[The vessel used in sacrifice by the Hindus is called Arghya Natha] Argha or Arghya, “libation” and “sacrificial cup”; Natha, “lord.”
THE CRUCIFIXION OF MAN
[Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 9, May, 1888, pp. 243-250]
“Prometheus is the impersonated representative of Idea, or of the same power as Jove, but contemplated as independent, and not immersed in the product,—as law minus the productive energy.”
—S. T. COLERIDGE.
“In abstracten wie im concreten Monismus ist es Gott selbst, der als absolutes Subject in den eingeschränkten Subjecten das Weltleid trägt, wobei er sich dann auf den Satz berufen kann: Volenti non fit injuria.”
“I know that I hung on a wind-rocked tree, nine whole nights with a spear wounded, and to Odin offered,—myself to myself,—on that tree of which no one knows from what root it springs.”
—Odin’s Rune-Song, Edda. *
Like Odin, the High One, I, Man—
Am offered up on the tree—
Myself to Myself,
An Ideal to Myself that Ideal,
And there hang I yet, windswept
in the forest of Time;
And shall hang long aeons
Chained to the rock,
Sun-pierced on Kavkas,
The Vulture feeds on my heart,
Myself gnawing myself
With sorrow unspeakable.
* [Hovamol—The Ballad of the High One—Stanza 139.]
I am Jesus the gentle and lowly
Hanging high on Calvary hill,
Pierced by the spear and the thorn,
Pierced in the heart and the brain,
For three long days—three nights—
In sorrow unspeakable.
And Odin gazing sun-like
O’er earth and o’er sea
“it will pass”:
Prometheus shrieked to the Vulture
“Ai! Ai! lo! I am free,
What art thou?
The evil Gods they shall pass
With their deeds,
And with Zeus the tyrant
be hurled down the Abyss,
Stricken by Fate
Master of Gods and of Men.
And Jesus the last and the best
“Forgive them, they know not their deeds,
“Lo! Knowledge shall come and
But all three are one,
I myself offered a sacrifice even to myself
Ah! when shall the end come!
And the Spirit—the Comforter
“True! all these three are one
But I, God, am that One;
I bear the World—Sorrow—
Self conscious in it,
Woe is me!
Suffering until the end
When the World shall return
Whence it came—
down the abyss,
And I shall be all in all,
And ye in me
Where Time and Space are not,
Where Love is.”
Lucerne, 1 885.
Prometheus, the grandest “Idea” in Grecian Mythology, represents the “Nous Agonistes”—the divine part of the human soul— that fire-spark brought down by Prometheus from Heaven—and breathed into man—individualized in Man, which slowly—gradually —but surely, through and by means of agonizing conflicts with the lower Titanic earth nature, raises itself out of the lower material world into the ideal-—invisible. The lower nature is represented by the tyrannic—arbitrary Zeus, the “Nomos” or law of the phenomenal world perceived by the senses (Jupiter est quodcunque vides). Prometheus, the New or re-born Soul, baptized in fire=spirit, is that which is the opposite of Zeus—the invisible—the unseen—the nuomenal—working in the ideal world, the delights of which it is not given to the mere animal human mind to conceive.
This Promethean soul of man come down from heaven can only be freed from the earth-chains and the Time-Vulture by the destruction of Zeus (that is, his transformation—transfiguration into the higher form), the phenomenal world, and by its elevation to a higher power, that of the ideal, the only real.
Prometheus is moreover the revolt of the enlightened Soul against all false—popular—sacerdotal—established—hierarchical forms of religion, those religions which seek for personal salvation, founded on egoism, instead of general universal good and the salvation of all sentient beings.
Prometheus is the Grecian form of the Atman of the Vedanta— the true ego, set free from incarnations in the masks (personae) of personality and the torture wheel of Necessity and Fate, and admitted into its rest and home in the universal—immanent Cosmic Spirit, escaped from the sorrows of the world of Creation. Prometheus is the ideal “Nomos” or Law in the soul itself, the “Conscious law—the King of Kings,” the God “seated in the heaven of the heart.”
In the Agonies of this “Nous Agonistes”—the birth agonies of the race and of each individual there must ever be that Crucifixion of the ideal man represented by Odin—Prometheus—Christ; but after the Cross comes the transfiguration, in which these words of Prometheus are fulfilled,
“By myriad pangs and woes
Bound down, thus shall I ’scape these bonds.”
Schelling (1st Vol., p. 81) has a fine passage as to the myths of Prometheus and Pandora.
“Here [the myth of Pandora] the aspirations of Mankind for higher things are represented as the actual cause of human misery. In the words of Hesiod, ‘Epimetheus, befooled by the charms of Pandora, accepted her destructive gifts—gifts of the Immortals—and thereby brought misery and destruction to the human race.’ And Prometheus, who desired to raise the race, formed by himself to a resemblance to the Gods, suffers, chained to the rock, all the sufferings of man since he cherished in his bosom the desire of a higher freedom and knowledge. Here, on his rock, he represents, in his own person, the whole human race. The Vulture who gnaws his liver, which ever grows again, is an image of that eternal uneasiness and restless desire for higher things, which so tortures all mortals.” *
In the account of the Crucifixion of Jesus, he is represented as receiving five wounds; may not these wounds have an esoteric-symbolical meaning? Man’s senses by which he perceives the phenomenal world are five, and may not these wounds on the cross ending in the death of the person (mask of the higher man), signify the death of all low, earthly desires having their origin in these five senses, and the consequent coming to life in a purer and higher sphere now totally inconceivable to us, all our concepts being derived from those earth senses? Nailing the feet takes away the power of moving towards any object of earth desire, as that of the hands, the organs of acquisition—now, too, generally of greed—deprives us of the power of seizing the objects of our acquisitiveness; the wound in the side kills the heart, that is all the desires of earth, and wakens us into the Nirvâna of Buddhism.
The cross itself, to which the whole man was attached, is a well-known phallic emblem, representing the strongest form of human-earth sensuality; and that is a very symbol on which to crucify the man to death. (Vide Editors’ Note 1, at the end of this article.)
It is remarkable that in this legend Prometheus is represented as crowned with the Agnus-Castus plant (lugos), the leaves of which formed the Crown of the Victors in the “ Agonia “ of the Olympic games; Christ in his Victorious Agony was crowned with the thorny akanthus. This Agnus-Castus plant was used also in the fête of the Thesmophoria, in honour of Demeter—the law—“nomos”—bringer, whose priestesses slept on its leaves as encouraging chaste desires. In Christian times this custom survived among Nuns, who used to drink a water distilled from its leaves, and Monks used knives with handles made of its wood with the same intention of encouraging chastity.
* [Hesiod, Works and Days, 84-89; Theogony, 510-14.—Compiler.]
Chaucer, in his beautiful poem, “The Flower and the Leaf,” makes the Queen of the ladies of the leaf—those consecrated to spiritual love—carry branches of Agnus-Castus in her hand, and singing:
“Suse le foyle, devers moi—
Mon joly cuer est endormy.”
Her heart was asleep to earth, but entranced in Heaven.*
If it should be thought impious to attribute the expression of sorrow to the divine Being, it may be remarked that the Kabbala records an old tradition relating to the Schechinah (the female—mother—brooding element in God) in which she utters the following complaint for the evil in the world, and for the separation of the primal united dual elements in humanity.
“Woe to me, I have driven away my children, and woe unto the children that they have been driven from the table of their Father!”
—See Sympneumata [L. Oliphant, p. 72].
And did not Jesus, the Christ—the divine Man—an incarnation of the Spirit and type of the next phase of human evolution, cry out in the bitterness of his agony, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Vide Editors’ Notes that follow, Note 2.)
Inspired Mr. John Pulsford, in his work Morgenröthe, which contains so many intimations of the new epoch of the coming Golden Age, says:
* [Considerable uncertainty exists with regard to these two lines in old French. The poem from which they are taken is of doubtful authorship, some scholars refusing to ascribe it to Chaucer. The subject of this poem is a tournay between the Knights of the Flower and the Knights of the Leaf. In the opinion of Clifford Bax (The Distaff Muse, London: Hollis & Carter Ltd., 1949), its approximate date would be 1450, while Chaucer died in 14û0. Even the actual wording varies in the excerpt he quotes, lines 176-179 of the poem being as follows:
And she began a roundel lustily,
That Sus le foyl de vert moy men call,
Seen, et mon joly cuer endormi;
And then the company answéred all
The meaning of the italicized sentence is not at all clear. It is impossible to say where the version of these lines as they appear in the text was taken from, nor whether the line of English which immediately follows the French is part of the poem.—Compiler.]
“God having clothed Himself with the sorrows of creation, it must come to pass that the whole Creation shall be filled, and clothed, with His glory. None of the present anomalies of the Creation will survive under His glory. It is not enough to say that He suffers with us; we are taught rather to say that ‘we suffer with Him,’ * assigning to Him the lion’s share of the afflictions of His creatures. He is suffering at any rate, so long as any creature suffers. To bear the sufferings of all that suffer, is a Love-necessity with Him. . . . He cannot deliver Himself from bearing griefs and carrying sorrows, so long as there are any to be borne or carried by His sons and daughters. The First Cause must be present in all effects; not as one looking on, but as One within, bearing all.”†
“The vanity, strife and misery of disordered nature have long afflicted us; but the glory of God’s perfect Goodness is about to be revealed in the new order of man, and of nature.”†
“Like Prometheus bound to a rock the impersonal Spirit is chained to a personality until the consciousness of his Herculean power awakes in him, and bursting his chain, he becomes again free.” §
“Der aetherische Hauch der Götter, der Funk des Prometheus ist, nach den ältesten Mythen, Princip des hhern Lebens im Menschen.” ||
“The ethereal breath of the Gods—the Promethean fire spark is, according to the most ancient myths, the principle of the higher life in men.”
* And why “He” and not IT? Has Deity a sex? Most extraordinary custom even in monotheists—Conceit of Men, who mirror their male element in their Deity when they do not degrade the Unknown to the ridiculous and the absurd by seeking to address and speak of it as “Woman” in some cases, as “male-female,” or “Father-Mother,” in others, thus making of an impersonal absolute PRINCIPLE—a huge HERMAPHRODITE!—H.P.B.
† Morgenröthe, p. 110 [p. 83 in ed. of 1881].
‡ Op. cit., p. 111 [p. 84 in ed. of 1881].
§ Dr. Franz Hartmann, Magic: White and Black.
|| Schelling, Vol. I, p. 78.
1. This is one of the many semi-esoteric or mystical interpretations of the symbolical and allegorical drama, which has been grafted and grown upon Christendom in its dead letter sense only—the “dead letter that killeth.”
One of the seven esoteric meanings implied in the mystery of Crucifixion by the mystic inventors of the system—the original elaboration and adoption of which dates back into the night of time and the establishment of the MYSTERIES—is discovered in the geometrical symbols containing the history of the evolution of man. The Hebrews, whose prophet Moses was learned in the Wisdom of Egypt, and who adopted their numerical system from the Phoenicians, and later from the Gentiles from whom they borrowed most of their Kabalistic Mysticism, adapted most ingeniously the Cosmic and anthropological symbols of the “heathen” nations to their peculiar secret records. If Christian sacerdotalism has lost the key of it today, the early compilers of the Christian Mysteries were well versed in Esoteric philosophy, and used it dexterously. Thus they took the word aish (one of the Hebrew word-forms for MAN) and used it in conjunction with that of Shânâh, “lunar year,” so mystically connected with the name of Jehovah, the supposed “father” of Jesus, and embosomed the mystic idea in an astronomical value and formula.
The original idea of “Man Crucified” in Space belongs certainly to the ancient Hindus, and E. Moor shows it in his The Hindoo Pantheon in the engraving that represents Wittoba—a form of Vishnu. Plato adopted it in his decussated Cross in Space, the X, “the second God who impressed himself on the universe in the form of the cross”; Krishna is likewise shown “crucified.” (See Dr. J. P. Lundy’s Monumental Christianity, pp. 173-74, fig. 72.) * Again it is repeated in the Old Testament in the queer
* [A reproduction of the Wittoba engraving in Edward Moor’s work will be found on page 296 of Volume VII of the present Series. —Compiler.]
injunction of crucifying men before the Lord, the Sun—which is no prophecy at all, but has a direct phallic significance. Says the most suggestive work on the Kabalistic meanings now extant—Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery in the Source of Measures:
In symbol, the nails of the cross have for the shape of the heads thereof a solid pyramid, and a tapering square obeliscal shaft, or phallic emblem, for the nail. Taking the position of the three nails in the man’s extremities, and on the cross they form or mark a triangle in shape, one nail being at each corner of the triangle. The wounds, or stigmata, in the extremities are necessarily four, designative of the square. . . . . The three nails with the three wounds are in number 6, which denotes the 6 faces of the cube unfolded [which make the cross or man-form, or 7, counting three horizontal and four vertical bars], on which the man is placed; and this in turn points to the circular measure transferred onto the edges of the cube. The one wound of the feet separates into two when the feet are separated, making three together for all, and four when separated, or 7 in all—another and most holy [and with the Jews] feminine base number. *
Thus, while the phallic or sexual meaning of the “Crucifixion Nails” is proven by the geometrical and numerical reading, its mystical meaning is indicated by the short remarks upon it, as given above in its connection with, and bearing upon, Prometheus. He is another victim, for he is crucified on the Cross of Love, on the rock of human passions, a sacrifice to his devotion to the cause of the spiritual element in Humanity.
2. The now dogmatically accepted words, so dramatic for being uttered at the crucial hour, are of a later date than generally supposed. Verse 46 in-the xxviith chapter of Matthew stands now distorted by the unscrupulous editors of the Greek texts of the Evangel. Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani—-never meant “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” but meant, indeed, originally, the reverse. They are the Sacramental words used at the final initiation in old Egypt, as elsewhere, during the Mystery of the putting to death of Chrêstos in the mortal body with its animal passions, and the resurrection of the Spiritual
* [Chap. II, Sect. ii, para. 21, p. 52.]
Man as an enlightened Christos in a frame now purified (the “second birth” of Paul, the “twice-born” or the Initiates of the Brahmans, etc., etc.). These words were addressed to the Initiate’s “Higher Self,” the Divine Spirit in him (let it be called Christ, Buddha, Chrishna, or by whatever name), at the moment when the rays of the morning Sun poured forth on the entranced body of the candidate and were supposed to recall him to life, or his new rebirth. They were addressed to the Spiritual Sun within, not to a Sun without, and ought to read, had they not been distorted for dogmatic purposes:
“MY GOD, MY GOD, HOW THOU DOST GLORIFY ME!”
This is well proven now in the work above quoted. Says the author:—
. . . . . . Of course, our versions are taken from the original Greek manuscripts (the reason why we have no original Hebrew manuscripts concerning these occurrences being because the enigmas in Hebrew would betray themselves on comparison with the sources of their derivation, the Old Testament). The Greek manuscripts, without exception, give these words as—
They are Hebrew words, rendered into the Greek, and in Hebrew are as follows:
The Scripture of these words says, “ that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” as their proper translation. Here then are the words, beyond all dispute; and beyond all question, such is the interpretation given of them by Scripture. Now the words will not bear this interpretation, and it is a false rendering. The true meaning is just the opposite of the one given, and is—
My God, my God, how thou dost glorify me!
But even more, for while lama is why, or how, as a verbal it connects the idea of to dazzle, or adverbially, it could run “how dazzlingly,”
* [The last word of this sentence, reading from right to left, namely, shâbahhthani, was misspelled in Lucifer, giving rise to confusion. H. P. B. herself drew attention to this in the next issue of her journal (Vol. II, No. 10, June, 1888, p. 295). This misspelling has been corrected in the present text.—Compiler.]
THOTH AND HORUS PURIFYING THE KING
From Kôm-Ombô, Egypt.
The streams are interlaced and pictured as small ansated crosses; this scene is of a
similar type, but not identical With, the one mentioned by H.P.B. as being in the Temple
of Philae. No reproduction of that could be found.
and so on. To the unweary reader this interpretation is enforced and made to answer, as it were, to the fulfillment of a prophetic utterance, by a marginal reference to the first verse of the twenty-second Psalm, which reads:
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
The Hebrew of this verse for these words is— :
as to which the reference is correct, and the interpretation sound and good, but with an utterly different word. The words are—
Eli, Eli, lamah azabvtha-ni?
No wit of man, however scholarly, can save this passage from falseness of rendering on its face; and as so, it becomes a most terrible blow upon the proper first-face sacredness of the recital.*
But no blow is strong enough to kill out the viper of blind faith, cowardly reverence for established beliefs and custom, and that selfish, conceited element in civilized man which makes him prefer a lie that is his own to a universal truth, the common property of all—the inferior races of the “heathen” included.
Let the reader who doubts the statement consult the Hebrew originals before he denies. Let him turn to some most suggestive Egyptian bas-reliefs. One especially from the temple of Philae, represents a scene of initiation. Two Gods-Hierophants, one with the head of a hawk (the Sun), the other ibis-headed (Mercury, Thoth, the god of Wisdom and secret learning, the assessor of Osiris-Sun), are standing over the body of a candidate just initiated. They are in the act of pouring on his head a double stream of water (the water of life and new birth), which stream is interlaced in the shape of a cross and full of small ansated crosses. This is allegorical of the awakening of the candidate (now an Initiate) when the beams of the morning sun (Osiris) strike the crown of his head (his entranced body
* Key to the Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery, etc., pp. 300-301.
[This subject has been explained at length in The Esoteric Tradition, Vol. I, pp. 72-75, where the author, Dr. G. de Purucker, gives the esoteric background of this scriptural puzzle.—Compiler.]
being placed three days earlier on its wooden tau, so as to receive the rays). Then appeared the Hierophants-Initiators and the sacramental words were pronounced, visibly, to the Sun-Osiris, addressed in reality to the Spirit-Sun within, enlightening the newly-born man. Let the reader meditate on the connection of the Sun with the Cross in both its generative and spiritually regenerative capacities—from the highest antiquity. Let him examine the tomb of Beit-Oualy, in the reign of Ramses II, and find on it the crosses in every shape and position. Again, the same on the throne of that sovereign, and finally on a fragment from the Hall of the ancestors of Totmes III, preserved in the National Library of Paris, and which represents the adoration of Bakhan-Alenré.
In this extraordinary sculpture and painting one sees the disk of the Sun beaming upon an ansated cross placed upon a cross of which those of the Calvary were perfect copies. The ancient papyri mention these as the “hard couches of those who were in (spiritual) travail, the act of giving birth to themselves.” A quantity of such cruciform “couches” on which the candidate, thrown into a dead trance at the end of his supreme initiation, was placed and secured, were found in the underground halls of the Egyptian temples after their destruction. The worthy, ignorant Fathers of the Cyril and Theophilus types used them freely, believing they had been brought and concealed there by some new converts. Alone Origen, and after him Clemens Alexandrinus, and other ex-initiates, knew better. But they preferred to keep silent.*
* [The latter two whole paragraphs may be found verbatim, in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, pp. 558-59. It is probable that the name Bait-Oxly, as printed in the original edition of that work, is a misprint for the French form Beit-Oualy, or Beit el-Ouali. This is the same as Beit el-Wâli, in its present English rendering, and is the site of a temple of Rameses II, about fifty kilometers south of the First Cataract, on the west bank of the Nile, just south of the town of Kalabsha in Nubia. It is an Arabic name which means “The House of the Saint.” However, no tombs are known to exist at this site, and so it is difficult to say what is meant by the above reference to a tomb.
The Occultist, however, ought to ever bear in mind the words said by Ammian, that if “Truth is violated by falsehood,” it may be and is “equally outraged by silence.” *
[As the subject of the above Editorial Notes is of considerable importance from the standpoint of scholarship, it has been thought advisable to incorporate at this point material which was published somewhat later in the year, and which contains a closing Note from the pen of H. P. B.—Compiler.]