THE ROOTS OF RITUALISM IN CHURCH
THEOSOPHISTS are very often, and very unjustly too,
accused of infidelity and even of Atheism. This is a grave error, especially
with regard to the latter charge.
In a large society, composed of so many races and nationalities, in an
association wherein every man and woman is left to believe in whatever he
or she likes, and to follow or not to follow--just as they please--the religion
they were born and brought up in, there is but little room left for Atheism.
As for "infidelity," it becomes a misnomer and a fallacy. To show
how absurd is the charge, in any case, it is sufficient to ask our traducers
to point out to us, in the whole civilized world, that person who is not
regarded as an "infidel" by some other person belonging to
some different creed. Whether one moves in highly respectable and orthodox
circles, or in a so-called heterodox "society," it is all the
same. It is a mutual accusation, tacitly, if not openly, expressed; a kind
of a mental game at shuttlecock and battledore flung reciprocally, and in
polite silence, at each other's heads. In sober reality, then, no theosophist
any more than a non-theosophist can be an infidel; while, on the other hand,
there is no human being living who is not an infidel in the opinion of some
sectarian or other. As to the charge of Atheism, it is quite another question.
What is Atheism, we ask, first of all? Is it disbelief
in and denial of the existence of a God, or Gods, or simply the refusal
to accept a personal deity on the somewhat gushy definition of R. Hall,
who explains Atheism as "a ferocious system" because, "it
leaves nothing above (?) us to excite awe, nor around us to
awaken tenderness" (!) If the former, then most of our members--the
hosts in India, Burmah, and elsewhere--would demur, as they believe in Gods
and supernal beings, and are in great awe of some of them. Nor would
a number of Western Theosophists fail to confess their full belief in Spirits,
whether spatial or planetary, ghosts or angels. Many of us accept the existence
of high and low Intelligences, and of Beings as great as any "personal"
God. This is no occult secret. What we confessed to in the November LUCIFER (editorial), we reiterate again. Most of us believe
in the survival of the Spiritual Ego, in Planetary Spirits and Nirmanakayas,
those great Adepts of the past ages, who, renouncing their right to
Nirvana, remain in our spheres of being, not as "spirits" but
as complete spiritual human Beings. Save their corporeal, visible envelope,
which they leave behind, they remain as they were, in order to help poor
humanity, as far as can be done without sinning against Karmic law. This
is the "Great Renunciation," indeed; an incessant, conscious self-sacrifice
throughout æons and ages till that day when the eyes of blind mankind
will open and, instead of the few, all will see the universal truth.
These Beings, may well be regarded as God and Gods--if they would but allow
the fire in our hearts, at the thought of that purest of all sacrifices,
to be fanned into the flame of adoration, or the smallest altar in their
honour. But they will not. Verily, "the secret heart is fair Devotion's
(only) temple," and any other, in this case, would be no better than
Now with regard to other invisible Beings, some of whom are still higher,
and others far lower on the scale of divine evolution. To the latter we
will have nothing to say; the former will have nothing to say to us: for
we are as good as non-existent for them. The homogeneous can take no cognizance
of the heterogeneous; and unless we learn to shuffle off our mortal coil
and commune with them "spirit to spirit," we can hardly hope to
recognize their true nature. Moreover, every true Theosophist holds that
the divine HIGHER SELF of every
mortal man is of the same essence as the essence of these Gods. Being, moreover,
endowed with free-will, hence having, more than they, responsibility, we
regard the incarnated EGO as far superior to, if not
more divine than, any spiritual INTELLIGENCE still
awaiting incarnation. Philosophically, the reason for this is obvious,
and every metaphysician of the Eastern school will understand it. The incarnated
EGO has odds against it which do not exist in the case
of a pure divine Essence unconnected with matter; the latter has no personal
merit, whereas the former is on his way to final perfection through the
trials of existence, of pain and suffering. The shadow of Karma does not
fall upon that which is divine and unalloyed, and so different from us that
no relation can exist between the two. As to those deities which are regarded
in the Hindu esoteric Pantheon as finite and therefore under the sway of
Karma, no true philosopher would ever worship them; they are signs and symbols.
Shall we then be regarded as atheists, only because while believing in
Spiritual Hosts--those beings who have to be worshipped in their collectivity
as a personal God--we reject them absolutely as representing the
ONE Unknown? and because we affirm that the eternal
Principle, the ALL in ALL, or
the Absoluteness of the Totality, cannot be expressed
by limited words, nor be symbolized by anything with conditioned and qualificative
attributes? Shall we, more over, permit to pass without protest the charge
against us of idolatry--by the Roman Catholics, of all men? They, whose
religion is as pagan as any other of the solar and element worshippers;
whose creed was framed out for them, cut and dry, ages before the year I
of Christian era; and whose dogmas and rites are the same as those of every
idolatrous nation--if any such nation still exists in spirit anywhere
at this day. Over the whole face of the earth, from the North to the South
Pole, from the frozen gulfs of Northland to the torrid plains of Southern
India, from Central America to Greece and Chaldea, the Solar Fire, as the
symbol of divine Creative Power, of Life and Love, was worshipped. The union
of the Sun (male element)with Earth and the Water (matter, the female element)
was celebrated in the temples of the whole Universe. If Pagans had a feast
commemorative of this union--which they celebrated nine months ere the Winter
Solstice, when Isis was said to have conceived--so have the Roman Catholic
Christians. The great and holy day of the Annunciation,
the day on which the Virgin Mary "found favour with(her) God"
and conceived "the Son of the Highest," is kept
by Christians nine months before Christmas. Hence, the worship of
the Fire, lights and lamps in the churches. Why? Because Vulcan, the fire-God,
married Venus, the daughter of the Sea; that the Magi watched over the sacred
fire in the East, and the Virgin-Vestals in the West. The Sun was the "Father";
Nature, the eternal Virgin Mother: Osiris and Isis, Spirit-Matter, the latter
worshipped under each of its three states by Pagan and Christian. Hence
the Virgins--even in Japan--clothed with star-spangled blue, standing on
the lunar crescent, as symbolical of female Nature (in her three elements
of Air, Water, Earth); Fire or the male Sun, fecundating her yearly with
his radiant beams (the "cloven tongues like as of fire" of the
In Kalevala the oldest epic Poem of the Finns, of the pre-Christian
antiquity of which there remains no doubt in the minds of scholars, we read
of the gods of Finland, the gods of air and water, of fire and the forest,
of Heaven and the Earth. In the superb translation by J. M. Crawford, in
Rune L (Vol. II) the reader will find the whole legend of the Virgin Mary
Mariatta child of beauty,
Virgin-Mother of theNorthland. . .
Ukko, the great Spirit, whose abode is in Yûmäla, the sky
or Heaven, chooses the Virgin Mariatta as his vehicle to incarnate through
her in a Man-God. She becomes pregnant by plucking and eating a red berry
(marja), when, repudiated by her parents, she gives birth
to a "Son immortal," in the manger of a stable. Then the
"Holy Babe" disappears, and Mariatta is in search of him. She
asks a star, "the guiding star of Northland," where her "holy
baby lies hidden," but the star answers her angrily:--
If I knew, I would not tell thee;
'Tis thy child that me created,
In the cold to shine for ever. . . .
and tells the Virgin nothing. Nor will the golden moon help her, because,
Mariatta's babe having created her, left her in the great sky:--
Here to wander in the darkness,
All alone at eve to wander,
Shining for the good of others. . . .
It is only the "Silver Sun" who, taking pity upon the Virgin-Mother,
Yonder is thy golden infant,
There thy holy babe lies sleeping,
Hidden to his belt in water,
Hidden in the reeds and rushes.
She takes the holy baby home, and while the mother calls him "Flower,"
Others named him Son of Sorrow.
Is this a post-Christian legend? Not at all; for, as said, it is essentially
pagan in origin and recognized as pre-Christian. Hence, with such data
in hand in literature, the ever-recurring taunts of idolatry and atheism,
of infidelity and paganism, ought to cease. The term idolatry,
moreover, is of Christian origin. It was used by the early Nazarenes,
during the 2½ centuries of our era, against those nations who used
temples and churches, statues and images, because they, the early Christians
themselves, had neither temples, statues, nor images,
all of which they abhorred. Therefore the term "idolatrous"
fits far better our accusers than ourselves, as this article will show.
With Madonnas on every cross road, their thousands of statues, from Christs
and Angels in every shape down to Popes and Saints, it is rather a dangerous
thing for a Catholic to taunt any Hindu or Buddhist with idolatry. The assertion
has now to be proved.
We may begin by the origin of the word God. What is the real and primitive
meaning of the term? Its meanings and etymologies are as many as they are
various. One of them shows the word derived from an old Persian and mystic
term goda. It means "itself," or something self-emanating
from the absolute Principle. The root word was godan--whence Wodan,
Woden, and Odin, the Oriental radical having been left almost unaltered
by the Germanic races. Thus they made of it gott, from which
the adjective gut--"good," as also the term gotz,
or idol, were derived. In ancient Greece, the word Zeus and Theos led
to the Latin Deus. This goda, the emanation, is not,
and cannot be, identical with that from which it radiates, and is, therefore,
but a periodical, finite manifestation. Old Aratus, who wrote "full
of Zeus are all the streets and the markets of man; full of Him is the sea
and the harbours," did not limit his deity to such a temporary reflection
on our terrestrial plane as Zeus, or even its antetype--Dyaus, but meant,
indeed, the universal, omnipresent Principle. Before the radiant god Dyaus
(the sky) attracted the notice of man, there was the Vedic Tad ("that")
which, to the Initiate and philosopher, would have no definite name, and
which was the absolute Darkness that underlies every manifested radiancy.
No more than the mythical Jupiter--the latter reflection of Zeus--could
Surya, the Sun, the first manifestation in the world of Maya and the Son
of Dyaus, fail to be termed "Father" by the ignorant. Thus the
Sun became very soon interchangeable and one with Dyaus; for some, the "Son,"
for others, the "Father" in the radiant sky; Dyaus-Pitar,
the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father, truly shows, however,
his finite origin by having the Earth assigned to him as a wife. It is during
the full decadence of metaphysical philosophy that Dyâva-prithivi
"Heaven and Earth" began to be represented as the Universal
cosmic parents, not alone of men, but of the gods also. From the original
conception, abstract and poetical, the ideal cause fell into grossness.
Dyaus, the sky, became very soon Dyaus or Heaven, the abode of the "Father,"
and finally, indeed, that Father himself. Then the Sun, upon being made
the symbol of the latter, received the title of Dina-Kara "day-maker,"
of Bhaskara "light-maker," now the Father of his Son, and
vice versa. The reign of ritualism and of anthropomorphic cults was
henceforth established and finally degraded the whole world, retaining supremacy
to the present civilized age.
Such being the common origin, we have but to contrast the two deities--the
god of the Gentiles and the god of the Jews--on their own revealed WORD; and judging them on their respective definitions of
themselves, conclude intuitively which is the nearest to the grandest ideal.
We quote Colonel Ingersoll, who brings Jehovah and Brahma parallel with
each other. The former, "from the clouds and darkness of Sinai,"
said to the Jews:--
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . . Thou shalt not bow down
thyself to them nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me." Contrast this with
the words put by the Hindu into the mouth of Brahm: "I am the same
to all mankind. They who honestly serve other gods, involuntarily worship
me. I am he who partaketh of all worship, and I am the reward of all worshippers."
Compare these passages. The first, a dungeon where crawl the things begot
of jealous slime; the other, great as the domed firmament inlaid with suns.
. . .
The "first" is the god who haunted Calvin's fancy, when he
added to his doctrine of predestination that of Hell being paved with the
skulls of unbaptized infants. The beliefs and dogmas of our churches
are far more blasphemous in the ideas they imply than those of the benighted
Heathen. The amours of Brahmâ, under the form of a buck,
with his own daughter, as a deer, or of Jupiter with Leda, under that of
a swan, are grand allegories. They were never given out as a revelation,
but known to have been the products of the poetic fancy of Hesiod and
other mythologists. Can we say as much of the immaculate daughters of
the god of the Roman Catholic Church--Anna and Mary? Yet, even to breathe
that the Gospel narratives are allegories too, as they would be most sacrilegious
were they accepted in their dead letter, constitutes in a Christian born
the acme of blasphemy!
Verily, they may whitewash and mask as much as they like the god of Abraham
and Isaac, they shall never be able to disprove the assertion of Marcion,
who denied that the God of Hate could be the same as the "Father
of Jesus." Heresy or not, but the "Father in Heaven" of the
Churches remained since then a hybrid creature; a mixture between the Jove
of the Pagan mobs and the "jealous God" of Moses, exoterically
the SUN, whose abode is in Heaven, or the sky, esoterically.
Does he not give birth to LIGHT "that shineth
in Darkness," to the Day, the bright Dyaus, the Son, and is he not
the MOST HIGH--Deus Clum? And is it not
again Terra, the "Earth," the ever immaculate as
the ever prolific Virgin who, fecundated by the ardent embraces of her "Lord"--the
fructifying rays of the Sun, becomes, in this terrestrial sphere, the mother
of all that lives and breathes on her vast bosom? Hence, the sacredness
of her products in Ritualism--the bread and the
wine. Hence also, the ancient messis, the great sacrifice
to the goddess of harvest (Ceres Eleusina, the Earth again):
messis, for the Initiates, missa for the profane,1
now transformed into the Christian mass or liturgy.
The ancient oblation of the fruits of the Earth to the Sun,
the Deus Aitissimus, "the Most High," the symbol
of the G. A. O. T. U. of the Masons to this day, became the foundation of
the most important ritual among the ceremonies of the new religion. The
worship offered to Osiris-Isis (the Sun and the Earth),2
to Bel and the cruciform Astarte of the Babylonians; to Odin or Thor and
Friga, of the Scandinavians; to Belen and the Virgo Paritura of the
Celts; to Apollo and the Magna Mater of the Greeks; all these couples
having the same meaning, passed bodily to, and were transformed by, the
Christians into the Lord God or the Holy Ghost descending upon the Virgin
Deus Sol or Solus, the Father, was made interchangeable
with the Son: the "Father" in his noon glory, he became the "Son"
at Sun-rise, when he was said to "be born." This idea received
its full apotheosis annually on December the 25th, during the Vernal Solstice,
when the Sun--hence the solar gods of all the nations--was said to be born.
Natalis solis invicte. And the "precursor" of the resurrecting
Sun grows, and waxes strong, until the vernal
equinox, when the god Sol begins its annual course, under the sign of the
Ram or the Lamb, the first lunar week of the month. The 1st
of March was feasted throughout all pagan Greece, as its neomenia was
sacred to Diana. Christian nations celebrate their Easter, for the same
reason, on the first Sunday that follows the full moon, at the Vernal Equinox.
With the festivals of the Pagans, the canonicals of their priests and Hierophants
were copied by Christendom. Will this be denied? In his "Life of Constantine"
Eusebius confesses thus saying, perhaps, the only truth he ever uttered
in his life--that "in order to render Christianity more attractive
to the Gentiles, the priests (of Christ) adopted the exterior
vestments and ornaments used in the pagan cult." He might
have added "their rituals" and dogmas also.
It is a matter of History--however unreliable the latter--for a number
of facts preserved by ancient writers corroborate it, that Church Ritualism
and Freemasonry have sprung from the same source, and developed hand in
hand. But as Masonry, even with its errors and later innovations, was far
nearer the truth than the Church, the latter began very soon her persecutions
against it. Masonry was, in its origin, simply archaic Gnosticism, or early
esoteric Christianity; Church Ritualism was, and is, exoteric
paganism, pure and simple--remodelled, we do not
say reformed. Read the works of Ragon, a Mason who forgot more than
the Masons of to-day know. Study, collating them together, the casual but
numerous statements made by Greek and Latin writers, many of whom were Initiates,
most learned Neophytes and partakers of the Mysteries. Read finally the
elaborate and venomous slanders of the Church Fathers against the Gnostics,
the Mysteries and their Initiates--and you may end by unravelling the truth.
It is a few philosophers who, driven by the political events of the day,
tracked and persecuted by the fanatical Bishops of early Christianity--who
had yet neither fixed ritual nor dogmas nor Church--it is these Pagans who
founded the latter. Blending most ingeniously the truths of the Wisdom-religion
with the exoteric fictions so dear to the ignorant mobs, it is they who
laid the first foundations of ritualistic Churches and of the Lodges of
modern Masonry. The latter fact was demonstrated by Ragon in his ANTE-OMNIÆ of the modern Liturgy
compared with the ancient Mysteries, and showing the rituals conducted by
the early Masons; the former may be ascertained by a like comparison of
the Church canonicals, the sacred vessels, and the festivals of the Latin
and other Churches, with those of the pagan nations. But Churches and Masonry
have widely diverged since the days when both were one. If asked how a profane
can know it, the answer comes: ancient and modern Freemasonry are an obligatory
study with every Eastern Occultist.
Masonry, its paraphernalia and modern innovations
(the Biblical Spirit in it especially) notwithstanding, does good both on
the moral and physical planes--or did so, hardly ten years ago, at any rate.3 It was a true ecclesia in the sense of fraternal
union and mutual help, the only religion in the world, if we regard
the term as derived from the word religare, "to bind"
together, as it made all men belonging to it "brothers"--regardless
of race and faith. Whether with the enormous wealth at its
command it could not do far more than it does now, is no business of ours.
We see no visible, crying evil from this institution, and no one yet, save
the Roman Church, has ever been found to show that it did any harm. Can Church
Christianity say as much? Let ecclesiastical and profane history
answer the question. For one, it has divided the whole mankind into Cains
and Abels; it has slaughtered millions in the name of her God--the Lord
of Hosts, truly, the ferocious Jehovah Sabbaoth--and instead
of giving an impetus to civilization, the favourite boast of her followers--it
has retarded it during the long and weary Mediæval ages. It is only
under the relentless assaults of science and the revolt of men trying to
free themselves, that it began to lose ground and could no longer arrest
enlightenment. Yet has it not softened, as claimed, the "barbarous
spirit of Heathendom"? We say no, most emphatically. It is Churchianity
with its odium theologicum, since it could no longer repress
human progress, which infused its lethal spirit of intolerance, its ferocious
selfishness, greediness, and cruelty into modern civilization under the
mask of cant and meek Christianity. When were the Pagan Cæsars
more bloodthirsty or more coolly cruel than are the modern Potentates and
their armies? When did the millions of the Proletariat starve as they do
now? When has mankind shed more tears and suffered than at present?
Yes; there was a day when the Church and Masonry were one. These were
centuries of intense moral reaction, a transitional period of thought as
heavy as a nightmare, an age of strife. Thus, when the creation of new ideals
led to the apparent pulling down of the old fanes and the destruction of
old idols, it ended in reality with the rebuilding of those temples out
of the old materials, and the erection of the same idols under new names.
It was a universal rearrangement and whitewashing--but only skin deep. History
will never be able to tell us--but tradition and judicious research do--how
many semi-Hierophants and even high Initiates were forced to become renegades
in order to ensure the survival of the secrets of Initiation. Prætextatus,
pro-consul at Achaia, is credited with remarking in the IVth century of
our era, that "to deprive the Greeks of the sacred mysteries which
bind together the whole mankind was equivalent to depriving them of
their life." The Initiates took perhaps the hint, and thus joining
nolens volens the followers of the new faith, then becoming all domineering,
acted accordingly. Some hellenized Jewish Gnostics did the same; and thus
more than one "Clemens Alexandrinus"--a convert to all appearance,
an ardent Neo-Platonist and the same philosophical pagan at heart--became
the instructor of ignorant Christian Bishops. In short the convert malgré
lui blended the two external mythologies, the old and the new, and while
giving out the compound to the masses, kept the sacred truths for himself.
The kind of Christians they made may be inferred from the example of
Synesius, the Neo-Platonist. What scholar is ignorant of the fact, or would
presume to deny, that the favourite and devoted pupil of Hypatia--the virgin-philosopher,
the martyr and victim of the infamous Cyril of Alexandria--had not even
been baptised when first offered by the bishops of Egypt the Episcopalian
See of the Ptolemaïd? Every student is aware that, when finally baptised,
after having accepted the office proffered, it was so skin-deep that
he actually signed his consent only after his conditions had been complied
with and his future privileges guaranteed. What the chief clause was, is
curious. It was a sine quâ non condition that he was to be
allowed to abstain from professing the (Christian) doctrines, that he, the
new Bishop, did not believe in! Thus, although baptised and ordained in
the degrees of deaconship, priesthood, and episcopate, he never separated
himself from his wife, never gave up his Platonic philosophy, nor even his
sport so strictly forbidden to every other bishop. This occurred as late
as the Vth century.
Such transactions between initiated philosophers and ignorant priests
of reformed Judaism were numerous in those days. The former sought to save
their "mystery-vows" and personal dignity, and to do so they had
to resort to a much-to-be-regretted compromise with ambition, ignorance,
and the rising wave of popular fanaticism. They believed in Divine Unity,
the ONE or Solus, unconditioned and unknowable;
and still they consented to render public homage and pay reverence to Sol,
the Sun moving among his twelve apostles, the I2 signs of the Zodiac, alias
the 12 Sons of Jacob. The hoi polloi remaining ignorant
of the former, worshipped the latter, and in them, their old time-honoured
gods. To transfer that worship from the solar-lunar and other cosmic deities
to the Thrones, Archangels, Dominions, and Saints was no difficult matter;
the more so since the said sidereal dignities were received into the new
Christian Canon with their old names almost unchanged. Thus, while, during
Mass, the "Grand Elect" reiterated, under his breath, his absolute
adherence to the Supreme Universal Unity of the "incomprehensible Workman,"
and pronounced in solemn and loud tones the "Sacred Word" (now
substituted by the Masonic "Word at low breath"), his assistant
proceeded with the chanting of the Kyriel of names
of those inferior sidereal beings whom the masses were made to worship.
To the profane catechumen, indeed, who had offered prayers but a few months
or weeks before to the Bull Apis and the holy Cynocephalus, to the sacred
ibis and the hawk-headed Osiris, St. John's eagle4
and the divine Dove (witness of the Baptism while hovering over the Lamb
of God), must have appeared as the most natural development and sequence
to his own national and sacred zoology, which he had been taught to worship
since the day of his birth.
It may thus be shown that both modern Freemasonry and Church ritualism
descend in direct line from initiated Gnostics, Neo-Platonists, and renegade
Hierophants of the Pagan Mysteries, the secrets of which they have lost,
but which have been nevertheless preserved by those who would not compromise.
If both Church and Masons are willing to forget the history of their true
origin, the theosophists are not. They repeat: Masonry and the three great
Christian religions are all inherited goods. The "ceremonies and passwords"
of the former, and the prayers, dogmas, and rites of the latter, are travestied
copies of pure Paganism (copied and borrowed as diligently by the Jews),
and of Neo-Platonic theosophy. Also, that the "passwords" used
even now by Biblical Masons and connected with "the tribe of Judah,"
"Tubal-Cain," and other Zodiacal dignitaries of the Old Testament,
are the Jewish aliases of the ancient gods of the heathen mobs,
not of the gods of the Hierogrammatists, the interpreters of the true mysteries.
That which follows proves it well. The good Masonic Brethren
could hardly deny that in name they are Solicoles indeed, the worshippers
of the Sun in heaven, in whom the erudite Ragon saw such a magnificent symbol
of the G.A.O.T.U.--which it surely is. Only the trouble he had was to prove--which
no one can--that the said G. A. O. T. U. was not rather the Sol of
the small exoteric fry of the Pro-fanes than the Solus of
the High Epoptai. For the secret of the fires of SOLUS,
the spirit of which radiates in the "Blazing Star," is a Hermetic
secret which, unless a Mason studies true theosophy, is lost to him
for ever. He has ceased to understand now, even the little indiscretions
of Tshuddi. To this day Masons and Christians keep the Sabbath sacred, and
call it the "Lord's" day; yet they know as well as any that both Sunday,
and the Sonntag of Protestant England and Germany,
mean the Sun-day or the day of the Sun, as it meant 2,000
And you, Reverend and good Fathers, Priests, Clergymen, and Bishops,
you who so charitably call theosophy "idolatry" and doom its adherents
openly and privately to eternal perdition, can you boast of one single rite,
vestment, or sacred vessel in church or temple that does not come to you
from paganism? Nay, to assert it would be too dangerous, in view, not only
of history, but also of the confessions of your own priestly craft.
Let us recapitulate if only to justify our assertions.
"Roman sacrificators had to confess before sacrificing," writes
du Choul. The priests of Jupiter donned a tall, square, black cap
( Vide Armenian and Greek modern priests), the head dress of the
Flamines. The black soutane of the Roman Catholic priest is
the black hierocoraces, the loose robe of the Mithraic priests, so-called
from being raven coloured (raven, corax). The King-Priest
of Babylon had a golden seal-ring and slippers kissed by the conquered
potentates, a white mantle, a tiara of gold, to which two bandelets were
suspended. The popes have the seal-ring and the slippers for the same use;
a white satin mantle bordered with golden stars, a tiara with two bejewelled
bandelets suspended to it, etc., etc. The white linen alb (alba vestis)
is the garment of the priests of Isis: the top of the heads of the
priests of Anubis was shaven (Juvenal), hence the tonsure;
the chasuble of the Christian "Father" is the copy
from the upper garment of the Phoenician priest-sacrificers, a garment
called calasiris, tied at the neck and descending to their heels.
The stole comes to our priests from the female garment
worn by the Galli, the male--Nautches of the temple,
whose office was that of the Jewish Kadashim; (Vide II Kings 23:7,
for the true word) their belt of purity (?) from the ephod of
the Jews, and the Isiac cord; the priests of Isis being vowed to
chastity. (Vide Ragon, for details. )
The ancient pagans used holy water or lustrations to purify their
cities, fields, temples, and men, just as it is being done now in Roman
Catholic countries. Fonts stood at the door of every temple, full of lustral
water and called favisses and aquiminaria. Before sacrificing,
the pontiff or the curion (whence the French curé),
dipping a laurel branch into the lustral water, sprinkled with it the
pious congregation assembled, and that which was then termed lustrica and
aspergilium is now called sprinkler (or goupillon, in French).
The latter was with the priestesses of Mithra the symbol
of the Universal lingam. Dipped during the Mysteries in lustral milk,
the faithful were sprinkled with it. It was the emblem of Universal fecundity;
hence the use of the holy water in Christianity, a rite of phallic origin.
More than this; the idea underlying it is purely occult and belongs to ceremonial
magic. Lustrations were performed by fire, sulphur, air, and water. To draw
the attention of the celestial gods, ablutions were resorted to;
to conjure the nether gods away, aspersion was used.
The vaulted ceilings of cathedrals and churches, Greek or Latin, are
often painted blue and studded with golden stars, to represent the canopy
of the heavens. This is copied from the Egyptian temples, where solar and
star worship was performed. Again, the same reverence is
paid in Christian and Masonic architecture to the Orient (or the Eastern
point) as in the days of Paganism. Ragon described it fully in his destroyed
volumes. The princeps porta, the door of the World, and of
the "King of Glory," by whom was meant at
first the Sun, and now his human symbol, the Christ, is the door of the
Orient, and faces the East in every church and temple.5
It is through this "door of life"--the solemn pathway, through
which the daily entrance of the luminary into the oblong square6 of the earth or the Tabernacle of the Sun
is effected every morning--that the "newly born" babe is ushered,
and carried to the baptismal font; and it is to the left of this edifice
(the gloomy north whither start the "apprentices," and where the
candidates got their trial by water) that now the fonts, and in the
days of old the well (piscinas) of lustral waters, were placed in
the ancient churches, which had been pagan fanes. The altars of heathen
Lutetia were buried, and found again under the choir of Notre-Dame of
Paris, its ancient lustral wells existing to this day in the said Church.
Almost every great ancient Church on the Continent that antedates the Middle
Ages was once a pagan temple in virtue of the orders issued by the Bishops
and Popes of Rome. Gregory the Great (Platine en sa Vie) commands
the monk Augustine, his missionary in England, in this wise: "Destroy
the idols, never the temples! Sprinkle them with holy water, place in them
relics, and let the nations worship in the places they are accustomed to."
We have but to turn to the works of Cardinal Baronius, to find in the year
XXXVIth of his Annals his confession. The Holy Church, he says, was
permitted to appropriate the rites and ceremonies used by the pagans
in their idolatrous cult, since she (the Church) expiated
them by her consecration! In the Antiquités Gaulises (Book
II, Ch. 19) by Fauchet, we read that the Bishops of France adopted and used
the pagan ceremonies in order to convert followers to Christ.
This was when Gaul was still a pagan country. Are the same rites and
ceremonies used now in Christian France, and other Roman Catholic countries,
still going on in grateful remembrance of the pagans and their gods?
Up to the IVth century the churches knew of no altars. Up to that date
the altar was a table raised in the middle of the temple, for purposes
of Communion, or fraternal repasts (the Cna, as mass was
originally said in the evening). In the same way now the
table is raised in the "Lodge" for Masonic Banquets, which usually
close the proceedings of a Lodge and at which the resurrected Hiram Abifs,
the "Widow's Sons," honour their toasts by firing, a
Masonic mode of transubstantiation. Shall we call their banquet tables altars,
also? Why not? The altars were copies from the ara maxima of
pagan Rome. The Latins placed square and oblong stones near their tombs,
and called them ara, altar; they were consecrated to the gods Lares
and Manes. Our altars are a derivation from these square
stones, another form of the boundary stones known as the gods Termini--
the Hermeses, and the Mercuries, whence Mercurius quadratus, quadriceps,
quadrifrons, etc., etc., the four-faced gods, whose symbols
these square stones were, from the highest antiquity. The stone on which
the ancient kings of Ireland were crowned was such an "altar."
Such a stone is in Westminster Abbey, endowed, moreover, with a voice. Thus
our altars and thrones descend directly from the priapic boundary stones
of the pagans--the gods termini.
Shall the church-going reader feel very indignant if he is told that
the Christians adopted the pagan way of worshipping in a temple,
only during the reign of Diocletianus? Up to that period they had an
insurmountable horror for altars and temples, and held them in abomination
for the first 250 years of our era. These primitive Christians were Christians
indeed; the moderns are more pagan than any ancient idolators. The former
were the Theosophists of those days; from IVth century they became
Helleno-Judaic Gentiles minus the philosophy of the Neo-Platonists.
Read what Minutius Pelix says in the IIIrd century to the Romans:--
You fancy that we (Christians) conceal that which we worship because
we will have neither temples nor altars? But what image of God shall
we raise, since Man is himself God's image? What temple can we build to
the Deity, when the Universe, which is Its work, can hardly contain It?
How shall we enthrone the power of such Omnipotence in a single building?
Is it not far better to consecrate to the Deity a temple in our heart and
But then the Chrestians of the type of Minutius Felix had
in their mind the commandment of the MASTER-INITIATE, not to pray in the synagogues and temples as the
hypocrites do, "that they may be seen of men."
( Matthew 6:5. ) They remembered the declarations of Paul, the Apostle-Initiate,
the "Master Builder" (I Corinthians 3:10), that MAN
was the one temple of God, in which the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, dwelleth.
(Ibid.) They obeyed the truly Christian precepts, whereas the modern
Christians obey but the arbitrary canons of their respective churches, and
the rules of their Elders. "Theosophists are notorious Atheists,"
exclaims a writer in the "Church Chronicle." "Not one of
them is ever known to attend divine service . . . the Church is obnoxious
to them"; and forthwith uncorking the vials of his wrath, he pours
out their contents on the infidel, heathen F.T.S. The modern
Churchman stones the Theosophist as his ancient forefather, the Pharisee
of the "Synagogue of the Libertines" (Acts 6:9) stoned Stephen,
for saying that which even many Christian Theosophists say, namely that
"the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Ibid. 48);
and they "suborn men" just as these iniquitous judges
did (Ibid. II) to testify against us.
Forsooth, friends, you are indeed the righteous descendants of your predecessors,
whether of the colleagues of Saul, or of those of Pope Leo X, the cynical
author of the ever famous sentence: "How useful to us this fable of Christ,"
"Quantum nobis prodest hac fabula Christi!"
The "Solar Myth" theory has become in our day stale--ad nauseam
--repeated as we hear it from the four cardinal points of
Orientalism and Symbolism, and applied indiscriminately to all things and
all religions, except Church Christianity and state-religion. No doubt the
Sun was throughout the whole antiquity and since days immemorial the symbol
of the Creative Deity--with every nation, not with the Parsis alone; but
so he is with the Ritualists. As in days of old, so it is now. Our central
star is the "Father" for the pro-fanes, the Son
of the ever unknowable Deity for the Epoptai. Says the same Mason,
Ragon, "the Sun was the most sublime and natural image of the GREAT ARCHITECT, as the most ingenious
of all the allegories under which the moral and good man (the true sage)
had ever endowed infinite and limitless Intelligence."
Apart from the latter assumption, Ragon is right; for he shows this
symbol gradually receding from the ideal so represented and conceived, and
becoming finally from a symbol the original, in the minds of his ignorant
worshippers. Then the great Masonic author proves that it is the physical
Sun which was regarded as both the Father and the Son by the early Christians.
"Oh, initiated Brethren," he exclaims. "Can you forget
that in the temples of the existing religion a large lamp burns
night and day? It is suspended in front of the chief altar, the depository
of the ark of the Sun. Another lamp burning before the altar of
the virgin-mother is the emblem of the light of the moon. Clemens
Alexandrinus tells us that the Egyptians were the first to establish the
religious use of the lamps. . . . Who does not know that the most sacred
and terrible duty was entrusted to the Vestals? If the Masonic temples
are lighted with three astral lights, the sun, the moon. and
Episcopes (Wardens, in French Surveillants), it
is because one of the Fathers of Masonry, the learned Pythagoras, ingenuously
suggests that we should not speak of divine things without a light. Pagans
celebrated a festival of lamps called Lampadophorics in honour of
Minerva, Prometheus, and Vulcan. But Lactantius and some of the earliest
fathers of the new faith complained bitterly of this pagan introduction
of lamps in the Churches; 'If they deigned,' writes Lactantius, 'to
contemplate that light which we call the SUN,
they would soon recognise that God has no need of their lamps.'
And Vigilantius adds: 'Under the pretext of religion the Church established
a Gentile custom of lighting vile candles. while the SUN
is there illuminating us with a thousand lights. Is it not a
great honour for the LAMB
OF GOD (the sun thus represented),
which placed in
the middle of the throne (the Universe) fills it with the radiance
of his Majesty?' Such passages prove to us that in those days
the primitive Church worshipped THE GREAT ARCHITECT OF THE WORLD in its image
the SUN, sole of its kind." (The Mass and
its Mysteries, pp. 19 and 20.)
Indeed, while Christian candidates have to pronounce the Masonic oath
turned to the East and that their "Venerable" keeps in the Eastern
corner, because the Neophytes were made to do the same during the
Pagan Mysteries, the Church has, in her turn, preserved the identical rite.
During the High Mass, the High-Altar (ara maxima) is ornamented with
the Tabernacle, or the pyx (the box in which the Host is kept), and with
six lighted tapers. The esoteric meaning of the pyx and contents--the symbol
of the Christ-Sun--is that it represents the resplendent luminary, and the
six tapers the six planets (the early Christians knowing of no more), three
on his right and three on his left. This is a copy of the seven branched
candlestick of the synagogue, which has an identical meaning. "Sol
est Dominus Meus" "the Sun is my Lord!" exclaims
David in Psalm 95, translated very ingeniously in the authorized version
by "The Lord is a great God," "a great King above all
Gods" (v. 3), or planets truly! Augustin Chalis is more sincere in
Philosophie des Religions Compareés (Vol. II, p. 18), when
All are devs (demons), on this Earth, save the God of the Seers (Initiates)
the sublime IAO; and if in Christ you see
aught than the SUN, then you adore a dev,
a phantom such as are all the children of night.
The East being the cardinal point whence arises the luminary of the Day,
the great giver and sustainer of life, the creator of al that lives and
breathes on this globe, what wonder if all the nation of the Earth worshipped
in him the visible agent of the invisible Principle and Cause; and that mass
should be said in the honour of him who is the giver of messis or
"harvest." But, between worshipping the ideal as a whole,
and the physical symbol, a part chosen to represent that whole and the
ALL, there is an abyss. For the learned Egyptian, the
Sun was the "eye" of Osiris, not Osiris him self; the same for
the learned Zoroastrians. For the early Christians the Sun became the Deity,
in toto; and by dint of casuistics, sophistry, and dogmas
not to be questioned, the modern Christian churches have contrived to force
even the educated world to accept the same, while hypnotising it into a
belief that their god is the one living true Deity, the maker of,
not the Sun--a demon worshipped by the "heathen." But what
may be the difference between a wicked demon, and the anthropomorphic God, e.g.,
as represented in Solomon's Proverbs? That "God,"
unless poor, helpless, ignorant men call upon him, when their "fear
cometh as desolation" and their "destruction as a whirlwind,"
threatens them in such words as these "I will laugh at your
calamities, I will mock when your fear cometh!" (Prov. 1:27.)
Identify this God with the great Avatar on whom the Christian legend is
hung; make him one with that true Initiate who said, "Blessed are they
that mourn; for they shall be comforted": and what is the result? Such
identification alone quite sufficient to justify the fiendish joy of Tertullian,
who laughed and rejoiced at the idea of his infidel next of kin roasting
in hell-fire the advice of Hieronymus to the Christian convert to trample
over the body of his pagan mother, if she seeks to prevent him leaving
her for ever to follow Christ; and it makes of all the Church tyrants,
murderers, and omnes gentes of the Inquisition, the grandest and
noblest exemplars of practical Christianity that have ever lived!
The ritualism of primitive Christianity--as now sufficiently shown--sprang
from ancient Masonry. The latter was, in its turn, the offspring of the,
then, almost dead Mysteries. Of these we have now a few words to say.
It is well known that throughout antiquity, besides the popular worship
composed of the dead-letter forms and empty exoteric ceremonies, every nation
had its secret cult known to the world as the MYSTERIES.
Strabo, one among many others, warrants for this assertion. (Vide Georg, lib. 10.)
No one received admittance into them save those prepared for
it by special training. The neophytes instructed in the upper temples were
initiated into the final Mysteries in the crypts. These instructions were
the last surviving heirlooms of archaic wisdom, and it is under the guidance
of high Initiates that they were enacted. We use the word "enacted"
purposely; for the oral instructions at low breath were given
only in the crypts, in solemn silence and secrecy. During the public classes
and general teachings, the lessons in cosmogony and theogony were delivered
in allegorical representation, the modus operandi of the gradual
evolution of Kosmos, worlds, and finally of our earth, of gods and men,
all was imparted in a symbolical way. The great public performances during
the festivals of the Mysteries, were witnessed by the masses and the
personified truths worshipped by the multitudes--blindly. Alone the high
Initiates, the Epopt, understood their language and
real meaning. All this, and so far, is well known to the world of scholars.
It was a common claim of all the ancient nations that the real mysteries
of what is called so unphilosophically, creation, were divulged
to the elect of our (fifth) race by its first dynasties of divine Rulers--gods
in flesh, "divine incarnations," or Avatars, so called.
The last Stanzas, given from the Book of Dzyan in The Secret Doctrine
(Vol. II, p. 21 ), speak of those who ruled over the descendants
"produced from the holy stock," and . . . "who re-descended,
who made peace with the fifth (race) who taught and instructed it."
The phrase "made peace" shows that there had been a previous quarrel.
The fate of the Atlanteans in our philosophy, and that of
the prediluvians in the Bible, corroborates the idea. Once more--many
centuries before the Ptolemies--the same abuse of the sacred knowledge crept
in amongst the initiates of the Sanctuary in Egypt. Preserved for countless
ages in all their purity, the sacred teachings of the gods, owing to personal
ambition and selfishness, became corrupted again. The meaning of the symbols
found itself but too often desecrated by unseemly interpretations, and very
soon the Eleusinian Mysteries remained the only ones pure
from adulteration and sacrilegious innovations. These were in honour of
(Ceres) Demeter, or Nature, and were celebrated in Athens, the flowers of
the intellect of Asia Minor and Greece being initiated thereinto. In his
4th Book, Zosimus states that these Initiates embraced the whole of mankind;7 while Aristides calls the Mysteries the common temple of the earth.
It is to preserve some reminiscence of this "temple," and to
rebuild it, if need be, that certain elect ones among the initiated began
to be set apart. This was done by their High Hierophants in every
century, from the time when the sacred allegories showed the first signs
of desecration and decay. For the great Elusinia finally shared the
same fate as the others. Their earlier excellency and purpose are described
by Clement of Alexandria who shows the greater Mysteries divulging the secrets
and the mode of construction of the Universe, this being the beginning,
the end and the ultimate goal of human knowledge, for in them was shown
to the initiated Nature and all things as they are. (Strom. 8.) This
is the Pythagorean Gnosis, Epictetus speaks of these instructions in the highest terms: "All
that is ordained therein was established by our masters for the instruction
of men and the correction of our customs." (Apud Arrian. Dissert.
lib. cap. 21.) Plato asserts in the Phaedo the same: the object
of the Mysteries was to re-establish the soul in its primordial purity,
or that state of perfection from which it had fallen.
But there came a day when the Mysteries deviated from their purity in
the same way as the exoteric religions. This began when the State bethought
itself, on the advice of Aristogeiton (510 B.C.), of drawing from the
Eleusinia a constant and prolific source of income. A law was passed to that effect.
Henceforth, no one could be initiated without paying a certain sum of money
for the privilege. That boon which could hitherto be acquired only at the
price of incessant, almost superhuman effort, toward virtue and excellency,
was now to be purchased for so much gold. Laymen--and even priests themselves--while
accepting the desecration lost eventually their past reverence for the inner
Mysteries, and this led to further profanation of the Sacred Science. The
rent made in the veil widened with every century; and more than ever the
Supreme Hierophants, dreading the final publication and distortion of the
most holy secrets of nature, laboured to eliminate them from the inner programme,
limiting the full knowledge thereof but to the few. It is
those set apart who soon became the only custodians of the divine
heirloom of the ages. Seven centuries later, we find Apuleius, his sincere
inclination toward magic and the mystical notwithstanding, writing in his
Golden Ass a bitter satire against the hypocrisy and debauchery of
certain orders of half-initiated priests. It is through him also,
that we learn that in his day (IInd century A.D.) the
Mysteries had become so universal that persons of all ranks and conditions,
in every country, men, women, and children all were initiated! Initiation
had become as necessary in his day as baptism has since become with the
Christians; and, as the latter is now, so the former had become then--i.e.,
meaningless, and a purely dead-letter ceremony of mere form. Still later,
the fanatics of the new religion laid their heavy hand on the Mysteries.
The Epoptæ, they "who see things as they are"
disappeared one by one, emigrating into regions inaccessible to the Christians.
The Mystæ (from Mystes "or veiled") "they
who see things only as they appear" remained very soon, alone, sole
masters of the situation.
It is the former, the "set apart," who have preserved the true
secrets; it is the Mystæ, those who knew them only superficially,
who laid the first foundation stone of modern masonry; and it is. from this
half pagan, half converted primitive fraternity of Masons that Christian
ritualism and most of dogmas were born. Both the Epoptæ and
the Mystæ are entitled to the name of Masons: for both
carrying out their pledges to, and the injunction of their long departed
"Kings" rebuilt, the Epoptæ, their "lower," and the Mystæ,
their "upper temples. For such were the irrespective appellations
in antiquity, and are so to this day in certain regions. Sophocles speaks
in the Electra (Act 2) of the foundations of Athens--the site of
the Eleusinian Mysteries--as being the "sacred edifice of the gods,"
i.e. built by the gods. Initiation was spoken of as "walking
into the temple," and "cleaning," or rebuilding the temple
referred to the body of an initiate on his last and supreme trial.
(Vide St. John's Gospel, 2:19). The esoteric doctrine, also, was
sometimes called by the name of "Temple" and popular exoteric
religion, by that of "city." To build a temple meant to
found an esoteric school; to "build a city temple" signified to
establish a public cult. Therefore, the true surviving "Masons"
of the lower Temple, or the crypt, the sacred place of initiation,
are the only custodians of the true Masonic secrets now lost to the
world. We yield willingly to the modern Fraternity of Masons the title of
"Builders of the higher Temple," as the à priori
superiority of the comparative adjective is as illusionary as the blaze
of the burning bush of Moses itself in the Templar's Lodges.
The misunderstood allegory known as the Descent into Hades,
has wrought infinite mischief. The exoteric "fable" of Hercules
and Theseus descending into the infernal regions; the journey
thither of Orpheus, who found his way by the power of his lyre (Ovid
Metam.); of Krishna, and finally of Christ, who "descended
into Hell and the third day rose again from the dead"--was twisted
out of recognition by the non-initiated adapters of pagan rites and
transformers thereof, into Church rites and dogmas.
Astronomically, this descent into hell symbolized the Sun during
the autumnal equinox when abandoning the higher sidereal regions--there
was a supposed fight between him and the Demon of Darkness who got the best
of our luminary. Then the Sun was imagined to undergo a temporary death
and to descend into the infernal regions. But mystically, it typified
the initiatory rites in the crypts of the temple, called the Underworld.
Bacchus, Herakles, Orpheus, Asklepios and all the other visitors of the
crypt, all descended into hell and ascended thence on the third day,
for all were initiates and "Builders of the lower Temple."
The words addressed by Hermes to Prometheus, chained on the arid rocks of
the Caucasus--i. e., bound by ignorance to his physical body
and devoured therefore by the vultures of passion--apply to every neophyte,
to every Chrestos on trial. "To such labours look thou for no
termination until the (or a) god shall appear as a substitute in
thy pangs and shall be willing to go both to gloomy
Hades and to the murky depths around Tartarus." (Æschylus:
Prometheus, 1027, ff.) They mean simply that until Prometheus (or man) could find
the "God," or Hierophant (the Initiator) who would willingly descend
into the crypts of initiation, and walk around Tartarus with him, the vulture
of passion would never cease to gnaw his vitals.8
Æschylus as a pledged Initiate could say no more; but Aristophanes
less pious, or more daring, divulges the secret to those who are not blinded
by a too strong preconception, in his immortal satire on Heracles' descent
into Hell. (Frogs.) There we find the chorus of the "blessed ones"
(the initiated), the Elysian Fields, the arrival of Bacchus (the god Hierophant)
with Herakles, the reception with lighted torches, emblems of new LIFE and RESURRECTION from the
darkness of human ignorance to the light of spiritual knowledge--eternal
LIFE. Every word of the brilliant satire shows the
inner meaning of the poet:
Wake, burning torches . . . for thou comest
Shaking them in thy hand, Iacche,
Phosphoric star of the nightly rite.
All such final initiations took place during the night. To speak, therefore,
of anyone as having descended into Hades, was equivalent in antiquity to
calling him a full Initiate. To those who feel inclined to reject
this explanation, I would offer a query. Let them explain, in that case,
the meaning of a sentence in the sixth book of Virgil's Æneid.
What can the poet mean, if not that which is asserted above, when introducing
the aged Anchises in the Elysian fields, he makes him advise Æneas
his son, to travel to Italy . . . where he would have to fight in Latium,
a rude and barbarous people; therefore, he adds, before you venture there
"Descend into Hades," i. e. get yourself initiated.
The benevolent clericals, who are so apt to send us on the slightest
provocation to Tartarus and the infernal regions, do not suspect what good
wishes for us the threat contains; and what a holy character one must be
before one gets into such a sanctified place.
It is not pagans alone who had their Mysteries. Bellarmin (De Eccl.
Triumph. lib. 2, cap. 14) states that the early Christians adopted,
after the example of pagan ceremonies, the custom of assembling in the church
during the nights preceding their festivals, to hold vigils or "wakes."
Their ceremonies were performed at first with the most edifying holiness
and purity. But very shortly after that, such immoral abuses crept into
these "assemblies" that the bishops found it necessary to abolish
them. We have read in dozens of works about the licentiousness in the pagan
religious festivals. Cicero is quoted (de Leg. lib. 2, cap. 15) showing
Diagondas, the Theban, finding no other means of remedying such disorders
in the ceremonies than the suppression of the Mysteries themselves. When
we contrast the two kinds of celebrations, however, the Pagan Mysteries
hoary with age centuries before our era, and the Christian Agapæ
and others in a religion hardly born and claiming such a purifying influence
on its converts, we can only pity the mental blindness of its defenders
and quote for their benefit Roscommon, who asks:--
When you begin with so much pomp and show,
Why is the end so little and so low?
Primitive Christianity--being derived from the primitive Masonry--had
its grip. pass-words, and degrees of initiation. "Masonry" is
an old term but it came into use very late in our era. Paul calls himself
a "master-builder" and he was one. The ancient Masons called themselves
by various names and most of the Alexandrian Eclectics, the Theosophists
of Ammonias Saccas and the later Neo-Platonists, were all virtually Masons.
They were all bound by oath to secrecy, considered themselves a Brotherhood,
and had also their signs of recognition. The Eclectics or Philaletheians
comprised within their ranks the ablest and most learned scholars of the
day. as also several crowned heads. Says the author of The Eclectic Philosophy:
Their doctrines were adopted by pagans and Christians in Asia and Europe,
and for a season everything seemed favourable for
a general fusion of religious belief. The Emperors Alexander Severus and
Julian embraced them. Their predominating influence upon religious ideas
excited the jealousy of the Christians of Alexandria. The school was removed
to Athens, and finally closed by the Emperor Justinian. Its professors
withdrew to Persia,9 where they made
A few more details may prove perchance, interesting. We
know that the Eleusinian Mysteries survived all others. While the secret
cults of the minor gods such as the Curates, the Dactyli,
the worship of Adonis, of the Kabiri, and even those of old Egypt had
entirely disappeared under the revengeful and cruel hand of the pitiless
Theodosius,10 the Mysteries of Eleusis could
not be so easily disposed of. They were indeed the religion of mankind,
and shone in all their ancient splendour if not in their primitive purity.
It took several centuries to abolish them, and they could not be entirely
suppressed before the year 396 of our era. It is then that the "Builders
of the higher, or City Temple" appeared first on the
scene and worked unrelentingly to infuse their rituals and peculiar dogmas
into the nascent and ever fighting and quarrelling church. The triple
Sanctus of the Roman Catholic Mass is the triple S...
of these early Masons, and is the modern prefix to their documents or "any
written balustre--the initial of Salutem, or Health"
as cunningly put by a Mason. "This triple masonic salutation is the
most ancient among their greetings." (Ragon.)
But they did not limit their grafts on the tree
of the Christian religion to this alone. During the Mysteries of Eleusis,
wine represented Bacchus and Ceres--wine and bread, or corn.11 Now Ceresor Demeter was the female productive principle
of the Earth; the spouse of Father Æther, or Zeus; and Bacchus,
the son of Zeus-Jupiter, was his father manifested: in other words, Ceres
and Bacchus were the personifications of Substance and Spirit, the two vivifying
principles in Nature and on Earth. The hierophant Initiator presented symbolically,
before the final revelation of the mysteries, wine and bread to the
candidate, who ate and drank, in token that the spirit was to quicken matter: i.e.
the divine wisdom of the Higher-Self was to enter into and take
possession of his inner Self or Soul through what was to be revealed to
This rite was adopted by the Christian Church. The Hierophant who was
called the "Father," has now passed, part and parcel--minus
knowledge--into the "Father" priest, who to-day administers
the same communion. Jesus calls himself a vine and his "Father"
the husbandman; and his injunction at the Last Supper shows his thorough
knowledge of the symbolical meaning (Vide infra, note) of
bread and wine, and his identification with the logoi of the ancients.
"Whose eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life."
"This is a hard saying," he adds. . . . "The words
(rhemata, or arcane utterances) that I speak unto you, they
are Spirit and they are Life." They are; because "it is the Spirit
that quickeneth." Furthermore these rhemata of Jesus are indeed
the arcane utterances of an Initiate.
But between this noble rite, as old as symbolism, and its later anthropomorphic
interpretation, now known as transubstantiation, there is
an abyss of ecclesiastical sophistry. With what force the exclamation--"Woe
unto you lawyers. For ye have taken away the key of knowledge,"
(and will not permit even now gnosis to be given to others);
with what tenfold force, I say, it applies more now than then. Aye;
that gnosis, "ye entered not in yourselves, and them that
were (and are) entering ye prevented," and still prevent. Nor has the
modern priesthood alone laid itself open to this blame. Masons, the descendants,
or at any rate the successors, of the "Builders of the upper Temple"
during the Mysteries, they who ought to know better, will pooh-pooh and
scorn any one among their own brethren who will remind them of their true
origin. Several great modern Scholars and Kabalists, who are Masons, and
could be named, received worse than the cold shoulder from their Brethren.
It is ever the same old, old story. Even Ragon, the most . learned in his
day among all the Masons of our century, complains of it, in these words:--
All the ancient narratives attest that the initiations in the days of
old had an imposing ceremonial, and became memorable for ever through the
grand truths divulged and the knowledge that resulted therefrom. And yet
there are some modern Masons, of half-learning, who
hasten to treat as charlatans all those who successfully remind of, and
explain to them these ancient ceremonies! (Cours. Philos. p.87 note .)
Vanitas vanitatum! nothing is new under the sun. The "Litanies
of the Virgin Mary" prove it in the sincerest way. Pope Gregory I,
introduces the worship of the Virgin Mary and the Chalcedonian Council
proclaim her the mother of God. But the author of the Litanies had
not even the decency (or is it the brains?) to furnish her with any other
than pagan adjectives and titles, as I shall presently show. Not a symbol,
not a metaphor of this famous Litany but belonged to a crowd of goddesses;
all Queens, Virgins, or Mothers; these three titles applying to Isis, Rhea,
Cybele, Diana, Lucifera, Lucina, Luna, Tellus, Latona triformis,
Proserpina, Hecate, Juno, Vesta, Ceres, Leucothea, Astarte, celestial
Venus and Urania, Alma Venus, etc., etc., etc.
Besides the primitive signification of trinity (the esoteric,
or that of Father, Mother, Son) does not this Western trimurti (three
faces) mean in the masonic pantheon: "Sun, Moon, and
the Venerable"? a slight alteration, forsooth, from the Germanic
and Northern Fire, Sun and Moon.
It is the intimate knowledge of this, perchance, that made the Mason,
J. M. Ragon describe his profession of faith thus:
For me the Son is the same as Horus, son of Osiris and Isis; he is the
SUN who, every year redeems the world
from sterility and the universal death of the races.
And he goes on to speak of the Virgin Mary's particular litanies, temples,
festivals, masses and Church services, pilgrimages, oratories, Jacobins,
Franciscans, vestals, prodigies, ex voto, niches, statues,
etc., etc., etc.
De Maleville, a great Hebrew scholar and translator of Rabbinical literature,
observes that the Jews give to the moon all those names which, in the Litanies,
are used to glorify the Virgin. He finds in the Litanies of Jesus all the attributes
of Osiris--the Eternal Sun, and of Horus, the Annual Sun.
And he proves it.
Mater Christi is the mother of the Redeemer of the old Masons,
who is the Sun. The hoi polloi among the Egyptians, claimed
that the child, symbol of the great central star, Horus, was
the Son of Osireth and Oseth, whose souls had ensouled,
after their death, the Sun and the Moon. Isis became,
with the Phnicians, Astarte, the names under which they
adored the Moon, personified as a woman adorned with horns, which symbolised
the crescent. Astarte was represented at the autumnal equinox after her
husband (the Sun's) defeat by the Prince of Darkness, and descent into Hades,
as weeping over the loss of her consort, who is also her son, as Isis does
that of her consort, brother and son (Osiris-Horus). Astarte holds in her
hand a cruciform stick, a regular cross, and stands weeping on the crescent
moon. The Christian Virgin Mary is often represented in the same way, standing
on the new moon, surrounded by stars and weeping for her son juxta crucem
lacrymosa dum pendebat (Vide Stabat Mater Dolorosa). Is not she the
heiress of Isis and Astarte? asks the author.
Truly, and you have but to repeat the Litany to the Virgin of
the R. Catholic Church, to find yourself repeating ancient incantations
to Adonaïa (Venus), the mother of Adonis, the Solar god of so
many nations; to Mylitta (the Assyrian Venus), goddess of nature;
to Alilat, whom the Arabs symbolized by the two lunar horns;
to Selene, wife and sister of Helion, the Sun
god of the Greeks; or, to the Magna Mater, . . . honestissima,
purissima, castissima, the Universal Mother of all Beings--because
SHE IS MOTHER NATURE.
Verily is Maria (Mary) the Isis Myrionymos, the
Goddess Mother of the ten thousand names! As the Sun was Phbus,
in heaven, so he became Apollo, on earth, and Pluto in
the still lower regions (after sunset); so the moon was Phbe in
heaven, and Diana on earth (Ga, Latona, Ceres);
becoming Hecate and Proserpine in Hades. Where is the
wonder then, if Mary is called regina virginum, "Queen
of Virgins," and castissima (most chaste), when
even the prayers offered to her at the sixth hour of the morning and the
evening are copied from those sung by the "heathen" Gentiles at
the same hours in honour of Phbe and Hecate? The
verse of the "Litany to the Virgin," stella matutina,12 we are informed, is a faithful copy of a verse
from the litany of the triformis of the pagans. It is at the Council
which condemned Nestorius that Mary was first titled as the "Mother
of God," mater dei.
In our next, we shall have something to say about this famous Litany
of the Virgin, and show its origin in full. We shall cull our proofs, as
we go along, from the classics and the moderns, and supplement the whole
from the annals of religions as found in the Esoteric Doctrine. Meanwhile,
we may add a few more statements and give the etymology of the most sacred
terms in ecclesiastical ritualism.
Let us give a few moments of attention to the assemblies of the "Builders
of the upper Temple" in early Christianity. Ragon has shown plainly
to us the origin of the following terms:--
(a) "The word 'mass,' comes from the Latin Messis--'harvest,'
whence the noun Messias,'he who ripens the harvest,' Christ,
(b) The word "Lodge" used by the Masons, the feeble
successors of the Initiates, has its root in loga, (loka,
in Sanskrit) a locality and a world; and in the Greek logos,
the Word, a discourse; signifying in its full meaning "a place
where certain things are discussed."
(c) These assemblies of the logos of the primitive
initiated masons came to be called synaxis, "gatherings"
of the Brethren for the purpose of praying and celebrating the cna
(supper) wherein only bloodless offerings, fruit and cereals, were
used. Soon after these offerings began to be called hosti or
sacred and pure hosties, in contrast to the impure sacrifices
(as of prisoners of war, hostes, whence the word hostage).
As the offerings consisted of the harvest fruits, the first fruits
of messis, thence the word "mass." Since no father
of the Church mentions, as some scholars would have it, that the word
mass comes from the Hebrew missah (oblatum, offering) one
explanation is as good as the other. For an exhaustive enquiry on the word
missa and mizda, see King's Gnostics, pp.
124, et seq.
Now the word synaxis was also called by
the Greeks agyrmos,
(a collection of men, assembly). It referred to initiation into the Mysteries.
Both words--synaxis and agyrmos13--became
obsolete with the Christians, and the word missa, or mass, prevailed
and remained. Theologians will have it, desirous as they are to veil its
etymology, that the term messias (Messiah) is derived from the Latin
word missus (messenger, the sent). But if so, then again it
may be applied as well to the Sun, the annual messenger, sent to
bring light and new life to the earth and its products. The Hebrew word
for Messiah mâshiah (anointed, from mashah, to anoint) will
hardly apply to, or bear out the identity in the ecclesiastical sense; nor
will the Latin missa ( mass) derive well from that other Latin word
mittere, missum, "to send," or "dismiss."
Because the communion service--its heart and soul--is based on the consecration
and oblation of the host or hostia (sacrifice), a wafer ( a thin,
leaf-like bread) representing the body of Christ in the Eucharist, and that
such wafer of flour is a direct development of the harvest or cereal offerings.
Again, the primitive masses were cneas (late dinners
or suppers), which, from the simple meals of Romans, who " washed,
were anointed, and wore a cenatory garment" at dinner
became consecrated meals in memory of the last Supper of Christ.
The converted Jews in the days of the Apostles met at their synaxes,
to read the Evangels and their correspondence (Epistles). St. Justin
(150 A.D.) tells us that these solemn assemblies were held
on the day called Sun (Sunday, dies magnus), on which days
there were psalms chanted "collation of baptism with pure water and
the agap of the holy cna with bread and wine."
What has this hybrid combination of pagan Roman dinners, raised by the inventors
of church dogmas to a sacred mystery, to do with the Hebrew Messiah
"he who causes to go down into the pit" (or Hades), or its Greek
transliteration Messias. As shown by Nork, Jesus "was never
anointed either as high priest or king," therefore his name of
Messias cannot be derived from its present Hebrew equivalent. The
less so, since the word anointed, or "rubbed with oil" a Homeric
term, is chris,
both to anoint the body with oil. (See LUCIFER for
1887, "The Esoteric Meaning of the Gospels.")
Another high Mason, the author of "The Source of Measures,"
summarizes this imbroglio of the ages in a
few lines by saying:--
The fact is there were two Messiahs: One, as causing
himself to go down into the pit, for the salvation of the world;14 this was the sun shorn of his golden rays and
crowned with blackened ones (symbolizing this loss) as the
thorns. The other, was the triumphant Messiah,
mounted up to this summit of the arch of Heaven,
personated as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In both instances he had the
cross. . . ."
At the Ambarvales, the festivals in honour of Ceres, the Arval
(the assistant of the High Priest) clad in pure white, placing
on the hostia (sacrificial heap) a cake of corn, water and wine,
tasted the wine of libation and gave to all others to taste.
The oblation (or offering) was then taken up by the High Priest. It symbolized
the three kingdoms of Nature--the cake of corn (vegetable kingdom), the
sacrificial vase or chalice (mineral), and the pall (the scarf-like
garment) of the Hierophant, an end of which he threw over the oblation wine
cup. This pall was made of pure white lamb skins.
The modern priest repeats, gesture for gesture, the acts of the pagan
priest. He lifts up and offers the bread to be consecrated; blesses the
water that is to be put in the chalice, and then pours the wine into it,
incenses the altar, etc., etc., and going to the altar washes his fingers
saying, "I will wash my hands among the INNOCENT
and encompass thy altar, O Lord." He does so, because the ancient and
pagan priest did the same, saying, "I wash (with lustral water)
my hands among the INNOCENT (the fully initiated Brethren)
and encompass thy altar, O great Goddess" (Ceres). Thrice went the
high priest round the altar loaded with offerings, carrying high above his
head the chalice covered with the end of his snow-white lamb-skin. . . .
The consecrated vestment worn by the Pope, the pall, "has
the form of a scarf made of white wool, embroidered with purple
crosses." In the Greek Church, the priest covers, with the end of the
pall thrown over his shoulder, the chalice.
The High Priest of antiquity repeated thrice during the divine services
his "O redemptor mundi" to Apollo 'the Sun' his mater Salvatoris,
to Ceres, the earth, his Virgo paritura to the Virgin Goddess etc.,
and pronounced seven ternary commemorations. (Hearken, O Masons!)
The ternary number, so reverenced in antiquity, is as reverenced now,
and is pronounced five times during the mass. We have three introibo,
three Kyrie eleison, three mea culpa, three agnus dei,
three Dominus Vobiscum. A true masonic series!
Let us add to this the three et cum spiritu tuo, and the Christian
mass yields to us the same seven triple commemorations.
PAGANISM, MASONRY, and THEOLOGY--such is the historical trinity now ruling the world sub rosa.
Shall we close with a Masonic greeting and say:--
Illustrious officers of Hiram Abif, Initiates, and "Widow's sons."
The Kingdom of Darkness and ignorance is fast dispelling, but there . are
regions still untouched by the hand of the scholar, and as black as the
night of Egypt. Fratres, sobrii estote et vigilate!
Lucifer, March, May, 1889