Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The Evil Spirit: Who, and What?
Our present quarrel is exclusively with theology. The Church enforces belief in a personal god and a personal devil, while Occultism shows the fallacy of such a belief. And though for the Pantheists and Occultists, as much as for the Pessimists, Nature is no better than “a comely mother, but stone cold” — this is true only so far as regards external physical nature. They both agree that, to the superficial observer, she is no better than an immense slaughter-house wherein butchers become victims, and victims executioners in their turn. It is quite natural that the pessimistically inclined profane, once convinced of Nature’s numerous shortcomings and failures, and especially of her autophagous propensities, should imagine this to be the best evidence that there is no deity in abscondito within Nature, nor anything divine in her. Nor is it less natural that the materialist and the physicist should imagine that everything is due to blind force and chance, and to the survival of the strongest, even more often than of the fittest. But the Occultists, who regard physical nature as a bundle of most varied illusions on the plane of deceptive perceptions; who recognise in every pain and suffering but the necessary pangs of incessant procreation: a series of stages toward an ever-growing perfectibility, which is visible in the silent influence of never-erring Karma, or abstract nature — the Occultists, we say, view the great Mother otherwise. Woe to those who live without suffering. Stagnation and death is the future of all that vegetates without a change. And how can there be any change for the better without proportionate suffering during the preceding stage? Is it not those only who have learnt the deceptive value of earthly hopes and the illusive allurements of external nature who are destined to solve the great problems of life, pain, and death?
If our modern philosophers — preceded by the medieval scholars — have helped themselves to more than one fundamental idea of antiquity, theologians have built their God and his Archangels, their Satan and his Angels, along with the Logos and his staff, entirely out of the dramatis personae of the old heathen Pantheons. They would have been
welcome to these, had they not cunningly distorted the original characters, perverted the philosophical meaning, and taking advantage of the ignorance of Christendom — the result of long ages of mental sleep, during which humanity was permitted to think only by proxy — tossed every symbol into the most inextricable confusion. One of their most sinful achievements in this direction, was the transformation of the divine alter ego into the grotesque Satan of their theology.
As the whole philosophy of the problem of evil hangs upon the correct comprehension of the constitution of the inner being of nature and man, of the divine within the animal, and hence also the correctness of the whole system as given in these pages, with regard to the crown piece of evolution — Man — we cannot take sufficient precautions against theological subterfuges. When the good St. Augustine and the fiery Tertullian called the Devil “the monkey of God,” this could be attributed to the ignorance of the age they lived in. It is more difficult to excuse our modern writers on the same ground. The translation of Mazdean literature has afforded to the Roman Catholic writers the pretext for proving their point in the same direction once more. They have taken advantage of the dual nature of Ahura Mazda in the Zend Avesta and the Vendidad, and of his Amshaspends, to emphasize still further their wild theories. Satan is the plagiarist and the copyist by anticipation of the religion which came ages later. This was one of the master strokes of the Latin Church, its best trump-card after the appearance of Spiritualism in Europe. Though only a succes d’estime, in general, even among those who are not interested in either Theosophy or Spiritualism, yet the weapon is often used by the Christian (Roman Catholic) Kabalists against the Eastern Occultists.
Now even the Materialists are quite harmless, and may be regarded as the friends of Theosophy, when compared to some fanatical “Christian” (as they call themselves, “Sectarian” as we call them) Kabalists, on the Continent. These read the Zohar, not to find in it ancient Wisdom, but to discover in its verses, by mangling the texts and meaning, Christian dogmas, where none could ever have been meant; and, having fished them out with the collective help of Jesuitical casuistry and learning, the supposed “Kabalists” proceed to write books and to mislead less far-sighted students of the Kabala.*
* Such a pseudo-Kabalist was the Marquis de Mirville in France, who, having studied the Zohar and other old remnants of Jewish Wisdom under the “Chevalier” Drach, an ancient Rabbi Kabalist converted to the Romish Church — wrote with his help half a dozen volumes full of slander and calumnies against every prominent Spiritualist and Kabalist. From 1848 up to 1860 he persecuted unrelentingly the old Count d’Ourches, one of the earliest Eastern Occultists in France, a man the scope of whose occult knowledge will never be appreciated correctly by his survivors, because he screened his real beliefs and knowledge under the mask of Spiritism.
May we not then be permitted to drag the deep rivers of the Past, and thus bring to the surface the root idea that led to the transformation of the Wisdom-God, who had first been regarded as the creator of everything that exists, into an Angel of Evil — a ridiculous horned biped, half goat and half monkey, with hoofs and a tail? We need not go out of the way to compare the pagan demons of either Egypt, India, or Chaldea with the devil of Christianity, for no such comparison is possible. But we may stop to glance at the biography of the Christian Devil, a piratical reprint from the Chaldeo-Judaean mythology: —
The primitive origin of this personification rests upon the Akkadian conception of the cosmic powers — the Heavens and the Earth — in eternal feud and struggle with Chaos. Their Silik-Muludag, “the God amongst all the Gods,” the “merciful guardian of men on Earth,” was the Son of Hea (or Ea) the great God of Wisdom, called by the Babylonians Nebu. With both peoples — as in the case of the Hindu gods — their deities were both beneficent and maleficent. As Evil and punishment are the agents of Karma, in an absolutely just retributive sense, so Evil was the servant of the good (Hibbert Lect. 1887, pp. 101-115). The reading of the Chaldeo-Assyrian tiles has now demonstrated it beyond a shadow of doubt. We find the same idea in the Zohar. Satan was a Son, and an Angel of God. With all the Semitic nations, the Spirit of the Earth was as much the Creator in his own realm as the Spirit of the Heavens. They were twin brothers and interchangeable in their functions, when not two in one. Nothing of that which we find in Genesis is absent from the Chaldeo-Assyrian religious beliefs, even in the little that has hitherto been deciphered. The great “Face of the Deep” of Genesis is traced in the Tohu-bohu, “Deep,” “Primeval Space,” or Chaos of the Babylonians. Wisdom (the Great Unseen God) — called in Genesis chap. i. the “Spirit of God” — lived, for the older Babylonians as for the Akkadians, in the Sea of Space. Toward the days described by Berosus, this sea became the visible waters on the face of the Earth — the crystalline abode of the great mother, the mother of Ea and all the gods, which became, still later, the great Dragon Tiamat, the Sea Serpent. Its last stage of development was the great struggle of Bel with the Dragon — the Devil!
Whence the Christian idea that God cursed the Devil? The God of the Jews, whomsoever he was, forbids cursing Satan. Philo Judaeus and Josephus both state that the Law (the Pentateuch and the Talmud) undeviatingly forbid one to curse the adversary, as also the gods of the gentiles. “Thou shalt not revile the gods,” quoth the god of Moses (Exodus xxii. 28), for it is God who “hath divided (them) unto all nations” (Deut. iv. 19); and those who speak evil of
“Dignities” (gods) are called “filthy dreamers” by Jude (8). For even Michael the Archangel durst not bring against him (the devil) a railing accusation, but said: “The Lord rebuke thee” (ibid 9). Finally the same is repeated in the Talmud.* “Satan appeared one day to a man who used to curse him daily, and said to him: ‘Why dost thou this?’ Consider that God himself would not curse me, but merely said: ‘The Lord rebuke thee, Satan.’ ”†
This bit of Talmudic information shows plainly two things: (a) that St. Michael is called “God” in the Talmud, and somebody else “the Lord”; and (b) that Satan is a God, of whom even the “Lord” is in fear. All we read in the Zohar and other Kabalistic works on Satan shows plainly that this “personage” is simply the personification of the abstract evil, which is the weapon of Karmic law and Karma. It is our human nature and man himself, as it is said that “Satan is always near and inextricably interwoven with man.” It is only a question of that Power being latent or active in us.
It is a well-known fact — to learned Symbologists at all events — that in every great religion of antiquity, it is the Logos Demiurge (the second logos), or the first emanation from the mind (Mahat), who is made to strike, so to say, the key-note of that which may be called the correlation of individuality and personality in the subsequent scheme of evolution. The Logos it is, who is shown in the mystic symbolism of cosmogony, theogony, and anthropogony, playing two parts in the drama of Creation and Being, i.e., that of the purely human personality and the divine impersonality of the so-called Avatars, or divine incarnations, and of the universal Spirit, called Christos by the Gnostics, and the Farvarshi (or Ferouer) of Ahura Mazda in the Mazdean philosophy. On the lower rungs of theogony the celestial Beings of lower Hierarchies had each a Farvarshi, or a celestial “Double.” It is the same, only a still more mystic, reassertion of the Kabalistic axiom, “Deus est Demon inversus”; the word “demon,” however, as in the case of Socrates, and in the spirit of the meaning given to it by the whole of antiquity, standing for the guardian Spirit, an “Angel,” not a devil of Satanic descent, as theology will have it. The Roman Catholic Church shows its usual logic and consistency by accepting, as the ferouer of Christ, St. Michael, who was “his Angel Guardian,” as proved by St. Thomas,‡ while he calls the prototypes of Michael and his synonyms, such as Mercury, for example, devils.
* Vide Isis Unveiled, Vol. II., 487, et seq.
† Treat. Kiddusheem, 81. But see the Qabbala by Mr. I. Myer, pp. 92, 94, and the Zohar, quoted in his Volume.
‡ In the work of Marangone “Delle grandezze del Archangelo Sancto Mikaele,” the author exclaims: “O Star, the greatest of those that follow the Sun who is Christ! . . . [[Footnote continued on next page]]
The Church accepts positively the tenet that Christ has his Ferouer as any other god or mortal has. Writes de Mirville: “Here we have the two heroes of the Old Testament, the Verbum (?), or the second Jehovah, and his face (‘Presence,’ as the Protestants translate) forming both but one, and yet being two, a mystery which seemed to us unsolvable before we had studied the doctrine of the Mazdean ferouers, and learnt that the ferouer was the spiritual potency, at once image, face, and the guardian of the Soul which finally assimilates the ferouer.” (Memoires a l’Academie, Vol. v., p. 516.) This is almost correct.
Among other absurdities, the Kabalists maintain that the word metatron being divided into [[meta, thronon]], means near the throne. It means quite the reverse, as meta means “beyond” and not “near.” This is of great importance in our argument. St. Michael, then, the quis ut Deus, is the translator, so to speak, of the invisible world into the visible and the objective.
They maintain, furthermore, along with the Roman Catholic Church, that in the Biblical and Christian theology there does not exist a “higher celestial personality, after the Trinity, than that of the Archangel or the Seraphim, Michael.” According to them, the conqueror of the Dragon is “the archisatrap of the sacred militia, the guardian of the planets, the King of the Stars, the slayer of Satan and the most powerful Rector.” In the mystic astronomy of these gentlemen, he is “the conqueror of Ahriman, who having upset the sidereal throne of the usurper, bathes in his stead in the solar fires”; and, defender of the Christ-Sun, he approaches so near his Master, “that he seems to become one with him . . . . Owing to this fusion with the Word (Verbum) the Protestants, and among them Calvin, ended by losing sight entirely of the duality, and saw no Michael but only his Master,” writes the Abbe Caron. The Roman Catholics, and especially their Kabalists, know better; and it is they who explain to the world this duality, which affords to them the means of glorifying the chosen ones of the Church, and of rejecting and anathematizing all those Gods who may be in the way of their dogmas.
Thus the same titles and the same names are given in turn to God and the Archangel. Both are called Metatron, “both have the name of Jehovah applied to them when they speak one in the other” (sic) as, according to the Zohar, the term signifies equally “the Master and the Ambassador.” Both are the Angel of the Face, because, as we are informed, if, on the one hand, the “Word” is called “the face (or the Presence) and the image of the substance of God,” on the other, “when
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] O living image of Divinity! O great thaumaturgist of the old Testament! O invisible Vicar of Christ within his Church! . . .” etc., etc. The work is in great honour in the Latin Church.
speaking of the Saviour to the Israelites, Isaiah (?) tells them” that “the angel of his presence saved them in their affliction” — “so he was their Saviour.”* Elsewhere he (Michael) is called very plainly “the Prince of the Faces of the Lord, the glory of the Lord.” Both (Jehovah and Michael) are “the guides of Israel† . . . chiefs of the armies of the Lord, Supreme Judges of the souls and even Seraphs.”‡
The whole of the above is given on the authority of various works by Roman Catholics, and must, therefore, be orthodox. Some expressions are translated to show what subtle theologians and casuists mean by the term Ferouer,§ a word borrowed by some French writers from the Zend Avesta, as said, and utilized in Roman Catholicism for a purpose Zoroaster was very far from anticipating. In Fargard XIX. of the Vendidad it is said (verse 14), “Invoke, O Zarathustra! my Farvarshi, who am Ahura Mazda, the greatest, the best, the fairest of all beings, the most solid, the most intelligent, . . . . and whose soul is the Holy Word” (Mathra Spenta). The French Orientalists translate Farvarshi by “Ferouer.”
Now what is a Ferouer, or Farvarshi? In some Mazdean works (e.g., Ormazd Ahriman, §§ 112, 113), it is plainly implied that Farvarshi is the inner, immortal man (or that Ego which reincarnates); that it existed before its physical body and survives all such it happens to be clothed in. “Not only man was endowed with the Farvarshi, but gods too, and the sky, fire, waters, and plants.” (Introduction to the Vendidad, by J. Darmesteter). This shows as plainly as can be shown that the ferouer is the “spiritual counterpart” of whether god, animal, plant, or even element, i.e., the refined and the purer part of the grosser creation, the soul of the body, whatever the body may happen to be. Therefore does Ahura Mazda recommend Zarathustra to invoke his Farvarshi and not himself (Ahura-Mazda); that is to say, the impersonal and true Essence of Deity, one with Zoroaster’s own Atman (or Christos), not the false and personal appearance. This is quite clear.
Now it is on this divine and ethereal prototype that the Roman Catholics seized so as to build up the supposed difference between their god and angels, and the deity and its aspects, or the gods of the old religions. Thus, while calling Mercury, Venus, Jupiter (whether as gods or planets) Devils, they yet make of the same Mercury the ferouer of their Christ. This fact is undeniable. Vossius (De Idol., II., 373)
* Isaiah, lxiii. 8-9.
† Metator and [[hegemon]].
‡ “La Face et le Representant du Verbe,” p. 18, de Mirville.
§ That which is called in the Vendidad “Farvarshi,” the immortal part of an individual, that which outlives man — the Higher Ego, say the Occultists, or the divine Double.
proves that Michael is the Mercury of the pagans, and Maury and other French writers corroborate him, and add that “according to great theologians Mercury and the Sun are one,” (?) and no wonder, they think, since “Mercury being so near the Wisdom of the Verbum (the Sun), must be absorbed by and confounded with him.”
This “pagan” view was accepted from the first century of our era, as shown in the original Acts of the Apostles (the English translation being worthless). So much is Michael the Mercury of the Greeks and other nations, that when the inhabitants of Lystra mistook Paul and Barnabas for Mercury and Jupiter — “the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men,” — verse 12 (xiv.) adds: “And they called Barnabas Zeus, and Paul, Hermes (or Mercury), because he was the leader of the word (Verbum),” and not “the chief speaker,” as erroneously translated in the authorised, and repeated even in the revised, English Bible. Michael is the angel in the Vision, the Son of God, “who was like unto a Son of Man.” It is the Hermes-Christos of the Gnostics, the Anubis-Syrius of the Egyptians, the Counsellor of Osiris in Amenti, the Michael leontoid [[ophiomorphos]] of the Ophites, who wears on certain Gnostic jewels a lion head, like his father Ildabaoth. (See King’s Gnostics.)
Now to all this the Roman Catholic Church consents tacitly, many of her writers avowing it publicly. And, unable to deny the flagrant “borrowing” of their Church, who “spoilt” the symbols of her seniors, as the Jews had “spoilt” the Egyptians of their jewels of silver and gold, they explain the fact quite coolly and as seriously. Thus the writers who were hitherto timid enough to see, in this repetition by Christian dogmas of old Pagan ideas, “a legendary plagiarism perpetrated by man,” are gravely assured that, far from such a simple solution of the almost perfect resemblance, it has to be attributed to quite another cause: “to a prehistorical plagiarism, of a superhuman origin.”
If the reader would know how, he must kindly turn to the same fifth volume of de Mirville’s work. Please note that this author was the official and recognised defender of the Roman Church, and was helped by the learning of all the Jesuits. On page 518 we read: —
“We have pointed out several demi-gods, and also very historical heroes of the pagans, who were predestined from the moment of their birth, to ape while dishonouring it, the nativity of the hero, who was quite God, before whom the whole earth had to bow; we traced them being born as he was, from an immaculate mother; we saw them strangling serpents in their cradles, fighting against demons, performing miracles, dying as martyrs, descending to the nether world and rising again from the dead. And we have bitterly deplored that timid and shy Christians should feel compelled to explain all such identities on the ground of
coincidence of myth and symbol. They forgot apparently these words of the Saviour: ‘All that came before me are thieves and robbers,’ a word which explains all without any absurd negation and which I commented in these words ‘The Evangel is a sublime drama, parodied and played before its appointed time by ruffians.’ ”
The “ruffians” (les droles), are of course demons whose manager is Satan. Now this is the easiest and the most sublime and simple way of getting out of the difficulty! The Rev. Dr. Lundy, a Protestant de Mirville, followed the happy suggestion in his “Monumental Christianity,” and so did Dr. Sepp of Munich in his works written to prove the divinity of Jesus and the Satanic origin of all other Saviours. So much greater the pity that a systematic and collective plagiarism, which went on for several centuries on the most gigantic scale, should be explained by another plagiarism, this time in the fourth Gospel. For the sentence quoted from it, “All that ever came before me, etc.,” is a verbatim repetition of words written in the “Book of Enoch” lxxxix. In the Introduction to Archbishop Lawrence’s translation of it from an Ethiopic MS. in the Bodleian Library, the editor, author of the “Evolution of Christianity,” remarks: —
“In revising the proof-sheets of the Book of Enoch . . . . . the parable of the sheep, rescued by the good Shepherd from hireling guardians and ferocious wolves, is obviously borrowed by the fourth Evangelist from Enoch, lxxxix., in which the author depicts the shepherds as killing . . . the sheep before the advent of their Lord, and thus discloses the true meaning of that hitherto mysterious passage in the Johannine parable — ‘All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers’ — language in which we now detect an obvious reference to the allegorical shepherds of Enoch.”
It is too late in the day to claim that it is Enoch who borrowed from the New Testament, instead of vice versa. Jude (14-15) quotes verbatim from Enoch a long passage about the coming of the Lord with his 10,000 saints, and naming specifically the prophet, acknowledges the source. This “parallelism between prophet and apostle, have placed beyond controversy that, in the eyes of the author of an Epistle accepted as divine revelation, the Book of Enoch was the inspired production of an antediluvian patriarch . . . ” and further “ . . . the cumulative coincidence of language and ideas in Enoch and the authors of N.T. Scripture, . . . clearly indicates that the work of the Semitic Milton was the inexhaustible source from which Evangelists and Apostles, or the men who wrote in their names, borrowed their conceptions of the resurrection, judgment, immortality, perdition, and of the universal reign of righteousness under the eternal dominion of the Son of Man. This Evangelical plagiarism culminates in the Revelation of John, which adapts the visions
of Enoch to Christianity, with modifications in which we miss the sublime simplicity of the great Master of apocalyptic prediction, who prophesied in the name of the antediluvian Patriarch.” (Int. xxxv.)
“Antediluvian,” truly; but if the phraseology of the text dates hardly a few centuries or even millenniums before the historical era, then it is no more the original prediction of the events to come, but, in its turn, a copy of some scripture of a prehistoric religion. . . . .” “In the Krita age, Vishnu, in the form of Kapila and other (inspired sages) . . . imparts to the world true wisdom as Enoch did. In the Treta age he restrains the wicked, in the form of a universal monarch (the Chakravartin or the ‘Everlasting King’ of Enoch*) and protects the three worlds (or races). In the Dwapara age, in the person of Veda-Vyasa, he divides the one Veda into four, and distributes it into hundreds (Sata) of branches.” Truly so; the Veda of the earliest Aryans, before it was written, went forth into every nation of the Atlanto-Lemurians, and sowed the first seeds of all the now existing old religions. The off-shoots of the never dying tree of wisdom have scattered their dead leaves even on Judaeo-Christianity. And at the end of the Kali, our present age, Vishnu, or the “Everlasting King” will appear as Kalki, and re-establish righteousness upon earth. The minds of those who live at that time shall be awakened, and become as pellucid as crystal. “The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time (the sixth race) shall be as the seeds of other human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age of purity”; i.e., it shall be the seventh race, the race of “Buddhas,” the “Sons of God,” born of immaculate parents.
The Gods of Light proceed from the Gods of Darkness.
Thus it is pretty well established that Christ, the Logos, or the God in Space and the Saviour on Earth, is but one of the echoes of the same antediluvian and sorely misunderstood Wisdom. The history begins by the descent on Earth of the “Gods” who incarnate in mankind, and this is the Fall. Whether Brahma hurled down on Earth in the allegory by Bhagavant, or Jupiter by Kronos, all are the symbols of the human races. Once landed on, and having touched this planet of dense matter, no snow-white wings of the highest angel can remain immaculate, or the Avatar (or incarnation) be perfect, as every such Avatar is
* Saith Uriel (chap. xxvi. v. 3), in the “Book of Enoch,” “all those who have received mercy shall for ever bless God the everlasting King,” who will reign over them.
the fall of a God into generation. Nowhere is the metaphysical truth more clear, when explained esoterically, or more hidden from the average comprehension of those who instead of appreciating the sublimity of the idea can only degrade, than in the Upanishads, the esoteric glossaries of the Vedas. The Rig-Veda, as Guignault characterized it, “is the most sublime conception of the great highways of Humanity.” The Vedas are, and will remain for ever, in the esotericism of the Vedanta and the Upanishads, “the mirror of the eternal Wisdom.”
For over sixteen centuries the new masks, forced on the faces of the old gods, have screened them from public curiosity, but they have finally proved a misfit. Yet the metaphorical Fall, and as metaphorical atonement and crucifixion, led Western Humanity through roads knee-deep in blood. Worse than all, they led it to believe in the dogma of the evil spirit distinct from the spirit of all good, whereas the former lives in all matter and pre-eminently in man. Finally it created the God-slandering dogma of Hell and eternal perdition; it spread a thick film between the higher intuitions of man and divine verities; and, most pernicious result of all, it made people remain ignorant of the fact that there were no fiends, no dark demons in the Universe before man’s own appearance on this, and probably on other earths. Henceforth the people were led to accept, as the problematical consolation for this world’s sorrows, the thought of original sin.
The philosophy of that law in Nature, which implants in man as well as in every beast a passionate, inherent, and instinctive desire for freedom and self-guidance, pertains to psychology and cannot be touched on now. To show the feeling in higher Intelligences, to analyse and give a natural reason for it, would necessitate, moreover, an endless philosophical explanation for which there is no room here. Perhaps, the best synthesis of this feeling is found in three lines of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Says the “Fallen One”: —
“Here we may reign secure; and in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell!
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven . . . .”
Better be man, the crown of terrestrial production and king over its opus operatum, than be lost among the will-less spiritual Hosts in Heaven.
We have said elsewhere that the dogma of the first Fall rested on a few verses in Revelation; these verses being now shown a plagiarism from Enoch by some scholars. These grew into endless theories and speculations, which gradually acquired the importance of dogma and inspired tradition. Every one wanted to explain the verse about the seven-headed dragon with his ten horns and seven crowns, whose tail
“drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth,” and whose place, with that of his angels, “was found no more in heaven.” What the seven heads of the Dragon (cycle) mean, and its five wicked kings also, may be learned in the Addenda which close Part III. of this Volume.
From Newton to Bossuet speculations were incessantly evolved in Christian brains with regard to these obscure verses. . . . . “The star that falls, is the heresiarch Theodosius” . . . . explains Bossuet. “The clouds of smoke, are the heresies of the Montanists. . . . . The third part of the stars, are the martyrs, and especially the doctors of divinity. . . . .”
Bossuet ought to have known, however, that the events described in Revelation were not original, and may, as shown, be found in other and pagan traditions. There were no scholastics nor Montanists during Vedic times, nor yet far later in China. But Christian theology had to be protected and saved.
This was only natural. But why should truth be sacrificed in order to protect from destruction the lucubrations of Christian theologians?
The princeps aeris hujus, the “prince of the air” of St. Paul, is not the devil, but the effects of the astral light, as Eliphas Levi correctly explains. The Devil is not “the God of this period,” as he says, for it is the deity of every age and period, since man appeared on earth, and matter, in its countless forms and states, had to fight for its evanescent existence against other disintegrating Forces.
The “Dragon” is simply the symbol of the cycle and of the “Sons of Manvantaric Eternity,” who had descended on earth during a certain epoch of its formative period. The “clouds of smoke” are a geological phenomenon. The “third part of the stars of heaven” cast down to the earth — refers to the divine Monads, (the Spirits of the Stars in Astrology) that circumambulate our globe; i.e., the human Egos destined to perform the whole cycle of incarnations. This sentence, qui circumambulat terram, however, is again referred to the Devil in theology, the mythical father of Evil being said to “fall like lightning.” Unfortunately for this interpretation, the “Son of Man,” or Christ, is expected, on the personal testimony of Jesus, to descend on earth likewise, “As the lightning cometh out of the East,”* just in the same shape and under the same symbol as Satan, who is seen “as lightning to fall from heaven.”† All these metaphors and figures of speech, pre-eminently Oriental in their character, must have their origin searched for in the East. In all the ancient cosmogonies light comes from darkness. In Egypt, as elsewhere, darkness was “the
* Matthew xxiv. 27.
† Luke x. 18.
principle of all things.” Hence Pymander, the “Thought divine,” issues as light from darkness. Behemoth* is the principle of Darkness, or Satan, in Roman Catholic Theology, and yet Job says of him that “Behemoth is the chief (principle) of the ways of God” (xl. 19) — “Principium viarum Domini Behemoth!”
Consistency does not seem to be a favourite virtue in any portion of divine Revelation, so-called — not as interpreted by theologians, at any rate.
The Egyptians and the Chaldeans referred the birth of their divine Dynasties to that period when creative Earth was in her last final throes, in giving birth to her prehistoric mountain ranges, which have since disappeared, her seas and her continents. Her face was covered with “deep Darkness and in that (Secondary) Chaos was the principle of all things” that developed on the globe later on. And our geologists have ascertained that there was such a terrestrial conflagration in the early geological periods, several hundred millions of years ago.† As to the tradition itself, every country and nation had it, each under its respective national form.
It is not alone Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia or Mexico, that had their Typhon, Python, Loki and its “falling” Demon, but China, also. The Celestials have a whole literature upon the subject. In King, it is said that in consequence of a rebellion against Ti of a proud Spirit who said he was Ti himself, seven choirs of celestial spirits were exiled upon earth, which “brought a change in all nature, heaven itself bending down and uniting with earth.”
And in the “Y-King,” one reads: “The flying Dragon, superb and rebellious, suffers now, and his pride is punished; he thought he would reign in heaven, he reigns only on the earth.”
Again, the Tchoon-Tsieoo says allegorically: “one night the stars ceased shining in darkness, and deserted it, falling down like rain upon the earth, where they are now hidden.” These stars are the Monads.
Chinese cosmogonies have their “Lord of the Flame” and their “Celestial Virgin,” with little “Spirits to help and minister to her; and big Spirits to fight those who are the enemies of other gods.” But all this does not prove that the said allegories are presentments or prophetic writings which all refer to Christian theology.
The best proof one can offer to Christian Theologians that the
* The Protestant Bible defines Behemoth innocently — “The elephant as some think” (See marginal note in Job xl. 19) in the authorised versions.
† Astronomy, however, knows nothing of stars that have disappeared unless from visibility, never from existence, since the Science of Astronomy became known. Temporary stars are only variable stars, and it is believed even that the new stars of Kepler and Tycho Brahe may still be seen.
esoteric meaning in the Bible — in both Testaments — was the assertion of the same idea as in our Archaic teachings — to wit, that the “Fall of the Angels” referred simply to the incarnation of angels “who had broken through the Seven Circles” — is found in the Zohar. Now the Kabala of Simeon Ben Iochai is the soul and essence of its allegory, as the later Christian Kabala is the “dark cloaked” Mosaic Pentateuch. And it says (in the Agrippa MSS.):
“The wisdom of the Kabala rests in the science of the equilibrium and Harmony.”
“Forces that manifest without having been first equilibrized perish in space” (“equilibrized” meaning differentiated).
“Thus perished the first Kings (the Divine Dynasties) of the ancient world, the self-produced Princes of giants. They fell like rootless trees, and were seen no more: for they were the Shadow of the Shadow”; to wit, the chhaya of the Shadowy Pitris. (Vide about the “Kings of Edom.”)
“But those that came after them, who shooting down like falling stars were enshrined in the shadows — prevailed and to this day”: Dhyanis, who by incarnating in those “empty shadows,” inaugurated the era of mankind.
Every sentence in the ancient cosmogonies, unfolds to him who can read between the lines the identity of the ideas, though under different garbs.
The first lesson taught in Esoteric philosophy is, that the incognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite Minds. Now the collective Mind — the Universal — composed of various and numberless Hosts of Creative Powers, however infinite in manifested Time, is still finite when contrasted with the unborn and undecaying Space in its supreme essential aspect. That which is finite cannot be perfect. Therefore there are inferior Beings among those Hosts, but there never were any devils or “disobedient Angels,” for the simple reason that they are all governed by Law. The Asuras who incarnated (call them by any other name), followed in this a law as implacable as any other. They had manifested prior to the Pitris, and as time (in Space) proceeds in Cycles, their turn had come — hence the numerous allegories (Vide “Demon est Deus inversus,” Part II., Vol. I.). The name of Asura was first given by the Brahmans indiscriminately to those who opposed their mummeries and sacrifices, as the great Asura called “Asurendra” did. It is to those ages, probably, that the origin of the idea of the demon, as opposer and adversary, has to be traced.
The Hebrew Elohim, called in the translations “God,” and who create “light,” are identical with the Aryan Asuras. They are also
referred to as the “Sons of Darkness” as a philosophical and logical contrast to light immutable and eternal. The earliest Zoroastrians did not believe in Evil or Darkness being co-eternal with Good or Light, and they give the same interpretation. Ahriman is the manifested shadow of Ahura-mazda (Asura-mazda), himself issued from Zeruana Akerne “boundless (circle of) Time” or the Unknown Cause. “Its glory,” they say of the latter, “is too exalted, its light too resplendent for either human intellect or mortal eye to grasp and see.” Its primal emanation is eternal light, which, from having been previously concealed in Darkness was called to manifest itself and thus was formed Ormazd, the “King of Life.” He is the “first-born” in boundless time, but, like his own antitype (pre-existing Spiritual idea), has lived within darkness from all eternity. The six Amshaspends (seven with himself, chief of all), the primitive Spiritual Angels and Men are collectively his Logos. The Zoroastrian Amshaspends create the world in six days or periods also, and rest on the Seventh; whereas that Seventh is the first period or “day,” in esoteric philosophy, (Primary creation in the Aryan cosmogony). It is that intermediate AEon which is the Prologue to creation, and which stands on the borderland between the uncreated eternal Causation and the produced finite effects; a state of nascent activity and energy as the first aspect of the eternal immutable Quiescence. In Genesis, on which no metaphysical energy has been spent, but only an extraordinary acuteness and ingenuity to veil the esoteric Truth, “Creation” begins at the third stage of manifestation. “God” or the Elohim are the “Seven Regents” of Pymander. They are identical with all the other Creators.
But even in Genesis that period is hinted at by the abruptness of the picture, and the “darkness” that was on the face of the deep. The Alahim are shown to “create” — that is to say, to build or to produce the two or “double heaven” (not Heaven and Earth); which means, in so many words, that they separated the upper manifested (angelic) heaven, or plane of consciousness, from the lower or terrestrial plane; the (to us) eternal and immutable AEons from those periods that are in space, time and duration; Heaven from Earth, the unknown from the known — to the profane. Such is the meaning of the sentence in Pymander, which says that: “Thought, the divine, which is Light and Life (Zeruana Akerne) produced through its Word, or first aspect,” the other, operating Thought, which being the god of Spirit and Fire, constructed seven Regents enclosing within their circle the world of Senses, named “fatal destiny.” The latter refers to Karma; the “seven circles” are the seven planets and planes, as also the seven invisible Spirits, in the angelic spheres, whose visible symbols are the seven planets,* the
* Another proof, if any were needed, that the ancient Initiates knew of more than seven planets is to be found in the Vishnu Purana, Book II., ch. xii., where, describing [[Footnote continued on next page]]
seven Rishis of the great Bear and other glyphs. As said of the Adityas by Roth: “they are neither sun, nor moon, nor stars, nor dawn, but the eternal sustainers of this luminous life which exists as it were behind all these phenomena.”
It is they — the “Seven Hosts” — who, having “considered in their Father (divine Thought) the plan of the operator,” as says Pymander, desired to operate (or build the world with its creatures) likewise; for, having been born “within the sphere of operation” — the manifesting Universe — such is the Manvantaric Law. And now comes the second portion of the passage, or rather of two passages merged into one to conceal the full meaning. Those who were born within the sphere of operation were “the brothers who loved him well.” The latter — the “him” — were the primordial angels: the Asuras, the Ahriman, the Elohim — or “Sons of God,” of whom Satan was one — all those spiritual beings who were called the “Angels of Darkness,” because that darkness is absolute light, a fact now neglected if not entirely forgotten in theology. Nevertheless, the spirituality of those much abused “Sons of Light” which is Darkness, must be evidently as great in comparison with that of the Angels next in order, as the ethereality of the latter would be, when contrasted with the density of the human body. The former are the “First-born”; therefore so near to the confines of pure quiescent Spirit as to be merely the “privations” — in the Aristotelian sense — the ferouers or the ideal types of those who followed. They could not create material, corporeal things; and, therefore, were said in process of time to have refused to create, as commanded by “God” — otherwise, to have rebelled.
Perchance, this is justified on that principle of the Scientific theory which teaches us about light and sound and the effect of two waves of equal length meeting. “If the two sounds be of the same intensity, their coincidence produces a sound four times the intensity of either, while their interference produces absolute silence.”
Explaining some of the “heresies” of his day, Justin Martyr shows the identity of all the world religions at their starting points. The first beginning opens invariably with the unknown and passive deity, from which emanates a certain active power or virtue, the Mystery that is sometimes called Wisdom, sometimes the Son, very often God, Angel, Lord, and Logos.* The latter is sometimes applied to the very first emanation, but in several systems it proceeds from the first androgyne or double ray produced at the beginning by the unseen. Philo depicts this wisdom as male and female. But though its first manifestation
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] the chariots attached to Dhruva (the pole star), Parasara speaks of “the chariots of the nine planets,” which are attached by aerial cords.
* Justin: “Cum. Trypho,” p. 284.
had a beginning, for it proceeded from Oulom* (Aion, time), the highest of the AEons when emitted from the Father, it had remained with him before all creations, for it is part of him.† Therefore, Philo Judaeus calls Adam Kadmon “mind” (the Ennoia of Bythos in the Gnostic system). “The mind, let it be named Adam.”‡
As the old Magian books explain it, the whole event becomes clear. A thing can only exist through its opposite — Hegel teaches us, and only a little philosophy and spirituality are needed to comprehend the origin of the later dogma, which is so truly satanic and infernal in its cold and cruel wickedness. The Magians accounted for the origin of evil in their exoteric teachings in this way. “Light can produce nothing but light, and can never be the origin of evil”; how then was the evil produced, since there was nothing co-equal or like the Light in its production? Light, say they, produced several Beings, all of them spiritual, luminous, and powerful. But a Great one (the “Great Asura,” Ahriman, Lucifer, etc., etc.) had an evil thought, contrary to the Light. He doubted, and by that doubt he became dark.
This is a little nearer to the truth, but still wide of the mark. There was no “evil thought” that originated the opposing Power, but simply thought per se; something which, being cogitative, and containing design and purpose, is therefore finite, and must thus find itself naturally in opposition to pure quiescence, the as natural state of absolute Spirituality and Perfection. It was simply the law of Evolution that asserted itself; the progress of mental unfolding, differentiated from spirit, involved and entangled already with matter, into which it is irresistibly drawn. Ideas, in their very nature and essence, as conceptions bearing relation to objects, whether true or imaginary, are opposed to absolute thought, that unknowable all of whose mysterious operations Mr. Spencer predicates that nothing can be said, but that “it has no kinship of nature with Evolution” (Principles of Psychology,§ 474) — which it certainly has not.
The Zohar gives it very suggestively. When the “Holy One” (the Logos) desired to create man, he called the highest host of Angels and said to them what he wanted, but they doubted the wisdom of this desire and answered: “Man will not continue one night in his glory” — for
* A division indicative of time.
† Sanchoniathon calls time the oldest AEon, Protogonos, the “first-born.”
‡ Philo Judaeus: “Cain and his Birth,” p. xvii.
§ It is suggestive of that spirit of paradoxical negation so conspicuous in our day, that while the evolution hypothesis has won its rights of citizenship in science as taught by Darwin and Haeckel, yet both the eternity of the Universe and the pre-existence of a universal consciousness, are rejected by the modern psychologists. “Should the Idealist be right, the doctrine of evolution is a dream,” says Mr. Herbert Spencer. (See foot note, pp. 1 and 2, Book II.)
which they were burnt (annihilated?), by the “Holy” Lord. Then he called another, lower Host, and said the same. And they contradicted the “Holy One”: “What is the good of Man?” they argued. Still Elohim created man, and when man sinned there came the hosts of Uzza and Azael, and twitted God: “Here is the Son of Man that thou hast made,” they said. “Behold, he sinned!” Then the Holy One replied: “If you had been among them (men) you would have been worse than they.” And he threw them from their exalted position in Heaven even down on the Earth; and “they were changed (into men) and sinned after the women of the earth”; (Zohar, 9, b.). This is quite plain. No mention is made in Genesis of these “Sons of God” (chap. vi.) having been punished for it. The only reference to it in the Bible is in Jude (6). “And the angels which kept not their first estate but left their habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” And this means simply that the “Angels,” doomed to incarnation, are in the chains of flesh and matter, under the darkness of ignorance, till the “Great Day,” which will come as always after the seventh round, after the expiration of the “Week,” on the Seventh Sabbath, or in the post-Manvantaric Nirvana.
How truly esoteric and consonant with the Secret Doctrine is “Pymander the Thought Divine” of Hermes, may be inferred from its original and primitive translations in Latin and Greek only. On the other hand how disfigured it has been later on by Christians in Europe, is seen from the remarks and unconscious confessions made by de St. Marc, in his Preface and letter to the Bishop of Ayre, in 1578. Therein, the whole cycle of transformations from a Pantheistic and Egyptian into a mystic Roman Catholic treatise is given, and we see how Pymander has become what it is now. Still, even in St. Marc’s translation, traces are found of the real Pymander — the “Universal Thought” or “Mind.” This is the verbatim translation from the old French translation, the original being given in the foot-note* in its quaint old French: —
“Seven men (principles) were generated in Man.” “The nature of the harmony of the Seven of the Father and of the Spirit. Nature . . . .
* “Section 16 (chap. i.), Mercure Trismegiste — Pimandre . . . . ” “Oh, ma pensee, que s’ensuit il? car je desire grandement ce propos. Pimandre dict, ceci est un mystere cele, jusques a ce jour d’hui. Car nature, soit mestant avec l’home, a produit le miracle tres merveilleux, aiant celluy qui ie t’ay dict, la nature de l’harmonie des sept du pere, et de l’esprit. Nature ne s’arresta pas la, mais incontinent a produict sept homes, selon les natures des sept gouverneurs en puissance des deux sexes et esleuez. . . . La generation de ces sept s’est donnee en ceste maniere . . . .”
And a gap is made in the translation, which can be filled partially by resorting to the Latin text of Apuleius. The commentator, the Bishop, says: “Nature produced in him (man) seven men” (seven principles).
produced seven men in accordance with the seven natures of the Seven Spirits” “having in them, potentially, the two sexes.”
Metaphysically, the Father and the Son are the “Universal Mind” and the “periodical Universe”; the “Angel” and the “Man.” It is the Son and the Father at one and the same time; in Pymander, the active idea and the passive thought that generates it; the radical key-note in Nature which gives birth to the seven notes — the septenary scale of the creative Forces, and to the seven prismatic aspects of colour, all born from the one white ray, or Light — itself generated in darkness.
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