PAGAN SIDEREAL WORSHIP, OR ASTROLOGY
The Theraphîm of Abram’s father, Terah, the “maker of images,” and the Kabiri Gods are directly connected with ancient Sabaean worship or Astrolatry. Chiun, or the god khîyûn, worshipped by the Jews in the wilderness, is Saturn and Śiva, later on called Jehovah. Astrology existed before astronomy, and Astronomus was the title of the highest hierophant in Egypt.* One of the names of the Jewish Jehovah, “Sabaôth,” or the “Lord of Hosts” (tsabaôth), belongs to the Chaldaean Sabaeans (or Tsabaeans), and has for its root the word tsaba, meaning a “car,” a “ship,” and “an army”; Sabaôth thus meaning literally the army of the ship, the crew, or a naval host, the sky being metaphorically referred to as the “upper ocean” in the doctrine.
In his interesting volumes, Lacour explains that all such words as
. . . the celestial armies or the hosts of heaven, signify not only the totality of the heavenly constellations, but also the Aleim on whom they are dependent; the aleitzbaout are the forces of the constellations, the potencies that maintain them in their order; the Yahve-Tzbaout signifies Him, the supreme chief of those celestial bodies.†
In his collectivity, as the chief “Order of Spirits,” not a chief Spirit.
The Sabaeans having worshipped in the graven images only the celestial hosts—angels and gods whose habitations were the planets, never in truth worshipped the stars. For on Plato’s authority,‡ we know that among the stars and constellations, the planets alone had a right to the title of theoi (Gods), as that name was derived from the verb , to run or to circulate. Selden also tells us that they were likewise called
* When the hierophant took his last degree, he emerged from the sacred recess called Manneras and was given the golden Tau, the Egyptian Cross, which was subsequently placed on his breast, and buried with him.
† Quoted in de Mirville, Des Esprits, IV, 4. P. Lacour, Aelohim ou les Dieux de Moise, t. II, p. 96.
‡ Cratylus, 397 D.
(Gods-Councillors) and (lictors) as they (the planets) were present at the sun’s consistory, solis consistorio adstantes. *
Says the learned Cedrenus:
The sceptres the seven presiding angels were armed with, explain these names of Rhabdophores and lictors given to them.†
Reduced to its simplest expression and popular meaning, this is of course fetish worship. Yet esoteric astrolatry was not at all the worship of idols, since under the names of “Councillors” and “Lictors,” present at the “Sun’s consistory,” it was not the planets in their material bodies that were meant, but their Regents or “Souls” (Spirits). If the prayer “Our Father in heaven,” or “Saint” so-and-so in “Heaven” is not an idolatrous invocation, then “Our Father in Mercury,” or “Our Lady in Venus,” “Queen of Heaven,” etc., is no more so; for it is precisely the same thing, the name making no difference in the act. The word used in the Christian prayers, “in heaven” cannot mean anything abstract. A dwelling—whether of Gods, angels or Saints (every one of these being anthropomorphic individualities and beings)— must necessarily mean a locality, some defined spot in that “heaven”; hence it is quite immaterial for purposes of worship whether that spot be considered as “heaven” in general, meaning nowhere in particular, or in the Sun, Moon or Jupiter.
The argument is futile that there were
Two deities, and two distinct hierarchies or tsabas in heaven, in the ancient world as in our modern times . . . the one, the living God and his host, and the other, Satan, Lucifer with his councillors and lictors, or the fallen angels.
Our opponents say that it is the latter which Plato with the whole of antiquity worshipped, and which two-thirds of humanity worship to this day. “The whole question is to know how to discern between the two.”
* De Diis Syriis Proleg., ch. iii, as quoted by de Mirville, op. cit., p. 6.
† De Mirville, ibid., p. 7.
Protestant Christians fail to find any mention of angels in the Pentateuch, we may therefore leave them aside. The Roman Catholics and the Kabalists find such mention; the former, because they have accepted Jewish angelology, without suspecting that the “tsabaean Hosts” were colonists and settlers on Judaean territory from the lands of the Gentiles; the latter, because they accepted the bulk of the Secret Doctrine, keeping the kernel for themselves and leaving the husks to the unwary.
Cornelius a Lapide points out and proves the meaning of the word tsaba in the first verse of Chapter ii of Genesis; and he does so correctly, guided, as he probably was, by learned Kabalists. The Protestants are certainly wrong in their contention, for angels are mentioned in the Pentateuch under the word tsaba, which means “hosts” of angels. In the Vulgate the word is translated ornatus, meaning the “sidereal army,” the ornament also of the sky—kabalistically. The biblical scholars of the Protestant Church, and the savants among the materialists, who failed to find “angels” mentioned by Moses, have thus committed a serious error. For the verse reads:
Thus the heaven and the earth were finished and all the host of them,*
the “host” meaning “the army of stars and angels”; the last two words being, it seems, convertible terms in Church phraseology. Cornelius a Lapide is cited as an authority for this; he says that
Tsaba does not mean either one or the other but “the one and the other, “ or both, siderum ac angelorum.
If the Roman Catholics are right on this point, so are the Occultists when they claim that the angels worshipped in the Church of Rome are none else than their “Seven Planets,” the Dhyâni-Chohans of Buddhistic Esoteric Philosophy, or the Kumâras, “the mind-born sons of Brahmâ,” known under the patronymic of Vaidhâtra. The identity between the Kumâras, the Builders or cosmic Dhyâni-Chohans, and the Seven Angels
* Genesis ch. ii, verse 1.
of the Stars, will be found without one single flaw if their respective biographies are studied, and especially the characteristics of their chiefs, Sanat-Kumâra (Sanat-Sujâta), and Michael the Archangel. Together with the Kabirim (Planets), the name of the above in Chaldaea, they were all “divine Powers” (Forces). Fürst says that the name Kabiri was used to denote the seven sons of , meaning Pater Sadic, Cain, or Jupiter, or again of Jehovah. There are seven Kumâras-four exoteric and three secret—the names of the former being found in the Sânkhya-Bhâshya, by Gaudapâdâchârya. * They are all “Virgin Gods,” who remain eternally pure and innocent and decline to create progeny. In their primitive aspect, these Âryan seven “mind-born sons” of God are not the regents of the planets, but dwell far beyond the planetary region. But the same mysterious transference from one character or dignity to another is found in the Christian Angel-scheme. The “Seven Spirits of the Presence” attend perpetually on God, and yet we find them under the same names of Mikael, Gabriel, Raphael, etc., as “Star-regents” or the informing deities of the seven planets. Suffice it to say that the Archangel Michael is called “the invincible virgin combatant” as he “refused to create,” which would connect him with both Sanat Sujâta and the Kumâra who is the God of War.†
The above has to be demonstrated by a few quotations. Commenting upon St. John’s “Seven Golden Candlesticks,” Cornelius a Lapide says:
These seven lights relate to the seven branches of the candlestick by which were represented the seven [principal] planets in the temples of Moses and Solomon . . . or, better still, to the seven principal Spirits, commissioned to watch over the salvation of men and churches.‡
* The three secret names are “Sana, Sanat-Sujâta, and Kapila”; while the four exoteric Gods are called Sanat-Kumâra, Sanandana, Sanaka and Sanâtana. [See pp. 3 & 188 in the Sankya Karik with Bhashya of Gaudapâdâ, tr. by H.T. Colebrooke & H.H. Wilson. The 1887 ed. has been reprinted by the Indological Book House, Varanasi, India, in 1978.—Compiler.]
† Another Kumâra, the “God of War,” is called in the Hindu system the “eternal celibate”—”the virgin warrior.” He is the Âryan St. Michael.
‡ Comm. on the Apocalypse, chap. iv, as quoted in de Mirville, Des Esprits, IV, 28.
St. Jerome says:
In truth the candlestick with the seven branches was the type of the world and its planets.*
St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Roman Catholic doctor writes:
I do not remember having ever met in the works of saints or philosophers a denial that the planets are guided by spiritual beings. . . . It seems to me that it may be proved to demonstration that the celestial bodies are guided by some intelligence, either directly by God, or by the mediation of angels. But the latter opinion seems to be far more consonant with the order of things asserted by St. Denys to be without exception, that everything on earth is, as a rule, governed by God through intermediary agencies.†
And now let the reader recall what the Pagans say of this. All the classical authors and philosophers who have treated the subject, repeat with Hermes Trismegistus, that the seven Rectors—the planets including the sun—were the associates, or the coworkers, of the Unknown All represented by the Demiourgos— commissioned to contain the Cosmos—our planetary world—within seven circles. Plutarch shows them representing “the circle of the celestial worlds.” Again, Denys of Thracia and the learned Clement of Alexandria both describe the Rectors as being shown in the Egyptian temples in the shape of mysterious wheels or spheres always in motion, which made the Initiates affirm that the problem of perpetual motion
* Stromateis, Bk. V, chap. vi.
† St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa. We give the original: “Coelestia corpora moveri a spirituali creatura, a nemine sanctorum vel philosophorum negatum, legisse me memini. (Opusc., X, art. iii.) . . . Mihi autem videtur, quod demonstrative probari posset, quod ab aliquo intellectu corpora coelestia moveantur, vel a Deo immediate, vel a mediantibus angelis. Sed quod mediantibus angelis ea moveat, congruit rerum ordine, quem Dionysis infallibilem asserit, ut inferiora a Deo per media secundum cursum communem administrentur.” (Opusc. II, art. ii.) And if so, and God never meddles with the once for ever established laws of Nature leaving it to his administrators, why should their being called Gods by the “heathen” be deemed idolatrous?
had been solved by the celestial wheels in the Initiation Adyta.* This doctrine of Hermes was that of Pythagoras and of Orpheus before him. It is called by Proclus “the God-given” doctrine. Iamblichus speaks of it with the greatest reverence. Philostratus tells his readers that the whole sidereal court of the Babylonian heaven was represented in the temples
In globes made of sapphires and supporting the golden images of their respective gods.
The temples of Persia were especially famous for these representations. If Cedrenus can be credited
The Emperor Heraclius on his entry into the city of Bazacum was struck with admiration and wonder before the immense machine fabricated for King Chosroes, which represented the night-sky with the planets and all their revolutions, with the angels presiding over them.†
* In one of Des Mousseaux’s volumes on Demonology (La Magie au xix me Siécle, Paris, 1860 & 64.) the statement of the Abbé Huc is found, and the author testifies to having heard the following story repeatedly from the Abbé himself. In a lamasery of Tibet, the missionary found the following: “It is a simple canvas without the slightest mechanical apparatus attached, as the visitor may prove by examining it at his leisure. It represents a moonlit landscape, but the moon is not at all motionless and dead; quite the reverse, for, according to the Abbé, one would say that our moon herself, or at least her living double, lighted the picture. Each phase, each aspect, each movement of our satellite, is repeated in her facsimile, in the movement and progress of the moon in the sacred picture. ‘You see this planet in the painting ride as a crescent, or full, shine brightly, pass behind the clouds, peep out or set, in a manner corresponding in the most extraordinary way with the real luminary. It is, in a word, a most perfect and resplendent reproduction of the pale queen of the night, which received the adoration of so many people in the days of old’.” We know from the most reliable sources and numerous eye-witnesses, that such “machines”—not canvas paintings—do exist in certain temples of Tibet; as also the “sidereal wheels” representing the planets, and kept for the same purposes—astrological and magical. Huc’s statement was translated in Isis Unveiled [Vol. I, p. 441] from Des Mousseaux’s volume. [Op. cit., 1864 ed., p. 142 fn—143 fn.]
† Cedrenus, p. 338. [de Mirville, op. cit., IV, 7.] Whether produced by clockwork or magic power, such machines—whole celestial spheres with planets rotating—were found in the Sanctuaries, and some exist to this day in Japan, in a secret subterranean temple of the old Mikados, as well as in two other places.
It was on such “spheres” that Pythagoras studied Astronomy in the adyta arcana of the temples to which he had access. And it was there on his Initiation, that the eternal rotation of those spheres—”the mysterious wheels” as they are called by Clement and Denys, and which Plutarch calls “world-wheels”—demonstrated to him the verity of what had been divulged to him, namely, the heliocentric system, the great secret of the Adyta. All the discoveries of modern astronomy, like all the secrets that can be revealed to it in future ages, were contained in the secret observatories and Initiation Halls of the temples of old India and Egypt. It is in them that the Chaldaean made his calculations, revealing to the world of the profane no more than it was fit to receive.
We may, and shall be told, no doubt, that Uranus was unknown to the ancients, and that they were forced to reckon the sun amongst the planets and as their chief. How does anyone know? Uranus is a modern name; but one thing is certain: the ancients had a planet, “a mystery planet,” that they never named and that the highest Astronomus, the Hierophant, alone could “confabulate with.” But this seventh planet was not the sun, but the hidden Divine Hierophant, who was said to have a crown, and to embrace within its wheel “seventy-seven smaller wheels.” In the archaic secret system of the Hindus, the sun is the visible Logos, “Sûrya”; over him there is another, the divine or heavenly Man—who, after having established the system of the world of matter on the archetype of the Unseen Universe, or Macrocosm, conducted during the Mysteries the heavenly Râsa Mandala; when he was said:
To give with his right foot the impulse to Tyam or Bhûmi [Earth] that makes her rotate in a double revolution.
What says Hermes again? When explaining Egyptian Cosmology he explains:
Listen, O my son . . . the Power has also formed seven agents, who contain within their circles the material world, and whose action is called destiny. . . . When all became subject to man . . . the Seven, willing to favour human intelligence, communicated to him their powers. But as soon as man knew their true essence and his own nature, he desired to penetrate within and beyond the circles and thus break their circumference by usurping the power of him who has dominion over the Fire [Sun]
itself; after which, having robbed one of the Wheels of the Sun of the sacred fire, he fell into slavery.*
It is not Prometheus who is meant here. Prometheus is a symbol and a personification of the whole of mankind in relation to an event which occurred during its childhood, so to say —the “Baptism by Fire”—which is a mystery within the great Promethean Mystery, one that may be at present mentioned only in its broad general features. By reason of the extraordinary growth of human intellect and the development in our age of the fifth principle (Manas) in man, its rapid progress has paralysed spiritual perceptions. It is at the expense of wisdom that intellect generally lives, and mankind is quite unprepared in its present condition to comprehend the awful drama of human disobedience to the laws of Nature and the subsequent Fall, as a result. It can only be hinted at, in its place.
* Champollion-Figeac, Égypte moderne, p. 142. [Cf. de Mirville, op. cit., IV, p. 11.]