[Originally published as Section xxvii in the Volume entitled “The Secret Doctrine, Volume III,” which appeared in print in 1897. It covers therein pages 241-257.]
[The superior numbers occurring throughout this essay refer to the COMPILER’S NOTES appended at the end of it. They should be consulted for clarification of various points.]
Few of our students of Occultism have had the opportunity of examining Egyptian papyri—those living, or rather re-arisen witnesses that Magic, good and bad, was practised many thousands of years back into the night of time. The use of the papyrus prevailed up to the eighth century of our era, when it was given up, and its fabrication fell into disuse. The most curious of the exhumed documents were immediately purchased and taken away from the country. Yet there are a number of beautifully preserved papyri at Bulak, Cairo, though the greater number have never been yet properly read.*
Others—those that have been carried away and may be found in the museums and public libraries of Europe—have fared no better. In the days of Vicomte de Rougé, some twenty-five years ago, only a few of them “were two-thirds deciphered”; and among those some most interesting legends, inserted parenthetically and for purposes of explaining royal expenses, are in the Register of the Sacred Accounts.
This may be verified in the so-called “Harris” and Anastasi collections, and in some papyri recently
* “The characters employed on those parchments,” writes de Mirville, “are sometimes hieroglyphics, placed perpendicularly, a kind of lineary tachygraphy (abridged characters like those of our stenography), where the image is often reduced to a simple stroke; at other times placed in horizontal lines; then the hieratic or sacred writing, going from right to left as in all Semitic languages; lastly, the characters of the country, , used for contracts, expense ledgers, etc., and which, since the Ptolemies, can be found on the monuments” [Des Esprits, etc., Vol. V, pp. 81-82]. A copy of the Harris papyrus, translated by Chabas—Papyrus Magique—may be studied at the British Museum.1
exhumed; one of these gives an account of a whole series of magic feats performed before the Pharaohs Ramses II and III. A curious document, the first-mentioned, truly. It is a papyrus of the fifteenth century B.C., written during the reign of Ramses Vth, the last king of the eighteenth dynasty, and is the work of the scribe Thoutmes, who notes down some of the events with regard to defaulters occurring on the twelfth and thirteenth days of the month of Paophi. The document shows that in those days of “miracles” in Egypt the taxpayers were not found among the living alone, but every mummy was included. All and everything was taxed; and the Khou of the mummy, in default, was punished “by the priest-exorciser, who deprived it of the liberty of action.” Now what was the Khou? Simply the astral body, or the aerial simulacrum of the corpse or the mummy—that which in China is called the Houen, and in India the Bhût.
Upon reading this papyrus to-day, an Orientalist is pretty sure to fling it aside in disgust, attributing the whole affair to the crass superstition of the ancients. Truly phenomenal and inexplicable must have been the dullness and credulity of that otherwise highly philosophical and civilized nation if it could carry on for so many consecutive ages, for thousands of years, such a system of mutual deception! A system whereby the people were deceived by the priests, the priests by their King-Hierophants, and the latter themselves were cheated by the ghosts, which were, in their turn, but “the fruits of hallucination.” The whole of antiquity, from Menes to Cleopatra, from Manu to Vikramaditya, from Orpheus down to the last Roman augur, were hysterical, we are told. This must have been so, if the whole were not a system of fraud. Life and death were guided by, and were under the sway of, sacred “conjuring.” For there is hardly a papyrus, though it be a simple document of purchase and sale, a deed belonging to daily transactions of the most ordinary kind, that has not Magic, white or black, mixed up in it. It looks as though sacred scribes
of the Nile had purposely, and in a prophetic spirit of race-hatred, carried out the (to them) most unprofitable task of deceiving and puzzling the generations of a future white race of unbelievers yet unborn! Anyhow, the papyri are full of Magic, as are likewise the stelae. We learn, moreover, that the papyrus was not merely a smooth-surfaced parchment, a fabric made of
Ligneous matter from a shrub, the pellicles of which superposed one over the other formed a kind of writing-paper [Des Esprits, etc., Vol. V, p. 81];
but that the shrub itself, the implements and tools for fabricating the parchment, etc., were all previously subjected to a process of magical preparation—according to the ordinance of the Gods, who had taught that art, as they had all others, to their Priest-Hierophants.
There are, however, some modern Orientalists who seem to have an inkling of the true nature of such things, and especially of the analogy and the relations that exist between the Magic of old and our modern-day phenomena. Chabas is one of these, for he indulges, in his translation of the “Harris” papyrus, in the following reflections:
Without having recourse to the imposing ceremonies of the wand of Hermes, or to the obscure formulae of an unfathomable mysticism, a mesmerizer in our own day will, by means of a few passes, disturb the organic faculties of a subject, inculcate the knowledge of foreign languages, transport him to a far-distant country, or into secret places, make him guess the thoughts of those absent, read in closed letters, etc. The antre of the modern sybil is a modest-looking room, the tripod of the pythoness has made room for a small round table, a hat, a plate, a piece of furniture of the most vulgar kind; only the latter is even superior to the oracle of antiquity [how does M. Chabas know?], inasmuch as the latter only spoke,* while
* And what of the “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,” the words that “the fingers of a man’s hand,” whose body and arm remained invisible, wrote on the walls of Belshazzar’s palace? (Daniel, v.) What of the writings of Simon the Magician, and the magic characters on the walls and in the air of the crypts of Initiation, without mentioning the tables of stone on which the finger of God wrote the
the oracle of our day writes its answers. At the command of the medium the spirits of the dead descend to make the furniture creak, and the authors of bygone centuries deliver to us works written by them beyond the grave. Human credulity has no narrower limits to-day than it had at the dawn of historical times . . . . As teratology is an essential part of general physiology now, so the pretended Occult Sciences occupy in the annals of humanity a place which is not without its importance, and deserve for more than one reason the attention of the philosopher and the historian.*
Selecting the two Champollions, Lenormant, Bunsen, Vicomte de Rougé, and several other Egyptologists to serve as our witnesses, let us see what they say of Egyptian Magic and Sorcery. They may get out of the difficulty by accounting for each “superstitious belief” and practice by attributing them to a chronic psychological and physiological derangement, and to collective hysteria, if they like; still facts are there, staring us in the face, from the hundreds of these mysterious papyri, exhumed after a rest of four, five, and more thousands of years, with their magical containments and evidence of ante-diluvian Magic.
A small library, found at Thebes, has furnished fragments of every kind of ancient literature, many of which are dated, and several of which have thus been assigned to the accepted age of Moses. Books or manuscripts on ethics, history, religion and medicine, calendars and registers, poems and novels everything—may be had in that precious collection; and old legends—traditions of long forgotten ages (please to remark this: legends recorded during the Mosaic period)—are already referred to therein as belonging to an immense antiquity, to the period of the dynasties of Gods and Giants. Their chief
commandments ? Between the writing of one God and other Gods the difference, if any, lies only in their respective natures; and if the tree is to be known by its fruits, then preference would have to be given always to the Pagan Gods. It is the immortal “To be or not to be.” Either all of them are—or at any rate, may be—true, or all are surely pious frauds and the result of credulity.
* Le Papyrus magique Harris, pp. 186-87.2
contents, however, are formulae of exorcisms against black Magic, and funeral rituals: true breviaries, or the vade mecum of every pilgrim-traveller in eternity. These funeral texts are generally written in hieratic characters. At the head of the papyrus is invariably placed a series of scenes, showing the defunct appearing before a host of Deities successively, who have to examine him. Then comes the judgment of the Soul, while the third act begins with the launching of that Soul into the divine light. Such papyri are often forty feet long.*
The following is extracted from general descriptions. It will show how the moderns understand and interpret Egyptian (and other) Symbology.
The papyrus of the priest Névo-loo (or Névolen), at the Louvre; may be selected for one case. First of all there is the bark carrying the coffin, a black chest containing the defunct’s mummy. His mother, Amenbem-Heb, and his sister, Huissannub, are near; at the head and feet of the corpse stand Nephthys and Isis clothed in red, and near them a priest of Osiris clad in his panther’s skin, his censer in his right hand, and four assistants carrying the mummy’s intestines. The coffin is received by the God Anubis (of the jackal’s head), from the hands of female weepers. Then the Soul rises from its mummy and the Khou (astral body) of the defunct. The former begins its worship of the four genii of the East, of the sacred birds, and of the spirit of Atmon as a ram. Brought into the “Palace of Truth,” the defunct is before his judges. While the Soul, a scarabaeus, stands in the presence of Osiris, his astral Khou is at the door. Much laughter is provoked in the West by the invocations to various Deities, presiding over each of the limbs of the mummy, and of the living human body. Only judge: in the papyrus of the mummy Petamenoph “the anatomy becomes theogeographical,” “astrology is applied to
* See Maspéro’s Guide to the Bulak Museum, among others.
[H.P.B. most likely means the Guide du visiteur au Musée de Boulaq. Boulaq (Vienna pr.), 1883; 438 pp. 8-vo.––Comp.]
physiology, or rather to the anatomy of the human body, and the human heart altogether.” The defunct’s “hair belongs to the Nile, his eyes to Venus [Isis], his ears to Macedo, the guardian of the tropics; his left temple to the Spirit dwelling in the sun, his nose to Anubis. . . . What a series of intolerable absurdities and ignoble prayers . . . . . to Osiris, imploring him to give the defunct in the other world, geese, eggs, pork, etc.” *
It might have been prudent, perhaps, to have waited to ascertain whether all these terms of “geese, eggs and pork” had not some other Occult meaning. The Indian Yogi who, in an exoteric work, is invited to drink a certain intoxicating liquor till he loses his senses, was also regarded as a drunkard representing his sect and class, until it was found that the Esoteric sense of that “spirit” was quite different; that it meant divine light, and stood for the ambrosia of Secret Wisdom. The symbols of the dove and the lamb which abound now in Eastern and Western Christian Churches may also be exhumed long ages hence, and speculated upon as objects of present-day worship. And then some “Occidentalist,” in the forthcoming ages of high Asiatic civilization and learning, may write karmically upon the same as follows: “The ignorant and superstitious Gnostics and Agnostics of the sects of ’Pope’ and ’Calvin’ (the two monster Gods of the Dynamite-Christian period) adored a pigeon and a sheep!” There will be portable hand-fetishes in all and every age for the satisfaction and reverence of the rabble, and the Gods of one race will always be degraded into devils by the next one. The cycles revolve within the depths of Lethe, and Karma shall reach Europe as it has Asia and her religions.
“This grand and dignified language [in the Book of the Dead], these pictures full of majesty, this orthodoxy of the whole evidently
* De Mirville (from whom much of the preceding is taken), op. cit., Vol. V, pp. 83-84, 85.
proving a very precise doctrine concerning the immortality of the soul and its personal survival,”3
as shown by De Rougé and Abbé Van Drival, have charmed some Orientalists. The psychostasy (or judgment of the Soul) is certainly a whole poem to him who can read it correctly and interpret the images therein. In that picture we see Osiris, the horned, with his sceptre hooked at the end—the original of the pastoral bishop’s crook or crosier—the Soul hovering above, encouraged by Tmei, daughter of the Sun of Righteousness and Goddess of Mercy and Justice; Horus and Anubis, weighing the deeds of the soul. One of these papyri shows the Soul found guilty of gluttony sentenced to be re-born on earth as a hog; forthwith comes the learned conclusion of an Orientalist, “This is an indisputable proof of belief in metempsychosis, of transmigration into animals,” etc.
Perchance the Occult law of Karma might explain the sentence otherwise. It may, for all our Orientalists know, refer to the physiological vice in store for the Soul when re-incarnated—a vice that will lead that personality into a thousand and one scrapes and mis-adventures.
Tortures to begin with, then metempsychosis during 3,000 years as a hawk, an angel, a lotus-flower, a heron, a stork, a swallow, a serpent, and a crocodile: one sees that the consolation of such a progress was far from being satisfactory,
argues De Mirville, in his work on the Satanic character of the Gods of Egypt.* Again, a simple suggestion may throw on this a great light. Are the Orientalists quite sure that they have read correctly the “metempsychosis during 3,000 years”? The Occult Doctrine teaches that Karma waits at the threshold of Devachan (the Amenti of the Egyptians) for 3,000 years; that then the eternal Ego is reincarnated de novo, to be punished in its new temporary personality for sins committed in the preceding birth, and the suffering for which in one shape or another, will atone for past misdeeds. And the hawk, the lotus-flower, the heron, serpent, or bird––every object
* See De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 84.
in Nature, in short—had its symbolical and manifold meaning in ancient religious emblems. The man who all his life acted hypocritically and passed for a good man, but had been in sober reality watching like a bird of prey his chance to pounce upon his fellow-creatures, and had deprived them of their property, will be sentenced by Karma to bear the punishment for hypocrisy and covetousness in a future life. What will it be? Since every human unit has ultimately to progress in its evolution, and since that “man” will be reborn at some future time as a good, sincere, well-meaning man, his sentence to be re-incarnated as a hawk may simply mean that he will then be regarded metaphorically as such. That, notwithstanding his real, good, intrinsic qualities, he will, perhaps during a long life, be unjustly and falsely charged with and suspected of greed and hypocrisy and of secret exactions, all of which will make him suffer more than he can bear. The law of retribution can never err, and yet how many such innocent victims of false appearance and human malice do we not meet in this world of incessant illusion, of mistake and deliberate wickedness. We see them every day, and they may be found within the personal experience of each of us. What Orientalist can say with any degree of assurance that he has understood the religions of old? The metaphorical language of the priests has never been more than superficially revealed, and the hieroglyphics have been very poorly mastered to this day.*
What says Isis Unveiled on this question of Egyptian rebirth and transmigration, and does it clash with anything that we say now?
It will be observed that this philosophy of cycles, which was allegorized by the Egyptian Hierophants in the “circle of necessity,”
* One sees this difficulty arise even with a perfectly known language like Sanskrit, the meaning of which is far easier to comprehend than the hieratic writings of Egypt. Everyone knows how hopelessly the Sanskritists are often puzzled over the real meaning and how they fail in rendering the meaning correctly in their respective translations, in which one Orientalist contradicts the other.
COMMANDANT D. A. COURMES
French Naval Officer and loyal friend of the Founders in
the early days of the Movement.
Reproduced from Col. H. S. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves,
Vol. IV, p. 370.
explains at the same time the allegory of the “Fall of man.” According to the Arabian descriptions, each of the seven chambers of the Pyramids––those grandest of all cosmic symbols—was known by the name of a planet. The peculiar architecture of the Pyramids shows in itself the drift of the metaphysical thought of their builders. The apex is lost in the clear blue sky of the land of the Pharaohs, and typifies the primordial point lost in the unseen universe from whence started the first race of the spiritual prototypes of man. Each mummy, from the moment that it was embalmed, lost its physical individuality in one sense; it symbolized the human race. Placed in such a way as was best calculated to aid the exit of the “soul,” the latter had to pass through the seven planetary chambers before it made its exit through the symbolical apex. Each chamber typified, at the same time, one of the seven spheres, and one of the seven higher types of physico-spiritual humanity alleged to be above our own. Every 3,000 years, the soul, representative of its race, had to return to its primal point of departure before it underwent another evolution into a more perfected spiritual and physical transformation. We must go deep indeed into the abstruse metaphysics of Oriental mysticism before we can realize fully the infinitude of the subjects that were embraced at one sweep by the majestic thought of its exponents.*
This is all Magic when once the details are given; and it relates at the same time to the evolution of our seven Root-Races, each with the characteristics of its special guardian or “God,” and his Planet. The astral body of each Initiate, after death, had to reënact in its funeral mystery the drama of the birth and death of each Race—the past and the future—and pass through the seven “planetary chambers,” which, as said above, typified also the seven spheres of our Chain.
The mystic doctrine of Eastern Occultism teaches that
“The Spiritual Ego [not the astral Khou] has to revisit, before it incarnates into a new body, the scenes it left at its last disincarnation. It has to see for itself and take cognizance of all the effects produced by the causes [the Nidânas] generated by its actions in a previous life; that, seeing, it should recognize the justice of the decree, and help the law of Retribution [Karma] instead of impeding it.”†
* Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 296-97.
† Book II, Commentary.
The translations by Vicomte de Rougé of several Egyptian papyri, imperfect as they may be, give us one advantage: they show undeniably the presence in them of white, divine Magic, as well as of Sorcery, and the practice of both throughout all the dynasties. The Book of the Dead, far older than Genesis * or any other book of the Old Testament, shows it in every line. It is full of incessant prayers and exorcisms against the Black Art. Therein Osiris is the conqueror of the “aerial demons.” The worshipper implores his help against Matat, “from whose eye proceeds the invisible arrow.” This “invisible arrow” that proceeds from the eye of the Sorcerer (whether living or dead) and that “circulates throughout the world,” is the evil eye—cosmic in its origin, terrestrial in its effects on the microcosmical plane. It is not the Latin Christians whom it behooves to view this as a superstition. Their Church indulges in the same belief, and has even a prayer against the “arrow circulating in darkness.”
The most interesting of all those documents, however, is the “Harris” papyrus, called in France “le papyrus magique de Chabas,” as it was first translated by the latter. It is a manuscript written in hieratic characters, translated, commented upon, and published in 1860 by Monsieur Chabas, but purchased at Thebes in 1855 by Mr. A. C. Harris. Its age is given at between twenty-eight and thirty centuries. We quote a few extracts from these translations:
Calendar of lucky and unlucky . . . . . days He who makes a bull work on the 20th of the month of Pharmuthi will surely die; he who on the 24th day of the same month pronounces the name of Seth aloud will see trouble reigning in his house from that day . . . . . he who on the 5th day of Patchons leaves his house falls sick and dies. [op. cit., pp. 156-57.] 4
* Bunsen and Champollion so declare, and Dr. Carpenter says that the Book of the Dead, sculptured on the oldest monuments, with “the very phrases we find in the New Testament in connection with the Day of Judgment . . . . . was engraved probably 2,000 years before the time of Christ.” (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, p. 518.)
Exclaims the translator, whose cultured instincts are revolted:
If one had not these words under our eyes, one could never believe in such servitude at the epoch of the Ramessides.*
We belong to the nineteenth century of the Christian era, and are therefore at the height of civilization, and under the benign sway and enlightening influence of the Christian Church, instead of being subject to the Pagan Gods of old. Nevertheless we personally know dozens, and have heard of hundreds, of educated, highly-intellectual persons who would as soon think of committing suicide as of starting on any business on a Friday, of dining at a table where thirteen sit down, or of beginning a long journey on a Monday. Napoleon the Great became pale when he saw three candles lit on a table. Moreover, we may gladly concur with De Mirville in this, at any rate, that such “superstitions” are “the outcome of observation and experience.” If the former had never agreed with facts, the authority of the Calendar, he thinks, would not have lasted for a week. But to resume:
Genethliacal influences: The child born on the 5th day of Paophi will be killed by a bull; on the 27th by a serpent. Born on the 4th of the month of Athyr, he will succumb to blows. [Pap. Magique, p. 158.]5
This is a question of horoscopic predictions; judiciary astrology is firmly believed in in our own page, and has been proven to be scientifically possible by Kepler.
Of the Khous two kinds were distinguished: first, the justified Khous, i.e., those who had been absolved from sin by Osiris when they were brought before his tribunal; these lived a second life. Secondly, there were the guilty Khous, “the Khous dead a second time”; these were the damned. Second death did not annihilate them, but they were doomed to wander about and to torture
* De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 88. Just such a calendar and horoscope interdictions exist in India in our day, as well as in China and all the Buddhist countries.
people. Their existence had phases analogous to those of the living man, a bond so intimate between the dead and the living that one sees how the observation of religious funeral rites and exorcisms and prayers (or rather magic incantations) should have become necessary.* Says one prayer:
. . . . do not permit that the venom should master his limbs [of the defunct]; that he should be penetrated by any male dead, or any female dead, or that the shadow of any spirit should haunt him [or her] [Pap. magique, p. 164.] 6
Monsieur Chabas adds:
. . . . these Khous were beings of that kind to which human beings belong after their death. They were combated by the help of the divine power, the god Chons being famed for such deliverances. The Khou, in obeying the orders of the god, none the less preserved the precious faculty inherent in him of accommodating himself in any other body at will . . . . [op. cit., p. 168.] The Manes. . . . could enter the bodies of the living, haunt and obsess them. Formulae and talismans, and especially statues or divine figures, were used against such formidable invasions. [op. cit., pp. 168-69.] 7
The most frequent formula of exorcism is as follows It is very suggestive:
Men, gods, elect, dead spirits, amous, negroes, menti-u, do not look at the soul to show cruelty toward it. [Des Esprits, etc., Vol. III, p. 66.]
This is addressed to all who were acquainted with Magic.
“Amulets and mystic names.” This chapter is called “very mysterious,” and contains invocations to Penhakahakaherher and Uarauaakarsank-Robiti, and other such easy names. Says Chabas:
We have proofs that mystic names similar to these were in common use during the stay of the Israelites in Egypt. [op. cit., p. 162.] 8
And we may add that, whether got from the Egyptians or the Hebrews, these are sorcery names. The student can consult the works of Éliphas Lévi, such as his Grimoire
* See De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. III, p. 65.
des Sorciers. In these exorcisms Osiris is called Mamuram-Kahabu, and is implored to prevent the twice-dead Khou from attacking the justified Khou and his next of kin, since the accursed (astral spook)
Can take any form he likes and penetrate at will into any locality or body. [op. cit., p. 163.] 9
In studying Egyptian papyri, one begins to find that the subjects of the Pharaohs were not very much inclined to the Spiritism or Spiritualism of their day. They dreaded the “blessed spirit” of the dead more than a Roman Catholic dreads the devil!
But how uncalled-for and unjust is the charge against the Gods of Egypt that they are these “devils,” and against the priests of exercising their magic powers with the help of “the fallen angels,” may be seen in more than one papyrus. For one often finds in them records of Sorcerers sentenced to the death penalty, as though they had been living under the protection of the holy Christian Inquisition. Here is one case during the reign of Ramses III, quoted by De Mirville from Chabas.
The very beginning of the first page that has come down to us [Lee I] is mutilated. The second line begins with these words: “. . . . from the place where I am to the people of my country.” There is reason to suppose, as one will see, that the person who wrote this, in the first personal pronoun, is a magistrate making a report, and attesting it before men, after an accustomed formula . . . . “This Hai, a bad man, was an overseer [or perhaps keeper] of sheep; he said: ’Can I have a book that will give me great power!’ And a book was given him with the formulae of Ramses meri-Amen, the great god, his royal master. And he succeeded in getting a divine power enabling him to fascinate men. He also succeeded in building a place and in finding a very deep place, and produced men of Menh [magical homunculi?] and love-writings, stealing them from the Khen [the occult library of the palace] by the hand of the stonemason Atirma, by forcing one of the supervisors to go aside, and acting magically on the others . . . . . All the horrors and abominations he had conceived in his heart, he did them really, he practised them all, and other great crimes as well, such as are held in horror by all the gods and goddesses. Likewise let the prescriptions great [severe?] unto death be done unto him, such as the divine words order to be done to him.” The accusation does not stop there, it specifies the crimes. The first line speaks of a hand
paralyzed by means of the men of Menh, to whom it is simply said, “Let such an effect be produced,” and it is produced. Then come the great abominations, such as deserve death . . .. The judges who had examined him [the culprit] reported saying, “Let him die according to the order of Pharaoh, and according to what is written in the lines of the divine language . . . .” [op. cit., pp. 169-73.] 10
Monsieur Chabas remarks:
Documents of this kind abound, but the task of analysing them all cannot be attempted with the limited means we possess.* [Pap. mag., p. 177.]
Then there is an inscription taken in the temple of Khons, the God who had power over the elementaries, at Thebes. It was presented by Monsieur Prisse d’Avenne to the Imperial—now National—Library of Paris, and was translated first by Mr. S. Birch. There is in it a whole romance of Magic. It dates from the day of Ramses XII † of the twentieth dynasty; it is from the rendering of Monsieur de Rougé, as quoted by De Mirville, that we now translate it.
This monument tells us that one of the Ramses of the twentieth dynasty, while collecting at Naharain the tributes payed to Egypt by the Asiatic nations, fell in love with a daughter of the chief of Bakhten, one of his tributaries, married her and, bringing her to Egypt with him, raised her to the dignity of Queen, under the royal name of Ranefrou. Soon afterwards the chief of Bakhten dispatched a messenger to Ramses, praying the assistance of Egyptian science for Bent-rosh, a young sister of the queen, attacked with illness in all her limbs.
The messenger asked expressly that a “wise-man” [an Initiate—Reh’ h’et] should be sent. The king gave orders that all the hierogrammatists of the palace and the guardians of the secret books
* Maimonides in his Treatise on Idolatry says, speaking of the Jewish teraphim: “They talked with men.”11 To this day Christian Sorcerers in Italy, and negro Voodoos at New Orleans fabricate small wax figures in the likeness of their victims, and transpierce them with needles, the wound, as on the teraphim or Menh, being repercussed on the living, often killing them. Mysterious deaths are still many, and not all are traced to the guilty hand.
† The Ramses of Lepsius, who reigned some 1300 years before our era.
of the Khen should be sent for, and choosing from among them the royal scribe Thoth-em-Hebi, an intelligent man, well versed in writing, charged him to examine the sickness.
Arrived at Bakhten, Thoth-em-Hebi found that Bent-rosh was possessed by a Khou (Em-she’eru ker h’ou), but declared himself too weak to engage in a struggle with him.*
Eleven years elapsed, and the young girl’s state did not improve. The chief of Bakhten again sent his messenger, and on his formal demand Khons-pe-iri-sekher-em-Zam, one of the divine forms of Chons—God the Son in the Theban Trinity—was dispatched to Bakhten . . .
The God [incarnate] having saluted (besa) the patient, she felt immediately relieved, and the Khou who was in her manifested forthwith his intention of obeying the orders of the God. “O great God, who forcest the phantom to vanish,” said the Khou, “I am thy slave and I will return whence I came!”†
Evidently Khons-pe-iri-sekher-em-Zam was a real Hierophant of the class named the “Sons of God,” since he is said to be one of the forms of the God Khons; which means either that he was considered as an incarnation of that God—an Avatâra—or that he was a full Initiate. The same text shows that the temple to which he belonged was one of those to which a School of Magic was attached. There was a Khen in it, or that portion of the temple which was inaccessible to all but the highest priest, the library or depository of sacred works, to the study and care of which special priests were appointed (those whom all the Pharaohs consulted in cases of great importance), and wherein they communicated with the Gods and obtained advice from them. Does not Lucian tell his
* One may judge how trustworthy are the translations of such Egyptian documents when the sentence is rendered in three different ways by three Egyptologists. Rougé says: “He found her in a state to fall under the power of spirits,” or, “with her limbs quite stiff,” (?) another version; and Chabas translates: “And the Scribe found the Khou too wicked.” [Pap. Magique, p. 167, footnote 3.] Between her being in possession of an evil Khou and “with her limbs quite stiff,” there is a difference.
† De Mirvllle, op. cit., Vol. V, pp. 247-248. [Pap. magique, pp. 167-168.] 12
readers in his description of the temple of Hierapolis, of “Gods who manifest their presence independently”? * And further on that he once travelled with a priest from Memphis, who told him he had passed twenty-three years in the subterranean crypts of his temple, receiving instructions on Magic from the Goddess Isis herself.13 Again we read that it was by Mercury himself that the great Sesostris (Ramses II) was instructed in the Sacred Sciences. On which Jablonski remarks that we have here the reason why Amun (Ammon)—whence he thinks our “Amen” is derived—was the real evocation to the light.†
In the Papyrus Anastasi,15 which teems with various formulae for the evocation of Gods, and with exorcisms against Khous and the elementary demons, the seventh paragraph shows plainly the difference made between the real Gods, the Planetary Angels, and those shells of mortals which are left behind in Kâma-loka, as though to tempt mankind and to puzzle it the more hopelessly in its vain search after the truth, outside the Occult Sciences and the veil of Initiation. This seventh verse says with regard to such divine evocation or theomantic consultations:
One must invoke that divine and great name‡ only in cases of absolute necessity, and when one feels absolutely pure and irreproachable.16
Not so in the formula of black Magic. Reuvens, speaking of the two rituals of Magic of the Anastasi collection, remarks that they
. . . undeniably form the most instructive commentary upon the Egyptian Mysteries attributed to Iamblichus, and the best pendant to that classical source, for understanding the thaumaturgy of the philosophical sects—non-christian, semi-christian, gnostic and independent—of the first centuries of our era, thaumaturgy based on ancient Egyptian mythology . . . . . .
* Some translators would have Lucian speak of the inhabitants of the city, but they fail to show that this view is maintainable.
† De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 257.14
‡ How can De Mirville see Satan in the Egyptian God of the great divine Name, when he himself admits that nothing was greater than
According to Iamblichus, Theurgy was exercised by the ministry of secondary genii, , who, by nature, are the servants and executors of the decrees of the gods: , (De mysteriis, I, 20; II, 7.)*
Reuvens closes with a remark which is very suggestive and is very important to the Occultists who defend the antiquity and genuineness of their documents, for he says:
All that he [Iamblichus] gives out as theology we find as history in our papyri.18
But then how deny the authenticity, the credibility, and, beyond all, the trustworthiness of those classical writers, who all wrote about Magic and its Mysteries in a most worshipful spirit of admiration and reverence? Listen to Pindarus, who exclaims:
Happy he who descends into the grave thus initiated, for he knows the end of his life and the kingdom † given by Jupiter.‡
the name of the oracle of Dodona, as it was that of the God of the Jews, IAO, or Jehovah? That oracle had been brought by the Pelasgians to Dodona more than fourteen centuries B.C. and left with the forefathers of the Hellenes, and its history is well-known and may be read in Herodotus. Jupiter, who loved the fair nymph of the ocean, Dodona, had ordered Pelasgus to carry his cult to Thessaly. The name of the God of that oracle at the temple of Dodona was Zeus Pelasgicos, the Zeuspater (God the Father), or as De Mirville explains: “It was the name par excellence, the name that the Jews held as the ineffable, the unpronounceable Name—in short, JAOH-PATER, i.e., ’he who was, who is, and who will be,’ otherwise the ETERNAL.” And the author admits that A. Maury is right “in discovering in the name of the Vaidic Indra the Biblical Jehovah,” and does not even attempt to deny the etymological connection between the two names—“the great and the lost name with the sun and the thunder-bolts.” Strange confessions, and still stranger contradictions.
[The quotations in the above footnote are from de Mirville, Des Esprits, etc., Vol. V, pp. 136-37. In quoting from Maury, he gives as reference his Histoire des religions de la Grèce antique, I, 56.— Compiler.]
* Reuvens’ Letter to Letronne on the 75th number of the Papyri Anastasi. See De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 258.17
† The Elysian Fields.
‡ Fragments, ix.19
Or to Cicero:
Initiation not only teaches us to feel happy in this life, but also to die with better hope.*
Plato, Pausanias, Strabo, Diodorus and dozens of others bring their evidence as to the great boon of Initiation; all the great as well as the partially-initiated Adepts, share the enthusiasm of Cicero.
Does not Plutarch, thinking of what he had learned in his initiation, console himself for the loss of his wife ? Had he not obtained the certitude at the Mysteries of Bacchus that “the soul [spirit] remains incorruptible, and that there is a hereafter”?† . . . . Aristophanes went even farther: “All those who participated in the Mysteries,” he says, “led an innocent, calm, and holy life; they died looking for the light of the Elysian Fields [Devachan], while the rest could never expect anything but eternal darkness [ignorance?].‡
. . . . . And when one thinks about the importance attached by the States to the principle and the correct celebration of the Mysteries, to the stipulations made in their treaties for the security of their celebration, one sees to what degree those Mysteries had so long occupied their first and their last thought.
It was the greatest among public as well as private preoccupations, and this is only natural, since according to Döllinger, “the Eleusinian Mysteries were viewed as the efflorescence of all the Greek religion, as the purest essence of all its conceptions.” §
Not only conspirators were refused admittance therein, but those who had not denounced them; traitors, perjurers, debauchees || . . . . .. so that Porphyry could say that: “Our soul has to be at the moment of death as it was during the Mysteries, i.e., exempt from passion, envy, hatred, or anger.”¶
Magic was considered a Divine Science which led to a participation in the attributes of the Divinity itself.
* De Legibus, II, xiv, 36.20
† Consolatio ad Apollonium. [in Moral Essays.]
§ Judaïsme et Paganisme, t.I, p. 184.
|| Fragm. of Styg., ap. Stob.22
¶ De Mirville, Des Esprits, etc., Vol. V, p. 279. [No specific reference to Porphyry’s works given.—Comp.]
Herodotus, Thales, Parmenides, Empedocles, Orpheus, Pythagoras, all went, each in his day, in search of the wisdom of Egypt’s great Hierophants, in the hope of solving the problems of the universe.
The Mysteries were known to unveil the operations of nature and lead to the contemplation of celestial powers.*
The prodigies accomplished by the priests of theurgical magic are so well authenticated, and the evidence—if human testimony is worth anything at all—is so overwhelming, that, rather than confess that the Pagan theurgists far outrivalled the Christians in miracles, Sir David Brewster piously concedes to the former the greatest proficiency in physics, and everything that pertains to natural philosophy. Science finds herself in a very disagreeable dilemma. . . .
“Magic,” says Psellus, “formed the last part of the sacerdotal science. It investigated the nature, power, and quality of everything sublunary; of the elements and their parts, of animals, of various plants and their fruits, of stones and herbs. In short, it explored the essence and power of everything. From hence, therefore, it produced its effects. And it formed statues [magnetized] which procure health, and made all various figures and things [talismans] which could equally become the instruments of disease as well as of health. Often, too, celestial fire is made to appear through magic, and then statues laugh and lamps are spontaneously enkindled.†24
This assertion of Psellus that Magic “made statues which procure health,” is now proven to the world to be no dream, no vain boast of a hallucinated Theurgist. As Reuvens says, it becomes “history.” For it is found in the Papyrus Magique of Harris and on the votive stele just mentioned. Both Chabas and de Rougé state that:
On the eighteenth line of this very mutilated monument is found the formula with regard to the acquiescence of the God (Chons) who made his consent known by a motion he imparted to his statue.‡
There was even a dispute over it between the two Orientalists. While Monsieur de Rougé wanted to
* De Specialibus Legibus, quoted in Isis Unveiled, I, 25.23
† Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, 282-83.
‡ De Mirville, op. cit., Vol. V, p. 248.
translate the word “Han” by “favour” or “grace,” Monsieur Chabas insisted that “Han” meant a “movement” or “a sign” made by the statue.
Excesses of power, abuse of knowledge and personal ambition very often led selfish and unscrupulous Initiates to black Magic, just as the same causes led to precisely the same thing among Christian popes and cardinals; and it was black Magic that led finally to the abolition of the Mysteries, and not Christianity, as is often erroneously thought. Read Mommsen’s Roman History, Vol. I, and you will find that it was the Pagans themselves who put an end to the desecration of the Divine Science. As early as 560 B.C. the Romans had discovered an Occult association, a school of black Magic of the most revolting kind; it celebrated mysteries brought from Etruria, and very soon the moral pestilence had spread all over Italy.
More than seven thousand Initiates were prosecuted, and most of them were sentenced to death. . . .
Later on, Titus-Livius shows us another three thousand Initiates sentenced during a single year for the crime of poisoning.*
And yet black Magic is derided and denied!
Pauthier may or may not be too enthusiastic in saying that India appears to him as
. . . . the grand and primitive hearth of human thought . . . . that has ended by embracing the whole ancient world. . . . .
but he was right in his idea. That primitive thought led to Occult knowledge, which in our Fifth Race is reflected from the earliest days of the Egyptian Pharaohs down to our modern times. Hardly a hieratic papyrus is exhumed with the tightly swathed-up mummies of kings and high priests that does not contain some interesting information for the modern students of Occultism.
All that is, of course, derided Magic, the outcome of primitive knowledge and of revelation, though it was
* De Mirville, op.cit., Vol. V, pp. 280-81.25
practised in such ungodly ways by the Atlantean Sorcerers that it has since become necessary for the subsequent Race to draw a thick veil over the practices which were used to obtain so-called magical effects on the psychic and on the physical planes. In the letter no one in our century will believe the statements, with the exception of the Roman Catholics, and these will give the acts a satanic origin. Nevertheless, Magic is so mixed up with the history of the world, that if the latter is ever to be written it has to rely upon the discoveries of Archaeology, Egyptology, and hieratic writings and inscriptions; if it insists that they must be free from that “superstition of the ages” it will never see the light. One can well imagine the embarrassing position in which serious Egyptologists, Assyriologists, savants and academicians find themselves. Forced to translate and interpret the old papyri and the archaic inscriptions on stelae and Babylonian cylinders, they find themselves compelled from first to last to face the distasteful, and to them repulsive, subject of Magic, with its incantations and paraphernalia. Here they find sober and grave narratives from the pens of learned scribes, made up under the direct supervision of Chaldaean or Egyptian Hierophants, the most learned among the Philosophers of antiquity. These statements were written at the solemn hour of the death and burial of Pharaohs, High Priests, and other mighty ones of the land of Chemi; their purpose was the introduction of the newly-born, Osirified SouI before the awful tribunal of the “Great Judge” in the region of Amenti—there where a lie was said to outweigh the greatest crimes. Were the Scribes and Hierophants, Pharaohs, and King-Priests all fools or frauds to have either believed in, or tried to make others believe in, such “cock-and-bull stories” as are found in the most respectable papyri? Yet there is no help for it. Corroborated by Plato and Herodotus, by Manetho and Syncellus, as by all the greatest and most trustworthy authors and philosophers who wrote upon the subject, those papyri note down—as seriously as they note any history, or any fact so well known and accepted as to need no
commentary—whole royal dynasties of Manes, to wit, of shadows and phantoms (astral bodies), and such feats of magic skill and such Occult phenomena, that the most credulous Occultist of our own times would hesitate to believe them to be true.
The Orientalists have found a plank of salvation, while yet publishing and delivering the papyri to the criticism of literary Sadducees: they generally call them “romances of the days of Pharaoh So-and-So.” The idea is ingenious, if not absolutely fair.