Note: BOLD type, [ brackets], italics and color are mine. Dwayne

 

CHAPTER III

TRUTH CRUSHED TO EARTH

The resolution of the “birth of Christ” into the delivery of a babe in a localized Bethlehem has kept the race from realizing the true meaning of the Messianic fulfillment. With the third century conversion of the features of the age-old spiritual drama into the alleged biography of a man-savior, the outlines of the great truth that a ray of the solar Logos was incorporated distributively in animal humanity faded out and were obliterated. All sound sense of the inner signification of the Christmas nativity tableau was irrevocably lost. The annual celebration of the advent of deity to earth remains a meaningless travesty to this day.

It becomes necessary, then, to outline the historical trends that led to the obscuration of this central feature of religious cultism. This is in no sense a diversion, but the most direct approach to the correct envisagement of ancient material. It will reveal items of the utmost strategic importance for a true evaluation of archaic structures. The restoration of the lost meaning will be given greater credence if the causes of its decadence are set forth.

The knowledge that a fragment of the spiritual heart of the sun was implanted in the body of each son of man to be his soul and his god was the golden secret imparted by the hierophants in the Mystery Schools to their qualified pupils. It was regarded as such a priceless treasure that these Secret Brotherhoods were organized specifically to guard its esoteric inviolability. From age to age it passed down the stream of oral transmission, now waning in one quarter, but spreading in another, and was revived periodically by messengers who came as the agents of a hierarchy of perfected men. From remote antiquity it was present in China, Tibet, India, Chaldea, Egypt. It was carried by the priests of the Orphic Mysteries over to the Hellenic world.1 It was disseminated in the Greek areas in the philosophies of Pythagoras, Plato, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras;2 was embodied in the

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poetry of Homer, Hesiod, Pindar; in the dramas of Euripides and Aeschylus. From Egypt and Chaldea it emerged in the religion of the Hebrews, who wrought its myths, allegories and symbols obscurely into their Old Testament, but had more authentically kept the deposit in their ancient Kabalah. It was taken up by pre-Christian and early Christian Gnostics, being contained with sufficient clarity in the great Gnostic work, Pistis Sophia, a work conjecturally of Basilides or Valentinus. Its Orphic-Platonic rescension was widely republished by the Neo-Platonist school in the second, third and fourth centuries, with ample elucidation, a measure adopted in all likelihood by the spiritual hierarchy to check the growing trend of the nascent Christian movement toward the complete exoterization of its esoteric message. It was reintegrated eclectically around Alexandria by such syncretists as Maximius of Tyre, Ammonias Saccas and Philo Judaeus, powerfully influencing the character of primitive Christianity. It was carried most directly into Christian documentation by St. Paul, whom many scholars claim on evidence to have been himself an Initiate in the Greek Mysteries (as were Clement and Origen in the Egyptian), and also by St. John, whose Bible writings are decidedly more Platonic than distinctively Christian. The visible thread of its transmission runs on to Plutarch, after whom it became more subterranean, being propagated by Hermeticists, Therapeutae, Rosicrucians, Platonists, Mystics, Illuminati, Alchemists, Brothers of various designations and secret fraternities in Europe, out of sight of the jealous eye of the all-powerful Church. At the period of its lowest ebb in Europe it was tided over the danger of total extinction by Arabian and Moorish scholars and Jewish students in Spain. The teaching was preserved and handed on by such associations in Medieval Europe as the Cathedral Builders, the Platonic Academy of Florence, the Alchemists, the “Fire Philosophers,” the Troubadours and Minnesingers, by secret printers, among them Aldus Minutius of Venice, who reprinted the classic Greek literature that ushered in the Italian Renaissance. Sporadically, now in one region, now in another, it took form in outward movements in groups of mystic and pietistic tendency of many names. It was the secret spring of motive and meaning in most medieval literature, in the folk-lore, the hero legends, the fairy myths, the Arthurian cycle, the Mabinogian tales, the Peredur stories, the Niebelungenlied, the castle ballads, the Romance of the Rose and many another invention of esoteric skill.

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Features of it came to be embodied in a thousand conventional forms of common “superstition.” It was pictorially outlined in the set of Tarot Cards of the Bohemians in the twelfth century. Philosophers such as Paracelsus, Raymond Lully, Pletho, Cardano, Philalethes, Robert Fludd (from whose work on Moses Milton is said to have derived his theses on which Paradise Lost was built) and others presented aspects of it in more or less surreptitious fashion. Jacob Boehme’s “Theosophical Points” vitally influenced Newton’s thought in important directions, as he confesses. Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo acknowledge their debt to the principles of the ancient science. Later came the English Platonists More and Cudworth, and it is alleged that Francis Bacon and the mysterious Count de St. Germain formulated the body of Masonic ritualism upon the old principles.

Coming to the surface again in recent years it is being revived by Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Kabalists, Esotericists, Mystics, Spiritual and Psychic Scientists and Parapsychologists in large numbers, and is perhaps the most vital movement in the thought life of today.

The door to this rejuvenescence of an influence so long buried was opened during the last century by the studies in Comparative Religion and Comparative Mythology assiduously pursued by many scholars. There was needed nothing but a mind free from bias to discern the unity, amounting virtually to identity, underlying all the old systems, which expressed so clearly the characteristic features of what appeared to have been a universal primal world religion, with the solar myth as its corner-stone. Every great historical religion is readily seen to have been, at its start, a pure expression of the basic elements of this outline, and equally readily seen to have badly vitiated the pristine purity of teaching in later decadence. A gross transgressor in this respect is seen to be Christianity, which carried original spiritual meaning further afield than perhaps any other. It is desirable to trace the causes and progress of this corruption.

The blanket assertion that ancient spiritual light was darkly obscured under Christian handling is a challenging statement and must be given the room to vindicate itself. This work in its entirety will amount to a substantiation of that claim. The point can be carried only by an ample reproduction of the substance of the archaic world religion, so that the clear outlines of the great pristine doctrines of theology as they were apprehended in the arcane schools, may by contrast reveal the darkness

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