods are considered as one. Statues of Dionysos were carried in the Eleusinian Mysteries, especially the lesser degrees. Bacchus, representing the soul of the mundane sphere, was capable of an infinite multiplicity of form and designations. Dionysos apparently was his solar aspect.
The Dionysiac Architects constituted an ancient secret society, in principles and doctrines much like the modern Freemasonic Order. They were an organization of builders bound together by their secret knowledge of the relationship between the earthly and the divine sciences of architectonics. They were supposedly employed by King Solomon in the building of his Temple, although they were not Jews, nor did they worship the God of the Jews, being followers of Bacchus and Dionysos. The Dionysiac Architects erected many of the great monuments of antiquity. They possessed a secret language and a system of marking their stones. They had annual convocations and sacred feasts. The exact nature of their doctrines is unknown. It is believed that CHiram Abiff was an initiate of this society.
IN several early Masonic manuscripts–for example, the Harleian, Sloane, Lansdowne, and Edinburgh-Kilwinning–it is stated that the craft of initiated builders existed before the Deluge, and that its members were employed in the building of the Tower of Babel. A Masonic Constitution dated 1701 gives the following naive account of the origin of the sciences, arts, and crafts from which the major part of Masonic symbolism is derived:
“How this worthy Science was first begunne, I shall tell. Before Noah’s Flood, there was a man called Lameck as it is written in the 4 Chap. of Gen.: and this Lameck had two Wives. The one was called Adah, and the other Zillah; by the first wife Adah he gott two Sons, the one called Jaball, and the other Juball, and by the other wife Zillah he got a Son and Daughter, and the four children found the beginning of all Crafts in the world. This Jaball was the elder Son, and he found the Craft of Geometric, and he parted flocks, as of Sheep and Lambs in the fields, and first wrought Houses of Stone and Tree, as it is noted in the Chap, aforesaid, and his Brother Juball found the crafte of Musick, of Songs, Organs and Harp. The Third Brother [Tubal-cain] found out Smith’s craft to work Iron and steel, and their sister Naamah found out the art of Weaving. These children did know thatt God would take Vengeance for Sinne, either by fire or water, wherefor they wrote these Sciences which they had found in Two Pillars of stone, thatt they might be found after the Flood. The one stone was called Marbell–cannott burn with Fire, and the other was called Laturus [brass?], thatt cannott drown in the Water.”
The author of this Constitution there upon declares that one of these pillars was later discovered by Hermes, who communicated to mankind the secrets thereon inscribed.
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes that Adam had forewarned his descendants that sinful humanity would be destroyed by a deluge. In order to preserve their science and philosophy, the children of Seth there fore raised two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which were inscribed the keys to their knowledge. The Patriarch Enoch–whose name means the Initiator–is evidently a personification of the sun, since he lived 365 years. He also constructed an underground temple consisting of nine vaults, one beneath the other, placing in the deepest vault a triangular tablet of gold bearing upon it the absolute and ineffable Name of Deity. According to some accounts, Enoch made two golden deltas. The larger he placed upon the white cubical altar in the lowest vault and the smaller he gave into the keeping of his son, Methuseleh, who did the actual construction work of the brick chambers according to the pattern revealed to his father by the Most High. In the form and arrangement of these vaults Enoch epitomized the nine spheres of the ancient Mysteries and the nine sacred strata of the earth through which the initiate must pass to reach the flaming Spirit dwelling in its central core.
According to Freemasonic symbolism, Enoch, fearing that all knowledge of the sacred Mysteries would be lost at the time of the Deluge, erected the two columns mentioned in the quotation. Upon the metal column in appropriate allegorical symbols he engraved the secret reaching and upon the marble column placed an inscription stating that a short distance away a priceless treasure would be discovered in a subterranean vault. After having thus faithfully completed his labors, Enoch was translated from the brow Of Mount Moriah. In time the location of the secret vaults was lost, but after the lapse of ages there came another builder–an initiate after the order of Enoch–and he, while laying the foundations for another temple to the Great Architect of the Universe, discovered the long-lost vaults and the secrets contained within.
John Leylande was appointed by King Henry VIII to go through the archives of the various religious institutions dissolved by the king and remove for preservation any books or manuscripts of an important character. Among the documents copied by Leylande was a series of questions and answers concerning the mystery of Masonry written by King Henry VI. In answer to the question, “How came Masonry into England?” the document States that Peter Gower, a Grecian, traveled for knowledge in Egypt, Syria, and every land where the Phœnicians had planted Masonry; winning entrance in all lodges of Masons, he learned much, and returning, dwelt in Greater Greece. He became renowned for his wisdom, formed a great lodge at Groton, and made many Masons, some of whom journeyed in France, spreading Masonry there; from France in the course of time the order passed into England.
To even the superficial student of the subject it must be evident that the name of Peter Gower, the Grecian, is merely an Anglicized form of Pythagoras; consequently Groton, where he formed his lodge, is easily identified with Crotona. A link is thus established between the philosophic Mysteries of Greece and mediæval Freemasonry. In his notes on King Henry’s questions and answers, William Preston enlarges upon the vow of secrecy as it was practiced by the ancient initiates. On the authority of Pliny he describes how Anaxarchus, having been imprisoned in order to extort from him some of the secrets with which he had been entrusted, bit out his own tongue and threw it in the face of Nicocreon, the tyrant of Cyprus. Preston adds that the Athenians revered a brazen statue that was represented without a tongue to denote the sanctity with which they regarded their oath-bound secrets. It is also noteworthy that, according to King Henry’s manuscript, Masonry had its origin in the East and was the carrier of the arts and sciences of civilization to the primitive humanity of the western nations.
Conspicuous among the symbols of Freemasonry are the seven liberal arts and sciences. By grammar man is taught to express in noble and adequate language his innermost thoughts and ideals; by rhetoric he is enabled to conceal his ideals under the protecting cover of ambiguous language and figures of speech; by logiche is trained
THE MYSTERY OF THE MACROCOSM.
Redrawn from Cesariano’s Edition of Vitruvius.
Summarizing the relationship between the human body and the theory of architectonics, Vitruvius writes:
“Since nature has designed the human body so that its members are duly proportioned to the frame as a whole, it appears that the ancients had good reason for their rule, that in perfect building the different members must be in exact symmetrical relations to the whole general scheme. Hence, while transmitting to us the proper arrangements for buildings of all kinds, they were particularly careful to do so in the case of temples of the gods, buildings in which merits and faults usually last forever. * * * Therefore, if it is agreed that number was found out from the human fingers, and that there is a symmetrical correspondent between the members separately and the entire form of the body, in accordance with a certain part selected as standard, we can have nothing but respect for those who, in constructing temples of the immortal gods, have so arranged the members of the works that both the separate parts and the whole design may harmonize in their proportions and symmetry.” (See The Ten Books on Architecture)
By some it is believed that St. Paul was initiated into the Dionysiac Mysteries, for in the tenth verse of the third chapter of First Corinthians he calls himself a “master-builder” or adept: “According to the grace of God which is given into me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. ” As survivals of the ancient Dionysiac rites, the two diagrams of Cesariano, accompanying this chapter are of incalculable value to the modern mystic architect.
in the organization of the intellectual faculties with which he has been endowed; by arithmetic he not only is instructed in the mystery of universal order but also gains the key to multitude, magnitude, and proportion; by geometry he is inducted into the mathematics of form, the harmony and rhythm of angles, and the philosophy of organization; by music he is reminded that the universe is founded upon the laws of celestial harmonics and that harmony and rhythm are all-pervading; by astronomy he gains an understanding of the immensities of time and space, of the proper relationship between himself and the universe, and of the awesomeness of that Unknown Power which is driving the countless stars of the firmament through illimitable space. Equipped with the knowledge conferred by familiarity with the liberal arts and sciences, the studious Freemason therefore finds himself confronted by few problems with which he cannot cope.
THE DIONYSIAC ARCHITECTS
The most celebrated of the ancient fraternities of artisans was that of the Dionysiac Architects. This organization was composed exclusively of initiates of the Bacchus-Dionysos cult and was peculiarly consecrated to the science of building and the art of decoration. Acclaimed as being the custodians of a secret and sacred knowledge of architectonics, its members were entrusted with the design and erection of public buildings and monuments. The superlative excellence of their handiwork elevated the members of the guild to a position of surpassing dignity; they were regarded as the master craftsmen of the earth. Because of the first dances held in honor of Dionysos, he was considered the founder and patron of the theater, and the Dionysians specialized in the construction of buildings adapted for the presentation of dramatic performances. In the circular or semicircular orchestra they invariably erected an altar to Æschylus, the famous Greek poet, that while appearing in one of his own plays he was suspected by a mob of angry spectators of revealing one of the profound secrets of the Mysteries and was forced to seek refuge at the altar of Dionysos.
So carefully did the Dionysiac Architects safeguard the secrets of their craft that only fragmentary records exist of their esoteric teachings. John A. Weisse thus sums up the meager data available concerning the order:
“They made their appearance certainly not later than 1000 B.C., and appear to have enjoyed particular privileges and immunities. They also possessed secret means of recognition, and were bound together by special ties only known to themselves. The richer of this fraternity were bound to provide for their poorer brethren. They were divided into communities, governed by a Master and Wardens, and called γυνοικιαι (connected houses). They held a grand festival annually, and were held in high esteem. Their ceremonials were regarded as sacred. It has been claimed that Solomon, at the instance of Hiram, King of Tyre, employed them at his temple and palaces. They were also employed at the construction of the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. They had means of intercommunication all over the then known world, and from them, doubtless, sprang the guilds of the Traveling Masons known in the Middle Ages.” (See The Obelisk and Freemasonry.)
The fraternity of the Dionysiac Architects spread throughout all of Asia Minor, even reaching Egypt and India. They established themselves in nearly all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, and with the rise of the Roman Empire found their way into Central Europe and even into England. The most stately and enduring buildings in Constantinople, Rhodes, Athens, and Rome were erected by these inspired craftsmen. One of the most illustrious of their number was Vitruvius, the great architect, renowned as the author of De Architectura Libri Decem. In the various sections of his book Vitruvius gives several hints as to the philosophy underlying the Dionysiac concept of the principle of symmetry applied to the science of architecture, as derived from a consideration of the proportions established by Nature between the parts and members of the human body. The following extract from Vitruvius on the subject of symmetry is representative:
“The design of a temple depends on symmetry, the principles of which must be most carefully observed by the architect. They are due to proportion, in ἀναλογία. Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this result the principles of symmetry. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members, as in the case of those of a well shaped man. For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the crown is a fourth. If we take the height of the face itself, the distance from the bottom of the chin to the under side of the nostrils [and from that point] to a line between the eyebrows is the same; from there to the lowest roots of the hair is also a third, comprising the forehead. The length of the foot is one sixth of the height of the body; of the forearm, one fourth; and the breadth of the breast is also one fourth. The other members, too, have their own symmetrical proportions, and it was by employing them that the famous painters and sculptors of antiquity attained to great and endless renown.”
The edifices raised by the Dionysiac Builders were indeed “sermons in stone.” Though unable to comprehend fully the cosmic principles thus embodied in these masterpieces of human ingenuity and industry, even the uninitiated were invariably overwhelmed by the sense of majesty and symmetry resulting from the perfect coordination of pillars, spans, arches, and domes. By variations in the details of size, material, type, arrangement, ornamentation, and color, these inspired builders believed it possible to provoke in the nature of the onlooker certain distinct mental or emotional reactions. Vitruvius, for example, describes the disposition of bronze vases about a room so as to produce certain definite changes in the tone and quality of the human voice. In like manner, each chamber in the Mysteries through which the candidate passed had its own peculiar acoustics. Thus in one chamber the voice of the priest was amplified until his words caused the very room to vibrate, while in another the voice was diminished and softened to such a degree that it sounded like the distant tinkling of silver bells. Again, in some of the underground passageways the candidate was apparently bereft of the power of speech, for though he shouted at the top of his voice not even a whisper was audible to his ears. After progressing a few feet, however, he would discover that his softest sigh would be reechoed a hundred times.
The supreme ambition of the Dionysiac Architects was the construction of buildings which would create distinct impressions consistent with the purpose for which the structure itself was designed. In common with the Pythagoreans, they believed it possible by combinations of straight lines and curves to induce any desired mental attitude or emotion. They labored, therefore, to the end of producing a building perfectly harmonious with the structure of the universe itself. They may have even believed that an edifice so constructed because it was in no respect at variance with any existing reality would not be subject to dissolution but would endure throughout the span of mortal time. As a logical deduction from their philosophic trend of thought, such a building–en rapport with Cosmos–would also have become an oracle. Certain early works on magical philosophy hint that the Ark of the Covenant was oracular in character because of specially prepared chambers in its interior. These by their shape and arrangement were so attuned to the vibrations of the invisible world that they caught and amplified the voices of the ages imprinted upon and eternally existent in the substance of the astral light.
Unskilled in these ancient subtleties of their profession, modern architects often create architectural absurdities which would cause their creators to blush with shame did they comprehend their actual symbolic import. Thus, phallic emblems are strewn in profusion among the adornments of banks, office buildings, and department stores. Christian churches also may be surmounted with Brahmin or Mohammedan domes or be designed in a style suitable for a Jewish synagogue or a Greek temple to Pluto. These incongruities may be considered trivial in importance by the modern designer, but to the trained psychologist the purpose for which a building was erected is frustrated in large measure by the presence of such architectural discordances. Vitruvius thus defines the principle of propriety as conceived and applied by the Dionysians:
“Propriety is that: perfection of style which comes when a work is authoritatively constructed on approved principles. It arises from prescription (Greek θεματισμῷ), from usage, or from nature. From prescription, in the case of hypæthral edifices, open to the sky, in honour of Jupiter Lightning, the Heaven, the Sun, or the Moon: for these are gods whose semblances and manifestations we behold before our very eyes in the sky when it is cloudless and bright. The temples of Minerva, Mars, and Hercules will be Doric, since the virile strength of these gods makes daintiness entirely inappropriate to their houses. In temples to Venus, Flora, Proserpine, Spring-Water, and the Nymphs, the Corinthian order will be found to have peculiar significance, because these are delicate divinities and so its rather slender outlines, its flowers, leaves, and ornamental volutes will lend propriety where it is due. The construction of temples of the Ionic order to Juno, Diana, Father Bacchus, and the other gods of that kind, will be in keeping with the middle position which they hold; for the building of such will be an appropriate combination of the severity of the Doric and the delicacy of the Corinthian.”
In describing the societies of Ionian artificers, Joseph Da Costa declares the Dionysiac rites to have been founded upon the science of astronomy, which by the initiates of this order was correlated to the builder’s art. In various documents dealing with the origin of architecture are found hints to the effect that the great buildings erected by these initiated craftsmen were based upon geometrical patterns derived from the constellations. Thus, a temple might be planned according to the constellation of Pegasus or a court of judgment modeled after the constellation of the Scales. The Dionysians evolved a peculiar code by which they were able to communicate with one another in the dark and both the symbols and the terminology of their guild were derived, in the main, from the elements of architecture.
While stigmatized as pagans by reason of their philosophic principles, it is noteworthy that these Dionysiac craftsmen were almost universally employed in the erection of early Christian abbeys and cathedrals, whose stones even to this very day bear distinguishing marks and symbols cut into their surfaces by these illustrious builders. Among the ornate carvings upon the fronts of great churches of the Old World are frequently found representations of compasses, squares, rules, mallets, and clusters of builders’ tools skillfully incorporated into mural decorations and even placed in the hands of the effigies of saints and prophets standing in exalted niches. A great mystery was contained in the ancient portals of the Cathedral Of Notre Dame which were destroyed during the French Revolution, for among their carvings were numerous Rosicrucian and Masonic emblems; and according to the records preserved by alchemists who studied their bas-reliefs, the secret processes for metallic transmutation were set forth in their grotesque yet most significant figures.
The checkerboard floor upon which the modern Freemasonic lodge stands is the old tracing board of the Dionysiac Architects, and while the modern organization is no longer limited to workmen’s guilds it still preserves in its symbols the metaphysical doctrines of the ancient society of which it is presumably the outgrowth. The investigator of the origin of Freemasonic symbolism who desires to trace the development of the order through the ages will find a practical suggestion in the following statement of Charles W. Heckethorn:
“But considering that Freemasonry is a tree the roots of which spread through so many soils, it follows that traces thereof must be found in its fruit; that its language and ritual should retain much of the various sects and institutions it has passed through before arriving at their present state, and in Masonry we meet with Indian, Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian ideas, terms therefrom the supreme ambition of their craft and symbols.” (See The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries.)
The Roman Collegia of skilled architects were apparently a subdivision of the greater Ionian body, their principles and organization being practically identical with the older Ionian institution. It has been suspected that the Dionysians also profoundly influenced early Islamic culture, for part of their symbolism found its way into the Mysteries of the dervishes. At one time the Dionysians referred to themselves as Sons of Solomon, and one of the most important of their symbols was the Seal of Solomon–two interlaced triangles. This motif is frequently seen in conspicuous parts of Mohammedan mosques. The Knights Templars–who were suspected of anything and everything–are believed to have contacted these Dionysiac artificers and to have introduced many of their symbols and doctrines into mediæval Europe. But Freemasonry most of all owes to the Dionysiac cult the great mass of its symbols and rituals which are related to the science of architecture. From these ancient and illustrious artisans it also received the legacy of the unfinished Temple of Civilization-that vast, invisible structure upon which these initiated builders have labored continuously since the inception of their fraternity. This mighty edifice, which has fallen and been rebuilt time after time but whose foundations remain unmoved, is the true Everlasting House of which the temple on the brow of Mount Moriah was but an impermanent symbol.
Aside from the operative aspect of their order, the Dionysiac Architects had a speculative philosophic code. Human society they considered as a rough and untrued ashlar but lately chiseled from the quarry of elemental Nature. This crude block was the true object upon which these skilled craftsmen labored–polishing it, squaring it, and with the aid of fine carvings transforming it into a miracle of beauty. While mystics released their souls from the bondage of matter by meditation and philosophers found their keenest joy in the profundities of thought, these master workmen achieved liberation from the Wheel of Life and Death by learning to swing their hammers with the same rhythm that moves the swirling forces of Cosmos. They venerated the Deity under the guise of a Great Architect and Master Craftsman who was ever gouging rough ashlars from the fields of space and truing them into universes. The Dionysians affirmed constructiveness to be the supreme expression of the soul, and attuning themselves with the ever-visible constructive natural processes going on around them, believed immortality could be achieved by thus becoming a part of the creative agencies of Nature.
SOLOMON, THE PERSONIFICATION OF UNIVERSAL WISDOM
The name Solomon may be divided into three syllables, SOL-OM-ON, symbolizing light, glory, and truth collectively and respectively. The Temple of Solomon is, therefore, first of all “the House of Everlasting Light,” its earthly symbol being the temple of stone on the brow of Mount Moriah. According to the Mystery teachings, there are three Temples of Solomon–as there are three Grand Masters, three Witnesses, and three Tabernacles of the Transfiguration. The first temple is the Grand House of the Universe, in the midst of which sits the sun (SOL) upon his golden throne. The twelve signs of the zodiac as Fellow-Craftsmen gather around their shining lord. Three lights–the stellar, the solar, and the lunar–illuminate this Cosmic Temple. Accompanied by his retinue of planets, moons, and asteroids, this Divine King (SOLomon), whose glory no earthly monarch shall ever equal, passes in stately pomp down the avenues of space. Whereas CHiramrepresents the active physical light of the sun, SOLomon signifies its invisible but all-powerful, spiritual and intellectual effulgency.
The second symbolic temple is the human body-the Little House made in the image of the Great Universal House. “Know ye not,” asked the Apostle Paul, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Freemasonry within a temple of stone cannot be other than speculative, but Freemasonry within the living temple of the body is operative. The third symbolic temple is the Soular House, an invisible structure, the comprehension of which is a supreme Freemasonic arcanum. The mystery of this intangible edifice is concealed under the allegory of the Soma Psuchicon, or Wedding Garment described by St. Paul, the Robes of Glory of the High Priest of Israel, the Yellow Robe of the Buddhist monk, and the Robe of Blue and Gold to which Albert Pike refers in his Symbolism. The soul, constructed from an invisible fiery substance, a flaming golden metal, is cast by the Master Workman, CHiram Abiff, into the mold of clay (the physical body) and is called the Molten Sea. The temple of the human soul is built by three Master Masons personifying Wisdom, Love, and Service, and when constructed according to the Law of Life the spirit of God dwells in the Holy Place thereof. The Soular Temple is the true Everlasting House, and he who can raise
THE MYSTERY OF THE MICROCOSM.
Redrawn from Cesariano’s Edition of Vitruvius.
Herein is depicted the mysterious Word of Plato which was crucified in space before the foundation of the world. The anonymous author of The Canon writes:
“The Logos or soul of the world, according to Plato, the Greek Hermes, and the Christ, according to the Christian Gnostics, are all one and the same as the Hebrew Adam Kadmon, who is the second person of the cabalistic triad. The Cyllenian Hermes, described by Hippolytus, so exactly resembles the lesser man found in Cesariano’s edition of Vitruvius, that they may be justifiably considered to be identical.”
After relating the figure to Dionysus because of the vine leaves wound in the hair, the same writer concludes: “Here we have clearly and distinctly a curious survival of the cosmic deity of Greece, copied and disfigured by the crude draughtsmen of the Middle Ages, but faithfully preserved, and recognizable to the last.” Similar figures are to be found in Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia. Like Cesariano’s diagrams, however, the key given for their interpretation is most inadequate. Agrippa declares that, being a type of the lesser world, man contains in himself all numbers, measures, weights, motions, and elements. The secret doctrine of Freemasonry, like that of the Dionysiac Architects, is concerned primarily with the effort to measure or estimate philosophically the parts and proportions of the microcosm, so that by the knowledge derived therefrom the supreme ambition of their craft might be realized–the creation of a perfect man.
or cast it is a Master Mason indeed! The best-informed Masonic writers have realized that Solomon’s Temple is a representation in miniature of the Universal Temple. Concerning this point, A. E. Waite, in A New Encyclopædia of Freemasonry, writes: “It is macrocosmic in character, so that the Temple is a symbol of the universe, a type of manifestation itself.”
Solomon, the Spirit of Universal Illumination–mental, spiritual, moral, and physical–is personified in the king of an earthly nation. While a great ruler by that name may have built a temple, he who considers the story solely from its historical angle will never clear away the rubbish that covers the secret vaults. The rubbish is interpolated matter in the form of superficial symbols, allegories, and degrees which have no legitimate part in the original Freemasonic Mysteries. Concerning the loss of the true esoteric key to Masonic secrets, Albert Pike writes:
“No one journeys now ‘from the high place of Cabaon to the threshing floor of Oman the Yebusite,’ nor has seen, ‘his Master, clothed in blue and gold;’ nor are apprentices and Fellow-crafts any longer paid at their respective Columns; nor is the Master’s working tool the Tracing Board, nor does he use in his work ‘Chalk, Charcoal, and an Earthen Vessel,’ nor does the Apprentice, becoming a Fellow Craft, pass from the square to the compass; for the meanings of these phrases as symbols have long been lost.”
According to the ancient Rabbins, Solomon was an initiate of the Mystery schools and the temple which he built was actually a house of initiation containing amass of pagan philosophic and phallic emblems. The pomegranates, the palm-headed columns, the Pillars before the door, the Babylonian cherubim, and the arrangement of the chambers and draperies all indicate the temple to have been patterned after the sanctuaries of Egypt and Atlantis. Isaac Myer, in The Qabbalah, makes the following observation:
“The pseudo-Clement of Rome, writes: ‘God made man male and female. The male is Christ: the female, the Church.’ The Qabbalists called the Holy Spirit, the mother, and the Church of Israel, the Daughter. Solomon engraved on the walls of his Temple, likenesses of the male and female principles, to adumbrate this mystery; such, it is said, were the figures of the cherubim. This was, however, not in obedience to the words of the Thorah. They were symbolical of the Upper, the spiritual, the former or maker, positive or male, and the Lower, the passive, the negative or female, formed or made by the first.”
Masonry came to Northern Africa and Asia Minor from the lost continent of Atlantis, not under its present name but rather under the general designation Sun and Fire Worship. The ancient Mysteries did not cease to exist when Christianity became the world’s most powerful religion. Great Pan did not die! Freemasonry is the proof of his survival. The pre-Christian Mysteries simply assumed the symbolism of the new faith, perpetuating through its emblems and allegories the same truths which had been the property of the wise since the beginning of the world. There is no true explanation, therefore, for Christian symbols save that which is concealed within pagan philosophy. Without the mysterious keys carried by the hierophants of the Egyptian, Brahmin, and Persian cults the gates of Wisdom cannot be opened. Consider with reverent spirit, therefore, the sublime allegory of the Temple and its Builders, realizing that beneath its literal interpretation lies hidden a Royal Secret.
According to the Talmudic legends, Solomon understood the mysteries of the Qabbalah. He was also an alchemist and a necromancer, being able to control the dæmons, and from them and other inhabitants of the invisible worlds he secured much of his wisdom. In his translation of Clavicula Salomonis, or The Key of Solomon the King, a work presumably setting forth the magical secrets gathered by Solomon and used by him in the conjuration of spirits and which, according to Frank C. Higgins, contains many sidelights on Masonic initiatory rituals, S. L. MacGregor-Mathers recognizes the probability that King Solomon was a magician in the fullest sense of that word. “I see no reason to doubt,” he affirms, “the tradition which assigns the authorship of the ‘Key’ to King Solomon, for among others Josephus, the Jewish historian, especially mentions the magical works attributed to that monarch; this is confirmed by many Eastern traditions, and his magical skill is frequently mentioned in the Arabian Nights.”
Concerning Solomon’s supernatural powers, Josephus writes in his Eighth Book of the Antiquities of the Jews:
“Now the sagacity and wisdom which God had bestowed on Solomon was so great that he exceeded the ancients, in so much that he was no way inferior to the Egyptians, who are said to have been beyond all men in understanding; * * * God also enabled him to learn that skill which expelled demons, which is a science useful and sanative to him. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day.”
The mediæval alchemists were convinced that King Solomon understood the secret processes of Hermes by means of which it was possible to multiply metals. Dr. Bacstrom writes that the Universal Spirit (CHiram) assisted King Solomon to build his temple, because Solomon being wise in the wisdom of alchemy knew how to control this incorporeal essence and, setting it to work for him, caused the invisible universe to supply him with vast amounts of gold and silver which most people believed were mined by natural methods.
The mysteries of the Islamic faith are now in the keeping of the dervishes–men who, renouncing worldliness, have withstood the test of a thousand and one days of temptation. Jelal-ud-din, the great Persian Sufic poet and philosopher, is accredited with having founded the Order of Mevlevi, or the “dancing dervishes,” whose movements exoterically signify the motions of the celestial bodies and esoterically result in the establishment of a rhythm which stimulates the centers of spiritual consciousness within the dancer’s body.
“According to the mystical canon, there are always on earth a certain number of holy men who are admitted to intimate communion with the Deity. The one who occupies the highest position among his contemporaries is called the ‘Axis’ (Qūtb) or ‘Pole’ of his time. * * * Subordinate to the Qūtb are two holy beings who bear the title of ‘The Faithful Ones,’ and are assigned places on his right and left respectively. Below these is a quartette of ‘Intermediate Ones’ (Evtād); and on successively lower planes ate five ‘Lights’ (Envār), and seven ‘Very Good’ (Akhyār). The next rank is filled by forty ‘Absent Ones’ (Rijal-i-ghaib), also termed ‘Martyrs’ (Shuheda). When an ‘Axis’ quits this earthly existence, he is succeeded by the ‘Faithful One’ who has occupied the place at his right hand. * * * For to these holy men, who also bear the collective titles of ‘Lords of Souls,’ and ‘Directors,’ is committed a spiritual supremacy over mankind far exceeding the temporal authority of earthly rulers.” (See Mysticism and Magic in Turkey, by L. M. J. Garnett.)
The Axis is a mysterious individual who, unknown and unsuspected, mingles with mankind and who, according to tradition, has his favorite seat upon the roof of the Caaba. J. P. Brown, in The Dervishes, gives a description of these “Master Souls.”
FREEMASONRY’S PRICELESS HERITAGE
The sanctum sanctorum of Freemasonry is ornamented with the gnostic jewels of a thousand ages; its rituals ring with the divinely inspired words of seers and sages. A hundred religious have brought their gifts of wisdom to its altar; arts and sciences unnumbered have contributed to its symbolism. Freemasonry is a world-wide university, teaching the liberal arts and sciences of the soul to all who will hearken to its words. Its chairs are seats of learning and its pillars uphold an arch of universal education. Its trestleboards are inscribed with the eternal verities of all ages and upon those who comprehend its sacred depths has dawned the realization that within the Freemasonic Mysteries lie hidden the long-lost arcana sought by all peoples since the genesis of human reason.
The philosophic power of Freemasonry lies in its symbols–its priceless heritage from the Mystery schools of antiquity. In a letter to Robert Freke Gould, Albert Pike writes:
“It began to shape itself to my intellectual vision into something more imposing and majestic, solemnly mysterious and grand. It seemed to me like the Pyramids in their loneliness, in whose yet undiscovered chambers may be hidden, for the enlightenment of coming generations, the sacred books of the Egyptians, so long lost to the world; like the Sphynx half buried in the desert. In its symbolism, which and its spirit of brotherhood are its essence, Freemasonry is more ancient than any of the world’s living religions. It has the symbols and doctrines which, older than himself, Zarathustra inculcated; and ii seemed to me a spectacle sublime, yet pitiful–the ancient Faith of our ancestors holding out to the world its symbols once so eloquent, and mutely and in vain asking for an interpreter. And so I came at last to see that the true greatness and majesty of Freemasonry consist in its proprietorship of these and its other symbols; and that its symbolism is its soul.”
Though the temples of Thebes and Karnak be now but majestic heaps of broken and time-battered stone, the spirit: of Egyptian philosophy still marches triumphant through the centuries. Though the rock-hewn sanctuaries of the ancient Brahmins be now deserted and their carvings crumbled into dust, still the wisdom of the Vedas endures. Though the oracles be silenced and the House of the Mysteries be now but rows of ghostly columns, still shines the spiritual glory of Hellas with luster undiminished. Though Zoroaster, Hermes, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle are now but dim memories in a world once rocked by the transcendency of their intellectual genius, still in the mystic temple of Freemasonry these god-men live again in their words and symbols; and the candidate, passing through the initiations, feels himself face to face with these illumined hierophants of days long past.