HERMETIC AND KABALISTIC DOCTRINES
The cosmogony of Hermes is as veiled as the Mosaic system, only it is upon its face far more in harmony with the doctrines of the Secret Sciences and even of Modern Science. Says the thrice great Trismegistus, “the hand that shaped the world out
of formless pre-existent matter is no hand”; to which Genesis is made to reply, “The world was created out of nothing,” although the Kabalah denies such a meaning in its opening sentences. The Kabalists have never, any more than have the Indian }ryans, admitted such an absurdity. With them, Fire, or Heat, and Motion* were chiefly instrumental in the formation of the world out of pre-existing Matter. The Parabrahman and Mãlaprakriti of the Vedantins are the prototypes of the Ain-Soph and Shekhinah of the Kabalists. Aditi is the original of Sephira, and the Prajapatis are the elder brothers of the Sephiroth. The nebular theory of Modern Science, with all its mysteries, is solved in the cosmogony of the Archaic Doctrine; and the paradoxical though very scientific enunciation, that “cooling causes contraction and contraction causes heat; therefore cooling causes heat,” is shown as the chief agency in the formation of the worlds, and especially of our sun and solar system.
All this is contained within the small compass of Sepher Yetzirah in its thirty-two wonderful Ways of Wisdom, signed “Yah-Jehovah Tsabaôth,” for whomsoever has the key to its hidden meaning.† As to the dogmatic or theological interpretation of the first verses in Genesis, it is pertinently answered in the same book, where speaking of the Three Mothers, Air, Water and Fire, the writer describes them as a balance with
The good in one scale, the evil in the other, and the oscillating tongue of the Balance between them.‡
One of the secret names of the One Eternal and Ever-Present Deity was in every country the same, and it has preserved to this day a phonetic likeness in the various languages. The Aum
* The eternal and incessant “in-breathing and out-breathing of Parabrahman” or Nature, the Universe in Space, whether during Manvantara or Pralaya.
† [WMS. quotes Skinner’s key from The Source of Measures. See The Theosophist, Vol. LIII, January, 1933, pp. 399-400, which reads: “This signature becomes more comprehensible and trustworthy when one learns that with Moses, the ‘God-names Elohim and Jehovah (were) numerical indices of geometrical relations’ and ‘stood (for one meaning) for a diameter and a circumference value, respectively’.”–Compiler.]
‡ Op. cit., iii, I.
of the Hindus, the sacred syllable, had become the with the Greeks, and the Aevum with the Romans–the Pan or All. The “thirtieth way” is called in the Sopher-Yetzîrâh the “gathering understanding,” because
Thereby gather the celestial adepts judgments of the stars and celestial signs, and their observations of the orbits are the perfection of science.*
The thirty-second and last is called therein the “serving understanding,” and it is so called because it is
A disposer of all those that are serving in the work of the Seven Planets, according to their Hosts.†
The “work” was Initiation, during which all the mysteries connected with the “Seven Planets” were divulged, and also the mystery of the “Sun-Initiate” with his seven radiances or beams cut off–the glory and triumph of the anointed, the Christos; a mystery that makes plain the rather puzzling expression of Clement:
For we shall find that very many of the dogmas that are held by such sects [of Barbarian and Hellenic Philosophy] as have not become utterly senseless, and are not cut out from the order of nature [“by cutting off Christ,”‡ or rather Chr‘stos] . . . correspond in their origin and with the truth as a whole.§
In Isis Unveiled,|| the reader will find fuller information than can be given here on the Zohar and its author, the great Kabalist, Shimon ben-Yohai. It is said there that on account of his being known to be in possession of the secret knowledge and of the Merkabah, which insured the reception of the “Word,” his
* Op. cit, 30.
‡ Those who are aware that the term Christos was applied by the Gnostics to the Higher Ego (the ancient Pagan Greek Initiates doing the same), will readily understand the allusion. Christos was said to be cut off from the lower Ego, Chr‘stos, after the final and supreme Initiation, when the two became blended in one; Chr‘stos being conquered and resurrected, in the glorified Christos.–Franck, Die Kabbala, 75; S.F. Dunlap, Sôd, The Son of Man, Vol. II [London & Edin., 1861.]
§ Stromateis, I, xiii.
|| Vol. II, Ch. viii and index.
very life was endangered, and he had to fly to the wilderness, where he lived in a cave for twelve years surrounded by faithful disciples, and finally died there amid signs and wonders.* His teachings on the origin of the Secret Doctrine, or, as he also calls it, the Secret Wisdom, are the same as those found in the East, with the exception that in place of the Chief of a Host of Planetary Spirits he puts “God,” saying that this Wisdom was first taught by God himself to a certain number of Elect Angels; whereas in the Eastern Doctrine the saying is different, as will be seen.
Some synthetic and kabalistic studies on the sacred Book of Enoch and the Taro (Rota) are before us. We quote from the MS. copy of a Western Occultist, which is prefaced by these words:
There is but one Law, one Principle, one Agent, one Truth and one Word. That which is above is analogically as that which is below. All that which is, is the result of quantities and of equilibriums.
The axiom of Éliphas Lévi and this triple epigraph show the identity of thought between the East and the West with regard to the Secret Science which, as the same MS. tells us, is:
The key of things concealed, the key of the sanctuary. This is the Sacred Word which gives to the Adept the supreme reason of Occultism and its Mysteries. It is the Quintessence of Philosophies and of Dogmas; it is the Alpha and Omega; it is the Light, Life and Wisdom Universal.
The Taro of the sacred Book of Enoch, or Rota; is prefaced, moreover, with this explanation:
The antiquity of this book is lost in the night of time. It is of Indian origin, and goes back to an epoch long before Moses . . . . It is written upon
* Many are the marvels recorded as having taken place at his death, or we should rather say his translation; for he did not die as others do, but having suddenly disappeared, while a dazzling light filled the cavern with glory, his body was again seen upon its subsidence. When this heavenly light gave place to the habitual semi-darkness of the gloomy cave–then only, says Ginsburg, “the disciples of Israel perceived that the lamp of Israel was extinguished.” [The Kabbala . . ., ch. I.] His biographers tell us that there were voices heard from Heaven during the preparation for his funeral, and at his interment, when the coffin was lowered into the deep cave prepared for it, a flame broke forth and a voice mighty and majestic pronounced these words: “This is he who caused the earth to quake, and the kingdoms to shake!” [Zohar, III, p. 296; Mantua ed.]
detached leaves, which at the first were of fine gold and precious metals . . . . It is symbolical, and its combinations adapt themselves to all the wonders of the Spirit. Altered by its passage across the Ages, it is nevertheless preserved–thanks to the ignorance of the curious–in its types and its most important primitive figures.
This is the Rota of Enoch, now called Taro of Enoch, to which de Mirville alludes, as we saw, as the means used for “evil Magic,” the “metallic plates [or leaves] escaped from destruction during the Deluge” and which are attributed by him to Cain. They have escaped the Deluge for the simple reason that this Flood was not “Universal.” And it is said to be “of Indian origin,” because its origin is with the Indian }ryans of the first Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race, before the final destruction of the last stronghold of Atlantis. But, if it originated with the forefathers of the primitive Hindus, it was not in India that it was first used. Its origin is still more ancient and must be traced beyond and into the Himalaya,* the Snowy Range. It was born in that mysterious locality which no one is able to locate, and which is the despair of both Geographers and Christian Theologians–the region in which the Brahman places his Kailasa, the Mount Sumeru, and the Parvat§ Pam§r, transformed by the Greeks into Paropamisus.
Round this locality, which still exists, the traditions of the Garden of Eden were built. From these regions the Greeks obtained their Parnassus;† and thence proceeded most of the biblical personages, some of them in their day men, some demi-gods and heroes, some–though very few – myths, the astronomical double of the former. Abram was one of them–a Chaldaean
* Pococke, may be, was not altogether wrong in deriving the German Heaven, Himmel, from Himalaya; nor can it be denied that it is the Hindu Kailasa (Heaven) that is the father of the Greek Heaven (Koilon), and of the Latin Coelum.
† See Pococke’s India in Greece (p. 302) and his derivation of Mount Parnassus from Parnasi, the leaf and branch huts of the Hindu ascetics, half-shrine and half-habitation. “Part of the Paropamisus (the hill of Bamian), is called Parnassus. These mountains are called Devan§ka, because they are full of Devas or Gods, called ‘Gods of the Earth’, Bhã-Devas. They lived, according to the Purânas, in bowers or huts, called parnasi, because they were made of leaves (parnas).”
Brahman,* says the legend, transformed later, after he had repudiated his Gods and left his Ur (pur, “town”?) in Chaldaea, into A-brahm† (or A-braham), “no-brâhman” who emigrated. Abram becoming the “father of many nations” is thus explained. The student of Occultism has to bear in mind that every God and hero in ancient Pantheons (that of the Bible included), has three biographies in the narrative, so to say, running parallel with each other and each connected with one of the aspects of the hero–historical, astronomical and perfectly mythical, the last serving to connect the other two together and smooth away the asperities and discordancies in the narrative, and gathering into one or more symbols the verities of the first two. Localities are made to correspond with astronomical and even with psychic events. History was thus made captive by ancient Mystery, to become later on the great Sphinx of the nineteenth century. Only, instead of devouring her too dull querists who will unriddle her whether she acknowledges it or not, she is desecrated and mangled by the modern Oedipus, before he forces her into the sea of speculations in which the Sphinx is drowned and perishes. This has now become self-evident, not only through the Secret Teachings, parsimoniously as they may be given, but by earnest and learned Symbologists and even Geometricians. The Key to the Hebrew Egyptian Mystery, in which a learned Mason of Cincinnati, Ralston Skinner, unveils the riddle of a God, with such ungodly ways about him as the Biblical Yah-ve, is followed by the establishment of a learned society under the presidentship of a gentleman from Ohio and four vice-presidents, one of whom is Piazzi Smyth, the well-known Astronomer and Egyptologist. The Director of the Royal Observatory in Scotland and author of The Great Pyramid, Pharaonic by name, Humanitarian by fact, its Marvels, Mysteries, and its Teachings, is seeking to prove the same problem as the American author and Mason; namely, that the English system of measurement is the same as
* Rawlinson is justly very confident of an Âryan and Vedic influence on the early mythology and history of Babylon and Chaldaea.
† This is a Secret Doctrine affirmation, and may or may not be accepted. Only Abrahm, Isaac and Judah resemble terribly the Hindu Brahmâ, Ikshvâku and Yadu.
that used by the ancient Egyptians in the construction of their Pyramid, or in Mr. Skinner’s own words that the Pharaonic “source of measures” originated the “British inch and the ancient cubit.” It “originated” much more than this, as will be fully demonstrated before the end of the next century. Not only is everything in Western religion related to measures, geometrical figures, and time-calculations, the principal period-durations being founded on most of the historical personages,* but the latter are also connected with heaven and earth truly, only with the Indo-Âryan heaven and earth, not with those of Palestine.
The prototypes of nearly all the biblical personages are to be sought for in the early Pantheon of India. It is the “Mind-born” Sons of Brahmâ, or rather of the Dhyâni-Pitarah (the “Father-Gods”), the “Sons of Light,” who have given birth to the “Sons of Earth”––the Patriarchs. For if the Rig-Veda and its three sister Vedas have been “milked out from fire, air and sun,” or Agni, Indra, and Surya, as Manu-Smriti tells us, the Old Testament was most undeniably “milked out” of the most ingenious brains of Hebrew Kabalists, partly in Egypt and partly in Babylonia––”the seat of Sanskrit literature and Brâhman learning from her origin,”as Colonel Vans Kennedy truly declared. One of such copies was Abram or Abraham, into whose bosom every orthodox Jew hopes to be gathered after death, that bosom
* It is said in The Gnostics and their Remains, by C.W. King (p. 13, 1st ed.; p. 35, 2nd ed.), with regard to the names of Brahma and Abram: “The figure of the man, Seir Anpin, consists of 243 numbers, the numerical value of the letters in the name Abram signifying the different orders of the celestial hierarchy. In fact the names Abram and Brahmâ are equivalent in numerical value.” Thus to one acquainted with Esoteric Symbolism, it does not seem at all strange to find in the Loka-pâlas (the four cardinal and intermediate points of the compass personified by eight Hindu gods) Indra’s elephant, named Abhra-mâtanga, and his wife Abhramu. Abhra is in a way a Wisdom Deity, since it is this elephant’s head that replaced that of Ganesha (Ganapati), the God of Wisdom, cut off by Śiva. Now Abhra means “cloud,” and it is also the name of the city where Abram is supposed to have resided––when read backwards––”Arba (Kiryath), the city of four. . . . Abram is Abra with an appended m final, and Abra read backward is Arba” (The Source of Measures, p. ix). The author might have added that Abhra meaning in Sanskrit “in, or of, the clouds,” the cosmo-astronomical symbol of Abram becomes still plainer. All of these ought to be read in their originals, in Sanskrit.
being localized as “heaven in the clouds” or Abhra.*
From Abraham to Enoch’s Taro there seems to be a considerable distance, yet the two are closely related by more than one link. Gaffarel has shown that the four symbolical animals on the twenty-first key of the Taro, at the third septenary, are the Teraphim of the Jews invented and worshipped by Abram’s father Terah, and used in the oracles of the Urim and Thummim. Moreover, astronomically Abraham is the sun-measure and a portion of the sun, while Enoch is the solar year, as much as are Hermes or Thoth; and Thoth, numerically, “was the equivalent of Moses, or Hermes,” “the lord of the lower realms, also esteemed as a teacher of wisdom,” the same Mason-mathematician tells us; and the Taro being, according to one of the latest bulls of the Pope, “an invention of Hell,” the same “as Masonry and Occultism,” the relation is evident. The Taro contains indeed the mystery of all such transmutations of personages into sidereal bodies and vice versa. The “wheel of Enoch” is an archaic invention, the most ancient of all, for it is found in China. Éliphas Lévi says there was not a nation but had it, its real meaning being preserved in the greatest secrecy. It was a universal heirloom.
As we see, neither the Book of Enoch (his “Wheel”), nor the Zohar, nor any other kabalistic volume, contains merely Jewish wisdom.
The doctrine itself being the result of whole millenniums of thought, is therefore the joint property of adepts of every nation under the sun. Nevertheless, the Zohar teaches practical Occultism more than any other work on that subject; not as it is translated though, and commented upon by its various critics, but with the secret signs on its margins. These signs contain the hidden instructions, apart from the metaphysical interpretations and apparent absurdities so fully credited by Josephus, who was
* Before these theories and speculations––we are willing to admit they are such––are rejected, the following few points ought to be explained. (1) Why, after leaving Egypt, was the patriarch’s name changed by Jehovah from Abram to Abraham? (2) Why Sarai becomes on the same principle Sarah (Gen. xvii)? (3) Whence the strange coincidence of names? (4) Why should Alexander Polyhistor say that Abraham was born at Kamarina or Uria a city of soothsayers, and invented Astronomy? (5) “The Abrahamic recollections go back at least three millenniums beyond the grandfather of Jacob,” says Bunsen (Egypt’s Place in Universal History, V, 35; see first Eng. Tr., London, 1848, Vol. I, pp. 180 ff.).
never initiated, and gave out the dead letter as he had received it. *
[The Würzburg MS. in the Adyar Archives has the following additional material at this point.]
As Abraham is to be noticed further on in his relation to other universal symbols, we need not go out of the way to speak of him here more than necessary. The name itself has a very strong Kabeirian look. The words Heber, Geber (applied to Nimrod and the Giants of Genesis vi), and Kaber all sound like the mysterious word, for all the Mystery Gods were Kabeir. The Phoenicians were ôïéíéêåò or Ph’-Anakes as being of the Anâkîm, Kabeirian, kingly or divine Race, which race was the Second Race of our humanity, as shown in the Secret Books, in which all the transformations of Brahmâ throughout the aeôns of time are given. Brahmâ was born with the Fourth Race; the first––that of unwritten Rig-Veda––knew him not and he is not even mentioned in this archaic Âryan Bible written in Tibet in the beginning of Tretâ-Yuga on Lake Manasasarovara. It is but in the Third Race only that the “wheel” of Enoch was invented as a first attempt at symbology, though Enoch No. 1 had naught to do with it.
There are two taros––the wheel purely Esoteric, and the Western tarot––Kabalistical, remodelled by Shemites, a branch so much younger than the Âryans and even the Hamites. The latter taro (tarot) is to be read from right to left like Arabic and Hebrew writing. The former, primitive “Wheel” is in Cuneiform characters and astrological signs. One of the oldest in the world is made on a kind of tolla leaves of some chemically prepared and indestructible material which makes them look like burnished metal. [See The Theosophist, Vol. LIII, March 1933, pp. 623-24.]
* Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p 350.