Concerning God And Religion 6
" . . . and may T.G.A.O.T.U. say: 'It is well finished," and admit us to the Grand Lodge Above, where the divisions of time shall cease, and a glorious eternity burst open to our view." (Masonic Ritual.)
"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts : and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." (Haggai, 2, 9.)
"To depths obscure the favour'd trine
A dreary course engage,
Till through the arch the ray divine
Illumine the Sacred Page!
From the wide wonders of this blaze,
Our ancient signs restored;
The Royal Arch alone displays,
The long lost mystic Word."
("The Mystic Word," by J. F. Standfield.)
Part Six: THE FIFTH INITIATION
This initiation is divided into two halves, the Resurrection and Ascension, and of neither of them do we know very much. The detail of the Resurrection episode is left untold by the writers of the New Testament, and after the Crucifixion crisis we can glean but little of the life of the Christian Master, or what occupied Him between the time He "rose again" until He left the company of the Apostles, and "ascended into heaven" — a symbolic phrase which alludes to the process of initiation carried to the highest conceivable degree of attainment. In our Masonic system the Installation Rite (the climax of the work of a Craft Lodge) corresponds to the Resurrection half of the fifth initiation, and likewise observes a proper reticence regarding the actual attainment symbolised by the conferment of the special rank or degree of Installed Master. Ceremonially, of course, the Royal Arch is the natural conclusion and fulfilment of the Third Degree, but nevertheless the "complete knowledge" of this Supreme Degree is restricted to candidates qualified by Installation. The grade signified by the Royal Arch shows the initiation process carried a stage beyond that forthshadowed in the Third Degree, and is designed to exhibit the "exaltation" — or apotheosis of him who has undergone the mystical death and revival therefrom into newness of life. As a basis for comparison, the Third Degree and Installation Ceremonies might be said to be represented in the terms of Christian theology by the formula "He suffered and was buried and rose again," whilst the equivalent of the Exaltation Ceremony and Royal Arch Installations is "He ascended into heaven." The Royal Arch Degree, therefore, corresponds to the Ascension half of the fifth initiation, in which the human merges in the Divine consciousness, and it follows that Freemasonry as a sacramental system reaches its climax in this Supreme Degree, wherein that achievement is hypothetically effected.
The crucial initiation for humanity to understand at this time is the fourth. Only when we have mastered the significance of service can the fact of immortality and its true meaning be revealed to us. "I have yet many things to say unto you." spoke the Christian Master to his disciples, "but ye cannot bear them now" (John, chapter 16, verse 12). Therefore veils are drawn, which protect spiritual truth, until by our sincere and earnest application we prepare ourselves not only to bear or to grasp its far-reaching implications, but also to express its teaching wisely in the activities of life. It is well to remember also, in this connection, that "the real problem of personal immortality cannot concern the limited or the endless duration of the self. The mere lengthening of existence would no more add to personal value than would the extension of one's arms reach to the further star. Personal worth does not demand duration but significance." (The Problem of Immortality, by R. A. Tsanoff).
Our present duty is obviously to endeavour to lead the enquirer in the right direction and to give him certain hints which will enable him, if he so wishes, to retire with confidence into his own inner sanctuary and discover the solution; for it is there, in that holy of holies, that these fundamental problems relative to the mysteries of existence must ultimately be solved. When a man's life has gained significance, then he is ready to tread the path of purification and probation in preparation for the mysteries, and as his significance and influence increase he can pass, stage by stage, through the traditional grades of initiation. He can be "born in Bethlehem," because the germ of that which is dynamic and living is awakened, is gaining in potency, and must of necessity make its appearance ("come to birth"); he can be "baptised in Jordan" by passing through the "waters" of purification; he can attain to the mountain-top of transfiguration, where that which is of worth shines forth in all its glory. And having achieved such a moment of heightened experience, he is then, and then only, ready to "go up to Jerusalem," there to suffer "crucifixion unto death" of the self-will, the final test of merit, qualifying him for entrance into that "City of Peace" which has no geographical site. The necessity of self-dying — not the physical death of the body but a mystical death-in-life of everything except the body — is the first and fundamental fact to be grasped before we may hope to realise or even to understand the mystery of the Ascension. "Mors janua vitae;" death to self is the portal to true life. There is no other way it is the unescapable law and condition of the soul's progress. Since, however, this is a process involving a "most serious trial of fortitude and fidelity," and a grapple with oneself from which the timorous and self-diffident may well shrink, the Mystery systems have always exhibited an example for the instruction, encouragement, and emulation of those who are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice.
It matters nothing whether the prototype associated with a particular Initiatory School is one whose historic actuality and identity can be demonstrated, or whether he can be regarded only as legendary or mythical; the point being not to teach a merely historical fact, but to enforce a spiritual principle. In Egypt the prototype' was Osiris, who was slain by his malignant brother Typhon, but whose mangled limbs were collected in a coffer from which he emerged reintegrated and divinised. In Greece the prototype was Bacchus, who was torn to pieces by the Titans. In our Masonic system the prototype is Hiram Abiff, who met his death as the result of a conspiracy by a crowd of workmen of whom there were three principal ruffians. Finally, in the Christian and chief of all system, since it comprehends and re-expresses all the others, the greatest of the Exemplars died at the hands of the mob, headed also by three chief ruitians, Judas, Caiaphas and Pilate.
If in Freemasonry the mystical death is dramatised more realistically than the resurrection that follows upon it, that resurrection is nevertheless shown in the "raising" of the candidate to the rank of Master Mason and his "reunion with the companions of former toils," implying the reintegration and resumption of all his old faculties and powers in a sublimated state; just as the limbs of the risen Osiris were said to reunite into a new whole, and as the Christian Master withdrew His mutilated boy from the tomb and reassumed it, transmuted into one of supernatural substance and splendour.
We have, therefore, now to consider again what Initiation really involves, and how greatly it differs from popular notions about it. Firstly, it is not merely a moral "change of heart," a re-direction of mental interest from temporal to eternal things, and a turn-over of conduct from evil to commendable ways, although all these are included in the preliminary stages of preparation. Secondly, it involves the total recasting, by the light of a scientific system of self-knowledge, of all the inter-involved departments of our complex organism, about which the ordinary person is entirely ignorant. Thirdly, it involves the complete transformation of all our currents of thought and desire (the "re-newing of your mind") on the subjective side of us, and even the repolarisation of our physical tissues and cells on the objective side. This the old "work" of the prechristian Mysteries and of the spiritual Alchemists; it was the function too of the Christian Mysteries; and it is to-day perpetuated in our Masonic system. The effect of this "work" is an organic change of a man's entire nature, transforming the "body of sin" (the psychic or astral body), in which we all stand clothed in virtue of our natural generation and existence, into a "new creature," and permanently detaching the consciousness and activities from their present self-willedness and centre of gravity in the sense-world, and re-fixating them in the universal consciousness and will. Thus the "first Adam" in us is consciously and deliberately to be done to death by a well defined process (the keys of which are in the Gospels and our Masonic Ritual) before the "second Adam" can fully emerge and stand upon the former's ruins. We are, of course, without going to the full length of this process, susceptible to, and sensible of, partial regeneration in one or other parts of our organism, but partial attainment necessarily results in a state of unbalance and disharmony between our conflicting wills of the flesh and of the spirit, because the "body of sin" remains untransmuted and its roots and spirillae are not totally extirpated. Moreover, death and post-mortem purifications do not deliver us, as so many hope, from the dominion of sin and of the subtler forms of the flesh, but only from the solid body of the latter. "Matter," "flesh," have their finer modes which still adhere to and cloud our spiritual essence after death, unless previously alchemically reduced and transmuted. For they generate a subtle, viscous, elastic coagulation of impure psychic stuff which is not eliminated by the mortality of the gross body, a coagulation which is sometimes spoken of by mystics as the "gluten in the blood"; and it is upon the transmutation of this that effective regeneration hinges. It has to be worked out of the system and evaporated ; literally sweated out, as in that sweat in Gethsemane (see Lake, chapter 22, verse 44); members of the Craft will recall also the significant explanation given in the Raising Ceremony. If not transmuted here, initiation silence teaches, the "flesh" persists hereafter in a rarefied form, and is the magnetic link which draws the soul back into successive incarnations, itself thickening and densifying in each earth-life and tending to become less susceptible to regenerative treatment.
According to the traditional doctrine regeneration is accomplished by an interior oft-repeated journey round the spiral circle of one's own subjectivity ("as though ascending a winding staircase") until the fortress walls of self-will are razed, as Israel brought down the walls of Jericho, and the impure coagulations, knots and accretions of past sinfulness are scavenged away so that the inner organism becomes a pure vehicle for the holy Light and Substance. This teaching is identical with that of Jacob Boehme ("The Threefold life of Man," chapter 9), as illustrated by the diagrams of William Law, of Gichtel in his "Theosophia Practica," and of many Alchemical writers. The same doctrine, moreover, is very ancient and widespread and is referred to even by Omar Khayam, as follows:-
"Up from Earth's centre to the Seventh Gate
I rose and on the throne of Saturn sate;
And many a knot unravelled on the way,
But not the master-knot of human fate."
In most systems the process is described in terms of the zodiac and planets, but precisely how the journeying is accomplished is not explained. Sign, symbol, metaphor and parable can only be solved by incisive penetration. The profound wisdom of the ancients, like our modern Freemasonry, is "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols"; by the writers and transmittors it was deftly and intentionally concealed, and by the generality it has long been overlooked.
When men discover the wealth of wisdom stored up in the "Scriptures" or inspired writings of all the ancient races, and lay hold of the right method of interpreting myth, parable, metaphor and symbol, it will no longer be possible for them to remain in the pessimistic and agnostic state of mind so prevalent today. We are in the dark as to our past and future, origin and destiny, only because ostrich-like we have buried our heads in the sand, shut our eyes to the truth and failed to make proper use and application of that glorious heritage left us by sage and prophet and philosopher.
Despite obvious counsel to the contrary, and in direct contravention of innumerable veiled hints throughout mystic, hermetic, cryptic or arcane literature, the vast majority still persist in following the letter and ignoring the spirit thereby inflicting upon themselves psychological suicide. To penetrate beyond the letter and arrive at the spirit of all Scriptures, whether Christian, Hebrew, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu or Scandinavian, the first important step is to apply them to ourselves. For every man is a microcosm, a little universe in himself, a pocket edition of the vast macrocosm. Macrocosmic creation or evolution is repeated microcosmically in every human being. By no means completed, the process goes on hour by hour, day by day, year by year, life by life. Within us all the light is being separated from the darkness. Within us also Adam and Eve are generating Cain, Abel and Seth, and their offspring or seed. We are, or have within us, the principles and faculties known as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is of our Joseph and Mary that the divine child will ultimately be born. All these "characters" and many others are represented in the wonderful mystery play of which a "continuous performance" is taking place in every human psychological theatre. God is the supreme dramatist and his word or play is being enacted in every local centre. If, therefore, we seek to know the mysteries of life and of the universe, we need only sit apart and study the play as it proceeds on our own stage, and this is where the Scriptures can afford us great assistance.
They are, so to speak, the "book" of the play; programme, explanatory notes, and commentary. Of this book of the play there are, or have been, many versions and editions. All are not of equal value or completeness. Yet he who would understand the great mystery drama will be well advised not to limit his studies to one particular version, but to make use of all that the inspired minds of every race and every age have left behind. For the purpose of English speaking students, however, there cannot be the least doubt that on the whole, the Bible is the most valuable, complete and systematic collection of traditional inspired books that we have inherited from the pas. It contains, we have good reason to believe, an orderly and sequential account of the origin of man and the manifest universe, of man's earthly phases, of his ultimate glorious destiny and the means whereby it can be attained — every chapter indeed, of his mythology.
Those who have attentively studied the genealogy lists appearing in Genesis will no doubt agree that this is by no means a book suitable for the literal minds who wish to "run and read." Regarded literally, as merely physical and historical pedigrees, these ancestor-lists possess little or no interest, and their presence in a work so highly venerated is, and has been, a stumbling block to most commentators of the ordinary type. Almost every word requires continued and profound thought to decipher and determine. But that need not discourage the genuine student, for by the efforts which he will be compelled to make in order to assimilate a little of its meaning, he is actually cultivating his more or less latent intuitive faculty which will enable him to penetrate further into its mysteries from time to time. Moreover, this development leads "pari passu" to a corresponding advance into his own inner nature, which is the laboratory where all truth is finally tested.
To return to the genealogies, the discerning French scholar Fabre d'Olivet has clearly demonstrated ("The Hebrew Language Restored" — English translation by Miss Louise Nayan Redfield) that the names in Genesis are not those of persons, but of metaphysical principles and faculties which are gradually developed one from the other by a process allied to that of chemical combination, and most appropriately symbolised by the physical activities of marriage and childbirth. This system of symbolism, however, is not confined to Genesis, nor even to the Pentateuch, but is maintained throughout the Bible, penetrating even into the New Testament. Hence, it is recorded that Abraham and David are the predecessors of Jesus (see Matthew, chapter 1, verse 1 — "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham") this means that the "sonship" is metaphysical an inner or spiritual descent being implied. Thus "Abraham" and "David" signify certain definite stages of spiritual growth which the soul must pass through before the Master degree of development can be attained. There are also many intermediate steps, and certain psychological offshoots or failures, all denoted by proper names. Students will not fail to observe how this peculiar, but excellent, method is likewise adopted in the Greek myths, where the parentage or ancestry of the heroes is invariably given, so that if you can discover the meaning of the proper names, you know the principles involved. The tenth chapter of Genesis is important from the point of view of our present study as it reveals a marvellous geological ("earth-science" in the broadest possible sense) picture in the terms of Egyptian wisdom. It is a picture or panorama of the condensation, compaction, or precipitation from an etheric or even more metaphysical condition of the whole globe with all its concomitant life from man to mineral. It shows the building of the theatre and stage of the earth, with all its scenery, properties, effects, actors and supernumeraries. The collective Man who had contained all things within himself, within his essential consciousness, now projects them without, and his consciousness becomes decentralised, peripheral, and broken up into myriads of spiritual "atomic" each one possessing the potentiality of the whole. His intrinsic "awareness" gives place to limited but progressive "cognisance"; he has inverted the polarity of his being, he has turned himself inside out. To most of us, in so far as we can grasp such a vast and overwhelming conception, this is indeed an astounding revelation. For from it we are led to the inevitable conclusion that according to the philosophy of Moses, the various kingdoms of the globe, usually regarded as separate and distinct one from another, are parts or differentiations of one fertile whole, the Adamic ray or element, which was absorbed and then re-projected by the cosmogonic being Noah, the nucleus of life and intelligence.
We may then recognise that all organic life and all that we call Nature, including the forces, energies, and properties of matter, all in fact regarded as the "not-self," is nevertheless part and parcel of the Adamic ray of which man is fundamentally but the most refined essence, that is to say the intelligible soul. Man indeed is the agent and has brought all into existence by means of his volitional faculty in its Hevahic ("formative") action. It follows, therefore, that Nature as we come in contact with it, is the outcome of the will of collective humanity upon the less sublimed portions of the Adamic element. But man has identified himself in consciousness with this rawer material out of which he was drawn, for he gradually precipitated himself into a state of existence which is actually neither more nor less than the aggregative effect of his self-centred will upon the totality of the Adamic ray, an act which has, so to speak, turned the ray inside out, or reversed its polarity and so transformed its unity into multiplicity. Hence man has no longer divine consciousness, but an artificial self-centred consciousness or "Babel" which he has fabricated for himself. This manifestation, extension and differentiation upon the physical and phenomenal plane is brought about by the action and interaction of three primary principles inherent in the nucleus Noah, namely Shem, Ham and Japheth. In regard to these three principles, it is not difficult to perceive that Shem, Ham and Japheth represent a trinity proceeding from a unity, and that they manifest the potentiality of that unity in three different aspects. Shem presents the most spiritual, the upward tendency, the "rajasic" aspect. Ham, the opposite, the most material, the downward tendency, or "tamasic" aspect; whilst Japheth is the connecting link between these two poles, the expanding, extending tendency, the "satvic" aspect. And just as these three principles express themselves in the macrocosmic man and regulate his manifestation, so in corresponding degree they operate in the microcosmic man (the individual), where they are termed spirit, body and soul. The next important point to observe is that the descent into earthly conditions, and the differentiation of the races and tribes with their characteristic variations, is produced by the agency of one of the sub-emanations of Japheth — Tharshish the offspring of Javan (the word Javan is the equivalent of Ion). That is to say, generative ductility, the ionic energy, gives birth to sympathy which polarises into attraction and repulsion, and according to the Karmic impute and temperament of the will or soul, so is its general or specific location or environment, and likewise its constitution or equipment of faculties, on earth. We may perhaps illustrate this action by appropriating the words of the well known maxim: "Birds of a feather flock together."
To follow all the separations and developments of these essential principles under whose threefold influence man and nature have received their present characteristics, would be far too lengthy an undertaking to enter into now, but the subsequent "history" of the Israelites is recommended as the field for further study. We may further add that the Kabalistic student will find, in counting the offspring of Shem, Ham and Japheth properly, seventy-two names in all — representing the Shemhamphorash, which words approximately denote outward or self-centred manifestation. The seventy-two descendants of Noah, therefore, show the powers of God dissected, projected and expressed in the world. Thus Noah may be compared with an acorn, a seed-manu, to use the Hindu term. He sends out a three-fold trunk, which again splits up into branches, twigs and leaves, each of which latter has its peculiar character, brought about by the emphasis of one principle over another at certain stages of growth. In this manner the varied characteristics and proclivities of races, tribes, clans and individuals, and of everything comprised in the earth are produced.
The foregoing commentary on the genealogical symbolism of Genesis, although suggestive rather than conclusive, will nevertheless serve to show that the books of the Bible are not the simple narratives many to-day think they are, but profound psychophilosophical writings in which we may read the whole story of the human soul, its origin, phases of involution and evolution, and the means whereby it may ultimately attain reintegration. Paradoxical as it may seem, the Bible is both history and myth; sometimes the first aspect is in the ascendant, but for the most part the second is the dominating feature; yet all along the two are closely interwoven. We must make no mistake, however, about this important word "myth," for few words have been more basely materialised. Applied originally to the semi-dramatic recital forming a part of the Mysteries or Sacred Ceremonies of Ancient Greece, wherein some aspect of the soul's pilgrimage was represented symbolically, it has now become the term for a fanciful story devoid of truth.
The distinction between myth and history needs to be carefully explained in order to make the contrast absolutely clear.
To write history is to give a circumstantial and statistical account of past events as they were manifested on the phenomenal plane of existence. For this, it is not necessary to be illuminated or inspired. But the mythos, although it includes outward events, subordinates them to the central motive of the narrative, which is to put on record the psychological and spiritual arch-history of the collective souls of mankind as illustrated by certain "types." Ordinary history deals, so to speak, only with the outside of the house, but the myths include what is going on inside the house also. History treats of outward things as having no inner essence, while the mythos is concerned primarily with the hidden operations of the universe and of men, and only in a secondary manner with the outward phenomena which spring from them.
Myths can only be uttered by a seer or prophet, one who possesses the powers of introspection and intuition in exceptional degree, whose consciousness enjoys an elasticity, a power of extension, and a capacity for the reception of inspiration. Should anyone naively enquire, is myth true, the emphatic answer is yes, far more true than history. The latter represents truth within certain restrictions, truth as concerned with the objective aspect of things, partial truth; but the former is truth not only concerning the objective, but embracing the subjective also; it is "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
We have said that the correct term to apply to the sacred traditional allegorical narrative of the Bible mythos or myth. Now this word according to its modern usage has been completely inverted in meaning. The modern dictionaries confirm this statement, and furthermore they clearly indicate a similar if not equally serious degradation of the closely related words "parable" and "allegory." These terms are one and all more or less associated with the word "fable," and regraded as relating to purely fanciful stories having no foundation in truth save in so far as they may contain fragments of distorted history or serve to "point a moral and adorn a tale." Let us, then, attempt to trace the word myth to its source, and ascertain as far as we can its original meaning before it fell into the hands of the formalists. It is derived from the Greek "mythos," and among the early Greeks the "mythoi" or "muthoi" were the sacred traditional narratives recited or acted before initiates of an elementary grade in the Mysteries at Eleusis and elsewhere; which narratives were permitted to be subsequently related to the uninitiated and so became common property, as the sculpture, the plays and the general literature of ancient Greece proclaim. That these "mythoi" carried an inner meaning was also known to the initiates, but on that score they were sworn to secrecy. But the Greek word "mythos" or "muthos" has a more remote source. It is made up of two Hebrew roots, "mu" and "thu," which are hieroglyphs. "Mu" means something mobile or plastic and passive, a feminine watery principle of which the intimate essence remains unknown without the application and conjunction of an active, masculine, fiery principle to bring about vivification. "Thu" means a sign, a symbol, or a symbolical narrative or recital. We may define the mythos as a mute, literal, narrative with a certain hidden potentiality.
What then is needed to make its potentiality manifest, to cause the mute narrative to speak? The application of the "gnosis" or higher knowledge and the presence and energy of the "logos," the living word. This term "logos" is also derived from those mysterious Hebrew-Egyptian hieroglyphs. The roots are "lou," the universal connecting link, and "gou," all manifest organic life. "Logos" therefore denotes the word of God, the divine thought, the love which gives life to man and the universe. Thus the mythos may be regarded as external form, and the logos as internal life; the mythos is the body of the logos, and the logos is the sort of the mythos. Without the "breath of life" the mythos cannot be ensouled; take away the vitality and you leave but the dead letter. Hence the vehement accusation of the Christian Master: "Woe unto you, lawyers (literalists) for ye have taken away the key of knowledge (gnosis); ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered " (Luke, chapter II, verse 52). A typical example of the mythos occurs in the Seventh Chapter of Genesis, the Cosmogony of Moses, where the entry into the Thebah (Ark) and the outburst of the waters is described. This deluge, the bursting of the waters, was not a flooding of the earth with the physical fluid ordinarily called water and known to the chemist as H20. Deluges in the ordinary sense are known to have occurred upon our globe not once, but frequently during its history. It is possible, even probable, that Moses may have had the traditional Atlantean deluge in mind when he wrote his Cosmogony, but he simply employed that catastrophe as an outward symbol to represent something far more profound and far reaching in character. The "water" of Noah's flood is the metaphysical "Water " (whereof material water is the emblem), one of the four principles (fire, air, water, earth) of manifest existence, a term devised by the illuminate of the ancient mystery schools. This philosophical water is the element or principle upon which he who attains Mastership has the power of walking and also of turning into wine. In the latter connection it is worth noting that Noah, on emanating from the ark, plants a vineyard and produces wine. Hence it follows that the waters of Noah's deluge denote the primary watery element out of which physical life is evolved, and into which it can again be dissolved.
During the long period antecedent to the bursting of the waters, man had gradually descended into matter, first building his physical framework and outer nature, and was now completely manifest or objective on the stage of existence, but not as yet shut off in consciousness from the celestial realms. However, his objective or earthly consciousness, which had been very slight at first, likewise gradually increased at the expense of his subjective or heavenly consciousness, which slowly decreased. The flood marks a distinct epoch in the involution of man, and indicates the point at which his subjectivity was entirely objectified, but at this stage also it became possible for mankind to yield a harvest. That harvest is represented by Noah ("nous"), the first fruits of intelligence. Noah stands for the grain or seed of the first harvest, which seed was sown again at the next phenomenal manifestation, or at the emergence from the Ark. One could write a long dissertation upon the animals which Noah took into the ark with him. They primarily signify man's passions, affections and appetites, clean and unclean, or pure and mixed. When objectified in time and space they become living creatures, or rather, they became so when everything was in plastic condition and man ruled over nature. This is the meaning of Adam naming the animals, for to name is to give quality. God created them potentially "en masse;" but Adam differentiated them and projected them into actuality. The terms seven-by-seven and two-by-two have no numerical, relative, or proportional value, but a figurative one. Seven denotes that which is complete, and in a condition of rest or balance; seven-by-seven emphasises the fact. The reference is to those attributes of man which are perfected, or to precepts which he has so far put fully into practice. Two denotes the pairs of opposites, good and evil, while two-by-two is its emphasised form, and these "animals" relate to attributes which are in the intermediate state, between precept and practice, knowledge which is in the head, but not yet completely in the heart and not expressed by the will in life and action.
Finally, the food provided signifies all that is necessary for the sustenance and development of the intellect and will, and their attributes. All races which have preserved the tradition of the deluge, and nearly all have done so, have not neglected to record the name of the supposed mountain upon which the mysterious Ark, carrying the germs of a new existence, came to rest. Nicholas of Damascus, cited by Josephus, calls it Mount Barris, a name which is not very far removed from that of Syparis or Sypara, which Berosus gives to this town of the sun, in which an Assyrian monarch, preparing to suffer the catastrophe of the deluge, had placed the world's archives. We know also that the Greeks named it Luxoreos, the mountain of light, the place of Parnassus where Deucalion was stayed; but perhaps it is not so generally known that the Americans had also a celebrated mountain upon which they asserted that the survivors of the human race took refuge, and whose name they consecrated by a temple dedicated to the sun. This name was Olagmi. It would be easy to prove that all these names have a more or less direct connection with the course of light; but without invoking at the moment other languages than Hebrew, we will examine the word Ararat which appears in Genesis as translated. The word is composed of two roots, "aur" and "rth." The first, "aur" (incidentally, this is the word translated "light" in the first chapter of Genesis) is known; it is light and all ideas connected therewith. The second, "rth," formed of the signs of proper movement and of resistance, may be said to characterise a course influenced, inflected or determined by something. The whole word, therefore, signifies the mountain of the reflected course of light. We have only to turn to the host of analogous or derivative words for abundant confirmation. "Arhat," a Sanscrit term, denotes a highly advanced intelligence, a master. The prefix "ar" is found in Arjuna, Arthur, Artemis, Armageddon, Armna and even Archbishop, not to mention many others, and in every case signifies spiritual royalty or elevation. If we reverse the letters of the root "ar," a procedure frequently practised in the Mystery schools, we obtain "ra," the Egyptian word for the sun. We now pass to another important glyph, "Ereb," the raven. The same word occurs in the first chapter of Genesis, where it is translated "evening," and in Greek mythology as "Erebus," said to be the son of Chaos and Nox. Ereb signifies "western darkness" as the opposite pole of "eastern light," but this "darkness" is darkness in the sense of mystery, of deeply hidden forces, having a close analogy with the dark or invisible infra-red chemical rays of the spectrum. It is for this reason that the to-and-fro movement of the raven ("And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth" — Genesis, chapter 8, verse 7) is made use of in order to suggest the prescribing of an expanse (a sphere or a circle) within which a definite creation is to take place. Ereb is also rendered "Oreb," and corresponds with Mount Horeb, the mountain of fire, clouds and darkness; the Mount of the Law, of statutes and judgments, external, binding and formal. The name "Ionah" or "Iona" is associated with the dove for similar reasons to those applying in the case of the raven, i.e., because of moral and physical analogies. The Hebrew root "ion" denotes infinite being passing from potentiality into activity, or from an unmanifest to a manifest condition, and this will explain the frequent allusions to the "dove" in scriptural records. It should be observed, too, how this root "ion" forms the basis of a number of cryptic proper names; for example, Juno, Ioannes, Pelion and Deucalion, all of them "types," and all communicators of the creative spirit in one aspect or another. And, wonderful to relate, modern scientists in trying to discern the ultimate nature of physical matter, have attributed it to etheric formes and electrical stresses, to which they likewise give the name "ions."
We learn from the Hermetic tradition that in the formula "the Sons of God" (as used in Genesis and throughout the Bible) there is concealed a great mystery, one which until this epoch has been kept a secret from all but very advanced initiates, and concerning which they have given only dark hints to those in lower grades. It is asserted, however, that the time has now come with the arrival of the Aquarian Age for much enlightenment to be given even to novices regarding the cosmic secret thus cryptically kept in mind.
Ages ago, according to the hitherto carefully guarded instructions, the ancestors of our humanity were about on a level with the most intelligent creatures of the animal kingdom, so far as mental power is concerned. They had attained perfection of instincts and creative power unfoldment, but they were "mindless." The time had come to awaken the intellect, the power of thinking, of observation, comparison and conclusion, the power which is satisfied by the perception of truth. To bring this about, the teaching tells us, other planets of our system were drawn upon for souls who would and could volunteer to undertake the training of the as yet unmanifesting mind-substance latent in the sows of the future humanity. The appeal was responded to by a large number of highly-evolved beings, and it is these beings who are referred to by the term "Sons of God" in Genesis. Elsewhere, they are known as "Sons of Mind," the Angelic heaven-born, Higher-heaven-born and the Heaven-born, according to their degree of evolution. By the Hebrews the Angelic heaven-born were called Angels (such was Raphael in the Book of Tobit, and the Angels which appeared to Abraham and others), and these became the practical guides and "gods" of the planet. Of a lower grade, under the direction of the Angelic, were a host of inferior souls corresponding to "chelas" or pupils of these exalted beings, styled the Higher-heaven-born, who desired to accompany their old leaders into their new field of responsibility and were permitted to do so. These were they who eventually "took to wife the daughters of men," causing the mixing of the two species. The third and lowest rank of the Heaven-born were of enormous numbers and so little beyond the Earth-born in soul-growth that they immediately began to be incarnated in the earth-races of proto-humans. In this way a new race of souls was mingled with the old, bringing a new set of instincts with them, leavening the mass of the Earth-born and initiating an upward move, under the immediate direction of the Higher-heaven-born and the superintendence of the Angelic heaven-born.
We can now see that our humanity, popularly thought to be homogeneous in its nature, consists of two distinct species, although these have become commingled instead of being kept separate as was intended. One species is that of the fallen "Sons of God," an immortal race which became subjected to mortal conditions, one whose "memory is restored by God when it pleases Him" (as the "Divine Pymander" of Hermes teaches), and which has also been described as "the race which never dies" (see the Secret Doctrine," by H.P. Blavatsky). The other is that of the "sons of men," who did not "fall" from the God-kingdom, since they had never risen or evolved into it, but whose evolution thitherward, ordained to be superintended by the "Sons of God," became arrested by the latter's "fall" and failure in duty, with the result that the two species have become chaotically intermixed. Despite the intermixing, however, the inherent spiritual dignity of the "Sons of God," into whatever great wickedness they have fallen (and many of them have descended into far lower hells of vice and shame than their less evolved brethren), has never been obliterated; as Tennyson wrote, they have been "like coins, some true, some false," but remaining always "stamped with the image of the King"; and as a species they are easily distinguishable from the "sons of men." Breed and blood tell, we are accustomed to say; but these factors relate rather to the animal side of our nature; what tells still more than physical heredity is a person's "spiritual" ancestry and seniority, and, in this respect throughout history an ineffaceable and unmistakable distinction between the two species has always persisted. That distinction of quality and age of soul lies at the root of the Caste system in the East; it has displayed itself in the "Aristoi" and "helotes" of Greece, in the "Patricians" and "plebians" of Rome, in the "Nobles" and "serfs" of the feudal system, and to-day it is perpetuated in our own "Lords" and "commons." Furthermore, in virtue of an innate superiority of spirit the "Sons of God" are the natural leaders of the "sons of men," and remain so notwithstanding the consistent blind striving of the democratic movement to equalise the two species, and thereby to efface the age-old distinction between them.
There is, nevertheless, a deep and good reason for the hostility of "Demos" towards "Aristos," which periodically flares out violently, for in every age some of the "Sons of God," perverting their spiritual capacity, have been the great criminals, the tyrants and oppressors, socially, politically and intellectually, of the humbler species. The force, then, that has been at work behind every great religious and political upheaval may be described as the counter-offensive of the "sons of men" against the "Sons of God" for sins committed in the past; it is a karmic retribution, and is part of the penalty that the "Sons of God" have to pay for having originally thwarted the evolution of the "sons of men." And it will continue to operate in some form until such time as the "Sons of God" have laboriously and painfully reformed themselves and made their true nature and function manifest before the eyes of the masses ; demonstrating, as they have never yet done, their fitness and ability to be the only possible framers of a sound social community, and the instructors in spiritual science to their younger brethren.
Meanwhile, a deluded public imagines that a "new heaven and new earth" can be created by the simple expedient of giving and counting votes, quite oblivious of the fact that while "the blind lead the blind" sincere motives cannot prevent the old vices from breaking forth afresh in new and unexpected directions. The imperative need of the peoples to-day is for guidance by spiritual Patricians, seers with eyes open equally to heaven and earth, wise leaders "anointed with the oil of gladness above their fellows," and in order to achieve this it is first incumbent upon the "Sons of God" to resume their "allotted task" at the point at which, ages ago, they failed in it; they alone can regenerate the world and reconstruct the social edifice upon an indefeasible basis. The "Sons of God" are, indeed, the "foundation stones" of T.G.A.O.T.U., upon which the whole superstructure was intended to be reared; and despite the "utter confusion" now prevailing owing to the heavy calamity which befell them, and through them the "sons of men," human society will eventually have to be re-erected in accordance with "those plans and designs" which, prior to their "fall," had been "regularly supplied to the various classes of the workmen." An ideal state of human society on earth must ultimately be one which reflects the ordered organisation of life beyond this world; in other words, it must be "As above, so below"; "in earth as it is in heaven"; the inferior must become a true reflex of the "pattern in the mount." The perfect "temple" of humanity must, therefore, ultimately be constructed upon the same architectural principle, the divine principle of Hierarchy, as our Craft; it will be as a pyramid of living "stones," built up from a broad base, and rising through a series of narrowing courses which taper, towards the summit, to a point or chief corner-stone which binds them all together. At that supreme point the earthly hierarchy ends and the heavenly hierarchy begins; and contact between the two being established there by the "head-stone of the corner," Light and Wisdom from on high will flow through to those who minister to the spiritual needs of the less advanced junior brethren in the ever widening ranks below. Hierarchy is the negation of anarchy, of mass-rule, and of all forms of self-willed despotism, whether by means of unenlightened individuals or fluctuating majorities; it conforms with the divine ordinance:-
"Order is Heaven's first law, and, that confessed,
Some are and must be greater than the rest."
In proclaiming the principle of Hierarchy the Christian Church, in its Collect for Michaelmas Day, declares that the Most High has "ordained and constituted the service of Angels and men in a "wonderful order" It is this "wonderful order" which is today preserved in the Craft; every Masonic Lodge is a little self-contained hierarchical cell within the larger organism of London or one of the Provinces; the Provinces and London in turn function as a similar hierarchy within the greater matrix of Grand Lodge; and, finally, the Grand Lodge on earth reflects, moves within, and is mothered by the Grand Lodge Above, "whose Grand Master is the great Jehovah and whose Officers are holy Angels." Here let us pause; for, in these days of hurried reading and shallow hearing, familiar phrases of the deepest import are apt to run meaningful of the mind, and to leave no impressions where one is striving to impress deeply and every word is meant to weigh. To whomsoever in the Craft the foregoing passage speaks vitally — and to some few it is pointedly addressed — we are suggesting the wider application of a most wonderful and sacred message which is enshrined at the very heart of our Masonic system.
The trend in human affairs at this time towards synthesis, co-operation, fusion and amalgamation is a portent of promise; it indicates that the resurrection, to which the noblest of the "Sons of God," down the ages, have testified, is now a general possibility. Moreover, humanity to-day, as a whole, faces towards the higher life because its integrity is being steadily assured, while slowly it is being "properly prepared" as a vehicle or matrix (a literal although mystical "body") which the impregnating Power of the Highest can overshadow, and into which once again the Light from Above can be attracted and brought to birth and manifestation, in a number of dedicated individuals, for the further saving of the world. A new kingdom is coming into being; a fifth kingdom in nature is materialising; and already it has a nucleus functioning on earth in physical bodies.
The striving and struggling of the present time, the upheaval and chaos, are signs of the resurrection; they accompany the words, not uttered once and finally, but spoken now to all who can hear them: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon the, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." The Holy Spirit is always "coming upon" human souls and inspiring them, but who has been consciously overshadowed by this further something — this Power of the Highest — or gives a thought to what it may mean? What, then, is this "Dunamis Hupsiston," this fecundating "Force subsisting and stationed in the heights" (to give full value to the eloquent Greek words), which is intermediate and mediating between God and ourselves. The "Power of the Highest" is not the Divine potentiality in the abstract; it is a most concrete reality; the Power behind and controlling all other powers. In the first place it is the antithesis, and ultimate corrective and antidote of that "force" of which we have already spoken; and which in relation to this may be thought of as the "power of the lowest." As the latter is the power of disorder in this world, so the former is that of the supreme Order beyond it, Order which can and will impose its rectifying will upon human indiscipline when the right hour strikes. The "Highest" or "Most High," is not God; it is the Force (using that term in the same sense as in the "Police-Force" or "Air-Force") through which God's transmitted majesty works both in and beyond this world.
It is, from the point of view of Freemasonry, the Grand Lodge Above; it is the Great White Lodge of the Masters of Wisdom forming the "throne of grace" from which rules the Most Wise Sovereign of Angels and men, and through whose heavenly cohorts He transmits Himself to us in this world, as we in turn have access to Him. "The Highest," that potent yet most withdrawn Holy Assembly (the Grand Sanhedrin), has still on earth as aforetime its human links and delegates, and it is this fact alone which will explain the problem of the institution of modern Freemasonry in the 17th century by those members of the "Invisible Society" who, as agents of the Superior Hierarchy, inspired the formation of the Craft, although they themselves remained in concealment. These originators of be Craft were a group of advanced Illuminates, some of whom took the Masonic Initiation so as to forge a personal link between the Craft and their superior allegiance, and it was they also who prompted four old London Lodges to form the but Grand Lodge thereby inaugurating what has since become our world-wide Masonic movement. The Craft continues to exit on earth because the Craft also exists, in a higher disposition, in the heavens. "As below, so above," and our earthly Craft, with its hierarchy of graded Freemasons, is a reflection of the similarly graded Great Hierarchy of Masters, Past Masters and Brethren in the Grand Lodge Above. By entering the Craft on earth we have focused upon us the "Power of the Highest" (even when we remain unaware of it), and, if we will, can so perfect our natures until we too are, consciously and whilst in the flesh, "overshadowed" and qualified to be "fit members for well organised society" both here and in the supernal kingdom.
Unfortunately, so few Brethren realise on admission to the Craft (what every student comes one day to learn) the fact that, behind and beyond all elementary religious sanctions, there is a spiritual law, an unformulated but iron-strong controlling principle, to which sooner or later our rebellious self-willed reason has to become obedient, and which has been called for ages "Disciplina arcani," the "discipline of the secret" (or "of what is secret"). It is the law which prescribes for everyone the conditions upon which knowledge of esoteric truth and acquaintance with the deeper aspects of the mysteries of faith can be imparted and received. Each of us finds and must learn it for himself, but if one's motive be worthy and the rule of the road is followed by means of a "prudent and well regulated course of discipline," the simplest way to its discovery leads through a humble conformity with, and spiritual discernment of, what is implied in the duly instituted universal symbols, until the Realities are reached which those symbols both veil and reveal and to proclaim which they were ordained. Those who have discovered this way seem uniformly silent about it, as having found something ineffable which each one of us is put to finding for himself. They are very obviously typed (in the V. of the S.L.), by those "wise Men" who once saw a star in the East and followed it. They were intercepted in their search, you will no doubt recall, by a less well-motivated and less spiritually advanced person, who said "When ye have found, bring me word again that I may come and worship also." But, having found, something — the "discipline of the secret" — admonished them not to return and tell. And it is just the same to-day. Those who learn the Mysteries "depart into their own country another way," and keep very silent. But they know that others will follow them into the same "country" when they too have become wise, and that all is well.
We will conclude this part of our Paper with an appeal to every enlightened member of the Craft both in his character as a Freemason and as a "citizen of the world." Hitherto the mystical aspect of Freemasonry has tended to be a subject confined to individual Brethren unactuated by any common policy, and with no prescribed purpose towards which they could labour concertedly. Lack of knowledge and the conditions of the age have, of course, been largely responsible for students of Masonic doctrine being forced to work singly or in small groups. What is needed now, however, is united action by instructed Freemasons everywhere, "for the good of Freemasonry in general," and we confidently assert that all who respond to the call in "love and unity" will not fail in finding and doing their part (small or great, near at hand or from afar), even although they never meet to speak of it together in the flesh. We are at the beginning of great changes and events, spiritual and temporal, and it is perhaps well that the part of this Circle in that beginning, however large in prospect and full in faith, should be at present small and of mean account. Let us, then, resolve to "steadily persevere" in our work dedicated to our Brethren in the Craft, and if visible results are slow in manifestation we may yet find inspiration in the words of an outstanding " Son of God of former days:-
By mutual confidence and mutual aid
Great deeds are done and great discoveries made,
The wise new prudence from the wise acquire,
And one brave hero fans another's ire."
(Iliad, Book X, 265).
SO MOTE IT BE.