THE MYSTERY “SUN OF INITIATION”
The antiquity of the Secret Doctrine may be better realised when it is shown at what point of history its Mysteries had already been desecrated, by being made subservient to the personal ambition of despot-ruler and crafty priest. These profoundly philosophical and scientifically composed religious dramas, in which were enacted the grandest truths of the Occult or Spiritual Universe and the hidden lore of learning, had become subject to persecution long before the days when Plato and even Pythagoras flourished. Withal, primal revelations given to Mankind have not died with the Mysteries; they are still preserved as heirlooms for future and more spiritual generations.
It has been already stated in Isis Unveiled,* that so far back as in the days of Aristotle, the great Mysteries had already lost their primitive grandeur and solemnity. Their rites had fallen into desuetude, and they had to a great degree degenerated into mere priestly speculations and had become religious shams. It is useless to state when they first appeared in Europe and Greece, since recognised history may almost be said to begin with Aristotle, everything before him appearing to be in an inextricable chronological confusion. Suffice it to say, that in Egypt the Mysteries had been known since the days of Menes, and that the Greeks received them only when Orpheus introduced them from India. In an article “Was writing known before Pânini?”† it is stated that the Pândus had acquired universal dominion and had taught the “sacrificial” Mysteries to other races as far back as 3,300 B.C. Indeed, when Orpheus, the son of Apollo or Helios, received from his father the phorminx—the seven-stringed lyre, symbolical of the sevenfold mystery of Initiation—these Mysteries were already hoary with
* Op. cit., I, 15.
† A curious question to start and to deny, when it is well-known even to the Orientalists that, to take but one case, there is Yaska, who was a predecessor of Pânini and his work still exists; there are seventeen writers of Nirukta (glossary) known to have preceded Yaska. [For this article see Five Years of Theosophy or B.C.W., Vol. V, pp. 294-310.—Compiler.]
age in Central Asia and India. According to Herodotus it was Orpheus who brought them from India, and Orpheus is far anterior to Homer and Hesiod. Thus even in the days of Aristotle few were the true Adepts left in Europe and even in Egypt. The heirs of those who had been dispersed by the conquering swords of various invaders of old Egypt had been dispersed in their turn. As 8,000 or 9,000 years earlier the stream of knowledge had been slowly running down from the tablelands of Central Asia into India and towards Europe and Northern Africa, so about 500 years B.C. it had begun to flow backward to its old home and birthplace. During the two thousand subsequent years the knowledge of the existence of great Adepts nearly died out in Europe. Nevertheless, in some secret places the Mysteries were still enacted in all their primitive purity. The “Sun of Righteousness” still blazed high on the midnight sky; and, while darkness was upon the face of the profane world, there was the eternal light in the Adyta on the nights of Initiation. The true Mysteries were never made public. Eleusinia and Agrae for the multitudes; the God E?âóõë?, “of the good counsel,” the great Orphic Deity for the neophyte.
This mystery God—mistaken by our Symbologists for the Sun—who was He? Everyone who has any idea of the ancient Egyptian exoteric faith is quite aware that for the multitudes Osiris was the Sun in Heaven, “the Heavenly King,” Ro-Imphab; that by the Greeks the Sun was called the “Eye of Jupiter,” as for the modern orthodox Pârsî he is “the Eye of Ormuzd”; that the Sun, moreover, was addressed as the “All-seeing God” (), as the “God Saviour,” and the “saving God” (). Read the papyrus of Papheronmes at Berlin, and the stela as rendered by [Auguste] Mariette-Bey,* and see what they say:
Glory to thee, o Sun, divine child! . . . thy rays carry life to the pure and to those ready. . . . The Gods [the “sons of God”] who approach thee tremble with delight and awe. . . . Thou art the first
* [Mémoire sur la mère d’Apis, p. 47, pt. 4 of Mémoire sur cette représentation . . . gravée en téte de quelques proscynémes du Sérapéum où l’on établit. Paris, Gide et J. Baudry, 1856.]
born, the Son of God, the Word.*
The Church has now seized upon these terms and sees presentiments of the coming Christ in these expressions in the initiatory rites and prophetic utterances of the Pagan Oracles. They are nothing of the kind, for they were applied to every worthy Initiate. If the expressions that were used in hieratic writings and glyphs thousands of years before our era are now found in the laudatory hymns and prayers of Christian Churches, it is simply because they have been unblushingly appropriated by the Latin Christians, in the full hope of never being detected by posterity. Everything that could be done had been done to destroy the original Pagan manuscripts and the Church felt secure. Christianity has undeniably had her great Seers and Prophets, like every other religion; but their claims are not strengthened by denying their predecessors.
Listen to Plato:
Know then, Glaucus, that when I speak of the production of good, it is the Sun I mean. The Son has a perfect analogy with his Father.
Iamblichus calls the Sun “the image of divine intelligence or Wisdom.” Eusebius, repeating the words of Philo, calls the rising Sun (ÜíáôïëÞ) the chief Angel, the most ancient, adding that the Archangel who is polyonymous (of many names) is the Verbum or Christ.† The word Sol (Sun) being derived from solus, the One, or the “He alone,” and its Greek name Helios meaning the “Most High,” the emblem becomes comprehensible. Nevertheless, the Ancients made a difference between the Sun and its prototype.
Socrates saluted the rising Sun as does a true Pârsî or Zoroastrian in our own day; and Homer and Euripides, as Plato did after them several times, mention the Jupiter-Logos,
* One just initiated is called the “first-born,” and in India he becomes dwija, “twice born,” only after his final and supreme Initiation. Every Adept is a “Son of God” and a “Son of Light” after receiving the “Word,” when he becomes the “Word” himself, after receiving the seven divine attributes or the “lyre of Apollo.”
† Praeparatio evangelica, II, p. 157.
the “Word” or the Sun. Nevertheless, the Christians maintain that since the oracle consulted on the God Iaô answered: “It is the Sun,” therefore
The Jehovah of the Jews was well known to the Pagans and Greeks;*
and “Iaô is our Jehovah.” The first part of the proposition has nothing, it seems, to do with the second part, and least of all can the conclusion be regarded as correct. But if the Christians are so anxious to prove the identity, Occultists have nothing against it. Only, in such case, Jehovah is also Bacchus. It is very strange that the people of civilised Christendom should until now hold on so desperately to the skirts of the idolatrous Jews—Sabaeans and Sun worshippers as they were,† like the rabble of Chaldaea—and that they should fail to see that the later Jehovah is but a Jewish development of the Ya-va, or the Iaô, of the Phoenicians; that this name, in short, was the secret name of a Mystery-God, one of the many Kabiri. “Highest God” as He was for one little nation, he never was so regarded by the Initiates who conducted the Mysteries; for them he was but a Planetary Spirit attached to the visible Sun; and the visible Sun is only the central Star, not the central spiritual Sun.
And the Angel of the Lord said unto him [Manoah] “Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret.”‡
* De Mirville, Des Esprits, IV, 15.
† II Kings xxiii, 4-13.
‡ Judges, xiii, 18. Samson, Manoah’s son, was an Initiate of that “Mystery” Lord, Ya-va; he was consecrated before his birth to become a “Nazarite” (a chela), an Adept. His sin with Delilah, and the cropping of his long hair that “no razor was to touch” shows how well he kept his sacred vow. The allegory of Samson proves the Esotericism of the Bible, as also the character of the “Mystery Gods” of the Jews. True, Movers gives a definition of the Phoenician idea of the ideal sunlight as a spiritual influence issuing from the highest God, Iaô, “the light conceivable only by intellect—the physical and spiritual Principle of all things; out of which the soul emanates.” It was the male Essence, or Wisdom, while the primitive matter or Chaos was the female. Thus the first two principles, co-eternal and infinite, were already with the primitive Phoenicians, spirit and matter. But this is the echo of Jewish thought, not the opinion of Pagan Philosophers.
However this may be, the identity of the Jehovah of Mount Sinai with the God Bacchus is hardly disputable, and he is surely—as already shown in Isis Unveiled—Dionysos.* Wherever Bacchus was worshipped there was a tradition of Nysa,† and a cave where he was reared. Outside Greece, Bacchus was the all-powerful “Zagreus, the highest of Gods,” in whose service was Orpheus, the founder of the Mysteries. Now, unless it be conceded that Moses was an initiated priest, an Adept, whose actions are all narrated allegorically, then it must be admitted that he personally, together with his hosts of Israelites, worshipped Bacchus.
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah Nissi [or, Iaô-nisi, or again Dionisi].‡
To strengthen the statement we have further to remember that the place where Osiris, the Egyptian Zagreus or Bacchus, was born, was Mount Sinai, which is called by the Egyptians Mount Nissa. The brazen serpent was a nahash, :(1, and the month of the Jewish Passover is Nisan.
* See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 526.
† Beth-San or Scythopolis in Palestine had that designation; so had a spot on Mount Parnassus. But Diodorus declares that Nysa was between Phoenicia and Egypt; Euripides states that Dionysos came to Greece from India; and Diodorus adds his testimony: “Osiris was brought up in Nysa, in Arabia the Happy; he was the son of Zeus, and was named from his father (nominative Zeus, genitive Dios) and the place Dio-Nysos”—the Zeus or Jove of Nysa. This identity of name or title is very significant. In Greece Dionysos was second only to Zeus, and Pindar says: “So Father Zeus governs all things, and Bacchus he governs also.” [Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 165.]
‡ Exodus, xvii, 15.