Part 2 of 7 (Chapters III-V)

THE ARCANE SCHOOLS

 

BY

 

   John Yarker


                                                 

CHAPTER III.

ARYAN CIVILISATION AND MYSTERIES.

IN the long series of ages which it took to develop the Ugro-altaic monosyllabic language into proto-Aryan, and in the centuries which it took to convert the Aryo-European into Celitc, Latin, Sclavonic, Lettic, German; other branches into sub-dialects as, for instance, Indo-Aryan into Sanscrit, Persian, Greek, Armenian, Pushtu, Kurd, Baluchi, Hindustani; and again the Semitic speech into Babylonian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Arabic, etc., need we feel surprised if the Rites of the Theosophical and Art Mysteries underwent a variation also.  Thus the primitive Mysteries known as Magian and Cabiric, were denominated Osirian amongst the Copts; Tammuz and Adonis amongst the Semites; Dionysian amongst the Assyrians and the Greeks; and applied to Bacchus amongst the Latins.  Yet all had the same primitive origin in a remote Arcane School, and varied but by a gradual development in technique.

   And notwithstanding such departures from an exact form of transmission, with the change of scene, in passing from one country to another by colonists, the social customs of Oriental nations are most unchanging.  We have already instanced the practice to-day of Babylonian rites by the Yezids.  The sacred springs and trees of the old worship are venerated with the ancient rites of music and the dance.  The priests of Christianity may be seen practising their ceremonials with the serpent staff of Mercury or Esculapius in their hands; and also personating the High priest of Zeus of Vanessa.  The ancient {67} Artemis of the Lakes, the Ephesian Aphrodite who is Ishter in Chaldea, and Astarte in Phoenicia, has been succeeded by the Virgin of the Lakes, with a special society called the Takmorei which has consolidated into a species of Freemasonry termed the "Brotherhood of the Sign."  Even in this country many curious customs of the Druids have been preserved in the three kingdoms.  And as Free Masonry can unquestionably be carried up to very ancient times in England, and, beyond, its legends into Oriental lands, what right can be adduced to condemn its traditions as altogether false?  The sacred Mysteries spread with the various colonies into many lands and in the lapse of ages began to apply their traditional knowledge to their new home, under the supposition that their ancestors had occupied this residence in all time.

   The late Lord Beaconsfield, in his Lothair, speaks of the MADRE NATURA as the oldest and the most powerful of the secret societies of Italy, whose mystic origin, in the idealised worship of nature, reaches the era of paganism, and which, he says, may have been founded by some of the despoiled professors of the ancient faith, which as time advanced has assumed many forms.  Its tradition that one of the Popes, as Cardinal de Medici, became a member of the Fraternity is accredited upon some documentary grounds, and it accepted the allegorical interpretation which the Neo-Platonists had placed upon the Pagan creeds during the first Ages of Christianity.

   It is necessary to say that in dealing with the chronology of the ancients we have no certain era which enables us to give dates with the least precision.  We saw in our last chapter that from North Europe colonies spread over Asia, Arabia, and Chaldea, erecting some wonderful structures in their passage and introducing art into their new settlements.  The Celts, Persians, and Greeks continued together a sufficient length of time to merit the title of true Aryans, but of the main branch the Hindu undoubtedly made the greatest progress in architecture, {68} literature, and early civilisation.  There is a record, which we will allude to later, that a whole army of pure Aryans entered Egypt.  The cradle of the Hindu is traditionally held to be the high-table-land between Thibet and India in the region of the lake Mansurawara.  Before their advance into India three chief peoples were in possession of that country: the Dravidians of the north west, who have some affinity with the aborigines of south and west Australia, use the boomerang as a weapon, and have the same words for I, thou, he, you, etc., these now use a language represented by Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kanarese, Tulu, Kudugu, Toda, Kota, Gond, Kandh, Urain, Rajmahal, etc.  A second tribe was the Kolarians driven from the north-east against the Dravidian, and so broken up into Santals, Savars, Kurkus, Juangs, Hos, etc.  A third race were the Tibeto-Burman tribes who have an affinity with the Mongolians.  Lastly, and after the invasion of India, Scythic tribes, as the Jats or Getae, and the Ghakkars, secured a footing in the country; our Gypsies seem to spring from the Jat race.

   As Aryan civilisation was but an advance upon what we have termed proto-Aryan, so also it follows that the art of building with squared and levelled stones, wrought by the use of square, level, and plumb was the gradual improvement upon the Cyclopean system of irregular blocks; and mingled with the most ancient level architecture of India, equally with various other countries, are walls which resemble the Cyclopean method of building;<<"Philosophy of History." and from this, and other circumstances, we may draw the conclusion that Aryan culture was the medium of advanced architecture.  This improvement had birth in north India and one of the oldest cities was the Aryan colony of Balkh where are vast ruins, colossal images, of which the number of prominent figures, or recesses, amount to twelve thousand, in subterranean temples hewn out of the solid rock.

   At a remote period there arose a contest for supremacy {69} between the warrior and the priest, who had the oral hymns that now compose the Vedas; also termed the wars of the solar (warrior) and lunar (Brahmin) races.  The priests or Brahmins obtained a victory over the Maharajahs who were of a different branch of the Aryan family, and were both warriors and agriculturists.  An alliance was formed, and the warriors were permitted to receive a limited amount of religious instruction, and at a period later than the oldest Vedas, a system of hereditary caste was established in three chief divisions, the Brahmin, warrior, and artisan, which may be now considered three distinct Rites of the Mysteries.

   It has long been thought that some of these ancient wars were the result of a dispute as to the relative power of the two forces of nature.  In prehistoric times a system had spread over the world in which creative spirit was represented by the Phallus, and first or primordial matter by the Yoni, or the male and female organs of generation, but it is somewhat doubtful whether the most ancient hymns accepted these emblems; the emblems are older than any of the hymns when committed to writing, but the probability is that when the hymns were written they had not then been sectarianly adopted.  Primordial matter, upon which the action of spirit is supposed to take place, is not ordinary matter as we designate it, but its originator; and it is a scientific fact, well known to the ancients, and embodied in the Divine Poemander of Hermes, that matter, such as we know it, cannot be destroyed, we can only change its form, and under all that we see lies this primordial matter, as the vehicle of spirit.

   Both spirit and primordial matter are eternal, and in the recondite aspect of Aryan philosophy, all creation springs from the union of these two indestructible principles, which is Para-Brahm, or Deity without form.  In Egypt the conjoint worship of the two active principles, or latent forces, is found emblemised in the crux ansata {Symbol: Ankh} which embraces both attributes; separately they appear {70} also in the obelisk and the vesica-pisces, but also in various other emblems in all countries.  In remote times sects arose that made a separate symbol of one or other of the principles.

   It has been shewn by Dr. Inman<<"Ancient Faiths in Ancient Names.">> that most Hebrew names have reference to the male principle.  On the other hand the Greeks, who are designated Yavans in Hindu literature, with other tribes that it was said were expelled the Aryan home with them, were worshippers of that female nature, or principle of nature, which in Egypt was adored as Isis; in Babylon as Ishter; in Samothrace as Ghe; in Britain as Ceridwen; in Italy as Cybele; in Greece as Ceres; in Armenia as Anaitis; in Germany as Hertha; in Persia as Mythra; and we may even add, in Christian times as the Virgin Mary.

   The learned Brother Dr. George Oliver, in his History of Initiation, professes to give the ceremonials of Initiation into the Brahminical Rites of Mahadeva, but as we know of no evidence of their accuracy we shall refrain from quoting the account.  There is a very interesting legend in Porphyry, which he gives upon the authority of Bardesanes, an Initiate and Gnostic, who had it from the Brahmins.  There was a very lofty mountain which had in it a cave of large dimensions.  It contained a statue of 12 cubits with its arms extended in form of a cross, the face was half male and half female; on the right breast was represented the Sun, and on the left the Moon; the arms had figures of the sky, the ocean, mountains, rivers, plants, and animals; on the head of the figure was a god enthroned.  Beyond this was a large extension of the cavern, guarded by a door from which issued a stream of water, but only the pure in mind could pass this door; but upon doing this they reached a pellucid fountain.  The writer supposes that it is to this cavern of Initiation that Apollonius of Tyana alludes to the letters which he addressed to the Brahmins, where he is wont to say, "No! by the Tantalian water by which you Initiated me into {71} your Mysteries."  The description of this cavern has some points very similar to the Peak cavern in Derbyshire, which Faber supposes was used by the Druids for like purposes.  The late H. P. Blavatsky asserts that every ancient and modern Initiate takes the following oath: "And I swear to give up my life for the salvation of my brothers, which constitute the whole of mankind, if called upon, and to die in the defence of truth."

   A system of caste initiation does exist amongst the Hindus at this day.  Thus a Brahmin youth is first invested with a sacred symbolic cord worn from the left shoulder to the right hip, which is done at about 8 years of age; for a Brahmin the thread is cotton; warriors of flax; traders of wool.  As the Parsees are of Aryan race, a similar custom prevails amongst them; the cord in this case goes thrice round the waist.  It is three yarns twisted into one thread, and three of such threads knotted into a circle, symbolising "one in three, and three in one"; it also signifies these conquests, over speech, thoughts, actions.  The Hindu youth is from this time instructed in the Mysteries of the Vedas, and when he comes of age he is formally bound in the Goparam to the service of his temple and instructed in the science and higher Mysteries of his religion; it is practically analogous to Christian baptism, and confirmation.  But the instruction of a Hindu is sometimes compared to a "nine-storied house," and they speak mystically of nine spiritual grades, represented by nine jewels upon a string, or in the hands of a beggar.  A Hindu Mason thus allegorises the practices of a Brahmin: "With the sacred Word of a Brahmin on his lips, the Yogi closes his eyes to the visible creation, that in abstraction he may erect the symbolic temple, looking heartfully upon his body as a temple with nine gates, governed by three principal officers, supported by three subordinate agents.  The temple of Truth is thus built in the heart, without the sound of metal tool."  The symbol of a Pranayani Yogi, as an emblem of the prolongation of life beyond the ordinary time, is the 5 pointed star in a circle,. {72}

   Then again there are degrees of Aspirants who are taught by Brahmins of different degrees of learning, and these again by ascetics or Mahatmas of different degrees of spiritual knowledge.  The Buddhists of Thibet recognise four degrees of spiritual advancement; and amongst the Moslem sects of India, Persia, and Turkey, the system is sometimes of four, and with others of seven degrees.  Much of this is spoken mystically and with secrecy, and has its counterparts in the esoteric side of Freemasonry.

   There is a symbolic doctrine taught by the Brahmins to their disciples in respect to the construction of their temples, and given orally; their basic symbol is the equilateral triangle, the first corner represents birth, the next death, and the apex immortality; the four walls, floor, etc., are typical of their doctrinal teaching; the entrance must be either south or west so that the worshipper may face either the north where the gods are said to reside and whence knowledge comes, or the east whence rites and ceremonies are derived; the body of the temple represents our human body, and the central image, which has its emblem, much resembling the "Seals" of the Rosicrucians, symbolises our own jivatma, or immortal spirit, but the aspects or faces are only explained fully to competent Initiates.<<"Mis. Notes and Queries," x, p. 279.>> This species of instruction has been equally applied to our own cathedrals.  There is also supposed to be what we may call an invisible tyler, represented by a statue.

   That the ancient Brahminical system of Initiation was fearfully secret is evidenced by the Agrouchada Parikshai or manual of Hindu caste-initiation, which makes death the penalty of indiscretion.  Every initiate of the first class who betrays the secret instruction to members of other castes must have his tongue cut out, and suffer other mutilations.  Again, it is said that: "every Initiate, to whatever grade he may belong, who reveals the great sacred formula must be put to death."  And, "any Initiate of the third class who reveals, before the prescribed time, {73} to the Initiates of the second class, the superior truths, must be put to death."  Blavatsky states that if an aged Brahmin was tired of life he might give his own blood, in place of an animal sacrifice, to the disciple whom he was initiating.  She makes no reference to her authority, but the act is probable enough.

   We shall allude shortly to the Mysteries of Mythras, Dionysos, and Osiris, as systems practised by the Aryan race, but it must be borne in mind that the Hindus teach that the Persians and Greeks were of the warrior and agricultural caste, who were only allowed partial instruction in Vedaic learning, but it is possible that they branched from the parent stem before the establishment of caste, and others refused caste arrangement.  The Maharajahs of India identify themselves with the legislation of Bacchus or Dionysos, whom the German savant, Heeren, believes to be the Parusha-Rama, or incarnated priest who aided the Brahmins.  The basis of the Devanagari character of the Hindus, called the "Alphabet of the Gods," is the square, termed "the pillar of knowledge entwined with the garland of thought."

   But besides the Initiatory ceremonies of Brahmins, and warriors, there has existed from remote times a succession of members of an Art Fraternity, using the investiture of the sacred thread, and with an Initiation of their own intended to embrace all castes.  The god whom they recognise is Visvakarman, the great builder, or Architect of the Universe, and Lord of the Art Fraternity.  Mythology says that he crucified his son Surya (the sun) upon his lathe, which is esoterically the Jain cross, or four squares joined at the ends; and the Pagodas of Benares, and Mathura are built as an equal-limbed cross, as an many others, of which we mentioned some in our last chapter.

   In a lecture of 1884 Bro. Nobin Chand Bural speaking of the existing Hindu sect of Visvakarma says that all description of Artizans observe the last day of the month Bakdra as a close holiday sacred to Visvakarma, and will {74} not even touch a tool, and says: "Mr. Ferguson, the celebrated archaeologist, who is a good authority on these matters, connects the sect with some of the old temples abounding in those parts, and by reason of these temples bearing Masonic symbols and devices sculptured on their walls, competent authorities connect the sect with Masonry."

   When Jacolliot, the celebrated French savant and author, was studying the antiquities of India, he was informed by the priests of Benares, that, in very remote ages, "thousands of ages before our era," he says, the Artisan caste formed two divisions the one of which adopted as its mark or sign the plumb-rule, and the other the level.  They eventually united into one, in order the more effectually to resist the confederacy between the two higher castes; and all the great works of remote ages were executed by this confederacy.  As this confederacy is evidently a mixed caste, and as the two higher castes, refused them equal recognition, it seems evident, that these builders were a mixture of Aryans and aborigines, who had their existence as a Fraternity before caste existed, and from the evidence adduced in our last chapter, and the splendour of their labour, a branch of the Cabiric fraternity.

   A remnant of this confederacy was recently brought to light by a very ridiculous mistake of our Government in India by interpreting mystical language as "to the repair of their temple," by Yogis, literally.  It is located in Cochin where the dynasty is of Dravidian origin.  They claim, in a pamphlet, equal right to the sacred cord with the Brahmins, and even dispute their authority, claiming that their privileges and special symbolic instructions were conceded by the Rishis who founded the Brahminical caste Initiation, in those remote ages when hereditary caste was first established.  Whilst the Brahmins use nature symbols to embody divine truths, they express the esoteric truths of the Vedas by art symbols, plans, and measurements. (The reader should note this because it is the {75} essential difference between Modern Free Masonry and the church.)  All temples and even private houses are erected according to traditional symbolism, which conveys a secret and esoteric doctrine.  An Anglo-Indian Officer who had the duty of inspecting the Guilds at the date of the Mutiny says they have all which Masonry possesses.

   We have here an Art Society springing out of the old religious Mysteries but becoming by conquest an independent organisation, tolerated for its great services.  Such were the Dionysian Artificers of Greece, whence originated the Roman Colleges of Artificers, and we shall assign good reasons for believing that it was this creation of caste that made Artists into a separate society.

   Brother C. Purdon Clarke, who has had practical experience amongst these Master builders, confirms the general truth of these claims.<<"Vide Ars Quat. Cor.," vi, p. 99.>>  He says that the Hindu carpenters and masons, who are also carvers, constitute a body that claims peculiar privileges of divine origin, which, though often prejudicial to the Brahmins, were usually conceded.  To these artizans belong 32, or as some reckon 64, of the Shastras of which they are the custodians.  At the great temple of Madura, in 1881, whilst one of these Shastras were read out, an architect drew from the details the representation of one of their deities.  The record seemed but a string of meaningless figures resembling a table of logarithms, but when these were marked down in off-set lines, on both sides of a centre stem, it produced a representation of Vishnu with his flute, standing upon one leg.  He noticed that the centre stem was divided into 96 parts, and he further states that the Pagoda at Cochin in Travancore has a special room set apart for the temple architect, the walls being decorated with full size figures of temple furniture.  All this seems to be an advance upon the chequer designs which were used in ancient Egypt.  Ram Ras, in his work upon the building caste, says that jealous of the Brahmins and of trade competitions, they took care to conceal from {76} the rest of the people the sacred volumes which have descended to them.  The Shastra on civil architecture says that, "an architect should be conversant in all sciences, ever attentive to his vocations, generous, sincere, and devoid of enmity or jealousy."

   The late Brother Whymper states that the key-stone used in erections by the earliest Aryan builders was tau-shaped and that the wedge-shaped key-stone, though of old date, is of a more modern form.<<Ibid. vi. >>  According to the Vastu Shastra, the ancient Hindu temple consisted of seven courts, as at Srirangam and Mavalipuram, their seven walls referring allegorically to the seven essences of the human temple.  In the centre of these courts was a raised seat without any covering.  At entrance the worshippers had to undergo purification before a fire, kept burning for that purpose.  The Goparams, or towers at the entrance, represent the mountain over which Deity presides, surrounded by seven classes of angels and purified beings.  The palace of the King of Siam has seven roofs, and he only can occupy the highest stage.

   If we rely upon the Hindu tradition, as we may, that the Persians and the Greeks were members of the Maharajah caste, coupled with what seems to be historical fact that certain parts of India refused caste laws, we find a reason for the special characteristics of the Mysteries, so far as applies to Brahmin governed countries but not therefore of general practice.  It leads to this conclusion that in the Rites of Maha-deva we have the Brahmin caste; in the Mythraic, and their equivalents, we have the Maharajah caste; whilst in the followers of Visvakarman we have the Artizans, and this combination tends to prove the contentions of the last named, coupled with the evidence of the priests of Benares, that they were sanctioned when the warriors combined with the Brahmins to confine each profession in a close fold, and make hewers of wood, and drawers of water, of an ancient population that they conquered upon advancing into India.  We {77} should not expect under the rule of an old patriarchal government to find religion and art divorced, nor a body of Masons, practising a system of religion as a separate organisation.  Native Mysteries, which followed the Cabiric system of religion and art in union, would be rendered subject by caste laws to the Brahmins, and socially reduced to an inferior position, and new bodies would arise on this basis.

   Persia.  The Magian system, as has already been observed, was not Persian but proto-Median, and as their civilisation preceded the Aryan it argues strongly that a Mystery of the nature of the Cabiric, which combined Theosophy, Science and Art, was of greater antiquity than a Mystery founded upon caste laws, and that the latter system simply modified the former according to the doctrines of their incarnate deity with separate rites so arranged as to preserve caste distinctions.  The pontificate of the Magi, as it had been received from the first Zaradust, was the instructor of the Persians, but reformed in the time of Cyrus by a second Zoroaster, and these Mysteries eventually spread over the world and into several counties of Britain.  Art has a similar tradition to India.

    Mythraic Mysteries.  It is believed that the Initiation of Mythras consisted of seven degrees.  The first degree was "Soldier of Mythras," Porphyry says that the second was that of the "Lion" -- Lion of Mythras; then followed the "Child of the Sun," and we find Initiates termed "Eagles," and "Hawks."  Herodotus asserts that Mythra is Urania; and Ouranos, the Hindu Varuna, was the highest god of Orpheus; Dionysius the Areopagite uses the term, "the threefold Mythras."

   During the Initiatory ceremony the candidate passed, as is also said of the Brahminical, through seven caverns, the last of which was embellished with the signs of the Zodiac.  Celsus mentions that there was a great ladder of steps, with gates or portals on each, coloured to represent the seven planets as in the turrets of the tower of Babel, {78} and the walls of Ecbatana, but Faber justly thinks that this ladder was a pyramid such as Babel itself.  The Neophyte underwent 12 trials, the number of the Zodiacal signs, and during the reception was offered a crown on the point of a sword which he had to refuse, saying: "Mythras is my crown."  He was then offered a wreath which he cast down, saying: "My crown is in my God."  Justin Martyr says: "They take bread and a cup of water in the sacrifice of those that are Initiated and pronounce certain words over it."<<Faber i. p. 458.>>  Augustine: "The candidate received an engraved stone as a token of admission to the Fraternity."<<2 "John," dis. 7.>>  Tertullian: "Mythras marks the forehead of his soldiers, celebrates the oblation of bread, introduces the image of a resurrection, and under the sword wreathes a crown"; he also speaks of a baptism and the promise of absolution on the confession of sins.<<"De Proescriptione," c. 40.>>  It is said that when Maxime the Ephesian Initiated the Emperor Julian, he used the following formula, on baptising him in blood: "By this blood I wash thee from thy sins.  The word of the highest has entered unto thee, and his spirit henceforth will rest upon thee, newly born  The newly begotten son of the highest god.  Thou art the son of Mythras."

    Bread and wine have been held to be the body and blood of Bacchus, and Mr. St. Chad Boscawen (1900) announces that he has just received from Egypt some old Gnostic papyri of the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. in which the names of Jesus, John, and Peter are said to be powerful.  Over a cup or chalice these words appear in Greek: "This is not wine, this is the blood of Osiris," and over a piece of bread: "This is not bread, this is the very body of Osiris."  It proves that the spirit of the Arcane Schools existed far into Christian times.

   The European Temples of Mythras were an oblong square reached by a Pronas on the level, from which a few steps led to the actual temple.  On each side of the entrance was a human figure, one of which holds a raised {79} torch, and the other a torch reversed.  Benches occupied the two sides, and at the further end was the Altar, and beyond it a statue of Mythras Tauroticus with the sun at the god's left hand, and the moon at his right hand.

   M. Caumont in his magnificent work on the Mythraic Mysteries gives an example of the Mythraic sculpture at Chesterholm.  It is a bordered triangular structure on which is sculptured at the top a small circle, below that an equal-limbed cross, over a semi-circle or crescent.  Below that a cock, and at the corner a double circle with cross in centre.  The god often appears holding a pair of scales.  He quotes a text of St. Jerome to prove that the Rite had seven degrees and that the Mystae (Sacratus) took successively the names of Crow, Occult, Soldier, Persian, Courier of the Sun (Heleodromus), and Father.  There are representations of four small loaves marked with the cross, representing no doubt the bread and water which they consecrated.  The lion, he says, is an emblem of fire, to which water is inimical.

   From two of the passages quoted above it would seem that a simulation of death preceded baptism, thus making it a symbol of the new birth, and hence it follows that Christian baptism is a version of this mystic rite of the Mysteries.  In a report of Fermecius Maternus, read before Constantine, it was said that at the celebration of the festival of the Sun, which took place at the same period of time as the Jewish passover, a young ram was slain.  The priests of Mythras offered bread and water to the worshippers whilst whispering, "Be of good courage, ye initiated in the Mysteries of the redeemed god, for we shall find redemption from our afflictions."

   There are Mythraic monuments which bear close resemblance to the symbolism of the Apocalypse.  In some the god is represented in the act of slaying a bull, and he is crowned with a tiara on which is seven stars; in others he appears with a torch in each hand, whilst a flaming sword issues out of his mouth.  Most of the figures of this god have a man on each side of him, one holding a torch {80} flaming upwards, and the other in a reversed position.  Mr. Ernest de Bunsen compares the offering of bread to the Haoma sacrifices of the undivided Aryan family, where the priests offered in a cup a piece of the holy plant and some round flat cakes, or draona, corresponding with the Christian wafers, but mystically alluding to the solar disc, and he further says that these Hota priests correspond with the seven soma priests of the Hindus, and that the Avesta has this address for the Mysteries: "Eat, ye men, this mayazda, ye who are worthy of the same by your purity and piety."<<"Mis. Notes and Queries" (Gould), xii, p. 238.>>

   After the revolt of the Persian tribe against the Brahmins, the former converted the Vedaic Ahriman into an evil being, or devil; and named other Vedaic gods as his followers; the Greek Ouranos is the Hindu Varuna and Mythras is associated with Ahura, as the Hindu sun-god is with Varuna.

   Arts.  The invented arts have their legends.  Hushang the son of their first King Kiumers accidentally discovered fire and the blacksmith's art, further developed by Tahumers; then weaving was invented; his slaves the demons taught him letters.  The next king was the wise Jemschid, in whose time military accoutrements were fabricated; he built in brick and gave laws, but lost his life at the hands of Zohak, a monstrous usurper of Arabia, but was avenged by Feridun of the Kainian race, one of whose sons slew the other.  According to the poet Ferdusi<<"Shah Namah.">>, who collected the annals of the Persian Kings close upon a thousand years ago, Jemschid erected the Artizans into a class by themselves, under a chief, that we should call Grand Master, giving them laws, which Jemschid himself interpreted: --

         "Selecting one from each, the task to guide,

          By rules of art, himself the rules applied."

   Brother C. P. Clarke informs us that the modern Persian Master-builder works out his ideas by a secret method, in {81} which a plan is divided into equal chequered squares, of which each square represents either one or four square bricks such as are used in Persia.  It is a miniature of one which is transferred to the floor of the Master's workroom, where the patterns are incised in a plaster of Paris groundwork ready to serve as a mould from which slabs may be cast.<<"Ars Quat. Cor.", vi, p. 99.>>  The system yet forms the floor-cloth of Free Masonry; it is still in secret practice in Persia and agrees with the square designs of old Egypt which served to fix a canon of proportion.  The Guild Free Masonry says that Solomon's temple had squares of a cubit now represented on their carpet.

   Egypt.  The worship of Osiris had its centre at Abydos, and was probably the system of an Aryan colony, even if the first King Menes was not of that race.  Kaluka Bhatta mentions an Aryan king named Manu Vena, who was driven out of India after a five days' battle and led his army into Egypt.  Georgius Sincellus tells us that in the early times of Amenophis an Indian colony immigrated to Egypt, but the worship of Osiris is very much older than Amenophis.  The historian Heeren demonstrates that certain skulls of mummies resemble those of Bengalese, though this rather connects them with a pre-Aryan race of Indians, and a modern Indian regiment found in the god-ruins of Egypt, the deities of their own country, and Philostratus shews that commercial intercourse existed.  There is, however, a perfect resemblance of priestly governance in Egypt with the laws prescribed by Manu for the Aryan priests; moreover the social habits, creed, and even minute questions of costume, are resemblances between Egypt and India that cannot be explained away.  As in minor so also in questions of religious sacrifice, the cow, bull, and crocodile were sacred animals, but equally the bull was sacrificed, and the doctrine of Metampsychosis was held, all equally by both nations.  Flinders Petrie has sanctioned the belief that King Menes is the Mythical Manu of India.  {82}

   The Mysteries.  The Egyptian Mysteries were celebrated in honour of Isis and Osiris, the former symbolised by the Moon, and the latter by the Sun.  We have few authentic details, but we know that Isis corresponds with the Grecian Demeter and Latin Ceres, and Osiris with the Grecian Dionysos and Latin Bacchus.  Iamblichus says that Amen represents the hidden force which brings all things forth to light; he is Ptah when he accomplishes all things with skill and truth; and Osiris as the good and beneficent god.  Damascius writes: "Of the first principles the Egyptians said nothing, but celebrated it as a darkness beyond all intellectual conception, a thrice unknown darkness."  Jennings considers that the Mystic black and white banner of the Templars referred to this doctrine.  Plutarch informs us that Isis was apparelled in clothing partly black and partly white to indicate a notion of the Deity, and that the dead were so clothed to shew that the idea remained with them.  Dion Chrysostom says that the ceremonies of the Mysteries were an alternation of light and darkness.  It is said that healing of the sick by sleeping in the temples was an actual fact, aided often by dreams, and was "not fable as amongst the Greeks, but actual fact."

   The Mysteries of Isis required of the candidate a lengthy purification and severe bodily trials.  It was a representation of the trials of the soul in the future life, from which lessons for conduct in this life might be drawn.  We shall see more of this in comparison with the Greek Mysteries, which were derived from the Egyptian.

   In the drama of Osiris the legend relates how he was slain by his brother Typhon, in like manner as Bacchus was slain by the Titans, and his body thrown into the Nile.  The river carried its burthen to Byblos and deposited it on a tamarind tree, which enclosed it in its growth.  Isis travels about lamenting the loss of her husband, as did the Grecian Demeter and Latin Ceres lamenting the loss of her daughter Proserpine, and is at {83} length led to the place where the body rests and which she recovers.  After this Typhon seizes again the body, dismembers it, and scatters the pieces over the 26 nomes into which Egypt was divided.  The sorrowing Isis now wanders about to collect the various pieces, and at length recovers all but the generative part, for which a substitute is made.  Eventually the son Horus overthrows Typhon, and reigns in the place of Osiris.

   A curious analogy with Masonry may here be noted: the sacred word of the Hebrews, JHVH, in that language signifies generation; in the Egyptian Mysteries it is the generative organ which is lost and a substitute made; in Masonry it is the word which is lost and a substitute which is given in its place.  A level was recently found in the tomb of Semoteus, a King of the 20th dynasty.  (Initiation, April, 1903, p. 39.)

   In the natural aspect, followed by Plutarch, the allegory represents tropical heat and the fertilisation of the land by canals for the distribution of the Nile, which they represented by the sun, with a stream of water issuing from the mouth.  In the second place Osiris is the sun, Isis the moon, Typhon is night, Nepthys twilight.  Thus the sun sets in the west pursued by the moon, lost in the darkness of night, to rise again as Horus in the newborn sun.  In another and higher aspect, Osiris and Isis symbolise spirit and matter, {Symbol: Venus}, or the two forces.  Isis is usually represented as a mother nursing her son Horus, and this simile is used by Grecian philosophers, who were always less reticent than the Copt, to symbolise primal matter; thus Oscellus terms it "mother nurse"; Plato, "the reception of all generation as its nurse"; and Aristotle, "a mother."  The Aureus attributed to Hermes makes use of this symbolism to reveal, and yet hide, the alchemical process.  The true spiritual import, we must seek in the Book of the Dead, for the Books of Hermes are lost to us.  Brother Malapert professes to find the ceremony of Initiation in the jewels, rituals, and sculpture deposited in the Louvre, certain of which are considered {84} to shew that the approaching candidate, properly prepared, is taken charge of by his guide, and the purifications proceed, in regular order -- until the Neophyte is brought before the hierophant, who is seated upon his throne with the scales of justice before him.  It is a Mystery of the cross as an emblem of eternal life, equally a Cabiric symbol, or still more ancient.

   The Rev. Mr. C. W. Leadbeater has some very interesting remarks in regard to the ancient sacerdotal initiations, for the priests had their own Initiations to which they alone were admissible.  He claims that the cross was the emblem of the descent into matter, and that, to represent this, the candidate was laid upon a cruciform bier, hollowed to suit the body of the candidate, wearied after a long preliminary ritual.  His arms were loosely bound with cords, and he was then carried from the Hall of initiation into the Crypt, or lower vault of the temple, and placed upon a sarcophagus to represent actual burial.  He remained thus for three entire days, whilst the tests of earth, water, air, and fire were applied to the divorced soul, as a practical experience of invulnerability.  On the fourth day of the entombment he was brought forth and exposed to the first rays of the rising sun, and restored to natural life.  He thus develops the Rubric of the hierophant: "Then shall the candidate be bound upon a wooden cross, he shall die, he shall be buried, and shall descend into the underworld; after the third day he shall be brought back from the dead, and shall be carried up into heaven to be the right hand of him from whom he came, having learned to guide (or rule) the living and the dead."  There is a very ancient dirge, called the Maneros, which is supposed to have been chanted over the Neophyte.  There are said to be some ancient mystical MSS. which speak of this trial as "the hard couches of those who are in travail in the act of giving birth to themselves"; that is "crucified before the sun."  Plutarch says that "when a man dies he goes through the same experiences as those who have their consciousness increased in the Mysteries.  {85} Thus in the terms ___ and___   we have an exact correspondence, word to word and fact to fact."  It seems evident from this, and from other things that we shall mention in our next chapter, that Plutarch is alluding to the actual divorce of soul from the body, related to what may be an allegory which he recites, under the tale of a man named Aridaeus or Thespesius of Soli in Asia Minor, who apparently died from a fall, and after three days returned to his body, and detailed his experience of the exquisite sights which he beheld.<<"Theos. rev.," xxii, p. 232.  Vide also "Secret Doctrine," ii. p. 359.>>

   In the year 1898 an interesting discovery was made of the tomb of Amenophis II.  It is entered by a steep inclined gallery terminating in a 26ft. well, having passed which the tomb is reached.  In the first chamber was found the body of a man bound to a rich boat-like structure, his arms and feet are tied with cords, and his mouth gagged with a cloth, the breast and head have marks of wounds.  In the second chamber were found the bodies of a man, woman, and child.  The third is the tomb of the king, the roof is supported by massive square columns painted deep blue and studded with golden stars, the walls covered with paintings.  At one end is the sandstone Sarcophagus, rose coloured, which enclosed the mummy with chaplets of flowers round the neck and feet.  To the right is a small chamber in which other mummies of later kings have been placed.  The floors of all the chambers are covered with such articles as statues, vases, wooden models of animals, and boats.

   The Mysteries of the Latin Bacchus, who is Dionysos in Greece and Assyria, and Osiris in Egypt, are thus spoken of by Macrobius: "The images or statues of Bacchus, represent him sometimes as a young man, at other times with the beard of a mature man, and lastly with the wrinkles of old age.  The differences relate to the sun, a tender child at the winter solstice, such as the Egyptians represent him on a certain day, when they bring forth from an obscure nook of their Sanctuary his infantine {86} image, because the sun being then at the shortest, seems to be but a feeble infant gradually growing from this moment."

   The learned French writer Christian considers that the 22 symbolical designs of the Tarot cards embody the synthesis of the Egyptian Mysteries, and that they formed the decoration of a double row of 11 pillars through which the candidate for Initiation was led, and that these designs further correspond with the 22 characters of all primitive alphabets.<<Vide "The Tarot," by Papus.>>  Dr. Clarke finds the traditional characters of the ancient Mysteries in our modern pantomime.<<Vol. iv, p. 459, quoted in Disraeli's "Curiosities of Literature.">>  He says that Harlequin is Mercury; Columbine is Psyche, or Soul; the old man is Charon, the ferryman over Styx; the clown is Momus, and he engraves the subject of an ancient vase, which, he says, represents Harlequin, Columbine, and Clown, as we see them on the stage.  In further evidence of how such legends survive, in new dresses, Baring Gould has shown that the trials of St. George are but a transformation of the various martyrdoms and resurrections which were related to the weeping worshippers in the temples of Babylon and Assyria at the fate of Tammuz and Adonis; and that the dragon story in the life of St. George is but that of other dragon slayers in Semitic and Aryan Mythology.  Maimonides mentions the work of Abn Washih as alluding to this.  On the agricultural classes of the Mysteries there is a curious old Babylonian work translated by Chwolsohn about 35 years ago.  Maimonides, who was physician of Saladin, "circa" 1200 A.D., speaks of it as "full of heathenish foolishness . . . preparation of talismans," etc.  Its title Nabatheans is derived from the god Nebo, and the Persian Yezids say that the sect went from Busrah to Syria, and that they believe in seven archangels or stars.  The book is a difficult esoteric one, by an amanuensis named Qu-tamy, and precedes the era of Nebuchadnezzar.

   We now come to what is more interesting to Free {87} Masons, and to Geometry which is one of the mystic or esoteric keys of most sacred books.  Geometry, as applied to land-measuring, had its origin in Egypt, and we quoted the authority of Diodorus that the sacred alphabet represented some of the implements of labour.  In early times the superintendence of art was a priestly office.  It is noteworthy that the tomb of the ancient King Osymandius has a ceiling of stars upon a blue ground the like of which is found in the Cathedrals of York, Canterbury, and Gloucester, truly there is nothing new under the sun.  The tomb of an ancient Egyptian was recently opened by M. Maspero, and buried with the body were found the working tools of a Mason.  Herodotus informs us that they prohibited burial in wool for the reason of which he refers to the rites of Orphic and Pythagoric initiation, thus confirming their affinity with Egypt.  Cleopatra's needle was a comparatively modern re-erection by that Queen, at a time when the Roman building fraternities may have influenced Egypt; but at its base was found, when taken down for removal to America, various stones designedly laid in accordance with Masonic Symbolism, and upon a block, in form of a square, was placed a cube, or Ashlar, also a stone wrought from the purest limestone symbolising purity.<<Vide "Egyptian Obelisks" (Weisse).>>  In the Osirian temple at Philae, re-erected on the site of a more ancient one, about 300 B.C., are found many interesting representations, such as the death and resurrection of Osiris, and also a cube opened out in the form of a Latin cross, with a man's head in the upper square.

   A writer in the Indian Freemasons' Friend maintains that the Copts have preserved, from their ancestors to the present day, much information upon Masonry which may be gathered from the Hajjar, or stone cutters.  He also adds that Masons' Marks are found upon the stones of buildings, as old even as the "well" of the great pyramid.  There was a fine old stone in the possession of Consul John Green on which was the point within a circle, triple {88} tau, sguare, five-pointed star, crux ansata, level, triangle,  .  Outside the Rosetta-gate are, or were, some old granite remains and two statues of Isis and Osiris, on the base of each of which, as well as on the many stones around, are found the first, second, and fourth of the characters before-mentioned,.  On an old stone of red granite built into the Court-house of Rosetta amongst those we have mentioned, and others, are the tau, sloping ladder of three steps, trowel, .  At Heliopolis the above marks are found, as well as others of a different character, eye, crook, two concentric demicircles,.<<F. M. Mag., 1861, v, p. 487.>>  Amongst Masons' Marks of the 12th dynasty, say 3,000-2,400 B.C., we find the svastica, the equal-limbed cross +, both plain and in a circle, our five-pointed star, open angles crossed like square and compasses, delta, letter H, &c.,,  <<"A.Q.C.", iii.>>  Guild Masonry tells us that semicircles denote an Arch Guild.

   Greece and Italy.  The Dionysian and Bacchic rites, through which we may better comprehend the Egyptian, were of two classes.  In the first Ceres goes in search of Proserpine to Hades, as did Ishter when she sought her lover Isdhubar, Duzi, or Tamzi, these rites were in especial of an agricultural nature.  In the higher Mysteries the Neophyte represented Bacchus.  Plutarch says that Typhon revolted against Osiris, tore his body in pieces, mangled his limbs, scattered them abroad, and filled the earth with rage and violence.  In like manner in those of Greece and Italy the rebel Titans tear in pieces the god Bacchus, and as these Titans were Cyclops it appears to mythologise the war of races.  As we shall treat of these Mysteries more fully in our next chapter, we will only add here a few quotations as to their teaching.  The Orphic verses apply these Mysteries to the sun, as known by many names: --

        "The sun, whom men call Dionysos, is a surname,

         One Zeus, one Aides, one Helios, one Dionysos." {89}

  The Oracle of Apollo Clarius says: "Much it behoves that the wise should conceal the unsearchable orgies.  But if thy judgment is weak, know that of gods who exist, the highest of all is Jao.  He is Aides in winter; Zeus at the coming of spring-time; Helios in summer-heat; and in autumn graceful Jao."

   Macrobius says that it was an inviolable secret that the sun in the upper hemisphere is called Apollo; also that the ancients perceived a resemblance between the sun and the wolf, for as flocks disappear at the sight of the latter, so stars disappear before the sun.

   As the Chaldean technique was used in the Cabiric Mysteries, so in these we are said to have a trace of Sanscrit.  The words Konx Oumpax, was a formal dismissal, or as we might say, "go in peace"; the original is said to be identical with the words "Kanska om Paksha," with which the Brahmins conclude some of their more important ceremonies.  Le Plongeon finds the expression may be interpreted in Maya language, "go hence, scatter."

   We equally find a Theosophical and Art fraternity in the Dionysiacs of Greece, and the Persians were near kindred of the Hellenic Greeks; but according to Herodotus the descent was Egyptian, for he says that the Creek Dionysos and the Latin Bacchus is Osiris, and that the same rites are practised in both countries, but though they are known to him he is compelled to be silent.  Yet Dionysos is the Assyrian Dionisia, the Phoenician Melcarth, and the Akkadian Izdhubar.

   The art of building in flat stone blocks in contradistinction to Cyclopean Masonry is mentioned in our last chapter, and seems to have been adopted about the period when Egypt colonised the country, and as we know the perfection masonry had reached in Egypt ages before the 16th century B.C., we may reasonably conclude that they introduced the improved art, with the Dionysian Mysteries.  At any rate we find not only the State Mysteries of Dionysos, but as in other cases mentioned, where caste Hellenes or Aryans had invaded the native population, {90} an Art fraternity, under the same name, which above 3,000 years ago was designated the "Dionysian Artificers," and which superseded the style of the Cabiri by an improved system.

   This body executed all level work in Greece and the Asia Minor at the period, and were an Incorporated Society; there are many inscriptions in reference to them, and their existence is placed beyond doubt.  Their organisation was identical with the later Roman Colleges, which again have their counterpart in English Guild Free Masonry.  They are said to have rebuilt the temple of Heracles at Tyre.  Herodotus states that the priests told him that the temple had existed for 2,300 years, and the old author enlarges upon two pillars which it contained, the one of gold, the other of emerald, which shone exceedingly at night, and which may emblemise the two pillars which Sanconiathon says were dedicated by men of the first ages to Fire and Wind.

   In 1874 a peculiar discovery was made at Pompeii of a table in Mosaic work, which is now in the National Museum of Naples (No. 109,998).  It is about a foot square and fixed in a strong wooden frame.  The ground is of a greyish-green stone, in the centre is a human skull in white, grey, and black.  Above the skull is a level, of coloured wood, the points of brass, and from the top point, by a white thread, is suspended a plumb-line.  Below the skull is a wheel with six spokes, and on the upper rim of the wheel is a butterfly, the wings being edged with yellow and the eyes blue.  Through the protraction of the plumb-line the skull, wings, and wheel, have the appearance of being halved.  On the left is an upright spear, the bottom being of iron, and resting on the ground, from this there hangs, by a golden cord, a garment of scarlet and a purple robe.  The symbol of a purple robe is worthy of note, as it corresponds with what Clemens said of the Cabiri, as quoted in our last chapter.

   The Dionysian Mysteries passed into Phoenicia by way of Babylon, and thence entered Syria in dedication to the {91} god Adonis, from Adonai -- Lord, passing to Persia, Cyprus and Athens; they continued in Syria until the fourth century A.D.  As Adonis was the sun who dies to rise again, as in the other Mysteries using other names, so the symbolic representation was conducted by acting the death of an individual for whom lamentation was made; Proserpine and Venus contend for the body of the handsome god, and the difficulty is settled by a six months residence with each.  In the drama the priest, after an interval, signified the resuscitation of the hero by exclaiming: "thanks be to god for out of pains salvation is come unto us."  The cries of grief were then changed for hymns and exclamations of joy.  It is the ceremony of the weeping for Osiris by Isis, for Tammuz by Astarte, for Tamzi by Ishter, for Mahadeva by Sita, and that of which we read in the prophet Exekiel where he says: "behold I saw women weeping for Tammuz."  The Phrygians, who were a very ancient Armenian colony, had a similar ceremony in honour of Anach, or Annoch (Enoch), for whom they mourned and rejoiced at the end of the old year.  The Apamean medals of this race clearly refer to Noah and the Cabiri, and represent thereon a boat holding eight persons, and the word No.  This Noachian legend appears to commingle the heavenly boat of Hea with the eight Cabiri, the deluge tradition, and that of Persia, which says that their first king sent out colonies in pairs of all created things.  The Cabiric Mysteries of Phrygia were in honour of Atys and Cybele, and their priests denominated Corybantes.

   Professor Louis, a Jew, who lectured recently before the Society of Biblical Archaeology, advanced that there were Guilds of Artizans and Craftsmen amongst his forefathers.  This is not surprising when we remember that the exponents of the law made it incumbent upon themselves to follow some handicraft, and the "Mishna" advocates the dignity of labour, in numerous passages, such as the following: "He who derives his livelihood from the labour of his hands is as great as he who fears God."  {92}

   In all the countries, mentioned in this chapter, the religious and Masonic emblems, and the symbols of Initiation that have come down to us are of the same special type, in all time.  Amongst these may be named, the pentagon, the hexagon, the double triangles, the same in a circle and with a central point, the Jain cross of four squares, the equal-limbed cross, the lengthened cross, and crosses of other forms.  At Chunar, near Benares, is found a triangle enclosing a rose.  The 49 Hindu caste-marks are carved upon the stones of their ancient fanes; and we have the mystic picture of a god crucified in space.

    In the case of Gautama Buddha who reformed the Buddha doctrine, or Jain religion, and sought to abolish caste, we have Masonic allegory in announcing to his disciples that he had obtained final beatitude, and the extinction of desire.  He compares his body to a house, which the Great Architect will not re-erect: --

"Through various transmigrations

I must travel, if I do not discover

The Buddha that I seek.

Painful are repeated transmigrations!

I have seen the Great Architect!

Thou shalt not build me another house.

Thy rafters are broken,

Thy roof-timbers scattered;

My mind is detached,

I have obtained extinction of desire."

   The more humane worship and morality of the Aryans exercised an all-powerful influence upon the rest of the world.  In the time of the elder Cyrus, or Khai-Khosru the Persian conqueror of Media, the State system was the Median Magism of the first Zaradust of Bactria.  This Cyrus was the father of Cyaxarus or Ahashuerus, of Cambyses, and of Bardes.  Cyaxarus on his father's death succeeded to the moiety of East Persia, and married Esther, or Atossa, so named after Ishter, the goddess who {93} descended into Hades.  Cambyses or Lohrasp was a half brother by the daughter of Astyages or Afrasaib King of Media, and inherited the other moiety; he conquered Egypt about 520 B.C., and having first slain his brother Bardes, and then destroyed Cyaxarus, married his widow Atossa, and so again united Media and Persia.  His son Cyrus II. favoured the Magi and liberated the Jews; he conquered Babylon 518 B.C., and died without issue 506 B.C.  The way was thus paved for Darius Hystaspes, or the son of Gustasp, of the Achaemenion or Royal race of Persia, had been Viceroy of Egypt 520 B.C., and who, on the death of the crazy Cambyses 518 B.C., would seem to have married his widow, in which case she would have been the wife of three kings; and the pretensions of Darius might thus originate, as he was not, by birth, entitled to the throne.  There is a legend which says that seven princes entered into a confederacy, and agreed, on their journey, that whosoever's horse first neighed, at sight of the rising sun, should be King, and the lot fell to Darius.  This prince was everywhere successful, but the contest ended in the destruction of the Magi, whose growing power had long been offensive to the Persian Mazdeans.  An Armenian of the name of Aracus, and a Babylonian of the name of Nadintabelus, set themselves forth as descendants of the Ancient Kings of Babylon, but were defeated in the year 493 B.C.  Darius records his numerous victories in mild language, upon the Behustan rock, and attributes his success to the grace of Ormuzd, in striking contrast to the bloodthirsty and fanatical boastings of the Kings of Assyria, and we cannot doubt that when Ezra the Chaldean, re-edited the Jewish Scriptures, they gained in the direction of humanity by this contact with the Aryans.

   The destruction of the Magi was commemorated by a festival termed the Magaphonia; eventually, by careful management, the brotherhood made their way again to power, and Plato speaks of the system as the most pure of all religious schools, and there is no doubt that as Gnostic {94} Christians and Islamites their succession has descended to our own times, and a form of the Magaphonia may be represented in the Mouharren, and similar festivals in honour of Houssein, or Ali.  It would appear that after the successes of Darius his religious views as to Mazdeism may have undergone some change in favour of the Judeo-Magism of Media.  He was succeeded by his son Cyaxarus III., or Xerxes, he and Darius his son were the first and second liberators of the Jews, and hence the originators of the second temple at Jerusalem.

   In Egypt the Persians were succeeded by the Greek Ptolemies following upon the conquests of Alexander the Great, and these by the Roman Emperors and Consuls.  Many sublime edifices were erected, including the building of Alexandria 332 B.C.  The temple of Osiris at Philae was begun about 300 B.C., and building operations thereon continued for about two centuries, and here the Mysteries of Osiris were celebrated until late into Christian times.  James Anderson, in his Constitutions, says that Euclid the geometrician, and Straton the philosopher, superintended the erection of several great edifices.

   With the foundation of Alexandria, and the introduction therein of the recondite doctrines of the Greek philosophers, which they had gathered by ransacking the Mysteries of all other nations, Ptolemy I. resolved to make it the seat of occult worship, by establishing there the Mysteries of Serapis, which united with the Egyptian rites of Isis and Osiris the learning of the Greeks.  To inaugurate this scheme he brought from Sinope in Pontus a statue of the god.  The representations of this deity often accompany him with the three-headed Cerberus, combining a lion, a wolf, and a dog, whilst his body is wound round with a serpent.  He typifies Osiris not only as an earthly king, but as a judge of the world of spirits.  In the work of Mr. C. W. King, who writes on Gnosticism, is a sard of about the reign of Hadrian, which represents the god as seen by Macrobius, Isis standing before him, with her sistrum in her hand as if in supplication, whilst {95} in her other hand is an ear of wheat: the legend is HE KURRA ISIS AGNE, immaculate is our Lady Isis.  Erastosthenes, who lived 276-196 B.C., terms her the Celestial virgin.

   Other inscriptions referring to Serapis are equally noteworthy; that on Raspe's No. 1490 is -- EIS ZEUS SERAPIS AGION ONOMA SEBAS EOS ANATOLE CHTHON, translated, The one only Lord Serapis, the holy name, glory, light, the dayspring, the earth, often abreviated to GR:Sigma-Omega-Sigma.  He is also called EIS ZOOS THEOS, the only living God.  The "holy name" may be the Arcane I-A-O, which Clemens says was worn upon the person by Initiates.

   Apuleius comments upon these Mysteries but does so very reticently.  He informs us that he had been initiated into those of the Great goddess Isis, as representing nature; and that though ceremonials of Serapis differed therefrom that the doctrine was the same.  Damaskios asserts that the god appeared in a visible, but superhuman form, to his worshippers at Alexandria.  The Rite, as in other Mysteries, required a nine days' fast and purification.  Apuleius hints that the priests had other ceremonies, for he states that after Initiation into the Mysteries of Osiris he was made a Pastopheri of the temple and received into the College of Priests, exposing his bald head to the multitude, as a Catholic priest does his tonsure.  In the Virgin of the World, by Hermes, Isis informs her son Horus that there was a triple set of Mysteries. (1) "Initiating them in the arts, sciences, and the benefits of civilised life." (2) "Religious representations and sacred Mysteries." (3) "Prophet Initiation, so that the prophet who lifts his hands to the gods should be instructed in all things."  Hence it is necessary to keep in mind, both in antiquity and even in later and modern times, art, exoteric rites, and esoteric Initiation.  Drummond expresses the opinion that the Chartomi, or superior priests of Egypt, alone possessed the full revelation, which they protected by a triple key of symbolic explanation.  Bin Washih {96} says<<"Descent of Symb. Mas." John Amrstrong, Liverpool, 1896.>> that there were four classes of priests of Hermes (1) those of his male descendants, (2) the descendants of his brothers, (3) the descendants of his sisters or Easterns, (4) of the strangers who mingled with the family; and he gives a very interesting account of their alleged ceremonies.

   The Eleusinian, Serapian, and Mythraic Mysteries were all very popular in Rome, and spread into all countries, practising their rites side by side with the aboriginal Mysteries, for the utmost tolerance existed amongst all the priests.  All are known to have existed in Britain, flourishing generally until the 4th century of Christianity, and practised long after in secret.

   Besides the State Mysteries, Alexandria became the centre whence radiated the Mystic schools, the Cabala, Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism, and Arcane Christianity.  The Emperor Hadrian when Consul reports that there were no bishops of Christ, Chiefs of Synagogues, Theurgists, Diviners, who were not also worshippers of Serapis, implying a general recognition of Serapis as the personal God of the world, and that the living God is the same under many names.  The learned Cardinal Henry Newman asserts that the Arcane Discipline of the early Alexandrian Church was the introduction of Platonism into Christianity; it was, however, that Platonism formed by the union of Greek thought with Egyptian Osirianism in the Mysteries of Serapis.  Mr. C. W. King in his Gnostics says "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."  It is equally certain that the images of Isis and Horus continued to be manufactured, and were renamed as those of the Virgin and Child.  Amongst the noted Christians of this period, who were Serapians and Christians or Members of the Arcane Discipline, were Origen and Ammonius Saccus, the catechists; the latter established a School in which he obligated his Disciples {97} to secrecy.<<Cardinal Newman.>>  It is known also that the early Christians used the Tau cross on their tombs.<<"A.Q.C.", v. p. 2.>>  There seems even no doubt that the pre-Christian Rites had a Mystery of the Cross, and there is said to be an ancient painting in Egypt of a candidate laid upon a cruci-form bier.  Justin Martyr observes that "the sign of the cross is impressed on all nature.  There is scarcely a handicraftsman but uses the figure of it amongst the implements of his industry.  It forms a part of man himself, as may be seen when he extends his arms in prayer."  And, apart from this, the Spiritual and consolatory faith breathed in the Ritual of the Dead is so much in consonance with the beliefs of the Christian, that it must convince the most hardened sceptic of the antiquity of the doctrine, if he even discredit them as articles of belief, and confirms the words of Augustine that Christianity existed from the beginning of the human race, until Christ came in the flesh.

   It will form a fitting close to this chapter if we again point out that all ancient buildings contain a system of Masons' Marks which were cut by the Masons to shew by whom the work was done.  These are either symbols, emblems, or more or less the alphabet prevalent where the work was done.  Of great antiquity in Egypt they are equally ancient in India.  We find the symbols of these two ancient nations in use in Europe, side by side with Greek numerals, the Magical alphabet and Runic letters.  That this custom has been handed down from remote ages to our own days as an organised form by which to ascertain the work of each member of an organised and united Fraternity, is one of the strongest arguments that can be used in favour of the equal antiquity, and faithful transmission of the organisation and ceremonies of modern Free Masonry which the reader will gather has so many points of resemblance to the ancient Mysteries; for there is ample evidence to shew that the Mark was a part of the acquisition of an accepted Mason {98} for centuries.  But as there were various branches of the Mysteries, there must at one time have been various, varying Rites of Free Masonry.

   The origin of Tally (Taille -- Fr.) Sticks is very ancient and they are yet used occasionally.  The Celtic Ogham alphabet had a like origin.  It consisted of notches cut at the corner of a square stone, or else from a stem-line.  The letters B, L, F, S, N, are formed by cutting strokes at right angles to the stem-line on the right hand, and the letters H, D, T, C, Q, at right angles to the left.  Thus a single stroke to the right is B, and to the left is H, two to the right is L, and the same number to the left is D.  Three to one side is F, three to the other is T.  Long strokes numbering from one to five, cutting the stem diagonally, expressed M, G, Ng, St, R, and short strokes, numbering from one to five, cutting across the stem at right angles give the vowels.  The old Runic Staves for Calendars were somewhat similar.  Strange symbols were used to mark the several festivals, but the days were indicated by notches.  As Masons' marks the Runic character is common.  (Chambers' Journal, 1897, p. 285.  S. Baring Gould.)

   The evidence of this chapter goes to prove, with what has gone before, that there was a system of Art Mysteries attached to the Sacerdotal Mysteries, and that they only became specifically operative by the introduction of caste laws, by Aryan invaders, and the necessities of the times.

{99}

CHAPTER IV.

THE MYSTERIES IN RELATION TO PHILOSOPHY.

THE chief difficulty in the minds of writers who have written upon the Mysteries and Freemasonry is owing to the varieties of names by which the former have been known in different nations, and the comparatively modern designation of the latter Society.  But this difficulty disappears in a great measure when we recognise that the Rites are of great antiquity, derived from a primitive source, that they had all the same general principles and varied chiefly but in the technicalities and language of the country in which they were celebrated.  We may safely admit that the general characteristics of the Mysteries were the same in all nations.

   Thus in the course of ages, by national divergence in the mode of expressing thought, new names for the old Rites arose, and translations made into new tongues.  The Assyrian Dionisu is the Greek Dionysos, the Latin Bacchus, and the Egyptian Osiris.  In other cases the Mysteries were known by their place of conferment, or by the name of the Hierophant who introduced them.  In other cases names varied according to the particular degree of the writer; thus it is said that Bacchus the Lord of the Cross and the pine-cone, becomes Iacchus in the mouth of an epoptae addressing him as Lord of the planet.  Similarly we learn from Plutarch that Ishter, Demeter, Ceres, and Isis are all one, and represent living matter, or matter vivified by spirit, which is a doctrine of the Mystae, or first grade of Initiation.  The higher spiritual birth of the twice-born is taught in the martyrdom of these gods. {101} Each nation, however, gave to the Mysteries a tinge of its own culture, precisely as Osiris, Isis, and Horus, are counterparts of the two deific principles, and created forms, equally with the Christian Trinity of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  Pausanius gives the name of Saotus or saviour to the Mystery-god, and he was designated Liberator, and GR:Upsilon-Eta-Sigma.

   Varron, the most learned of the Latins, in his treatise De Lingun Latina, says, iv. p. 17: "The principal gods are Heaven and Earth.  They are the same gods which in Egypt are named Serapis, Isis, and Harpocrates, which with Phoenicians are Thoth and Astarte, the same in Latin as Saturn and Ops (the earth).  In effect the earth and the heavens are the sacred instruction of Samothrace, treated as the Great Gods."  That is they are the active and passive principles of nature, and belong to the earlier and less cultured life of the Greeks.   Tertullian says that they raised three altars to the great gods -- that is the male and female principles became three in their progeny -- the oldest of trinities.

   The ostensible hero of the Mysteries of Greece was the sun-god, and Martinus Capellus, in his hymn to the sun written in the fifth century, says: --

        "Thee, the dwellers on the Nile, adore as Serapis,

         And Memphis worships thee as Osiris.

         Thou art worshipped as Mithra, Dis, and cruel Typhon;

         In the sacred rites of Persia thou art Mythras,

         In Phrygia the beautiful Atys;

         And Lybia bows down to thee as Amon,

         Phoenician Byblos as Adonis;

         Thus the whole world adores thee under different names."

   Ausonius has verses to the like effect, adding Dionysos for India, and Liber for Italy: --

        "Hail! true image of the gods and thy father's face,

         Thou whose sacred name, surname, and omen,

         Three letters that agree with the number 608."<<Vide Pike's "Morals and Dogma," p. 587>> {101} YHS = 400 + 8 + 200 = 608.  In Chaldee and Hebrew, Cham or Ham, heat, is also 608.

   Although Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough, in his Origines Gentium Antiquissmae has set himself the impossible task of deriving all mankind from Noah within the period of the Rabinical chronology, he has many valuable quotations which tend toe elucidate the Mysteries.  He quotes Herodotus as affirming in his Euterpe, for a known truth, that Ceres or Demeter is also Isis; Clemens Alexandrinus also affirms it, and proves it out of a book of Leon, who wrote the history of the Egyptian gods.  Diodorus Siculus is cited by Eusebius as saying that Osiris is Dionysus or Bacchus, and that Isis is Demeter or Ceres; Diodorus makes Prometheus the crucified Cabric God to be contemporary with Osiris.  Plutarch quotes Anticlides to prove that Osiris is the same person as Dionysus or Bacchus.  Prometheus is said to be son of Japhetus, or Japhet, and Isis the wife of Osiris his daughter, as is also asserted by Anticlides.  Another son of Japhetus, according to Apollodorus, was Atlas.  Pausanius affirms the Prometheus and his son Aetnaus planted the Cabiric Mysteries in Boetia, but that they received this sacred depositum from Ceres.  Much of this is mystical, but it all goes to prove what we began by saying, namely, that the Mysteries were all one, and varied only in the language.

   Herodotus speaks of the celebration at night, in Egypt, of the sufferings of a god whose name is too sacred to be written.  The Phoenician Mysteries, as we learn from Meursius, and Plutarch, exhibited the corpse of a young man strewn with flowers, for whom the women mourned, and for whom a tomb was erected.  Macrobius says that in the Mysteries of Adonis there was a nine days fast and lamentation which was succeeded by hymns of joy in honour of the risen god.  Fermecius informs us the similar rites were used in the Mythraic Mysteries.  The Chevalier Ramsay affirms that this is the characteristic of all the Mysteries, and that of their traditional history, {102} and is a prophesy of the coming of a suffering Messiah, who is symbolised by the sun.<<"Nat. and Revd. Religion," ii, p. 200.>>

   According to Herodotus the Mysteries entered Greece from Egypt, and from Greece they entered Italy; and he informs us in positive language that the Rites of the Egyptian Osiris and Latin Bacchus are the same, and were carried into Greece about 2,000 years before his time (450 B.C.) by Melampus, who either took them direct, or derived them from Cadmus and his Tyrian companions.  The system of these which Orpheus propagated taught a divine trinity in unity, which, according to Damaskios, was represented by a Dragon with three heads, that of a bull, a lion, and between a god with wings of gold; these Rites, if we may rely on tradition, were devoted to music.  Dionysius Halicarnassus says that the priests of Serapis chanted a hymn of seven vowels: the same had place in Greece, and there are representations of these seven heads, over each of which is seen one of the vowels.

   All the Mysteries had three principal trials or baptisms, namely, by water, fire, and air; and there were three specially sacred emblems, the phallus, egg, and serpent, thus represented GR:Iota-Omicron-Phi.  The two generative emblems were sacred in all the Mysteries.

   The advantages gained by initiation into these Rites are thus set forth by various writers: They diffuse a spirit of unity and humanity wherever introduced; purify the soul from ignorance and pollution; secure the peculiar aid of the gods; the means of arriving at the perfection of virtue; the serene happiness of a holy life; the hope of a peaceful death and endless felicity; also a distinguished place in the Elysian fields; whilst those who have not participated in Initiation shall dwell after death in places of darkness and horror.<<"Anacharsis" (Abbe Barthelemy, who gives the authors). v. p. 213.>>

   Porphyry gives the following as the precepts of the Mysteries: (1) Honour parents; (2) Venerate the Gods; (6) be Humane to animals.  Plutarch (Laconic Apothegms {103} of Lysander) to confess all wicked acts.  The pre-Hebrew commandments termed the seven precepts of the Noachidae are: (1) Abstain from Idolatry; (2) Blaspheme not; (3) Do no murder; (4) Commit not Adultery; (5) Do not steal; (6) Administer justice; (7) Eat not flesh cut from the live animal.

   The Rites of Eleusis in Greece are those of which we have the fullest particulars, and we shall therefore take them as the complement of all the others, and give as much as can be gathered from prejudiced and unprejudiced sources, poets, philosophers, and their bitter enemies the Christians.  The Rite is said to have followed the Orphic doctrine, and to have been established about 1423 B.C., in the reign of Erectheus King of Athens, which city had previously been occupied by a colony from Egypt.  Though best known, yet not the most ancient, the Eleusinia would seem to have constituted rather a democratic society than a Sacerdotal College, as if their intention was to absorb all the popularity of these institutions; to be followed, at a later period, by the appropriation, by minor schools of Philosophers, of all the knowledge to be gained in these Colleges.  It is, however, noteworthy that the tradition of the ancient unity of King and Priest was preserved in the title of Basileus or King given to the Presiding officer; and Lysias says that it was his duty to offer up prayers, and to preserve morality.  These Mysteries were at the same time essentially secret and sacred, embodying a scenic representation, in which all classes might participate except bastards and slaves, who were especially excluded by the action of Euclid, the Archon, or chief, in 402 B.C., and a different person from the later Geometrician.  It is worthy of note that the old Constitutional Charges of Free Masons exclude the same persons.

   Although the Cabiric Mysteries, like those of Egypt, preserved, at least in name, an idea of the worldly sciences, the Eleusinia would seem to have abandoned the pretensions to these, and only required that the Neophyte should {104} in youth be liberally and appropriately educated.  The time had arrived when art in Greece could be learned outside the Mysteries which constituted a holy drama, influencing the ancient theatre, and the "Mystery plays" of Christians.  Mr. James Christie in his work upon the Greek Vases holds that phantasmal scenes in the Mysteries were shewn by transparencies, such as are yet used by the Chinese, Javanese, and Hindus.  In symbol, he says, a ball of wool represents the thread of life not yet spun; gutta, fecundity; sesame, fertility; water, the creation of beings from that element; wine, the life; an olive leaf at the top of a vase, spirit; and a wavy line, water on which spirit acts.

   There were Nine Archons, of whom the Chief was properly so called as the word means Commander, he had jurisdiction over all ecclesiastical and civil affairs, with the title of Eponymus.  The second was Basileus or King, who superintended religious ceremonies, festivals, and Mysteries.  The third was the Polemarchos, who had care of strangers and conduct of war.  The other six were termed Thesmothetae, from two words -- law, and I establish they formed a tribunal for judging minor offences.  All were elected by lot, were free of taxes, and on their Induction took an oath to administer justice impartially.

   Certain noted persons, of whom Pythagoras was one of the earliest and most remarkable, travelled over the whole known world, in order to obtain Initiation in the Mysteries of the countries that he visited.  The society which Pythagoras established, as well as others of later date, was the result of an attempt to combine in one common society the knowledge to be gained in all the Mysteries; curiously enough the same principle has been followed in Freemasonry.  The Pythagorean Society may thus be considered the forerunner of the various Arcane Schools which followed its decay; it has the closest analogy with the Masonic Society, and whether we look upon this Craft as a primitive system, an ancient imitation of the Mysteries, or a slightly altered branch of the Cabiri, we may {105} equally expect to find that there is the same doctrine, or the same wisdom religion which lay at the foundation of all the Arcane Mysteries; and this is what we shall find as we proceed; and at the same time it is one of the strongest proofs we can expect to have of the antiquity of Free-masonry.

   We will now enquire into the general nature of the ceremonial of the Eleusinia as a fair representation of what was taught in these schools.  They consisted of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries for which there was a general preparation or apprenticeship in the shape of "a preparation from youth in appropriate disciplines."  Between the conferment of these two sections there was a probation extending from one to five years.  The drama went on parallel lines with the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead, which dwells upon the moral and spiritual qualities, which are necessary in this life, that the soul may obtain justification in a future state.  The apocryphal book called the Wisdom of Solomon (c. 17) would seem to describe the Tartarean terrors of the Mysteries, applied to the plagues of Egypt.

   The magnificent temple of Eleusis was lighted by a single window in the roof, and images of the sun, moon, and mercury were represented therein.  Macrobius says that the temple of Bacchus at Thrace was also round and lighted also by a round window in the roof, by which to introduce the resplendent image of the sun.  Proclus says that the proceedings were begun with a prayer in which heaven and earth were respectively invoked.  In respect to the signs of the Zodiac the same writer informs us that six were considered male, and six female signs; and Porphyry assimilates the journey of the sun through these signs with the twelve labours of Hercules.  The three chief hierophants of the Mysteries bore respectively the symbols of the sun, moon, and mercury; and as the Basileus represented the Demiurgos who fashions rude matter or chaos into created forms, so it was typified that the Basileus was to recreate the Neophyte or draw him {106} from imperfect nature to a more refined state, or as Masons equally would say, with the philosophers, work him from the rough to the perfect Ashlar.  The Stolistes, according to Clemens Alexandrinus regulated the education of the young, and bore as their emblem of authority the square rule; and the prophet had suspended at the neck an urn with the water of regeneration.<<Oliver's "Landmarks," i. p. 161.>>

   The ceremonial of Initiation began by a solemn proclamation<<"Origen Adv Celsus," iii. p. 59.>>: "Let no one enter here whose hands are not clean, and whose tongue is not prudent."

   The candidate was also, as a preliminary, desired to confess his sins, or at least the greatest crime he had ever committed.  He was required to bathe in the pure sea in face of the sun, and pour water on his head three times.  Certain fasts were enjoined, after which the sacrifice of an animal was made.  After two days the shows began with a procession, then followed for three days and three nights the mourning of Demeter for her daughter.  After which a sacramental meal of cakes and liquor was partaken.

   Prior to the Initiation there was an opening catechism as follows: --

   The Hierophant demands: "Who are fit to be present at this ceremony?"

   To which the answer was: "Honest, good, and holy men."

   The Hierophant then ordered: "Holy things for holy persons."

   The Herald proclaimed: "Far hence the profane, the impious, all those polluted by sin."  For an uninitiated person to remain after this was death.

   Stobaeus quotes an ancient writer who says, that the first stage of Initiation "is a rude and fearful march through night and darkness," but this over, "a divine light displays itself, and shining plains and flowery meads open on all hands before them.  There they are entertained with hymns and dances, with the sublime doctrines of faithful knowledge, and with revered and holy visions."  {107} The first portion was emblematical of the wanderings of the soul in the paths of error and the punishments it would thereby bring upon itself; and the second part represented the dispersion of the shades of night, before the brilliant sun of the Mysteries.

   Justin Martyr gives the oath of Initiation as follows: -- "So help me heaven, the work of God who is great and wise; so help me the Word of the Father which he spake when he established the whole universe in his wisdom."  Dion Chrysostom speaks of Mystic sounds and alternations of light and darkness, and the performance of Mystic dances in imitation of the movements of the planets round the sun.  Plato in Euthydemus speaks of Mystic dances in the Corybantic (or Cabiric) Mysteries where the cradle of the young Bacchus was guarded with Mystic dance and music.

   The following remarks of a Naasene, or Ophite Gnostic, on these Mysteries are given by Hippolytus, Martyr 235 A.D., and confirms other quotations we shall give from Virgil.  He says that: "The Lesser Mysteries are those of Proserpine below and the path which leads to them is wide and spacious to conduct those who are perishing."  It is the truth which Chrishna the Hindu god taught to Arjuna, namely that those who give themselves up to worldly pleasures will be confined to the sphere of the earth and be reborn in such bodies as they have merited: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven"; "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be that go in thereat; but straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it."  Apuleius in his account of his reception into the Isisic Mysteries, after being relieved of his brutish nature by eating roses, which was a flower sacred to Isis, proceeds to say that he approached the confines of Hades, having been borne through the elements, and that he saw the sun at midnight.

   The Latin Virgil, a poet, Platonist, astrologer, and {108} Geometrician, has some noteworthy passages which bear upon these details.  Priam of Troy sent away his son Polydorus into Thrace, with a large treasure, and in order to obtain this his attendants murdered him.  Æneas, a Trojan Initiate and therefore a Cabir, happening, on reaching that part, to pull up a myrtle growing upon a hillock, discovered by the lamentations, which the plant is represented as magically making, the murdered body of Polydorus, upon which his remains are taken up and decently interred.  The myrtle was a plant sacred in the Mysteries, and Virgil here speaks of the "secret rites of Cybele, mother of the gods"; and Cybele was the name for Ceres amongst the Phrygian Cabiri.  Again when Queen Dido resorts to Magical arts to detain Æneas from sailing: (Book iv.)

        "A leavened cake in her devoted hands

         She holds, and next the highest altar stands;

         One tender foot was shod, the other bare,

         Girt was her gathered gown, and loose her hair."

   A maxim of Pythagoras was: "Sacrifice and adore unshod."  Ovid describes Medea as having arms, breast, and knees made bare; and Roman Postulants for religious and political offices, assumed an air of humility, with cloak and tunic ungirt, arm and breast bare, and feet slipshod.  The toga candida is yet used in Masonry.

   Another quotation from Pythagoras is this: "The path of vice and virtue resembles the letter "Y"; from the excellence of the sentiment it was termed the "Golden Branch," of which the broad, left-hand line, symbolised the easy road to Tartarus, whilst the narrow right line represented the path to Elysium.  Decius Magnus Ausonius, a poet of the fourth century says: "The Bough represents the dubious Y, or two paths of Pythagoras."  The sacred branch of the Mysteries varied in the different rites: the erica or heath was sacred to Osiris, the rose to Isis, the ivy to Dionysos, the myrtle to Ceres, the lettuce to Adonis, the lotus to Hindus, the mistletoe to Druids, the acacia to Jews, the palm to Christians. {109}

   Turn we now to Virgil's interesting book, which contains the account of the descent of Æneas into Tartarus, and which undoubtedly embodies the drama of the Eleusinian representation of Hades and Elysium.

   A Sybil, or prophetess, requires for the purpose to be undertaken, that Æneas shall seek a Golden Branch which shoots from a small tree.  It is the mistletoe of the Druids who were of this school, and styled the plant pren puraur or the tree of pure gold: it could only be cut by a pure, white-robed Druid with bare feet, and by using a golden sickle, it probably formed a part of the "brew of Ceridwen," which was given to the Initiate to aid the gift of intuition; the Aryo-Celts were then in Italy.  This Golden Branch was to serve Æneas as a passport, but as the Sybil informs him of the death of a friend, a fact unknown to him, the body has first to be found; this done we have Lamentations: --

        "With groans and cries Misenius they deplore,

         Old Coryanus compassed "thrice" the crew,

         And dipped an olive branch in holy dew,

         Which thrice he sprinkled round, and thrice aloud

         Invoked the dead, and then dismissed the crowd."

   Virgil is careful to inform us that these were ancient Rites to the manes of the dead, and "Ancient," or York, Masons of the last century, and even some in our day, used these Rites.

   Æneas now follows the Sybil to Tartarus, and Virgil describes the fearful scenes he witnessed by way of punishments inflicted upon those who left this life in an impure state.  Arrived at the double path of the Branch:

        "Before our further way the fates allow,

         Here must we fix on high the Golden-bough."

and:

        "These holy rites performed, they took their way,

         Where long extended plains of pleasure lay."

   He now reaches the Elysian fields, where he finds his father Anchises, who proceeds to instruct him in divine things, with prophetic intimations as to his future. {110}

   Such was the nature of the Lesser Mysteries; the Greater were intended to shew the felicity of the soul, when purified from mortal passions, it was reborn to the realities of its spiritual nature.  They are again an exemplification of the further teaching of Crishna to Arjuna, that he who worships good angels will go amongst them, but that he, who in thought and deed, joins himself to the Supreme Deity will enjoy an eternity of happiness: "Thou must be born again."  An Initiate to the Lesser Mysteries, or those of Ceres, had his place in the Vestibule of the Temple, beyond the sacred curtain was reserved for Initiates into the Greater Mysteries or those of Bacchus.

   Preparation for the Greater Mysteries required a nine days' fast and bathing in the river Ilyssus took place.  The Mystic mundane egg of the Egyptians was a part of the symbolism, for Macrobius says: "Consult the Initiates of the Mysteries of Bacchus who honour with especial veneration the sacred egg."  Seneca defines Bacchus as the universal life that supports nature.  We have mentioned the Druid egg.  Brother George Oliver, D.D., quotes the Orphic fragments as follows: -- "In these Mysteries after the people had for a long time bewailed the loss of a particular person, he was at length supposed to be restored to life; upon this the priests used to address the people in these memorable words: 'Comfort yourselves all ye who have been partakers of the Mystery of the deity thus preserved; for we shall now enjoy some respite from our labours.'  To these were added the following remarkable words: 'I have escaped a great calamity and my lot is greatly mended.'" Julius Fermecius gives this in the lines following: --

        "Courage, ye Mystae; lo! our god is safe,

         And all our troubles speedily have end."

But the same writer informs us that the Initiate personated the God, for he says: "In the solemn celebrations of the Mysteries all things had to be done which the youth either did, or suffered in his death."  The remarks of Hippolytus from the source previously mentioned, are more {111} curious, as they seem to proceed from an Initiate who is comparing the ceremony with the Christian Mysteries.  The Naasene Gnostic is made to say: --

   "Those who are Initiated into the Lesser ought to pause and be admitted into the Greater and heavenly ones.  Into these no unclean person shall enter. . . . . For this is the Virgin who carries in her womb, and conceives, and brings forth a son, not animal, not corporeal, but blessed for evermore."  This Initiate, in the agricultural symbolism of Ceres, represents "an ear of corn reaped in silence."  The re-birth of the Neophyte was represented pantomimically, for he says that the hierophant vociferates: "by night in Eleusis beneath a huge fire . . . . 'August Brimo hath brought forth a consecrated son Brimus,'" words which no doubt typified both the sun and the initiate.  The word Brimus signifies Powerful and was one of the designations of the Cabiric gods.

   Yet after all the Lesser and Greater Mysteries were rather a popular version than a full revelation, we have hinted that there were three-fold interpretations of the Mysteries and what almost approached real death and not drama.  Others existed of a more spiritual nature at various centres.  Sopatius says that even the Epoptae had only a part of the secret.  Theodoritos says that "all do not know what the hierophants know, the majority see only what is represented."  "The last term of the Epoptae" expressed high initiation.  It may aid us to recall that these Mystics held all nature to emanate from two principles, of which Persephone and Dionysos, or Ceres and Bacchus, are the allegory.  The first is soul, the second spirit.  Lactantius,<<"Divine Institutions," vii.>> says: -- "Should anyone dare to deny the existence of souls after death, the Magician will soon convince him by making it appear."  Irenaeus, Clemens, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, all affirm the same thing.  The Mysteries knew equally well with the Christians, that if the purified soul remained attached {112} to spiritual things it would eventually purify itself, as the Alchemist purifies metals, and so attain immortal life.

   We learn from various writers that the Mysteries had their secret signs of recognition.  Apuleius mentions in his Metamorphosis that it was pointed out to him "in a dream" that he would recognise a certain priest by his walking as if with a lame ankle; in the "Apologia" we read: -- "If anyone happens to be present who has been initiated into the same Rites as myself, if he will give me the sign, he shall then be at liberty to hear what it is that I keep with so much care."  Plautus<<"Miles Gloriosus," iv, 3>> has -- "Give me the sign if you are one of the Bacchae."  Iamblichus writes -- "Give not your right hand easily (that is, draw not towards you improper and uninitiated persons by giving them your right hand), for to such as have not been tried by repeated disciplines and doctrines, and have not proved themselves to participate in the Mysteries, by a quinquennial silence and other trials, the right hand ought not to be given."  Homer makes Achilles to greet Priam thus -- "The old man's right hand at the wrist he grasped, lest he should be alarmed in mind."

   Proclus advanced further and taught that there were Mystic passwords that could carry a person from one order of spiritual beings to another still higher, till reaching the absolutely divine.  The Egyptians<<"Book of the Dead.">> and Gnostics held the same view.  Origen<<"Contra Celsus.">> says: "There are names of a natural virtue, such as those used by the wise-men in Egypt, the Magi in Persia, and the Brachmans in India.  Magic, as it is called, is no vain and chimerical art as the Stoics and Epicurians pretend; neither were the names of Sabaoth and Adonai, made for created beings, but appertain to a mysterious theology concerning the Creator; hence comes the virtue of other names, when placed in order, and pronounced according to the rules."

   The doctrine taught in regard to the nature of the soul in these Mysteries may be gathered from the Philosophers, but first we will see how they acquired the right to speak {113} upon the subject.  The Chevalier Ramsay<<"Nat. and Revd. Religion.">> says that: "we may look upon the Pythagoric, the Platonic, and the Orphic theology as the same."  Proklos, who was master of the School at Athens about 450 A.D., in his Theology of Plato says that: "Pythagoras was first taught the orgies of the gods by Aglophemus; Plato next received a perfect knowledge of them from the Pythagorean and Orphic schools."  The last named Rites were those upon which the Eleusinia were established.  Proklos, in speaking of matter says, "Plato was also of the same opinion concerning matter because he is supposed to have followed Hermes and the Egyptian philosophers."  The philosophical schools, which followed the death of Plato, almost universally accepted him as their master, and he and Pythagoras had like veneration for the Chaldean and Magian teaching, and Ammanius Marcellenus<<xxviii, 6.>> teaches us that: "Platon, the greatest authority upon ancient doctrines, states that the Magian religion or Magia, known by the mystic name of MACH-AGISTIA, is the most uncorrupted form of worship in things divine, to the philosophy of which, in primitive times, Zoroastres made many additions, drawn from the Mysteries of the Chaldeans."  The Emperor Julian<<"Oratio." >> seems to have been of a similar opinion and says: "Were I to touch upon the initiations and the secret Mysteries which the Chaldeans Bacchised respecting the seven rayed god, lighting up the soul through him, I should say things unknown to the rabble, very unknown, but well known to the blessed Theurgists."

   We have, however, given such matters very fully in our previous chapters; the Egyptian Initiation of Plato is specially affirmed by several writers; and we may add here that the more closely philosophy approaches Cabiric rites, the more does it resemble Free Masonry.

   There was, however, a refinement of the coarser part of the dramatic. Aphanism and Euresis -- the concealment and the finding of the slain god -- thus applied, in what follows.  {114}

   As to the nature of the recondite teaching of the Arcane Mysteries we will now quote various writers who have given us hints upon their doctrine.  Plutarch says: "As to what thou hearest others say, who persuade the many that the soul, when once freed from the body, neither suffers . . . . evil, nor is conscious, I know that thou art better grounded in the doctrines received by us from our ancestors, and in the sacred orgies of Dionysos, than to believe them, for the Mystic symbols are well known to us who belong to the Brotherhood."  Antoninus says: "Soul is all intelligence and a portion of the divinity."  Proklos: "Know the divinity that is in you, that you may know, the divine One, of whom the soul is a ray."  Heraclitus says of souls: "We live their death and die their life."  That extraordinary man Apollonius of Tyana, who visited the Indians, entered the Mysteries of various nations, and reformed the Greeks, taught that both birth and death were equally an appearance, the first being the confinement of the Real in matter, and the second its release.  Plotinus, who was a pupil of Ammonius Saccus, says: "for to be plunged into matter is to descend into Hades and there fall asleep," and of the doctrine itself he tells us that it is "what is taught in the Mysteries, and that liberation from the bonds of the body is an ascent from the cavern, and a progression to the intellectual."  Macrobius<<"Dream of Scipio.">> says that the first death is when the soul falls into the body "as a sepulchre," and that "the second is the natural death."<<A translation by Brother W. W. Westcott has been recently printed.>>  Plato in his Hippias says: "The supreme Beauty consists in their resemblance to the divine sun, or light of all intelligence"; he also refers to Orpheus as terming our natural body GR:Sigma-iota-upsilon-mu-alpha (soma) or GR:Sigma-gamma-mu-alpha (sema), a sepulchre.  Hierocles quotes the Chaldeans to the effect that, "the oracles called the etherial body, the thin and subtle vehicle or chariot of the soul," Suidas tells us, out of Isidorus, a Spanish bishop of the sixth century, what is interesting to  {115} old Masons, especially as Isidore is quoted by the author of our old MSS. Constitutions called the "Cooke MS.," that, "according to some philosophers, the soul has a luminous vehicle, called star-like, sun-like, and immortal, which luciform body is shut up in this terrestrial (body) as light is in a dark lantern."  Moderns would generally use the terms soul-body, and spirit, but Plato designates the former a "winged chariot."  Here the reader may be reminded that a lantern in form of a five-pointed starlight, was formerly used by Masons, in the most solemn part of their ceremonies.  There are portions of the Divine Poemander that must allude to Mystery-rites: "Hast thou not heard in the speeches, that from one soul of the universe are all those souls, which in all the world are tossed up and down and severally divided?  Of these souls there are many changes, some into a more fortunate estate and some quite contrary; for they which are of creeping things are changed into those of watery things, living upon the land; and those of things living in the water to those of things living upon the land; and airy ones are changed into men; and human souls that lay hold of immortality are changed into daemons."<<"The Key," iv, 23.>>  "The like also happeneth to them that go out of the body; for when the soul runs back into itself the spirit is contracted into the blood, and the soul into the spirit, but the mind being made pure and free from these cloathings, and being divine by nature, taking a fiery body rangeth abroad in every place, leaving the soul to judgment, and to the punishment it hath deserved."<<"Ibid," 56.>>  Again, in the drama of the Mysteries: "Dost thou not see how many evils the wicked soul suffereth, roaring and crying out, 'I am burned, I am consumed, I know not what to say or do, I am devoured unhappy wretch, of the evils that compass and lay hold upon me, miserable that I am I neither see nor hear anything.'"<<Ibid, 70. (Reprints by R. H. Fryar, Bath, also by Dr. W. W. Westcott.)>>

   It necessarily follows that to be entombed symbolically {116} and raised therefrom, as was done in these Mysteries, was emblematically, if not actually, to be spiritualised or exalted out of the body.  Coupled with this recondite teaching as regards the soul was the theory of REMINISCENCE.  According to this mystic doctrine which was advocated by Plato, Origen, and some of the early Christian Bishops, as Synesius, all souls have pre-existence and have descended from the spiritual world into the earthly prison of the body, but some souls are more divinely advanced than others.  Reminiscence is therefore that faculty of knowledge which the soul brings from its heavenly source, never entirely obscured, and when its faculties are stimulated, by discipline and a pious abandonment of the passions, is the cause of all civilising influences and discoveries.  More than this, but we have said all that is necessary.  Socrates, at his trial by the Areopagus at Athens, and to the hour of his death by hemlock, asserted the guidance of his Daemon, or tutelary spirit, and has the following placed to his credit by Plato in his Republic: -- "The eye of the soul, which is blinded and buried by other studies, is alone naturally adapted to be resuscitated and excited by the mathematical disciplines."  It is a repetition of the apothegm of the Persian Dervishes: "The 'man' must die that the saint may be born"; it is the divinely illuminated eye of the Cabirian Cyclops, and the awakening or resuscitation of the consciousness of the divine image, implanted in the human soul.

   As to the necessary Apprenticeship for even the Lesser Mysteries, we have some information in the writings of Theon of Smyrna, who was a disciple of Euclid, and an editor of his books.  Theon is comparing the five liberal sciences as necessary for a mystically initiated philosopher with the five preparations for the Mysteries: --

   "Again it may be said that Philosophy is the Initiation into, and tradition of, real and true Mysteries; but of Initiation there are five parts.  That which has the precedency indeed, and is the first, is Purification.  For the {117} Mysteries are not imparted to all who are willing to be initiated, but some persons are excluded by the voice of the Crier, such as those whose hands are not pure, and whose speech is inarticulate.  It is also necessary that those who are not excluded from initiation should first undergo a certain purification; but the second thing, after purification, is the Tradition of the Mysteries.  The third thing is denominated Inspection.  And the fourth which is the end of inspection, is binding the head and placing on it Crowns; so that he who is initiated is now able to deliver to others the Mysteries which he has received; whether it be the Mysteries of a Torchbearer, or the Interpreter of the sacred ceremonies, or of some other Priesthood.  But the fifth thing which results from these is the Felicity arising from being dear to the divinity and the associate of the gods.  Conformably to these things likewise is the tradition of the political doctrines, and in the first place a certain purification is requisite, such as the exercise from youth in appropriate disciplines, for Empedocles says, 'it is necessary to be purified from defilements by drawing from five fountains in a vessel of unmingled brass.'  But Platon says, 'that purification is to be derived from five disciplines, namely, Arithmetic, Geometry, Stereometry, Music, and Astronomy.' The tradition, however, by philosophical, logical, political, and physical theories is similar to Initiation.  But Platon denominates the occupation about intelligibles -- true beings; and ideas Epopteia or inspection; and the ability from what has been learned of leading others to the same theory must be considered analogous to binding the head, and being crowned; but the fifth, and most perfect thing, is the felicity produced from these, and, according to Platon, an assimilation as much as possible to God."

   So far Theon, and his essay is a most important comparison between the relative value of philosophy and the Mysteries; it might be worth while to ask ourselves, whether these five parts of Initiation, five sciences, and five fountains, have any relation to the mystic pentagon, {118} and the Masonic five points of Fellowship, in the ancient aspect; for in these old times the Liberal arts and sciences were not seven, but five.  We are informed by Diodorus that the Egyptians had an especial veneration for the number five, as they considered it to represent the Universe, because there were five elements -- earth, water, air, fire, and ether or spirit; and it is noteworthy that it was by these elements that the worthiness of the Neophyte was tested before Initiation.  It is related that when the eminent Christian, Justin Martyr, applied for Initiation into the Society of Pythagoras, he was asked whether he had studied arithmetic, music, astronomy, and geometry, as these alone were capable of abstracting the soul from sensibles, and preparing it for intelligibles: as he could not reply affirmatively he was refused admission.<<Oliver's "Pythagorean Triangle."  (John Hogg. London.>>

   We see from these extracts that the requirement of the Liberal arts and sciences were common to Theosophy and Philosophy, as they were of old to Freemasonry, and is a proof, to be added to many others, that these three had one, and the same origin, and were rites of the same Fellowship.  Discipline was made to precede Initiation into the Mysteries in the same way that Freemasonry, having abandoned the teaching of the arts, and especially Geometry, now requires a certain amount of education from its candidates.  The Lesser Mysteries were intended to teach the sciences which the Art Mysteries transmitted.  The Greater Mysteries were essentially spiritual, embracing man's origin, rebirth or regeneration, and his final felicity, and this passed to Gnostics, Mystics, the Church, and the later Rosicrucians.

   In explanation of the terms Inspection, and Seeing, Epoptae, which are frequently used by writers who comment upon the Mysteries, we will give some quotations to shew that the claim was actual and not metaphorical.  Though not necessary to our subject, we may say, that Iamblichus in his letter upon the Mysteries, has left us in {119} no doubt as to the significance of Epopteia or Inspection, and Autopsia or Seeing, for he repeats, over and over again in unmistakable language, paragraph after paragraph, the fact of the visible presence of supermundane beings at the celebration of the Theurgic rites.<<"On the Mysteries," par. ii, sec. iii to ix.>>  These particulars, were it necessary, are too long for insertion here, but he proceeds to define with care, the appearance, functions, qualities and the good effects of beholding the gods, defining archangels, angels, daemons or tutelary spirits, potentates or demi-gods, hero-gods, and souls, with all the authority of one who had beheld and studied all their qualities.  The means taken by these Philosophers for inducing the development of seership, was strict chastity and purity of life, accompanied by strict dietary, with fasts and prayer; principles adopted in all the sacerdotal Mysteries for superior Initiation.  The following is recorded by Damaskios as to the appearance of the god in the Mysteries of Serapis: "In a manifestation which must not be revealed, there is seen on the walls of the temple a mass of light which appears at first at a very great distance.  It is transformed, whilst unfolding itself, into a visage evidently divine and supernatural, by an aspect severe but with a touch of sweetness.  Following the teachings of a mysterious religion, the Alexandrians honour it as Osiris or Adonis."  This appearance corresponds, in its description, with what was said of Serapis in our last chapter.

   Porphyrios, circa 270 A.D. records in his Life of Plotinos, that that Philosopher in order to satisfy the curiosity of an Egyptian priest, repaired with him to the Temple of Isis in Rome, in order, as the most suitable place, to invoke his tutelary Daemon, which having done, a divine being made his appearance, apparently so much above the rank of the ordinary daemons as to greatly astonish the Egyptian.  The eminent Platonist, Thomas Taylor, translates a passage of the Phaidros thus: "Likewise in consequence of this divine Initiation, we become spectators {120} of entire, simple, immovable, and blessed visions, resident in a pure light, and were ourselves pure and immaculate, and liberated from the surrounding vestment which we denominate body, and to which we are bound, as an oyster to its shell."  Proklos, in his Commentary on the Republic of Plato, has these words: "In all Initiations and Mysteries, the gods exhibit many forms of themselves, and appear in a variety of shapes, sometimes a formless light, shining from themselves, is thrown forth for contemplation, sometimes the luminosity is in a human figure, and sometimes it takes a different shape," into all of which Iamblichus also particularly enters.

   The wondrous works of Homer, "The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle," are as full of the appearance of gods and angels to man, as the Jewish Scriptures.  In book iv. of the Odyssey, in describing the descent of Ulysses into the Cimmerian Cavern, leading to the abode of souls, he asserts that the fumes of the blood of the victims offered in sacrifice, and slain for the purpose, were used by the shades of the dead to reanimate and strengthen their corporeal faculties.  Moses says, "the blood is the life."  Pope thus words it, on the appearance of the prophet or seer, Tiresias: --

        "Eagre he quaft the gore, and then expres't

         Dark things to come, the counsels of his breast."

   Again, when Ulysses observes the wan and melancholy shade of his mother, Anticlea, standing aloof, Tiresias the Seer thus informs him: --

        "Know, to the spectre, that thy beverage's taste,

         The scenes of life renew, and actions past."

And when the mother approaches her son's sacrifice: --

        "When near Anticlea moved, and drank the blood,

         Straight all the mother in her soul awakes,

         And owning her Ulysses thus she speaks."

   St. Basil instructs us in this, that "the blood being evaporated by fire, and so attenuated, is taken into the substance of their body."  It is said that in the Eleusinian Mysteries the Initiate took the solemn oath required of {121} him, standing upon the skins of the animals slain in sacrifice.  The disgusting rites of the Taurobolium, said to have been practised in some of the Mysteries were of the nature described; and it is alleged that when the Aspirant was to receive this baptism of blood, he was put in a chamber, above which was another with the floor pierced with holes; in this a bull was slain and the Aspirant received the crimson stream upon him in the lower chamber.  Prudentius has the following lines on the subject: --<<"Perieteranon," v. p. 146; "Fragments of Initiation," Bro. F. F. Schnitger.>>

        "All salute and adore him from afar

         Who is touched with this uncleanliness,

         And sullied with such recent sin-offering,

         Because the vile blood of the dead ox

         Has washed him who was hid in filthy caverns."

   The reader of these pages will no doubt remark that details of such matters have no reference to Freemasonry; that is so, but we were minded to shew of what the Mysteries consisted, and what they actually professed and practised.  Nevertheless a large amount of affinity with Masonic rites, and its symbolism, will be found in this chapter by the attentive observer, and considerably more in the next.

   The perfectly metaphysical mind of Plato eminently fitted him for an exponent of Mysteries which had reached him from remote ages, and it may be said that the Mysteries were Platonism, and that Platonism was the Mysteries, and in this sense we may aptly apply the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who says: -- "Out of Plato come all things that are still written and debated among men of thought."  "Plato is philosophy and philosophy Plato; at once the glory and the shame of mankind; since neither Saxon nor Roman have availed to add any ideas to his categories."  Plato himself holds that of the 5 orders of things (of which we have just written) only 4 can be taught to the generality of men.

{122}

 

CHAPTER V.

PHILOSOPHY IN RELATION TO MASONIC RITES.

 WE mentioned in our last chapter the introduction into the State Mysteries of an intellectual class who, as laymen, were destined to exercise great influence upon succeeding generations.  The most notable was Pythagoras, who was by birth a Samian of the period of 570 B.C.  He obtained initiation into the Mysteries of various countries, and consolidated all that he had thus learned into a school of his own, which he opened at Crotono in Magna Graecia.  He conferred upon himself and pupils the title of Philosophers, or lovers of Wisdom, and Philosophy began to lay claim to all the Wisdom possessed by the Mysteries.  It was the first of the Arcane Schools that sprang out of the State Mysteries, in the same way that private Lodges of Masons sprang out of the General Assemblies; and in the language of Masons, the School of Pythagoras would be termed a new Rite of the Mysteries, but Pythagoras went beyond speculation, in a Masonic direction, by his practical views upon the necessity of studying the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and though he flourished nearly two centuries before Plato, and nearly three centuries before the time of Euclid, he made Geometry the basic plan of all creation.

   The Rite of Pythagoras was divided into three classes or grades, and Dr. George Oliver in his History of Initiation, makes the School or Academy of Plato, to consist equally of three degrees with Initiatory rites, but it is doubtful whether he had any better authority than will be found in this section; it is full of Masonic doctrine {123} and symbolism which must be left for the reader to apply.  The Pythagorean Rite was Exoteric or public in its teaching, and Esoteric or private in things intended for his Disciples, and a like rule was followed by the Egyptian priests.  The first step of the Esoteric teaching was an Apprenticeship of five years of silence, which Iamblichus informs us might be abridged in cases of merit; the Aspirants were termed Mathematici, because the grade embodied instruction in the Liberal arts, and Hippolitus informs us that Deity was denominated "Grand Geometrician;" even as we saw that the Chinese termed Deity the "First Builder," and the Indian Art fraternity the "Great or Divine Builder."  The brethren advanced to the second step were termed Theorilici, and here they were instructed in the elements of divine wisdom.  Then followed the very select class of Electi, who were Perfect Masters.  The School had a series of darkly-worded apothegms, as for instance, "Stir not the fire with a sword" -- be calm.  "Abstain from beans" -- be chaste.  It had also secret modes of recognition.  Their brotherly-love was often exemplified in the most remarkable manner, and their devotion to the Society, and its laws, by the sacrifice of life itself.  "The Master has said it," was an all-sufficient guide in their conduct.

   Ovid in his Metamorphosis has an essay upon Pythagoras and his doctrines: -- "Why dread such mere visions as death and Hades?  Souls cannot die; they only leave one body to enter another, as I (Pythagoras) know by experience who was once Eupherbus, and recognised the shield I, in his person bore.  Death is mere change; the breath goes forth from one body to enter another (be it human or animal) but beneath different shapes the soul remains substantially the same.  Hence the horror of killing creatures, it may be, tenanted by kindred souls.  But one may go further and say, that not souls alone, but all things shift and pass -- night and day, the hues of the sky and sun, and the shapes of the moon.  The seasons, the year, changes in correspondence with the ages of man, {124} Spring answering to youth, Summer to prime, Autumn to maturity, and Winter to old age."

   Porphyrios, who was a Tyrian of the name of Melek, informs us that the numerals of Pythagoras are hieroglyphic symbols, by which he explained all ideas concerning the nature of things, and hence of the nature of the symbols to which we have previously alluded.  It is said that he taught the true Astronomy, termed Mesouranios, as typifying the sun in its relation to revolutions of the planetary bodies.  Nor need we feel surprised at the knowledge which this implies, as the Vedas and Shastras of the Hindus indicate a conception that the earth was round and the planets in revolution, at least 2,000 B.C.<<Vide "Isis Unveiled," i, p. 10; also ii, p. 128.>>  Pythagoras was Initiated in Egypt after severe trials, and Porphyrios states that he was initiated in Babylon by Zarades, but it is doubtful whether this person or even Zoroaster were names of persons.  Zar-ades may be interpreted by Na-zar-ad, vowed or separated, and Zar-ades may be a chief or Rab-mag, whilst Zoroaster may have been a Zara of Ishter, and Zerubabel the Zoro or Nazar of Babylon, a Nazarene and recoloniser of Jerusalem.<<Vide "Isis Unveiled," i, p. 10; also ii, p. 128.>>

   Pythagoras claimed that all things were created by Geometry and numbers, or as his follower Plato expresses it, "God perpetually Geometrises."  Censorinus thus develops his doctrine of the "Harmony of the spheres": "Pythagoras asserted that the whole world is made according to musical proportion, and that the seven planets between heaven and earth have an harmonious motion and intervals, correspondent to the musical diastemes, and render various sounds according to their several heights, so consonant that they make the most sweet melody, but to us inaudible by reason of the greatness of the noise, which the narrow passage of our ear is not capable to receive."  Our old Masonic MSS. allege that Jabal discovered the musical notes by listening to the sound of the hammers of Tubal Cain, and tradition {125} assigns the discovery to Pythagoras by the same chance.

   The Greeks mention the visit of a man of the name of Abaris from the Hyperborean regions; he appeared at Athens carrying a bow and quiver, girt with a gilded belt, and a plaid round his body.  He was a learned man, instructed in Greek, very judicious, and Toland shews him to have been a Druid from the Hebrides.  Pythagoras had no reserve with him, nor the Druid with him, and they parted with mutual esteem.  It is said metaphorically that Abaris shewed Pythagoras the sacred arrow which Apollo used against the Cyclops by which we are to understand Druidical astronomy, and magic or in Celtic dry, to which the Anglo-Saxons added craft, denominating Magic Drycraft.

   Pythagorean Clubs or Schools were established at Crotona, Sybaris, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other places in Magna Graecia; and Cicero says that he died at Metapontum.  The dates assigned to his birth vary from 608 and 570 B.C., and of his death 497 to 472 B.C.

   The Philosopher Plato, who died at a great age in the year 347 B.C. was so much attached to Geometry, which the old Masonic Constitutions tell us was the original name of Masonry, that he wrote over his study: "Let none enter here who are ignorant of Geometry"; in his Republic he says that "Geometry rightly treated is the knowledge of the eternal"; and in Timaeus he says, that Pythagoras first brought Geometry to perfection; but Herodotus and Iamblichus say that Geometry was perfected in Egypt, owing to the necessity of surveying their lands after the overflow of the Nile; that is it had to be applied to the practical purpose of landmeasuring, and one of the probable derivations of the word Mason may be deduced from this use of Geometry.

   The poet Chaucer, who was a Clerk of Works to the King and therefore in constant contact with Masons, uses the old word "Mase" to signify an artistic building, and "to mase" is to think out; and Krause observes that, in almost every tongue, m-t, m-s, metz, mess, masz, is used {126} to define the boundaries of an object, and in general, to invent, to measure, to work according to measure.  In Latin we have mansio, a day's journey, and Macerieo, a boundary wall, hence our word mansion.  The term Mase has now passed out of use, but at the period when the word Macon arose was well understood.

   Our ancient MSS. distinctly state that in early Saxon times the word was not in use and the Craft was designated Geometry; we may therefore seek the origin of the word in the Teutonic.  In the Somneri Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum, Oxon. 1689, we have a word which covers what we seek -- Massa, or "Maca, par locius, censors, conjux, a peer, an equal, a companion, a mate."  It is therefore a term equally applicable either to the Society or the trade.  The builders were Masons because they were Sociates and Fellows of Craft, and the trade was the same because the Sociates made and mated the stones to form a building.  The word Massa, a table, a mate, indicates fellowship.

   Brother Wm. S. Rockville has hazarded a derivation from the Coptic Mai to love, and Son a brother, which is quite applicable philologically, and he points out that the hieroglyphic of the first word is a sickle, plough, or scythe, and of the second a chisel, or a seal is used.<<"Mis. Notes and Queries," xi, p. 2; also "Freemason's Mag." 1865.>>

   Geometry was the chief qualification for the Arcane Schools, as well as for Masonry, and the following which Plato gives in the Philebos, and perhaps derives from an older source, appears also in the Masonic MSS.: "All arts require Arithmetic, Mensuration, and Statics, all of which are comprehended in the Mathematical science, and are bounded by the principles which it contains, for the distribution of numbers, the variety of measures, and the difference of weights are known by this science."  But Proklos makes Geometry to be also the basis of religion, and confirms what was stated in our last chapter, for he says: -- "The mathematical disciplines were invented by the Pythagoreans, in order to be a reminiscence of divine {127} concerns, at which through these, as SYMBOLS, they endeavour to arrive."

   Even at the present day Geometry and its diagrams are the technical language of Architects by which they convey their ideas to each other, and which they have inherited with the Craft of the ancient Masonic Society.  It follows that architecture is the best school in which to study speculative geometry, and there must always have existed a close relationship between operative Masonry and Speculative Philosophy, based as the latter is, to a great extent, upon geometrical science.  There must be a good reason why old Masonic MSS. couple all the sciences which go to form a liberal education; and though it may seem incongruous to couple grammar and logic, with qualifications necessary to build houses, we can give very ancient Greek evidence to prove its necessity and bearing.  Ammonius Saccus says: "For in general the end of theory is the beginning of practice; and so reciprocally the end of practice the beginning of theory.  Thus, for instance, an Architect, being ordered to build a house, says to himself, 'I am ordered to build a house; that is to say a certain defence to protect against the rains and the heats.  But this cannot be without a roof or covering.'"  From this point therefore he begins his theory.  He proceeds and says, "But there can be no roof if there be no walls; and there can be no walls without some foundations; nor can there be laid foundations without opening the earth."  At this point the theory is at an end.  Hence, therefore, commences the practice or action.  For, first, he opens the earth, then lays the foundation, then raises the walls, and lastly puts on the roof which is the end of the action or practice, as the beginning of the practice was the end of the theory.  And thus also the philosopher does; being willing to form a demonstration he says to himself: "I am willing to speak concerning demonstration.  But inasmuch as demonstration is a scientific syllogism, it is impossible to say anything concerning it without first saying what is a syllogism; nor can {128} we learn what is simply a syllogism without having first learned what is a proposition; for propositions are certain sentences; and it is a collection of such sentences that form a syllogism; so that without knowing propositions it is impossible to learn what is a syllogism, because it is out of these that a syllogism is compounded.  Further than this, it is impossible to know a proposition without knowing nouns and verbs out of which is composed every species of sentence, or to know nouns and verbs without knowing sounds articulate or simple words, inasmuch as each of these is a sound articulate having a meaning.'"  The same writer speaks of "the practical and the speculative part of Philosophy."  Plato in his Republic, makes Socrates to say: "It is indeed no contemptible matter, though a difficult one, to believe that through these particular sciences (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy) the soul has an organ purified and enlightened, which is destroyed and blinded by studies of other kinds; an organ better worth saving than a thousand eyes; inasmuch as truth becomes visible through this alone."

   An important part of the Mythologies of various peoples was founded upon TWO PILLARS, where the sciences were alleged to be written; and the old Masonic MSS. state that Hermes and Pythagoras respectively found the Pillars of stone and brick or latres upon which the antedeluvian sciences had been engraved.  Iamblichus asserts that these two Pillars were preserved in the temple of Amen at Thebes, and Porphyrios, the Platonic philosopher, having addressed a letter of enquiry upon the Mysteries and their doctrine, to "Anebo the Egyptian Prophet," probably of a fifth order of priests established by the Ptolemies in a Synod, is thus answered by Iamblichus in a letter entitled, "The Reply of Ab-Ammon the Master, to the Letter of Porphyrios to Anebo": --

   "Hermes, the patron of learning, in ancient times, was rightly considered to be a god in whom the whole sacerdotal Order participated.  The One who presides over {129} true knowledge is one, and the same, everywhere.  Our ancestors dedicated to him their wise discoveries, and named their respective treatises Books of Hermes.  . . . . It would not be becoming that Pythagoras, Platon, Demokritos, Eudoxes, and many other of the old Greeks, should have been able to receive instruction from the Sacred Scribes of their time when you, our own contemporary holding sentiments like theirs, are disappointed in your endeavour by those now living, and styled Public Teachers. . . . . But if you press an enquiry after the method of the Philosophers, we will adjudicate it according to the ancient Pillars of Hermes, which Platon and Pythagoras have already recognised and combined with their own philosophical maxims. . . . . The knowledge of the gods is innate and pertains to the very substance of our being. . . . . From the beginning it was one with its own source, and was co-existent with the inherent impulse of the soul to the supreme goodness."

   There is altogether much ambiguity and uncertainty as to the nature of these Two Pillars, but it is evident from the foregoing, that they were much more than a mere record of the worldly arts.  They probably stood for two very ancient traditional Pillars, used in the primitive Mysteries, which were copied in the "Petroma" of the temples of the various Mysteries of the world, from which the sacred laws were read to the Initiate, as in the two tablets of Moses in the Jewish law.  There was an ancient Babylonian tradition that these Two Tablets were buried by Xisithrus, the Chaldean Noah, beneath the foundation stone of the tower of Borsippa, or Babel.<<A.Q.C., v, pt. 2 -- "Har-moad.">>  Many kings sought for them in vain, until the time of Nabunahid, who professed, if we are to believe his inscription, to have discovered them.  Josephus says that one of these Pillars existed in Syria, in his days.  What he saw was probably a pillar recording some Egyptian conquest.  Diodorus Siculus repeats a tradition that the Egyptians attributed to Thoth or Hermes the discovery {130} of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, and the sciences; and as the "method of the philosophers," referred to by Iamblichus, was to employ geometrical symbols as a method of teaching Theosophy, the "Pillars of Hermes" would appear to cover such reference in the quotation.

   Manetho, the Egyptian priest who compiled the annals of his order for the Ptolemies, says: "The second Hermes, called Trismegistus, translated, or rather transcribed into vulgar alphabetical characters, what the first Hermes had wrote in hieroglyphical characters upon pillars of stone."  Hermes is the Greek name for the Egyptian Thoth, and this second of the name is believed to have been a Royal scribe of Menes the first King of Egypt, the first Thoth was a primitive traditional prophet, and the name, as Iamblichus has told us, of a god of Revelation.

   The great Master of Geometry that followed Plato, after a lapse of about a century, was a Tyrian by birth of the name of Euclid, who opened an Academy of the Sciences at Alexandria under the Ptolemies.  He was beyond doubt a Platonist, and described as such by Porphyrios in his Life of Plotinos, a philosopher born at Lykopolis in Egypt, 205 A.D.  The words of Porphyrios are thus translated: "In the first class of the Platonists there were Euklides, Demokritos, and Proklinos who lived near Troy. . . . . Of those philosophers, therefore, who were authors some produced nothing more than a collection and transcription of the remains of the ancients, as Euklides, Demokritos, and Proklinos."  We see from this that Euclid did no more than reproduce what had existed from ancient times, and hence it is not without some show of authority that later scribes of the Masonic MSS. have substituted the name of Hermes for Euclid, as the author of the Constitutional Charges, and as a matter of fact Hermes was, in a sense, their remote originator.  At this distant era there were only five liberal arts and sciences, and the assimilation of these to the five parts of the Mysteries was shewn in our last chapter.  In the 11th century of our era these had been increased to {131} seven, in two divisions, designated the Trivium which comprised grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and the Quadrivium which included arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

   In what has gone before we have various illustrations of the use of the cross as a pre-Christian symbol in the religious Mysteries, and in these minor Arcane Schools of philosophy the symbolic cross is prominent.  Aeschylus, the author of Prometheus Bound, relegates this Cabiric god to a similar punishment on Caucasus for stealing the fire of the gods with which to endow mankind, and he himself narrowly escaped death under a suspicion that he had revealed some of the mystic doctrine.  Plato advances that the Logos, or second person of his trinity, had impressed himself upon the world in the shape of an X, or St. Andrew's cross, as it is now termed; as this symbol is one of the forms used to express the union of two generative principles it may be Plato's secret way of expressing that.

   The Indian Guilds say, as previously mentioned, that the Divine Builder crucified his son Surya (the Sun) upon his Lathe which is the Svastica cross.  All the Guilds, both ancient and modern, in one of the higher degrees, has a symbolic crucifixion at High XII. at noon, which is founded upon the laying of the Foundation stone of a Temple on the 5 Points, by 3, 4, 5, angle.  But it goes far beyond this, as there was everywhere an actual sacrifice of human life to ensure safety to the building; and the assertion, traditional, of course, is that it occurred at the erection of Solomon's temple, and it certainly had place in our old English churches even.  The temple of Solomon was a 3 to 1 structure, 60 x 20 cubits, the pyramids have a square basis, and therefore a Coptic Guild would lay down a perfect square.  The Mysteries were no more than a Guild, and had equally the same rite.  Vitruvius gives the X cross as a canon of proportion of the human figure, the centre of the cross being the navel of the body.  This was in Egypt "where also our Lord was crucified" {132} (Rev. xi. 8); a confession of Initiation, "crucified before the sun" as the Mystics say.  Minucius Felix, a Christian, taunts the Romans themselves with the worship of wooden gods, and says: "Your victorious trophies not only represent a cross, but a cross with a man upon it."

   Various writers of the Platonic school treat of the "Perfect Man" in the light of embracing all the virtues which lead to happiness, but which are never found combined in one individual.  It is in this ideal of a perfectly virtuous man that we must look for such works as the Egypto-Greek life of Pythagoras, the Greco-Roman life of Apollonius; and exemplified to the full in the Greco-Jewish life of Jesus of Nazareth.  The 2nd and 3rd Books of the Republic of Plato teach that goodness to be apparent must be stripped of all adventitious circumstances, and that a really good man will find so much opposition in the world that "he will be scourged, tormented, bound, his eyes put out, and die by crucifixion after he has endured all these evils."  Again, "a good man will be tormented, furiously treated, have his hands cut off, his eyes put out, will be bound, condemned, and burnt."  Lactantius quotes Seneca as using similar language.  Grotius, from whom we take our translation, considers that Plato writes prophetically, but, after the allusions made in previous chapters, we may be pardoned if we look upon them as applied to certain things in the Mysteries, which assigned a reason in the danger of making the Arcane doctrines too public.

   The ancient Sybils, or inspired prophetesses of the Mysteries, have similar language.  Augustine<<De civ. Dei, lib. xviii, c. 23.>> thus quotes the Erythrean Sybil: "He will fall into the hostile hands of the wicked; with poisonous spittle will they spit upon him, on his sacred back they will strike him; they will crown him with a crown of thorns; they will give him gall for food, and vinegar to drink -- five forms of trial.  The Veil of the temple will be rent, and at midday there will be a darkness of three hours, and he will die, {133} repose in sleep, and then in joyful light he will come again as at first."  One of these Sybils had the following Oracle to deliver: --

   "Then suddenly a sign for mortal men shall be,

    When out of Egypt's land a stone most fair shall come safeguarded."

Celsus accuses the Christians of interpolating passages from these Oracles "without understanding their meaning," from which we gather that they had a mystical reference.  The veil that is rent is that of the Sacred Curtain of Apollo, and Virgil has ascribed to his patron the coming glories of the age of gold.  In the temple of Philae in Egypt there is an old-time painting of a man laid upon a cruciform bier asleep, over him stand two persons who are pouring upon his head water in which appears the sacred tau-cross, whilst the sun's rays strike upon him; and it is evident that such an Initiate is represented by a cube opened out as a Latin cross, the top square having a man's head, in the same temple.  We mentioned this species of crucifixion in our last chapter, where the Initiate was carried into the lower crypt of the temple.  Socrates Scholasticus in referring to crosses found in the temple of Serapis, when it was sacked by the Christians, says: "The Christians contended that the cross belonged to the Master, Jesus Christ, which they also which understood these rites maintained; the Gentiles on the contrary maintaining that the cross was common both to Jesus Christ and Serapis."  An eminent Catholic divine says that the cross is "the hidden Mystery, a scandal to the Jews, and folly to the Gentiles, of which Paul writes."  Foucart mentions a treatise by a disciple of Pythagoras entitled, "The passing into the invisible world, or the Descent into Hades."

   In the ancient Mystery language of pre-Christian times, and with the Gnostics, and in the Arcane Discipline of the church, Chrestos meant a Disciple, whilst Christos was one anointed, purified, and accepted.  Boeckhos, in Corpus Inscriptionem, shews that it was an epithet applied {134} to the departed, or the saved and redeemed, of pre-Christian times, Aeschylus speaks of the Manteumata Pythocresta, or oracles of the Pythoness, in which Chrestos becomes the expounder of Oracles.  Justin Martyr, in his Apology, speaks of Chrestians, and Lactantius (iv. c. 8) says that "it is only through ignorance that men call themselves Christians, instead of Chrestians."

   As the Mysteries had a symbolic death so had the Minor Arcane Schools, but the language of the latter has a very realistic character, and we will see what has been said on this subject; first quoting Hermias in his "Commentary on the Phaidros:" "The word (telete) or Initiation was so denominated from rendering the soul perfect; the soul was therefore once perfect.  But here it is divided, and is not able to energise wholly by itself.  But it is necessary to know that Telete, Muesis, and Epopteia, differ from each other.  Telete therefore is analogous to that which is preparatory to purifications.  But Muesis, which is so called from closing the eyes, is more divine.  For to close the eyes in Initiation is no longer to receive by sense those divine Mysteries, but with the pure soul itself, and Epopteia is to be established and become a spectator of the Mysteries."  Synesius in his treatise on Providence, as translated by Thomas Taylor, says: "You also who have been initiated in those Mysteries in which there are two pairs of eyes, and it is requisite that the pair which are beneath should be closed, when the pair which are above them perceive, and when the pair above are closed, those which are below should be opened."  This means that the spiritual eyes must be used for spiritual things.

   Bishop Warburton, in his Divine Legation, quotes an ancient writer, preserved by Stobaeus, as saying: "The mind is affected in death, just as it is in the Grand Mysteries, and word answers to word, as thing to thing, for (teleuteiu) is to die and  (teleisthai) is to be initiated."  By the word Grand is meant the Greater Mysteries which resemble the Master Mason. {135} Plutarch has some passages which strikingly illustrate the doctrines of the Mysteries and the relation of these to Ceres and Persephone.  This writer says: "Now of the deaths we die one makes man two out of three, and the other one out of two.  The former is in the region and jurisdiction of Demeter, whence the name given in the Mysteries, resembling that given to death   The Athenians also heretofore called the deceased sacred to Demeter.  As to the other death it is in the Moon or region of Persephone."  The first separation is into what he terms "the Meadows of Hades," situate between the earth and the moon, where the soul wanders for a more or less period, where it plucks the soul violently from the body, but Persephone mildly and in a long time disjoins the understanding from the soul"; that is separates the higher and lower self which is the second death, "as if they were returning from a wandering pilgrimage, or long exile, into their country, where they have a taste of joy, such as they principally receive who are initiated into sacred Mysteries, mixed with trouble, admiration, and each one's proper and peculiar hope."  This of course refers to actual death, the three being body, soul, and spirit, and the two soul and spirit.  These quotations all apply rather to the State Mysteries than the Arcane Schools of Philosophy, but we have other passages.

   The following is found in the Auxiliaries of Porphyrios (printed by Ficinus the restorer of the Platonic Academy at Rome in the 15th century): "Hence there is a two-fold death, the one universally known, by which the body is liberated from the soul; the other peculiar to philosophers, by which the soul is liberated from the body; nor does the one at all follow the other."  Celsus speaks of a Pagan priest who could voluntarily perform the separation of soul and body, "and lay like one dead void of life and sense."<<"Anatomy of Melancholy" (Burton).>>  The Phedon of Plato has several similar passages, of which, in order not to tire the reader, we will take but one: "Now we have shewn that in {136} order to trace the truth or purity of anything, we should lay aside the body and only employ the soul to examine the objects we pursue."

   Mr. Robert Brown, in his Great Dionysiac Myth, says in allusion to the Hall of Arcane rites, or the sekos, a word literally meaning sheep-fold but which came to signify the interior of a temple: "Here, deeply excited and agitated by all they had gone through, ready to believe anything, and everything, in that state of abstinence which is, or is supposed to be, most favourable to the reception of supernatural displays, and their minds more or less affected by drugs, and their whole being permeated with the impression and expectation of the more-than-mortal, they were allowed to SEE."

   We have here to remember that the Mysteries required a long and protracted fast, and the passages that we have quoted state clearly enough that an ultra-natural state was produced.  What in these times is called hypnotism, mesmerism, trance, was well known to the ancients.  Proclos, quoting Clearchus' Treatise on Sleep, mentions a wand with which the operator, upon gently striking a boy, drew his soul a distance from his body, for the purpose of proving that the body is without sensation when the soul is taken away, and, by means of his rod, he again restored the soul to the body.<<Oliver's "Hist. Landmarks." ii, p. 614.>>  The writings of the early Christian Fathers afford much testimony of the phenomena, and the Benedictine ceremony of covering the newly received Monk with a funereal pall, equally with a certain Masonic ceremony, is an exoteric reference to it.  It is related by Hugh, a Monk of Saltery in Huntingdonshire, that a soldier of King Stephen of England visited "St. Patrick's Hole," in Donegal, and after a fast of nine days, as in the Mysteries, was laid in a kind of grave, where a view of Paradise was shewn to him, the whole of which account reads like a paraphrase of the descent of Æneas into Tartarus and Elysium.  It also resembles the relation in the Metamorphosis of Apuleius, {137} of his initiation into the Mysteries of Isis and Serapis, and as the latter Mystery was introduced into the Christian Church, as the Arcane Discipline, and equally claimed supernatural appearances as a part of the faith, we need be at no loss to account for these relations.  The Druses of Lebanon, on the testimony of Professor A. L. Rawson, who is himself an Initiate, require an interval of fasting, of more or less length according to circumstances, with a total fast on the day of Initiation, by which regimen a species of Epopteia is produced which the Professor terms mental illusion or sleep-waking<<Letter in "Isis Unveiled," ii, p. 313.>>.  The same phenomena is found in the Yogi, or "twice born," and known in certain Rites of the Dervishes.  It is almost certain that certain rites of the Egyptians have passed to the Africans, and Heckethorn, and other writers, have shewn that there exists on that Continent, and in other places where the race has carried the Initiation, a society called the Almuseri, with secret rites similar to those of the Orphic and Cabiric Mysteries.  The reception takes place once a year in a wood, and the candidate is supposed to die; at the appointed hour the Initiates surround the Neophyte and chant funereal songs.  He is then carried to a temple erected for the purpose, and anointed with palm-oil; after forty days of this probation he is supposed to have obtained a new soul; and is greeted with hymns of joy, and conducted home.<<"Secret Societies," ii, p. 283.>>  We are informed that Freemasonic signs have been answered by the Kaffirs.

   Galen<<"Dogm. Hipoc. et Platon," viii.>> may be quoted here as to the existence of this doctrine of a soul which may be separated from the body: "The soul is an immaterial substance, which has a luciform, etherial body, for its first vehicle, by which as a medium it communicates with the gross etherial body."  The Chevalier Ramsay says: "It appears that the Platonists, Pythagoreans, Egyptians, Chaldeans, and all Orientals believed that souls had an etherial, aerial, and {138} terrestrial vestment, or tabernacle; that the last named was put off by natural death, the second by a supernatural death, and the other retained for ever."

   The mathematical discipline, by aiding thought concentration, was intended to serve a similar purpose to that of the Hindu Yogism and of the Dervishes.  Plutarch in his Symposiacs<<Vol. viii, 2.>> ascribes to Plato the words, "God is constantly a Geometer," hence to immerse oneself in Geometrical thought, is to think with the mind of God.  All the Platonists taught that the gradations of the spiritual world were arranged in Geometrical order, hence it is, "a science that takes men off from sensible objects, and makes them apply themselves to the spiritual and eternal nature, as a view of epopteia of the Arcane of initiation into holy rites."  Proklos makes this assertion of the Pythagoreans: "They perceived that the whole of what is called Muethsis is reminiscence, not externally inserted in souls, in the same manner as phantasms, from sensible objects, are impressed on the imagination; not adventitious like the knowledge resulting from opinion, but excited indeed from things apparent, and inwardly exerted from the reasoning power converted from itself.  They likewise say that though reminiscence might be shewn from many particulars, yet it was evinced in a most eminent manner, as Platon also says, from the Mathematical discipline, for if any one, says he, is led to the diagrams he will, from them, easily prove that discipline is reminiscence."

   The science of Geometry was also used in a symbolical sense, for Socrates in the Gorgias, accusing Kallicles of an intemperate life, says to him: "You neglect Geometry and Geometric equality."  Zenocrates refused a candidate for Discipleship, saying to him: "Depart, for thou hast not the grip of philosophy."

   Of the nature of the SYMBOLS used in the Arcane Schools there is almost as little to be gathered in its books as is to be found in old Masonry, and they were evidently {139} "close tyled."  We may fairly seek what we do not know respecting symbols, through what we do know of history, and to comprehend symbols we must study the old historical religions.  The Masons, Rosicrucians, Templars, and Gnostics, all used the same class of symbols.  The society of Druses in Syria, and the Sufi Dervishes of Persia and Turkey, admit themselves to follow the Platonic School, whether by inspiration from its writers or by descent from the old Mysteries, and from which each and all, in one form or another, derive their knowledge.  We may also follow these religious symbols in the unchanged rites of India.

   The basis of the Masonic Jewel of a Master in the Chair is an old Egyptian symbol, for Plutarch informs us that a triangle whose base is 4, perpendicular 3, and hypothenuse of 5 parts, the square of which is equal to the square of those sides containing the right angle, was an important emblem in Egypt, as a symbol of nature.  The base figured Osiris, the perpendicular Isis, and the hypothenuse Horus; the originating and receptive principles, and the offspring of the two.  It was the standard of their measures of extent, and was for modern centuries the traditional method by the application of which the stonemason tested the squareness of his plan (5 x 5 = 25; 4 x 4 and 3 x 3 = 25, the Guilds of both East and West employ the Rites to this day.)

   Iamblichus (i. ix.) says: "Amongst those things which are everywhere set forth in the sacred dramas, some have a specific Arcane cause and higher meaning; others preserve the image of some idea beyond, as nature the genatrix develops certain specific formations from invisible principles; others are introduced from the sentiment of veneration, or for the purpose of illustrating something or rendering it familiar.  Some enclose what is profitable to us, or in some way purify us, or set us free from our human frailties, or turn aside some other of the evils that are likely to befall us."

   We have already referred to the Pythagorean sentiment {140} that "the path of vice and virtue resembles the letter Y," and though the apothegm has been forgotten in Masonry, yet the "Golden branch" by which it was represented is still remembered.  The letter Y is equally a symbol which the Chinese consecrated to the Deity.  It has been suggested that as an emblem it is a square  placed over a plumb-rule, I.  Hermes Trismegistus, or the Thrice-greatest, describes God as "an intelligible sphere, whose centre is everywhere, and circumference nowhere," and this language tends to confirm the remarks we have ventured as to the Two Pillars.  Pherekydes Syros, who had the early education of Pythagoras, in his Hymn to Zeus, cited by Kircher (Oed. Egyptae) has the following noteworthy lines: --

        "Jove is a circle, triangle, and square,

         Centre, and line, and all things, -- before all."

   Plato in his seventh Epistle to Dion, says expressly that he never will write anything explicitly upon these sublime speculations, but that there are three things through which science, the fourth, is necessarily produced, the fifth establishes that which is known and true.  "Now take each of these desiring to learn what we have lately asserted, and think as follows concerning them all -- a circle is called something whose name is so expressed.  For that which everywhere is equally distant from the extremes to the centre is the definition of that which we signify by the name of a round or circumference and a circle.  But the third is the circle which may be blotted out.  But the fourth is science, and intellect, and true opinion about these.  And the whole of this again must be established as one thing, which neither subsists in voice, nor in corporeal figures, but is inherent in soul."

   We have here an example of the way in which Plato employs Geometry to convey instruction, but in his second epistle to Dion, he employs concentric circles to discourse upon the divine triplicity of Agathos, Logos, and Psyche -- wisdom, mind, life -- Father, Word, Spirit.  He says: "You inform me that the nature of the First has {141} not been sufficiently revealed to you.  I must write to you in riddles, in order if my letter should miscarry, either by sea or land, the reader may not understand it.  All things are round about the king of all things, all things exist for his sake, and that is the cause of all excellent things.  Around the second are the things secondary.  Around the third are the third class of things.  The human souls endeavour to learn the nature of these, looking for what is homogeneous with itself, and consequently imperfect, but in the King, and in these others which I have mentioned, it is not such. . . . . The greatest precaution is to be observed not to write, but to learn by word of mouth, for it is hardly possible for what is written not to come abroad.  For which reason I have written nothing upon such topics; no such books of mine exist, nor ever shall."  Proklos in his Commentary upon this says: "The Demiurgos or creator is triple, and the three Intellects are the three Kings, He who exists, He who possesses, He who beholds."  Several writers give the following appropriate passage, on the authority of Suidas: "Thulis King of Egypt, thus went to the Oracle of Serapis: 'Thou who art the God of fire, and governest the course of the heavens, tell me the truth, was there ever, or will there ever be, one so powerful as myself?'  He was answered: 'first God, then the Word, and the Spirit, all united in one.  Go hence, O! mortal, whose life is always uncertain.'"  In going thence the priests carried out the implied threat by cutting the throat of the egotistic Thulis.

   In the Ethical Fragments of Hierocles, who wrote towards the end of the second century and was a Pythagorean, the symbol of ten concentric circles is used to set forth our moral duties, and we have seen that the Chaldeans, Medes, and Persians, considered seven concentric circles as a sacred symbol, whilst still more ancient races that we have mentioned are said to have used three such.  Hierocles says: "Each of us is, as it were circumscribed by many concentric circles, some of which are {142} less, but others larger, and some comprehend, but others are comprehended, according to the different and unequal habitudes with respect to each other.  For the first and most proximate circle is that which everyone describes about his own mind as a centre, in which circle the body, and whatever is assumed for the sake of the body is comprehended.  For this is nearly the smallest circle, and almost touches the centre itself.  The second from this, and which is at a greater distance from the centre, but comprehends the first circle, is that in which parents, brothers, wife and children are arranged.  The third circle from the centre is that which contains uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the children of brothers and sisters."  He then proceeds through six other circles: (4) relations, (5) the people, (6) tribes, (7) citizens, (8) villagers, (9) provincials, and concludes, (10) "But the outermost and greatest circle, and which comprehends all the other circles, is that of the whole human race."  In sentiment nothing can be more Masonic than this, but Augustine has a very apposite allusion to the symbolic point within a circle, and he had at one time been a Gnostic.  He says: "As in a circle however large, there is a middle point, whither all converge, called by Geometricians the centre, and although the parts of the whole circumference may be divided innumerably, yet is there no other point, save that one, from which all measure equally, and which by a certain law of evenness hath the sovereignty over all.  But if you leave this one point, whatever point you take, the greater number of lines you draw, the more everything is confused.  So the soul is tossed to and fro by the very vastness of the things, and is crushed by a real destitution, in that its own nature compels it everywhere to seek one object, and the multiplication suffers it not."<<Oliver's "Symb. Dic." -- Art. Point. &c.>>  The curious part of this is the involved verbiage, as if Augustine had in his mind, and sought to hide the secret method of finding a true square by the centre. {143}

   Lucian makes Cato to say that, "God makes himself known to all the world; He fills up the whole circle of the universe, but makes his particular abode in the centre, which is the soul of the just."  Another mode of illustrating this is used by the Rosicrucian Paracelsus, who says: "All numbers are multiples of one, all sciences converge to a common point, all wisdom comes out of one centre, and the number of wisdom is one. . . . . Those who love the luminous circle will be attracted to it, and their knowledge comes from God."

   Dionysius Thrax, an eminent grammarian, is quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus as saying, that some converse, "not only by speech but by symbols also."  This implies that there was an understood signification attached to the symbols.  The same writer informs us that it was a custom of the Egyptians to hold a branch in the hand whilst in the act of adoration.

   Aristotle says that, "He who bears the shocks of fortune valiantly and demeans himself uprightly, is truly good, and of a square posture without reproof."<<"Old York Lectures.">>  The Zoroastrian Oracle declares, "the mind of the father decreed that all things should be divided into three"; which Plato geometrises thus: "God resembles a triangle which has three equal sides."  Xenocrates, the friend of Plato, assigned the equal triangle to gods, seeing that it is everywhere equal; the scalene to man seeing that it is unequal in its sides; the isosceles to daemons or tutelary spirits, because it is partly equal, and partly unequal in it properties, the daemons being placed between men and gods.

   Proklos says that, "Knowledge has three degrees -- opinion, science, and illumination.  The means, or instrument, of the first is reception, of the second dialectus, and of the third-intuition."  Diodorus of Sicily terms the "Sun" the architect of all nature, and thus we symbolise the Master Mason by that emblem.  The square was one of the sacred emblems borne by the Stolistos of the ancient {144} Mysteries.  In the real Guild Masonry Man is the living stone and the tools and emblems are used to bring him to due proportions as in the actual stone.

   But a very important symbol, philosophic and Masonic, and one which has been common to the world in all time is the cube.  Pythagoras is said to have taught that, "the number eight or the octad is the first cube, that is to say, squared in all cases as a die; proceeding from its base the even number two; so is man four square or perfect."  Plato in his Protagorus causes that character to address Socrates in a quotation from Simonides, a man of Scio who flourished 556 B.C., "It is very difficult to become truly virtuous, and to be in virtue as a cube; that is to say that neither our carriage, our actions, or our thoughts, shall shake us, or even draw us from that state of mind."  It is the cubical stone of the Rosy Cross, which "sweats blood and water and suffers anguish of soul."

   The passages that we have quoted are a fair example of the moral geometry of antiquity.  Those from Plato, for example, indicate the use to be made of geometrical diagrams in teaching science and Theosophy; that from Hierocles the use made of them in teaching morals; and that from Augustine may explain why a Master Mason may find his secrets by the centre.  The quotation from Aristotle ought to remind a Mason of the day when he stood at the north-east corner; and that from Simonides of what is required of him in order to become a perfect Ashlar, and the more especially as we have shewn that this cube had the same signification in Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, and America, and that it is, therefore, one of the most primitive symbols.  A Persian proverb is thus: --

        "O! square thyself for use; a stone that may

         Fit in the wall is not left in the way."

   The "Regius" Masonic MS. tells us, in the Master's first Article, how he is to regulate his conduct as a judge of work: "And as a jugge stond upright, And then thou dost to bothe good ryght."  Curiously enough the Egyptian {145} Ritual of the Dead, quoted in our 2nd chapter, has a line symbolically identical.

   There are numerous references to Symbols which are both Platonic and Masonic in the works of our learned Brother the late George Oliver, D.D., but unfortunately he does not often give references that will enable us to verify them.  All the foregoing quotations have been taken from non-Masonic works, and may therefore be considered wholly unbiassed.  The following are probably equally reliable, and are chiefly assigned by Oliver to the Pythagoreans, from which school Plato accepted much of his teachings.  The clasped hands was a Pythagorean symbol.  The divine essence was represented by a quadrangle or square, which implies order and regularity; it is found in Chinese books of great antiquity with the same meaning.  The right-angle was the symbol of female deities, as Ceres, Vesta, Rhea.  The pyramid, a valued symbol, referred to the divine triplicity.  The cube was considered by the Hermesians as the symbol of truth, as the appearance is the same in every point of view.  The double-triangles,  single triangles, five-pointed star, cross, etc., have been used by all nations, in all time, and in common with square and compasses, plumb, square, triangular-level, etc., have figured as alphabetical characters.

  The triple-tau is given as the monogram of Hermes; and the letter P crossed, as the staff of Osiris.  But the most widely spread, and most ancient of all symbols is the Svastica, Filfot, or Jain cross, formed of four squares joined at the ends, derived from the primaeval centre, and Cabiric.  The five Platonic bodies are Masonic symbols, and in ancient Arcane Schools were held to teach that the world was made by God, "in thought and not in time," and of the elements thus evolved, fire is a pyramid; earth a cube; air an octohedron; water an icosahedron; the sphere of the universe a dodecahedron.  The equilateral triangle,  the square, and the equal hexagon were considered the most perfect geometrical diagrams, {146} and it was pointed out by Pythagoras that there exist no other forms whose multiples are competent to occupy the whole space about a given centre; and which can only be effected by six equilateral triangles, four squares, and three equal hexagons.

   There are certain ancient symbols some of which have the appearance of Roman letters but are not really so, which are found sculptured on stones in Egypt and elsewhere, and found, in later times, in this country as Masons' marks.  The letter Y may be found placed on a reversed triangle; we have the X cross; the reversed tau or level; and doubled it may form a cross.  There are the masculine and feminine symbols V and, which united may form the N symbol, so often found as a Mason's mark, the same symbol is found on pre-Christian coins of Persia, in various angles; the  and W, the latter a double symbol; the I is phallic; the  and V crossed or interlaced, as in the Masonic square and compasses.  Another very ancient symbolic mark is two triangles joined at the apex, which is still a sacred symbol in Thibet, Turkey, and India.

   Our readers, who have carefully noted the symbols mentioned in our previous chapters, will have perceived that whilst many of the Arcane emblems have been continued in Free Masonry, throughout the centuries, others have been lost in the speculative system, but were preserved by the Guild and also as Masons' marks; they must at one time have enclosed a recondite doctrine, which was common to both the sacerdotal, and art Colleges; and marks of this class, which go beyond mere monograms, admit of a mystic interpretation, which indicates a culte common to Theosophia and philosophic Geometry or Masonry; it happens that some of these symbols may be interpreted to contain the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls; the union of the spiritual and material nature in man, which enables him to live two lives -- the sensual and the spiritual, the Fall of Man as the Cabalists pretend being figured in the predominance {147} of the former over the latter.  Other emblems have reference to the divinity, and an example of the Masonic manner in which these may be made to convey instruction may be illustrated by the equilateral triangle.  It has three points; a point has position only; a line has length only and terminates in two points; three lines of equal length at equal angles form an equilateral triangle, or the primary figure in geometry, and represents the trinity in unity, or Deity pervading all space, creator of all things animate and inanimate; doubled it represents the perfect godhead, and the male and female energies of nature.  Or again, a point is the beginning of any active duty, the flowing of which point generates a line; a line is therefore either reward, duty, pleasure, or profit.  A right line is a duty performed and pursued with constancy.  The extension of a right line to generate a surface is therefore perfect duty.  Better still is a passage from Macrobius in his Commentary on Scipio's Dream: "And as a line is generated from a point, and proceeds into length from an indivisible, so the soul, from its own point which is a monad, passes into the duad, which is its final extension."

   But the most remarkable of all the Arcane and architectural symbols is the vesica-pisces, it was in use until our days, and Brother Conder (a member of the Masons' Company) says that its formation was the diagram by which old operative Masons tested their squares.  Proklos repeatedly refers to this figure, which he had seen in Egypt, and heard interpreted there; it often appears on temples, as well as modern churches, and is found especially on the throne of Osiris.  In the Platonic system it is said to have constituted the sign of Epopts, the open hand being united at the finger-ends and the wrists touching each other.  We mentioned in our third chapter the affinity of Philosophy with the Mysteries of Serapis, and the Arcane Discipline of the Christians.  The Ptolemies, who had the Jewish Scriptures translated in the Septuagint, seem to have found a mode, or thought {149} they had, in the establishment of a fifth order of prophets, of harmonising all faiths in the mysteries of Serapis, and Clement, of Alexandria, informs us that the initiates of these Mysteries wore on their persons the mystic name I-ha-ho, the original of which appears to be IAO, which embodies the symbols of the two generative principles.  It is further asserted that the before-mentioned sign of Epopts constituted that of the Arcane Discipline, coupled with the lettering of the word ICHTHUS, a fish, and the Pope's ring is that of the Fisherman.  Oliver, quoting Kerrich, says that the vesica-pisces is the great secret of church architecture, and the determinator of all dimensions.<<"Pythagorean Triangle" (Hogg).>>  It continues an equally important symbol amongst the Dervish sects.

   We will now pass on to the use in the Platonic system of other symbols in which Masons are interested.  Plato in his Philebos has a triad under the names of Bound, Infinite, and Mixed, and likewise a triad still more Masonic of Symmetry, Truth, and Beauty, which, he says, "are seated in the Vestibule of the good."  The Masonic pillars of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, are an analogy, and the divine triad of Agathos, Logos, and Psyche, if literally translated are a close approximation.  He likewise prescribes the following moral qualities as essential in a student of Philosophy: -- "He must have a good memory, learn with facility, be magnificent, magnanimous, and be the friend and ally of Truth, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance; qualities which are equally made the essential points in a Freemason.  Again, in the Phedon, which is a dialogue on the immortality of the soul, we find the following important passage, which he adduces on the authority of the most ancient Mysteries: -- "Wisdom is the only true and unalloyed coin, for which all others must be given in exchange, with that piece of money we purchase. . . . Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, and Prudence, or wisdom itself, are not exchanged for passions but cleanse us of them.  And it is pretty evident {149} that those who instituted the Purifications called by us Teletes, i.e., perfect expiations, were persons of no contemptible rank, but men of great genius, who, in the first ages, meant by such riddles to give us to know, that whoever enters the other world, without being Initiated and Purified, shall be hurled headlong into the vast abyss; and that whoever arrives there after due purgation and expiation shall be lodged in the apartments of the gods.  For as the dispensors of these expiations say -- 'There are many who bear the Thyrsus, but few that are possessed of the spirit of God.'  Now those who are possessed, as I take it, are the true Philosophers."  So far Plato, and he may be put into other words -- "Many are called but few are chosen."  The Thyrsus here alluded to, as a badge of office in these Mysteries, was carried by the soldiers of Bacchus, Sabazios, or Dionysos; the Chevalier Ramsay says that it was twined with ivy, and very often had upon it a cross, and he compares the Greek conception of Bacchus, as god of the vintage, with the description of Messiah as given in Isaiah and the Apocalypse.

   Porphyrios has a long description of the advantage of the four Cardinal virtues, but after the illustration of the Master Plato we may omit this.  Stobaeus says of them pretty much what Masonry tells us.<<"Eccl. Ethio," p. 167.>>  The pagan Emperor Aurelius Antoninus, circa 145 A.D., has several passages on these virtues; in one he says: "If any man should conceive certain things as being really good, such as Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, he would not after endure to listen to anything which was not in harmony with what is really good."  We wonder how many Masons have this feeling.

   The doctrine of equality and brotherly love, which forms the base of the Masonic Institution, may be paralleled in the Arcane Schools with such passages as the following: -- Alypios, "Tell me, O! Philosopher, is the rich man unjust, or the heir of the unjust!  Iamblichus, {150} "That is not our method of disputing, O! illustrious man; no one is considered rich by us, even if he does possess external riches, unless he likewise has the virtues characteristic of a true philosopher."  That is the virtues which have been already mentioned; and brotherly-love is often enforced, but in the "Regius MS." of the old Masonic Constitutions there is a passage which states that the Stewards of the Hall are to serve one another, "like sister and brother," for which sentiment Platon's Symposiom, or Banquet of Life, may be consulted.  Demokritus expresses the gist of this work in a few admirable words: "He who loves the goods of the soul will love things more divine, but he who loves the goods of its transient habitation will love things human."

   We may close this chapter with a few hints as to the changes which Christianity forced upon the ancient schools.  Iamblichus phrases a Pythagorean dogma thus: "As the Lesser Mysteries are to be delivered before the Greater, thus also must discipline precede philosophy."  If the Lesser gave the title of Mystae, the Greater gave that of Epoptæ, and if the passage means anything it must be this, that science and art, represented by Geometry, is the counterpart of the former, whilst philosophy is in relationship with Epoptæ.  Hence after the break-up of the State-Mysteries, we see a succession of two schools, closely related to each other -- the Craftsmen, or art school, and the Gnostics who know.  Ragon<<"Orthodoxie Maconique," p. 44.>> says: "Do we not know that the ancient Initiated Poets, when speaking of the foundation of a City meant thereby the establishment of a doctrine?  Thus Neptune the god of reasoning, and Apollo the god of hidden things, presented themselves before Laomedon the father of Priam to help him to build the city of Troy, that is to say, to establish the Trojan religion."  In other words to "build a city" is to establish a public culte, to "build a temple" is to found an Arcane School.  The Mystae, or veiled, are they who see things as they appear; the Epoptae, or set {151} apart, see things as they really are, that is they are Gnostics or knowing ones.  There is a passage in the Prometheus of Æschylus, which seems to correspond with the adventures of Æneas that we have related; and to advise the god that he was to look for an Initiate who would give peace to humanity: "To such labours look thou for no termination to thy pangs till a god shall appear, as thy substitute, willing to go down to gloomy Hades and to the murky depths around Tartarus."  Blavatsky observes, and we see no reason to disagree with her views, that when the Hierophants of the Mysteries saw that it was necessary to rebuild the sinking speculative edifice, the Mystae had committed to them the rebuilding of the "Upper-temple," or exoteric part; whilst the Epoptæ had the "Lower-temple," the crypt or the esoteric portion; "for such were their respective appellations in antiquity, and are to this day."  Initiation was spoken of as a "walking into the temple," and the "cleaning" or rebuilding of it referred to the body of an Initiate on his supreme trial.

   The misfortunes which befell the establishment of Pythagoras at Crotono may possibly have had their origin in the jealousy of the State Mysteries, though the destruction of its building and its members is usually attributed to the anger of one Cylon who had been refused admittance.  It is evident, however, that two centuries later the State Mysteries must have lost much of their exclusive power over the mind, when the Arcane Schools of Philosophy were permitted without check to assume the entire role of their doctrines.

   The Emperor Galen, at a still later period, gave permission to Plotinos, to build a city by the name of Platonopolis, where the Philosophical system was to be taught, but this does not appear to have been carried out.  It is, however, quite clear that the State Mysteries and the Arcane Schools taught the same truths, if in somewhat varied forms, and that these truths are equally represented in Masonry, which is as far as we desire to go in this {152} chapter.  It is quite possible that there are some trifling resemblances between Platonism and Masonry, which may have been introduced at a modern date, but it is utterly impossible that this can apply to the great mass of things which are in common, and we shall see more of this affinity, and in the ancient times of Masonry, as we proceed.

   Before the reader advances to the next chapter he will be pleased to note, and to remember in regard to all which follows, that these five chapters afford ample evidence that the original Mysteries had now culminated in three classes, but varying only in profession and technique, in the several systems viz.: 1, The Sacerdotal.  The drama refined into a temporary trance death.  2, The Military.  The original drama of a murdered god.  These two classes were suppressed by the Christian Emperors of Rome, but continued to be secretly practised by what one writer terms "strolling priests."  The third class learned to "close the lips," which in the Greek is the equivalent of Mystery, and as Art was necessary to the Church they received protection.  3, The Artizan.  A version of the last-named; entering India, China, and Babylon from the North, and Greece, Phoenicia, and Palestine by way of Egypt, at times, in India, imparting the Yogism of the first class.  Our Saxon ancestors for these adopted the term Guild, which implies contribution of money. {153} 

 

 

         

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