Theosophical University Press Online Edition
When the Abbe Louis Constant — known as Eliphas Levi — said in his Histoire de la Magie that the “Sepher Jezirah, the Zohar, and the Apocalypse (of St. John) are the master-pieces of the Occult Sciences,” he ought, if he wanted to be correct and clear, to have added, “in Europe.” It is quite true that these works contain “more significance than words”; and that “its expression is poetical, while in numbers it is exact.” Unfortunately, before any one can appreciate the poetry of the expressions, or the exactness of the numbers, he will have to learn the real significance and meaning of the terms and symbols used. And man will never learn this so long as he remains ignorant of the fundamental principle of the Secret Doctrine, whether in Oriental Esotericism, or in the Kabalistical symbology: — the key, or value, in all their aspects, of the “God”-names, “Angel”-names, and “Patriarchal” names in the Bible — their mathematical or geometrical value, and their relations to manifested nature.
Therefore, if, on the one hand, the Zohar “astonishes (the mystic) by the profundity of its views and the great simplicity of its images,” on the other hand, that work misleads the student by such expressions as those used with respect to Ain-Soph and Jehovah, notwithstanding the assurance that “the book is careful to explain that the human form with which it clothes God is but an image of the word, and that God should not be expressed by any thought, or any form.” It is well known that Origen, Clemens, and the Rabbis confessed, with regard to the Kabala and the Bible, to their being veiled and secret Books; but few know that the esotericism of the Kabalistic books in their present re-edited form is simply another and still more cunning veil thrown upon the primitive symbolism of these secret volumes.
The idea of representing the hidden deity by the circumference of a Circle, and the Creative Power (male and female, or the Androgynous Word), by the diameter across it, is one of the oldest symbols. It is upon this conception that every great Cosmogony was built. With the old Aryans, the Egyptians, and the Chaldeans, it was complete, as it embraced the idea of the eternal and immovable Divine Thought in its absoluteness, separated entirely from the incipient stage of (the so-called)
creation; and comprised psychological and even Spiritual evolution, and its mechanical work, or cosmogonical construction. With the Hebrews, however, though the former conception is to be distinctly found in the Zohar, and the Sepher Jezirah — or what remains of the latter — that which has been embodied subsequently in the Pentateuch proper, and especially in Genesis, is simply this secondary stage, to wit, the mechanical law of creation, or rather of construction; while theogony is hardly, if at all, outlined.
It is only in the first six chapters of Genesis, in the rejected Book of Enoch, and the misunderstood and mistranslated poem of Job, that true echoes of the archaic doctrine may now be found. The key to it is lost, even among the most learned Rabbis, whose predecessors in the early period of the middle ages have preferred, in their national exclusiveness and pride, and especially in their profound hatred of Christianity, to cast it into the deep sea of oblivion, rather than to share their knowledge with their relentless and fierce persecutors. Jehovah was their own tribal property, inseparable from, and unfit to play a part in, any other but the Mosaic Law. Violently torn out of his original frame, which he fitted and which fitted him, the “lord god of Abraham and Jacob” could hardly be crammed without damage and breakage into the new Christian Canon. Being the weakest, the Judeans could not help the desecration; but they kept the secret of the origin of their Adam Kadmon, or male-female Jehovah; and the new tabernacle proved a complete misfit for the old god: they were, indeed, avenged!
The statement that Jehovah was the tribal god of the Jews and no higher, will be denied like many other things. Yet the theologians are not in a position to tell us, in that case, the meaning of verses 8 and 9 in Deuteronomy, chapter xxxii. These verses say quite plainly: “When the Most High (not the “Lord,” or “Jehovah” either) divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the Sons of Adam he set the bounds . . . according to the number of the children of Israel. . . . The Lord’s (Jehovah’s) portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” This settles the question. So impudent were the modern translators of Bibles and Scriptures and so damaging are these verses, that, following in the steps traced for them by their worthy Church Fathers, each translator rendered these verses in his own way. While the above-cited quotation is taken verbatim from the authorized English version, in the French Bible (of the Protestant Biblical Society of Paris, according to the version revised in 1824 by J. E. Ostervald) one finds the “Most High” translated by Souverain (a Sovereign!!), the “sons of Adam” rendered by “the children of men,” and the “Lord” changed into the “Eternal.” For impudent sleight-of-hand, the French Protestant Church seems thus to have surpassed even English ecclesiasticism.
Nevertheless, one thing is patent: the “Lord’s (“Jehovah’s”) portion” is his “chosen people” and none else, for, Jacob alone is the lot of his inheritance. What, then, have other nations, who call themselves Aryans, to do with this Semitic deity, the tribal god of Israel? Astronomically, the “Most High” is the Sun, and the “Lord” is one of his seven planets, whether it be Iao, the genius of the moon, or Ilda-Baoth-Jehovah, that of Saturn, according to Origen and the Egyptian Gnostics.* Let the “Angel Gabriel,” the “Lord” of Iran, watch over his people; and Michael-Jehovah, over his Hebrews. These are not the gods of other nations, nor were they ever those of Jesus. As each Persian Dev is chained to his planet (see Origen’s Copy of the Chart), so each Hindu Deva (a “Lord”) has its allotted portion, a world, a planet, a nation or a race. Plurality of worlds implies plurality of gods. We believe in the former, and may recognize, but will never worship, the latter. (Vide Part III., “On Chains of Worlds and their Plurality.”)
It has been repeatedly stated in this work that every religious and philosophical symbol had seven meanings attached to it, each pertaining to its legitimate plane of thought, i.e., either purely metaphysical or astronomical; psychic or physiological, etc., etc. These seven meanings and their applications are hard enough to learn when taken by themselves; but the interpretation and the right comprehension of them become tenfold more puzzling, when, instead of being correlated, or made to flow consecutively out of and to follow each other, each, or any one of these meanings is accepted as the one and sole explanation of the whole symbolical idea. An instance may be given, as it admirably illustrates the statement. Here are two interpretations given by two learned Kabalists and scholars, of one and the same verse in Exodus, xxxiii, 18-23. Moses beseeches the Lord to show him his “glory.” Evidently it is not the crude dead letter phraseology as found in the Bible that is to be accepted. There are seven meanings in the Kabala, of which we may give two as interpreted by the said two scholars. One of them quotes, while explaining: “Thou canst not see my face . . . I will put thee in the cleft of the rock . . . cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And then I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my a’hoor, my back; . .” and tells us in a gloss, “That is, I will show you ‘My back,’ i.e., my visible universe, my lower manifestations, but, as a man still in the flesh, thou canst not
* With the Egyptian Gnostics it was Thoth (Hermes), who was chief of the Seven (Vide “Book of the Dead”). Their names are given by Origen, as Adonai (of the Sun) Iao (of the Moon), Eloi (Jupiter), Sabao (Mars), Orai (Venus), Astaphoi (Mercury), and, finally, Ildabaoth (Saturn).
see my invisible nature. So proceeds the Qabbalah.”* This is correct, and is the cosmo-metaphysical explanation. And now speaks the other Kabalist, giving the numerical meaning. As it involves a good many suggestive ideas, and is far more fully given, we may allow it more space. This synopsis is from an unpublished MSS., and explains more fully what was given in § XVII., “The Holy of Holies,” page 467.
The numbers of the name Moses are those of “I am that I am,” so that the names Moses and Jehovah are at one in numerical harmony.
The word Moses is and the sum of the values of its letters is 345; Jehovah — the genius par excellence of the lunar year — assumes the value of 543, or the reverse of 345. . . . In the third chapter of Exodus, in the 13th and 14th verses, it is said: And Moses said . . . Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? and God said unto Moses — “I am that I am.”
The Hebrew words for this expression are ahiye asher ahiye, and in the value of the sums of their letters stand thus: —
. . . This being his (God’s) name, the sum of the values composing it are 21, 501, 21 are 543, or simply a use of the simple digit numbers in the name of Moses . . . but now so ordered that the name of 345 is reversed, and reads 543. . . . So that when Moses asks “Let me see Thy face or glory,” the other rightly and truly replies “Thou canst not see my face” . . . but thou shalt see me behind — (the true sense, though not the precise words); because the corner and the behind of 543 is the face of 345 — “for check and to keep a strict use of a set of numbers to develop certain grand results, for the object of which they are specifically employed.” “In other uses,” adds the learned Kabalist, “of the number they saw each other face to face. It is strange that if we add 345 to 543 we have 888, which was the gnostic Kabalistic value of the name Christ, who was Jehoshua or Joshua. And so also the division of the 24 hours of the day gives three eights as quotient. . . . The chief end of all this system of number checks was to preserve in perpetuity the exact value of the Lunar year in the natural measure of days.”
This is the astronomical and numerical meaning in the secret theogony of sidereo-cosmical gods invented by the Chaldeo-Hebrews,
* The Qabbalah, by Isaac Myer.
and two meanings out of seven. The other five would astonish the Christians still more.
The series of OEdipuses who have endeavoured to interpret the riddle of the Sphinx, is long indeed. For many ages she has been devouring the brightest and the noblest intellects of Christendom; but now the Sphinx is conquered. In the great intellectual struggle which has ended in the complete victory of the OEdipuses of Symbolism, it is not the Sphinx, however, who, burning with the shame of defeat, has had to bury herself in the sea, but verily the many-sided symbol, named Jehovah, whom Christians — the civilized nations — have accepted for their God. The latter has collapsed under the too close analysis, and is — drowned. Symbologists have discovered with dismay that their adopted deity was only a mask for many other gods, an Euhemerized extinct planet, at best, the genius of the Moon and Saturn with the Jews, of the Sun and Jupiter, with early Christians; that the Trinity was, in truth, only an astronomical triad — unless they accepted the more abstract and metaphysical meanings given to it by the Gentiles — composed of the Sun (the Father), and the two planets Mercury (the Son) and Venus (the Holy Ghost, Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom, Love and Truth, and Lucifer, as Christ, the bright and morning Star; vide “Revelation,” ch. xxii., 15). Because, if the Father is the Sun (the elder Brother in the Eastern inner philosophy), the nearest planet to it is Mercury (Hermes, Budha, Thot), the name of whose mother on Earth was Maia; the planet which receives seven times more light than any other: which fact led the Gnostics to call their Christos, and the Kabalists their Hermes (in the astronomical meaning), the “seven-fold light” (vide at end of this §). Finally, this God was Bel; the Sun being “Bel,” with the Gauls, “Helios” with the Greeks, “Baal,” with the Phoenicians; “El” in Chaldean, hence “El-ohim,” “Emanu-El,” El, “god,” in Hebrew. But even the Kabalistic god has vanished in the rabbinical workmanship, and one has now to turn to the innermost metaphysical sense of the Zohar to find in it anything like Ain-Soph, the nameless deity and the Absolute, so authoritatively and loudly claimed by the Christians. But it is certainly not to be found in the Mosaic books, by those who try to read without a Key to them. Ever since it was lost Jews and Christians have tried their best to blend these two conceptions, but in vain. They have only succeeded in finally robbing even the Universal Deity of Its majestic character and primitive meaning.
This is what was said in “Isis Unveiled”: —
It would seem, therefore, but natural to make a difference between the mystery-god [[Iao]], adopted from the highest antiquity by all who participated in the esoteric knowledge of the priests, and his phonetic counterparts, whom we find treated with so little reverence by the Ophites and other Gnostics.
In the Ophite gems of King (“Gnostics”) we find the name of IAO repeated, and often confounded with that of Jevo, while the latter simply represents one of the genii antagonistic to Abraxas. But the name IAO neither originated with, nor was it the sole property of the Jews. Even if it had pleased Moses to bestow the name upon the tutelary “Spirit,” the alleged protector and national deity of the “chosen people of Israel,” there is yet no possible reason why other nationalities should receive Him as the Highest and One-living God. But we deny the assumption altogether. Besides, there is the fact that Jaho or Iao was a “Mystery name” from the beginning, for and never came into use before King David. Anterior to his time, few or no proper names were compounded with Iah or Jah. It looks rather as though David, being a sojourner among the Tyrians and Philistines (2 Samuel), brought thence the name of Jehovah. He made Zadok high priest, from whom came the Zadokites or Sadducees. He lived and ruled first at Hebron , Habir-on or Kabeir-town, where the rites of the four (mystery-gods) were celebrated. Neither David nor Solomon recognized either Moses or the law of Moses. They aspired to build a temple to , like the structures erected by Hiram to Hercules and Venus, Adon and Astarte.
Says Furst: “The very ancient name of God, Yaho, written in the Greek [[Iao]], appears, apart from its derivation, to have been an old mystic name of the Supreme deity of the Shemites. Hence it was told to Moses when he was initiated at Hor-eb — the cave — under the direction of Jethro, the Kenite (or Cainite) priest of Midian. In an old religion of the Chaldeans, whose remains are to be found among the Neo-Platonists, the highest divinity, enthroned above the seven heavens, representing the Spiritual Light-Principle . . . . and also conceived of as Demiurgus,* was called [[Iao]] (), who was, like the Hebrew Yaha, mysterious and unmentionable, and whose name was communicated to the Initiated. The Phoenicians had a Supreme God, whose name was triliteral and secret, and he was [[Iao]].”† (Isis Unveiled), Vol. II., p. 298.)
The Cross, say the Kabalists, repeating the lesson of the Occultists, is one of the most ancient — nay, perhaps, the most ancient of symbols. This is demonstrated at the very beginning of the Proem (Vol. I.). The Eastern Initiates show it coeval with the circle of Deific infinitude and the first differentiation of the Essence, the union of spirit and matter. This was rejected, and the astronomical allegory alone was accepted and made to fit into cunningly imagined terrestrial events.
Let us demonstrate this statement. In astronomy, as said, Mercury is the son of Coelus and Lux — of the sky and light, or the Sun; in mythology he is the progeny of Jupiter and Maia. He is the “messenger” of his Father Jupiter, the Messiah of the Sun; in Greek, his name “Hermes,” means, among other things, the “Interpreter” — the “Word” by mouth; the logos, or verbum. Now, Mercury, besides being born on Mount Cyllene among shepherds, is the patron of the
* By very few though, for the creators of the material universe were always considered as subordinate gods to the Most High Deity.
† Lydus I., c. Ledrenus, I. c.
latter. A psychopompic genius, he conducted the souls of the dead to Hades and brought them back, an office attributed to Jesus, after his death and resurrection. The symbols of Hermes-Mercury (Dii Termini) were placed along and at the turning points of highways (as crosses are now placed in Italy) and they were cruciform.* Every seventh day the priests anointed these termini with oil, and once a year hung them with garlands, hence they were the anointed. Mercury, when speaking through his oracles said, “I am he whom you call the Son of the Father (Jupiter) and Maia. Leaving the King of Heaven (the Sun) I come to help you, mortals.” Mercury heals the blind and restores sight, mental and physical.† He was often represented as three-headed and called “Tricephalos,” “Triplex,” as one with the Sun and Venus. Finally, Mercury, as Cornutus‡ shows, was sometimes figured under a cubic form, without arms, because “the power of speech and eloquence can prevail without the assistance of arms or feet.” It is this cubic form which connects the termini directly with the cross, and the eloquence or the power of speech of Mercury, which made the crafty Eusebius say “Hermes is the emblem of the Word which creates and interprets all,” for it is the creative word; and he shows Porphyry teaching that the speech of Hermes, (now interpreted “Word of God” (!) in Pymander) a creative speech (Verbum), is the seminal principle scattered throughout the Universe.§ In Alchemy “Mercury” is the radical Moyst, primitive or elementary water, containing the seed of the Universe, fecundated by the solar fires. To express this fecundating principle, a phallus was often added to the cross (the male and female, or the vertical and the horizontal united) by the Egyptians (Vide Egyptian Museums). The cruciform termini also represented this dual idea, which was found in Egypt in the cubic Hermes. The author of “Source of Measures” tells us why. (But see the last page of § XVI., about the Gnostic Priapus).
As shown by him, the cube unfolded becomes in display a cross of the tau, or the Egyptian, form; or again, “the circle attached to the tau gives the ansated cross” of the old Pharaohs. They had known this from their priests and their “Kings Initiates” for ages, and also what was meant by “the attachment of a man to the cross,” which idea “was made to co-ordinate with that of the origin of human life, and hence the phallic form.” Only the latter came into action aeons and ages after the idea of the carpenter and artificer of the Gods,
* Montfaucon, Antiquities. See plates in Vol. I., plate 77. The disciples of Hermes go after their death to his planet, Mercury — their Kingdom of Heaven.
‡ Lydus de Mensibus, iv.
§ Preparat, Evang. I. iii. ch. 2.
Visvakarma, crucifying the “Sun-Initiate” on the cruciform lathe. As the same author writes: “the attachment of a man to the cross . . . was made use of in this very form of display by the Hindus”; but, made “to co-ordinate” with the idea of the new rebirth of man by spiritual, not physical regeneration. The candidate for initiation was attached to the tau or astronomical cross with a far grander and nobler idea than that of the origin of mere terrestrial life.
On the other hand, the Semites seem to have had no other or higher purpose in life than that of procreating their species. Thus, geometrically, and according to the reading of the Bible by means of the numerical method, the author of the “Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery” is quite correct. Their (the Jewish) entire system —
“Seems to have been anciently regarded as one resting in nature, and one which was adopted by nature, or God, as the basis of law of the exertion practically of creative power — i.e., it was the creative design, of which creation was practically the application. This seems to be established by the fact that, under the system set forth, measures of planetary times serve co-ordinately as measures of the size of planets, and of the peculiarity of their shapes — i.e., in the extension of their equatorial and polar diameters” . . . etc., etc. (p. 3). . . . “This system seems to underlie the whole Biblical structure (that of creative design), as a foundation for its ritualism and for its display of the works of the Deity in the way of architecture, by use of the sacred unit of measure in the Garden of Eden, the Ark of Noah, the Tabernacle, and the Temple of Solomon.”
Thus, on the very showing of the defenders of this system the Jewish Deity is proved to be, at best, only the manifested duad, never the One absolute All. Geometrically demonstrated, he is a number; symbolically, an euhemerized Priapus; and this can hardly satisfy a mankind thirsting after the demonstration of real spiritual truths, and the possession of a god with a divine, not anthropomorphic, nature. It is strange that the most learned of modern Kabalists can see in the cross and circle nothing but a symbol of the manifested creative and androgyne deity in its relation to, and interference with, this phenomenal world.* One author believes that “man (read the Jew and Rabbi) obtained knowledge of the practical measure . . . . by which nature was thought to adjust the planets in size to harmonize with the notation of their movements” . . . . and adds: “it seems he did obtain it, and esteemed its possession as the means of his realization of the Deity — that is, he approached so nearly to a conception of a Being having a mind like his own, only infinitely more powerful, as to be able to realize a law of creation
* See the Zohar and the two Qabbalahs (by Messrs. I. Myer and Mathers), with interpretations, if the reader would satisfy himself of this.
established by that Being, which must have existed prior to any creation (Kabalistically called the Word)” (“Source of Measures,” p. 5).
This may have satisfied the practical Semite mind, but the Eastern Occultist has to decline the offer of such a God; indeed, a Deity, a Being, “having a mind like that of man, only infinitely more powerful,” is no God that has any room beyond the cycle of creation. He has nought to do with the ideal conception of the eternal universe. He is, at best, one of the creative subordinate powers, the Totality of which is called the “Sephiroth,” the “Heavenly Man,” and Adam Kadmon, the second logos of the Platonists.
This very same idea is clearly found at the bottom of the ablest definitions of the Kabala and its mysteries, e.g., by John A. Parker, as quoted in the same work: —
“The key of the Kabala is thought to be the geometrical relation of the area of the circle inscribed in the square, or, of the cube to the sphere, giving rise to the relation of diameter to circumference of a circle with the numerical value of this relation expressed in integrals. The relation of diameter to circumference, being a supreme one connected with the god-names of Elohim and Jehovah (which terms are expressions numerically of these relations respectively, the first being of circumference, the latter of diameter), embraces all. Two expressions of circumference to diameter in integrals are used in the Bible: (1) The perfect, and (2) the imperfect. One of the relations between these is such that (2) subtracted from (1) will leave a unit of a diameter value in terms, or in the denomination of the circumference value of the perfect circle, or a unit straight line having a perfect circular value, or a factor of circular value” (p. 22).
Such calculations can lead one no further than to unriddle the mysteries of the third stage of Evolution, or the “third creation of Brahma.” The initiated Hindus know how to “square the circle” far better than any European. But of this more anon. The fact is that the Western Mystics commence their speculation only at that stage when the universe “falls into matter,” as the occultists say. Throughout the whole series of Kabalistic books we have not met with one sentence that would hint in the remotest way at the psychological and spiritual, as well as at the mechanical and physiological secrets of “creation.” Shall we, then, regard the evolution of the Universe as simply a prototype, on a gigantic scale, of the act of procreation? as “divine” Phallicism, and rhapsodize on it as the evilly-inspired author of a late work of this name has done? The writer does not think so. And she feels justified in saying so, since the most careful reading of the Old Testament — esoterically, as well as exoterically — seems to have carried the most enthusiastic enquirers no further than a certainty on mathematical grounds that from the first to the last chapter of the Pentateuch every scene, every character or event are shown connected, directly or indirectly, with the origin of birth in its crudest and most
brutal form. Thus, however interesting and ingenious the rabbinical methods, the writer, in common with other Eastern Occultists, must prefer those of the Pagans.
It is not, then, in the Bible that we have to search for the origin of the Cross and Circle, but beyond the Flood. Therefore, returning to Eliphas Levi and the Zohar, we answer for the Eastern Occultists and say that, applying practice to principle, they agree entirely with Pascal, who says that “God is a circle, the centre of which is everywhere and the circumference nowhere,” whereas the Kabalists say the reverse, and maintain it solely out of their desire to veil their doctrine. By the way, the definition of Deity by the Circle is not Pascal’s at all, as E. Levi thought. It was borrowed by the French philosopher from either Mercury Trismegistus or Cardinal Cusa’s Latin work, De Docta Ignorantia, in which he makes use of it. It is, moreover, disfigured by Pascal, who replaces the words “Cosmic Circle,” which stand symbolically in the original inscription, by the word Theos. With the ancients both words were synonymous.
Something of the divine and the mysterious has ever been ascribed, in the minds of the ancient philosophers, to the shape of the circle. The old world, consistent in its symbolism with its pantheistic intuitions, uniting the visible and the invisible Infinitudes into one, represented Deity and its outward veil alike — by a circle. This merging of the two into a unity, and the name theos given indifferently to both, is explained, and becomes thereby still more scientific and philosophical. Plato’s etymological definition of the word theos has been shown elsewhere. He derives it from the verb [[theein]] (see Cratylus), “to move,” as suggested by the motion of the heavenly bodies which he connects with deity. According to the Esoteric philosophy, this Deity is during its “nights” and its “days” (i.e., cycles of rest or activity) “the eternal perpetual motion,” “the ever-becoming, as well as the ever universally present, and the ever Existing.” The latter is the root-abstraction, the former — the only possible conception in human mind, if it disconnects this deity from any shape or form. It is a perpetual, never-ceasing evolution, circling back in its incessant progress through aeons of duration into its original status — Absolute Unity.
It was only the minor gods, who were made to carry the symbolical attributes of the higher ones. Thus, the god Shoo, the personification of Ra, who appears as “the great Cat of the Basin of Persea, in An”
(See “Book of the Dead,” Ritual XVII., 45-47), was often represented in the Egyptian monuments seated, and holding a cross, symbol of the four quarters, or the Elements, attached to a Circle.
In that very learned work, “The Natural Genesis,” by Mr. Gerald Massey, on pp. 408-455 (Vol. I.), under the heading, “Typology of the Cross,” there is more information to be had on the cross and circle than in any other work we know of. He who would fain have proofs of the antiquity of the Cross is referred to these two volumes. The author shows that “the circle and the cross are inseparable. . . . The crux ansata unites the circle and cross of the four corners. From this origin they came to be interchangeable at times. For example, the Chakra, or Disk of Vishnu, is a circle. The names denote the circling, wheeling round, periodicity, the wheel of time. This the god uses as a weapon to hurl at the enemy. In like manner, Thor throws his weapon, the Fylfot, a form of the four-footed cross (Swastica) and a type of the four quarters. Thus the cross is equivalent to the circle of the year. . . . The wheel emblem unites the cross and circle in one, as does the hieroglyphic cake and the Ankh-te .”
Nor was the double glyph sacred with the profane, but only with the Initiates. For Raoul-Rochette shows (ibid) “the sign , occurring as the reverse of a Phoenician coin, with a Ram as the obverse. . . . . The same sign, sometimes called Venus’ Looking-Glass, because it typified reproduction, was employed to mark the hind-quarters of valuable brood mares of Corinthian and other beautiful breeds of horses” (Raoul-Rochette, loc. cit. De La Croix Ansee, Mem. de l’Academie des Sciences, pl. 2, Nos. 8, 9, also 16, 2, p. 320, quoted in “Nat. Gen.”), which proves that so far back as those early days the cross had already become the symbol of human procreation, and that oblivion of the divine origin of Cross and Circle had been forgotten.
Another form of the cross is given from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (vol. xviii., p. 393, pl. 4): —
“At each of the four corners is placed a quarter arc of an oviform curve, and when the four are put together they form an oval; thus the figure combines the cross with the circle round in four parts, corresponding to the four corners of the cross. The four segments answer to the four feet of the Swastica cross and the Fylfot of Thor. The four-leaved lotus flower of Buddha, is likewise figured at the centre of this cross, the lotus being an Egyptian and Hindu type of the four quarters. The four quarter arcs, if joined together, would form an ellipse, and the ellipse is also figured on each arm of the cross. This ellipse therefore denotes the path of the earth . . . . Sir J. Y. Simpson copied the following specimen , which is here presented, as the cross of the two equinoxes and the two solstices placed within the figure of the earth’s path.
The same ovoid or boat-shaped figure appears at times in the Hindu drawings with seven steps at each end as a form or a mode of Meru.”
This is the astronomical aspect of the double glyph. There are six more aspects, however, and an attempt may be made to interpret a few of these. The subject is so vast that it would require in itself alone many volumes.
But the most curious of these Egyptian symbols of Cross and Circle, spoken of in the above cited work, is one which receives its full explanation and final colour from Aryan symbols of the same nature. Says the author: —
“The four-armed Cross is simply the cross of the four quarters, but the cross sign is not always simple.* This is a type that was developed from an identifiable beginning, which was adapted to the expression of various ideas afterwards. The most sacred cross of Egypt that was carried in the hands of the gods, the Pharaohs, and the mummied dead, is the Ankh the sign of life, the living, an oath, the covenant . . . The top of this is the hieroglyphic Ru set upright on the Tau-Cross. The Ru is the door, gate, mouth, the place of outlet. This denotes the birth-place in the northern quarter of the heavens, from which the Sun is reborn. Hence the Ru of the Ankh sign is the feminine type of the birth-place, representing the north. It was in the Northern Quarter that the Goddess of the Seven Stars, called the “Mother of the Revolutions,” gave birth to time in the earliest cycle of the year. The first sign of this primordial circle and cycle made in heaven is the earliest shape of the Ankh-cross , a mere loop which contains both a circle and the cross in one image. This loop or noose is carried in front of the oldest genitrix, Typhon of the great Bear, as her Ark, the ideograph of a period, an ending, a time, shown to mean one revolution.
“This then represents the circle made in the northern heaven by the Great Bear, which constituted the earliest year of time, from which we infer that the loop or Ru of the North represents that quarter, the birth-place of time when figured as the Ru of the Ankh symbol. Indeed this can be proved. The noose is an Ark or Rak type of reckoning. The Ru of the Ankh-cross was continued in the Cypriote and the Coptic Ro, P.† The Ro was carried into the Greek cross , which is formed of the Ro and Chi or R-K. . . . The Rak, or Ank, was the sign of all beginning (Arche) on this account, and the Ank-tie is the cross of the North, the hind part of Heaven. . . .”
Now this, again, is entirely astronomical and phallic. The Puranic version in India gives the whole another colour; and without, however,
* Certainly not; for very often there are symbols made to symbolize other symbols, and these are in turn used in ideographs.
† The R of the Slavonian and Russian alphabets (the Kyriletza) is also the Latin P.
destroying the above interpretation it is made to reveal a portion of its mysteries with the help of the astronomical key, and thus offers a more metaphysical rendering. The “Ankh-tie” does not belong to Egypt alone. It exists under the name of pasa, a cord which Siva holds in the hand of his right back arm* (Siva having four arms). The Mahadeva is represented in the posture of an ascetic, as Maha-Yogi, with his third eye , which is “the Ru, , set upright on the Tau-Cross” in another form. The pasa is held in the hand in such a way that it is the first finger and hand near the thumb which make the cross, or loop and crossing. Our Orientalists would have it to represent a cord to bind refractory offenders with, because, forsooth, Kali, Siva’s consort, has the same as an attribute!
The pasa has here a double significance, as also has Siva’s trisula and every other divine attribute. This significance lies in Siva, as Rudra has certainly the same meaning as the Egyptian ansated cross in its cosmic and mystic meaning. In the hand of Siva it becomes linghayic and yonic. That which is meant is this: Siva, as said before, is unknown by that name in the Vedas; and it is in the white Yajur Veda that he appears for the first time as the great god — Mahadeva — whose symbol is the lingham. In Rig Veda he is called Rudra, the “howler,” the beneficent and the maleficent Deity at the same time, the Healer and the Destroyer. In the Vishnu Purana, he is the god who springs from the forehead of Brahma, who separates into male and female, and he is the parent of the Rudras or Maruts, half of whom are brilliant and gentle, others, black and ferocious. In the Vedas, he is the divine Ego aspiring to return to its pure, deific state, and at the same time that divine ego imprisoned in earthly form, whose fierce passions make of him the “roarer,” the “terrible.” This is well shown in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, wherein the Rudras, the progeny of Rudra, god of fire, are called the “ten vital breaths” (prana, life) with manas, as eleventh, whereas as Siva, he is the Destroyer of that life. Brahma calls him Rudra, and gives him, besides, seven other names, which names are his seven forms of manifestation, also the seven powers of nature which destroy but to recreate or regenerate.
Hence the cruciform noose (pasa) in his hand, when he is represented as an ascetic, the Mahayogin, has no phallic signification, and it, indeed, requires a strong imagination bent in this direction to find such even in
* See Moor’s “Hindu Pantheon,” plate xiii.
an astronomical symbol. As an emblem of “door, gate, mouth, the place of outlet” it signifies the “strait gate” that leads to the kingdom of heaven, far more than the “birth-place” in a physiological sense.
It is a Cross in a Circle and Crux Ansata, truly; but it is a Cross on which all the human passions have to be crucified before the Yogi passes through the “strait gate,” the narrow circle that widens into an infinite one, as soon as the inner man has passed the threshold.
As to the mysterious constellation of the Seven Rishis in the great Bear, if Egypt made them sacred to “the oldest genitrix, Typhon” — India has connected all these symbols ages ago with time or Yuga revolutions, and the Saptarishis are intimately connected with our present age — the Dark Kali Yug.* The great Circle of Time, on the face of which fancy in India has represented the Tortoise (Kurma, or Sisumara, one of the Avatars of Vishnu), has the Cross placed on it by nature in its division and localisation of stars, planets and constellations. Thus in Bhagavata Purana V., xxx., it is said that “at the extremity of the tail of that animal, whose head is directed toward the South and whose body is in the shape of a ring (Circle), Dhruva (the ex-pole star) is placed; and along that tail are the Prajapati, Agni, Indra, Dharma, etc.; and across its loins the Seven Rishis.” This is then the first and earliest Cross and Circle, into the formation of which enters the Deity (symbolized by Vishnu), the Eternal Circle of Boundless Time, Kala, on whose plane lie crossways all the gods, creatures, and creations born in Space and Time; — who, as the philosophy has it, all die at the Mahapralaya.
Meanwhile it is they, the Seven Rishis, who mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle. They are as mysterious as their supposed wives, the Pleiades, of whom only one — she who hides — has proven virtuous. The Pleiades (Krittika) are the nurses of Karttikeya, the God of War (Mars of the Western Pagans), who is called the Commander of the celestial armies — or rather of the Siddhas (translated Yogis in heaven, and holy sages on the earth) — “Siddha-sena,” which would make Karttikeya identical with Michael, the “leader of the celestial hosts” and, like himself, a virgin Kumara.† Verily he is the “Guha,” the mysterious one, as much so as are the Saptarshis and the Krittika (seven Rishis and the Pleiades), for the interpretation of all these combined, reveal to the adept the greatest mysteries of occult nature. One point is worth mention in this question of cross and
* Described in the “Mission des Juifs” by the Marquis St. Yves d’Alveydre, the hierophant and leader of a large party of French Kabalists, as the Golden Age!
† The more so since he is the reputed slayer of Tripurasura and the Titan Taraka. Michael is the conqueror of the dragon, and Indra and Karttikeya are often made identical.
circle, as it bears strongly upon the elements of fire and water, which play such an important part in the circle and cross symbolics. Like Mars, who is alleged by Ovid to have been born of a mother alone (Juno), without the participation of a father, or like the Avatars (Krishna, for instance), in the West as in the East — Karttikeya is born, but in a still more miraculous manner — begotten by neither father nor mother, but out of a seed of Rudra Siva, via Agni, who dropped it into the Ganges. Thus he is born from fire and water — a “boy bright as the Sun and beautiful as the moon.” Hence he is called Agnibhuva (Agni’s son) and Ganga-putra (Son of Ganges). Add to this the fact that the Krittika, his nurses, as Matsya Purana shows, are presided over by Agni, or, in the authentic words — “The seven Rishis are on a line with the brilliant Agni,” and hence are called Agneya — and the connection is easy to follow.
It is, then, the Rishis who mark the time and the periods of Kali-yuga, the age of sin and sorrow. See in the Bhagavata Purana XII., 11, 2, 6, 32, and Vishnu Purana. Says the latter: “When the splendour of Vishnu (Krishna) departed for heaven, then did the Kali Yug, during which men delight in sin, invade the world. . . . . When the Seven Rishis were in Magha, the Kali Yug, comprising 1,200 (divine) years (432,000 years of mortals), began; and when from Magha, they shall reach Purvashadha, then will this Kali age attain its growth, under Nanda and his successors.”* This is the revolution of the Rishis “when the two first stars of the Seven Rishis (of the Great Bear) rise in the heavens, and some lunar asterism is seen at night, at an equal distance between them, then the Seven Rishis continue stationary in that conjunction for a hundred years,” a hater of Nanda makes Parasara say. According to Bentley, it is in order to show the quantity of the precession of the equinoxes that this notion originated among the astronomers. It was done “by assuming an imaginary line, or great circle, passing through the poles of the ecliptic and the beginning of the fixed Magha, which circle was supposed to cut some of the stars in the Great Bear. . . . The seven stars being called the Rishis, the Circle so assumed was called the line of the Rishis . . . . and being invariably fixed to the beginning of the lunar asterism Magha, the precession would be noted by stating the degree . . . of any moveable lunar mansion cut by that line or circle as an index” (“Historical View of the Hindu Astronomy,” p. 65).
* Nanda is the first Buddhist Sovereign, Chandragupta, against whom all the Brahmins were so arrayed; he of the Morya Dynasty, and the grandfather of Asoka. This is one of those passages that do not exist in the earlier Puranic MSS. They were added by the Vaishnavas, who interpolated almost as much, out of Sectarian spite, as the Christian Fathers did.
There was, and still exists, a seemingly endless controversy about the chronology of the Hindus. Here is a point that could help to determine — approximately at least — the age when the symbolism of the Seven Rishis and their connection with the Pleiades began. When Karttikeya was delivered to them by the gods to be nursed, the Krittika were only six — whence Karttikeya is represented with six heads; but when the poetical fancy of the early Aryan symbologists made of them the consorts of the Seven Rishis, they were seven. Their names are given, and these are Amba, Dula, Nitatui, Abrayanti, Maghayanti, Varshayanti, and Chupunika. There are other sets of names which differ, however. Anyhow, the Seven Rishis were made to marry the Seven Krittika before the disappearance of the seventh Pleiad. Otherwise, how could the Hindu astronomers speak of that which, without the help of the strongest telescopes, no one can see? This is why, perhaps, in every such case the majority of the events described in the Hindu allegories is fixed upon as “a very recent invention, certainly within the Christian era”?
The oldest MSS. in Sanskrit on astronomy, begin their series of Nakshatras (the 27 lunar asterisms) with the sign of Krittika, and this can hardly make them earlier than 2780 B.C., (see the “Vedic Calendar,” accepted even by the Orientalists); though they get out of the difficulty by saying that the said Calendar does not prove that the Hindus knew anything of astronomy at that date, and assure their readers that, Calendars notwithstanding, the Indian pundits may have acquired their knowledge of the lunar mansions headed by Krittika from the Phoenicians, etc. However that may be, the Pleiades are the central group of the system of sidereal symbology. They are situated in the neck of the constellation of Taurus, regarded by Madler and others, in astronomy, as the central group of the system of The Milky Way, and in the Kabala and Eastern Esotericism, as the sidereal septenate born from the first manifested side of the upper triangle, the concealed . This manifested side is Taurus, the Symbol of One (the figure 1), or of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph (bull or ox) whose synthesis is ten (10), or Yodh, the perfect letter and number. The Pleiades (Alcyone, especially), are thus considered, even in astronomy, as the central point around which our Universe of fixed stars revolves, the focus from which, and into which the divine breath, Motion, works incessantly during the Manvantara. Hence — in the Occult philosophy and its sidereal symbols — it is this Circle and the starry cross on its face, which play the most prominent part.
The Secret Doctrine teaches us that everything in the universe, as well as the universe itself, is formed (created) during its periodical manifestations — by accelerated Motion set into activity by the Breath of
the ever-to-be-unknown power (unknown to present mankind, at any rate) within the phenomenal world. The Spirit of Life and Immortality was everywhere symbolized by a circle: hence the serpent biting his tail, represents the circle of Wisdom in infinity; as does the astronomical cross — the cross within a circle, and the globe, with two wings added to it, which then became the sacred Scarabaeus of the Egyptians, its very name being suggestive of the secret idea attached to it. For the Scarabaeus is called in Egypt (in the papyri) Khopirron and Khopri from the verb Khopron “to become,” and has thus been made a symbol and an emblem of human life and of the successive becomings of man, through the various peregrinations and metempsychoses (reincarnations) of the liberated Soul. This mystical symbol shows plainly that the Egyptians believed in reincarnation and the successive lives and existences of the Immortal entity. Being, however, an esoteric doctrine, revealed only during the mysteries by the priest-hierophants and the Kings-Initiates to the candidates, it was kept secret. The incorporeal intelligences (the Planetary Spirits, or Creative Powers) were always represented under the form of circles. In the primitive philosophy of the Hierophants these invisible circles were the prototypic causes and builders of all the heavenly orbs, which were their visible bodies or coverings, and of which they were the souls. It was certainly a universal teaching in antiquity. (See Ezekiel, ch. 1.)
“Before the mathematical numbers,” says Proclus (in Quinto Libro, Euclid), “there are the Self-moving numbers; before the figures apparent — the vital figures, and before producing the material worlds which move in a Circle, the Creative Power produced the invisible Circles.”
Deus enim et circulus est, says Pherecydes, in his hymn to Jupiter. It was a Hermetic axiom, and Pythagoras prescribed such a circular prostration and posture during the hours of contemplation. “The devotee must approach as much as possible the form of a perfect circle,” prescribes the Secret Book. Numa tried to spread among the people the same custom, Pierius* tells his readers; and Pliny says: “During our worship, we roll up, so to say, our body in a ring, totum corpus circumagimur.”† The vision of the prophet Ezekiel reminds one
* Pierius Vale.
† The goddess Basht (or Pasht) was represented with the head of a cat. This animal was sacred in Egypt for several reasons: as a symbol of the Moon “the eye of Osiris” or the “Sun,” during night. The cat was also sacred to Sokhit. One of the mystic reasons was because of its body being rolled up in a circle when asleep. The posture is prescribed for occult and magnetic purposes, in order to regulate in a certain way the circulation of the vital fluid, with which the cat is pre-eminently endowed. “The nine lives of a cat” is a popular saying based on good physiological and occult reasons. Mr. G. Massey gives also an astronomical reason for it which may be found in § I. “Symbolism.” “The cat saw the Sun, had it in its eye by night (was the eye [[Footnote continued on next page]]
forcibly of this mysticism of the circle, when he beheld a whirl-wind from which came out “one wheel upon the earth” whose work “was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel” (ch. i. vv. 4-16). . . . “for the Spirit of the living creature was in the wheels” (v. 20).
“Spirit whirleth about continually and returneth again according to his circuits” — says Solomon (Eccles. i. 6), who is made in the English translation to speak of the “Wind,” and in the original text to refer both to the Spirit and the Sun. But the Zohar, the only true glossary of the Kabalistic Preacher, in explanation of this verse, which is, perhaps, rather hazy and difficult to comprehend, says that “it seems to say that the sun moves in circuits, whereas it refers to the Spirit under the Sun, called the holy Spirit, that moves circularly, toward both sides, that they (It and the Sun) should be united in the same Essence.” . . . (Zohar, fol. 87, col. 346.)
The Brahmanical “Golden Egg,” from within which emerges Brahma, the creative deity, is the “circle with the Central Point” of Pythagoras, and its fitting symbol. In the Secret Doctrine the concealed Unity — whether representing Parabrahmam, or the “Great Extreme” of Confucius, or the Deity concealed by Phta, the Eternal Light, or again the Jewish En-Soph, is always found to be symbolized by a circle or the “nought” (absolute No-Thing and Nothing, because it is infinite and the All); while the god-manifested (by its works) is referred to as the diameter of that circle. The symbolism of the underlying idea is thus made evident: the right line passing through the centre of a circle has, in the geometrical sense, length, but neither breadth or thickness: it is an imaginary and feminine symbol, crossing eternity and made to rest on the plane of existence of the phenomenal world. It is dimensional, whereas its circle is dimensionless, or, to use an algebraical term, it is the dimension of an equation. Another way of symbolizing the idea is found in the Pythagorean sacred Decade which synthesizes, in the dual numeral Ten (the 1 and a circle or cipher), the absolute All manifesting itself in the Word or generative Power of Creation.
Those who would feel inclined to argue upon this Pythagorean symbol by objecting that it is not yet ascertained, so far, at what period of
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] of night), when it was otherwise unseen by men (for as the moon reflects the light of the Sun, so the cat was supposed to reflect it on account of its phosphorescent eyes) . . . We might say the moon mirrored the solar light, because we have looking-glasses. With them the cat’s eye was the mirror.”
antiquity the nought or cipher occurs for the first time — especially in India — are referred to Vol. II. of “Isis Unveiled,” pp. 299, 300, et seq.
Admitting for argument’s sake that the ancient world was not acquainted with our modes of calculation or Arabic figures — though we know it was — yet the circle and diameter idea is there to show that it was the first symbol in cosmogony. Before the trigrammes of Fo-hi, Yang, the Unity, and Yin, the binary, explained cunningly enough by Eliphas Levi thus (Dogme et Rituel, Vol. I., p. 124): — China had her Confucius, and her Tau-ists.* The former circumscribes the “great extreme” within a circle with a horizontal line across; the latter place three concentric circles beneath the great circle, while the Sung Sages showed the “great Extreme” in an upper circle, and Heaven and Earth in two lower and smaller circles. The Yangs and the Yins are a far later invention.
Plato and his school never understood the Deity otherwise, many epithets of his applied to the “God over all” ([[ho epi pasi theos]]) notwithstanding. Plato having been initiated, could not believe in a personal God — a gigantic Shadow of Man. His epithets of “monarch” and “Law-giver of the Universe” bear an abstract meaning well understood by every Occultist, who, no less than any Christian, believes in the One Law that governs the Universe, recognizing it at the same time as immutable. “Beyond all finite existences,” he says, “and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind ([[nous]]), the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded . . . the ultimate substance from which all things derive their being and essence, the first and efficient cause of all the order, and harmony, and beauty and excellency, and goodness, which pervades the Universe” — who is called, by way of preeminence and excellence, the Supreme† good “the god” ([[d Theos]]), and “the god over all.” These words apply, as Plato himself shows, neither to the “Creator” nor to the “Father” of our modern Monotheist, but to the ideal and abstract cause. For, as he says, “this [[Theos]], the god over all, is not the truth or the intelligence, but the Father of it,” and its Primal cause. Is it Plato, the greatest pupil of the archaic Sages, a sage himself, for whom there was but a single object of attainment in this life — Real Knowledge — who would have ever believed in a deity that curses and damns men for ever, on the slightest provocation?‡ Not he, who considered only those to be
* Also in T’sang-t-ung-ky, by Wei-Pa-Yang.
† Cocker’s “Christianity and Greek Philosophy,” xi., p. 377.
‡ The cry of despair uttered by Count de Montlosier in his Mysteres de la Vie Humaine, p. 117, is a warrant that the Cause of “excellence and goodness,” supposed by Plato to pervade the Universe is neither his Deity, nor our World. “Au spectacle de tant [[Footnote continued on next page]]
genuine philosophers and students of truth who possessed the knowledge of the really existing in opposition to mere seeming; of the always existing in opposition to the transitory; and of that which exists permanently in opposition to that which waxes, wanes, and is developed and destroyed alternately.* Speusippus and Xenocrates followed in his footsteps. The One, the original, had no existence, in the sense applied to it by mortal men. “The [[timion]] (honoured one) dwells in the centre as in the circumference, but it is only the reflection of the Deity — the world Soul”† — the plane of the surface of the circle. The Cross and Circle are a universal conception — as old as human mind itself. They stand foremost on the list of the long series of, so to say, international symbols, which expressed very often great scientific truths, besides their direct bearing upon psychological, and even physiological mysteries; and this symbol is precisely one of this kind, and is based upon the oldest esoteric cosmogony.
It is no explanation to say, as Eliphas Levi does, that God, the universal Love, having caused the male unit to dig an abyss in the female Binary, or chaos, produced thereby the world. Besides being as gross a conception as any, it does not remove the difficulty of conceiving it without losing one’s veneration for the rather too human-like ways of the Deity. It is to avoid such anthropomorphic conceptions that the Initiates never use the epithet “God” to designate the One and Secondless Principle in the Universe; and that — faithful in this to the oldest traditions of the Secret Doctrine the world over — they deny that such imperfect and often not very clean work could ever be produced by Absolute Perfection. There is no need to mention here other still greater metaphysical difficulties. Between speculative Atheism and idiotic anthropomorphism there must be a philosophical mean, and a reconciliation. The Presence of the Unseen Principle throughout all nature, and the highest manifestation of it on Earth — man, can alone help to solve the Problem, which is that of the mathematician whose x must ever elude the grasp of our terrestrial algebra. The Hindus have tried to solve it by their avatars, the Christians think
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] de grandeur oppose a celui de tant de misere, l’esprit qui se met a observer ce vaste ensemble, se represente je ne sais quelle grande diviniti qu’une diviniti, plus grande et plus pressante encore, aurait comme brisee et mise en pieces en dispersant les debris dans tout l’Univers.” The “still greater and still more exacting divinity” than the god of this world, supposed so “good” — is Karma. And this true Divinity shows well that the lesser one, our inner God (personal for the time being), has no power to arrest the mighty hand of this greater Deity, the Cause awakened by our actions generating smaller causes, which is called the Law of Retribution.
* See “Isis Unveiled,” Before the Veil, xii. (Vol. I.).
† Plato: “Parmenides,” 141, E.
they did it — by their one divine Incarnation. Exoterically — both are wrong; esoterically both of them are very near the truth. Alone, among the Apostles of the Western religion, Paul seems to have fathomed — if not actually revealed — the archaic mystery of the Cross. As for the rest of those who, by unifying and individualizing the Universal Presence, have thus synthesized it into one symbol — the central Point in the Crucifix — they have shown thereby that they have never seized the true Spirit of the teaching of Christ, and by their interpretations they have degraded it in more than one way. They have forgotten the Spirit of that universal symbol and have selfishly monopolized it — as though the Boundless and the Infinite can ever be limited and conditioned to one manifestation individualized in one man, or even in a nation!
The four arms of the “,” the decussated cross, and of the “Hermetic,” pointing to the four cardinal points — were well understood by the mystical minds of the Hindus, Brahmins and Buddhists, thousands of years before it was heard of in Europe; and that symbol was and is found all over the world. They bent the ends of that cross and made of it their Swastica now the Wan of the Buddhist Mongolian.* It implies that the “Central point” is not limited to one individual, however perfect. That the Principle (God) is in Humanity, and Humanity, as all the rest, is in it, like drops of water are in the Ocean, the four ends being toward the four cardinal points, hence losing themselves in infinity.
Isarim, an Initiate, is said to have found at Hebron, on the dead body of Hermes, the well known Smaragdine tablet, which, it is said, contained the essence of Hermetic wisdom . . . . “Separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross . . . . Ascend from the earth to heaven and then descend again to earth” was traced on it. The riddle of the cross is contained in these words, and its double mystery is solved — to the Occultist.
“The philosophical cross, the two lines running in opposite directions, the horizontal and the perpendicular, the height and breadth, which the geometrizing Deity divides at the intersecting point, and which forms the magical as well as the scientific quaternary, when it is inscribed within the perfect square, is the basis of the occultist. Within its mystical precinct lies the master-key which opens the door of every science, physical as well as spiritual. It symbolizes our human existence, for the circle of life circum-
* The Swastica is certainly one of the oldest symbols of the Ancient Races. In our century, says Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie (Royal Masonic Cyclopeadia) it (the Swastica) “has survived in the form of the mallet” in the Masonic Fraternity. Among the many “meanings” the author gives of it, we do not find, however, the most important one, masons evidently not knowing it.
scribes the four points of the cross, which represent in succession birth, life, death, and immortality.
“ ‘Attach thyself,’ say the alchemists, ‘to the four letters of the tetragram disposed in the following manner: The letters of the ineffable name are there, although thou mayest not discern them at first. The incommunicable axiom is kabalistically contained therein, and this is what is called the magic arcanum by the masters.’ ” (“Isis Unveiled.”)
Again: — The (Tau), and the astronomical cross of Egypt are conspicuous in several apertures of the remains of Palenque. In one of the basso-relievos of the Palace of Palenque, on the west side, sculptured as a hieroglyphic right under the seated figure, is a Tau. The standing figure, which leans over the first one, is in the act of covering its head with the left hand with the veil of initiation; while it extends its right with the index and middle finger pointing to heaven. The position is precisely that of a Christian bishop giving his blessing, or the one in which Jesus is often represented while at the Last Supper. . . . The Egyptian Hierophant had a square head-dress which he had to wear always during his functions. . . . The perfect Tau, formed of the perpendicular (descending male ray), and a horizontal line (matter, female principle), and the mundane circle was an attribute of Isis, and it is but at death that the Egyptian cross was laid on the breast of the mummy.” These square hats are worn unto this day by the Armenian priests. The claim that the cross is purely a Christian symbol introduced after our era, is strange indeed, when we find Ezekiel stamping the foreheads of the men of Judah, who feared the Lord (Ezekiel ix. 4), with the signum Thau, as it is translated in the Vulgate. In the ancient Hebrew this sign was formed thus , but in the original Egyptian hieroglyphics as a perfect Christian cross (Tat, the emblem of stability). In the Revelation, also, the “Alpha and Omega” (spirit and matter), the first and the last, stamps the name of his Father in the foreheads of the elect, (p. 323, Vol. II.) Moses, in Exodus xii. 22, orders his people to mark their door-posts and lintels with blood, lest the “Lord God” should make a mistake and smite some of his chosen people, instead of the doomed Egyptians. And this mark is a tau! The identical Egyptian handled cross, with the half of which talisman Horus raised the dead, as is shown on a sculptured ruin at Philoe.
Enough was said in the text about the Swastica and the Tau. Verily may the Cross be traced back into the very depths of the unfathomable Archaic Ages! Its Mystery deepens rather than clears, as we find it on the statues of Easter Island — in old Egypt, in Central Asia, engraved on rocks as Tau and Swastica, in pre-Christian Scandinavia,
everywhere! The author of the “Hebrew Egyptian Mystery” stands perplexed before the endless shadow it throws back into antiquity, and is unable to trace it to any particular nation or man. He shows the Targums handed down by the Hebrews, obscured by translation. In Joshua (viii. 29) read in Arabic, and in the Targum of Jonathan, it is said: “The king of Ai he crucified upon a tree.” The Septuagint rendering is of suspension from a double word (Wordsworth on Joshua.) . . . The strangest expression of this kind is in Numbers xxv. 4, where, by Onkalos (?) it is read: “Crucify them before the Lord (Jehovah) against the Sun.” “The word here , to nail to, is rendered properly (Fuerst) by the Vulgate to crucify. The very construction of this sentence is mystic.”
So it is, but the spirit of it has been ever misunderstood. “To crucify before (not against) the sun” is a phrase used of initiation. It comes from Egypt, and primarily from India. The enigma can be unriddled only by searching for its key in the Mysteries of Initiation. The initiated adept, who had successfully passed through all the trials, was attached, not nailed, but simply tied on a couch in the form of a tau (in Egypt) of a Svastika without the four additional prolongations (thus: , not ) plunged in a deep sleep (the “Sleep of Siloam” it is called to this day among the Initiates in Asia Minor, in Syria, and even higher Egypt). He was allowed to remain in this state for three days and three nights, during which time his Spiritual Ego was said to confabulate with the “gods,” descend into Hades, Amenti, or Patala, (according to the country), and do works of charity to the invisible beings, whether souls of men or Elemental Spirits; his body remaining all the time in a temple crypt or subterranean cave. In Egypt it was placed in the Sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber of the Pyramid of Cheops, and carried during the night of the approaching third day to the entrance of a gallery, where at a certain hour the beams of the rising Sun struck full on the face of the entranced candidate, who awoke to be initiated by Osiris, and Thoth the God of Wisdom.
Let the reader who doubts the statement consult the Hebrew originals before he denies. Let him turn to some most suggestive Egyptian bas reliefs. One especially from the temple of Philoe, represents a scene of initiation. Two Gods-Hierophants, one with the head of a hawk (the Sun), the other ibis-headed (Mercury, Thoth, the god of Wisdom and secret learning, the assessor of Osiris-Sun), are standing over the body of a candidate just initiated. They are in the act of pouring on his head a double stream of water (the water of life and new birth), which stream is interlaced in the shape of a cross and full of small ansated crosses. This is allegorical of the awakening of the candidate
(now an Initiate), when the beams of the morning sun (Osiris) strike the crown of his head (his entranced body being placed on its wooden tau so as to receive the rays). Then appeared the Hierophants-Initiators, and the sacramental words were pronounced, ostensibly, to the Sun-Osiris, addressed in reality to the Spirit Sun within, enlightening the newly-born man. Let the reader meditate on the connection of the Sun with the Cross in both its generative and spiritually regenerative capacities — from the highest antiquity. Let him examine the tomb of Bait-Oxly, in the reign of Ramses II., where he will find the crosses in every shape and position. So again, on the throne of that sovereign, and finally on a fragment from the Hall of the ancestors of Totmes III., preserved in the National Library of Paris, which represents the adoration of Bakhan-Aleare.
In this extraordinary sculpture and painting one sees the disc of the Sun beaming upon an ansated cross placed upon a cross of which those of the Calvary were perfect copies. The ancient MSS. mention these as the “hard couches of those who were in (spiritual) travail, the act of giving birth to themselves.” A quantity of such cruciform “couches,” on which the candidate, thrown into a dead trance at the end of his supreme initiation, was placed and secured, were found in the underground halls of the Egyptian temples after their destruction. The worthy and holy Fathers of the Cyril and Theophilus types used them freely, believing they had been brought and concealed there by some new converts. Alone Origen, and after him Clemens Alexandrinus and other ex-initiates, knew better. But they preferred to keep silent.
Again, let the reader read the Hindu “fables,” as the Orientalists call them, and remember the allegory of Visvakarma, the creative power, the great architect of the world, called in the Veda “the all-seeing god,” who “sacrifices himself to himself” (the Spiritual Egos of mortals are his own essence, one with him, therefore). Remember that he is called Deva Vardhika “the builder of the gods” and that it is he who ties (the Sun) Surya, his son-in-law, on his lathe, in the exoteric allegory; on the Swastika, in esoteric tradition, as on earth he is the Hierophant Initiator, and cuts away a portion of his brightness. Visvakarma, remember again, is the Son of Yoga-Siddha, i.e., the holy power of Yoga, and the fabricator of the “fiery weapon,” the magic Agneyastra. The narrative is given more fully elsewhere. The author of the Kabalistic work so often quoted from, asks: —
“The theoretical use of crucifixion must have been somehow connected with the personification of this symbol (the structure of the garden of Paradise symbolized by a crucified man). But how? And as showing what? The symbol was of the origin of measures, shadowing forth creative law or design. What practically, as regards humanity,
could actual crucifixion betoken? Yet, that it was held as the effigy of some mysterious working of the same system, is shown from the very fact of the use. There seems to be deep below deep as to the mysterious workings of these number values — (the symbolization of the connection of 113 : 355, with 20612 : 6561, by a crucified man). Not only are they shown to work in the Kosmos . . . . but by sympathy, they seem to work out conditions relating to an unseen and spiritual world, and the prophets seem to have held knowledge of the connecting link. . . . Reflection becomes more involved when it is considered that the power of expression of the law, exactly, by numbers, clearly defining a system, was not the accident of the language, but was its very essence, and of its primary organic construction; therefore, neither the language, nor the mathematical system attaching to it, could be of man’s invention, unless both were founded upon a prior language, which afterwards became obsolete . . . ” (p. 205).
The author proves these points by further elucidation, and reveals the secret meaning of more than one dead-letter narrative, by showing that probably man was the primordial word — “the very first word possessed by the Hebrews, whoever they were, to carry the idea by sound of a man. The essential of this word was 113 (the numerical value of that word) from the beginning, and carried with it the elements of the cosmical system displayed.”
This is demonstrated by the Hindu Wittoba — a form of Vishnu — as said already. The figure of Wittoba, even to the nail-marks on the feet,* is that of Jesus crucified, in all its details save the Cross; and that man was meant is proved to us further by the fact of the Initiate being reborn after his crucifixion on the tree of life. This “tree” has now become exoterically, through its use by the Romans as an instrument of torture, and the ignorance of the early Christian schemers, the tree of death!
Thus, one of the seven esoteric meanings implied in this mystery of Crucifixion by the mystic inventors of the system — the original elaboration and adoption of which dates back to the very establishment of the mysteries — is discovered in the geometrical symbols containing the history of the evolution of man. The Hebrews, whose prophet Moses was so learned in the esoteric Wisdom of Egypt, and who adopted their numerical system from the Phoenicians, and later from the Gentiles, from whom they borrowed most of their Kabalistic Mysticism, adapted, most ingeniously, the Cosmic and anthropological symbols of the “heathen” nations to their peculiar secret records. If Christian
* See Moor’s Hindu Pantheon, where Wittoba’s left foot bears the mark of the nail — on the figure of his idol.
sacerdotalism has lost the key of it to-day, the early compilers of the Christian Mysteries were well versed in Esoteric philosophy and the Hebrew occult metrology, and used it dexterously. Thus they took the word aish (one of the Hebrew word forms for man) and used it in conjunction with that of Shanah “lunar year,” so mystically connected with the name of Jehovah, the supposed “father” of Jesus, and embosomed the mystic idea in an astronomical value and formula.
The original idea of “Man Crucified” in Space belongs certainly to the ancient Hindus, and Muir shows it in his “Hindu Pantheon” in the engraving that represents Wittoba. Plato adopted it in his decussated Cross in Space, the , “the Second God who impressed himself on the Universe in the form of the Cross”; Krishna is likewise shown “crucified.” (See Dr. Lundy’s Monumental Christianity, fig. 72.) Again it is repeated in the Old Testament in the queer injunction to crucify men before the Lord, the Sun — which is no prophecy at all, but has a direct phallic significance. In § II. of that same most suggestive work on the Kabalistic meanings — “The Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery,” we read again: —
“In symbol, the nails of the cross have for the shape of the heads thereof a solid pyramid, and a tapering square obeliscal shaft, or phallic emblem, for the nail. Taking the position of the three nails in the Man’s extremities and on the cross, they form or mark a triangle in shape, one nail being at each corner of the triangle. The wounds or stigmata in the extremities are necessarily four designative of the square. . . . The three nails with the three wounds are in number 6, which denotes the 6 faces of the cube unfolded (which make the cross or man-form, or 7, counting three horizontal and four vertical bars) on which the man is placed; and this in turn points to the circular measure transferred on to the edges of the cube. The one wound of the feet separates into two when the feet are separated, making three together for all, and four when separated, or 7 in all — another most holy (and with the Jews) feminine base number.”
Thus, while the phallic or sexual meaning of the “Crucifixion Nails” is proven by the geometrical and numerical reading, its mystical meaning is indicated by the short remarks upon it, as given above, in its connection with, and bearing upon, Prometheus. He is another victim, for he is crucified on the Cross of Love, on the rock of human passions, a sacrifice to his devotion to the cause of the spiritual element in Humanity.
Now, the primordial system, the double glyph that underlies the idea of the Cross, is not “of human invention,” for Cosmic ideation and the Spiritual representation of the divine Ego-man are at its basis. Later, it expanded in the beautiful idea adopted by and represented in the Mysteries, that of regenerated man, the mortal, who, by crucifying the man of flesh and his passions on the
Procrustean bed of torture, became reborn as an Immortal. Leaving the body, the animal-man, behind him, tied on the Cross of Initiation like an empty chrysalis, the Ego Soul became as free as a butterfly. Still later, owing to the gradual loss of spirituality, the cross became in Cosmogony and Anthropology no higher than a phallic symbol.
With the Esotericists, from the remotest times the Universal Soul or anima mundi, the material reflection of the Immaterial Ideal, was the Source of Life of all beings and of the life principle of the three kingdoms; and it was Septenary with the Hermetic philosophers, as with all ancients. For it is represented as a Sevenfold cross, whose branches are respectively, light, heat, electricity, terrestrial magnetism, astral radiation, motion, and Intelligence, or what some call self-consciousness.
We have said it elsewhere. Long before the cross or its sign were adopted as symbols of Christianity, the sign of the cross was used as a sign of recognition among adepts and neophytes, the latter being called Chrests (from Chrestos, man of tribulation and sorrow). Says E. Levi: “The sign of the cross adopted by the Christians does not belong exclusively to them. It is Kabalistic, and represents the opposition and quaternary equilibrium of the elements. We see by the Occult verse of the Paternoster that there were originally two ways of making it, or, at least two very different formulas to express its meaning — one reserved for priests-initiates, the other given to neophites and the profane. Thus, for example, the initiate, carrying his hand to his forehead, said: To thee; then he added, belong: and continued, while carrying his hand to the breast — the kingdom; then, to the left shoulder — justice: to the right shoulder — and mercy. Then he joined the two hands, adding: throughout the generating cycles: ‘Tibi sunt Malchut et Geburah et Chassed per AEonas’ — a sign of the Cross, absolutely and magnificently kabalistic, which the profanations of Gnosticism made the militant and official Church completely lose.” (Dogma et Ritual, etc., Vol. II., p. 88.)
The “militant and official Church” did more: having helped herself to what had never belonged to her, she took only that which the “profane” had, the Kabalistic meaning of the male and female Sephiroth. She never lost the inner and higher meaning since she never had it — E. Levi’s pandering to Rome, notwithstanding. The sign of the cross adopted by the Latin Church was phallic from the beginning, while that of the Greeks was the cross of the neophytes, the Chrest.