The Lost Light 4
Alvin Boyd Kuhn
BAPTISM AT THE CROSSING
The water symbol yields a series of special scriptural and theological interpretations which will correct much insufferable misconception. It is questionable if today any hierophant of orthodox religion has the most distant idea of the esoteric meaning of the rite of baptism. People receive baptism or impose it on their children with a sanctimonious acquiescence, but with heads guiltless of comprehension. It is vaguely felt to betoken an outpouring of divine grace upon the recipient. This may be conceded to be a part of the meaning. Yet in the form in which it is conceived by the participants, it is not in the faintest degree an image of the hidden truth. It is hardly a quarter of the full import. In consonance with the force of the great Law of the Two Truths, or the doubleness of truth, it is not only the mortal who is baptized by the god; the profoundest understanding flows from the knowledge that it is the god himself who is undergoing a baptism. Indeed, as long as it is a baptism with water, it is not at all the baptism of the spring of life. It is more truly the baptism of the god by the animal. For John, the pre-solar or natural man, says: “I indeed baptize you with water,” while the baptism of the lower by the higher nature was with fire! Jesus, the god, was baptized by John, the mortal, in the waters of the river Jordan. Jesus was there baptized as part of the process of his further divination. The water baptism was the god’s submergence under the waters in the body of man.
What, then, is the basic meaning of the ceremonial? It is simple indeed. Reverting to the four elemental signs, we have the adequate data for interpretation. Bluntly, water is the symbol of bodily life, the body being mainly water in composition. Also water symbols man’s second psychological principle, emotion, because it is intimately linked with the body and its humors. The sea, the swamp or Reed Sea, or the mire, is the typical picturization of life in the body. Water types soul in body, or the god in matter. Baptism with water, then, is just the experience of the god in this bodily life. It means what the incarnation means, and nothing more. The ceremonial of sprinkling or immersion is but the dramatic representation of the fact of this life itself. By the application of the Law of the Two Truths it can be made to typify the baptism of the lower nature by the celestial water. But this is the obverse of the meaning usually intended in symbolism, and would involve the baptism of water by or in water, which wrecks the typism. It is the god’s immersion in the waters of generation that is the theme of most baptismal ritual.
That this statement embodies the correct view is competently attested by the zodiacal signatures used in the typology. The sun in the lower half of the zodiac is symbolically pictured as being immersed in a sea of water; and according to one derivation the word “Galilee” signifies “water-wheel.” The Sea of Galilee is the lower material world – in man the watery body itself – through or across which the fiery spark of soul must pass in rounding its cycles of necessity. Heraclitus’ statement that “man is a portion of cosmic fire, imprisoned in a body of earth and water” (Plato’s “mire”) is apt here. And earth and water stand for the physical and emotional aspects of man’s life, or sense and feeling, both sub-mental. The soul in its rounds must dip down into a life that is irrational, motivated by elemental impulses that are not amenable to reason. It comes under the sway of the pure instinct of life itself and is overswept by the surging tides of elemental being. This is its baptism, its going into or under the water. It is not by chance that the name Galilee was given to the lake or sea of mortal life in the Jewish adaptation of the uranograph. For on it the savior of mankind had to quell or quiet the raging storm of sensual passion. The storm is a true mythograph of the sweep of the forces at play in the lower segment of man’s constitution, for they blow through his life, for the long first cycle of his evolution, in nearly uncontrolled intensity. They rush in upon his spirit, which is as yet unawakened, asleep like Jonah and Jesus in the hold of the ship, and stir up a welter of animal instincts and rapacities in lower man. Proserpine, the soul, was held for half of each year in duress in the underworld of Pluto. Merely put under water symbolism, this is the soul’s baptism. It is earthly embodiment. A profound significance never fully fathomed attaches to Jesus’ ringing statement to Nicodemus (John 3:I ff):
“Except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. If I told you earthly things and ye believe them not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no man hath ascended into heaven but he that hath descended out of heaven, the Son of Man which is in heaven.”
The elemental man, child of Mother Nature and her seven powers, can never enter the kingdom of conscious immortality except he be reborn of the spirit. His chance to be so reborn arises only through the great sacrificial oblation of the sun-gods. For they came to share their nature with him, to tabernacle with his flesh, and to suffer that he might be quickened to a new expansion of capacity to know life. Jesus is stating the rudiment of all practical knowledge. Unless a man unite the two fiery elements, the mortal and the imperishable, he can have no access to the kingdom of divine mind. For flesh and blood can’t inherit the legacy of spiritual consciousness.
Herein lies the necessity for the twice-born experience of every initiate. Hermes describes the form of the second birth:
“I see in myself an unfeigned sight or spectacle made by the mercy of God: And I am gone out of myself into an immortal body, and I am not now what I was before, but am begotten in mind.”
To this may be added Paul’s inspiring statement that we can transform ourselves by the renewing of our mind. Hermes also says of the physical and spiritual natures:
“He that looketh upon that which is carried upward as fire, that which is carried downward as earth, that which is moist as water, and that which bloweth or is subject to blast as air; how can he sensibly understand that which is neither hard nor moist, nor tangible nor perspicuous, seeing it is only understood in power and operation? But I beseech and pray to the mind; which alone can understand the generation that is in God.”
The phrase “born of water” embalms implications that are commonly passed over unnoticed. All birth in the natural world is by or in water. Paleontology discloses that the first protozoan life emanated from the salt water. The human foetus grows in a watery sack. It emerges from water into air. All growing things must have water as a primary condition. The fact was therefore used by the sagacious mythmakers as an index of birth of any kind. Says Massey:
“Birth from the element of water was represented in the Mysteries of Amenta by rebirth of spirit from the water of baptism.”1
It was out of the primordial “waters” of space that the first forms of cosmic life were generated. From the infinite bosom of watery night flashed out the first rays of that light which was to be the life of all things. So in the rain-storm of summer, fire is born out of the banks or moisture or suspended water. Hence the very deities had to be incubated in bodies of water like the foetus in the watery egg. This accounts for the presence of the god in the lake of the moist human body. Horus is born from the lotus plant in the water, as Venus from the sea-foam. So the souls that come forth to populate earth are born of the Lake of Sa, one of the two lakes of paradise, which contained the “waters of life.” One of the meanings of this short word “Sa” is “spirit”; another is “soil or basis.” It was a lake or body of primordial life essence, spiritual “matter,” from which spirits were drawn, as snowballs from a bank of snow. The word is part of the name for the spiritual body, the Sahu.
The twice-born, then, were those born first of the water of nature and again of the fire of spirit. The upper lake yielded the nuclei of spirit force that were to find a higher birth of divinity from immersion in the water and mire of the earthly lake beneath. The Lake of Sa generated the fiery seeds that were to be brought to lotus growth in the muddy lake of the earth. “Heaven conceived him, the Tuat brought him forth.” The one was the Pool of Sa(lt), the other the Pool of Natron (Nature). The upper was the pool of life, the lower the pool of death, which is ever the gateway to new life. The spirits from the Lake of Sa needed further cleansing. The sa(lt) may lose its savor. They came down to bathe in the lake of the world, where, linked to a creature already born of water and earth, they would have the chance to wash away ingrained impurities. The Ritual text (Ch. 170) calls to the glorified soul: “Hail, Osiris, thou art born twice!” Again: “Stand up living forever. Thy son Horus reconstituted thee. Arise on thy bed and come forth! Come! Come forth!” They call him to come forth “like a god” “from the mysterious cave.” (Cf. the raising of Lazarus and the man who took up his bed and walked.)
This double birth, or birth and rebirth, is no more strange than is its physical counterpart and lower symbol in the life of any mortal. We are born out of nature at physical birth; we are reborn, as a being of dawning mind, again at twelve, when we leave Mother Nature for Father God.
Life advances by periodical and unending regenerations. To live again, the soul must indeed enter again and again into the body of its mother matter and experience repeated new births. This was another esoteric hint beneath Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus.
We are conceived in spirit and born to actual power in nature. The natural man is reconstituted by a spiritual birth. We should be reminded here of the wine, born or made of water, but reborn as “spirit” through fermentation. The twice-born were the twice-baptized, first in water, then in fire. Says Irenaeus (Bk. I, Ch. 21:2): “The two baptisms of the Gnostics were recognized by them as the animal and the spiritual.” In olden times children were baptized first with water, later with smoke! One form of the cleansing was by fumigation. In certain places there were administered two baptisms, one a passage through water, the other an ordeal by fire. Already spoken of was the tribal ceremony of having girls after the puberty initiation run naked in the first thunderstorm to receive the blessing of the water and the fire. Every seed cast into the ground for incubation undergoes the baptism by water or moisture, followed by the fiery baptism of the sun’s rays.
Horus in his baptism is transformed from the word made flesh to the word made truth. This again delineates the change from natural to spiritual.
Temples and pyramids were generally built over or near a water course, lake or well. In the Vision of Hermas it is asked: “Lady, why is the tower built upon the water?” She replies that it is because the soul’s life is saved and shall be saved by water. The necessity that forced the gods into this low life was that of purification. In (the Alexandrian version of) John (5:2, 4) we read: “An angel of the Lord washed at a certain season.”
The Manes in the Book of the Dead says: “I purify me in the southern tank, and I rest me at the northern lake” (Ch. 125). After dip- ping into the ordeal of bodily existence he had to rest in the peaceful fields of the northern Aarru-Hetep. The first chapter of the Ritual contains the saying by the priest: “I lustrate with water in Tattu and anoint with oil in Abydos.” The sheen of oil replaced the fire typism here.
The ceremonial purity so often insisted on in the texts of the Ritual is acquired by the Manes after he
“purifies himself in the Lake of the Country of Reeds. Horus dries his body, Thoth dries his feet, Shu raises him up, and the Heaven-goddess Nut gives him her hand. He appears in the Field of Reeds and purifies himself therein.” [The diseased in the Gospels were promised healing if they bathed in the Pool of Siloam.]
On the second day’s celebration of the Mystery rites in Greece, the one commemorating the descent of the gods into matter, the cry “Alade, mustai” (“to the sea, ye initiated ones!”) was the keynote of the ceremony.
“Besides, the sea was am emblem of purity, as is evident from the Orphic Hymn to the Ocean in which that deity is called theon agnisma megiston, i.e., the greatest purifier of the gods; and Saturn . . . is pure (intuitive) intellect . . . Pythagoras called the sea a tear of Saturn (Meursius).”
Plutarch affirms that the child Jesus fell into the sea and was drowned. Likewise Horus.
In many religions the baptism was apparently a rite held for the dead and again for the living. This confusion was due to the loss of the original connotation of “death” as the life lived on earth. Of a surety it was for “the dead” – on earth, who were alive enough to get the instruction. Therefore Paul asserts that we are circumcised “with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in his baptism . . .” (Col. 2:12). This is weighty, for here Paul distinctly figures the burial and the baptism as one and the same. This firmly supports the primary claim of this study, that the incarnation is the one central theme of all scripture. Burial of the soul in the water of the body on earth is all that could ever have been meant by the baptism.
An aspect of the baptism formula was the rite of feet-washing. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. This act surely was a dramatization of his laying aside his superior dignity, humbling himself to become a servant and pouring out the water of deific potency for the cleansing baptism of the lower nature of man. For he himself poured out the water in a basin. The Speaker says that he comes that he may purify this soul of his in the most high degree. The Teacher in the Pistis Sophia says that he tore himself asunder to bring unto mankind the “Mysteries of light to purify them . . . otherwise no soul in the whole of mankind would have been saved” (Bk. 2:249, Mead). Here is one of the most explicit references to divine dismemberment anywhere to be found.
In the text of Unas it is said of the Manes: “Horus takes him with his two fingers and purifies him in the Lake of the Jackal.” Again: “The followers of Horus purify him. They cleanse him.” It is asserted of the purged soul: “He hath been purified in the Lakes of the Tuat, he hath undressed in the Lakes of the Jackals.” The unregenerated Manes was always pictured as black or black-haired. But when he kneels before the throne of Osiris his hair has become white. This is the mark of his having been washed pure in the waters. The four sons of Horus are said to wash his face. The Book of the Dead says the soul is “censed” or purified with fire, with the Smen incense and the “bet” incense, which are the
“saliva that comes from the mouth of Set, wherewith Horus was purified, whereby the evil which appertained unto him was cast to the earth when Set performed the censing for him; wherewith Set was purified, whereby the evil which appertained to him was cast to the earth, when Horus performed the censing for him. This Pepi is purified thereby, and the evil which appertains to him is cast to the earth.”
The symbolism of spittle as a cleansing substance has before been pointed out. But this passage yields most direct corroboration of the idea that has been presented several times – the reversibility or double direction of the application of the meaning of scriptural glyphs. For here Horus and Set mutually purify each other! Soil and plant mutually exalt each other. God and the human reciprocate purification. The god bathes in the southern tank, the animal in the northern lake. Each baptizes the other. The Gospel story is incomplete without an alternate baptism of John by Jesus. The Great Harlot, or mother of prolific life, whose fornicatory ways the kings of the earth (the descending gods) had followed into a mire of iniquity, when they yielded to her blandishments, was likewise consumed in the purifying fires.
Those who had exchanged their dark robes for the garments of white linen had, it is declared, “washed their raiment in the blood of the Lamb of God until it was white without blemish.”
In the Ritual the mummied deceased is said to go “purified in the place of birth.” This is of importance because the purification is categorically stated to be on earth, the place of birth. “He has been steeped in resin in the place of preservation.” Divinity, the immortal preservative, is won on earth. Else why did we leave the empyrean?
A passage later to be noted says that the body-soul which rises from Amenta has to suffer “purgatorial rebirth” before it can become pure spirit.
Apollo, who collected and restored the dismembered Dionysus, is called a deity of purification. Greek philosophy was itself the offspring of Mystery systems designed to effect the purification of the soul from the contaminations of life in the flesh.
A striking picture of the alternate besmirching by earth and purification by water is given in a Zulu tale of transformation. A beautiful girl enters the earth, and it is said of her that her body glistened, for she was like brass in her pristine purity; but she took black earth and smeared her body with it. She was then seen, very dirty and soiled, to enter a pool, from which she emerged with all her radiance restored and body shining.
Among the Yorubas a remarkable ceremony of purification is performed over both mother and child seven days after the latter’s birth. The water which is always in the earthen vessels placed before the images of the gods, is brought to the house and thrown upon the thatched roof, and as it drips from the eaves the mother and child pass three times through the falling drops. The performance of the ceremony on the seventh day is meaningful, as final purification in any cycle comes with the crowning seventh round.
The rite of circumcision was generally performed on the eighth day following birth. It types the cutting off of the god from the cycle of generation in the flesh, and was outwardly symbolized by the cutting off of the foreskin of the organ of generation itself. The seventh power released man from bondage to the flesh, and its celebration followed on the next day.
The Manes with satisfaction exclaims:
“I have made an end of my shortcomings and I shall put away my faults. What then is this? It is the cutting off of the corruptible in the body of Osiris, the scribe Ani, the victorious one before all the gods; and all his faults are driven out. What then is this? It is the purification (of Osiris) on the day of his birth. I am purified in the great double nest which is in Suten-Khen(en).”
Another text affirms:
“He is conceived in Isis and begotten in Nephthys, and they cut off from him the things which should be cut off.”
An important corroboration of the purely figurative value placed on the rite of circumcision (matching the similar elucidation of mummification) is found in a passage from Budge:
“The general trend of the evidence suggests that circumcision was practiced in the Sudan, as well as in Egypt, from time immemorial, that it had nothing to do with considerations of health, that it had a religious significance, and that it was originally connected with some kind of phallic worship.”2
The rite indicates man’s cutting himself free from the law of bodily generation, and his readiness to generate by spiritual will. He stands clear of the law which bound him to sexual carnality. A passage from Paul stoutly vindicates this interpretation:
“Circumcised with the circumcision not made with hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” (Moffatt trans.: “In him ye have been circumcised with no material circumcision that cuts flesh from the body . . .”)
A most curiously involved application of the circumcision typism is seen in Exodus (4), wherein, after the Eternal had tried to kill Moses on his way back to Egypt, his wife Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off the foreskin of her son Gershom (Stranger) and touched his (apparently, Moses’) feet with it, crying, “There, you are my bridegroom in blood . . . by this circumcision.” Then the Eternal left him alone! By the curious operation of the Law of the Two Truths, both circumcision and its emblematic organ, the foreskin, may be taken as typing two distinct phases of meaning. The cutting off can have a double signification. The gods in descending suffered a severing of their connection with deity above; and the mutilation of the phallus, organ of their attachment to sexual generation, would directly type this “discerption” from deity in order to be linked with animality. The foreskin was the symbol of the god’s bond with, and bondage to, matter. Yet on the other wing of the symbolism, the phallus was a type of male virility, spiritual creative renewing power, generative productiveness, and as such it seems to figure in the Moses incident. Salvation from the menace to the young incarnating soul came through the wife, the material life, by means of the application of the son’s foreskin to the father’s feet. Here again, as in Egypt, it is the power of the son that reconstitutes the father. In a word, the meaning of it all is that earth experience brings the power of the reborn god to bear upon the salvation of the original god seed, buried and disintegrated in matter. The earth (mother) joins the creative power of the god to the animal nature (feet) of man. Horus performs almost identically the same operation on his father Osiris in the latter’s reconstitution and renovation.
Foreskins were piled in a heap in the circle of the twelve stones set up at the Eternal’s order by the Israelites at Gilgal. The meaning can be taken in any of the three ways suggested: (1), The twelve legions of angels were sacrificing their foreskins as types of their lost divine power; (2), They were coming into generation, typed again by the foreskin; (3), They were, in the exodus, cutting themselves loose from generation, typed by the removal of the foreskins. Herein is demonstrated the advantage of myth over dogma; the former leaves the mind free to make its own application of truth adumbrated.
The umbilical cord served as a companion symbol with circumcision. Its cutting betokened the severance of the god from his connection with elementary mother nature. It was thus a figure of rebirth, adapted from its part in the function of birth. Weaning was used in much the same fashion.
We, as gods, are sent down to earth to undergo a further bathing in the waters of experience. This experience is nature’s available instrumentality for refining untested spiritual quality. Incrustations which are the deposit of earlier ignorance and error have to be dissolved, burnt out, washed away, by the pedagogical agencies of physical contingencies. There is no power in heaven, where the soul is detached from body, to cleanse or purify it. Only earth can provide the requisite conditions of suffering and hardship to burn out the crudities of undevelopment. Nature must have our hard predicaments of bodily life in order to reach and impress our souls, which, apart from body, float in dreamy irresponsibility and unrealized potentiality. Nature casts us here in order to furnish the conditions of realism which alone can wake our slumbering faculty. We can’t in the spirit world be linked with an animal by whose tutoring on earth we advance our own progression.
The children of Israel were “tried as silver is tried,” “in the refineries of the nether world”; and they were on earth, not in the hazy spirit realm.
Mesheck, or Meska, was the Egyptian place of scourging and purifying in Suten-Khen. It is the Kamite purgatory, the place of cleansing, then of rebirth and resurrection, Amenta in fact. This is doubtless identical with the Meskhen, the Thigh or Haunch, a term applied to the Great Bear cluster, as the old first mother, Apt or Typhon, from whose thigh emerged all birthing. The purging took place in the lower part of man, the oft-mentioned Suten-Khen, the dwelling place of the Sut powers; khen meaning birthplace.
Examining the baptism of Jesus, we find it in itself a complete representation of the incarnational experience. Contrary to most interpretive opinion, it must be said that the pivotal experiences and allegories of the Christ do not mark successive stages in spiritual development according to a fixed pattern, but are sententious glyphs of the entire cycle. It appears to be so with the baptism. Jesus’ baptism by John, the antecedent earthly man, in the Jordan River adumbrates the incarnation unquestionably. Next we have John’s hitherto utterly misconstrued reluctance to baptize one of a higher order than himself. It was as if the animal man said to the god within him: “My Lord, it is not fitting that I should subject you to the incarnational ordeal. It is more seemly that you should baptize me with your divine fire and lift me up. This is the wrong order of procedure.” And as if the Lord rejoined: “No; to you it may seem so. But a necessity of which you can know little forces me to undergo the incarnation and baptism through your good offices. I must, if only for a cycle, be subject unto you and be further educated to divinity in your watery realm. And thus only can your salvation, too, be won.” “But Jesus answered him: ‘Come now, this is how we should fulfill all our duty to God’” (Matt. 3:15). Then the immersion took place. And it was at the conclusion of the rite that the spirit from heaven descended upon him in the symbol of the dove. This bird, sharing the role with the hawk and bennu or phoenix, emblemed primarily the life-giving power of the third element, air (mind). Dove is traced to “Tef,” the breathing force. It stands in general for the divine energy of the soul. In the planisphere another star beside Sothis, somewhat farther south, stood in position to announce the coming of the solar year and the sun-god. This was the star Phact, the Dove. The hawk, allied to the dove, was the divine symbol of Horus. When divinized Horus received the hawk, Jesus the dove. Horus rose as the dove as well as the hawk; for he exclaims: “I am the Dove; I am the Dove!” Seven doves, showing the sevenfold nature of all deific emanation, are frequently found. In Didron’s Iconography (Fig. 124) the child Jesus is represented in the virgin’s arms or womb, surrounded by seven doves as symbols of the seven nature powers he was to spiritualize.
The baptism preceded and is followed by the deification. Earthly sojourn was to place man finally on Mt. Olympus.
In this exposition is to be found the reason for the forerunners of the Christs, as John, Anup and Mercury, performing the function of the baptism. The earth-soul is to subject the heaven-soul to its immersion in matter, and must precede and prepare the ground. John says: “After me cometh a man who is come before me.” “I make way,” says Horus, “by what Anup has done for me.” What is obviously implied in John’s statement is that the Christ principle, a superior and therefore older evolutionary product than the man of earth, will come to occupy the physical house when nature has made it ready. Earth has but recently fitted a tabernacle to be occupied by a guest who is of venerable age and station in the cosmic family. The house is new, never constructed before; but the coming visitant from celestial spheres is of the family of the Ancient of Days and has been abroad many times before and lived in other houses. John means to say that he is the physical self, a new and late creation, but that the Christos had preceded him in manifestation by aeons. Anubis (Anup) is designated as the “preparer of the way of the other world,” the power making straight the paths to the upper heaven. Anup was the guide of the sun and the sun-souls in the nether earth. The Ritual (Ch. 25) speaks of “the god Anubis, who dwelleth in the city of embalmment,” and who gives a heart to the deceased. Sut-Anup, the stellar guide and announcer of the new cosmic cycle, was superseded by Taht-Aan, the lunar Mercury, whose more frequent periodicities made him a more reliable measurer of time cycles. Anup and Mercury are closely allied. Mercury’s character as the swift-winged messenger of the gods is matched by Anup’s reputation as the “swift-runner.” The planet Mercury was said to be the servant of Sothis, the star announcing the solar birth at the winter solstice. Plutarch suggested that the horizon immediately before the rising and after the setting of the sun was symbolized by Anup (De Isid. et Osir.) Says Renouf: “I believe that he represented twilight or dusk immediately following the disappearance of the sun.” He was typified by the jackal that came out at night, and was painted with a black head, as the guide through the dark. The planet Mercury, as sometimes evening and again morning star, fulfills the terms of this identity with the functions of Anubis. As a warder of the gate of sunset and dawn, of descent and resurrection, it is written of him: “All the festivals of earth terminate on the hill (or over the hill) of Anup.” It is Anup who in the judgment tests the beam of the scales, and if he finds the balance even between the heart and the feather, reports the verdict to Thoth. This he does as watcher on the two horizons or the scales of nature, where spirit and matter are exactly balanced in our constitution. Aan, the scribe, records it.
It is notable that Jesus is not baptized by John until he is thirty years of age. Horus was baptized at thirty by Anup. There are occurrences of thirty in connection with Samson. There is a lacuna in the life history of the sun-gods between the ages of twelve and thirty. Both numbers are purely typical, standing for the completion and perfection of cycles, the end of an age, or stages of transition and transformation.
The study shifts to another aspect of the water symbolism, but one intimately related to the baptism, if it is not but another typing of the same thing. It is one of the most frequent of religious figurations, and demands sufficient attention to settle clearly its function and scope. This is “the crossing of the waters.” Best known are the Biblical crossing of the Red (Reed) Sea and the Jordan, the classical ferrying of the souls of the departed over the underworld Styx by Charon in the Greek mythos, the crossing of the sea by Ulysses and Aeneas in the Odyssey and the Aeneid, the crossing of the Euxine Sea by Jason, and others. Baptism by immersion was a simple glyph of the incarnation, but a crossing of some water permitted a more extended play of fancy to elaborate the symbolism. Such a natural phenomenon as the salmon fighting its way from the vast primal ocean up the waters of an individual stream to the sources, there to deposit the spawn of new generation, was indeed a vivid emblem of the soul fighting its way back to source against the downward current of elementary pressure. The soul, like the salmon, comes out of the great original ocean of life, the lake of Sa(lt), works its way into the channel of an individuality, battles its way far up the stream in the face of the current of animal propensity, and there plants the germ or seed of new life, which in the next generation will run down and join the mother sea. It is a nearly complete analogue of man’s incarnation history.
The crossing of a stream was a serviceable allegory of the passage of the life spark through and across its span of experience in the watery body. As the crossing involved the use of a boat or ark, the chain of ideas carries the research into the whole mass of material dealing with the crossing, the Passover, the cross, the ark and the flood or deluge. An enormous amount of relevant material must be drastically abridged.
The mummy was ferried over the water to the western mount where Hathor-Isis or the Cow-Goddess awaited the solar god and the crowd of Manes with him. This was in preparation for his burial – fittingly on the west side where the sun sank – and the body was placed in a mausoleum there.
But the journey of the Manes across the sea of this life, over the “waters beneath,” was from west to east, from the gate of entry to the underworld on the west to the gate of resurrection on the east. That which dies in the west must rise again in the east. The level stretch of “water” between, over which the voyage is made, is the “sea of life.” Across this expanse of stormy water the soul essays to sail in the “boat of Horus,” with the young god himself in the pilot house directing the course, and with his twelve (collective) sailors, rowers or companions, who man the craft. Alongside swims the great Apap reptile, eager to devour careless sailors who fall overboard. His figure stretches out closely parallel with the horizon of the zodiac. The Manes prays to the Conductor of Heaven that Osiris may safely pass the “great one who dwells in the place of the inundation.” And the deceased rejoices in that “He had made me a boat to go by.” A boat is now the symbol of safety.
In the chapter “of breathing air and of prevailing over the waters in Hades,” the Manes have to escape from the devastating flood by means of the Makhu, or ark of plaited corn, with paddles formed of straw. Here is background for the ark of bulrushes that bore Moses.
A phrase several times used symbolically is: “going into the cabin.” This might be taken as the equivalent of the soul’s going into the “belly” or hold of the ship. Yet as the cabin is the locale of the directing intelligence of a ship, it might again refer to the inmost seat of divine spirit in man’s “ship,” the holy of holies in the deep center of being, into which he enters as the “captain of his destiny.” Release from it in the end seems to bespeak salvation. On the day of the birth of Osiris the utterance is:
“The valves of the door open, the gateway of the god opens. He has unclosed the doors of the ark. He has opened the doors of the cabin. Shu has given him breath, Tefnut has created him; they serve in his service.” (Ch. 130)
The Greek imprisonment of soul in body is here seemingly the poet’s “cribbed, cabined, and confined” life in flesh. Escape comes with final victory over the elements.
The picture of the sun-god swallowed by a great fish is very common. In the “crocodile” chapter of the Ritual we read: “I am the crocodile whose soul comes from men . . . I am the Great Fish of Horus.” The crocodile was perhaps the earliest form of the Fish-Mother Atergatis, Hathor or Venus, who first produced life from the water. The seizure of the souls of men by a great fish in the sea suggests both capture and safety, as both are implied in incarnation. The astrotype is the constellation of Cetus, the Whale.
The baptism, the crossing a water, the death by drowning and the transformation from a being water-born to one born of fire, are all closely interwoven in various depictions. Confusion has come to scholars from this admixture. Massey is puzzled a trifle to observe that “in the inscription of Shabaka the baptism occurs without death.” He adds:
“Either way, the baptism or death was but figurative of the regeneration or rebirth which was affected in this region; from which the second Horus issued at the age of thirty years as the Adult God, the Sheru or Homme Fait. The baptism for the dead was continued by the Christians, although its origin and significance seem to have been unknown to them.”
As we have seen, Massey lacked in his exegesis the one key that would have enabled him to unlock the mystery of how baptism can be for the dead, and yet not be attended with ceremony suggestive of the sort of death he is thinking of. It was itself the “death” or experience of incubation of the soul, to achieve a new generation from the seed of its parent. In the cycle of necessity, in which the soul makes the round of all the elements, it must go through those kingdoms in which water is predominantly subsistent.
In the Hottentot fable the sea opened to let the men cross in safety, and the floods closed on the pursuing enemies. The ax, as in the Roman fasces, was a symbol of the sun, because in making its transit through the earth and water of fleshly life it was known as the divider or cleaver of the way. It cleft a passage for itself through the lower elements, dried up the water by its fiery potency and crossed on dry land!
Egyptian ingenuity, using the typology suggested by the life habits of certain water animals, represented the god as making his way across the water in more ways than one. He crossed on its surface, through it and even under it. Sebek-Horus, the crocodile-headed god, the child assigned to Neith in Virgo, swam across as a crocodile; the god, as Atum, the Eel, crawled through the mud; Kepher-Ptah, the beetle god, bored through the earth; Horus Behutet rode across on the vulture’s back; Horus, deified, flew across as a hawk; and Har-Makhu crossed through the corridor of the Sphinx.
In Joshua (I:2), after the death of Moses, the Eternal bade Joshua “arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I do give thee, even to the children of Israel.” “All Israel passed over on dry ground.”
The eastern shore was the terminus of the voyage. There a plate of tahn was given each disembarking sailor, as a type of protection and salvation. This matched the recovered “eye of Horus” and the white stone given to the redeemed in Revelation. It may be seen at the place of the vernal equinox, between Aries and Pisces in the zodiac of Denderah. Tahn was resin and symboled eternal preservation, and was given to the soul at the completion of its crossing, as a badge of new-won immortality.
The Manes-soul entered or embarked on the sea on the western marge, plunged into the underworld of darkness and emerged on the eastern horizon of light. So he was the evening and the morning star through sheer symbolism. The Gospels keep a slight but unmistakable suggestion of the Egyptian typism in Jesus’ entry into the boat to cross the lake “when even was come.” “He entered into the boat and his disciples followed him, And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep.” “Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm” (Matt. 8:24). Of Apap it is said: “Now at the close of day he turneth down his eyes to Ra; for there cometh a standing still in the bark, and a great slumber within the ship.” The attack of Apap or Sut and the storm of sensual riot of the carnal passions are made while the deity is asleep in his bodily tomb, the belly of the flesh. Then the god awakes to his task, exercises his sovereignty over nature, and the elemental forces obey him.
Other solar heroes beside Jonah crossed the sea in the belly of a fish. Both Horus and the Greek Hercules crossed inside the fish during the three days at the winter solstice. In some ancient calendars three to five days were intercalated at the winter solstice, additional to the 360 days of the twelve solar months – 30 days each – and correspond to the three dark days of the lunar “solstice,” or dark of the moon. They typed the time of the incubation, when there was a calm or balance or stasis in the cycle, the solstitial stasis or balance between spirit and matter in evolution.
After these many centuries of zealous study of the Bible in Christian lands it is questionable whether one person in a thousand knows why the number three is basically connected with the baptism. The answer is presumed commonly to lie in the ministrant’s phrase accompanying the threefold sprinkling of water on the head or the three immersions under the water. “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” The ceremony commemorates man’s baptism by and under the three forces of the solar triad, mind-soul-spirit, according to this view. This may be taken as a correct interpretation, if the rite is performed by sprinkling, and if it is regarded as the baptism of John by Jesus. But Christian baptism is alleged to be modeled after the Biblical baptism, which is that of Jesus by John! And if the ceremony is that of the three immersions under the water, as performed by many sects, it can’t then signify the downpour of the threefold spiritual nature from above on the recipient. Or it could do so only by reading the submergence of the god under the waters of sense as somehow imparting his threefold divinity to lower man. This is most indirect. One would have to say that the god brings his three aspects of higher selfhood under the water. This is implied, of course; and here as elsewhere the intimations of allegorism and symbolism apply both ways and work from either end. Both man and his god subject each other to a mutual baptism, we have seen, the god pouring his flood of transforming fire upon lower man and lower man drenching the god with water of sense and sin.
But the three immersions in or under the water speak definitely of a cosmic meaning that is little known, but that is one of the cardinal features of the arcane systematism. It is a numeral cosmograph of the death, burial or incubation of life in matter before its germination and resurrection. It is the ideograph of soul-death. Jesus was three days in the tomb. Under water emblemism it was the three-days’ sojourn of Jonah in the belly of the fish, though even there it is called “the belly of death.” It is primarily expressed in the New Testament verse: “As Jonas was three days in the whale’s belly, so must the Son of Man be three days in the bowels of the earth.” In its broad cosmic reference it outlines the great truth that the soul of life must evolve upward through its pre-mental period of gestation. The fiery spark of consciousness must lie dormant in “death,” its conscious functions unawakened, for the three aeons of its involvement in dense matter before it comes to self-awareness in the fourth kingdom. In the lunar cycle of twenty-eight days, the three days of the dark moon, when the sun lights no part of the orb’s surface (visible to us) are the emblem.
But Egypt adds a most pertinent and apt phrase to this group of designations in a passage already given in another connection, from an inscription called “The Destruction of Mankind.” Atum-Ra de- creed that he would punish the rebellious angels who broke in upon his song with raucous shouts by destroying them “in three days of navigation.” This carried the meaning that he would commit them to incarnation in lower ranges of being characterized as the sea or realm of “water.” They would have to sail across the water of mortal life or become mariners or navigators in the great ocean of what Massey calls “the lower Nun.” And that this period of “sailing” was to be three days attests to its identity of meaning with the other glyphs and graphs.
In addition to the cited instances, the three days as glyphs of incubating life are quite numerous all through the Bible and in other scriptures. There are scores of them in varied form. Before the Exodus from Egypt “darkness was over all the land of Egypt for three days; no one could see another, and no one could move about for three days, although the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings.” In Exodus (3) Moses declaims to the people: “Pray let us travel for three days into the desert, then, that we may sacrifice to the Eternal our God.” A Chaldean Oracle matches this passage remarkably: “And yet three days shall ye sacrifice and no longer.” Revelation (11:11) says that after the oblation for sin had been made for three days and a portion of a day, the two witnesses of God rose upon their feet to renew their testimony. (The “portion of a day” will receive its very important treatment in its proper place.) The detail given here as to the witnesses rising to their feet to renew their testimony intimates that the old Egyptian dramatism of throwing down the Tat cross with its face to the ground as a sign of the soul’s fall into matter and death, to be raised up in the opposite season, was employed in this verse.
The three months from the autumn equinox to the winter solstice, ending with the new birth at Christmas or New Year, were one facet of the same symbolism. Again, the three months from the dead of winter to the spring equinox, ending in the resurrection of the solar god, were kindred types. And in a purely symbolical zodiac the three autumn months were earth signs, and the three winter months were water signs, those of spring being air signs, and those of summer fire.
Amsu, the rejuvenated Horus, rose in a new body of light on the third day. Horus, the child, is crowned in the seat of Osiris at the end of three days. In the lunar typing, Osiris dies at the winter solstice to be reborn again as Horus on the third day in the moon. He then rose from the water in his baptism. The resurrection on the third day must have been vividly motivated by lunar phenomena.
As the Eye (of Horus) was a symbol of light reflected (as the eye reflects all images in it), the moon reflecting solar glory could be called the “Eye of Horus.” It is a matter of note that the Ritual says: “His eye is at peace . . . at the hour of night; (it is) full at the fourth hour of the earth . . .” So odd a phrase as the one italicized could hardly be given relevant meaning except in the sense of the fourth kingdom of life, the human, on the earth. It is to be noted here that since the two phrases, “the hour of night,” and “the fourth hour of the earth,” are obviously matched in this passage, this must be the Egyptian origin of the Gospel’s “fourth watch of the night.”
Many of the myths contain a hiding or seeking of refuge for three days or three months. In Joshua Rahab the harlot, who sheltered the two Israelite spies, hurried them off with instructions to get away to the hills and “hide themselves there for three days till the pursuers return.” A clear intimation of the resurrection on the third day is seen in an Egyptian text which runs: “I will arrange for you to go to the river when you die, and to come to life again on the third day.” Here again water types the incarnation and it is also figured as a death. In speaking of the rearising of the dead Pepi, the Ritual says: “Pepi is brought forth there in the place where the gods are born. The star cometh on the morrow and on the third day.” Mary searches for Jesus for three days as Isis sought the hidden Horus. In Matthew (15:29-32) Jesus takes compassion on the multitude that followed him into the desert “because they continue with me three days and have nothing to eat, and I would not send them away fasting.” The three days’ fast is emblematic of the three “days” in the bleak underworld without the sustenance of the solar light, the divine bread of life. In the story of the dismembered concubine in Judges (19), previously noted, the girl’s father detained the husband three days. With reference to Herod, Jesus enjoined his followers to “Go tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Then there is his memorable declaration: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. But he spake of the temple of his body,” (John 2:9) – and obviously of his spiritual body. The thunder and lightning that emanated from the summit of Mount Sinai at the Eternal’s appearing to Moses came “on the third day in the morning.” The manifestation of the Lord’s glory on the mountain was anticipated by Moses, who had been instructed to go to the people and tell them to “consecrate themselves to-day and to-morrow; let them wash their clothes and be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Eternal will descend upon the Mountain of Sinai in the sight of all the people.” Joshua told the people to prepare food, for within three days they would cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. And they remained three days on the banks before crossing the river. A study of these and the many other occurrences of the three days’ period will disclose to any mind the general idea of life being held in bondage or limitation for three cycles or aeons and its release to liberty or to function on the third (properly fourth).
The significance, then, of the Passover festival becomes clear in relation to the only cosmic or anthropological datum to which it could have any reference. In its widest sense it memorialized simply the passing of the soul over the flowing stream of this life. It was the pilgrimage of the Manes across the sea of experience that lay between mortal and immortal life. It must never be lost sight of that the Jordan was a stream that marked the boundary line between the desert and the Promised Land. To migrate from animal existence to godlike status of being we must cross the boundary line separating the two kingdoms. The soul plunges in this water on the western marge, swims or sails across and reaches the “farther shore” on the eastern boundary where he rises to a new day like the sun. As the final stage and termination of the passing over came at the equinox of spring, this date, the first full moon after the equinox, was invested with the cumulative and culminating significance of the whole pass-over. It was the fourteenth or the fifteenth of the Hebrew month Nisan. But after all it is a question of minor difference whether the term “Passover” is taken to embrace the whole extent and duration and experience of the passing across life’s sea, or more specifically the crossing of the final boundary line at the Easter equinox; whether the passage is over the lines at beginning and end of the journey, or over the entire space between them. It may mean the passing into, the passing out of, or the passage across, the realm of bodily life, and has apt significance in any case.
The sun, typing ever the immortal fire in man, dipped down into the sea at evening and underwent his baptism during the night. He crossed the water of the Nun each night and emerged each morning. Also it is to be observed that the boat of Horus makes its journey across the sea on the border of the earth at night. Night in the diurnal cycle matches winter in the annual cycle in solar typism. And both figure the incarnation. Our voyage across the water of mortal existence is made when our souls are struggling through the darkness of material night. At any rate this is the symbolical language in which the ancient sages try to delineate our experience. This is “the dark night of the soul,” and “the twilight of the gods.” The “dead” are described as those who have voyaged in the boat at night, bound for the city of Akhemu at the polar Paradise.
A flood of light is released by the statement of the Ritual that the ship of Nnu, described in the “chapter by which one saileth a ship in the nether world,” was ordered built with three decks or stories. It was to bear the crowd of Manes in safety across the abyss in which the devourer Apap lurked. The Manes supplicates the god:
“O thou who sailest the ship of Nnu over the void, let me sail the ship. Let me be brought in as a distressed mariner and go to the place which thou knowest.”
And again he exclaims:
“O thou who sailest the ship of heaven over the gulf which is void, let me come to see my father Osiris” (Ch. 44; 99).
He is told he has to know each part of the bark by name and to repeat each name before he is admitted on board. From the examination in the judgment hall we learn the nature of the boat and its three stories. The lowest story is Akar (Hagar), which is identical with the Hebrew Achor, and that is the same as the Valley of Sheol (Amenta). Akar means also the hold of a ship, deep within which the god fell asleep while the storm raged without. The god was first intoxicated with lethargy and drowsiness. The ark was built first with one story, then two, then three. The lower was earth. The next was lunar, that is, the emotion body; and the third was the lower mind body; and the spirit lives in each or all of the three according to its focus.
In the “chapter of bringing home a boat in the underworld,” the several parts of the ship are specified and their correspondences given. The posts at stem and stern are “the two columns of the nether world,” or the points of entry and egress, west and east. The ribs are the four sustaining gods, or the four bodies typed by earth, water, air and fire. The boat is said to be brought in over the evil lake of Apepi, and the Manes prays that he may bring the boat along and coil up its ropes “in peace, in peace.” Bringing in the boat must be taken to figure the soul’s final uplifting of the animal self to the human kingdom, or “landing it.” The wood of the right and left sides constitutes the Lord of the Two Lands, master of soul and body. The rudder is the leg of Hapi, one of the four supporters of the world and of man. The towing rope is the hair of Anup. Spiritual guidance is indicated here, as Anup is the keen-scented guide of souls in the dark of incarnation. He also helps to tow the boat, as one of the two “Openers of the Way.” The oar-rests are the pillars of the underworld. Earth and water furnish the basic leverage against which one can exert force to push ahead. The mast is described as “he who bringeth back the great lady after she hath gone away.” The lower deck is the station of Apuat, protector of the Manes, who sees that they do not fall overboard into the jaws of Apap. The sail is Nut, the original driving power of nature. It is that which engenders moving power by opposing matter to the invisible force of spirit, the wind or breath. The paddles are the fingers of Horus, taking hold and exerting power from within. The planks are the seven constituent elements furnishing the groundbase for all operation. The hull is Mert (Merti?), the womb and sustainer. The keel is the thigh or leg of Isis that Ra cut off with a knife to bring blood into the Sektet boat. The sailor is the traveler, the Manes. The wind “cometh from Tem, to the nostrils of Khenti-Amenti” (Osiris), and is the impelling spiritual power that gives life to the Manes. The river is “that which can be seen,” the visible material world, on the bosom of which all flows along. The mooring post is the celestial pole to which the voyaging ship is made fast with the cable of divinity.
The Speaker says: “I stand erect in the bark which the god is piloting.” He is the god himself, learning to pilot the boat. “I am the great god in the bark who fought for thee.” Ra says to the sailors: “Take your oars, unite yourselves to your stars.” And again he assures them: “O my pilots, you shall not perish, gods of the never-setting stars.”
A most enlightening name of the boat of Horus on the nether sea is “Collector of Souls for Ra.” This name at once takes on meaning against the background of the dismemberment doctrine, and would be otherwise unintelligible. As the overlord fragments himself to nucleate the multitude of souls in the world, the return journey across the sea of this life will operate to reunify the individualized units in the Lord’s reconstituted body. The ship of this world will bring the scattered members of that original unitary body together in a new bond of fellowship. As it sails along it will collect again the fragments scattered broadcast in the descent to earth. Whatever unity of spirit and action mankind will achieve will to that extent make life the collectors of souls for Ra. The Horus spirit in man will reunify the dismembered Osiris.
The offices of scholarship have served no better purpose than to have us look through the glass of ancient mythical construction into a world of alleged fantastic conception of primitive naïveté. Our essay is to direct the modern eye through the same glass to see, not a bizarre world of childish fancy and credulity, but a factual world of meaning enhanced for the first time to resplendent illuminating power. Nothing beyond a meaningless Egyptian word has been to scholars and the world the name given to the boat of Horus in which we cross the lower main from west to east – from birth to death: the Semketet boat, or “boat of the setting sun.” That there was another boat that made the voyage back again from the eastern morn to the western eve to repeat the cycle, and that it was named the Maatet boat, or “boat of the rising sun,” has remained hidden in dry-as-dust Egyptological research as a pretty poetism, but nothing more. Yet these two boats and their two journeys are almost the two facts of prime import for mankind in this life. For the Semketet and Maatet boats are respectively the physical body in which the soul makes its way across the river of life in the flesh, and the spiritual body of solar light in which it ascends to heaven and traverses the sky in its summertime of disembodied being toward the autumn of another descent into matter. The one is Paul’s “natural body,” the other his “spiritual body.” The latter is now being gestated within the other as its womb, and upon its delivery at its Easter morn on the side of the rising sun, the soul will transfer its residence from the old body to the new one. Since flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of heaven, the soul prepares for its habitation there a fit vesture that can subsist in the celestial Paradise. All this is told in Egyptian myth in which, when the Semketet boat of the setting sun, after voyaging the night on the sea, arrives at last on the eastern marge of sunrise, the passengers with Horus, who are the human Manes with their twelve powers perfected, disembark from it and embark anew on the Maatet boat, or glorious ship of Ra, the spiritual Sun. With the redeemed, the elect and the glorified humanity on board, this majestic boat of the sun then sails upward to the zenith of heaven, and on across the sky till the recurring cycle brings it down to the western gate of the Tuat once more. Man at Easter, or at sunrise, steps out of his mortal vesture into his immortal spirit vehicle to live forever in non-physical realms, robed in light as a garment. The night voyage of the fleshly vessel of Horus ends at dawn, and the joyous sailors, now divinized humans, leave the mummy body of flesh and crowd exultingly on the shining ship of spiritual sunlight, to make the ascent to heaven.
In this boat, along with Ra, there sat the gods Khepera and Tem; but these were only the personifications of Ra’s own forms as descending and rising god of evening and morning, or of incarnation and resurrection. These two are again known as Hu and Sa, the two gods who had their places in the boat of the sun at creation. They personify the two nodes of being, spirit and matter. It is written in the Ritual (Ch. 120) that while Unas sails towards the east side of heaven, his sister, the star Septet, giveth him birth in the Tuat. This is based on the fact that the west-to-east journey through incarnation fits the soul for birth into the vesture of the sun-god. Ra-Harmachis, a later form of the risen Horus, is denominated “the great god within his boat.” Another name for the sun-boat was the “bark of Millions of Years.”
The lower boat of Horus, the Semketet, is also that place of refuge or retreat in which the Manes find sanctuary from a pressing menace of the great Dragon Law of the wheel of birth and death. In Numbers (35:6) it is stated that six cities were appointed for refuge; and six is the number typing the elemental forces that built the physical body. The lower boat is the earthly refuge for spirits fleeing from heaven. The solar heroes were saved in a basket of reeds. The typology depicts the birth of heavenly beings into the human body on earth. There was always conveyed the idea of safety from circumfluent waters in some sort of enclosure, a boat, ark, or nest of reeds, or an island. In the Norse mythos it was the ash-tree, called “The Refuge of Thor,” that caught and saved the young god when he was being swept away by the overflowing waters of the river Vimur. Osiris is saved in the midst of the bole of the tamarisk tree that floated on the water. The reed that offers an escape from the water to the dragon-fly, whereby it may ascend into its proper sphere of the air, is a type of salvation from the water.
A mound of earth, the papyrus reed or a willow stuck in the moist ground were some of the portrayals of emergence or rescue from water before the boat had furnished a more generally used type. The soul must find a place or means of stability amid the flux of life. The early symbols of wading and swimming shadowed the stage of evolution when the soul was deeply mired in matter. The boat typifies the time when the higher entity was able to cross over dry-shod.
It is an extraordinary confirmation of the theses here presented that the entry into the boat to begin the underworld journey was in all respects identical with the burial of Horus or Osiris in their coffins. This certifies to the identity of the physical body of man with the boat of the lower Nun. The boat and the coffin are the same symbol in effect, both typing the physical body. For the Manes says: “I am coffined in an ark like Horus, to whom his cradle is brought.” For he is to be reborn in the same body in which he “dies.” He transforms his coffin into his new cradle. This cradle is the nest or ark of papyrus reeds, and indicates that the “death” and burial take place in the same realm where a new birth is to occur. The lotus was a type of the boat or ark of safety in the water and of the womb of birth in one. Some of the later ships were lotus-shaped at prow and stern. The cabin was the Hindu Argha-Yoni or the womb of the mother. The constellation Argo Navis, the Pleiades, the Little Bear and Orion were uranographic picturings of the boats of salvation in various relations.
It is evident that the tabernacle which the Eternal ordered Moses to build, in which he might dwell with his children, the Israelites, and eventually be raised up, is but another form of typism for the inner shrine of the sanctuary, the holy of holies in the ark of the covenant. And this in turn is depicted under the water emblemism as the ship of the sun, or boat of Ra. The exchange of passengers from the boat of Horus to the ship of Ra betokened the successful completion of the incarnation cycles. It was the index of their new birth, which was not now that of water. For they had finished the water baptism at that point, and were to enter upon the baptism of fire, which would induct them into the spiritual universe. The solar bark was to pick up the survivors of the mundane sea voyage and transport them across the expanse of a kingdom of air and fire, which required a boat of airy and fiery texture. The happy passengers were carried upward on board the “bark of Hasisadra” “to be like the gods.” “Nu saileth round about the heavens and voyageth along with Ra.” The material of the ship of Ra is imperishable stuff, formed out of the indestructible essence of solar light. Imprisoned for many incarnations in the tabernacle of the flesh, we finally are released from it, to pass over into another temple of shining glory, our true spirit body. One of the great purposes of our coming into the world is to build this fabric. When it is finished we exchange our house of darkness for this vessel of light. This is most plainly indicated in a sentence on a Chaldean tablet: “O man of Surippak, son of Ubarratutu, destroy the house and build a ship.” A house is stationary, bound to a given locale. A ship is mobile. In the glorious vesture of the sun-body the soul of man can traverse all realms and worlds with electric alacrity. When the Osiris obtains command over the upper sea he exclaims: “Collector of souls is the name of my bark. The picture of it is the representation of my glorious journey upon the canal.” The canal was probably the Milky Way, which was thought of as the path of souls to reach the empyrean. The solar boat is fastened to the celestial pole by seven ropes. Both boats are drawn by groups of seven or twelve powers, represented by the seven horses of the sun, the seven swans, seven dolphins, and others. The boats were drawn first by the seven nature powers, later by the twelve spirit forces; or the lower boat by the seven and the celestial by twelve. In fact the Egyptians enumerate and name seven boats to suggest the seven principles which carry evolution along. The Ritual (Ch. 89) contains an apostrophe of sublime beauty to these basic energies of life:
“Hail, ye gods who tow along the boat of the lord of millions of years, who bring it above the underworld and who make it to travel over the Mount, who make souls to enter into (their) spiritual bodies, whose hands are filled with your ropes . . . destroy ye the enemy; thus shall the boat of the Sun be glad and the great God shall set out on his journey in peace. May it (the soul) look upon its material body, may it rest upon its spiritual body, and may its body neither perish nor suffer corruption forever.” Chapter 136B is entitled: “of sailing the great boat of Ra to pass over the circle of Bright Flame.” And in it the Manes says: “I am the spiritual body (sah) of the lord of divine right and truth made by the goddess Uatchet.”
A vast flood of light is let in upon Gospel interpretation at one burst if it is understood that the twelve disciples of Jesus symboled the twelve powers of spiritual light energy to be unfolded by man in twelve labors or stages of growth, all imaged by the twelve signs of the zodiac. It should from the first have been seen without cavil that the function of “the Twelve” in the Gospels was far more than that of useful agents of a historical personage to found an earthly ecclesiasticism. For when the Gospel Jesus told them they would sit with him on the twelve celestial thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, the declaration took them at once from the realm of personal history into that of cosmic hierarchism.
Egypt gave them a more definitive naming and function. Accompanying Horus or Ra, the twelve were astronomical powers, rulers or “saviors of the treasure of light.” As light was the crowning product of all cosmic operation, the saviors of its treasure were the culminating depositories of dynamic agency. They became the twelve great spirit-children of Ra’s unimaginable might. With Horus they became the twelve who accompany the god to earth as sowers of the seed and later reapers of the divine harvest reaped on earth for enjoyment in heaven. When the Gnostic Jesus of the Pistis Sophia (I:5) rises as the first fruits of them that slept, he becomes the teacher of the twelve on the Mount of Olives (the Mount of the Olive Tree of Dawn, or the resurrection). He suddenly appears in their midst as they sit on the Mount and dazzles them with his glory. It was the function of the Christos to gather up and synthesize in himself the potentialities of all lower forces. In the Ritual we find this remarkable duplicate of the scene on the Mount of Olives (Ch. 133, Renouf): “Ra maketh his appearance at the Mount of Glory, with the cycle of the gods about him.” Here is incontestable evidence that the twelve disciples represent twelve deific powers, and not men.
The twelve were also the Gnostic Aeons, who were powers or “saviors” of light. The Gnostic Jesus gives this testimony:
“When I first came into the world I brought with me twelve powers. I took them from the hands of the twelve saviors of the treasure of light.” There is power in these mighty utterances from old Egypt’s Ritual to dispel the fogs of many centuries of religious superstition.
The first seven powers in physical phenomena had been gathered up, divinized and unified by the coming into evolution of the Christ Avatar. Additional unfoldment raised them to twelve. As the young solar deity passed through the twelve signs of the zodiac, he appropriated to himself and harmonized in the alembic of his own constitution all the natural radiations of deific light put forth by the twelve aeons or emanations. Jesus speaks of them as his ministers and messengers, whom he hath made “a flame of fire.” Jesus brought the gift of soul to the natural energies and converted them into agents of cosmic mind. These were the twelve who as kings rowed the solar bark for Ra, with Horus at the prow. These were the twelve knights about the table of King Arthur; they were the twelve sons of Jacob; and the twelve gods with Odin in their midst. And they were the divine powers which were said to be unfolded, one each year, for the first twelve years of the solar god’s life, bringing him to the stage of divinest birth at the age of twelve. And this was a sublimated meaning shadowed in the ancient puberty festivals of many tribes. All the solar gods ended their childhood, or subjection to Mother Nature’s law, at twelve and entered the period of spiritual maturity, consummating it at the age of thirty.
The twelve were called “the saviors of light” because they upheld the radiance of the spiritual sun. They are described as the emanations of the seven voices and the five supports. The seven voices are the seven primary radiations of tonal vibration that carries the energies of the Elohim or Logoi into manifestation. The five supports are apparently the five basic elements, earth, water, air, fire and aether, that support the edifice of the being of man and planets alike. The twelve in Egypt were Sut, Horus, Shu, Hapi, Ap-Uat, Kabhsenuf, Amsta, Anup, Ptah, Atum, Sau and Hu. They accompany Jesus and Horus through the twelve zodiacal signs (Pistis Sophia, 339-371), and it is said they “go forth three by three to the four quarters of heaven to preach the gospel of the kingdom.” This “preaching” does not sound as if it meant the Sabbath pulpit oratory. The four quarters of heaven is a description of their location on the zodiacal chart.
The Gospel Jesus repeats some of the features of the sea voyage of “the ark of earth” sailing eastward. Horus emerges from the nocturnal storm on the waters into the calm of daybreak. Jesus comes walking over the water to the boat, while the lower soul (Peter) implores his help in saving him from sinking in the lake and is “lifted into the bark” (Matt. 14:22) like the rescued Manes in the Ritual. Jesus sustains the character of Horus who in the boat is the oar, paddle and rudder of Ra, and who exclaims: “I am the Kheru [ruler, controller] of Ra, who brings the boat to land” (Ch. 63). Jesus becomes master in the ship. It is again noteworthy that the Gospel sun-god appears on the water in the morning watch, the fourth watch of the night. The god of intellect rises after “three days” in the tomb of matter and the sea of earth. The Manes prays: “Grant that I, too, may be able to walk on the water as thou walkest on the Nun without making any halt.” In another place he cries: “I fail, I sink in the abyss of the flowing that issues from Osiris.”
Before the sun-boat can begin its upward journey from the eastern boundary, the giant Apap must be forced to relinquish his hold on the Tree of Life and to “disgorge the waters of Light.” This apparent mixing of metaphors would indicate the birth of the sun-god’s powers out of the womb of lower nature. In man it would connote the parturition of the solar Christ principle in and from the physical body. If the figure of “disgorging” is not a most impressive suggestion of evolution from within the heart of life outward to the periphery – which modern science has now asseverated – one would be at a loss to think of a more forceful one.
The crossing is not the same as the cross in immediate portrayal of meaning, yet the two lead by a short step into each other’s province. In a very direct sense the cross is connected with the flood of water that must be crossed, with the baptism and the lower sea voyage. In its totality, as the allegorical expression of a real experience, racial and individual, all this was the cross. This most ancient, perhaps, of all religious symbols (by no means an exclusive instrument of Christian typology) was the most simple and natural ideograph that could be devised to stand as an index of the main basic datum of human life – the fact that in man the two opposite poles of spirit and matter had crossed in union. The cross is but the badge of our incarnation, the axial crossing of soul and body, consciousness and substance, in one organic unity. An animal nature that walked horizontally to the earth, and a divine nature that walked upright crossed their lines of force and consciousness in the same organism. The implications of this situation are all that the great symbol ever connoted. There can be nothing more religiously holy and sacred about the sign than about any other figure of human life. It means just that human life – nothing more. By ecclesiastical psychologization it has come to betoken a range of emotional repercussions, but it still carries no basic meaning other than that of the god immersed in matter. Whatever is sacred in human life is so by virtue of that single fact. However, since all values in life flow from that fundamental ground, the symbol may legitimately be made the talismanic focus of both emotional and intellectual reaction. If it conveys to the mass mind the strong intimation that this life itself is haloed with august significance, is essentially sacred and worthy of being lived with deepest consecration of purpose and effort to its intelligently discerned ends, its symbolic influence would indeed be salutary. If it is taken to be a cross of wood on which a man of flesh was physically nailed some nineteen centuries ago, its effect on thought must be stultifying and deadening.
Plato says that the divine man was “bicussated and was stamped upon the universe in the likeness of a cross.” When primal unity of life bifurcated into spirit and matter, the two forces had to be crossed in interplay in order to engender the worlds and all manifestation. The coming of mind in man to rule nature brought the figure of the cross into symbolism because it brought the upright line to cross at right angles the horizontal line denoting the feminine or natural creation. Man was the first to raise the animal from horizontal position to the vertical; yet both natures live in him, considerably at “cross purposes” with each other. At any rate typology figured the mother creation, before mind came with man, by the horizontal line, which is the minus sign. Nature was privation – the Greeks called matter “privation.” The union with it, however, of the intellectual principle made it capable of adding and increasing, giving itself more life, and so the cross is the plus sign. But great multiplication of living beings could not come until the forces were set in motion; and motion was indicated by a moving of the straight cross one half of a quarter revolution, or out of motionless position; and this gives the multiplication sign, as well as the numeral (Roman) ten, the number that joins male and female signs, I and O, in activity. It was the crossing of spirit with matter that moved and multiplied the worlds. And ten is the number of the completed cycle, and the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Yod, the name of God. The bread of life had to be vastly multiplied before it could be distributed. The mathematical sign of division is the horizontal line, with a dot above and below to signify that when life divided it split into two kingdoms, one above, the other below, a median line. And we shall see that this gives a perfect picture or glyph of man’s nature lived on the horizon line between “Upper and Lower Egypt.”
The Toltecs called the cross the Tree of Sustenance and the Tree of Life. The tree and cross are identical, and even the staff or rod is a reduced form of the tree-type, for Aaron’s rod was fabled to be a stem from the Tree of Life in Genesis. The cross is a symbol of life, never of death, except as “death” means incarnation. It was the cross of life on earth because its four arms represented the fourfold foundation of the world, the four basic elements, earth, water, air and fire, of the human temple, and because it was an emblem of the reproduction of new life, and thus an image of continuity, duration, stability, an eternal principle ever renewing itself in death. The whisperings of esoteric fable report that the very tree on which Jesus was hanged was grown from a sprout or seed from the forbidden Tree of Life in Genesis! There are many instances of the cross burgeoning into fresh life. The savior is not nailed on the tree; he is the tree. He unites in himself the horizontal human-animal and the upright divine. And the tree becomes alive; from dead state it flowers out in full leaf. The leaf is the sign of life in a tree. The Egyptians in the autumn threw down the Tat cross, and at the solstice or the equinox of spring, erected it again. The two positions made the cross. The Tat is the backbone of Osiris, the sign of eternal stability. And Tattu was the “place of establishing forever.”
That the cross betokened the basic idea of the impregnation of elemental matter with divine potency typed as male is evidenced by the fact that Apt, the old first Mother, figured as the hippopotamus and the Great Bear, is depicted with a fourfold phallus on her breast in the form of a cross. Again and again the goddess of primal source is figured with male features or the male member, mutely proclaiming her power as re-begetter of the dead. The Christ in the form of the Stauros, or cross, impregnated the Mother Sophia and gave to her who was otherwise formless an ideal form and beauty. Forgetting the ancient Gnostic teaching and calling it “heresy,” the early Christians warred over the question of the sex of the Logos. The knowledge that would have saved them all this sad miscarriage of zeal can be summarily stated. The Logos is the product of cosmic male and virginal female substance, in union. A virgin is unproductive until embraced by creative power. At bottom the cross indicates sex union, be it on the plane of the cosmos, in the heart of the atom, in the solar systems, or on the nuptial bed. A crossing is consummated or a cross made wherever the positive and negative poles of life cross each other in their interblended affinity. And then the Son, or Logos, is born. And the child becomes a man, and must enter into creative relation with his Mother Nature in his turn. Gnostic literature states that the Christ fertilized the Mother Sophia by making the sign of “Kr” or “Chr” (Greek XP) over her body. This was the cross within the circle, or the male crossed with the female. The symbol then gave rise to the many words beginning with Chr- or Kr-(Cr-), such as Charis, Christ, Kheru, Cross, Chronos, Course, Circle, Karast, Crest; as well as, by the curious process of reversal employed by the ancients, Rekh, Ark, Arche, Argo, Arch, etc. The letter “A” bears testimony likewise to some ancient philosophy, as it apparently represents the single vertical line of male deity, or god in unity, split apart or in two, as male and female, and then joined by the middle cross stroke, the Ankh-tie. The “O” also proclaims its own meaning as being the boundless infinite, without beginning or end, self-contained, ever returning unto itself, embosoming all things, yet, as the Absolute (that is, released from all finiteness or form), the sign of total negation of Nought. And we are now in position to see something of the significance of the great Gnostic name for the sun-god or Logos, son of Sophia: I A O. It reads under our eyes: “I” am the “A” (Alpha) and the “O” (Omega), the beginning and the end. But, seen with a bit more philosophical penetration it reads again: I, the first emanation of being (typed by the straight vertical line, the No. I), split into two phases, joined (in the “A”) in incarnate and manifest existence, and end in a return to infinite Be-ness, “O.” The “Y” near the end of the alphabet is an “A” reversed, and the two separated streams returning into the “I.” The “U” and “V” show the original “I” split in two, united at the bottom in incarnation, and the force descending and then returning. The “J” indicates the turning to return of the “I.” “S” and “Z” are types of turning and endlessly returning life. Other letters show design in their construction, as they were glyphs of esoteric philosophy.
A tradition that the cross of Calvary was made of four kinds of wood, palm, cedar, olive and cypress, signifies again that it stood for the four segments of the nature of man and the world.
The cross of Calvary of Christian iconography is common on the breasts of Egyptian mummies. It is identical with the Ankh-cross, denoting life and renewal. The cross was placed in the hands of the dead as an emblem both of incarnation and the new life to come. It was carved on the back of the scarab, with the same meaning. The Horus of the resurrection is pictured with the Cross of Life in his hand in the act of raising the dead body from the bier. The sign of the cross was made upon the mummy entering the realm of the dead; it was also given to the soul as it arose out of the body as an emblem of rebirth.
The cross has been appropriated by Christian ecclesiasticism as the unique and distinctive emblem of its faith. Yet in the iconography of the catacombs no figure of a man on the cross appears during the first six or seven centuries of the era! Instead there are all forms of the cross except the one which is claimed to be the very basis and origin of the religion itself. The cross of Calvary was not the initial, but the final form of the crucifix. The cult that now buttresses its authenticity upon the historic Calvary presents not a single reproduction of its crucified Redeemer in its symbolic art during the first six or seven centuries! According to Massey the earliest known form of the human figure on the cross is the crucifix presented by Pope Gregory the Great to Queen Theodolinde, now in the Church of St. John at Monza; while no image of the crucifix is found in the catacombs at Rome earlier than that of San Siulio belonging to the seventh or eighth century. In the earliest representations of the Trinity made by Christian artists, the Father and the Holy Spirit, the latter being feminine in the form of the Dove, are pictured beside the cross. A Christ, and him crucified, is utterly absent. Not the Crucified, but the cross, is the primary symbol of the Christian faith. Yet that same cross is pre-Christian, is a pagan and heathen symbol. For centuries the cross stood for the Christ, and was addressed as if it were a living thing. Crucifixes have been found in Christian churches antedating the fourth century, with a human figure nailed or bound in the conventional way; but the figure is not that of Jesus! It is that of Orpheus! In Christian imagery the Lamb was the usual figure on the cross, when a sacrificial victim was added to the bare cross emblem. But it appears that about the end of the seventh century it began to be felt that the alleged historical life of the personal Christ was in danger of being lost amid the mass of symbolic representations and the multiplicity of Messianic and sun-god characters which were current in most countries as the heritage of pagan symbolism. In order, then, to focus emphasis upon the uniqueness of the Christian Jesus as the physically crucified one, it was decreed by the Council of Trullo, or the Quinque Sixtum, in the reign of Justinian II, that in future the figure of the real historical Jesus should supersede the astrological sign of Aries “in the image of Christ, our God.” “He shall be represented in his human form, instead of the Lamb, as in former times” (Cited by Didron: Icon. Chret., pp. 338-9).
In the eighth century Adrian I, Pontiff of Rome, in a letter to Barasius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, voiced the opinion that the time had come for the Christ to be no longer portrayed as the Lamb:
“Forasmuch as the shadow hath passed away and that Christ is very man, he ought therefore, to be represented in the form of a man.”
“The Lamb of God must not be depicted on the cross as a chief object; but there is no hindrance to the painting of a lamb on the reverse or inferior portion of the cross where Christ hath been duly portrayed as a man.”
No criticism can be legitimately lodged against the Holy Fathers for desiring to use the human figure as a symbol to carry the vital truth that the Logos had put on the form of a man, and that the new heaven and earth was to be formed “according to the measure of a man.” It would indeed have more impressiveness than the more abstract symbol of the astrological Lamb. But the world, and especially those millions of souls whose earthly lives were snuffed out in the name of an alleged gentle Galilean peasant, call out a vigorous challenge to the procedure of turning an innocuous symbol into a veridical historical personage, when the change entailed, as the sequel showed, the transformation of devotional reverence for a spiritual ideal into frenzied zeal and inhuman cruelty, in the name of an actual man. It was not until the long process of mental corrosion had brought to decay the ancient power to discern spiritual truths through outward symbols that the figure of the personal God was thrust into the place of immolation, and the cross as emblem became the cross of wood.
In John’s account the crucifixion takes place at the time of the Passover, and for the Paschal Lamb is substituted the victim in human form. The killing of the Lamb of God (the Logos under the sign of Aries, as it had been the Bull in the preceding 2155 years) was the divine sacrifice; and his slaughter, with the sprinkling of the doorposts, or gates of the new life, with his blood, was the sign of the new birth of spiritual life. In one sign humanity was washed in the blood of the Bull, in the next in the blood of the Lamb; and again in the next in the blood of the Christ whom the Greeks named Ichthys, the Fish.
The sprinkled blood of the gods, poured out for humanity on earth, was symboled as fertilizer to nourish the earth. In early times the mother’s blood, too, was believed to fertilize the fields for the new sowing. The function of fertilizing the ground is assigned both to Sut and to Judas, the adversaries and betrayers of the sun-god in the Christian and Egyptian myths. Sut was said to fertilize the fields with his blood “on the night of fertilizing the field in Tattu.” The coming of divinity to dwell with man was to make the soil of his life productive by enriching the natural self. What more apt symbol, then, than that of fertilizing?
An ancient festival not copied by the Roman Christians was that of the Hiding of the Cross in the Nile, followed in the opposite sign by the ceremony of Finding the Cross. The person traditionally assigned to the finding was Helena, a name which must be taken as derived from Helios, the sun, in Greek. It was the boast of Isis that she had given birth to Helios. The “Hor” of “Horus” is also Har, Hal, Hel (the Egyptian “R” becoming the Hebrew “L”); hence Horus is Helios by name, as Jesus is Joshua. Isis lost the fiery cross in the ocean of incarnation and Helena or the sun-spirit recovered it from the river to blaze in renewed glory at the Passover or crossing in March. Nothing more is depicted by these festivals than the incarnation and resurrection of life in matter, or the god in mortal man. As Isis lost her child at the autumn equinox and found him again at the equinox of spring, there is again a clear identification of cross with Christ-child.
Nothing could more definitely point to the meaning of the cross as the fact of incarnation than the name of the ancient Mexican cross itself, which was Tonocaquahuitl, “the tree of our flesh.” We are nailed on this tree of flesh, out of whose symbolic wood alone is to be constructed the only cross on which the god has ever died. This is the only death on the cross known to erudite sages. And every imagined hammer-stroke driving nails through rended flesh on a geographical Golgotha has been a renewed stroke of misguided fanaticism nailing the free spirit of man still more firmly to the cross of ignorance, superstition and bondage.
Baptized with the god in his death on the cross, we shall happily disburden ourselves of this weight of toil and suffering when we have finished the crossing of the waters and see the golden sun rise at the end of the fourth watch of the night.
1. Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 131.
2. Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, II, p. 222.
THE ARK AND THE DELUGE
The treatment of the symbolism behind the figure of the ark and the deluge in the Christian Bible naturally belongs in the chapter on the baptism and the crossing of the water. But this allegory conveys a recondite message of such luminous beauty and cosmic majesty that it merits a chapter in its own right. It need hardly be announced at the start that the ark was not a wooden structure and the deluge had nothing to do with water. They are ideotypes of the most cogent intellectual suggestiveness. They are cosmographs, or figurative sketches of grand universal truth, sublime in conception and challenging in the sweep of their import.
From one angle of approach the ark symbolism duplicates or parallels that of the two boats analyzed in the previous chapter. For the exegesis here again manifests the dual aspect of the meaning portrayed, and shows two arks pertinent to man’s life, one floating on the terrestrial water, the other soaring across the celestial sea of crystal. The one above is the paraphrase for Apollo’s glorious chariot of the sun climbing across the sky by day; the one below is the raft, boat or ark in which the “dead” soul makes its passage by night across the Styx of the nether world, with Horus, Charon or Christ for pilot. In short, the upper one is man’s body of glowing spiritual light; the lower is his ark or temple of flesh. And the peculiarity of the operation of the great Law of the Two Truths comes to view here in the fact that in the alternate arcs of the cycle each body becomes in turn the ark that houses and preserves the other. In the earth cycle the physical body becomes the ark that contains and treasures the spiritual; conversely, in the discarnate cycle the spiritual body contains and treasures the seeds of the physical. It exemplifies the eternal alternation of spirit and matter, soul and flesh, discarnate and incarnate existence in the universe of life. The one thing that is definite beyond dispute is that the legend of the ark and flood could never have had reference to a physical vessel bearing living animals and humans on the breast of a world-ocean raised to the mountain tops. For thousands it will be a gratuitous labor to point out the features of impossibility and absurdity in accepting the account as objective or literal history. They are in this case so glaringly preposterous that their brief review for the sake of shaking thousands of stubborn minds loose from literalism appears to be pardonable.
In the first place no vessel of the size described could house the number of living creatures – two of every species of “unclean beasts” and fourteen of every species of “clean beasts” – that Noah was ordered to take with his family into the ark. It would take a well-equipped army of many thousands of men at least a year to go over the earth now and collect the two or fourteen specimens of every living creature. And many types of animal and insect can’t live when transported to different climatic habitats. Many insects live only a few hours and so could not possibly be taken a long journey to the ark. Noah and his family were given by the Eternal just seven days to make this collection, impossible to begin with! Then, if by some miracle there were space on board for all the animals, birds and insects (not to say fish and reptiles), there certainly could not be found space for the supply of food necessary to tide them over one hundred and fifty days’ imprisonment in the ark. And nearly all animals and insects require different kinds of food, impossible to provide, even to know what to secure and where to find it. Carnivorous animals would have to be given other animals to eat. And the imagination can depict the living conditions on such a boat after a few days.
Then as to the rain of forty days and nights, alleged to have raised the ocean over the whole world to the mountain tops! This is allegorism pure and simple, since forty thousand days of rain could not raise the ocean an inch! Rain is moisture that has been taken out of the ocean to begin with, and only returns to it, keeping its level constant. To raise the entire ocean of the globe, water would have to be brought here from the “canals” on Mars or other celestial body. Literally the story is as chimerical as the star of Bethlehem and Jonah’s whale.
In addition to all this, an examination of antecedent deluge traditions and accounts will demonstrate that the Biblical version is but one of numberless presentations admittedly allegorical, and its historical authenticity will be seen to effervesce away in the profounder import of the whole cycle of such mythical heritage. Consistent study of Comparative Religion through the centuries would have prevented Christianity from wresting its allegories and spiritual constructions in the scripture so utterly apart from kindred material of the pagan world in frightful distortion of their meaning.
When we transfer the reference from external symbol to subjective reality, the myth is seen to be a somewhat fanciful but lucid pictorialization of the reciprocal relation of the two bodies of man’s constitution, physical and spiritual, as well as a formula for the routine of evolutionary growth. In life the material body is the ark in which the soul is carried over the sea of sense and realism; in the heavenly state the ark is the spiritual body that enwombs the seeds of physical creation. From the moment of first entry into incarnation the soul is borne across the waters of earthly existence, from west gate of life to east gate through the dark underworld, in the ark of the physical body. But when the six water signs of the zodiac have been traversed, and the soul comes to the point of emergence from the sea, it then embarks anew on the ark of Ra on the eastern marge and is borne up the ascent of heaven to the Paradise about the Pole, to join the company of the gods and the stars (souls) that never set (incarnate). The ark below matches and reflects the structure of the ark above, but in inverted form. The tabernacle was to be fashioned after the pattern of things in the mount. And the lower and the higher tabernacles were to enwomb each other in turn.
The figure of the womb as matching the ark-type is by no means an impertinent fancy. There is no sense in which the ark symbol can be better understood in its truest reference to cosmology and anthropology than in its character as the womb. Ancient religion tended to take on phallic coloring because all living process is a birthing, and life passed from one womb to another. It swings from a gestation in matter to a gestation in spirit. The soul is incubated in the physical body; but the form of the next body is incubated in the deep womb of the soul after death. Mind gestates in body, but body also gestates or is engendered in mind. Intelligence conceives the creation, matter gives it birth. We must be born of water (matter) and the spirit. Life has two wombs, and every sun-god had two mothers. All life is conceived in the womb of Nut or Isis and given manifest birth in the body of Nephthys, Egypt told us five millennia ago. The great Ritual of that land condenses this mighty truth into a sentence in the discourses to Pepi: “O Ra, the womb of Nut is filled with the seed of the Spirit which is in her.” Our word “nut,” the fruit of the tree, may be derived from this venerable source. The Hindus had their Argha-Yoni, the feminine or uterine symbol of all creative source. And Argha is cognate in root derivation with “ark.” The ark is the inner shrine and most holy sanctuary of life, from which the worlds issue.
Matter has been conspicuously published as being the Mater or mother of spiritual manifestation, but the correlative truth that in the opposite swing of the cycles of life and death, spirit likewise in its arc of the round becomes the gestating mother of the next expression in matter, has apparently become too abstruse for popular conception and has been lost out of the theological picture. Spirit goes into the cabin of the boat of the physical body to be gestated to new birth there. In turn, the body, going to dissolution outwardly, sends its principles into the inner shrine, or ark of the covenant, to be incubated there for its new birth in the next generation. Matter and soul eternally reciprocate dominance and leadership in living nature. And the flesh is no more the ark of the soul than soul is the ark of the flesh. Spirit conserves the gains in matter, to reproduce them in later forms, as matter does those of spirit.
As soon as Life bifurcates into its two opposite but complementary nodes, there is set in motion the operation of mutuality and reciprocity, rhythm and balance, between the two. Deep inside the ark was the shrine for Deity; buried in the secret depths of every physical man is Amen-Ra, the hidden Lord. But when the form of material man has vanished off the scene, deep within the heart of the god is the conception of the next organic form to be deployed into the visible world. And it is worth a moment’s comment in passing, to assert that a familiarity with the truth of this mutual and alternate birthing of soul and body in the order of life would have saved the western world the degradation of descent into the modern age of materialism now happily passing out. As noted in the first chapter of our study, modern science has now announced that all evolution is but the unfolding from within the geneplasm of qualities that were already implicit in the system of nature. Had vision not been beclouded by crass theological obsessions, and symbolic science not obliterated, these great truths could have been descried in Biblical texts in one or another form. In Exodus (25) the Lord’s instruction to Moses is given: “Inside the ark you must place the laws I give you.” This is not an order to deposit documents in a chest, as childish orthodoxy might suppose. It is the divine decree that bids mankind imprint the laws of life, learned from mundane experience, indelibly upon the inner tablets of the human spirit. Says the Eternal: “I will write my laws upon the hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” The lessons of truth must be engraved upon the eternal memory of the seminal divinity within. Thus, when the outer body of life is dissolved, the imperishable soul preserves the fruits of all past living in the unseen world of ideal archetypal forms.
Inside the physical matrix there hides the form of the god. Inside the god (when not embodied) hides the form of the (next) body. Each will give birth to the other in the cycle. To carry the image of birth in and from water, the boat or ark symbol was introduced. And the vastly important identity between the ark of the Biblical flood and the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament – the boat on the water and the chest in the temple – has been entirely lost sight of. Egypt kept the intimate relation in view when the chest from the sanctuary was carried on the shoulders of priests in procession in the shape of a boat or inside a boat. The tabernacle was a combined boat and shrine, or ark sanctuary. The fire on the altar or the shrine in the holy of holies was the symbol of divine mind nestling imperturbably in the heart of every material form.
When the Ritual expounds that the womb of Nut (nature) is filled with the seed of the spirit to which she is to give birth, the passage gives us the one central clue to full comprehension of the whole structure. It is found in the word “seed.” Here is indeed our Ariadne thread by which to reach understanding. The entire scope and full force of the meaning can’t be seen without viewing it through the analogy of the function of the seed in relation to its parent tree or plant. The ark is the seed of life. The analogy must be drawn in full.
Life, as said, ceaselessly alternates shuttle-like between the two nodes of manifestation and withdrawal, activity in matter and rest in spirit. From the heart of invisible being it issues forth to express its creative pleasure in building the universe. But it operates rhythmically in cyclic rounds, for it is never static; and its periodic activity is focalized in time, and runs its course to an end, at which the forms built up to express its nature are dismantled and vanish away. The Hindu Trinity expresses aspects of truth that the Christian Trinity has never conveyed. There was Brahma, the Creator, and opposite him Shiva, the Destroyer; and between them Vishnu, the Preserver of the eternal balance between them. The vast and vital function of Shiva has not been given due place in theology. Life has power to build forms, but if it did not also have power to destroy them, it would have to remain forever prisoner to its own formations! Nothing would be worse than that it should have to live eternally in the forms it first built. There could be no evolution. Life’s power to destroy a present construction and build a “more stately mansion” for its dwelling is its guarantee of advance to more abundant richness.
But provision then had to be made for preserving its grains at the end of each cycle when Shiva’s force brought all material forms to decay. Nature’s provision for this contingency is of course the seed. Every living organism has inherent in it the marvelous capability of nucleating on its outer periphery, just before the end of its career or of each “year” of growth, a miraculous embryonic reproduction of itself, its child in its own image and likeness, which has implicit within it the potentiality of renewing its parent’s life in complete stature in the next generation. In a word, every organic being, before death, is able to pack all its essential attributes into a tiny chest – Pandora’s box – in which is harbored the possibility of its living organically again in the next cycle, when the present corpus of matter is gone. This is its going into the ark, for the ark is the seed. It is that tiny vessel of sheer potentiality into which the living qualities now expressed in organic body can retire unseen, and be preserved in safety during the period when dissolution sweeps like a deluge over all the “earth” and washes all forms away! Earth here is a type of materiality, as heaven is the type of spiritual consciousness. The astute reader will already have divined that the Flood or Deluge is nothing other than the tide of Shiva’s force that, under the water typology, sweeps away all living forms and creatures. When that flood has washed away all foothold for soul or life to stand upon in cosmic waters, matter being the resting place for spirit, the indestructible nucleus of consciousness must retire into the invisible worlds and find a locale in structures of spiritual tenuity. The innermost vessel of purely spiritual substantiality in the invisible realms is the ark shrine of man’s life, and is at the same time his seed vesicle, for in it are condensed as in a capsule the capability of renewal and reproduction of every character of his present life, to start a fresh expression in due course.
The great Flood, then, is the tide of dissolution of forms at the end of each cycle. Massey comes close enough to the significance of the Deluge legends to assert correctly that the Flood marks the end and the new beginning of a cycle. Life must go on; there must be a next cycle. The ark is the inner shrine or seed body – in the tree visible, in man invisible and spiritual – into which the life principles of any being retire to be tided to security over the period when the waters of dissolution wash away all other foothold on earth. And at the end of the Flood it will emerge from the ark to set foot on or in matter once more, and renew the living creatures on “earth.”
The clue and the certification to the correctness of this interpretation lie in the very meaning and origin of the word “ark.” The dictionaries give the source of the word as from the Greek arkein, “to keep off, ward off, fend, defend, protect in an enclosure,” such as a palisade or corral. Moses’ ark of bulrushes is a typical mythical usage of the idea. The seed is just that enclosure of safety into which it withdraws when the waters of menace to its continuity are swirling around.
But who shall find authority strong enough to deny that the Greek arkein is not a slight variant or modification of the primary stem arch-? In this stem at any rate is the source of the basic meaning of the typism underlying the ark symbolism. For arche (Greek) means, most significantly, “the beginning”; and the seed is the beginning of the new generation, as it is the end of the preceding growth! When the cycle is ended and life has had its development and withdrawn from the form, it goes into rest for a night, after which it begins another cycle to gain further advance in enrichment. And here life operates according to a methodology that is basic for knowledge of its laws. In every new life period the indwelling and animating principle of soul begins its new career back at the point of the original beginning of all evolution itself. Every minor cycle becomes a miniature and reflection of the whole cycle of life in manifestation. It starts each new round at the point where first life started, or as the first word in the Greek Bible (Genesis) has it, en arche (Hebrew B’rashith), “in the beginning” of all creation. Each round starts from the same arche, for it has retired into that arche, or first primeval state of being, at the end of the preceding cycle, and must issue thence at the beginning of the next. More quickly, however, in each succeeding round it recapitulates its initial stages of growth. It is itself the Ancient of Days, a spark of that Infinite Being which is neither young nor old, but is ageless. Its new physical vehicle in each generation, however, traverses the successive stages of the entire evolution up to the point which the soul had achieved in the last activity, to go on a step farther from there. The immortal principle of soul retires into the primordial abysmal arche at the end of each active period, and emerges from it at each new beginning. And while in retirement in this arche it is tided safely over the waters of dissolution of form. Life does nothing else endlessly but go in and out of the arche. From manifest appearance in the worlds of actuality it retires into just what Plato denominated it, its archetypal form in noumenon. It comes out of this bosom of primordiality and withdraws into it in endless turn. It shuttles between adult growth in one cycle and embryonic seed beginnings in the next.
What characters, then, should we expect to find going into the ark to ride the flood? The names of Noah and his sons have not been competently etymologized, and much of the sequel is found here. The Greek word for the divine Mind is Noë, a feminine form of the universal cosmic Intelligence, the Nous – though Massey traces it from the Egyptian Nu or Nnu. The feminine form of the word, Noë, is quite significant, since it is in its feminine form in the Hebrew language that it comes to its form of No-ah, ah being a feminine termination. The no- is the stem of our own word “know,” and of course the basis of such a word as “Gnosis.” Noah is therefore the name of the divine intellectual principle, which, having projected itself into matter for the period of the active cycle, withdraws into the arche at the dissolution of its outward forms, as the spirit of the oak tree retires into the acorn before the storms crash its form to molder away. The French word for “Christmas” derives from the same stem, being No-el, which reads “(the birth of) God-Mind.” And who are Noah’s three sons, who go with him into the ark?
This divine principle of mentality manifests or deploys outward into the cosmic field of creation, not as one ray, but divided into three, which give ancient religions their “solar triads” of mind-soul-spirit, three aspects or modifications of the one single first emanation of cosmic mind. They find Biblical typing in the persons of the three angels who visited Abraham under the oaks of Mamre, the three men in the fiery furnace in Daniel, and the three magi who come with the incarnating Messiah to “adore” him. They even find a physiological replica in the threefold segmentation of the spermatozoa of the male creative fluid, which is often the type of creative mind. Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth, must be taken as the three primal segmentations of the first ray of divine consciousness. They are sometimes equated with the first three patriarchs of Israel, Abraham-Isaac-Jacob. Since a twelvefold progeny eventually issued from their cosmic activity, Jacob’s parentage of a race of twelve groups of Israelites is in line with the graph of the emanations. So, then, when the conscious principle is called upon to retire into its aboriginal arche at the “end of the aeon” – most disastrously translated “the end of the world” – it is quite clear that the intellectual entity could not disappear off the scene without absorbing his three radiations back into himself to disappear with him. Likewise their three shakti or materially implementing forces, or “wives,” accompanied them into “the ark.”
Then they were given “seven days” in which to build their structure of safety and gather the fourteens and twos of all creatures together. To be sure, the period for accomplishment of the work to be consummated in every cycle of life is “seven days.” Life could not withdraw from its outward manifestation in matter before the end of the cycle, which is seven “days” of creative activity. Thus the allegory is in utter true conformity with ancient cosmology.
The collection of seven (presumably of each gender) of “clean beasts” and but two of each kind of “unclean beasts” into the ark has been an item of puzzlement to exegetists. This is simple enough. To be “clean,” the lower animal nature would have had to be perfected by its development and purification attained at the end of the entire cycle of seven sub-cycles. Those that were figured under the number of the primal duality, which represents the condition in which they begin the cycle, when purgation of evil has but only begun, were the “unclean.” The “sevens” were finished and “clean”; the “twos” were still imperfectly developed and “unclean.”
The forty days of rain types the period of the “inundation,” which is another glyph for the incarnation or incubation in the womb of matter. The grain of Egypt was considered to be forty days in the ground before germination, when planted in the overflowing waters of the inundated Nile. The germ of human life incubates forty weeks in the womb of the mother before birth. The 120 days of durance in the ark seems to represent this typical period of forty, number of incubation, considered as threefold, in conformity with the kindred emblemism of the three days in the tomb, that is, forty taken three times. The basic significance of the three numbers – three, seven and forty – which occur endlessly in Bible symbolism, is uniformly that of the gestation of incarnation. It is buried in the three lower kingdoms, mineral, vegetable and animal; it works in matter through the seven cycles of any period; and it lies latent through the forty days of prenatal growth.
The dove is the emblem of spiritual fire as in the baptism at the Jordan. As divinity sent out its Son, so likewise it sent out, figuratively, its dove, which could not find a landing to settle on the earth until the waters had ceased raging and the time of the new cycle was at hand. The raven is the type of the first, natural, carnal nature, the animal Adam, and obviously, as Paul says that is first which is natural, the raven was sent forth first as the forerunner and preparer of the way.
And lastly comes the significance of the landing place of the ark when the flood of dissolution had ended and the principles could move out into material organization once more. This is a most important item of the allegory, and that it has been missed utterly bespeaks the gaucherie of centuries of Bible elucidation. Again the name reveals the hidden sense. In the case of a human being, the principles at death flee from earth habitat to heaven or higher consciousness. When the time is ready for their next embodiment in flesh, they return from heaven and land again on earth, where alone a body of requisite character is available. There is, then, only one place indicated as appropriate for the ark to land after the flood has subsided, and that is – on earth. And that is precisely what the word “Ararat” means! Life fled into the ark when the earth was obliterated and washed away. If it is to be active again, it must return to earth and let the principles out to begin creation anew at the point and place where they had left off at the end of the previous cycle. Many times in old scriptures, indeed in the Bible, the earth is designated at “the mount of earth”; and at any rate it was typed under the figure of a mound or mount amid the water of space, a landing place amid the waters of the abyss, a station of security or foothold for life based on matter. We have seen it as Mount Sinai, and we shall see it as the “mount of the horizon.” It is that Mount of the Lord on which the Christos delivers his “sermon” or divine message to humanity. This is no far-fetched alignment, but the downright meaning of the various Biblical mounts. And Ararat is the patent, obvious, direct word “earth” itself. The present Hebrew word for “earth” is arets. And one reliable authority states that it was earlier areth, or practically the English “earth.” Mt. Ararat is just this old earth, on which life had to “land” in order to express itself in its next turn at physical existence. And in the light of this exposition it is to be hoped that the befuddlement of the western mind by bigoted literalism may be washed away in the flood of the dissolution of the incrustations of ignorance by a rain of ideas and symbols that will bring the ark of sanity back again to land on “Mount Ararat.”
The ship or ark was also the navis, from the Latin stem na-, which has already yielded for us the cognate ideas of “to swim” and “to be born,” – the new birth in water. In Egyptian the ark was the theba, or teba; whence can be seen the origin and implication of the word Thebes, as a city name, carrying this whole segment of meaning in the uranograph. As Abydos and Annu were cities named to portray the death and rebirth of the sun-god, so Thebes was named to convey the idea of the soul’s voyaging over the waters in the ark of the body, and finding its new birth therein.
The sacred chests that play a part in many myths of creation find their clue in relation to the ark. In them always are kept the most holy things, as in the ark of the covenant. In the Mysteries of Bacchus a sacred box was carried in procession. There is the legend of Pandora’s box containing the seeds of all good and evil; the Argo of Jason; the moon-shaped boat in which Isis floated over the waters and gathered together the dismembered limbs of Osiris; and the whole list of coffins and chests out of which the various gods rose from a state of death for the redemption of the world. That the ark was identical with the coffin and mummy-case is attested securely by that remarkable line quoted before, the utterance of the Manes: “I am coffined in an ark like Horus, to whom his cradle is brought.” The ark, as the physical form in the lower lake carrying the soul across the sea, is the coffin and tomb, as it is the womb; the tomb of death and the womb of new life all in one. The boats, arks and coffins alike evidently refer to the mystic womb of nature, typed by that of woman, and are symbols of salvation amid the “defluxions” of mortal life, as Plato intimates. The Manes says: “I have not been shipwrecked, I have not been turned back on the horizon, for . . . the Osiris-Nu shall not be shipwrecked in the great Boat.”
There is a secondary imputation of meaning in the flood or deluge allegorism that can be delineated briefly. It is possible that the deluge epic can be taken, in a poetic sense at any rate, to adumbrate the release of the higher water (or fire) of spirit and intellectuality by the god upon the animal part of man after incarnation; and conversely, in its opposite phase, the release of the lower water (sensualism) upon the god by the lower animal man. Each flooded the other with their respective higher and lower forces, and this is in some sense an implied connotation of the deluge, as of the baptism. Revelation does say expressly that the Dragon loosed a water flood to overwhelm the Woman who fled from heaven to this refuge, and that earth swallowed up the flood and helped the Woman. We have seen that this interchange of influences underlay one meaning of the baptism, god and man reciprocally baptizing each other, the one with water, the other with fire. It could be extended to the deluge symbolism. Likewise god and man intoxicate each other, the one with spiritual, the other with sensual, wine of life. The gods were almost submerged under the mighty tide of sensuality that swept in upon their souls at their entry into animal bodies. A deluge of passion and beastliness broke loose to engulf all humanity and carry the Christ principle down into the “belly” of fleshly instinct.
A mass of legends center about the fact that in the early stages of human history an Eden of happiness was submerged under a deluge that covered the Mount. An initial Paradise was overthrown and buried under waters that flooded the earth. Various people even localized this drowned garden under the waters nearest them. The Black Sea, Lake Van in Armenia and Lake Copais in Egypt were a few of the seas on whose bottoms the sunken Eden might be found. A typical deluge myth that preserves the sunken Eden feature is one related by a Miztec tribe of Indians, to the effect that “in the day of obscurity and darkness the gods built a palace that was a masterpiece of skill, and made their abode on the summit of a mountain. The rock was called ‘the Place of Heaven.’ It was the primary dwelling of the gods. The children of the gods then planted a garden of fruit trees.” But the universal fate of such gardens overtakes it: there comes a deluge; the garden of delight is submerged and “many sons and daughters of the gods are swept away” (Bancroft: Native Races, Vol. 3, p. 71). Massey says that “inevitably at times our earth gets substituted for the mound (mount), island,” or eminence of whatever name that stands for a refuge of stability and security amid chaos. Naturally enough; for the reason that the “mount” was the earth. The celestial mount was transferred to earth by and with the arrival of the gods. The gods sank the Eden of spiritual mindedness and semi-Nirvanic blissful dreaminess under the deluge of the carnalism that the Dragon released to overwhelm them as they enter the lower sea of bodily life. There was for a time a Golden Age of angelic delight on the globe itself. But this was in the incipient stages of the descent, when as yet the higher mind hovered over, rather than fully inhabited, the physical constitution. Then it passed away under the encroaching waters of sensualism, as the angels were swept deeper into the coils and toils of incarnation. The gods transferred their focus of consciousness and interest from the heaven world of intellect down into the belly of sense and lust for physical life. They moved from the regions of air and fire down into the morasses of earth and water, all, however, within the frame of man’s material existence. Egypt and Plato both remind us that through intellect we are gods in heaven, while through body we are animals on earth. The god may descend from his tower or parlor to live in his stable. The submergence of Eden was the shift from divine mentation to gross carnality. To transfer Paradise from heaven to earth was for the gods merely to undergo the drastic delimitation of their scope of consciousness necessary to achieve incorporation in bodies of lower capacity.
The baptism or deluge from above on life below was well imaged by the Nile inundation in Egypt. The fresh water poured down from heaven in the upper ranges of the hills of source in Central Africa and flooded the land of Lower Egypt. And whether one takes this deluge in an evil or a good sense is only a matter of judging temporary burial of the land against lasting enrichment. Similarly with the human deluge. It flooded lower man, but with the waters of more abundant life. It is as the gentle rain from heaven, that blesses the earth. The deluge was the descent of the fiery solar god, through the air, in the form of water to nourish and make fertile the earth. And this is the outward description of the history of the human soul. Likewise it was the central theme of Mystery drama.
The mount of heaven was the original place of bliss and security; later the mount of the earth became the refuge of safety. It afforded a firm landing place for souls destined to wrestle with matter’s inertia to achieve greater power.
The sunken Eden is not a stranger to Bible pages. It is definitely alluded to by Ezekiel as lying in the nether parts of the earth, typed now as Assyria instead of the usual Egypt:
“To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? Yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden into the nether parts of the earth. Thou shalt be there in the midst of the uncircumcised” – obviously the still animal races.
The Ovaherero, an African tribe, say that the sky was once let down in a deluge by which the greater part of mankind was drowned. This falls into agreement with the general Egyptian conception of the downfall of stellar hosts due to the shifting of the polar axis and the resultant dropping of many stars below the horizon. All this was set forth in Egypt as the superseding of the earlier gods, Nnu, Seb, Shu and Taht by Ra, the supreme god of Intelligence, or their reduction to subserviency under him. Ra rose to hegemony over all the elemental powers when he “resolved to be lifted up in an ark or sanctuary.” This was the spiritual inner body of light now being formed within us, as Paul says, in which the principle of Mind could rule the natural creation in and through man.
The deluge from heaven brought down seven great powers to be submerged under the lower waters. The seven great pole stars fell one after the other, as the end of each aeon brought a shift in the axis. At each turn of the cycles one of the seven mountains was submerged, one of the seven provinces inundated, one of the seven rulers dethroned. These seven were imaged under many forms of description, as seven kings, seven heads, seven horns, seven mountains, seven islands, seven lampstands, seven stars, seven eyes, seven pillars and seven angels. The dragon that falls from heaven and goes to perdition is none other than these seven collectively. The fall of the seven as islands sinking in the abyss is stated with surprising clearness in Revelation (16:20): “Every island fled away and the mountains were not found.” They had gone down to earth. We have seen that the mountain went down into the sea and turned it into blood.
In Wales there is the legend of the destruction of the seven divisions or provinces of Dyfed, when the drunken Seithenkin let in the deluge and drowned the land. The Mangaians recognize the seven islands of the Hervey group as the seven islands of Savaiki (Sevekh!), which they say lie in the underworld, or beneath the waters.
We read of the “deluge that afflicted the intrepid dragon.” The seven heads of the Dragon were cut off one by one and thrown down as the seven cycles rolled around. The crowning stroke of creational activity was the dethronement of the last of the elemental seven by the solar god, who slew and succeeded the Dragon, after cutting off its seven heads. The overthrow of the Dragon by the solar god is one of the most ancient traditions of Greece. Apollo overcame the Dragon and took his place as guardian and inspirer of the oracle. In Babylonia Bel became a solar god and conquered the Dragon. Michael conquered him in Revelation. In the place of the outcast seven powers, devils, giants, ogres, “the god of the bright crown created mankind.” This was the seventh creation, and astronomically it was marked by the passage of the pole from Lyra, the Harp, into the constellation of Herakles, the man, typing the inception of the reign of intelligence.
One of the labors of the all-conquering sun in his journey through the underworld is to obtain command over the lower water. One of his claims to vindication at the judgment is that he has prevailed over the deluge! In the Ritual (Ch. 136A) there is this: “He turneth back the water flood which is over the thigh of the goddess Nut at the staircase of Seb” – or the ascending grades of evolution on earth, in the thigh or womb of matter.
The Nile inundation begins in late June (Cancer) and was pouring out the fullness of its waters in July, the sign of the Lion. Hence the universally adopted symbol of the lion, or two lions, from whose mouths gush streams of water in fountains!
Horus, who was born of the water, has given his name to the month in which the waters of the inundation have their birth in Egypt. June in Egyptian nomenclature is Mesore. Mes is “to be born,” “to be reborn”; Hor(Har) is the divine child, Har-Makhu, Har-Tema. Mes-Hor or Mesore is, then, the godly child born of the June waters. Many hints in old tomes point to the sign of Scorpio (October-November) as the true beginning of the year. This was in congruity with the typology of the Nile flood, as the inundated earth re-emerged from the waters at that time. In sculptures at Karnak the autumn equinox is represented as one of the divinities and the first month of the year; the vernal equinox appearing as the seventh month, when the seven principles of deity were born, or perfected.
From the deluge imagery rises the symbolism of a ladder, mound or tower, tree or rock, that should be built high enough to be beyond the reach of the flooding waters. This is but another variant of the Rock of Ages, that eternal principle of divinity in man, which though cast into the midst of the sea of turbulent natural forces, becomes the ark of safety or the rock of stability outlasting all decay and movement. Bab-El means “the gate of God,” and equates Cancer in the zodiac, the northern gate of heaven. In the cyclic round of incarnations the soul ascends after each dip into matter and resurrection therefrom up to the high gate of heaven to dwell in the bosom of deity. But as the summer turns to fall, it is cast down again to earth, its unitary mentality is dissipated and its divine unity of speech scattered into many various dialects.
A Thlinkeet tradition recounts a deluge from which men saved themselves in a large floating structure. When the waters subsided the building drove on a rock and broke in two by its own weight. There is a detail omitted from the Ararat story in Genesis. Again it corroborates the reading of the earth for Mount Ararat, as deity does break into two aspects, male and female, when it lands on earth. This bifurcation is the meaning of the first verse of Genesis, “heaven” and “earth” standing for spirit and matter.
An Indian saga says that in the deluge a virgin caught hold of the foot of a bird as it flew above her and was carried up out of the water where all were drowning. As the bird is the universal image of the soul, the implication is that man’s lower nature saves itself by catching hold of the foot (heel?) of the soul’s power as it sweeps down close to the level of physical life and being lifted up thereby.
But a strange and at first unaccountable element of mystery and oddity enters the many deluge traditions with the frequent mention of the monkey. For instance, the Tlascalans say that after the deluge those who were preserved were changed into monkeys, who later evolved into human beings. In the Codex Chimalpopoca the result of the great hurricane was to change men into monkeys (Bancroft). A belief of the Catalans is that after the deluge those who had been previously changed into monkeys were subsequently transformed into men. An Arawak rendering is very curious. It recites that the waters had been confined in the hollow bole of an enormous tree by means of an inverted basket. The mischievous monkey saw the basket and believing it contained something good to eat, he lifted it up, whereupon the deluge burst out from the tree. A Guiana story runs much to the same effect. The waters were pent up in the stem of the tree of life, to be let forth in appropriate measure to fill every lake and stream with water for the fish. But Warika, the mischievous monkey, forced open the magic cover that held back the waters, which then gushed out to sweep away not only the meddling culprit, but all living things besides. The points of similarity of these fables with that of Pandora should be noted. Many other legends charge the monkey with being the villain in the deluge piece.
What is the significance of this connection? In the cosmic sense adumbrated by the astrological mythology, Hapi, the ape, was one of the four (of the seven) elemental powers holding up the four corners of the earth. The Kaf-Ape, Hapi, personated the element of air, and it is from the powers embosomed in the air that an outpouring of water takes form. Hapi is typed as the fury of the air in motion, engendering the hurricane and the deluge. Hurricane, we have seen, is a derivative of the name of the Quiché deity of the storm wind, Hurakan (French ouragan), he who brought life to man through breath, Shu. The ape was the zoötype of Shu. Hapi, the Ape, is one of the four who are, in Ezekiel’s vision, the eagle, bull, lion and man; in Revelation the lion, calf, bird and man; and in Egypt Amsta, Hapi, Tuamutef and Kabhsenuf. Amsta was the human, Hapi, the ape, Tuamutef the jackal and Kabhsenuf the hawk. These, so mystifying and so confusedly presented in various forms, must be conceived to represent the four basic supports of man’s life, the four elemental essences, earth, water, air and fire, of each of which substances man has a body. These four are placed symbolically at the four corners or cardinal points of the zodiac, the two solstices and equinoxes. Massey locates Hapi, the ape, at the autumn equinox, yet in the tables of the four elementaries he is found at the spring equinox. His position on the horizon at the equinox is vastly appropriate. The horizon is the dividing line between two realms, and the monkey stands there as the type of man because he himself is on the dividing line between the animal and the human kingdom, and thus symbols man, who in his turn is on the dividing line between the human and the divine.
Yet it is possible that still another meaning of momentous import lurks behind the figure of the monkey in deluge mythology. The culpability of the monkey may be seen from the angle of anthropology. In other connections reference has already been made to the “harlotry” so vehemently reprobated by the Lord in the Old Testament, and to the miscegenation perpetrated by the early sons of God with some of the higher animals after the descent. The result of this transgression of natural restrictions upon procreation was the generation of the various monkey types. They were the offspring of male humans and female animals, according to much evidence in such old books as Enoch, the Avesta, the Gilgamesh Epic, the Bundahish and the Vedas. The monkey is by parentage equally man and beast, and can stand as the type of man, who is man and god together. When the legends hint that the result of the deluge was to change men into monkeys, and as in one version to restore men, changed into monkeys, back to human form, it is, in the guise of a Märchen, the statement of a great anthropological datum, for the truth of which science is still groping. The gods were told not “to marry the women of that place” or to “make alliances with the natives of that land.” But it seems they did so, and the miscegenation that is marked by the existence of the monkey was apparently used to typify the letting loose the deluge of carnal lust that swept over the world in consequence. The monkey would therefore vividly personify the deluge that swept the gods down to the very depths of sensuous riot. He would stand as the badge of the god’s biological sin, that released the flood of the lower waters to enmire the feet of deity, and bring the “destruction” of mankind. Archaic fable reports that early races and continents had to be destroyed as a result of the breach in evolutionary law, for it is stated that there were bred monsters terrible and great. Paul has told us that wickedness changed the image of the incorruptible god into the likeness of loathsome beasts and creeping things. The monkey is the living sign of this degradation.
There has been substantially covered the body of arcane wisdom touching the coming of transcendent celestial power to earth to perform a mighty segment of evolutionary work in this sphere. The god had descended to the bottom of his arc, his evolutionary nadir, and would go no further. He stands at that point poised in the balance with material inertia, gripped in the tentacles of matter, locked in a tense struggle with opposing powers. He is engaged in the great Battle of Armageddon, which is fought, says the Ritual, at midnight and on the horizon. To modern thought, for the first time, is to be revealed the momentous significance of the mighty Egyptian symbol of the Horizon.
THE LAKE OF EQUIPOISE
Man on earth is an epitome of the zodiacal or heavenly man, and the zodiac has depths of meaning for the mind of man that are still unfathomed. The twelve signs, the four quarters, the twenty-four “elders,” the thirty regents, the thirty-six rulers, the seventy-two messengers and other numerical divisions have each their special significance in the total of twelve times thirty degrees. And all of these are prominent throughout the Bible to mystify the unenlightened. Of particular illumination to the mind is the study of the four “corners,” the points where the four arms of the cross in the circle intersect the circumference, that is, at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. The “story of mankind,” collectively and individually, is both concealed and revealed in the recondite significance of these four poles. The story will remain sealed in dark unintelligibility until the four cardinal points of the zodiac are seen to denote four critical epochs in the life of evolving man, namely, his entry into the four planes of consciousness, – sensation, emotion, thought and spiritual intuition, on and over which his life of awareness extends. Any life cycle exhibits these four turning points, so that the zodiacal chart will be seen to be a key to living process universally.
With this fundamentum in mind it will be advantageous to present a group of other cycles or processes in life and nature which manifest the division of wholes into four-part segmentation:
YEAR: June 21. September 21. December 21. March 21.
CARDINAL POINTS: North. West. South. East.
DAY: Noon. Evening Midnight. Morning.
ZODIAC: Cancer. Libra. Capricorn. Aries.
ELEMENTS: Fire. Earth. Water. Air.
MOON CYCLE: Full moon. Last Quarter. Dark Moon. First Quarter.
ANIMAL SYMBOL: Man. Beast. Fish. Bird.
KINGDOM: Human. Mineral. Vegetable. Animal. FORTAL CYCLE: Love. Impregnation. Quickening. Birth.
HUMAN LIFE: Death. Birth. Puberty. Adulthood.
THEOLOGY: Descent. Incarnation. Awakening. Resurrection.
FESTIVALS: Fire Festival. Michaelmas. Christmas. Easter.
MYSTERY FIGURE: Harlequin. Pantaloon. Columbine. Clown.
EGYPTIAN GOD: Ra. Seb. Uati. Shu.
This chart may seem to many like the work of sheer analogistic fancy. If so, it is to be remembered that nature, life and mind are constantly playing at this game of correspondences. Mind can discern at every turn the analogies between nature and life, life and truth. All ranges of life are illuminated by the light of the universal parallelism that shows all orders of being to be cognate. The point of value here is that these correspondences are distinctly traceable in the cycles indicated and that they introduce a certain systematism and provide a norm for our perception of times, seasons, periodicities and epochs. By means of what is known of one cycle new meaning may be discerned in another less directly observable. A thorough knowledge of one operation becomes a clue to all others. Taken in relation to the significance of the four cardinal points, the line bisecting the zodiacal circle horizontally from east to west, or Aries to Libra, or March to September, is to be regarded as the “Horizon” of Egyptian symbolism, which will be found to bear the burden of such mighty meaning for mankind.
It will be seen that the June quarter of the circle suggests the point of ideal conception in the noumenal world, when as yet no relation to matter or body has been established. The September point marks the entry of the ideal form into matter in embryo – incarnation, the Word beginning to put on flesh. Here matter and spirit join, or spirit is submerged in matter. December, to our enlightenment, marks the point of the awakening or germination of life after death under matter’s power. This is particularly well seen in the foetal cycle in what is called the “quickening” of the child in the womb half way through the gestation period. If Christmas is celebrated in the December solstice, its meaning can’t be strictly that of the “birth” of the Christ in humanity, but rather its quickening after torpidity, preparatory to its true birth at Easter. For then delivery from the womb of matter takes place, introducing the Mother’s child into a higher world of consciousness. The point of release from earth and body is at the March equinox, not at December. And, strangely enough, roughly for three and a half centuries the early Christian Church celebrated the birth of the Savior on March 25! A decree of Pope Julian in 345 A.D. fixed the date authoritatively for the first time at December 25. The sun, of course, is reborn at the December solstice, but his victory is not won until he conquers darkness finally on the horizon line of March 21. The spring equinox is the point of ultimate triumph of spirit over matter and its return to the kingdom of the Father.
Yet very markedly each of the four cardinal crises represent a “birth” for man. At each “corner” of his evolutionary cycle man was born afresh into a higher world of being. This is especially reflected in the four turns of the foetal cycle. June represents the first “birth” of the child, which really takes place when the husband falls in love with her who is to be his wife. The child is then conceived noumenally. The second “birth” falls at September when the father’s seed joins with the ovum and fertilizes it. The third comes with the quickening in the womb, when that which showed no life stirs into activity, at December. And the March date brings the final stage of birth in the child’s delivery. The four stages are: the ideal conception in love’s mind; the actual junction of spirit with matter; the quickening to life after apparent death; and the final victory in release from matter. Transferred to theology these basic conceptions yield a wealth of new discernment.
The four great early religious festivals are important. Only two of the four original celebrations survive in the Church calendar, prominently. We have only the shadow of the former great autumn equinox solemnization in our Hallowe’en on October 31, removed just forty days from the autumn equinox, this period being the true Lent. It was the primal celebration of the death and burial of the god in body. Then came Christmas at the winter solstice, Easter at the vernal equinox, and in June the great fire festival, revived recently by the return to “pagan” ideals in Germany, and perpetuated down to the present in a few parts of Ireland. The September festival commemorated the birth of spirit or soul into flesh; the spring equinox denoted the second birth, or birth out of body into a higher world. The upper half of the circle of signs is the home of soul when detached from flesh, and floating free, in bodies of light, in the empyrean; the lower half is the earthy and watery home when immersed in body. Most of the meaning for humanity obviously lies below the line, or at least upon the surface of the water of this life, which surface is marked by the horizon line, which is the boundary between the two realms. Whether advancing clockwise or downward to the left, we enter body on the west; we leave it on the east to join the gods above. “Pepi saileth with Ra to the east of heaven, where the gods are born.” The Egyptian statement is that “the Heavenly Man faces South.” Having climbed the steep “of heaven and passed through the Babel gate in Cancer, he turns to look down upon the world of matter below, and thus faces “south.” Yet the north was considered the “hinder part of heaven,” and the counterpart cosmically of the physical portion of universal life. It was the womb or navel of the world of life, and for this reason the constellation of the Great Bear(er) was denominated the Meskhen, or Thigh of the old genetrix. Life was spiritual (masculine) in the front part of its organism and material (feminine) in the hinder part. And the Eternal told Moses (man) that he dared look only on that hinder part, the glory of deity’s face being overpowering. When the Egyptians portrayed life and man as dual under the form of double animal types, such creatures were always male in front and female behind. The Sphinx is so constructed. If the north is the region of matter and the south that of spirit, then conceivably the heavenly man would look away from the former to the latter. The symbolism that for early ages went with the directions and antithesis of north and south later swung about and came under the typology of west and east direction.
The important fact emerging from all this specification is that man is born au naturel when he enters incarnate life on the west as a falling star or setting sun; and that he is reborn au spirituel when he leaves fleshly life finally on the east with the rising sun of a new epoch. He is born a man on the west, and a god on the east.
If all this seems too finely spun for serious consideration, let the incredulous reader be shocked to hear that it was through losing sight of the analogies connected with this symbolical chart that the Christians actually placed one or more of their most important church festivals on the wrong side of the year! The forty-days’ fast of Lent, for instance, has been placed at a season in which it is utterly out of fitting relation to the natural symbolism of the solar year.
Since the number forty alphabetized in symbolic script the period of gestation of soul in matter, it was chosen as the time for fasting and abasement. This fasting is but another glyph for the privation and lack of true spiritual being suffered by the god in the flesh. Forty days of lamentation and grief were set aside to commemorate the death and burial of the sun-god and the shrouding of his light in the tomb of matter. For ten thousand years B.C. it was part of the celebration of the cult of Iusa, the ever-coming or annually-coming solar god, to keep the forty days and nights in which the sun-hero in the underworld fought the battle with Sut and his Sebau “fiends,” in the desert of Amenta. Forty days was the period of seclusion after childbirth appointed for the women by Parsee and Levitical law. In the transformation of Apis, when the old bull died, its successor remained forty days shut up on an island in the Nile. The spies sent out returned after forty days. For forty days Goliath came out to fight each day (I Samuel: 17). David reigned forty years. Moses was with Jehovah in the Mount forty days and nights. Jesus was forty days on earth after the resurrection. Forty appears in the Old Testament some sixty-three times. Forty days was the length of the incubation period of grain in the mud and water before germinating in Egypt; and the human foetus gestates forty weeks. The period of forty days after the planting was a time of scarcity and fasting, which, says Massey, gave a very natural significance to the season of Lent, with its mourning for the dead Osiris, to be followed by rejoicing when the grain germinated. This was transferred to the Hebrew Gospels and became a fast of forty days during which Jesus wrestled with Satan and was hungry.
By every intimation of logic and analogy, Lent should follow, not precede, the burial of the solar god. Only by typing the soul as the seed planted in early spring could it have any natural appropriateness. Christians start in late winter to mourn the death of a god who, according to their own calendar had not yet died, but who, by the calendars of the ancients, had died, under solar symbolism, in the preceding autumn! In spite of the fact that many trace the word “Lent” to the German Lens, meaning “spring,” the season of bursting new life is utterly inappropriate to the spirit of such a festival. The death which is placed by Christian error just prior to the Easter resurrection, is thus made to fall in the zodiacal season when all nature is approaching the consummation of her effort to release – not to kill and bury – the solar Christ! All is sadly awry here. Nature herself writes the mark of error upon the Christian Lent in the spring. Whatever the word “Lent” may mean, the spirit of the commemoration is that of sorrow and lament for the Christ crucified and buried. This is appropriate to the autumn season, when “the melancholy days have come,” and quite out of harmony with the spirit of nature in the spring. In the vernal season all life is being reborn; the intrusion of the idea of death into the midst of nature’s happy rejuvenescence is a monstrous anachronism and ineptitude. The ancients celebrated the Lord’s death and burial (in the grave of matter only) for forty days following the September equinox, the period ending on October 31, the date of our Hallowe’en. This is the true Lent, no matter how it is taken. The waning sun of autumn is the natural hieroglyph of the Christ’s crucifixion and death, and it is a foul blasphemy against the rhythmic soul of life to send the human spirit into the doldrums of misplaced grief and maudlin sympathy with imagined suffering when grass is greening and earth is opening the tomb of winter’s death for her annual resurrection. Only if it types the god-soul under the symbol of the grain lying six weeks or forty-two days in the earth before re-arising can it escape reprobation. Its only other point of fitness is that it does end with the glory-burst of the resurrection on Easter morn.
The Christians took all three of the numbers denoting the imprisonment of life in physical form – three, seven and forty – and placed periods of three, seven and forty days respectively in the spring at such times that the terminal of each of the three periods fell simultaneously on Easter morning. This is the only extenuating feature of the fixture. In mythical import the entire half year from September to March is the period betokening the death of the god in matter or human life. But it would be most unphilosophical for us to give half of each year to gloom even for symbolism. However, by all the intimations of typology the crucifixion should be in the fall and the resurrection at Easter. And so it was with the ancients.
With his own symbol, the sun, the sun-god plunged into death with the sunset and the autumn waning. The Tuat, the gate of entry to Amenta, was approached at eventide or in autumn on the western side. A commonplace expression for death found in the Ritual and other scriptures of old is “going west.” Abraham went west from Ur, to descend into Egypt. The setting sun or expiring day is the universal poetry for death, which our study discloses to be not extinction but incarnation, or life in the actual. The Hallowe’en , or All Souls’ Night, was the primeval commemoration of this event, and became in the course of blunted perception and obscuration of pristine motifs, a motley blending of mummery, buffoonery, witchery and dark magic. The keynote of the celebration was struck in the masking behind animal features! This was the plainest kind of language saying that the gods had taken residence in animal bodies! They were down here on earth disguised as animals! They had clothed themselves in “coats of skin,” more bluntly, the hides of animals. They had hid themselves behind a false face. And with their true nature almost obliterated by the animal covering, they could but make ridiculous grimaces and awkward gestures through the course vestments of flesh. Distorted by the animal nature, “marred in his visage, deformed out of the semblance of a man” (Isaiah), the god was little better than a clown cavorting ludicrously on earth behind the beastly exterior. All his efforts to express his more lordly selfhood came forth in weird and uncouth jargon. The Hallowe’en buffoonery is all too realistically a depiction of the soul’s antics and gambols when first incorporated in body.
Likewise the suits of divided color worn at the occasion tell clearer than words the dual nature of the human, when, on this night, god and animal became tenants of the same household, and shared each a half of man’s nature.
That there was confusion in Christian counsels as to the appropriate date of the annual festivals is indicated by the following passage from Massey:
“But there was a diversity of opinion amongst the Christian Fathers as to whether Jesus the Christ was born in the winter solstice or in the vernal equinox. It was held by some that the twenty-fifth of March was the natal day. Others maintained that this was the day of the incarnation. According to Clement of Alexandria the birth of Jesus took place on the twenty-fifth of March. But in Rome the festival of Lady Day was celebrated on the twenty-fifth of March in commemoration of the miraculous conception in the womb of the virgin, which virgin gave birth to a child at Christmas, nine months afterwards. According to the Gospel of James (Ch. 18) it was in the equinox, and consequently not at Christmas, that the virgin birth took place.”1 The early Fathers commemorated the death of the sun-god in a seven-days’ ceremonial called the Fetes de Tenebres, or festival of darkness and gloom, which, according to the eminent Egyptologist Brugsch, commemorated the “seven days which he passed in the womb of his mother, Nut,” or the seven elementary kingdoms so often mentioned. Perhaps this was the remote origin of the “Ember Days,” when the light of the god glowed nearly extinguished, a mere ember.
We come at last to grips with the colossal significance of the horizon symbol. Here there is offered by ancient Egypt a feast of enlightenment rich beyond expectation. The horizon and the equinox! In these zodiacal and seasonal positions, symbolizing both the same inner data, man will find the delineation of his nature and mission with clearer specification than in elaborate treatises on the subject. The horizon and equinox lines tell of man’s definite place in evolution and in nature, and announce most distinctly the terms of his progress. The horizon symbol becomes the open sesame to the clarification of more religious doctrinism than perhaps any other natural feature. There is concealed under it the key to whole segments of the Egyptian texts, the true apprehension of whose meaning has not yet been achieved by modern exegesis. Indeed, the proper elucidation of the meaning of the sun standing on the two horizons, or at the two equinoxes, may be said to be the first actual unlocking of the mysteries of ancient scripture and secret teachings. The very heart of the mystery is enwrapped in the translation of the import of this natural datum and the texts dealing with it. The whole status of man’s life on earth is interblended with the oft-repeated reference to “Horus of the Two Horizons.” The release of this hidden truth to modern knowledge will necessitate the revision of much misguided theological dogmatism and will sweep away errors of ghastly consequence in history. Perhaps the opening of this closed mine of priceless intelligence may even awaken the age to a new consciousness of humanity’s mission and a new inspiration to achieve it.
The prologue to the discussion of the location of Amenta in an earlier chapter emphasized the truth that religion had been instituted by its sagacious founders to focus man’s efforts upon the energization of his life here on earth. It was pointed out that earth was the critical arena of human destiny. The location of Amenta on this earth, instead of in vague heavens, was held to be the most vital determination in the field of religion since the third century. What was there fundamentally posited on strong supports receives its final and unimpeachable confirmation in the implications of the horizon and equinox symbology. The single word “horizon” is perhaps fraught with more cogent meaning than any other term in religious usage.
The solution of the mystery behind this symbol may be advantageously approached through the interpretation of some arithmetic cryptically presented in the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. Particularly in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the last-named there are given three numbers, the recondite import of which hints at the horizon meaning. The three numbers are twelve hundred sixty, forty-two and three and one-half. The first is connected with days, the second with months and the third with days and years. To the casual reader the three numbers as they occur in the verses of the text seem hopelessly mystifying. They seem to refer to a period of duress, captivity or suspension of activity, or exile. It all seems like some mathematical legerdemain that is insoluble. But a little speculation quickly reveals that the three numbers are a numerical periphrasis for the basic one which carries the meaning, namely, three and a half. Twelve hundred and sixty days is found to be forty-two months (of 30 days each), and that in turn is three and a half years. One of the presentations of three and a half is in the famous “for a time, and times, and half a time,” which can at least mean one, plus two, plus one-half; and nothing else certainly. But, if all the numbers given resolve into three and a half, what is its great significance?
Here some details of ancient cosmological systematism are necessary to find a positive clue. But the whole mystery breaks clear in the light of the fact that three and a half is one half of seven! A simple fact is this, yet it is the great key to our understanding the real meaning of scriptures. If, as is subtly intimated in these texts, man’s position is at a place cryptically marked by the number three and a half in a seven-cycle series, then it is clear that the esoteric information purveyed to the astute is that man stands at a point which is half way through his entire cycle. His position is just half way between the two ends of the scale or gamut of being. And precisely this is what is conveyed by both the numerical and the horizontal suggestions. Three and a half is at the half way point between the upper and lower termini of a seven series. And the horizon is half way between heaven and earth, typing, as always, spirit and matter, the two ends of being. The momentous information, then, which is vouchsafed to man in this recondite fashion is that he, as a creature in a stupendous cyclical evolution, stands at the point exactly midway between the beginning and the end of the complete area to be traversed. Man is half way through his evolution and stands at its midmost point.
Several deductions at once flow from this datum. The first is that the line marking off three and a half stages in seven would equate the horizon line in the zodiacal chart, and that this fateful line would at the same time mark the boundary between the two natures in man’s constitution, the earthly and the heavenly. It would indicate the border line where the two natures, separated by life’s aboriginal act of bifurcation into spirit and matter, remain contiguous to each other. It would be the fence between the two kingdoms, from the opposite sides of which they face each other. If there is warfare between the two, this would be the battle line, the front of the Battle of Armageddon. And amazingly does the Ritual say that this aeonial conflict is fought on the horizon! At last weird speculation as to the meaning and location of a pertinent Biblical symbol is settled by, and as, a bit of Egyptian imagery.
The implication is clearly, then, that man was taught that he stands on his evolutionary boundary line between the immortal nature of spirit and the mortal nature of material body. He stands directly on the line between the two great kingdoms into which life split itself in the arche. And the further deduction is that he stands in two worlds at once. Put differently, it can be said that the two worlds are in him, the world of spirit localized or functioning in the upper half of his body, and that of matter’s powers centered in the lower half. So that now it becomes possible to read greater cogency into the many Egyptian statements that man lives in heaven by virtue of his soul faculties, and on earth by virtue of his bodily senses. His soul is in heaven with Ra, and his body on earth in the form of an animal, asserts the text. Man stands with both feet in the “grave,” but his soul is in heaven. And to crown this knowledge with inspiring impressiveness, it is intimated that he is the only creature in existence that stands at this pivotal and strategic place in all evolution! For he is the only being in whose constitution spirit and matter meet to affect each other in exactly equal measure. Even the angels are said to envy man from their seats, for man’s experience will put him ahead of them. “Know ye not,” says St. Paul, “that we are to manage angels, let alone mundane affairs?” And “he hath made man for a little while lower than the angels” (Moffatt trans.), to crown him eventually with greater glory and honor than theirs.
It follows likewise from the terms of the situation that the horizon line is precisely the point at which the two elements of soul and flesh are in exact equilibration with each other. If man stands at the middle point in his journey from matter back to spirit, then he is also at the point where the two nodes of his being, spirit and matter, exactly counterbalance each other in efficacious influence. And this at once opens the way for the introduction of the whole range of symbolic values connected with the sign of Libra, the Scales of the Balance, and the Scales of the Judgment. And precisely at the horizon’s western terminus stands the Libra sign! The Judgment is a corollary aspect of the horizon typism and will be treated in a following chapter.
The sun standing on the horizon line at evening and morning, autumn and spring, is the graphic symbol of man’s position in the universe of flowing life. For the horizon marks the dividing line between heaven and earth, so that man stands directly on the line between the heaven of spiritual consciousness and the earth of physical being. He bestrides this evolutionary horizon line and finds his living activity and expression equally measured between the two kingdoms. No more lively utterance of this fact could be had than the statement of the Book of the Dead that man “cultivates the crops on both sides of the horizon.” This advises us that we are farmers of both a spiritual and a physico-sensual domain. And we reap the harvests both in Amenta and in the Aarru-Hetep or fields of peace. Man’s sovereignty extends across both sides of life’s total area. He occupies the Two Lands, or Upper and Lower Egypt. And after long cycles it will be his prerogative to settle the aeonial warfare between these two provinces of his nature, reconcile them in harmony, and finally unify them under his single spiritual lordship. Straight and clear is Egypt’s proclamation of this sterling truth: “He cultivates the Two Lands; he pacifies the Two Lands; he unites the Two Lands.” Man is “the god of the two mysterious horizons,” and the glowing pronouncement of his final evolutionary triumph is given in the words: “Thou illuminest the Two Lands like the Disk at daybreak.” Ancient scripts set forth repeatedly that in the middle of the “fourth watch of the night” of every sevenfold cycle in evolution’s recurrent rounds of manifestation, the hidden and latent power of spiritual mind comes, as it were, walking out on the surface of the sea of life, to quiet its chaotic tempest and harmonize its contending forces and elements. The fourth watch in the night of incarnate evolution would be the human kingdom, following the mineral, vegetable and animal. Every creative life wave building a globe and an evolution of life and consciousness on it does its work in seven successive releases or impulses of its power. It works through six creations before it can crown its effort with the establishment of mind as king and conscious ruler of all lower energies, in the seventh and last round. But the first six of these efforts work for the creation of material substance and organic forms built from it, the last and highest of which forms is to be brought to capability of embodying the kingly mind. And the first three formative impulses work with matter in its sub-atomic states, which are in the invisible world. The first stirs up inchoate formless root-substance; the second separates, as the white and yolk of an egg, the two basic elements into opposite sides of polarity; the third granulates the substantial essence of the material half. It is not until the fourth wave strikes that matter is brought out onto the stage of visible substantiality, in the elements of the mineral kingdom on earth. The fifth wave raises mineral elements to organic structure of the vegetable type, and the sixth lifts these up to the forms of animal bodies. Only in the seventh comes man, whose physical vehicle is to be the cradle of the Christ child of divine Intelligence. Man stands therefore at the summit of the material creation. He is the Egyptian Iu-em-Hetep, the deity that comes seventh to make peace, and rule the six (or seven) lower elements. But the seventh wave comes midway in the fourth kingdom, or at the point of three and one half.
But the summit of the material creation is just under the foot, or heel, of the spiritual kingdom. And man is the union of the highest physical potency with the lowest divine consciousness, and he therefore stands on the horizon line dividing spirit and matter, and so bears the title: “Lord of the Two Halves of Egypt.”
The three activities of life energy taking root-matter through its three primary formative stages in the invisible world prepare finally the mineral kingdom on a globe – Earth – which represents the nadir of descent of life energization in dense matter. Life has descended to its deepest death in matter in the mineral state. Its involution ends there, and its evolution through form begins. The mineral kingdom, therefore, is the lowest plane of created matter. We count upward from it. The vegetable is the second, the animal the third, and the human is the fourth evolutionary kingdom, though it brings man on the crest of the seventh wave of life force. And it is in the middle of the human kingdom – certainly not at its beginning – that the Christ divinity comes out on the surface of conscious existence and takes responsible control of the processes thenceforth. Arcane texts state that humanity itself has subsisted through three great cycles of development from rudimentary state as human, and is now in the middle of the fourth round. We stand exactly at the line marking three and one-half stages of the entire life cycle on earth, or succinctly at the middle of the fourth human energization, which in turn is the middle of the fourth natural kingdom of life expression on this globe. And never a Christian priest in sixteen centuries has told his flock why the number three and a half occurs in the middle of the Book of Revelation. It may be helpful to attempt a diagram that will, crudely enough, delineate the rationale of the seven and the three and a half in the scheme of evolution.
@insert diagram The curved line B B represents the dip of the wave of purely matter-building energy, unconscious and controlled by higher agents of the hierarchy, into the heart of matter. It goes as low as the bottom of the mineral kingdom, and there turns to return – its Mount Sinai. A A represents the dip of the unit of divine self-consciousness into matter. Since it can’t be embodied in a form less complex and responsive than the human body, it reaches its nadir of descent in the human body at its mid point of development, and so goes into its Mount Sinai exactly on the horizon line. And there it begins its aeonial “warfare” to regenerate the animal. As the chart will reveal, there are three and a half stages of purely spiritual evolution to be accomplished from our present station. We are on the horizon, where animal dominance ends and spiritual governance begins.
It will be found extremely enlightening to juxtapose Paul’s statement (Ephesians 2) that a “middle wall of partition between us” – between our two natures – will in the end be broken down, permitting the Two Lands to unite under one sovereignty, beside Jesus’ anthropological declaration to his disciples, “I am from above; ye are from beneath.” The Christ here announces that he is the god above the horizon, while the natural man, disciple or learner, is the creature below it. Man is created when the life force has evolved organic fleshly structure up to the point of capability of becoming a fit living dynamo for spiritual forces. Then, with affinities established, the Christ principle can descend and tabernacle with flesh. Man then occupies the most strategic point in evolution. For he can pit the two nodes of life in equilibration and mutuality against each other, and effectuate that balance and intercourse between them which is the prime prerequisite for the birthing of the next generation of ongoing life. The balance, the warfare, the friction, the alternate bruising of head and heel, is the condition basic for the new propagation. This situation outlines a whole vast position of the theological field and covers wide ranges of salient meaning.
Theology has gone on blindly for centuries, never dreaming that the zodiacal sign of Libra was all the while the cryptic sign and seal of the great doctrine of the Judgment, and that man was being weighed in the scales of the living balance between spirit and matter in the life in body. Emerson writes that “man stands midway betwixt the inner spirit and the outer matter.” The name for the Norse region of life where man dwelt was Midgard, or the middle ground. Man’s life is the Libra Scales. Through him as a gate, unseen spirit steps forth for the first time in evolution onto the plane of open conscious being in a world constituted of matter. It comes out of the depths onto the surface, from submergence in earth and water into the light of the air and the sun, and walks on the water. It is only in man that soul wakes from dreamy semi-consciousness to exert its creative powers upon and through matter in world structure, in co-operation with God. Man is the channel through which every portion of spiritual intelligence must pass to be transformed from sheer potentiality to actual dynamism. The kingdom of the human is the only breeding ground in which the ungerminated seed of munificent divine being can be incubated, hatched and grown to maturity of self-conscious rulership in the cosmic field. All higher ranks of angels, gods, thrones and dominions have once been men on some former planetary stage, and we present men shall rise in time to grandeur, while the dull brutes below us will tread the ascending path in our wake.
One aspect of the typology touches the opposition of light and darkness. The sun on the horizon is midway between the kingdom of light and that of darkness, as it appears to man’s view. It therefore stands in the twilight. We are neither in gross darkness nor in undimmed splendor. Oddly enough the Talmud preserved the statement that the tabernacle which man was ordered by deity to build was to be erected “half in light and half in shade.” The equal arms of the cross likewise carry the same idea of balance between dark and light. And the cross was set up on a hill, the hill of the horizon. The Scales on the horizon were the cross on the hill. Horus and horizon both spell hor, which is the same as hel, and means “light.” Izon is in all probability the Greek ison, meaning “equal.” So then we have the horizon as the place of equal light and darkness, as in the day period on September 21 and March 21.
Salvation is won on the cross because the place of preservation, in the Ritual, is stated to be where “the body and soul are united to be saved.” Death on the cross of matter, as we have clarified previously, is at the same time the preservation of the soul’s integrity. It was earth, the region of twilight, that opened its gates and cities of refuge to the mother fleeing with her sun-child from the Dragon of Necessity. A quotation from Massey will prove timely:
“The opening of the mount is in the equinox, and it is there the pursued ones attain safety by entering the earth to escape from Apap, the devouring dragon. Seb is the Egyptian Joseph, as the consort of Isis, the earth mother, and foster-father of the child; and at this point in the western equinox where Horus enters the earth or earth-life, Seb, as god of earth, takes charge of the child and mother to convey them on the way to the lower Egypt of Amenta.”
Seb, however, does not convey them to any other realm than his own, but fosters them there.
The horizon line is to be seen as the equivalent Egyptian symbol for the values depicted under a different typology in the Hebrew Bible. It matches the great “cleft in the rock” imagery of the Old Testament. And this figment of theological fancy only finds its concealed sense when examined side by side with its cognate Egyptian glyph. The Eternal Being of God was by the mythicists typed by that which is most enduring and stable of all earthly things – the rock. But that everlasting Rock split itself into two at the beginning of creation. The line of cleavage runs midway through the center of its being, dividing the upper millstone of spirit from the lower one of matter. And right into that aperture between the two nodes of being deity placed man. Graphically is this depicted in the Old Testament. The Eternal says to Moses (man) that he will hide him in the cleft of the rock and will place his hand over his eyes, so that as his glory passes by man will not look full in the face of his overpowering effulgence; but when he shall have passed, and his hand is removed, man may then look safely upon his hinder part. Matter is this hand of God over mortal eyes, and it is the veil that deity has suspended between his mighty glory of spirit and our feeble powers of sight. We see God only through the veil which he has flung over our face. So man, standing on the horizon, gazes upon deity with its light dimmed to twilight by its admixture with the powers of darkness. God veils his face, or veils our power of vision, as Moses put on a veil every time he went into the Mount (of the horizon) to commune with deity. But it is in the Cleft of the Rock of Eternal Being, or on the horizon line between heaven and earth, that we are hidden by deity. That Rock was cleft in twain for man, and though we have sung
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.”
with pious unction, no one has ever told us that God has thrust our life into the fissure made by the cleaving asunder of the two aspects of divine life, or that this cleft is in the human body of man itself. The rock cleft of Hebrew imagery is expressly called in Egypt the “rock of the horizon.” Humanity is born in this rock cleft, and primitive necessity used the cave or rock recess as the place of birth actually. It is by name the Tser Hill, and it is where the dead body of Osiris was laid for its repose when buried in Annu. When the mummied Osiris rises to come forth like Lazarus from the sarcophagus or cave of the body on the other side of the horizon, he passes through “the gate of the rock, to approach the land of spirits.” It is at this rock-gate that Shu stands when he uplifts the heavens (Ch. 17). This god is the uplifter of buried divinity, raiser of the grave rock, or opener of the sepulcher and the bringer of breath to the long-inert soul now awakened.
Shu’s counterpart is Anhur, identical with Moses, and he is hyphenated with Shu as Shu-Anhur. He is represented as being the medium of communication between God and mortals. “His substance is identical with the substance of Ra,” which is the truth about humanity likewise. He makes divine law known to men, as did Moses, when he brought the twelve tables of the law from the Mount. As the breathing force of deity he is pictured as the panting lion on the Mount of Dawn. He was, like the morning star, absorbed into the blazing fires of Ra, with whom he reunites after his separation on the western mount. His transubstantiation is said to have taken place during a nine days’ tempest, which may be assumed to figure the disappearance of the god in his cycle of earth life, itself typed by the nine months of gestation, at the end of which his apotheosis into the being of Ra occurred as “he ascended alive into heaven.”
This intermediary office of Anhur in the earlier cults is afterwards borne by Horus who, after stating that he disrobes himself to reveal his nature “when he presents himself to earth,” says: “I am the babe born as the connecting link between earth and heaven, and as the one who does not die the second death” (Ch. 42). He then escapes Apap and the slaughter of the Innocents and goes on to conquer death in Suten-Khen. Shu-Anhur is equated in another cult with Atum-Iu, who as the opener and closer of the gates in and out of Amenta, holds the keys of death and of hell.
Horus’ succession to the functions and titles of Shu-Anhur, guardian of Amenta’s west and east gates of entry and exit, yields further exegesis and edification. The title of Horus as the god of the two horizons, west and east, is Har-Makhu. Har is “light, sun or sun-god.” Khu is the divine spiritual body or entity in man. Ma must be taken as the root of Ma, “mother, matter.” The title then subsumes in it the meaning of “the divine sun-god of spirit and matter.” Therefore he stands on the horizon. Now Shu was the “lion-god,” and Horus, as his successor, inherited Leo signatures. Atum-Ra-Har-Makhu was portrayed in the form of a lion-god upon the Mount of the horizon as the “lion of the double force” of spirit and matter. “I am the twin lions,” he says. He rose or stood between the two lions which image the double force of being, betokened by the fore and hind parts of the lion, or the sphinx. The male lion is spirit, the female hinder part is the material power requisite to implement spiritual conceptions. Science has dealt with “matter and force” as the two exclusive factors in the living world, but omitted the invincible king of all, spirit. The spiritual or fore part directs, but must use the material hinder part, its shakti, as the fulcrum against which to exert power.
The two lions are much in evidence as representatives of the two natures that are balanced on the horizon line. The two leonine figures that are still placed as the guardians of doorways, driveways, steps and portals, may now have their arcane riddle unraveled for an oblivious world. They are survivals through many millennia from the time when Leo was at the point of the autumn equinox in the reckoning. Instead of the scales, the two lion-gods stood, one on either horizon, to guard the entry and exit gates of Amenta. And these two lion figures type something more than fanciful guardianship. They dramatize god-man himself in his two characters of deity gone to its death in the flesh, and deity re-arisen. The lion on the west border is the figure of dying divinity; the lion east is the figure of divinity born anew, conqueror of darkness and death, opener of graves, lifter-up of humanity. The two are Horus the Elder, decrepit, wizened, disfigured, ready to die and give place to his seed; and Horus the Younger, radiant, blooming, triumphant. Dying lion and the “lion’s welp” of the Old Testament, they were the two phases of godhead at the two opposite sides of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth. At once a large segment of disguised purport in theology is opened to enlightened view when we examine the Egyptian name for these two antique lion figures. It is kherufu. This is at once seen to be the Hebrew cherub and its plural cherubim, the angelic powers that support the ark of the covenant at its two ends. And further thrilling revelation accrues from this connection through a passage in Exodus (25:22), in which it is stated that Moses (Man) was bidden to commune with deity “from between the two cherubim”! The best that literalism could do for us in this matter was to leave us with a picture of Moses ensconced atop the ark of testimony crouched under the two overarching wings of the cherubim trying to meditate! Now we can see the portrayal redeemed from nonsense to positive and gripping meaning for us. Naturally all communication must come across at the point where the two natures, human and divine, can effect a contact, and this is on the horizon line, in the body of man. Where mind and body meet is our holy mount. Our life stretches from the western gate of physical birth across the dark nocturnal sea of earthly experience to the eastern horizon of bursting light. The space between the two cherubim is the span of mortal life. In this life alone we have our chance to commune with deity. Our elaborate study is worth all its labor if it brought us this one gleaming light of realization alone. Man stands or travels between the two divine lions of dual force, the dying lion on the west and the panting lion of the resurrection dawn. The tree of life is often pictured between two lions, or two goats (Capricorn), or two cherubs, or two rams (Aries). Seraphim is a companion figure with the cherubim, for they designate the same two phases of deity under the zodiacal form of Taurus. Ser is Osir(is), or Lord, Sire; and Apis is the Bull, Taurus. Serapis yields in Hebrew “seraph” and “seraphim.” Cherubim and seraphim, like Urim and Thummin, at last are seen to be the two alternating powers of divine life, entering and leaving earthly embodiment. The solar disk is often drawn between two animals. Earth is the place between two trees, two lions, bulls, pillars, gates, mounts, altars, lampstands, doorposts, or the two horizons. In this life we are on the mount of the horizon, the hill of the Lord, our Mount Sinai, whereon with veiled face we may approach close enough to deity to hear his voice, his uttered manifested Word of Truth, though we can’t face his full glory.
In the vignette to chapter 138 of the Ritual – the “chapter of entering into Abtu” – there are drawn the forms of the two lion-gods on the horizon, one of whom is called “Yesterday” and the other “Tomorrow.” Nothing could be more instructive than these titles, for, of the two natures of man, the lower has been built up as the result of past experience now consigned to the realm of the “subconscious,” being our habitual or natural tendencies; and the higher, the “super-conscious,” is to be the development of “tomorrow.” Conscious man of the present would be “Today.”
A variant of the typology set the dragon of spirit, or serpent of fire, upon the horizon in such a position that his upper half projected above the skyline and his lower portion was below the rim of the earth. This is a perfect typograph of the situation in the human body, where, with the diaphragm for horizon, all spirito-intellectual elements function above the line and all physico-genetic ones below it.
The dualism of man was commonly typed in Egypt by the sphinx-figure of the lion, with fore and hind parts in various forms. Also the giraffe became an eloquent biograph of this meaning, because of the unusual feature of his eyes protruding so far on each side of his head that he can see both fore and aft without turning his head.
Another zootype of the same import was the crocodile, which was placed in the sign of Scorpio. The Scorpion represented breath and dryness, the crocodile typed water. Hence the one at the station of the other suggested the god and animal in union in one organism – man. The crocodile at the place of the equinox limned the idea of equal balance of the air and water. The ape, half man and half animal by descent through miscegenation, stood as a most apt embodiment of the horizon idea. The various chimerical animals conceived by mythological fancy to typify mankind were often half brute, half human, such as the centaurs, harpies, satyrs, mermaids, sphinxes, gryphons and others.
Greek philosophy places man in a midway position in the scale of being. Proclus states: “We, however, being of a middle nature . . .”2 Again: “Hence that which is in our power, neither pertains to the first, nor to the last of things [pure spirit and matter], but to the medium between both.” And many another Proclean passage voices the Greek statement that man stands at the line where the “summits of inferior natures” touch the bases of the superior orders.
The mystic seer Swedenborg writes that “while man is in the world, he is in the midst between heaven and hell; and then he is kept in freedom to turn himself either to hell or to heaven.”3 In Jeremiah (21:8) we find: “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” And Deuteronomy (30:19) iterates: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you; that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.”
The Roman god Janus (whence the first month January, from janua, “a doorway”) was also a type of the lower nature facing the higher, enabling man to see both before and behind. The same implication attaches to the two brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, forethought and afterthought; likewise to the two dogs of Orion, Cyon and Procyon. The occult philosophers summarized their doctrine by saying that man was the hinge point of the universe. On him as pivot rested the crossbeam of the balance, with the natural constituting the one end and the supernatural the other. As intimated in other connections, the Hebrew Sinai plays a most prominent part in this exegesis. After the passage of the Red (Reed) Sea in the Exodus, the children of Israel arrive at the “Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai.” Elim, the plural form of El, Hebrew “God,” would mean “deity,” and Sinai the opposite station from it. The Egyptian Sheni denotes an orbit, circle or circuit, a place of turning face about, as in a transformation. It is the mount of the equinox, whereon man pivots as he stands poised between his downward descent and his return to spirit. Another name for the two lions was Sheni (Massey).
Standing on the dividing line, homo sapiens surveys the lands on both sides. In the Ritual Isis addresses the rising Horus: “Thou risest on us; thou illuminest the Two Lands. The horizon is covered with the tracks of thy passings. The faces of gods and men are turned to thee.” The statement that the horizon is covered with the tracks of the god’s passings can mean nothing but that the soul has passed over the west and east horizon lines time after time in his descents and ascents, in his pilgrimages from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven. That the faces of gods and men are turned upon us as we cross the line confirms our position on the boundary. It is declared to the soul: “The Light-God rolleth over thy body. Thou art the Lord of the two halves of Egypt.” And these are the two kingdoms which every noted Egyptologist and historian has mistaken for two geographical divisions of the country, in spite of the obvious impossibility of a separation and reuniting having taken place in the reigns of ruler after ruler, as the record appears to show. Spiritual and not political history is being recorded.
Horus leaves us in no doubt as to his position: “I make my appearance on the seat of Ra and I sit upon my seat which is upon the horizon.” And in all sacred literature there is hardly to be found a passage of more natural strength of meaning than that from the Ritual which says: “His mother suckleth him and she giveth to him her breast on the horizon.” Mother Nature feeds man’s spirit in that world where alone soul and flesh can interchange reciprocal influence.
When water symbolism is resorted to, the Two Lands are the Two Lakes. On approaching the two lakes, the Speaker says:
“Lo, I come that I may purify this soul of mine in the most high degree. Let me be purified in the lake of propitiation and equipoise. Let me plunge into the divine pool beneath the two divine sycamores of heaven and earth.” (Ch. 97, Renouf)
Revelation states that the two witnesses “are the two olive trees.” It also states that the tree of life is rooted on either side of the river of water.
Already noted is the statement that the soul “makes to flourish the crops on both sides of the horizon.” It cultivates either mundane or celestial interests. “He is the Bull of the Gods, with the twofold light in his Eye . . . he unites the heavens, he has dominion in the lands of the South and North. He rules the night.” The south is the front, male or spirit; the north the back, female or matter. By ruling the night he is lord of the lower or darker half. The climactic utterance is that he “pacifies the Two Lands, he unites the Two Lands.” As he closes the gate of heaven on the west, he opens it on the east. “Thou openest the gate of heaven leading to the horizon and the hearts of the gods rejoice at meeting thee.” “The doors are opened and the gates are thrown wide open to Ra as he cometh forth from the horizon.” In the “chapter of making the transformation into a swallow,” Nu says: “I am a swallow. I am the Scorpion, the daughter of Ra. Hail, thou flame which cometh forth from the horizon . . . in the Pool of the Double Fire. I am pure at the place of the passage of souls” – which is the horizon. Ra is apostrophized:
“Thou art the lord of heaven; thou art the lord of earth; thou art the creator of those who dwell in the heights and of those who dwell in the depths. Worshipped be thou whom the goddess Maat embraceth at noon and at eve.”
At “noon” Ra is at the height of the spiritual empyrean, with the celestials; at “eve” he is descending to glorify mortals. He then crosses the underworld by night from the west, “the place that thou lovest.” And the chapter ends with the gripping statement that “This thou doest in one little moment of time.” This follows the recital of his journey “over untold spaces requiring millions of years to pass over,” and is a reminder to world citizens that in the consciousness of higher “dimensions” a thousand years are as an instant. The grand simplicity of Isaac Watts’ hymn should not be slighted:
“A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.”
To Pepi (the soul) it is said: “Thou takest thy seat in the two halls of the horizon. . . . Thou art Ra appearing at the horizon. Ra is born every day and Pepi is born every day like Ra.” In the Book of Unas we read: “He sails in the horizon like Ra and Heru-Khuti . . . he sails to the east of heaven . . . where the gods are born.”
Unmistakably the situation of man between the two natures is implied in the following:
“The water of life cometh into heaven, the water of life cometh on the earth. The sky catcheth fire before thee, the earth quaketh before thee, at the hands of the children of God. The two mountains are cleft, the god appeareth, and the god hath the mastery over his own body.”
The Ritual prayer for Pepi asks:
“Make him to embrace the two horizons of the sky; this Pepi saileth therein with Ra to the horizon. Make Ra to embrace the two horizons of the sky.” To embrace the two horizons would be to unify the two natures in one identity. Of Osiris-Ani (the soul) the Ritual states: “He cometh into his city . . . the horizon of his father Tem.” Tem means “total” and intimates the union of the forces of the two horizons. “The divine power hath risen and shineth in the horizon.” Adoration is paid to the risen sun-god: “Homage to thee, O thou that shinest from thy disk, thou living soul that cometh forth from the horizon.”
Anubis was a double-headed deity, one of the twelve guardians of the Light. One head could watch by day, the other by night; or the two could watch the opposite sides of the line.
Pepi, the Ritual states, “makes the two regions of heaven to embrace . . . so that Ra may sail over them with Heru-Khuti to the horizon. This Pepi cometh forth on the east side of heaven where the gods are born, and he is born there with Horus and the Khuti.” The Khuti are those who have evolved the Khu, or shining body of imperishable flame.
Reconciliation between the two hostile natures is indicated in the Litany of Ra:
“He made the two Rheti goddesses, the Two Sisters of the Two Lands, to be at peace before thee. He did away with the hostility that was in their hearts, and each became reconciled to the other.”
Here is the doctrine of the Atonement. In the Hymn to Osiris we find:
“Thou rollest up into the horizon, thou hast set light over the darkness, thou sendest forth air from thy plumes, and thou floodest the Two Lands like the Disk at daybreak.”
In Zechariah (14) there stands the following:
“When the very cleft shall open into a deep valley, the living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the southern sea (in front or before) and half of them toward the hinder sea.”
The valley is used many times in the Bible to indicate this sphere of existence, our earth, into which the cleft opens out. It is the space between the two mountains which open and close, giving man his interval of opportunity to dash in and fill his chalice before being caught. The Zechariah passage uses the symbolism of two waters dividing. What more could possibly be connoted by the Exodus typology of the waters of the Red Sea dividing to let the children of God pass, and closing to catch those coming behind in hostile pursuit?
The great philosophical debate as to the Monistic or Dualistic view of life is largely gratuitous. All ancient systems of philosophy rise out of a basic initial proposition stating that a primal Oneness opened out to become a duality. The shell bursts asunder to release the seed; the seed splits in two to release the ideal pattern of form within. The first beginning was from the bosom of the Absolute, which opened to generate the twins, Light and Darkness, Day and Night, Manifestation and Reabsorption. The two Dioscuri or heavenly twins were pictured with half of the severed egg on each of their heads as a cap or helmet. One of the earliest of all symbols was the circle divided horizontally.
Now, wherever out of the void of primal space and darkness came visible substance into concrete status, as a world, there was a “hill” or “mount,” a station in the abyss, an “island” in the firmamental waters. The exegesis of the mount or hill scripturally used is of great value, for the words have never had careful and explicit definition. When a globe appeared, born out of the formless abyss, it was a resting place or foothold of stable life for finite beings, who could have no local habitation in the vast areas of nothingness otherwise. The hill and mount were glyphs for the earth itself.
A work attributed to Simon the Samaritan called The Great Announcement teaches that the root of all things branched into two powers. Of these, one appears above and is the Great Father, the mind of the universe, directing all things; the other appears below, producing all things, female. The Great Mother divided into the two heavens, or heaven and earth, giving rise to the Two Women, the Mothers of all life. These two women, who brought forth the twin brothers of light and darkness, were placed in the zodiac six months apart. They stand at the same stations as the two lion gods. This makes the one the mother of incarnating deity in his first half, or the natural man, the other the mother of resurrected deity, the spiritualized man. The one, Virgo, was the virgin mother of the god-seed buried in body and undeveloped; the other, in Pisces, was the mother, no longer virgin, but impregnated by spiritual mind, so that her offspring was not merely born, but also begotten of the Father. This double motherhood and double birth of twin saviors is duplicated in Luke. Elizabeth, who is described as barren (virgin) when she is six months gone with the child John, bears her child six months earlier than Mary (Luke I:36). “Of the vivifying Goddesses,” says Proclus, “they call the one older but the other younger” (Timaeus: B. III).
The figure of Aquarius, the Waterman standing in the zodiac at the January station and pouring out the two streams of the water of life from the “Ur-n,” pictures the division of life at the very start. The name of the great primal God Tem means “total,” and it was Tem’s seed or seminal life-blood falling upon earth that begat the two personfications of spirit and matter, Shu and Tefnut, or Hu and Sa. Massey says that “there is no god that is not a biune being, a twin form of the ‘double primitive essence’ like Ptah.” “Manifested existences are in his hand; unmanifested existences are in his womb,” runs the Ritual. Many gods were represented with female marks, many goddesses with male ones. Deity was epicene, in token either of its original unity or of its later return to androgyne state. The first Horus was most significantly pictured with the locks of girlhood. Even the mummy was dual in sex, another proof incidentally that it typified living man, since only in Amenta does the soul split into the two halves of sex. There is the Jesus with the female paps in Revelation, matching Bacchus and Serapis. Horus is shown with the cteis, Venus with the beard, and Christ as Charis and Jesus as St. Sophia. Astarte wore on her head a bull’s horns (Philo). A bull-headed goddess is found on Egyptian monuments; Neith and the vulture, her emblem, were both depicted with the male member erect in front of them. Aphrodite is sometimes written Aphroditos, the masculine form. And men sought to parody the androgyne condition of divine perfection by making themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. Even Jehovah was half feminine gender (Hovah) and was called Jehovah-genetrix. The sun-gods in incarnation went into their feminine phase.
Life was Father-Mother in one at first, and only in long slow development did it become Father and Mother. The human race, which represents a miniature eidolon of cosmic creation, reflects the same process. Humans were androgyne or male-female for aeons before, in the third root race, they bifurcated into separate sexes. A single life portrays again the same stages. For the human child, matching early humanity as a whole, is of dual or epicene gender until puberty unfolds true differentiation of sex. This is why Horus, the mummy and the child Jesus of the catacombs, were represented with legs bound together. The two legs are the signs of bifurcation, the one typing spirit, the other matter, and free to move in counterbalance with each other. The human child represents the pre-Adamic races, the pre-manifestation deity, who was androgyne. The human race had its time of puberty. Man bifurcated in the image and example of primordial God. The impubescent stage was made the general type of life or deity undifferentiated.
Massey’s summary of the dual nature of Horus or the Christ, so long lost and so sorely needed to bring clear ideas into religion, is valuable:
“In the west he is Horus in matter, feeble and dwindling; on the east he is Horus in spirit. In the one he is the child of twelve years, in the other he is the adult of thirty years. The first is the founder, the second is the fulfiller. The first was Horus of the incarnation, the second is Horus of the Resurrection . . . In both phases of character this is Horus of the double force, the double crown, the double father, the double Uraei, the double life, or other types of duplication, including the double equinox.”4
He is addressed: “Fearsome one, thou who art over the two earths . . . to whom the double crown is given” at his second coming (Rit., Ch. 17). And here it becomes imperative to dissolve in the clear light of understanding a false apparition of doctrinal accretion: the second coming of a god in bodily form to earth historically. Every god figure, typing the god in all mankind, comes twice; first as purely man, secondly as man become god. The presentment is only figurative, though the mighty truth it adumbrates is actual. Horus rises on the east to avenge the wrongs inflicted on his father on the west; to raise his father’s paralyzed arm, to reconstitute his dismembered, mutilated body. This redemptive work wins for him the second crown.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews (5:7) is a brief sketch of the twofold Horus, who suffered as Horus the mortal and overcame as Horus the immortal spirit. He “learned obedience through the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation.” The spirit of God came upon him in his adulthood, when he was divinized as the hawk; and he who had been dumb and meek as the lamb or bull led to the slaughter, became Horus Ma-Kheru, the utterer of very truth. The change of the boy’s voice from feminine tone to masculine at twelve is a most astonishing natural parallel with arcane truth. The feminine or child voice is a falsetto; the false word must become the Word made Truth.
The Horus of the western horizon, taking the plunge into matter, is, somewhat confusedly to many, typed as both the decaying Osiris, the dying old man, and the infant, speechless, impubescent child Horus. Har-Ur, or “old-child is his name.” As a portion of the “Ur” or aboriginal essence of conscious being, he is infinitely old, the Ancient of Days. But in his present incarnation he starts embodied life afresh, as a child. He is old in timeless being, but young in the present life cycle. He says: “I die, and I am born again, and I renew myself and I grow young each day.” The sea of earth life lying between the two cherubim guarding the gates of west and east is verily the fountain of eternal youth, whose waters impart to the bathers the potent elixir that restores a vigor agelessly fresh. The disappearing old man merges insensibly into the helpless infant at the winter solstice and again transforms into the radiant new divinity at the vernal equinox. Horus says: “I am the twin lions, the heir of Ra” (Ch. 38). As he passes across the space between the two horizons he blends the powers of his two forces into one, carrying over the first natural potencies into the spiritual realm exalted and glorified.
The word “child” in a number of languages, notably Spanish, is a derivative of the original Nu, firmamental water of first life, which was life in a form unexpressed and unproductive. The child was of Nu(neu)ter gender. He was the negation, or privation, as yet, of true life. So the Nu, Nnu, Nun, and eventually the ninny and in Spanish the niño (child).
Some tribal legends retain descriptions of primeval ancestors of humanity who were half male and half female, and were unaware of their unlikeness and innocent of sexual desire until a god created a longing to eat of the earth. Tasting earth’s fruit, they lost the power to fly back to heaven. One Arunta legend tells of ancestors who were double-sexed when they first started on their journey, but before they had proceeded very far, their organs were modified and their mothers “became as other women are.” The races emerging from Paradise were hermaphrodite.
A long narrative from the Pymander discourses of Egypt recounts how God, or the creator gods, becoming exceedingly enamored of their own forms, brought forth man in their likeness. But man, seeing the beauty of creative workmanship, must needs fall also to work, and so he separated himself from the Father and descended into the sphere of generation. He stooped down to break through the harmony and strength of the Circles, and manifested the “downward-borne nature.” And seeing in the “water” of earth the fair reflection of his own beauty, he loved it and would cohabit with it. (Here is probably the genesis of the Greek fable of Narcissus.) In his love for it he wrapped himself about it and became married unto it. And for this cause man above all creatures is double; mortal because of his body, and immortal because of his celestial part. Immortal and having power over all things, he yet suffers mortal experience and is subject to Fate and Destiny. Being hermaphroditic, he is governed by powers both male and female. Air and water, the account runs, drew down from Fire and Aether their subtle powers, and so nature produced bodies in the shape of men. Thereupon the bond of all things was loosed by the will of God, and the males were cut apart from the females. And straightway God ordered the creatures to increase and multiply, and bade them know themselves to be immortal, the cause of death being the too ardent love of body. He that knew himself to be a mixture of high spirit with lowly body advanced to “superstantial good.” But he that through erroneous love was enamored of body, abode wandering in darkness, sensibly suffering the things of death.
Manifestation can’t arise without the breaking apart of primal unity into duality. But the soul that “makes the journey through Amenta in the two halves of sex” must reunify its two halves before it can return to the Father. Bisexuality is for the journey in time, not for all eternity. That which has been put asunder by God must be remarried for the return to the invisible world. “This soul, divided in the two halves of sex, must be united again in establishing an eternal soul.” Manifestation is the result of bifurcation; retirement must be accompanied by reunion. Here is the rationale of the Atonement doctrine; the two halves, spirit and matter, god and man, must return to antecedent oneness. Man began as androgyne, and as androgyne he must end the cycle. Spirit and matter must marry in the body of man. Shu and Tefnut “are blended in Tattu.” And this statement is of critical moment to the race, for its asserts that the blending of the two natures is done in Tattu, our earth. We are sent to bathe in the Pool of Siloam so that the two halves of our nature may be made into the original whole. Earthly human wedlock is but an emblem of the greater marriage of the two elements of matter and consciousness in one organism. “The Manes could only enter the kingdom of heaven as a being of both sexes or of none,” writes Massey lucidly. In the light of which we venture to suggest an entirely new and undreamed-of meaning in Jesus’ statement that man, to be regenerate, must become as a little child. The child is of neither sex, functionally; and the man returned to deity is of neither sex. The redeemed must return to the sexless state of the child. Orthodox ignorance has read into Jesus’ utterance only a return to “the simple faith and purity of childhood.” But there is in this no lift to the plane of cosmic and racial significance where alone the esoteric interpretations of ancient books is to be made. The Gospels are not dealing with everyday homiletics. They expound the occult laws of evolution. Jesus was telling the race that it must return to angelic epicene state, spiritually. We must reunite the two divided sexes in us. Paul endorses the necessity when he says that the wall of partition between us must be broken down, and the two made one new creature. And the Gnostic Jesus tells Salome that his kingdom will come when there shall be neither male nor female, but when both shall be one. Paul again supports the thesis when he says: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” the biune being, the Alpha and Omega of any cycle. And no one can forget that impressive assurance of the Master himself that “when they shall arise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven” (Mark 12:25). Sex is an appurtenance of the body only. This is the meaning of the statement in Revelation that “the dragon shall rise up and slay” the two witnesses, the two thieves between whose opposite tensions the Christ had been crucified. Unification slays duality. This is outlined in the “mystery of Tattu,”
“where the body-soul in matter (Osiris) is blended with the holy spirit of Ra; the female with the male (Tefnut with Shu), or Horus, the child under twelve years, with Horus, the adult of thirty years. The transaction of blending occurs on the day that was termed ‘Come thou to me’” (Rit., Ch. 17).5 The primal cleft and bifurcation is the genesis of the horizon situation. There could be no horizon line in man’s life but for the primal bicussating that Plato tells of. The duality of our nature is a trite religious truth. Yet its consideration from the angle of the horizon typology has yielded new disclosures of piercing meaning.
Jerome, the Church Father, states that the crucifixion was not signalized by the rending of the veil of the temple, but by the breaking in twain of an enormous beam. The beam was the cross bar of the balance. But we also catch a new and stirring significance of “the veil.” The rent veil is indeed another framing of the horizon and cleft rock symbolism. The veil was the curtain of invisibility that shrouded unmanifest deity in its primal oneness. As seen, life can’t come to view until it is broken into the two nodes of spirit and matter, to provide a subject-consciousness which can become aware of object-matter. The celestial rending of the veil was then the division of the All-life into its positive and negative phases, and through the rent thus made, archetypal life emerged to view. The rent veil is again the bifurcation, the cleft rock. Through the rent life emerges to view on the hill of the horizon. It was specifically rent in twain. The rending of the veil of the Absolute broke the primal homogeneity and brought life to manifestation. For visible life only exists where the two opposing forces engage in the neutralization of their contrary tensions. The ancients did their best to expound these abstrusities under appropriate and striking representations; but we have been blind.
The horizon symbol brings further grist to the interpretative mill in another direction. It puts us in position to see at last the meaning of the “rib” figure in the creation story. The rib that has been a bone of contention and mystification for centuries yields readily to mythic art. The form of the myth must have been mangled to some extent, for the hidden sense is not readily evident in the Genesis statement. Since it is the account of the split into sexual duality, which is, or is the emblem of, the bifurcation in the beginning of creation, it must mean both these things. Therefore the rib mentioned is to be taken in the sense of “midrib”! God ran a midrib through the center of his one unitary nature, and thus separated off spirit and matter, male and female. All the root significance of the stem “rib, rif,” which yields “rift,” “riven,” supports this interpretation. Riven is “cleft.” The hymn speaks of “the blood, from thy riven side which flowed.” Deity muti- lated, cleft in twain by a mid-rift (mid-rib is written “mid-rif” in Shakespeare), and from the life blood which flowed forth mankind was nourished.
Reconciliation is attested in the following: “Pepi is the uniter of the Two Lands.” And by this again: “The heart of Osiris rejoiceth and the heart of Horus; and therefore are the northern and southern parts of heaven at peace.” Even Keb (Seb), earth-god, is dualized in the following: “Behold, one arm of Keb is to heaven, and the other is to the earth, and he taketh Pepi along to Ra.” In The Crown of Triumph (Rit., Ch. 19) the announcement is made to Horus: “Thy father Seb hath decreed that thou shouldst be his heir. He hath decreed for thee the two earths, absolutely and without condition.” The two earths are heaven and earth. Hor-Apollo narrates that the Egyptians signified the course of the sun in the winter solstice (the underworld) by two feet or legs walking, a miracle, for the legs walked without a body or a head. The god in matter was indeed regarded as having lost his head. The sun-god in the underworld, Af-Ra, was without a head. It is said that Osiris goes into Tattu and finds there the soul of the sun or Ra. There the one god embraces the other, and divine souls spring into being.
It seems certain that Michael is the Revelation character on the horizon under the title of Makhu-El, the god of the dividing line. And, true to type, Michaelmas was placed at the autumn equinox on the western horizon! And Gnostic literature names the western hill Mount Bakhu, while the eastern one is the Mount of Olives, or Mount Manu.
A prayer is made that the Osiris may be saved from the attack made against him “at the crossing.” (Ch. 135.) This indicates that assault on his young divinity is made as soon as he crosses the line on the west in his descent. He is then “the youngling in the egg” and subject to the Herut attack. Here the dragon lay in wait to devour the young child.
Direct corroboration of our interpretation of Satan as just the god on earth is seen in this forthright statement: “Unas standeth up and is Horus! Unas sitteth down and is Set! Ra receiveth him, soul in heaven and body on earth!” This shows the incarnation itself to be the root of “evil”; the resurrection overcomes it. The gender differentiation of the two aspects, as female on the west, male on the east, is carried out remarkably in a passage from a Babylonian tablet: “Venus is a male at sunrise; Venus is a female at sunset” (Sayce: T.S.B.A., Vol. 3, p. 196).
In the Ritual the soul must open thirty-six gates (the twelve decans each of three zodiacal signs?) by as many transformations of character. Chapter 145 is devoted to the opening of twenty-one of these gates. The sun-god is the King of Glory for and by whom these gates are opened. Taht, the Egyptian Psalmist, says:
“Opened be the gates of heaven! Opened be the gates of earth! Opened be the gates of the west! Opened be the gates of the northern and southern sanctuaries! Opened be the gates and thrown wide open be the portals as Ra ariseth from the mount of glory! Glory be to thee, O Ra, lord of the Mount of Glory! . . . He is the King of Glory; these are the gates of glory that were opened on the mount of glory ‘at the beautiful coming forth of his powers.’”
The Book of Enoch designates the west wind under the “name of diminution,” because “it is there that all the luminaries are diminished and descend.”
“Pepi takes possession of the Two Lands, like a king of his gods.” He seizes first the west or natural kingdom, then the spiritual east, after making the crossing via the solstice of winter. To Pepi in his resurrection the joyful announcement is made:
“Hail, Pepi, heaven has conceived thee with the star Seh (Orion), the Tuat has brought thee forth with the star Seh – Life, Life, by the command of the gods, thou livest. Thou comest forth (risest) with the star Seh in the eastern part of heaven; thou settest with the star Seh in the western part of heaven.”
“This Pepi appears in the eastern part of the sky. Thou art renewed in thy season; thou becomest young again at thine appointed time. Nut brings forth this Pepi with the constellation of Orion.”
Though traveling through the earth of Amenta, “he belongs not to the earth, he belongs to heaven. . . . He pounces upon heaven like the ahau bird, he kisses heaven like the hawk.” As he emerges in his splendor in the east side, he “makes the hearts of the dwellers in the east to expand with joy.” “He strides over Akar, he stands up in the eastern part of heaven.” The glory of the Lord in Ezekiel’s vision “went up and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.” The four fishers in the Ritual pull the dragnet through the water in the act of fishing for Horus. These are they who are described as fishers for “the great prince who sits at the east of the sky” (Rit., Ch. 153B). Jesus was accompanied by four fishermen.
The legend of the stone in the temple of Memnon which sang at sunrise is a poetic dramatism of the joy that greets the rising god on the eastern horizon.
“The gods or spirits that mount with the great god to the eastern horizon . . .” are spoken of. “In our mysteries,” says Jerome (cited by Bingham: Christian Antiquities, Vol. I, 517 – and evidencing, too, a thing often denied: that the Christians had their mysteries along with the pagans) “we first renounce him that is in the west, who dies to us with our sin; and then turning about to the east, we make a covenant with the Sun of Righteousness and promise to be his servants.” Christian exegesis has not always done so well in the transmission of ancient teaching! The Ritual (Ch. 44) reiterates: “I am the sun; very glorious, seeing mysteries – hating him who dwells in the west, telling his name.” As Horus (Osiris) when he sank in the west became Set, the theological basis for the mythic hatred here expressed is easily discerned.
We have seen that in Luke Jesus delivered the sermon, not on the mount, but on the plain. Nothing but our interpretative diagram will reconcile the apparent contradiction, since by its aid we see that the horizon may be either a hill or the open plain. Two variant aspects of a symbol chanced to cross or appear in conflict in this case. The theologians are saved the annoyance of having to explain a seeming contradiction. But – the point of utmost moment in the matter is that the “sermon” was not uttered by fleshly lips on either hill or meadow; it is the living utterance of the Christ who stands on the hill of the horizon between the two natures in man.
Before Horus came to the underworld, the sky had to be held up by Seb, the earth-god. And Horus’ coming to relieve Seb of his burden recalls the relief of Atlas by another sun-god, Hercules. The Greeks also assert that Hercules separated two mountains to form the two columns or pillars – fabled to be geographically at Gibraltar. And this again repeats Egyptian dramatization in the erection of the two pillars of Tat, tokens of dual stability. The meaning is that the god in man could enter the opening made by the cleaving apart of heaven and earth. Man is the Atlas who stands with feet (body) on earth and head (soul) in the sky, supporting the two realms by the power of his two equal arms. So the patriarch’s two arms had to be held up till the battle was won, in Old Testament copying of Egypt’s deepest lore. The sun-god came to relieve Atlas of his burden until he could go and get the three golden apples from the garden of Paradise; which three golden apples, be it known at last, were the solar triad of mind-soul-spirit.
The two equinoctial points of September and March in our zodiacal chart have yielded a rich meed of interpretative insight. Do the solstices speak as voluble a message?
The June solstice has rather little to offer for mundane instruction, because it is the index of divine soul entirely out of relation to the earthly scene in highest heavens. Its intimations point to the life of spirit in the empyrean, which is of little direct concern for man below. The sun-spirit of evolution stands at its high noon, which is seen as cognate with the Nun or non-manifest state. His interests lie on or below the horizon line. Antiquity celebrated the great Festival of Fire at the June solstice to do homage to the principle of Fire or spirit in the universe and in man. Maintained in a few scattered districts over the world, it has entirely disappeared from Christian notice.
But the December solstice yields a harvest as bountiful as that of the equinox and the horizon. It shows soul at the nadir of its dip into matter, and all its implications bear immediately and weightily upon the human situation. In the large general view the winter solstice significance is a reinforcement of that of the horizon. The suggestion of balance between spirit and carnality is accentuated again in the fixed relation between light and darkness at the turn of the year. At the equinoxes light and dark are equal in sovereignty. But at the solstice the two powers are stabilized for the period, albeit in unequal relation. The balance, in the special sense of fixity and stability, is the ground for further striking disclosures of cryptic meaning and symbolic beauty fully matching those based on the horizon. As a flood of rich meanings gushed up from consideration of man’s position on the evolutionary horizon, so another stream of cogent revelation wells forth from examination of his position at the evolutionary solstice. For under a shift of the hieroglyph, man stands also at the winter solstice of his entire evolutionary cycle. He stands at the point where his soul has made its deepest descent into matter, having taken actual residence in a body of animal flesh. The soul has emanated from the bosom of the Father and gone forth under primal impulse into the heart of matter. But with the exhaustion of its projecting force, it comes to a dead stop in the arms of matter’s inertia. The material force that was able to bring it to a stop must be exactly equal to its own power at that point. For an aeon – a section of the entire evolutionary round – it stands motionless, locked in the arms of matter. Here, at the nadir of descent, is its evolutionary solstice. And that solstice covers the period of human evolution.
As sheer metaphor it can be seen in a flash that the interlocking of male and female principles in each other’s arms is the condition precedent and necessary to a birth. The Logos, and below him the Christ, are both the products of wedlock and intercourse between spirit and matter, and must therefore be born at the solstice. And so the Christ birth (mes, mas, in Egyptian) fell at the winter solstice.
All values are born out of the struggle between the opposing nodes of consciousness and material inertia. The exertion necessary for latent consciousness to awaken its energies to greater awareness and function alone brings it to its birth. Heraclitus’ declaration that “war is the father of all things” is a great philosophical truth that applies here most forcefully. All birth arises out of the stabilized wedlock between spirit and matter, and their frictional interplay. The two parents must cohabit to produce their child of divine consciousness. And they are married at the solstice. Heraclitus adds a most pertinent observation: “The harmonious structure of the world depends upon opposite tension, like that of the bow and the lyre.” Stability is gained only by the mutual annulment of two opposite forces. The planets swing in fixed orbits because of the exact counterbalance of centrifugal and centripetal energies.
The significance of the solstice (the word meaning “sun standing still”) lies in the fact that for the time both light and darkness stand still in relation to each other. The basic feature is motionlessness. Neither is losing or gaining. They are stabilized. In the parallel situation in human evolution, soul and body stand in precisely the same relation. Soul has come down in involution and come to a stop in exact equilibration with matter, which on its side had come up from below. The spirit is from above, the body from below, as Jesus has told us. The first man is from the earth, the second is the Lord from heaven, is Paul’s corroboration. The one ascending, the other descending, the two meet, are thrown into stable equilibrium with each other, enter wedlock and birth the Christ. Each brings the other, by the exact equilibration of forces, to a standstill. Again flashes into thought the brilliance of the Egyptian phrase-name for this life: the Lake of Equipoise! We are in the pool of balanced, stabilized forces. The term “pool” has great significance here because the water in a pool is stagnant, not in stream. At the angle made by the turn in direction of the line of involution into that of evolution – “the angle of the Pool of Fire” – the water of life is stagnant, as in a bay, cove or “bight of Amenta.” The moving forces coming from above and below meet and hold each other still in the Pool of the Solstice. It is the lake or pool of human life, the Pool of Siloam.
The animal evolution, up from below, came to a meeting point with soul and was stabled or stabilized with it. Soul, coming down from above, met the animal and was stabled or stabilized with it. Copulation and birth took place in this stable relation. Now a stable is a building erected by man for animals, a station where they may come to stand (sta- is the root of the Latin word meaning “to stand”) for the night or in winter – both symbols of incarnation, be it noted. Evolution was stalled for the night in a “stable.” Animal life came to a stand in a stable place, to stay or stand still in a stall or static state or station, along with soul. Along and together with the divine, animal evolution was stabled for the night. Soul came to lift up the animal, and to do so he had to build a stable for him and enter it with him. So the Christ was born in a stable.
The features of motionlessness, stillness and midnight quietude are played upon in much allegorical material that could be adduced to support the reading. Hymns and legends emphasize these aspects:
“The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.”
. . . . .
“O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie;” And perhaps no single chant has ever so powerfully inclined the shallow and boisterous western mind to a moment of real reverence and devotion as the lines of Franz Grueber’s Silent Night, Holy Night, sung at midnight of December 24. For the Christ mind was born in the midnight stillness – of evolution.
This dead stoppage of all motion in evolution received a dramatization in one of the Apocryphal Gospels in so graphic a form and so laden with significant implications for all religion that we are constrained to reprint it here. It is an entire chapter from The Protevangelium or Gospel of James. It reveals that the Nativity scene was so obviously a drama that one speculates whether this fact does not supply an all-sufficient reason for its being kept out of the official canon of New Testament books. The recondite meaning of the solstice pause and motionlessness had somehow to be represented in the stage play. It was depicted thus:
1. And leaving her [Mary] and his sons in the cave, Joseph went forth to seek a Hebrew midwife in the village of Bethlehem.
2. But as I was going (said Joseph) I looked up into the air and I saw clouds astonished, and the fowls of the air stopping in the midst of their flight.
3. And I looked down toward the earth and I saw a table spread, and working people sitting around it, but their hands were upon the table and they did not move to eat.
4. They who had meat in their mouths did not eat.
5. They who had lifted their hands up to their heads did not draw them back.
6. And they who lifted them up to their mouths did not put anything in.
7. But all their faces were fixed upwards.
8. And I beheld the sheep dispersed, and yet the sheep stood still.
9. And the shepherd lifted up his hand to smite them, and his hand continued up.
10. And I looked into a river and saw the kids with their mouths close to the water, and touching it, but they did not drink.
Here is represented the sudden stoppage of all motion in the field of nature and human life. The sons of men, typed as crude working people, below; the birds of the air, symbol as ever of the divine soul, above; and both suddenly motionless. The sheep and their shepherd, repeating the same classification – and all caught by the stasis, or standstill of evolution! It is drama.
The New Testament parable of the wise and foolish virgins contains a most direct reference to the midnight pause: “At midnight arose the cry, The Bridegroom cometh.”
And another clear intimation of the solstice purport hides in the story of Hannah and the relief of her barren condition through the birth of God’s prophet Samuel: “At the turn of the year she bore a son.” As Hannah equates Anna, the mother of the mother of the Christ in the Gospels, we have an identity of reference with the Christ story.
And light is available at last to enable us to read rational sense and meaning into the otherwise impossible riddle of Joshua at Ajalon commanding the sun and moon to stand still, until the battle was won. It is a variant of the solstice symbolism. The sun types soul always, the moon, body. The battle of evolution could not be won unless these two forces were brought to a standstill to birth the Christ. And this again is a variant typing of the holding up of the two arms to insure the victory.
The ox and the ass are present at the divine birth as zoötypes of prophetic meaning. Both these animals represent, along with other subtle typology, the end of purely animal procreation in human history with the coming of the Christos – much the same as circumcision. They stand at the birth of the Christ as indices of the beginning of humanity’s return from male and female progenation to androgyneity through spiritual evolution. The ox is sterile through castration, and the ass through cross breeding. And man is to become a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
The dramatic ritual also arranged that the new-born Christ should be laid in the manger, where the animal eats, since his own explicit command to all mortals who would win immortal life was that they should eat his very body. God and man conjoined were reciprocally to nourish each other. An old script reports Adam as asking: “Am I and my ass to eat out of the same manger?”
Now indeed is the winter of our discontent in evolution; but our faces are set toward the lengthening light and the sun-glory of the vernal equinox, where we shall rise as gods.
1. Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 745.
2. The Six Books of Proclus on the Theology of Plato, II, p. 482.
3. Foundation Truths of the Christian Religion.
4. Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 335.
5. Massey: Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 771.
WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE
The implications and corollaries of the horizon and solstice symbolism will be found to be little short of revolutionary to the highest degree and disruptive of many a solid bulwark of orthodox theology. For one thing they announce the total error of the entire system of eschatological doctrine in Christian preachment for centuries. They will make necessary nothing less than a complete reformulation of the whole of that phase of ecclesiastical dogmatism.
It has been found essential, on the postulates of the archaic teaching, to transplant hell from some vague place of mystery under the earth or “beyond the grave” to the surface of the globe on which we live. It was necessary to define the mummy as the living human, the grave as his body of flesh, and the “dead” of old scriptures as living mortals – ourselves. It devolved upon us to re-locate Amenta, bringing it from its indefinable place somewhere above or below the earth to the open light of our own world. Along with it we were obliged to shift the locale of purgatory from the somber shadows of some unknown Sheol to the present field of our actual existence. But none of these modifications of conventional theology, drastic as they have been, will prove so shattering of commonly accepted ideas as the next transfer of a region of theological fiction from the spirit world back to our good earth. This other mislocated domain is the Hall of Judgment of Osiris in Amenta!
Orthodox religionism and popular belief must receive with what composure they can the forthright declaration that the judgment scene is enacted on this earth, not in the life of spirit following our sojourn here! We are in the scales of the Judgment now! For we are also in Hades, Sheol, Amenta, now. The Egyptian trial of the soul and the weighing of the heart in the Hall of Osiris are located by the old books in Amenta, and this Amenta, according to our now corrected knowl- edge, is the life we are now living. As argued in an earlier chapter, the Spiritual Guides of humanity gave the race a code of religious instruction that was meant to apply to the world in which it was given, not to a succeeding one. The seers were not concerned with teaching mankind about the supervening consciousness of the discarnate life. They taught humanity how to live in the world in which the teaching was imparted, well assured that philosophic behavior of life here would put them in favorable condition to meet the exigencies of the life of rest following the day on earth. They were vastly concerned to instruct mortals in what it behooved them to learn here, as this was the only realm in which progress could be made, – unless it be contended that one makes greater progress in sleep at night than in one’s waking life by day.
We were led to the discovery that the judgment takes place on earth from the figures, phrases, statements and identities found in the Book of the Dead. When these were noted, related, and studied, it seemed impossible that the plain and obvious truth of the primal doctrine of the judgment could have been so fatuously misconceived as has been the case. The statements are clear and their purport is indubitable. An incredulous world will demand the evidence in hot haste. It is given with what clarity and cogency are at our command. It could not be advanced with any expectation of intelligent reception until the long exposition of the significance of the horizon was prefaced. The brief summary of the position and relevance of the zodiacal sign of Libra is the link between the horizon and the judgment. The cross on the horizon hill is the primary emblem of theological philosophy; but it is not until one transforms the cross into the Scales or Balance that there is introduced the idea of moral quality and judgment pronounced. It is not until the two arms of the cross are made mobile to register any failure of the equilibrium that moral culpability enters the theological situation. Neither above man with the angels, nor below him with the beasts, does moral responsibility reside. It inheres solely in the kingdom of man, who is poised, the only creature in evolution so placed, on the two arms of the balance between mind and matter. Man on the horizon is not only nailed on the cross of matter; he is being weighed in the scales of the balance, to see if his heart is so spiritualized as to be light as a feather! Man’s heart against a feather, and his fate hanging thereon! The first broad consideration that led the mind to the truth about the judgment was the reflection that if Amenta was this earth, then the judgment trial must necessarily take place in this life. If the argument for the identification of earth with Amenta was sound, the matter was established conclusively by the data presented in that relation. But the position is strengthened by the force of other material drawn from ancient texts. Nothing contravenes it; all the data confirm it.
Thoth, who is the “Attorney” at the trial in Amenta, is entitled “Lord of the Balance.” Thoth, or Taht, embodies the power symbolized by the Tat cross of Egypt, which was the emblem of eternal stability, and the power that raised up life which had fallen under the sway of matter. He therefore presides at the horizontal balance where soul and matter are in their conflict. In other words, he is the divinity within us. And this is confirmed by the Ritual passage which says that “Pepi is Thoth, the strength of all the gods.” And Pepi, Teta, Unas, Ani and others are kingly puppet figures acting the role of the human soul. Thoth is the divinity that lifts us up when fallen under the seductions of sense. Thoth is he who, “when the eye (of Ra) is sick, and when it weepeth for its fellow eye; then Thoth standeth up to cleanse it.” He is the god who comes between Horus and Sut “through the judgment of him that dwelleth in Sekhem.” Of the seven cakes to be brought in by the soul, four were to be offered to Horus, the upper three to Thoth. The three upper spiritual principles were to be rendered pure from matter’s stain. Thoth is the god who healed the mutilations of dismemberment. But he was also the god of knowledge. What more direct hint does the mind need, to be assured that the ills of mortal flesh are to be healed by knowledge? Like Jesus, Thoth dries the disciples’ feet. He is said to present to Pepi “his life which was not to him.” At the trial he is represented by the ape, which has been shown to be par excellence the symbol of the god who stands at the point of balance between the animal and the human kingdom. He is described as standing at the door of the pure chamber to recite his formula which shall give life to the soul each day. The ape is the scribe or secretary or recorder for the gods because he typifies man, who combines flesh with spirit and who is thus the only being in evolution who is able to write or record the thoughts of his heart and the deeds of his hand in the form and substance of the material world – his own body. Man’s body registers the record of his life. Thoth is the power that imprints the record of living experience upon the subtle ethers of man’s inner spiritual vehicles. As regards the individual human, then, Thoth is the god within, who binds up our broken hearts, our mutilated intelligence, reconstitutes the dismembered corpus of spirit, and raises us up again. And he is Lord of the Balance, the god of the judgment scales.
A second powerful hint that the judgment is staged on earth comes with the declaration of the texts that Thoth, when he found Sut had stirred up the gods to resist the entrance of Osiris (the soul) into their company, decided that the matter should be tried in the Hall of Seb, the earth-god. It was later believed that the trial took place in the city of An. In whatever “city” held, the trial would be typical of the temptation that was universal to mankind, taking place continuously. In the solar myths there was a judgment annually. But such local or temporal judgments were either mythical or memorial, a drama to depict a deeper and constant reality.
A further intimation was seen in the statement that the Egyptian Judgment Hall was at times denominated the Hall of the Two Truths. This name enforces the conclusion that all the weight of the material concerning the horizon as the place of the two truths of life must then bear heavily on the proposition that the earth is the Hall of Judgment. This is additionally supported by the passage from the Ritual which states that the Tree of the Two Truths stands in the place of the Judgment Hall. And on a tablet of Tahtmes, a Memphite functionary of the 18th Dynasty, a reference is made to the judgment under the Tree. The text states that on the thirtieth day of the month Tibi (Dec. 16 of the Sacred Year), the “day of filling the eye in Annu” (the birthplace), “the great Inspectors (or Judges) came out at the end of the Dais under the trees of Life and Perseas.” This was the place of the Judgment. Then comes an important item. “Having been questioned, thou answerest in Rusta on the third of the month Epiphi,” or on the 17th of June, six months afterwards; the two dates, the one of questioning and the other of answering, corresponding to the two opposite sides of the zodiac of life, the Hall of the Two Truths, and the Tree of Heaven and Earth. Shu, who upholds the heaven with his two arms, like his Hebrew antitype, Moses on the Mount, was represented by the two lawgivers of astrology, the two stars of the solstices, north and south, Kepheus and Cor Leonis. The character of these personifications as lawgivers connects them with the Judgment. The Judgment Hall, then, was the space between the two horizons, or the north and south (east and west, spiritual and material) nodes of our life, a fact which is forever irrefutably established by the inscription here quoted, to the effect that the question or problem of destiny which is put to the Manes on the horizon of September is to be answered in the court six months later on the horizon of March, at the conclusion of the life experience, or in the large, at the end of the whole human cycle. The trial then began at the entrance to Amenta, where the evolutionary problem was propounded to the soul, to which it was to render answer at the culmination of its sojourn on the earth, the Hall of Judgment. The horizon line between the two cherubim is the place of the Great Balance. The two Horus forms or lion gods are the two pillars of justice, and the judgment is the long series of decisions which the man himself renders as he journeys across. At the completion of his journey over the intervening terrain, the man hears Thoth pronounce to the gods: “Hear ye this judgment. The heart of Osiris hath in truth been weighed and his soul hath stood as witness for him; it hath been found true by trial in the Great Balance.”
The heart that is weighed in the scales could not be physical. It was the second or spiritual heart. The Manes appeals to this second heart, as to a person detached from himself, not to bear testimony against him in the presence of the god who is at the balance. This second heart was that which was fashioned anew according to the life lived in the body. “The conscience or heart (Ab) of a man is his own god,” says the Ritual, and it also is his only judge. The divine words spoken by the soul, the soul’s projection of its highest conception of truth, were to be given flesh and made concrete truth in the life lived on earth. This recording of its own inner nature upon the body of flesh was the writing of its own book of life. And that which was written upon the outward form would in the repercussion stamp its lineaments back again upon inner spirit vestments, or deposit them in the ark. And this book of life, the record inscribed at the end upon the imperishable soul itself, was opened anew at the beginning, not at the end, of each fresh incarnation of the soul. The facing of the record of the past began afresh for each individual every time he plunged into earth life. We meet the book of life at birth, not at death! For we bring with us our own past record, written upon our inner ethereal vestures in letters of character. In life, not in death, we must face the issues raised by former good or ill. By our active deeds we must break the bondage of the past. Never will moral problems be envisaged aright until it is seen that their issues must be met and settled by conduct in the daylight of life, not in the dark night of death. This knowledge can transform human society.
Revelation (20) records the vision of the seer:
“I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to his works.”
With the esoteric reading of the words “sea,” “death,” and “hell,” there is no passage in ancient writing that more explicitly sets forth the meaning of the Judgment than this. Categorically it is declared that it is the “works” wrought in this present domain of life that determine the fate and status of the soul. The truth which is thus overwhelmingly established is that “the dead” come to their judgment in this life. It is, of course, possible to abstract from the phraseology of such passages as this apparent support for the idea that after this life is over (a thousand years after, it is expressly claimed by numerous cults) the dead will be summoned out of earthly graves and arraigned in ghostly lines before some august spiritual court, by which the record of the deeds done in the life will be weighted against some standard of abstract justice, and the righteous ones rewarded with a crown of eternal life, while the evil ones are parted off for eternal torment. But such a reading is a sorry distortion of the mythical sense, and was never the true intent of the framers of the allegory. This life is, as we now see, the realm of the “dead.” In it, not after it, is the trial of the soul’s qualities, as every common sense conception of the value of earthly life testifies. We are summoned into this Amenta of the body life after life, and in each we are being put to the trial of our character in a varied series of experiences. This is an incontrovertible fact of common knowledge. This world is the high mount into which the dark power, Satan, led the Jesus spirit for its trial and temptation. Given a moment’s sane reflection, any soul will know that this life is the period of its trial and testing. The soul is drawn here to exercise her undeveloped powers, as Plotinus has so well told us. Without such a testing she would remain forever ignorant of her own latent capacity, or would never bring it to expression. Here is where she is thrown into the scales of the balance, in Libra on the horizon, and here is where she is being weighed. How does she measure up under the test of earth? In no other realm of her evolutionary experience is she so situated that her acts become decisive for good or ill. The human life is the only stage on which every act is an act of destiny. Standing on the equally balanced bars of the scales, or arms of the cross, with spirit on one side, matter on the other, her every motivation, word or deed inclines the arms up or down, and thus she frames her destiny. Man is the only creature whose inner spirit writes the record of its character on its inner bodies in turn. For every fleshly experience sends an impression inward and makes a record on soul, which holds it. A man of immortal spirit-essence, eternally. The body he inherits in his successive incorporations is the outer expression on the visible plane of all his previous activities in the cycle. Whatever is hidden within will be revealed, and, cleansed and purified by suffering, returned within. A man’s soul will speak out through his body. For the soul enforms the body, and after its own pattern: “For soul is form, and doth the body make,” as the Faerie Queen states.
The earth is the Court of Judgment and Justice because it is the only place in which the consequences of past living and thinking come to light in a living embodiment. The kind of body, mind and emotional nature a person brings with him into incarnation is the book or record of all his past deeds done in the flesh, only now republished in the newest and latest edition. Not a court in a spooky spirit-Amenta, but earth life judges a man, because it subjects the nature and character he brings as his book of life to the test of further experience. And his good, bad or indifferent success in undergoing that test is again recorded in his personal character for further testing and reformation in the next life. “The opening of the books” in the trial in Revelation is just the bringing out of what is in one. Earthly life is expressly designed to do this. How else could nature make a record of the individual’s career save in the permanent nucleus of his soul, which from life to life brings its hidden qualities, its beauty or its deformities, forth to view in the lineaments of both outer body and inner impulse! When the laws of righteousness and good are at last written upon character, then will the body reflect fully the inner glory. Only that can be brought out which is resident within, a fact which has become an accepted principle of modern biology after seventy years of research since Darwin’s day.
Someone may offer as evidence against our conclusions the verse from Hebrews (9:27): “It is appointed unto every man once to die, but after this the judgment.” One knows not whether this is a corruption of some original statement of text by partisan or factional zeal, or a true version of what the philosopher wrote. But even if correctly rendered, it is readily interpretable in full consonance with the philosophy here expounded. For it is in line with the ancient wisdom which declares that it is appointed, by the cycle of Necessity, the Great Dragon, that man should go once through human evolution, subdivided of course into many single lives, and have once the experience of embodiment in all the elements of nature. This study has revealed that the allegories in scripture practically all refer to the complete cycle of embodied or incarnate life, and not to single stages or steps. Here again, then, the “once” covers the entire human round. And to enter life in matter is, as shown, “to die.” Then “after this” is as well rendered “in this” or “throughout this,” since the judgment begins after, or from, the very beginning of the “death.” To be sure, all judgment holds for after-time, but it is immediately concomitant with the acts judged. There is a rounding out, finishing and perfecting of judgment in the last stages of the entire round, naturally, and it may be legitimate to think of these last denouements as the final judgment at the end. Hebrews (9:26) does expressly say: “Nay, once for all, at the end of the world, he has appeared, with his self-sacrifice to abolish sin.” The havoc wrought upon millions of morbid minds by the mistranslation of teleuten aion as “the end of the world” instead of, properly, “the end of the aeon or cycle,” has already been emphasized. But the passage indicates that as the whole cycle rounds out to its conclusion, the registry of the record will reach its beautiful consummation. The writing will then be in final form – until the next great cycle begins. At the end of the aeon nature must reckon with her child and pronounce the verdict on the aeon’s activities and accomplishments. Nevertheless it is during the run of the cycle that the soul is being weighed in the scales of the balance, for that is the only time when the two elements of being, spirit and matter, are poised in solstitial balance against each other.
That the whole question has perplexed scholars is revealed from the following by Budge:
“The question naturally arises here: – When did the judgment in the hall of Osiris take place? To this no definite answer can be given, for the reason that no text supplies the information needed. There are no grounds so far as I see, for assuming that the Egyptians believed in a great general day of judgment, when all the world should be judged, and the wicked shall be punished, and the righteous shall be rewarded, or for thinking, as some have done, that the mummified bodies were laid in the tomb to await a general resurrection. On the contrary, all the evidence seems to point to the conclusion that the judgment of each individual was thought to take place immediately after death, and if this was the belief, it follows that punishment or reward was allotted to the dead at once. The evil heart or heart which had failed to balance the feather, symbolic of the law, was given to the monster Am-mit to devour; this punishment consisted of instant annihilation, unless we imagine that the destruction of the heart was extended over an indefinite period.”1
Budge barely escapes from committing himself to childish literalism at the end of this speculation. And his assertion that no text “supplies information” is but a confession of scholastic inability to read the hieroglyphs and symbols. The whole Book of the Dead and other texts are definite attempts to transmit or preserve knowledge about the judgment. The pity is that modern scholarship has not yet learned to interpret the fathomless wisdom of those texts. But Budge lends authoritative corroboration to the claim that the ancient religions envisaged no such universal “Judgment Day” as exoteric Christianity has plagued the conscience of people with for centuries. It is at any rate inconsequential when a final judgment is pronounced upon life; for the ingredients of that sentence are being compounded by the individual at all moments, in the ever-present Now. Every passing act helps determine the nature of “final” decision. Budge again speculates on the subject:
“. . . there exist definite proofs that the Egyptians believed in a judgment which was to be held in the domain of Osiris” [it should be recalled that Osiris was “Lord of Amenta” – earth!] “and we should hardly expect the spiritual body to begin its career until after the trial of the heart in the balance, and until the verdict of the gods at this judgment was favorable to the deceased.”
But the noted scholar confesses his confusion and want of definite knowledge in the sentences immediately following the above:
“The whole question is full of difficulty, chiefly because the Egyptians themselves did not, I imagine, form definite ideas on such subjects, or if they did, they did not put them in writing. It is, however, perfectly certain that they believed that Osiris had power to make men to be born after death into a new life, and that such life was everlasting.”
In uncertainty over the cryptic and baffling texts, Budge, like others, took the easy way of foisting his own failure on the Egyptians themselves. If we can’t make sense out of their texts, they could not themselves have had very clear ideas, is the conclusion. But this work refutes that verdict. In the face of the evidence presented herein the claim that the ancients were unable to form definite ideas, and true ones, upon the profoundest questions of being, can no longer be supported.
It seems never to have been seen that the idea of a universal Day of Judgment commits its holders to the absurd premises that the law of cause and effect, or action and reaction, is inactive or in abeyance throughout all the time of our present energetic life in human society! All consequences of action are somehow being absorbed in Infinite Mind and held suspended in a pralaya, or motionless state, from the time of their causation until the great climactic “Day.” This predicament puts the exoteric doctrine out of court where intelligence presides. Moreover, the absurd delusion has so far worked its natural consequences in immediate precipitation that it has impaled the general consciousness of the masses on the idea that somehow one can do as one likes in this world, and escape the Eye of the Law of Retribution. It has promoted in large measure the present age of lawlessness.
The Ritual speaks of the secret knowledge of the periodicities and cycles of incarnation as requisite to render safe the passage through all the trial scenes in the Judgment Hall. The salvation of the deceased depended on his having the facts treasured up in his memory. As the soul walked through the valley of the shadow of death, his security depended upon his knowledge that he was a divinity threading his way through the dark underground labyrinth of matter. His memory of his intrinsically deific nature would be his safeguard; and this memory was his book of life and character, for it was his own self, come hither to purify itself of dross.
Massey affirms that the Rabbins have preserved a tradition that the dead are summoned before the tribunal to be judged upon the day of doom, which occurs each New Year’s Day! The theological dogmatist will scowl at this as a survival of heathen sun-worship. But he is not probably aware that the unknown writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews has discussed at some length this identical matter, and stated succinctly that the annual festivals were but a typical ritual, merely a reminder of spiritual realities! In the ninth chapter we read:
“For Christ has not entered a holy place which human hands have made (a mere type of the reality!)” – [parenthesis not ours] – “nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, like the high priest entering the holy place every year, with blood that was not his own: – for in that case he would have had to suffer repeatedly, ever since the world was founded. Nay, once and for all, at the end of the world, he has appeared with his self-sacrifice to abolish sin . . . For as the law has a mere shadow of the bliss that is to be, instead of representing the reality of that bliss, it can never perfect those who draw near with the same annual sacrifices that are perpetually offered . . . As it is, they are an annual reminder of sins . . .”
The writer of the Epistle was finding it necessary to warn devotees not to fall into the error of assuming that the annual commemorations of spiritual transactions would automatically bestow divine grace and unction upon them by and through their mere performance. It was a caution against literalizing a ritual. For so, says the writer, Jesus would have to come and be crucified over again each year, if the rituals were anything more than “reminders.” Even at that time it had become necessary to caution votaries that the religious festivals and myths were only symbols of an inner mystery. How much more is the same caution necessary now! If the Day of Doom came once each year on New Year’s Day, it was set only as an annual commemoration of a fact which was perpetual, constant, persistent throughout life.
Thoth (or Horus in his capacity), the scribe of fate, makes the final summary of the case and presents it to the jury. He introduces Ani (the soul) to Osiris, saying:
“I have come to thee, O Un-nefer, and I have brought unto thee the Osiris-Ani. His heart is right; it hath come forth guiltless from the scales . . . Taht hath weighed it according to the decree pronounced unto him by the company of the gods; it is most right and true. Grant that he may appear in the presence of Osiris; and let him be like unto the followers of Horus for ever and ever.”
To come forth guiltless from the scales may now be seen to convey the deep significance of the soul’s emergence from earth life between the two horizons, washed clean and gloriously spiritualized. If the judgment had been adverse, the soul would have been cast to the monster Am-mit, which only means, however, return to animal incarnation until final purification.
We have descanted sufficiently upon the seven elementary powers, which, being mindless, chaotic, had to be cast down. It was an age-old legend that there were seven watchers who were tried in the judgment, found not faithful, and overthrown. Now in the Ritual there appear the seven mortal sins “that lie in wait at the balance where all hearts are weighed, to arrest the further progress of the soul” (Ch. 71). These seven natural instincts of the mortal self constituted the seven-headed serpent that lay in wait at the “bight of Amenta,” to devour the infant and innocent god-soul. The present exegesis receives striking corroboration in the statement of the Ritual that this place of ambuscade is “at the balance where all hearts are weighed.” For assuredly it is in the incarnate state only that the soul could meet the seven enemies whose very existence is in the animal body and the carnal nature. The seven early mindless rulers were to be displaced by the twelve archons seated on the twelve thrones of judgment. Massey writes in enlightening fashion:
“The seat of justice in the solar mythos was shifted to the point of the equinox, and the balance was erected on the later mount of glory in the zodiac. This is the mountain of Amenta in the eschatology. It is described in the Ritual (Ch. 149) as the exceeding high mountain of the nether world, the top of which touches the sky . . . This was the mountain, as judgment seat.”2 It is an exceeding high mountain, but it is not in Massey’s ghost-Amenta, but in our world here. Its top touches the sky, which is just the heaven side of the horizon line in our own natures. It is important to note that the scholar definitely places the judgment mount on the horizon. The Scales figured, he says elsewhere, at the equinoctial level and marked the division, at the same time being the link between the two “heavens,” and Libra was the express emblem of the Two Truths of Life and Death.
The main Egyptian symbol of spiritual being in humanity’s trial was the feather. The appropriateness of this emblem consists likely in the fact that, held in certain angles of light, the two sides divided by the midriff reflect, the one a glossy, the other a somber dull appearance. It was a sign, at any rate, of light and shade, and the two halves represent the deities Ma and Shu. And Ma and Shu were unified and pluralized in the name Mati. This introduces us to the Egyptian personification or goddess of Justice, who was Maat. To express her functions we can do no better than to repeat Massey’s characterization:
“The Balance is a symbol of maat and its oneness in duality. The equilibrium of the universe was expressed by maat, which represented the natural, immutable and eternal law. It was erected as a figure at the equinox . . . Makha is a name for the scales and to weigh. The scales were erected at the place of poise and weighing in the equinox . . . The sphinx was a figure of this duality in oneness at the equinox. The feather of Shu (or Ma) was another type of the same duality of light and shade, which meet and mingle as one at twilight.”3
It was against this feather that the heart of the Manes was weighed in the judgment trial. It was either a symbol of mere balance and equilibration, or its lightness was to test the purity of man’s spirit. A reduplication of the same balance between light and shade as symbol of justice was later brought into use in the form of the black and white ermine worn by judges. The two lion kherufu (cherubim) at the two gates were likewise symbolical of the idea. Chapter 136B of the Ritual recites: “I am come,” says the Speaker, “so that I may see the process of Maat and the lion-forms.” The soul comes here to have the experience of weighing ephemeral values against eternal ones, good against evil, and seeing how the balance works for evolution. The Manes waiting to enter the mount is summoned: “Come, come, for the father is uttering the judgment of Maat.” In the papyri of Ani and Nunefer the judges or assessors in the trial appear as twelve in number, instead of the twenty-four or the forty-two. They are thus a prototype of the twelve thrones in Revelation and the twelve judges of Israel.
Budge’s description of the hall of the two horizons is worthy of notice:
“The Hall of the two Maat Goddesses, the two Goddesses of Truth, shows one goddess presiding over Upper and the other over Lower Egypt. One guards the soul, the other the body.”
Here is the clearest authentication of our analysis and characterization of the two Lands spoken of in the ancient texts, the one as soul, the other as body. Yet in spite of this clear statement of the esoteric significance of the terms, the great scholar has joined the company of those who constantly take Upper and Lower Egypt to refer to two geographical divisions of the Egypt on the map. How long indeed will it take them to learn that very ancient scriptures dealt with the eternal interests of the human soul, and not with the tawdry facts of geography and history?
The two goddesses are also called the “Two Daughters Merti, Eyes of Maat (Truth).” Then comes a detail that must be seen to be of central moment for theology. The hall is in the form of an elongated funerary coffer! In other words, the judgment hall is the coffin, tomb or grave, the place of “death,” which we have conclusively shown to be the body of man.
The hands of the god seated at the head are extended over the Two Pools, each of which contains an Eye of Horus. An ape (Thoth) is seated before a pair of scales. Thirteen feathers of Maat and thirteen Uraei or elementary serpent-powers are arranged alternately. The two Maat goddesses are seated beside one of the double doors, each holding a scepter of “serenity” in her right hand and one of “life” in her left. On the head and scepter of each is the feather, symbol of truth. Everything suggests the dual nature of an even balance, and herein the Manes is tried.
A remarkably suggestive statement is made in the 47th chapter of the Ritual, intimating that the judgment came as a result of the splitting of primal biunity into duality. It is the “chapter of not entering in unto the block”: “I have joined up my head and neck, in heaven and on earth . . . the goddess Nut hath joined together the bones of my neck and back, and I beheld them as they were in the time that is past when as yet I had not seen Maat and when the gods were not born in visible forms.”
How clearly this says to us that after the unifying of our two natures here the soul beholds itself restored to its primal unity! It sees itself whole, as it was before it came out into the duality of sex polarization; and the identification of this splitting with “seeing Maat” or the judgment on the two horizons, is most direct testimony to the correctness of our resolution of hidden meanings.
We have considered the significance of the term Makhu in the name of Horus or Har-Makhu. Another correlative name of Horus is Har-Tema, which signifies “he who makes justice visible.” Har-Tema was lord of the double earth, wherein justice was wrought out in the form of real existence in the life on earth. The Ritual says (Ch. 79): “I am earth, who maketh to come into being the seed which is sown.” He is the power which brings the hidden things of God to light in matter.
Hints have already conveyed the general relevance of the great old scriptural term, the Battle of Armageddon, and we have traced its origin from the Egyptian Har-Makhu, with the addition of the Hebrew word adon, meaning “lord,” at the end. The name signifies “the sun (spirit) power, lord of the balance between spirit and matter, standing on the horizon.” The term has overcast the consciousness of deluded Christians with fearsome speculation and solicitude for so many centuries that its sane clarification at last in the glow of Egyptian symbolism is quite worth an additional paragraph. Again has the mythical shadow of a great natural truth been turned by Christian ignorance into the substance of a catastrophic historical denouement. But, like purgatory, hell and the judgment, this dreaded battle is taking place now, and is indeed partly over. For it is fought “at night” and “on the horizon.” These terms of description settle the question, if there is any, whether it is symbolism or factuality. It is just that perennial struggle fought between the two opposing powers of life, on the dividing line between their areas of influence at the place of the balance, where the Makhu, or scales of justice, were erected to weigh the past and present character of the Manes. The scales were said to be erected on the night of the great battle between Horus and Sut, when the Sebau were defeated and the adversaries overpowered. The great contest is nothing but the whole of the battle of life that we are now waging; the war between Horus, the spiritual light, and the seven-headed dragon of darkness. Great military conflicts on the continental plains may be a phase of the struggle in one of its manifestations, but the term refers to the entire aeonial battle. It is notable, however, that in Revelation this battle is fought after the pouring out of the contents of the seventh principle which brought the triadic unity of solar deity into the body formed by the six elementary forces, it is precisely the time when the great battle between the god and the six lower powers, the Sebau, could begin. The battle could not start, surely, until the god arrived on the scene. The battle is preceded by the emptying of the great bowl and the sound of a great voice which proclaimed: “It is done!” The struggle only begins when the seven natures had been conjoined in the physical body on the horizon line. With the coming of the solar triad of mind the battle was on between it and the six (seven) evil spirits which had to be made subservient, or “cast down.” “Slaughter” was to be “dealt out to Apap” by Maati! The battle of Armageddon was begun as the “war in heaven” and continued on earth between the sun-god incubated in the body and the six demoniac forces of the natural “first man.” We have long been fighting the Battle of Har-Makhu-Adon.
One account of this battle (translated by Goodwin) records that the twins, Sut and Horus, transformed themselves into wild beasts and remained in that state during three days! This is not arrant nonsense, inasmuch as the single unified deity, after splitting into twin powers as matter and spirit, did come into the bodies of beasts before the human stage, typed as the three days of incubation in the kingdoms below the human.
Man has entered the Götterdämmerung; he stands within the twilight. He stands on the mounts both of crucifixion and transfiguration, with the shadow of the two beams of the cross or the scales falling athwart his body. Every act, word and thought of his causes those arms of the scales to move up or down, according as he gives an impulse to spiritual or to sensuous expression. In their motion they write the scroll of his book of life, alternately upon outward feature and inner character. Every movement of the bars is a decree of judgment for him. Taht-Aan, the scribe and recorder, is filling the pages of his book. Who shall estimate the difference in world history since the third century if this knowledge of the sages of Egypt that man is now undergoing trial in the Hall of Judgment on this mount of the double equinox, on the morning and evening horizons of evolution, had not been lost to western humanity through the fatal triumph of ignorance and bigotry over chaste wisdom? Christendom has been taught that the individual can perpetrate what heinousness he will in this life, and wait a millennium before being brought to reckoning. The certitude of the instant judgment of the two Maat goddesses has been obscured or denied. Western man has been deprived of the definite knowledge that the consequences of his acts are in immediate reaction upon him. The shadow of the law has been deludedly removed from his mind and conscience, with the result that human life has proceeded largely without consideration of the certainty of justice. And with this sense of immunity bolstered by the concomitant doctrines of a vicarious atonement and the forgiveness of sins, the misguided mind of Occidental man has indulged in such revelries of license and heedlessness as history has not recorded in another period. The assurance that the world is under law, that acts carve the shape of destiny, is scarcely to be found in Western areas. The habitual philosophy of the “average” mind of modern civilized nations consists of the hazy notion that the Eyes of Maati are mostly asleep, and that the theological Day of Judgment, if it is to come at all, is a long way off.
All the while the arms of that Balance on the hill of the horizon in the twilight are moving, and they are the pen of Taht-Aan inscribing the record.
1. Introduction to the Book of the Dead, p. cvii.
2. Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 703.
3. Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, p. 679.