The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF THE ARCANE SCHOOLS.
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;1 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 ☥ 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. Inman2 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.3 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 {symbol of a carpenter's square: a vertical line with horizontal line at top from left to apex only}, 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, {Symbol: Swastika}, 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.4 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 {symbol: A squared hollow "T" composed of two rectangles and shown by outline only} and that the wedge-shaped key-stone, though of old date, is of a more modern form.5 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."6 Augustine: "The candidate received an engraved stone as a token of admission to the Fraternity."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.8 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."9

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 Ferdusi10 , 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.11 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 τελευταν and τελεισθαι 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.12

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.13 Dr. Clarke finds the traditional characters of the ancient Mysteries in our modern pantomime.14 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.15 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, {symbols: circle with point in center, Royal-Arch triple tau [like a "T" striking the cross-bar of an "H"], inverted "L", Pentagram, Ankh, upright sledge-hammer shape, triangle with dot in center}. 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, {symbols: circle with point in center, triple-tau, Pentagram}. 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, {symbols: "T", slanting elongate Roman numeral III, downward triangle with a handle on top}. At Heliopolis the above marks are found, as well as others of a different character, eye, crook, two concentric demicircles, {symbols: oval on side with two horizontal lines issuing from ends, shape like a vertical line with a little "u" at top right, open eye with eyelid, shape like a rainbow with only two colors}.16 Amongst Masons' Marks of the 12th dynasty, say 3,000-2,400 B.C., we find the svastica {symbol: Swastika}, the equal-limbed cross {+}, both plain and in a circle {Symbol: Circumscribed Greek cross}, our five-pointed star {Symbol: Pentagram}, open angles crossed like square and compasses, delta, letter H, &c., {symbols: +, circumscribed Greek cross, Pentagram, intersecting chevrons upright and inverted like the sigil of Saturn from the Kamia, Fire, "H"}.17 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 ΣΩΣ. 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 tke 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} says18 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.19 It is known also that the early Christians used the Tau cross on their tombs.19 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}

 

1 "Philosophy of History."

2 "Ancient Faiths in Ancient Names."

3 "Mis. Notes and Queries," x, p. 279.

4 "Vide Ars Quat. Cor.," vi, p. 99.

5 Ibid. vi.

6 Faber i. p. 458.

7 2 John, dis. 7.

8 "De Proescriptione," c. 40.

9 "Mis. Notes and Queries" (Gould), xii, p. 238.

10 "Shah Namah."

11 "Ars Quat. Cor.", vi, p. 99.

12 "Theos. rev.," xxii, p. 232. Vide also "Secret Doctrine," ii. p. 359.

13 Vide "The Tarot," by Papus.

14 Vol. iv, p. 459, quoted in Disraeli's "Curiosities of Literature."

15 Vide "Egyptian Obelisks" (Weisse).

16 F. M. Mag., 1861, v, p. 487.

17 "A.Q.C.", iii.

18 "Descent of Symb. Mas." John Amrstrong, Liverpool, 1896.

19 Cardinal Newman.

20 "A.Q.C.", v. p. 2.

 

Table of Contents | Archaic Legends | Proto-Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | The Mysteries in Relation to Philosophy | Philosophy in Relation to Masonic Rites | The Mystic and Hermetic Schools in Christian Times | Recapitulated Proof of Ancient Masonry | Masonry in Saxon England | Masonry in Norman England | …