Isis Unveiled by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 1
Theosophical University Press Online Edition
"Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint."
(I am the spirit which still denies.) — (Mephisto in FAUST.)
"The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not; neither knoweth Him." — Gospel according to John, xiv., 17.
"Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." — MILTON.
"Mere intellectual enlightenment cannot recognize the spiritual. As the sun puts out a fire, so spirit puts out the eyes of mere intellect. — W. HOWITT.
THERE has been an infinite confusion of names to express one and the same thing.
The chaos of the ancients; the Zoroastrian sacred fire, or the Antusbyrum of the Parsees; the Hermes-fire; the Elmes-fire of the ancient Germans; the lightning of Cybele; the burning torch of Apollo; the flame on the altar of Pan; the inextinguishable fire in the temple on the Acropolis, and in that of Vesta; the fire-flame of Pluto's helm; the brilliant sparks on the hats of the Dioscuri, on the Gorgon head, the helm of Pallas, and the staff of Mercury; the [[pur asbeston]]; the Egyptian Phtha, or Ra; the Grecian Zeus Cataibates (the descending);* the pentecostal fire-tongues; the burning bush of Moses; the pillar of fire of the Exodus, and the "burning lamp" of Abram; the eternal fire of the "bottomless pit"; the Delphic oracular vapors; the Sidereal light of the Rosicrucians; the AKASA of the Hindu adepts; the Astral light of Eliphas Levi; the nerve-aura and the fluid of the magnetists; the od of Reichenbach; the fire-globe, or meteor-cat of Babinet; the Psychod and ectenic force of Thury; the psychic force of Sergeant Cox and Mr. Crookes; the atmospheric magnetism of some naturalists; galvanism; and finally, electricity, are but various names for many different manifestations, or effects of the same mysterious, all-pervading cause — the Greek Archeus, or [[Archaios]].
Sir E. Bulwer-Lytton, in his Coming Race, describes it as the VRIL,** used by the subterranean populations, and allowed his readers to take it
* Pausanias: "Eliae," lib. i., cap. xiv.
** We apprehend that the noble author coined his curious names by contracting words in classical languages. Gy would come from gune; vril from virile.
for a fiction. "These people," he says, "consider that in the vril they had arrived at the unity in natural energic agencies"; and proceeds to show that Faraday intimated them "under the more cautious term of correlation," thus:
"I have long held an opinion, almost amounting to a conviction, in common, I believe, with many other lovers of natural knowledge, that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest, HAVE ONE COMMON ORIGIN; or, in other words, are so directly related and naturally dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, into one another, and possess equivalents of power in their action."
Absurd and unscientific as may appear our comparison of a fictitious vril invented by the great novelist, and the primal force of the equally great experimentalist, with the kabalistic astral light, it is nevertheless the true definition of this force. Discoveries are constantly being made to corroborate the statement thus boldly put forth. Since we began to write this part of our book, an announcement has been made in a number of papers of the supposed discovery of a new force by Mr. Edison, the electrician, of Newark, New Jersey, which force seems to have little in common with electricity, or galvanism, except the principle of conductivity. If demonstrated, it may remain for a long time under some pseudonymous scientific name; but, nevertheless, it will be but one of the numerous family of children brought forth from the commencement of time by our kabalistic mother, the Astral Virgin. In fact, the discoverer says that, "it is as distinct, and has as regular laws as heat, magnetism, or electricity." The journal which contains the first account of the discovery adds that, "Mr. Edison thinks that it exists in connection with heat, and that it can also be generated by independent and as yet undiscovered means."
Another of the most startling of recent discoveries, is the possibility of annihilating distance between human voices — by means of the telephone (distance-sounder), an instrument invented by Professor A. Graham Bell. This possibility, first suggested by the little "lovers' telegraph," consisting of small tin cups with vellum and drug-twine apparatus, by which a conversation can be carried on at a distance of two hundred feet, has developed into the telephone, which will become the wonder of this age. A long conversation has taken place between Boston and Cambridgeport by telegraph; "every word being distinctly heard and perfectly understood, and the modulations of voices being quite distinguishable," according to the official report. The voice is seized upon, so to say, and held in form by a magnet, and the sound-wave transmitted by electricity acting in unison and co-operating with the magnet. The whole success depends upon a perfect control of the electric currents and the
power of the magnets used, with which the former must co-operate. "The invention," reports the paper, "may be rudely described as a sort of trumpet, over the bell-mouth of which is drawn a delicate membrane, which, when the voice is thrown into the tube, swells outward in proportion to the force of the sound-wave. To the outer side of the membrane is attached a piece of metal, which, as the membrane swells outward, connects with a magnet, and this, with the electric circuit, is controlled by the operator. By some principle, not yet fully understood, the electric current transmits the sound-wave just as delivered by the voice in the trumpet, and the listener at the other end of the line, with a twin or facsimile trumpet at his ear, hears every word distinctly, and readily detects the modulations of the speaker's voice."
Thus, in the presence of such wonderful discoveries of our age, and the further magical possibilities lying latent and yet undiscovered in the boundless realm of nature, and further, in view of the great probability that Edison's Force and Professor Graham Bell's Telephone may unsettle, if not utterly upset all our ideas of the imponderable fluids, would it not be well for such persons as may be tempted to traverse our statements, to wait and see whether they will be corroborated or refuted by further discoveries.
Only in connection with these discoveries, we may, perhaps, well remind our readers of the many hints to be found in the ancient histories as to a certain secret in the possession of the Egyptian priesthood, who could instantly communicate, during the celebration of the Mysteries, from one temple to another, even though the former were at Thebes and the latter at the other end of the country; the legends attributing it, as a matter of course, to the "invisible tribes" of the air, which carry messages for mortals. The author of Pre-Adamite Man quotes an instance, which being given merely on his own authority, and he seeming uncertain whether the story comes from Macrinus or some other writer, may be taken for what it is worth. He found good evidence, he says, during his stay in Egypt, that "one of the Cleopatras (?) sent news by a wire to all the cities, from Heliopolis to Elephantine, on the Upper Nile."*
It is not so long since Professor Tyndall ushered us into a new world, peopled with airy shapes of the most ravishing beauty.
"The discovery consists," he says, "in subjecting the vapors of volatile liquids to the action of concentrated sun-light, or to the concentrated beam of the electric light." The vapors of certain nitrites, iodides, and acids are subjected to the action of the light in an experimental tube, lying horizontally, and so arranged that the axis of the tube and that of
* P. B. Randolph: "Pre-Adamite Man," p. 48.
the parallel beams issuing from the lamp are coincident. The vapors form clouds of gorgeous tints, and arrange themselves into the shapes of vases, of bottles and cones, in nests of six or more; of shells, of tulips, roses, sunflowers, leaves, and of involved scrolls. "In one case," he tells us, "the cloud-bud grew rapidly into a serpent's head; a mouth was formed, and from the cloud, a cord of cloud resembling a tongue was discharged." Finally, to cap the climax of marvels, "once it positively assumed the form of a fish, with eyes, gills, and feelers. The twoness of the animal form was displayed throughout, and no disk, coil, or speck existed on one side that did not exist on the other."
These phenomena may possibly be explained in part by the mechanical action of a beam of light, which Mr. Crookes has recently demonstrated. For instance, it is a supposable case, that the beams of light may have constituted a horizontal axis, about which the disturbed molecules of the vapors gathered into the forms of globes and spindles. But how account for the fish, the serpent's head, the vases, the flowers of different varieties, the shells? This seems to offer a dilemma to science as baffling as the meteor-cat of Babinet. We do not learn that Tyndall ventured as absurd an explanation of his extraordinary phenomena as that of the Frenchman about his.
Those who have not given attention to the subject may be surprised to find how much was known in former days of that all-pervading, subtile principle which has recently been baptized THE UNIVERSAL ETHER.
Before proceeding, we desire once more to enunciate in two categorical propositions, what was hinted at before. These propositions were demonstrated laws with the ancient theurgists.
I. The so-called miracles, to begin with Moses and end with Cagliostro, when genuine, were as de Gasparin very justly insinuates in his work on the phenomena, "perfectly in accordance with natural law"; hence — no miracles. Electricity and magnetism were unquestionably used in the production of some of the prodigies; but now, the same as then, they are put in requisition by every sensitive, who is made to use unconsciously these powers by the peculiar nature of his or her organization, which serves as a conductor for some of these imponderable fluids, as yet so imperfectly known to science. This force is the prolific parent of numberless attributes and properties, many, or rather, most of which, are as yet unknown to modern physics.
II. The phenomena of natural magic to be witnessed in Siam, India, Egypt, and other Oriental countries, bear no relationship whatever to sleight of hand; the one being an absolute physical effect, due to the action of occult natural forces, the other, a mere deceptive result
obtained by dexterous manipulations supplemented with confederacy.*
The thaumaturgists of all periods, schools, and countries, produced their wonders, because they were perfectly familiar with the imponderable — in their effects — but otherwise perfectly tangible waves of the astral light. They controlled the currents by guiding them with their will-power. The wonders were both of physical and psychological character; the former embracing effects produced upon material objects, the latter the mental phenomena of Mesmer and his successors. This class has been represented in our time by two illustrious men, Du Potet and Regazzoni, whose wonderful powers were well attested in France and other countries. Mesmerism is the most important branch of magic; and its phenomena are the effects of the universal agent which underlies all magic and has produced at all ages the so-called miracles.
The ancients called it Chaos; Plato and the Pythagoreans named it the Soul of the World. According to the Hindus, the Deity in the shape of AEther pervades all things. It is the invisible, but, as we have said before, too tangible Fluid. Among other names this universal Proteus — or "the nebulous Almighty," as de Mirville calls it in derision — was termed by the theurgists "the living fire,"** the "Spirit of Light," and Magnes. This last appellation indicates its magnetic properties and shows its magical nature. For, as truly expressed by one of its enemies — [[magos]] and [[magnes]] are two branches growing from the same trunk, and shooting forth the same resultants.
Magnetism is a word for the derivation of which we have to look to an incredibly early epoch. The stone called magnet is believed by many to owe its name to Magnesia, a city or district in Thessaly, where these stones were found in quantity. We believe, however, the opinion of the Hermetists to be the correct one. The word Magh, magus, is derived from the Sanskrit Mahaji, the great or wise (the anointed by the divine wisdom). "Eumolpus is the mythic founder of the Eumolpidae (priests);
* On this point at least we are on firm ground. Mr. Crookes's testimony corroborates our assertions. On page 84 of his pamphlet on "Phenomenal Spiritualism" he says: "The many hundreds of facts I am prepared to attest — facts which to imitate by known mechanics or physical means would baffle the skill of a Houdin, a Bosco, or an Anderson, backed with all the resources of elaborate machinery and the practice of years — have all taken place in my own house; at times appointed by myself and under circumstances which absolutely precluded the employment of the very simplest instrumental aids."
** In this appellation, we may discover the meaning of the puzzling sentence to be found in the Zend-Avesta that "fire gives knowledge of the future, science, and amiable speech," as it develops an extraordinary eloquence in some sensitives.
the priests traced their own wisdom to the Divine Intelligence."* The various cosmogonies show that the Archaeal Universal Soul was held by every nation as the "mind" of the Demiurgic Creator, the Sophia of the Gnostics, or the Holy Ghost as a female principle. As the Magi derived their name from it, so the Magnesian stone or Magnet was called in their honor, for they were the first to discover its wonderful properties. Their temples dotted the country in all directions, and among these were some temples of Hercules,** — hence the stone, when it once became known that the priests used it for their curative and magical purposes, received the name of the Magnesian or Heraclean stone. Socrates, speaking of it, remarks: "Euripides calls it the Magnesian stone, but the common people, the Heraclean."*** It was the country and stone which were called after the Magi, not the Magi after one or the other. Pliny informs us that the wedding-ring among the Romans was magnetized by the priests before the ceremony. The old Pagan historians are careful to keep silent on certain Mysteries of the "wise" (Magi) and Pausanias was warned in a dream, he says, not to unveil the holy rites of the temple of Demeter and Persephoneia at Athens.****
Modern science, after having ineffectually denied animal magnetism, has found herself forced to accept it as a fact. It is now a recognized property of human and animal organization; as to its psychological, occult influence, the Academies battle with it, in our century, more ferociously than ever. It is the more to be regretted and even wondered at, as the representatives of "exact science" are unable to either explain or even offer us anything like a reasonable hypothesis for the undeniable mysterious potency contained in a simple magnet. We begin to have daily proofs that these potencies underlie the theurgic mysteries, and therefore might perhaps explain the occult faculties possessed by ancient and modern thaumaturgists as well as a good many of their most astounding achievements. Such were the gifts transmitted by Jesus to some of
* Dunlap: "Musah, His Mysteries," p. iii.
** "Hercules was known as the king of the Musians," says Schwab, ii., 44; and Musien was the feast of "Spirit and Matter," Adonis and Venus, Bacchus and Ceres. (See Dunlap: "Mystery of Adonis," p. 95.) Dunlap shows, on the authority of Julian and Anthon (67), AEsculapius, "the Savior of all," identical with Phtha (the creative Intellect, the Divine Wisdom), and with Apollo, Baal, Adonis, and Hercules (ibid., p. 93), and Phtha is the "Anima mundi," the Universal Soul, of Plato, the Holy Ghost of the Egyptians, and the Astral Light of the Kabalists. M. Michelet, however, regards the Grecian Herakles as a different character, the adversary of the Bacchic revellings and their attendant human sacrifices.
*** Plato: "Ion" (Burgess), vol. iv., p. 294.
**** "Attica," i., xiv.
his disciples. At the moment of his miraculous cures, the Nazarene felt a power issuing from him. Socrates, in his dialogue with Theages,* telling him of his familiar god (demon), and his power of either imparting his (Socrates') wisdom to his disciples or preventing it from benefiting those he associates with, brings the following instance in corroboration of his words: "I will tell you, Socrates," says Aristides, "a thing incredible, indeed, by the gods, but true. I made a proficiency when I associated with you, even if I was only in the same house, though not in the same room; but more so, when I was in the same room . . . and much more when I looked at you. . . . But I made by far the greatest proficiency when I sat near you and touched you."
This is the modern magnetism and mesmerism of Du Potet and other masters, who, when they have subjected a person to their fluidic influence, can impart to them all their thoughts even at a distance, and with an irresistible power force their subject to obey their mental orders. But how far better was this psychic force known to the ancient philosophers! We can glean some information on that subject from the earliest sources. Pythagoras taught his disciples that God is the universal mind diffused through all things, and that this mind by the sole virtue of its universal sameness could be communicated from one object to another and be made to create all things by the sole will-power of man. With the ancient Greeks, Kurios was the god-Mind (Nous). "Now Koros (Kurios) signifies the pure and unmixed nature of intellect — wisdom," says Plato.** Kurios is Mercury, the Divine Wisdom, and "Mercury is the Sol" (Sun),*** from whom Thaut — Hermes — received this divine wisdom, which, in his turn, he imparted to the world in his books. Hercules is also the Sun — the celestial storehouse of the universal magnetism;**** or rather Hercules is the magnetic light which, when having made its way through the "opened eye of heaven," enters into the regions of our planet and thus becomes the Creator. Hercules passes through the twelve labors, the valiant Titan! He is called "Father of All" and
* Plato: "Theages." Cicero renders this word [[daimonion]], quiddam divinum, a divine something, not anything personal.
** "Cratylus," p. 79.
*** "Arnobius," vi., xii.
**** As we will show in subsequent chapters, the sun was not considered by the ancients as the direct cause of the light and heat, but only as an agent of the former, through which the light passes on its way to our sphere. Thus it was always called by the Egyptians "the eye of Osiris," who was himself the Logos, the First-begotten, or light made manifest to the world, "which is the mind and divine intellect of the Concealed." It is only that light of which we are cognizant that is the Demiurge, the creator of our planet and everything pertaining to it; with the invisible and unknown universes disseminated through space, none of the sun-gods had anything to do. The idea is expressed very clearly in the "Books of Hermes."
"self-born" "(autophues)."* Hercules, the Sun, is killed by the Devil, Typhon,** and so is Osiris, who is the father and brother of Horus, and at the same time is identical with him; and we must not forget that the magnet was called the "bone of Horus," and iron the "bone of Typhon." He is called "Hercules Invictus," only when he descends to Hades (the subterranean garden), and plucking the "golden apples" from the "tree of life," slays the dragon.*** The rough Titanic power, the "lining" of every sun-god, opposes its force of blind matter to the divine magnetic spirit, which tries to harmonize everything in nature.
All the sun-gods, with their symbol, the visible sun, are the creators of physical nature only. The spiritual is the work of the Highest God — the Concealed, the Central, Spiritual SUN, and of his Demiurge — the Divine Mind of Plato, and the Divine Wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus**** — the wisdom effused from Oulom or Kronos.
"After the distribution of pure Fire, in the Samothracian Mysteries, a new life began."***** This was the "new birth," that is alluded to by Jesus, in his nocturnal conversation with Nicodemus. "Initiated into the most blessed of all Mysteries, being ourselves pure . . . we become just and holy with wisdom."****** "He breathed on them and saith unto them, 'Take the Holy Pneuma.' "******* And this simple act of will-power was sufficient to impart vaticination in its nobler and most perfect form if both the initiator and the initiated were worthy of it. To deride this gift, even in its present aspect, "as the corrupt offspring and lingering remains of an ignorant age of superstition, and hastily to condemn it as unworthy of sober investigation, would be as unphilosophical as it is wrong," remarks the Rev. J. B. Gross. "To remove the veil which hides our vision from the future, has been attempted — in all ages of the world; and therefore the propensity to pry into the lap of time, contemplated as one of the faculties of human mind, comes recommended to us under the sanction of God. . . . Zuinglius, the Swiss reformer, attested the comprehensiveness of his faith in the providence of the Supreme Being, in the cosmopolitan doctrine that the Holy Ghost was not excluded from the more worthy portion of the heathen world. Admitting its truth, we cannot
* "Orphic Hymn," xii.; Hermann; Dunlap: "Musah, His Mysteries," p. 91.
** Movers, 525. Dunlap: "Mysteries of Adonis," 94.
*** Preller: ii., 153. This is evidently the origin of the Christian dogma of Christ descending into hell and overcoming Satan.
**** This important fact accounts admirably for the gross polytheism of the masses, and the refined, highly-philosophical conception of one God, which was taught only in sanctuaries of the "pagan" temples.
****** Plato: "Phaedrus," Cary's translation.
******* John xx., 22.
easily conceive a valid reason why a heathen, thus favored, should not be capable of true prophecy."*
Now, what is this mystic, primordial substance? In the book of Genesis, at the beginning of the first chapter, it is termed the "face of the waters," said to have been incubated by the "Spirit of God." Job mentions, in chap. xxvi., 5, that "dead things are formed from under the waters, and inhabitants thereof." In the original text, instead of "dead things," it is written dead Rephaim (giants, or mighty primitive men), from whom "Evolution" may one day trace our present race. In the Egyptian mythology, Kneph the Eternal unrevealed God is represented by a snake-emblem of eternity encircling a water-urn, with his head hovering over the waters, which it incubates with his breath. In this case the serpent is the Agathodaimon, the good spirit; in its opposite aspect it is the Kakodaimon — the bad one. In the Scandinavian Eddas, the honey-dew — the food of the gods and of the creative, busy Yggdrasill — bees — falls during the hours of night, when the atmosphere is impregnated with humidity; and in the Northern mythologies, as the passive principle of creation, it typifies the creation of the universe out of water; this dew is the astral light in one of its combinations and possesses creative as well as destructive properties. In the Chaldean legend of Berosus, Oannes or Dagon, the man-fish, instructing the people, shows the infant world created out of water and all beings originating from this prima materia. Moses teaches that only earth and water can bring a living soul; and we read in the Scriptures that herbs could not grow until the Eternal caused it to rain upon earth. In the Mexican Popol-Vuh man is created out of mud or clay (terre glaise), taken from under the water. Brahma creates Lomus, the great Muni (or first man), seated on his lotus, only after having called into being, spirits, who thus enjoyed among mortals a priority of existence, and he creates him out of water, air, and earth. Alchemists claim that primordial or pre-Adamic earth when reduced to its first substance is in its second stage of transformation like clear-water, the first being the alkahest** proper. This primordial substance is said to contain within itself the essence of all that goes to make up man; it has not only all the elements of his physical being, but even the "breath of life" itself in a latent state, ready to be awakened. This it derives from the "incubation" of the Spirit of God upon the face of the waters — chaos; in fact, this substance is chaos itself. From this it was that Paracelsus claimed to be able to make his "homunculi"; and
* "Heathen Religion," 104.
** Alkahest, a word first used by Paracelsus, to denote the menstruum or universal solvent, that is capable of reducing all things.
this is why Thales, the great natural philosopher, maintained that water was the principle of all things in nature.
What is the primordial Chaos but AEther? The modern Ether; not such as is recognized by our scientists, but such as it was known to the ancient philosophers, long before the time of Moses; Ether, with all its mysterious and occult properties, containing in itself the germs of universal creation; Ether, the celestial virgin, the spiritual mother of every existing form and being, from whose bosom as soon as "incubated" by the Divine Spirit, are called into existence Matter and Life, Force and Action. Electricity, magnetism, heat, light, and chemical action are so little understood even now that fresh facts are constantly widening the range of our knowledge. Who knows where ends the power of this protean giant — Ether; or whence its mysterious origin? — Who, we mean, that denies the spirit that works in it and evolves out of it all visible forms?
It is an easy task to show that the cosmogonical legends all over the world are based on a knowledge by the ancients of those sciences which have allied themselves in our days to support the doctrine of evolution; and that further research may demonstrate that they were far better acquainted with the fact of evolution itself, embracing both its physical and spiritual aspects, than we are now. With the old philosophers, evolution was a universal theorem, a doctrine embracing the whole, and an established principle; while our modern evolutionists are enabled to present us merely with speculative theoretics; with particular, if not wholly negative theorems. It is idle for the representatives of our modern wisdom to close the debate and pretend that the question is settled, merely because the obscure phraseology of the Mosaic account clashes with the definite exegesis of "exact science."
One fact at least is proved: there is not a cosmogonical fragment, to whatever nation it may belong, but proves by this universal allegory of water and the spirit brooding over it, that no more than our modern physicists did any of them hold the universe to have sprung into existence out of nothing; for all their legends begin with that period when nascent vapors and Cimmerian darkness lay brooding over a fluid mass ready to start on its journey of activity at the first flutter of the breath of Him, who is the Unrevealed One. Him they felt, if they saw Him not. Their spiritual intuitions were not so darkened by the subtile sophistry of the forecoming ages as ours are now. If they talked less of the Silurian age slowly developing into the Mammalian, and if the Cenozoic time was only recorded by various allegories of the primitive man — the Adam of our race — it is but a negative proof after all that their "wise men" and leaders did not know of these successive periods as well as we do now.
In the days of Democritus and Aristotle, the cycle had already begun to enter on its downward path of progress. And if these two philosophers could discuss so well the atomic theory and trace the atom to its material or physical point, their ancestors may have gone further still and followed its genesis far beyond that limit where Mr. Tyndall and others seem rooted to the spot, not daring to cross the line of the "Incomprehensible." The lost arts are a sufficient proof that if even their achievements in physiography are now doubted, because of the unsatisfactory writings of their physicists and naturalists, — on the other hand their practical knowledge in phytochemistry and mineralogy far exceeded our own. Furthermore, they might have been perfectly acquainted with the physical history of our globe without publishing their knowledge to the ignorant masses in those ages of religious Mysteries.
Therefore, it is not only from the Mosaic books that we mean to adduce proof for our further arguments. The ancient Jews got all their knowledge — religious as well as profane — from the nations with which we see them mixed up from the earliest periods. Even the oldest of all sciences, their kabalistic "secret doctrine," may be traced in each detail to its primeval source, Upper India, or Turkestan, far before the time of a distinct separation between the Aryan and Semitic nations. The King Solomon so celebrated by posterity, as Josephus the historian says,* for his magical skill, got his secret learning from India through Hiram, the king of Ophir, and perhaps Sheba. His ring, commonly known as "Solomon's seal," so celebrated for the potency of its sway over the various kinds of genii and demons, in all the popular legends, is equally of Hindu origin. Writing on the pretentious and abominable skill of the "devil-worshippers" of Travancore, the Rev. Samuel Mateer, of the London Missionary Society, claims at the same time to be in possession of a very old manuscript volume of magical incantations and spells in the Malayalim language, giving directions for effecting a great variety of purposes. Of course he adds, that "many of these are fearful in their malignity and obscenity," and gives in his work the fac-simile of some amulets bearing the magical figures and designs on them. We find among them one with the following legend: "To remove trembling
* Josephus: "Antiquities," vol. viii., c. 2, 5.
arising from demoniacal possession — write this figure on a plant that has milky juice, and drive a nail through it; the trembling will cease."* The figure is the identical Solomon's seal, or double triangle of the Kabalists. Did the Hindu get it from the Jewish kabalist, or the latter from India, by inheritance from their great king-kabalist, the wise Solomon?** But we will leave this trifling dispute to continue the more interesting question of the astral light, and its unknown properties.
Admitting, then, that this mythical agent is Ether, we will proceed to see what and how much of it is known to science.
With respect to the various effects of the different solar rays, Robert Hunt, F. R. S., remarks, in his Researches on Light in its Chemical Relations, that:
"Those rays which give the most light — the yellow and the orange rays — will not produce change of color in the chloride of silver"; while "those rays which have the least illuminating power — the blue and violet — produce the greatest change, and in exceedingly short time. . . . The
* "The Land of Charity," p. 210.
** The claims of certain "adepts," which do not agree with those of the students of the purely Jewish Kabala, and show that the "secret doctrine" has originated in India, from whence it was brought to Chaldea, passing subsequently into the hands of the Hebrew "Tanaim," are singularly corroborated by the researches of the Christian missionaries. These pious and learned travellers have inadvertently come to our help. Dr. Caldwell, in his "Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages," p. 66, and Dr. Mateer, in the "Land of Charity," p. 83, fully support our assertions that the "wise" King Solomon got all his kabalistic lore from India, as the above-given magical figure well shows. The former missionary is desirous to prove that very old and huge specimens of the baobab-tree, which is not, as it appears, indigenous to India, but belongs to the African soil, and "found only at several ancient sites of foreign commerce (at Travancore), may, for aught we know," he adds, "have been introduced into India, and planted by the servants of King Solomon." The other proof is still more conclusive. Says Dr. Mateer, in his chapter on the Natural History of Travancore: "There is a curious fact connected with the name of this bird (the peacock) which throws some light upon Scripture history. King Solomon sent his navy to Tarshish (I Kings, x. 22), which returned once in three years, bringing 'gold and silver, ivory and apes, and peacocks.' Now the word used in the Hebrew Bible for peacock is 'tukki,' and as the Jews had, of course, no word for these fine birds till they were first imported into Judea by King Solomon, there is no doubt that 'tukki' is simply the old Tamil word 'toki,' the name of the peacock. The ape or monkey also is, in Hebrew, called 'koph,' the Indian word for which is 'kaphi.' Ivory, we have seen, is abundant in South India, and gold is widely distributed in the rivers of the western coast. Hence the 'Tarshish' referred to was doubtless the western coast of India, and Solomon's ships were ancient 'East Indiamen.' " And hence also we may add, besides "the gold and silver, and apes and peacocks," King Solomon and his friend Hiram, of masonic renown, got their "magic" and "wisdom" from India.
yellow glasses obstruct scarcely any light; the blue glasses may be so dark as to admit of the permeation of a very small quantity."
And still we see that under the blue ray both vegetable and animal life manifest an inordinate development, while under the yellow ray it is proportionately arrested. How is it possible to account for this satisfactorily upon any other hypothesis than that both animal and vegetable life are differently modified electrico-magnetic phenomena, as yet unknown in their fundamental principles?
Mr. Hunt finds that the undulatory theory does not account for the results of his experiments. Sir David Brewster, in his Treatise on Optics, showing that "the colors of vegetable life arise . . . from a specific attraction which the particles of these bodies exercise over the differently-colored rays of light," and that "it is by the light of the sun that the colored juices of plants are elaborated, that the colors of bodies are changed, etc. . . ." remarks that it is not easy to allow "that such effects can be produced by the mere vibration of an ethereal medium." And he is forced, he says, "by this class of facts, to reason as if light was material (?)." Professor Josiah P. Cooke, of Harvard University, says that he "cannot agree . . . with those who regard the wave-theory of light as an established principle of science."* Herschel's doctrine, that the intensity of light, in effect of each undulation, "is inversely as the square of the distance from the luminous body," if correct, damages a good deal if it does not kill the undulatory theory. That he is right, was proved repeatedly by experiments with photometers; and, though it begins to be much doubted, the undulatory theory is still alive.
As General Pleasonton, of Philadelphia, has undertaken to combat this anti-Pythagorean hypothesis, and has devoted to it a whole volume, we cannot do any better than refer the reader to his recent work on the Blue Ray, etc. We leave the theory of Thomas Young, who, according to Tyndall, "placed on an immovable basis the undulatory theory of light," to hold its own if it can, with the Philadelphia experimenter.
Eliphas Levi, the modern magician, describes the astral light in the following sentence: "We have said that to acquire magical power, two things are necessary: to disengage the will from all servitude, and to exercise it in control."
"The sovereign will is represented in our symbols by the woman who crushes the serpent's head, and by the resplendent angel who represses the dragon, and holds him under his foot and spear; the great magical agent, the dual current of light, the living and astral fire of the earth, has been represented in the ancient theogonies by the serpent with the head
* Cooke: "New Chemistry," p. 22.
of a bull, a ram, or a dog. It is the double serpent of the caduceus, it is the Old Serpent of the Genesis, but it is also the brazen serpent of Moses entwined around the tau, that is to say, the generative lingha. It is also the goat of the witch-sabbath, and the Baphomet of the Templars; it is the Hyle of the Gnostics; it is the double-tail of serpent which forms the legs of the solar cock of the Abraxas; finally, it is the Devil of M. Eudes de Mirville. But in very fact it is the blind force which souls have to conquer to liberate themselves from the bonds of the earth; for if their will does not free "them from this fatal attraction, they will be absorbed in the current by the force which has produced them, and will return to the central and eternal fire."
This last kabalistic figure of speech, notwithstanding its strange phraseology, is precisely the one used by Jesus; and in his mind it could have had no other significance than the one attributed to it by the Gnostics and the Kabalists. Later the Christian theologians interpreted it differently, and with them it became the doctrine of Hell. Literally, though, it simply means what it says — the astral light, or the generator and destroyer of all forms.
"All the magical operations," continues Levi, "consist in freeing one's self from the coils of the Ancient Serpent; then to place the foot on its head, and lead it according to the operator's will. 'I will give unto thee,' says the Serpent, in the Gospel myth, 'all the kingdoms of the earth, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' The initiate should reply to him, 'I will not fall down, but thou shalt crouch at my feet; thou wilt give me nothing, but I will make use of thee and take whatever I wish. For I am thy Lord and Master!' This is the real meaning of the ambiguous response made by Jesus to the tempter. . . . Thus, the Devil is not an Entity. It is an errant force, as the name signifies. An odic or magnetic current formed by a chain (a circle) of pernicious wills must create this evil spirit which the Gospel calls legion, and which forces into the sea a herd of swine — another evangelical allegory showing how base natures can be driven headlong by the blind forces set in motion by error and sin."*
In his extensive work on the mystical manifestations of human nature, the German naturalist and philosopher, Maximilian Perty, has devoted a whole chapter to the Modern Forms of Magic. "The manifestations of magical life," he says in his Preface, "partially repose on quite another order of things than the nature in which we are acquainted with time, space, and causality; these manifestations can be experimented with but little; they cannot be called out at our bidding, but may be observed
* Eliphas Levi: "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie."
and carefully followed whenever they occur in our presence; we can only group them by analogy under certain divisions, and deduce from them general principles and laws." Thus, for Professor Perty, who evidently belongs to the school of Schopenhauer, the possibility and naturalness of the phenomena which took place in the presence of Kavindasami, the fakir, and are described by Louis Jacolliot, the Orientalist, are fully demonstrated on that principle. The fakir was a man who, through the entire subjugation of the matter of his corporeal system has attained to that state of purification at which the spirit becomes nearly freed from its prison,* and can produce wonders. His will, nay, a simple desire of his has become creative force, and he can command the elements and powers of nature. His body is no more an impediment to him; hence he can converse "spirit to spirit, breath to breath." Under his extended palms, a seed, unknown to him (for Jacolliot has chosen it at random among a variety of seeds, from a bag, and planted it himself, after marking it, in a flower pot), will germinate instantly, and push its way through the soil. Developing in less than two hours' time to a size and height which, perhaps, under ordinary circumstances, would require several days or weeks, it grows miraculously under the very eyes of the perplexed experimenter, and mockingly upsets every accepted formula in Botany. Is this a miracle? By no means; it may be one, perhaps, if we take Webster's definition, that a miracle is "every event contrary to the established constitution and course of things — a deviation from the known laws of nature." But are our naturalists prepared to support the claim that what they have once established on observation is infallible? Or that every law of nature is known to them? In this instance, the "miracle" is but a little more prominent than the now well-known experiments of General Pleasonton, of Philadelphia. While the vegetation and fruitage of his vines were stimulated to an incredible activity by the artificial violet light, the magnetic fluid emanating from the hands of the fakir effected still more intense and rapid changes in the vital function of the Indian plants. It attracted and concentrated the akasa, or life-principle, on the germ.** His magnetism, obeying his will,
* Plato hints at a ceremony used in the Mysteries during the performance of which the neophyte was taught that men are in this life in a kind of prison, and taught how to escape from it temporarily. As usual, the too-learned translators disfigured this passage, partially because they could not understand it, and partially because they would not. See Phaedo § 16, and commentaries on it by Henry More, the well-known Mystic philosopher and Platonist.
** The akasa is a Sanscrit word which means sky, but it also designates the imponderable and intangible life-principle — the astral and celestial lights combined together, and which two form the anima mundi, and constitute the soul and spirit of man; the celestial light forming his [[nous, pneuma]], or divine spirit, and the other his [[Footnote continued on next page]]
drew up the akasa in a concentrated current through the plant towards his hands, and by keeping up an unintermitted flow for the requisite space of time, the life-principle of the plant built up cell after cell, layer after layer, with preternatural activity, until the work was done. The life-principle is but a blind force obeying a controlling influence. In the ordinary course of nature the plant-protoplasm would have concentrated and directed it at a certain established rate. This rate would have been controlled by the prevalent atmospheric conditions; its growth being rapid or slow, and, in stalk or head, in proportion to the amount of light, heat, and moisture of the season. But the fakir, coming to the help of nature with his powerful will and spirit purified from the contact with matter,* condenses, so to speak, the essence of plant-life into its germ, and forces it to maturity ahead of its time. This blind force being totally submissive to his will, obeys it with servility. If he chose to imagine the plant as a monster, it would as surely become such, as ordinarily it would grow in its natural shape; for the concrete image — slave to the subjective model outlined in the imagination of the fakir — is forced to follow the original in its least detail, as the hand and brush of the painter follow the image which they copy from his mind. The will of the fakir-conjurer forms an invisible but yet, to it, perfectly objective matrix, in which the vegetable matter is caused to deposit itself and assume the fixed shape. The will creates; for the will in motion is force, and force produces matter.
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] [[psuche]], soul or astral spirit. The grosser particles of the latter enter into the fabrication of his outward form — the body. Akasa is the mysterious fluid termed by scholastic science, "the all-pervading ether"; it enters into all the magical operations of nature, and produces mesmeric, magnetic, and spiritual phenomena. As, in Syria, Palestine, and India, meant the sky, life, and the sun at the same time; the sun being considered by the ancient sages as the great magnetic well of our universe. The softened pronunciation of this word was Ah — says Dunlap, for "the s continually softens to h from Greece to Calcutta." Ah is Iah, Ao, and Iao. God tells Moses that his name is "I am" (Ahiah), a reduplication of Ah or Iah. The word "As" Ah, or Iah means life, existence, and is evidently the root of the word akasa, which in Hindustan is pronounced ahasa, the life-principle, or Divine life-giving fluid or medium. It is the Hebrew ruah, and means the "wind," the breath, the air in motion, or "moving spirit," according to Parkhurst's Lexicon; and is identical with the spirit of God moving on the face of the waters.
* Bear in mind that Kavindasami made Jacolliot swear that he would neither approach nor touch him during the time he was entranced. The least contact with matter would have paralyzed the action of the freed spirit, which, if we are permitted to use such an unpoetical comparison, would re-enter its dwelling like a frightened snail, drawing in its horns at the approach of any foreign substance. In some cases such a brusque interruption and oozing back of the spirit (sometimes it may suddenly and altogether break the delicate thread connecting it with the body) kills the entranced subject. See the several works of Baron du Potet and Puysegur on this question.
If some persons object to the explanation on the ground that the fakir could by no means create the model in his imagination, since he was kept ignorant by Jacolliot of the kind of seed he had selected for the experiment; to these we will answer that the spirit of man is like that of his Creator — omniscient in its essence. While in his natural state the fakir did not, and could not know whether it was a melon-seed, or seed of any other plant; once entranced, i.e., bodily dead to all outward appearance — the spirit, for which there exist neither distance, material obstacle, nor space of time, experienced no difficulty in perceiving the melon-seed, whether as it lay deeply buried in the mud of the flower-pot, or reflected in the faithful picture-gallery of Jacolliot's brain. Our visions, portents, and other psychological phenomena, all of which exist in nature, are corroborative of the above fact.
And now, perhaps, we might as well meet at once another impending objection. Indian jugglers, they will tell us, do the same, and as well as the fakir, if we can believe newspapers and travellers' narratives. Undoubtedly so; and moreover these strolling jugglers are neither pure in their modes of living nor considered holy by any one; neither by foreigners nor their own people. They are generally FEARED and despised by the natives, for they are sorcerers; men practising the black art. While such a holy man as Kavindasami requires but the help of his own divine soul, closely united with the astral spirit, and the help of a few familiar pitris — pure, ethereal beings, who rally around their elect brother in flesh — the sorcerer can summon to his help but that class of spirits which we know as the elementals. Like attracts like; and greed for money, impure purposes, and selfish views, cannot attract any other spirits than those that the Hebrew kabalists know as the klippoth, dwellers of Asiah, the fourth world, and the Eastern magicians as the afrits, or elementary spirits of error, or the devs.
This is how an English paper describes the astounding trick of plant-growth, as performed by Indian jugglers:
"An empty flower-pot was now placed upon the floor by the juggler, who requested that his comrades might be allowed to bring up some garden mould from the little plot of ground below. Permission being accorded, the man went, and in two minutes returned with a small quantity of fresh earth tied up in a corner of his chudder, which was deposited in the flower-pot and lightly pressed down. Taking from his basket a dry mango-stone, and handing it round to the company that they might examine it, and satisfy themselves that it was really what it seemed to be, the juggler scooped out a little earth from the centre of the flower-pot and placed the stone in the cavity. He then turned the earth lightly over it, and, having poured a little water over the surface, shut the flower-pot out
of view by means of a sheet thrown over a small triangle. And now, amid a full chorus of voices and rat-tat-tat accompaniment of the tabor, the stone germinated; presently a section of the cloth was drawn aside, and gave to view the tender shoot, characterized by two long leaves of a blackish-brown color. The cloth was readjusted, and the incantation resumed. Not long was it, however, before the cloth was a second time drawn aside, and it was then seen that the two first leaves had given place to several green ones, and that the plant now stood nine or ten inches high. A third time, and the foliage was much thicker, the sapling being about thirteen to fourteen inches in height. A fourth time, and the little miniature tree, now about eighteen inches in height, had ten or twelve mangoes about the size of walnuts hanging about its branches. Finally, after the lapse of three or four minutes, the cloth was altogether removed, and the fruit, having the perfection of size, though not of maturity, was plucked and handed to the spectators, and, on being tasted, was found to be approaching ripeness, being sweetly acid."
We may add to this, that we have witnessed the same experiment in India and Thibet, and that more than once we provided the flower-pot ourselves, by emptying an old tin box of some Liebig extracts. We filled it with earth with our own hands, and planted in it a small root handed to us by the conjurer, and until the experiment was ended never once removed our eyes from the pot, which was placed in our own room. The result was invariably the same as above described. Does the reader imagine that any prestidigitator could produce the same manifestation under the same conditions?
The learned Orioli, Corresponding Member of the Institute of France, gives a number of instances which show the marvellous effects produced by the will-power acting upon the invisible Proteus of the mesmerists. "I have seen," says he, "certain persons, who simply by pronouncing certain words, arrest wild bulls and horses at headlong speed, and suspend in its flight the arrow which cleaves the air." Thomas Bartholini affirms the same.
Says Du Potet: "When I trace upon the floor with chalk or charcoal this figure . . . a fire, a light fixes itself on it. Soon it attracts to itself the person who approaches it: it detains and fascinates him . . . and it is useless for him to try to cross the line. A magic power compels him to stand still. At the end of a few moments he yields, uttering sobs. . . . The cause is not in me, it is in this entirely kabalistic sign; in vain would you employ violence."*
In a series of remarkable experiments made by Regazzoni in the
* "La Magie Devoilee," p. 147.
presence of certain well-known French physicians, at Paris, on the 18th of May, 1856, they assembled on one night together, and Regazzoni, with his finger, traced an imaginary kabalistic line upon the floor, over which he made a few rapid passes. It was agreed that the mesmeric subjects, selected by the investigators and the committee for the experiments, and all strangers to him, should be brought blindfold into the room, and caused to walk toward the line, without a word being spoken to indicate what was expected of them. The subjects moved along unsuspiciously till they came to the invisible barrier, when, as it is described, "their feet, as if they had been suddenly seized and riveted, adhere to the ground, while their bodies, carried forward by the rapid impulse of the motion, fall and strike the floor. The sudden rigidity of their limbs was like that of a frozen corpse, and their heels were rooted with mathematical precision upon the fatal line!"*
In another experiment it was agreed that upon one of the physicians giving a certain signal by a glance of the eye, the blindfolded girl should be made to fall on the ground, as if struck by lightning, by the magnetic fluid emitted by Regazzoni's will. She was placed at a distance from the magnetizer; the signal was given, and instantly the subject was felled to the earth, without a word being spoken or a gesture made. Involuntarily one of the spectators stretched out his hand as if to catch her; but Regazzoni, in a voice of thunder, exclaimed, "Do not touch her! Let her fall; a magnetized subject is never hurt by falling." Des Mousseaux, who tells the story, says that "marble is not more rigid than was her body; her head did not touch the ground; one of her arms remained stretched in the air; one of her legs was raised and the other horizontal. She remained in this unnatural posture an indefinite time. Less rigid is a statue of bronze."**
All the effects witnessed in the experiments of public lecturers upon mesmerism, were produced by Regazzoni in perfection, and without one spoken word to indicate what the subject was to do. He even by his silent will produced the most surprising effects upon the physical systems of persons totally unknown to him. Directions whispered by the committee in Regazzoni's ear were immediately obeyed by the subjects, whose ears were stuffed with cotton, and whose eyes were bandaged. Nay, in some cases it was not even necessary for them to express to the magnetizer what they desired, for their own mental requests were complied with with perfect fidelity.
Experiments of a similar character were made by Regazzoni in England, at a distance of three hundred paces from the subject brought to
* "Magie au XIXme Siecle," p. 268.
him. The jettatura, or evil eye, is nothing but the direction of this invisible fluid, charged with malicious will and hatred, from one person to another, and sent out with the intention of harming him. It may equally be employed for a good or evil purpose. In the former case it is magic; in the latter, sorcery.
What is the WILL? Can "exact science" tell? What is the nature of that intelligent, intangible, and powerful something which reigns supreme over all inert matter? The great Universal Idea willed, and the cosmos sprang into existence. I will, and my limbs obey. I will, and, my thought traversing space, which does not exist for it, envelops the body of another individual who is not a part of myself, penetrates through his pores, and, superseding his own faculties, if they are weaker, forces him to a predetermined action. It acts like the fluid of a galvanic battery on the limbs of a corpse. The mysterious effects of attraction and repulsion are the unconscious agents of that will; fascination, such as we see exercised by some animals, by serpents over birds, for instance, is a conscious action of it, and the result of thought. Sealing-wax, glass, and amber, when rubbed, i.e., when the latent heat which exists in every substance is awakened, attract light bodies; they exercise unconsciously, will; for inorganic as well as organic matter possesses a particle of the divine essence in itself, however infinitesimally small it may be. And how could it be otherwise? Notwithstanding that in the progress of its evolution it may from beginning to end have passed through millions of various forms, it must ever retain its germ-point of that preexistent matter, which is the first manifestation and emanation of the Deity itself. What is then this inexplicable power of attraction but an atomical portion of that essence that scientists and kabalists equally recognize as the "principle of life" — the akasa? Granted that the attraction exercised by such bodies may be blind; but as we ascend higher the scale of the organic beings in nature, we find this principle of life developing attributes and faculties which become more determined and marked with every rung of the endless ladder. Man, the most perfect of organized beings on earth, in whom matter and spirit — i.e., will — are the most developed and powerful, is alone allowed to give a conscious impulse to that principle which emanates from him; and only he can impart to the magnetic fluid opposite and various impulses without limit as to the direction. "He wills," says Du Potet, "and organized matter obeys. It has no poles."
Dr. Brierre de Boismont, in his volume on Hallucinations, reviews a wonderful variety of visions, apparitions, and ecstasies, generally termed hallucinations. "We cannot deny," he says, "that in certain diseases we see developed a great surexcitation of sensibility, which lends to the
senses a prodigious acuteness of perception. Thus, some individuals will perceive at considerable distances, others will announce the approach of persons who are really on their way, although those present can neither hear nor see them coming."*
A lucid patient, lying in his bed, announces the arrival of persons to see whom he must possess transmural vision, and this faculty is termed by Brierre de Boismont — hallucination. In our ignorance, we have hitherto innocently supposed that in order to be rightly termed a hallucination, a vision must be subjective. It must have an existence only in the delirious brain of the patient. But if the latter announces the visit of a person, miles away, and this person arrives at the very moment predicted by the seer, then his vision was no more subjective, but on the contrary perfectly objective, for he saw that person in the act of coming. And how could the patient see, through solid bodies and space, an object shut out from the reach of our mortal sight, if he had not exercised his spiritual eyes on that occasion? Coincidence?
Cabanis speaks of certain nervous disorders in which the patients easily distinguished with the naked eye infusoria and other microscopical beings which others could only perceive through powerful lenses. "I have met subjects," he says, "who saw in Cimmerian darkness as well as in a lighted room; . . ." others "who followed persons, tracing them out like dogs, and recognizing by the smell objects belonging to such persons or even such as had been only touched by them, with a sagacity which was hitherto observed only in animals."**
Exactly; because reason, which, as Cabanis says, develops only at the expense and loss of natural instinct, is a Chinese wall slowly rising on the soil of sophistry, and which finally shuts out man's spiritual perceptions of which the instinct is one of the most important examples. Arrived at certain stages of physical prostration, when mind and the reasoning faculties seem paralyzed through weakness and bodily exhaustion, instinct — the spiritual unity of the five senses — sees, hears, feels, tastes, and smells, unimpaired by either time or space. What do we know of the exact limits of mental action? How can a physician take upon himself to distinguish the imaginary from the real senses in a man who may be living a spiritual life, in a body so exhausted of its usual vitality that it actually is unable to prevent the soul from oozing out from its prison?
The divine light through which, unimpeded by matter, the soul per-
* Brierre de Boismont: "Des Hallucinations, ou Histoire raisonnee des apparitions, des songes, des visions, de l'extase du Magnetisme," 1845, p. 301 (French edition). See also Fairfield: "Ten Years Among the Mediums."
** Cabanis, seventh memoir: "De l'Influence des Maladies sur la Formation des Idees," etc. A respected N. Y. legislator has this faculty.
ceives things past, present, and to come, as though their rays were focused in a mirror; the death-dealing bolt projected in an instant of fierce anger or at the climax of long-festering hate; the blessing wafted from a grateful or benevolent heart; and the curse hurled at an object — offender or victim — all have to pass through that universal agent, which under one impulse is the breath of God, and under another — the venom of the devil. It was discovered (?) by Baron Reichenbach and called OD, whether intentionally or otherwise we cannot say, but it is singular that a name should have been chosen which is mentioned in the most ancient books of the Kabala.
Our readers will certainly inquire what then is this invisible all? How is it that our scientific methods, however perfected, have never discovered any of the magical properties contained in it? To this we can answer, that it is no reason because modern scientists are ignorant of them that it should not possess all the properties with which the ancient philosophers endowed it. Science rejects many a thing to-day which she may find herself forced to accept to-morrow. A little less than a century ago the Academy denied Franklin's electricity, and, at the present day, we can hardly find a house without a conductor on its roof. Shooting at the barn-door, the Academy missed the barn itself. Modern scientists, by their wilful skepticism and learned ignorance, do this very frequently.
Emepht, the supreme, first principle, produced an egg; by brooding over which, and permeating the substance of it with its own vivifying essence, the germ contained within was developed; and Phtha, the active creative principle proceeded from it, and began his work. From the boundless expanse of cosmic matter, which had formed itself under his breath, or will, this cosmic matter — astral light, aether, fire-mist, principle of life — it matters not how we may call it, this creative principle, or, as our modern philosophy terms it, law of evolution, by setting in motion the potencies latent in it, formed suns and stars, and satellites; controlled their emplacement by the immutable law of harmony, and peopled them "with every form and quality of life." In the ancient Eastern mythologies, the cosmogonic myth states that there was but water (the father) and the prolific slime (the mother, Ilus or Hyle), from which crept forth the mundane snake-matter. It was the god Phanes, the revealed one, the Word, or logos. How willingly this myth was accepted, even by the Christians who compiled the New Testament, may be easily inferred from the following fact: Phanes, the revealed god, is represented in this snake-symbol as a protogonos, a being furnished with the heads of a man, a hawk or an eagle, a bull -- taurus, and a lion, with wings on both sides. The heads relate to the zodiac, and typify the four seasons of the year, for the mundane serpent is the mundane year, while the ser-
pent itself is the symbol of Kneph, the hidden, or unrevealed deity — God the Father. Time is winged, therefore the serpent is represented with wings. If we remember that each of the four evangelists is represented as having near him one of the described animals — grouped together in Solomon's triangle in the pentacle of Ezekiel, and to be found in the four cherubs or sphinxes of the sacred arch — we will perhaps understand the secret meaning, as well as the reason why the early Christians adopted this symbol; and how it is that the present Roman Catholics and the Greeks of the Oriental Church still represent these animals in the pictures of their evangelists which sometimes accompany the four Gospels. We will also understand why Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, had so insisted upon the necessity of the fourth gospel; giving as a reason that there could not be less than four of them, as there were four zones in the world, and four principal winds coming from the four cardinal points, etc.*
According to one of the Egyptian myths, the phantom-form of the isle of Chemmis (Chemi, ancient Egypt), which floats on the ethereal waves of the empyrean sphere, was called into being by Horus-Apollo, the sun-god, who caused it to evolve out of the mundane egg.
In the cosmogonical poem of Voluspa (the song of the prophetess), which contains the Scandinavian legends of the very dawn of ages, the phantom-germ of the universe is represented as lying in the Ginnungagap — or the cup of illusion, a boundless and void abyss. In this world's matrix, formerly a region of night and desolation, Nebelheim (the Mist-place) dropped a ray of cold light (aether), which overflowed this cup and froze in it. Then the Invisible blew a scorching wind which dissolved the frozen waters and cleared the mist. These waters, called the streams of Elivagar, distilled in vivifying drops which, falling down, created the earth and the giant Ymir, who only had "the semblance of man" (male principle). With him was created the cow, Audhumla** (female principle), from whose udder flowed four streams of milk,*** which diffused themselves throughout space (the astral light in its purest emanation). The cow Audhumla produces a superior being, called Bur, handsome and powerful, by licking the stones that were covered with mineral salt.
Now, if we take into consideration that this mineral was universally
* Irenaeus: Book iii., chap. ii., sec. 8.
** The cow is the symbol of prolific generation and of intellectual nature. She was sacred to Isis in Egypt; to Christna, in India, and to an infinity of other gods and goddesses personifying the various productive powers of nature. The cow was held, in short, as the impersonation of the Great Mother of all beings, both of the mortals and of the gods, of physical and spiritual generation of things.
*** In Genesis the river of Eden was parted, "and became into four heads" (Gen. ii., 5).
regarded by ancient philosophers as one of the chief formative principles in organic creation; by the alchemists as the universal menstruum, which, they said, was to be wrought from water; and by every one else, even as it is regarded now by science as well as in the popular ideas, to be an indispensable ingredient for man and beast; we may readily comprehend the hidden wisdom of this allegory of the creation of man. Paracelsus calls salt "the centre of water, wherein metals ought to die," etc., and Van Helmont terms the Alkahest, "summum et felicissimum omnium salium," the most successful of all salts.
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?" and following the parable he adds: "Ye are the light of the world" (v. 14). This is more than an allegory; these words point to a direct and unequivocal meaning in relation to the spiritual and physical organisms of man in his dual nature, and show, moreover, a knowledge of the "secret doctrine," the direct traces of which we find equally in the oldest ancient and current popular traditions, in both the Old and New Testaments, and in the writings of the ancient and mediaeval mystics and philosophers.
But to return to our Edda-legend. Ymir, the giant, falls asleep, and sweats profusely. This perspiration causes the pit of his left arm to generate out of that place a man and a woman, while his foot produces a son for them. Thus, while the mythic "cow" gives being to a race of superior spiritual men, the giant Ymir begets a race of evil and depraved men, the Hrimthursen, or frost-giants. Comparing notes with the Hindu Vedas, we find it then, with slight modifications, the same cosmogonic legend in substance and details. Brahma, as soon as Bhagaveda, the Supreme God, endows him with creative powers, produces animated beings, wholly spiritual at first. The Dejotas, inhabitants of the Surg's (the celestial) region, are unfit to live on earth, therefore Brahma creates the Daints (giants, who become the dwellers of the Patals, the lower regions of space), who are also unfit to inhabit Mirtlok (the earth). To palliate the evil, the creative power evolves from his mouth the first Brahman, who thus becomes the progenitor of our race; from his right arm Brahma creates Raettris, the warrior, and from his left Shaterany, the wife of Raettris. Then their son Bais springs from the right foot of the creator, and his wife Basany from the left. While in the Scandinavian legend Bur (the son of the cow Audhumla), a superior being, marries Besla, a daughter of the depraved race of giants, in the Hindu tradition the first Brahman marries Daintary, also a daughter of the race of the giants; and in Genesis we see the sons of God taking for wives the daughters of men, and likewise producing mighty men of old; the
whole establishing an unquestionable identity of origin between the Christian inspired Book, and the heathen "fables" of Scandinavia and Hindustan. The traditions of nearly every other nation, if examined, will yield a like result.
What modern cosmogonist could compress within so simple a symbol as the Egyptian serpent in a circle such a world of meaning? Here we have, in this creature, the whole philosophy of the universe: matter vivified by spirit, and the two conjointly evolving out of chaos (Force) everything that was to be. To signify that the elements are fast bound in this cosmic matter, which the serpent symbolizes, the Egyptians tied its tail into a knot.
There is one more important emblem connected with the sloughing of the serpent's skin, which, so far as we are aware, has never been heretofore noticed by our symbolists. As the reptile upon casting his coat becomes freed from a casing of gross matter, which cramped a body grown too large for it, and resumes its existence with renewed activity, so man, by casting off the gross material body, enters upon the next stage of his existence with enlarged powers and quickened vitality. Inversely, the Chaldean Kabalists tell us that primeval man, who, contrary to the Darwinian theory was purer, wiser, and far more spiritual, as shown by the myths of the Scandinavian Bur, the Hindu Dejotas, and the Mosaic "sons of God," — in short, of a far higher nature than the man of the present Adamic race, became despiritualized or tainted with matter, and then, for the first time, was given the fleshly body, which is typified in Genesis in that profoundly-significant verse: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them."* Unless the commentators would make of the First Cause a celestial tailor, what else can the apparently absurd words mean, but that the spiritual man had reached, through the progress of involution, to that point where matter, predominating over and conquering spirit, had transformed him into the physical man, or the second Adam, of the second chapter of Genesis?
This kabalistical doctrine is much more elaborated in the Book of Jasher.** In chapter vii., these garments of skin are taken by Noah into the ark, he having obtained them by inheritance from Methuselah and Enoch, who had them from Adam and his wife. Ham steals them from
* Genesis iii. 21.
** This is claimed to be one of the missing books of the sacred Canon of the Jews, and is referred to in Joshua and II. Samuel. It was discovered by Sidras, an officer of Titus, during the sack of Jerusalem, and published in Venice in the seventeenth century, as alleged in its preface by the Consistory of Rabbins, but the American edition, as well as the English, is reputed by the modern Rabbis, to be a forgery of the twelfth century.
his father Noah; gives them "in secret" to Cush, who conceals them from his sons and brothers, and passes them to Nimrod.
While some Kabalists, and even archeologists say that "Adam, Enoch, and Noah might, in outward appearance, be different men, but they were really the selfsame divine person."* Others explain that between Adam and Noah there intervened several cycles. That is to say, that every one of the antediluvian patriarchs stood as the representative of a race which had its place in a succession of cycles; and each of which races was less spiritual than its predecessor. Thus Noah, though a good man, could not have borne comparison with his ancestor, Enoch, who "walked with God and did not die." Hence the allegorical interpretation which makes Noah have this coat of skin by inheritance from the second Adam and Enoch, but not wear it himself, for if otherwise, Ham could not have stolen it. But Noah and his children bridged the flood; and while the former belonged to the old and still spiritual antediluvian generation, insomuch as he was selected from all mankind for his purity, his children were post-diluvian. The coat of skin worn by Cush "in secret," — i.e., when his spiritual nature began to be tainted by the material — is placed on Nimrod, the most powerful and strongest of physical men on this side of the flood — the last remnant of the antediluvian giants.**
In the Scandinavian legend, Ymir, the giant, is slain by the sons of Bur, and the streams of blood flowing from his wounds were so copious that the flood drowned the whole race of ice and frost giants, and Bergelmir alone of that race was saved, with his wife, by taking refuge in a bark; which fact permitted him to transmit a new branch of giants from the old stock. But all the sons of Bur remained untouched by the flood.***
When the symbolism of this diluvian legend is unravelled, one perceives at once the real meaning of the allegory. The giant Ymir typifies the primitive rude organic matter, the blind cosmical forces, in their chaotic state, before they received the intelligent impulse of the Divine Spirit which set them into a regular motion dependent on immovable laws. The progeny of Bur are the "sons of God," or the minor gods mentioned by Plato in the Timaeus, and who were intrusted, as he expresses it, with the creation of men; for we see them taking the mangled remains of Ymir to the Ginnunga-gap, the chaotic abyss, and employing them for the creation of our world. His blood goes to form oceans and rivers; his bones, the mountains; his teeth, the rocks and cliffs;
* See Godfrey Higgins: "Anacalypsis," quoting Faber.
** See Cory's "Ancient Fragments." BEROSUS.
*** We refer the reader for further particulars to the "Prose Edda" in Mallett's "Northern Antiquities."
his hair, the trees, etc.; while his skull forms the heavenly vault, supported by four pillars representing the four cardinal points. From the eye-brows of Ymir was created the future abode of man — Midgard. This abode (the earth), says the Edda, in order to be correctly described in all its minute particulars, must be conceived as round as a ring, or as a disk, floating in the midst of the Celestial Ocean (Ether). It is encircled by Yormungand, the gigantic Midgard or Earth Serpent, holding its tail in its mouth. This is the mundane snake, matter and spirit, combined product and emanation of Ymir, the gross rudimental matter, and of the spirit of the "sons of God," who fashioned and created all forms. This emanation is the astral light of the Kabalists, and the as yet problematical, and hardly known, aether, or the "hypothetical agent of great elasticity" of our physicists.
How sure the ancients were of this doctrine of man's trinitarian nature may be inferred from the same Scandinavian legend of the creation of mankind. According to the Voluspa, Odin, Honir, and Lodur, who are the progenitors of our race, found in one of their walks on the ocean-beach, two sticks floating on the waves, "powerless and without destiny." Odin breathed in them the breath of life; Honir endowed them with soul and motion; and Lodur with beauty, speech, sight, and hearing. The man they called Askr — the ash,* and the woman Embla — the alder. These first men are placed in Midgard (mid-garden, or Eden) and thus inherit, from their creators, matter or inorganic life; mind, or soul; and pure spirit; the first corresponding to that part of their organism which sprung from the remains of Ymir, the giant-matter, the second from the AEsir, or gods, the descendants of Bur, and the third from the Vanr, or the representative of pure spirit.
Another version of the Edda makes our visible universe spring from beneath the luxuriant branches of the mundane tree — the Yggdrasill, the tree with the three roots. Under the first root runs the fountain of life, Urdar; under the second is the famous well of Mimer, in which lie deeply buried Wit and Wisdom. Odin, the Alfadir, asks for a draught of this water; he gets it, but finds himself obliged to pledge one of his eyes for it; the eye being in this case the symbol of the Deity revealing itself in the wisdom of its own creation; for Odin leaves it at the bottom of the deep well. The care of the mundane tree is intrusted to three maidens (the Norns or Parcae), Urdhr, Verdandi, and Skuld — or the Present, the Past, and the Future. Every morning, while fixing the term
* It is worthy of attention that in the Mexican "Popol-Vuh" the human race is created out of a reed, and in Hesiod out of the ash-tree, as in the Scandinavian narrative.
of human life, they draw water from the Urdar-fountain, and sprinkle with it the roots of the mundane tree, that it may live. The exhalations of the ash, Yggdrasill, condense, and falling down upon our earth call into existence and change of form every portion of the inanimate matter. This tree is the symbol of the universal Life, organic as well as inorganic; its emanations represent the spirit which vivifies every form of creation; and of its three roots, one extends to heaven, the second to the dwelling of the magicians — giants, inhabitants of the lofty mountains — and at the third, under which is the spring Hvergelmir, gnaws the monster Nidhogg, who constantly leads mankind into evil. The Thibetans have also their mundane tree, and the legend is of an untold antiquity. With them it is called Zampun. The first of its three roots also extends to heaven, to the top of the highest mountains; the second passes down to the lower region; the third remains midway, and reaches the east. The mundane tree of the Hindus is the Aswatha.* Its branches are the components of the visible world; and its leaves the Mantras of the Vedas, symbols of the universe in its intellectual or moral character.
Who can study carefully the ancient religious and cosmogonic myths without perceiving that this striking similitude of conceptions, in their exoteric form and esoteric spirit, is the result of no mere coincidence, but manifests a concurrent design? It shows that already in those ages which are shut out from our sight by the impenetrable mist of tradition, human religious thought developed in uniform sympathy in every portion of the globe. Christians call this adoration of nature in her most concealed verities — Pantheism. But if the latter, which worships and reveals to us God in space in His only possible objective form — that of visible nature — perpetually reminds humanity of Him who created it, and a religion of theological dogmatism only serves to conceal Him the more from our sight, which is the better adapted to the needs of mankind?
Modern science insists upon the doctrine of evolution; so do human reason and the "secret doctrine," and the idea is corroborated by the ancient legends and myths, and even by the Bible itself when it is read between the lines. We see a flower slowly developing from a bud, and the bud from its seed. But whence the latter, with all its predetermined programme of physical transformation, and its invisible, therefore spiritual forces which gradually develop its form, color, and odor? The word evolution speaks for itself. The germ of the present human race must have preexisted in the parent of this race, as the seed, in which lies hid-
* See Kanne's "Pantheum der AEltesten Philosophie."
den the flower of next summer, was developed in the capsule of its parent-flower; the parent may be but slightly different, but it still differs from its future progeny. The antediluvian ancestors of the present elephant and lizard were, perhaps, the mammoth and the plesiosaurus; why should not the progenitors of our human race have been the "giants" of the Vedas, the Voluspa, and the Book of Genesis? While it is positively absurd to believe the "transformation of species" to have taken place according to some of the more materialistic views of the evolutionists, it is but natural to think that each genus, beginning with the mollusks and ending with monkey-man, has modified from its own primordial and distinctive form. Supposing that we concede that "animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors";* and that even a la rigueur "all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form";** still no one but a stone-blind materialist, one utterly devoid of intuitiveness, can seriously expect to see "in the distant future . . . psychology based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation."***
Physical man, as a product of evolution, may be left in the hands of the man of exact science. None but he can throw light upon the physical origin of the race. But, we must positively deny the materialist the same privilege as to the question of man's psychical and spiritual evolution, for he and his highest faculties cannot be proved on any conclusive evidence to be "as much products of evolution as the humblest plant or the lowest worm."****
Having said so much, we will now proceed to show the evolution-hypothesis of the old Brahmans, as embodied by them in the allegory of the mundane tree. The Hindus represent their mythical tree, which they call Aswatha, in a way which differs from that of the Scandinavians. It is described by them as growing in a reversed position, the branches extending downward and the roots upward; the former typifying the external world of sense, i.e., the visible cosmical universe, and the latter the invisible world of spirit, because the roots have their genesis in the heavenly regions where, from the world's creation, humanity has placed its invisible deity. The creative energy having originated in the primordial point, the religious symbols of every people are so many illustrations of this metaphysical hypothesis expounded by Pythagoras, Plato, and other
* "Origin of Species," p. 484.
** Ibid. Which latter word we cannot accept unless that "primordial form" is conceded to be the primal concrete form that spirit assumed as the revealed Deity.
*** Ibid., p. 488.
**** Lecture by T. H. Huxley, F.R.S.: "Darwin and Haeckel."
philosophers. "These Chaldeans," says Philo,* "were of opinion that the Kosmos, among the things that exist, is a single point, either being itself God (Theos) or that in it is God, comprehending the soul of all the things."
The Egyptian Pyramid also symbolically represents this idea of the mundane tree. Its apex is the mystic link between heaven and earth, and stands for the root, while the base represents the spreading branches, extending to the four cardinal points of the universe of matter. It conveys the idea that all things had their origin in spirit — evolution having originally begun from above and proceeded downward, instead of the reverse, as taught in the Darwinian theory. In other words, there has been a gradual materialization of forms until a fixed ultimate of debasement is reached. This point is that at which the doctrine of modern evolution enters into the arena of speculative hypothesis. Arrived at this period we will find it easier to understand Haeckel's Anthropogeny, which traces the pedigree of man "from its protoplasmic root, sodden in the mud of seas which existed before the oldest of the fossiliferous rocks were deposited," according to Professor Huxley's exposition. We may believe man evolved "by gradual modification of a mammal of ape-like organization" still easier when we remember that (though in a more condensed and less elegant, but still as comprehensible, phraseology) the same theory was said by Berosus to have been taught many thousands of years before his time by the man-fish Oannes or Dagon, the semi-demon of Babylonia.** We may add, as a fact of interest, that this ancient theory of evolution is not only embalmed in allegory and legend, but also depicted upon the walls of certain temples in India, and, in a fragmentary form, has been found in those of Egypt and on the slabs of Nimroud and Nineveh, excavated by Layard.
But what lies back of the Darwinian line of descent? So far as he is concerned nothing but "unverifiable hypotheses." For, as he puts it, he views all beings "as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited."*** He does not attempt to show us who these "few beings" were. But it answers our purpose quite as well, for in the admission of their existence at all, resort to the ancients for corroboration and elaboration of the idea receives the stamp of scientific approbation. With all the changes that our globe has passed through as regards temperature, climate, soil, and — if we may be pardoned, in view of recent developments — its electromagnetic condition, he would be bold indeed who dare say that anything
* "Migration of Abraham," § 32.
** Cory: "Ancient Fragments."
*** "Origin of Species," pp. 448, 489, first edition.
in present science contradicts the ancient hypothesis of ante-Silurian man. The flint-axes first found by Boucher de Perthes, in the valley of the Somme, prove that men must have existed at a period so remote as to be beyond calculation. If we believe Buchner, man must have lived even during and before the glacial epoch, a subdivision of the quaternary or diluvial period probably extending very far back in it. But who can tell what the next discovery has in store for us?
Now, if we have indisputable proof that man has existed so long as this, there must have been wonderful modifications of his physical system, corresponding with the changes of climate and atmosphere. Does not this seem to show by analogy that, tracing backward, there may have been other modifications, which fitted the most remote progenitors of the "frost-giants" to live even contemporaneously with the Devonian fishes or the Silurian mollusks? True, they left no flint-hatchets behind them, nor any bones or cave-deposits; but, if the ancients are correct, the races at that time were composed not only of giants, or "mighty men of renown," but also of "sons of God." If those who believe in the evolution of spirit as firmly as the materialists believe in that of matter are charged with teaching "unverifiable hypotheses," how readily can they retort upon their accusers by saying that, by their own confession, their physical evolution is still "an unverified, if not actually an unverifiable hypothesis."* The former have at least the inferential proof of legendary myth, the vast antiquity of which is admitted by both philologists and archaeologists; while their antagonists have nothing of a similar nature, unless they help themselves to a portion of the ancient picture-writings, and suppress the rest.
It is more than fortunate that, while the works of some men of science — who have justly won their great reputations — will flatly contradict our hypotheses, the researches and labors of others not less eminent seem to fully confirm our views. In the recent work of Mr. Alfred R. Wallace, The Geographical Distribution of Animals, we find the author seriously favoring the idea of "some slow process of development" of the present species from others which have preceded them, his idea extending back over an innumerable series of cycles. And if animals, why not animal man, preceded still farther back by a thoroughly "spiritual" one — a "son of God"?
And now, we may once more return to the symbolology of the olden times, and their physico-religious myths. Before we close this work, we hope to demonstrate more or less successfully how closely the conceptions of the latter were allied with many of the achievements of modern science
* Huxley: "Darwin and Haeckel."
in physics and natural philosophy. Under the emblematical devices and peculiar phraseology of the priesthood of old lie latent hints of sciences as yet undiscovered during the present cycle. Well acquainted as may be a scholar with the hieratic writing and hieroglyphical system of the Egyptians, he must first of all learn to sift their records. He has to assure himself, compasses and rule in hand, that the picture-writing he is examining fits, to a line, certain fixed geometrical figures which are the hidden keys to such records, before he ventures on an interpretation.
But there are myths which speak for themselves. In this class we may include the double-sexed first creators, of every cosmogony. The Greek Zeus-Zen (aether), and Chthonia (the chaotic earth) and Metis (the water), his wives; Osiris and Isis-Latona — the former god representing also ether — the first emanation of the Supreme Deity, Amun, the primeval source of light; the goddess earth and water again; Mithras,* the rock-born god, the symbol of the male mundane-fire, or the personified primordial light, and Mithra, the fire-goddess, at once his mother and his wife; the pure element of fire (the active, or male principle) regarded as light and heat, in conjunction with earth and water, or matter (female or passive elements of cosmical generation). Mithras is the son of Bordj, the Persian mundane mountain** from which he flashes out as a radiant ray of light. Brahma, the fire-god, and his prolific consort; and the Hindu Unghi, the refulgent deity, from whose body issue a thousand streams of glory and seven tongues of flame, and in whose honor the Sagniku Brahmans preserve to this day a perpetual fire; Siva, personated by the mundane mountain of the Hindus — the Meru (Himalaya). This terrific fire-god, who is said in the legend to have descended from heaven, like the Jewish Jehovah, in a pillar of fire, and a dozen of other archaic, double-sexed deities, all loudly proclaim their hidden meaning. And what can these dual myths mean but the physico-chemical principle of primordial creation? The first revelation of the Supreme Cause in its triple manifestation of spirit, force, and matter; the divine correlation, at its startingpoint of evolution, allegorized as the marriage of fire and water, products of electrifying spirit, union of the male active principle with the female passive element, which become the parents of their tellurian child, cosmic matter, the prima materia, whose spirit is ether, the ASTRAL LIGHT!
Thus all the world-mountains and mundane eggs, the mundane trees, and the mundane snakes and pillars, may be shown to embody scientifi-
* Mithras was regarded among the Persians as the Theos ek petros -- god of the rock.
** Bordj is called a fire-mountain — a volcano; therefore it contains fire, rock, earth, and water — the male and active, and the female or passive elements. The myth is suggestive.
cally demonstrated truths of natural philosophy. All of these mountains contain, with very trifling variations, the allegorically-expressed description of primal cosmogony; the mundane trees, that of subsequent evolution of spirit and matter; the mundane snakes and pillars, symbolical memorials of the various attributes of this double evolution in its endless correlation of cosmic forces. Within the mysterious recesses of the mountain — the matrix of the universe — the gods (powers) prepare the atomic germs of organic life, and at the same time the life-drink, which, when tasted, awakens in man-matter the man-spirit. The soma, the sacrificial drink of the Hindus, is that sacred beverage. For, at the creation of the prima materia, while the grossest portions of it were used for the physical embryo-world, the more divine essence of it pervaded the universe, invisibly permeating and enclosing within its ethereal waves the newly-born infant, developing and stimulating it to activity as it slowly evolved out of the eternal chaos.
From the poetry of abstract conception, these mundane myths gradually passed into the concrete images of cosmic symbols, as archaeology now finds them. The snake, which plays such a prominent part in the imagery of the ancients, was degraded by the absurd interpretation of the serpent of the Book of Genesis into a synonym of Satan, the Prince of Darkness, whereas it is the most ingenious of all the myths in its various symbolisms. For one, as agathodaimon, it is the emblem of the healing art and of the immortality of man. It encircles the images of most of the sanitary or hygienic gods. The cup of health, in the Egyptian Mysteries, was entwined by serpents. As evil can only arise from an extreme in good, the serpent, under some other aspects, became typical of matter; which, the more it recedes from its primal spiritual source, the more it becomes subject of evil. In the oldest Egyptian imagery, as in the cosmogonic allegories of Kneph, the mundane snake, when typifying matter, is usually represented as contained within a circle; he lies straight across its equator, thus indicating that the universe of astral light, out of which the physical world evolved, while bounding the latter, is itself bound by Emepht, or the Supreme First Cause. Phtha producing Ra, and the myriad forms to which he gives life, are shown as creeping out of the mundane egg, because it is the most familiar form of that in which is deposited and developed the germ of every living being. When the serpent represents eternity and immortality, it encircles the world, biting its tail, and thus offering no solution of continuity. It then becomes the astral light. The disciples of the school of Pherecydes taught that ether (Zeus or Zen) is the highest empyrean heaven, which encloses the supernal world, and its light (the astral) is the concentrated primordial element.
Such is the origin of the serpent, metamorphosed in Christian ages
into Satan. It is the Od, the Ob, and the Aour of Moses and the Kabalists. When in its passive state, when it acts on those who are unwittingly drawn within its current, the astral light is the Ob, or Python. Moses was determined to exterminate all those who, sensitive to its influence, allowed themselves to fall under the easy control of the vicious beings which move in the astral waves like fish in the water; beings who surround us, and whom Bulwer-Lytton calls in Zanoni "the dwellers of the threshold." It becomes the Od, as soon as it is vivified by the conscious efflux of an immortal soul; for then the astral currents are acting under the guidance of either an adept, a pure spirit, or an able mesmerizer, who is pure himself and knows how to direct the blind forces. In such cases even a high Planetary Spirit, one of the class of beings that have never been embodied (though there are many among these hierarchies who have lived on our earth), descends occasionally to our sphere, and purifying the surrounding atmosphere enables the subject to see, and opens in him the springs of true divine prophecy. As to the term Aour, the word is used to designate certain occult properties of the universal agent. It pertains more directly to the domain of the alchemist, and is of no interest to the general public.
The author of the Homoiomerian system of philosophy, Anaxagoras of Clazomene, firmly believed that the spiritual prototypes of all things, as well as their elements, were to be found in the boundless ether, where they were generated, whence they evolved, and whither they returned from earth. In common with the Hindus who had personified their Akas'a (sky or ether) and made of it a deific entity, the Greeks and Latins had deified AEther. Virgil calls Zeus, pater omnipotens aether;* Magnus, the great god, Ether.
These beings above alluded to are the elemental spirits of the Kabalists,** whom the Christian clergy denounce as "devils," the enemies of mankind.
* Virgil: "Georgica," book ii.
** Porphyry and other philosophers explain the nature of the dwellers. They are mischievous and deceitful, though some of them are perfectly gentle and harmless, but so weak as to have the greatest difficulty in communicating with mortals whose company they seek incessantly. The former are not wicked through intelligent malice. The law of spiritual evolution not having yet developed their instinct into intelligence, whose highest light belongs but to immortal spirits, their powers of reasoning are in a latent state and, therefore, they themselves, irresponsible.
But the Latin Church contradicts the Kabalists. St. Augustine has even a discussion on that account with Porphyry, the Neo-platonist. "These spirits," he says, "are deceitful, not by their nature, as Porphyry, the theurgist, will have it, but through malice. They pass themselves off for gods and for the souls of the defunct" ("Civit. Dei," book x., ch. 2). So far Porphyry agrees with him; "but they do not claim to be [[Footnote continued on next page]]
"Already Tertullian," gravely remarks Des Mousseaux, in his chapter on the devils, "has formally discovered the secret of their cunning."
A priceless discovery, that. And now that we have learned so much of the mental labors of the holy fathers and their achievements in astral anthropology, need we be surprised at all, if, in the zeal of their spiritual explorations, they have so far neglected their own planet as at times to deny not only its right to motion but even its sphericity?
And this is what we find in Langhorne, the translator of Plutarch: Dionysius of Halicarnassus [L. ii.] is of opinion that Numa built the temple of Vesta in a round form, to represent the figure of the earth, for by Vesta they meant the earth." Moreover Philolaus, in common with all other Pythagoreans, held that the element of fire was placed in the centre of the universe; and Plutarch, speaking on the subject, remarks of the Pythagoreans that "the earth they suppose not to be without motion, nor situated in the centre of the world, but to make its revolution round the sphere of fire, being neither one of the most valuable, nor principal parts of the great machine." Plato, too, is reported to have been of the same opinion. It appears, therefore, that the Pythagoreans anticipated Galileo's discovery.
The existence of such an invisible universe being once admitted — as seems likely to be the fact if the speculations of the authors of the Unseen Universe are ever accepted by their colleagues — many of the phenomena, hitherto mysterious and inexplicable, become plain. It acts on the organism of the magnetized mediums, it penetrates and saturates them through and through, either directed by the powerful will of a mesmerizer, or by unseen beings who achieve the same result. Once that the silent operation is performed, the astral or sidereal phantom of the mesmerized subject quits its paralyzed, earthly casket, and, after having roamed in the boundless space, alights at the threshold of the mysterious "bourne." For it, the gates of the portal which marks the entrance to the "silent land," are now but partially ajar; they will fly wide open before the soul of the entranced somnambulist only on that day when, united with its higher immortal essence, it will have quitted forever its mortal frame. Until then, the seer or seeress can look but through a chink; it depends on the acuteness of the clairvoyant's spiritual sight to see more or less through it.
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] demons [read devils], for they are such in reality!" adds the Bishop of Hippo. But then, under what class should we place the men without heads, whom Augustine wishes us to believe he saw himself? or the satyrs of St. Jerome, which he asserts were exhibited for a considerable length of time at Alexandria? They were, he tells us, "men with the legs and tails of goats"; and, if we may believe him, one of these Satyrs was actually pickled and sent in a cask to the Emperor Constantine!
The trinity in unity is an idea which all the ancient nations held in common. The three Dejotas — the Hindu Trimurti; the Three Heads of the Jewish Kabala.* "Three heads are hewn in one another and over one another." The trinity of the Egyptians and that of the mythological Greeks were alike representations of the first triple emanation containing two male and one female principles. It is the union of the male Logos, or wisdom, the revealed Deity, with the female Aura or Anima Mundi — "the holy Pneuma," which is the Sephira of the Kabalists and the Sophia of the refined Gnostics — that produced all things visible and invisible. While the true metaphysical interpretation of this universal dogma remained within the sanctuaries, the Greeks, with their poetical instincts, impersonated it in many charming myths. In the Dionysiacs of Nonnus, the god Bacchus, among other allegories, is represented as in love with the soft, genial breeze (the Holy Pneuma), under the name of Aura Placida.** And now we will leave Godfrey Higgins to speak: "When the ignorant Fathers were constructing their calendar, they made out of this gentle zephyr two Roman Catholic saints!! " SS. Aura and Placida; — nay, they even went so far as to transfer the jolly god into St. Bacchus, and actually show his coffin and relics at Rome. The festival of the two "blessed saints," Aura and Placida, occurs on the 5th of October, close to the festival of St. Bacchus.***
How far more poetical, and how much greater the religious spirit to be found in the "heathen" Norse legends of creation! In the boundless abyss of the mundane pit, the Ginnunga-gap, where rage in blind fury and conflict cosmic matter and the primordial forces, suddenly blows the thaw-wind. It is the "unrevealed God," who sends his beneficent breath from Muspellheim, the sphere of empyreal fire, within whose glowing rays dwells this great Being, far beyond the limits of the world of matter; and the animus of the Unseen, the Spirit brooding over the dark, abysmal waters, calls order out of chaos, and once having given the impulse to all creation the FIRST CAUSE retires, and remains for evermore in statu abscondito!****
There is both religion and science in these Scandinavian songs of heathendom. As an example of the latter, take the conception of Thor, the son of Odin. Whenever this Hercules of the North would grasp the handle of his terrible weapon, the thunderbolt or electric hammer, he is obliged to put on his iron gantlets. He also wears a magical belt
* "Tria capita exsculpta sunt, una intra alterum, et alterum supra alterum" — (Sohar; "Idra Suta," sectio vii.)
** Gentle gale (lit.)
*** Higgins: "Anacalypsis"; also "Dupuis."
**** Mallett: "Northern Antiquities," pp. 401-406, and "The Songs of a Voluspa" in the Edda.
known as the "girdle of strength," which, whenever girded about his person, greatly augments his celestial power. He rides upon a car drawn by two rams with silver bridles, and his awful brow is encircled by a wreath of stars. His chariot has a pointed iron pole, and the spark-scattering wheels continually roll over rumbling thunder-clouds. He hurls his hammer with resistless force against the rebellious frost-giants, whom he dissolves and annihilates. When he repairs to the Urdar fountain, where the gods meet in conclave to decide the destinies of humanity, he alone goes on foot, the rest of the deities being mounted. He walks, for fear that in crossing Bifrost (the rainbow), the many-hued AEsirbridge, he might set it on fire with his thunder-car, at the same time causing the Urdar waters to boil.
Rendered into plain English, how can this myth be interpreted but as showing that the Norse legend-makers were thoroughly acquainted with electricity? Thor, the euhemerization of electricity, handles his peculiar element only when protected by gloves of iron, which is its natural conductor. His belt of strength is a closed circuit, around which the isolated current is compelled to run instead of diffusing itself through space. When he rushes with his car through the clouds, he is electricity in its active condition, as the sparks scattering from his wheels and the rumbling thunder of the clouds testify. The pointed iron pole of the chariot is suggestive of the lightning-rod; the two rams which serve as his coursers are the familiar ancient symbols of the male or generative power; their silver bridles typify the female principle, for silver is the metal of Luna, Astarte, Diana. Therefore in the ram and his bridle we see combined the active and passive principles of nature in opposition, one rushing forward, and the other restraining, while both are in subordination to the world-permeating, electrical principle, which gives them their impulse. With the electricity supplying the impulse, and the male and female principle combining and recombining in endless correlation, the result is — evolution of visible nature, the crown-glory of which is the planetary system, which in the mythic Thor is allegorized by the circlet of glittering orbs which bedeck his brow. When in his active condition, his awful thunderbolts destroy everything, even the lesser other Titanic forces. But he goes afoot over the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, because to mingle with other less powerful gods than himself, he is obliged to be in a latent state, which he could not be in his car; otherwise he would set on fire and annihilate all. The meaning of the Urdar-fountain, that Thor is afraid to make boil, and the cause of his reluctance, will only be comprehended by our physicists when the reciprocal electro-magnetic relations of the innumerable members of the planetary system, now just suspected, shall be thoroughly determined. Glimpses of the truth are given in the
recent scientific essays of Professors Mayer and Sterry Hunt. The ancient philosophers believed that not only volcanos, but boiling springs were caused by concentrations of underground electric currents, and that this same cause produced mineral deposits of various natures, which form curative springs. If it be objected that this fact is not distinctly stated by the ancient authors, who, in the opinion of our century were hardly acquainted with electricity, we may simply answer that not all the works embodying ancient wisdom are now extant among our scientists. The clear and cool waters of Urdar were required for the daily irrigation of the mystical mundane tree; and if they had been disturbed by Thor, or active electricity, they would have been converted into mineral springs unsuited for the purpose. Such examples as the above will support the ancient claim of the philosophers that there is a logos in every mythos, or a ground-work of truth in every fiction.